I came across Nofap in Feb this year and started the 90 day challenge immediately (No P or M ). I’m currently approaching 100 days, and so far so good. While I currently have no desire to return to PM I’ve not been getting too excited, as I’ve had stretches this length before. I am however hopeful that it may be different this time as I feel that some of the strong PMO desire has been erased, and I’m also far better educated around the issue. I’ve detailed my story below in the hope that it resonates with what others are going through. This is a lengthy post but I felt that I had to include as much detail as possible.
I started M when I was around 14. I’m 37 now so it was pretty much just magazines at that time. Over the following years the internet developed and as a result I progressed from using my imagination, to magazines, to softcore on TV, and then on to static images on the internet. I probably M daily from 14 until I was 22 and at the time it didn’t seem to cause me too many problems. As I was restricted to images / very short videos at that time each session didn’t last too long (probably 20 mins average). Edging really wasn’t an option then as it took too long to download anything!
I got married and had kids in my 20’s and that definitely curtailed the habit, to an extent. Sex was regular but I still snuck downstairs at night to PMO. I’ve not seen it discussed here (no doubt it has though) but my weakness was the British Babestation etc channels. There are approximately 10 of them, each with a different girl, and I would edge for hours flicking between the channels until I got the perfect girl in the perfect pose. I was in my mid-20’s when highspeed internet took off and that’s when late night edging sessions took off. Again they were limited because of family but I still managed a couple of sessions each week.
That’s also when difficulties in my life really ramped up. Very broadly I had an extremely stressful worklife for a few years. I don’t think I can realistically attribute all problems in my life to PMO but I have no doubt now that it had a major impact on my mental wellbeing at that time, in particular with the advent of high speed downloads allowing multiple videos. I experienced extreme anxiety and also depression in my life (some caused by PMO and some caused by other factors in my life) and definitely, ironically, tried to use PMO as a way out. Being able to see the whole picture now though I see that I was caught in a never-ending stress-PMO loop.
Why I PMO’d
At first we probably use M because we see a beautiful woman and we have a strong desire to be with them and have sex with them. This may be through a video online or by seeing someone attractive in the street / at work. This seems obvious to most guys. However, looking back I now see clearly that after the habit was established I was primarily using PMO in three specific situations…
1. Enhancing happiness. This was when I already had that Friday afternoon feeling and wanted it to continue. For example I may have succeeded at something and was feeling great about myself, and in the same way that an alcoholic turns to alcohol to prolong the experience I would turn to PMO and edge for hours on end. I maybe prolonged the feeling for a while but immediately after the PMO was over, l felt crap. Instead of enjoying whatever success / happy times I was having in my life I sat hunched, jacking off to some pixels and female sounds.
2. Stress relief. I now see that PMO was my go-too during or following stressful situations. I believe this is where it really impacted my mental health. I would be stressed, then PMO and then feel ten times worse about myself. I believe that this trapped me in a loop which fed negative thoughts about myself, strengthening them every time I engaged in PMO when stressed.
3. Release of tension. At one stage I couldn’t get on with my day / work / task without first PMOing. For example, If I had a lot of Uni work to do I would always sit down and M first in order to get rid of the tension. This did relieve the tension temporarily but at the same time also fed and strengthened the habit (unbeknown to me at the time).
Trying to give up without success
For a number of years I had no idea of the impact that PMO was having on me. I had an inclination because I noticed that when I abstained for approx. two weeks I felt a much better connection with my wife. Sex was definitely, definitely better. I can’t emphasise that enough. It was never enough though and despite my efforts through sheer willpower alone I always reverted back to PMO.
In 2013 I felt so bad that I managed a stretch of about 3 months abstinence. This was pure willpower and was based on the thought ‘I need to give up PM in order to feel good / healthy again’. Since then I have gradually educated myself more on the subject, and the negative effects in particular. I have managed a few similar stretches over the past few years but usually found myself relapsing (binging) every two weeks.
Tools for success
I’ve detailed below a list of the factors that I believe have had the greatest impact during the process of giving up PM.
Since 2013 I’ve known on some level that I needed to give up altogether. I’ve had enough stretches to realise that on a basic level when you PM, you will feel crap, while abstain from PM and you will begin to feel better. That has definitely been my experience. I’ve picked up the following techniques gradually over the years but have never (before now) been fully committed to applying all. Being honest unconsciously I also didn’t want to give up.
1. Meditation. Undoubtedly this has had the biggest impact. My mind was out of control and meditation has tamed it greatly. My practice of meditation has sometimes been sporadic but I have gone through periods of a number of months where I would get up early and sit for an hour or so. Very broadly we have a number of unconscious thoughts which drive us towards things like PMO. By sitting and observing your own thought processes you begin to uncover those thoughts. When you become aware of the unconscious thought process it loses it’s power. I’ll give an example. I discovered that one of the thoughts driving me to M to P was, ‘She wants me’, referring to whatever girl was in the video I was watching. My mind unconsciously held this strong belief. When this came to light I immediately realised that it was not the case. In fact it is complete nonsense. The reality is that you are observing a series of pixels. Whoever made the original video is away living her own life. She definitely does not want me or you.
