I started PMO’ing when I was around 12 or 13 years old, and it started small with video game pictures or cute anime girls. It didn’t take long for curiosity to get the better of me and see what was on the internet…while I was hiding out in the bathroom of my friend’s house. Yes, while I was hanging with the guys, one of my immediate urges was to lock myself in the bathroom for about 30 minutes (and I was careful enough to make 30 minutes the limit), and it even resulted in them wondering what the hell I was doing.
Consequently, I became more interested in the availability of privacy to watch porn than actually hanging out with my friends, and I stopped hanging out with them. This was the major start of my isolation from porn use.
Fast forward to high school and college, and although I had friends and girlfriends, that didn’t always stop me from PMO’ing. Some days, the urge was small, and other days, it was like a real-time show was broadcasting inside my head. I always felt like shit after I PMO’d, but another quick fix would take those feelings away for a while.
In fact, over time, I was watching porn at least twice a day: once before work and once before bed. It felt good to have a routine and know that my horny self could be satisfied with porn at certain times. Even for a while in college, I would do this twice a day. Eventually, I started to become more aware of the problems with porn on a neurological level, and I asked my men’s mentor to hold me accountable for watching porn.
I lasted a few months (I think 2) without porn, and although I was proud of myself, something felt off…like I was missing a big part of quitting porn. And I was–it only took one lonely night in my room with my phone to want to look at some of my favorite pictures again. Pictures? Nah, I can watch a video. I can’t describe the dopamine shot I got from PMO’ing that night. It was the strongest dopamine hit I had ever had, but I felt like absolute shit after that. Too bad porn was still there to comfort me.
Fast forward to a few months ago–my girlfriend visited me from America (I currently live abroad), and after she returned to America, I made the choice to radically change the way I approached life, which included–once and for all–getting rid of porn. I found this community, read the research and some forums, and decided to start the 90-day journey. I’m at Day 60, and although I am well-practiced with meditation and highly self-aware (I’ve made significant changes to my lifestyle quite a bit through meditation), quitting porn for this long–and doing it the smart way–has made me a better man.
The first couple of weeks were difficult because I tried not to think about it. I had plenty of other things to do, which made things a little easier. This seemed like a good start, but something started to happen that was very confusing to me. My emotions were out of control.
They went up, down, and sideways on a daily basis. One moment, I would be sitting in the office at work preparing my lessons, and the next moment, I would be filled with hypothetical situations that I was afraid of, which was mainly my father and I getting into a physical fight (I had had this kind of chaotic thought pattern for as long as I could remember). If not of my father, then it was definitely about my girlfriend seeing some kind of inability or inadequacy in me.
These thoughts drove me crazy, and although I had the skills from therapy sessions to work through chaotic emotions, I didn’t understand that these thoughts were so powerful because PMO’ing was no longer available. In reality, PMO was a way for me to avoid tremendous anxiety that I didn’t handle well. I even drank more than usual at this time, which was about 3 beers a day.
After the first month, I began to experience an odd struggle with anger. Specifically, I felt angry for no reason at random times, and at other times, the smallest stressor would trigger an anger episode. I was smart enough to not act on them, but I hated how I would walk home from work with my chest tight and my breath sounding like a pressure steamer. Meditating on this anger allowed me to embrace my anger; anger is not a bad thing. It’s simply a part of you that is screaming to be heard, whether that means setting a much-needed boundary or accepting a part of yourself that you don’t like (such as your anger).
After these anger episodes, I started to experience a different kind of anger, and my thoughts began to revolve around sex. I lost my virginity when I was 23, and the reason I remained a virgin for so long was because I was anxious and ashamed of my sexuality (though I was not aware of it at the time). I discovered how anxious and ashamed I was when I read through a good book written by a researcher in men’s issues and by being with my girlfriend.
Once I noticed this, I was able to take steps necessary to get rid of this fear (such as telling my girlfriend that I want sex instead of doing all this weird shit to arouse her). I still have some anxiety (and maybe some shame is left) about being sexual, but I can assure you that I will overcome this soon.
Now let me get to the good stuff (meaning very positive changes):
- You are forced to take a damn good look at yourself. No more hiding, no more imaginary fort to protect you. This can be incredibly scary, and you may see things you really don’t like. Whatever happens here, you need to deal with it. It will make you stronger and stop relying on PMO. I gave you plenty of this in the forum above.
- Not PMO’ing makes the sexual energy become clogged or redirected. You want to do the latter. I did this by getting an espresso machine, learning to make all sorts of specialty drinks (something I’ve always wanted to do), and starting a workout plan in the gym. My goal is to be about 200 pounds, most of which is lean muscle. I’ve been rock climbing, but my body isn’t where I want it to be right now. Time to lift!
- NOTE: This process is called ‘sexual transmutation,’ and it’ll be one of the most difficult things to control when you start. Feeling much better about yourself. When you start to transmute your energy into something productive (such as your work or a hobby/interest), it feels great. You feel less like a child and more like a man.
- Feeling more connected to men. For a long time, I only felt comfortable around women. After this long without PMO, I naturally feel more comfortable around men. In fact, I could barely bond with them. Now, the exact opposite it true. I feel much more comfortable around men because I’m not caring so much about what other people think and feel about me (and considering that I’m living in an Asian country, this isn’t easy to begin with). The single best thing you can do for yourself as a man is to be with other healthy men. Embrace your masculinity.
- Better intimacy with my girlfriend. Since I’m more open and depend on her less, I feel much more comfortable being with her because I’m concentrating more on myself than her. Ironically, we’re closer now.
There are some more benefits, but I’ll save them for another time. Guys, you started watching porn because you needed something that wasn’t there. Filling this need is complicated because the nature of the need may not be readily decipherable…you may go through an emotional roller coaster like I did. However, I know you can do it. We’re men, and men are really good at getting stuff done. If you relapse, start again. You’ll get through it.