I discovered a variety of other untrue beliefs along these lines and by observing my thought processes around porn I have, hopefully, unpicked a lot of the incorrectly held beliefs around P and also women in general.
With regards taking up meditation I would recommend seeking the help of an expert, or start with book / guide. Its almost certainly not an instant fix but if you persevere it will help.
2. Dealing with lust. I think I have always had strong feelings of lust towards the opposite sex and when I moved in with my GF (now wife) I definitely reduced the amount of PMO. While this would be regarded as a positive move I can see now that I used sex with her as a substitute for the stress relief that PMO provided. I probably wasn’t overly interested in connecting with her, and instead my primary motive was to feel good myself. In recent months I’ve reduced the no. of occasions that we have sex to once per week and in general I make sure that it’s something that she is also keen on at the time. Sex has been far better this way. It has also allowed me to practice self-control i.e. not using her for sex simply in order to feel better about myself.
3. Giving up alcohol. I drank heavily once per week from 19 – 23 and since then it’s only been a few times per year. However, on each of those subsequent occasions my lust flew out of control. Alcohol definitely fuelled my urges and after being at a club I would always PMO when I got home. I would then inevitably PMO again the following morning when hungover. I was concerned that alcohol was going to lead me to do something far worse than PMO on a night out and I gave up altogether in April 2015. I honestly don’t miss it.
4. Dealing with anger / impatience. Through the many opportunities that life presents I have tried to be more patient and have learned to observe and experience my anger rather than letting it explode outwardly (or be suppressed inwardly). Meditation can help with this. If like me you reverted to porn when stressed it is obvious that if you manage anger and impatience then you will feel generally less stressed, which in turn will lessen the likelihood of you reverting to porn.
5. Saturate your mind with as much information as possible on the realities of PMO. Read Nofap, books etc until you have a clear understanding of what PMO is doing to you and wider world. Understand the impact it has on your brain. Understand how P is interlinked with human trafficking / prostitution. Understand the impact P has on the lives of the male and females actors. Would you want your daughter / sister / mother lewered into the industry?
I made some other changes as well which, while not directly related to porn, have enhanced my wellbeing:
1. Cold showers. Helps in a number of ways. Please research if interested
2. Vegetarian. Not for everyone I understand but I’ve been vegetarian (nearly vegan) for a few years and this has again had a tangible impact on my wellbeing.
3. Exercise. Helps with stress management.
After nearly 100 days I do feel real changes. I genuinely do. Before I go into those I would however like to point out that I am of the opinion that full recovery will probably take much longer than 100 days. Although outwardly I have a good life that I enjoy i.e. house, great family, reasonably financially secure etc, for approximately 12 years there has been something preventing me from being able to experience joy and happiness. In fact there seemed to be something blocking all of my emotions, both positive and negative. I have given up PMO for 90 days and I definitely see cracks of happiness and joy coming through. Conversely I have also recently experienced feelings of sadness, compassion and other similar emotions, which I have not experienced for along time. I want to experience the full range of emotions of life and it now looks almost certainly as if P was preventing me from doing so. It might sound strange but PMO numbed me to the world (another adverse effect of using it as a stress reliever), and trust me this is not a pleasant experience.
Surely we have to be realistic and acknowledge that real changes don’t happen for drug / alcohol addicts until they have abstained for at least 1+ year? Would it not be reasonable to assume that recovery from extreme PMO, done for many years will take a similar length of time? I’m basing this only on an observation so if anyone has more concrete information / evidence on realistic recovery times that would be very much appreciated.
If you haven’t managed 90 days etc though then please don’t get me wrong though. You will see positive changes during that time. With regards superpowers I honestly don’t know. While I would frame the changes more conservatively I have definitely noticed vast improvements in my mental health and overall enjoyment of life. It’s definitely a strong motivator going forward. Anyway, here is a list of changes that I have noticed:
1. Greater sense of wellbeing. I feel better about myself and also the world in general. Maybe this is because I’m no longer contributing to porn viewer figures (which in turn fuel the industry).
2. I don’t objectify women anymore. I seemed to hold the belief that they were there for mans pleasure and also for breeding.
3. Less stressed (and therefore less likely to turn to porn).
4. Less social anxiety, coupled with a greater desire to socialise / talk to strangers etc
5. More confidence when communicating with people.
6. Far better sex with SO. P makes us think that vanilla sex is not enough but in my experience most of the things we see in P are simply degrading to women and are not required for a fulfilled sexlife.
7. More motivation.
I’m sure there are others and I’ll add to the list as time goes on.
In my experience for real change to occur you need to undergo a complete change in the structure of your thoughts processes. I’m happy to discuss any of the points raised. Best of luck.