Hello! I am a 24 year old male. From a young age, I was quiet, gentle and friendly. But I always had a strong sexual side. I remember a day in primary school when a friend and I told a girl we wanted to fuck her. She cried. I convinced a Christian girl to give up her virginity to me when I didn’t even love her. I am so obsessed with sex that I was prepared to almost walk away from my religious beliefs because it forbid pre-marital sex. That gentle, friendly person I spoke of at the start – he hasn’t been around for a while, and was replaced by a selfish, introverted, awkward boy some time in my teenage years when I became addicted to masturbating. Oh, did I mention that – I am addicted to masturbation.
I didn’t know it until only a few months ago. I thought addictions were for the weak-willed, or the drug abusers. I was above addiction. I’m too smart for that. It was a few years back, probably earlier than I can now remember, that I started to resent my habit. Trying to quit had mixed success, sometimes I would get a pretty long streak, then give in again and go straight back into masturbating 3 times a day. This carried on for some time. I found this subreddit, and I started writing down my own thoughts on this habit.
Implementing the below strategy/ideology, I have successfully abstained from PMO on hard mode for the last 4 months. I was told 120 days is how long it takes to “re-wire” your brain (this isn’t true, please read on) and I am at that point now, so thought it apt to share with you my findings. At first I was really nervous and under pressure to give in. It felt good though, rejecting my impulses, and having to keep a tight hold on my wandering mind. I had many nights when I would dream about sex and fapping, and even a few wet dreams. The bulge of a girl’s bum on the street would make me have to look away and clear my mind of sex. It looked grim. Fortunately, it got easier. Constantly starving my addiction was resulting in fewer sex dreams, fewer strong urges, and better control of my mind. It isn’t gone completely. It likely never will be. Accepting this meant Batman-level vigilance. What I present here, is my thoughts and insights into this addiction, and some pivotal understandings in kicking this for good.
Evil of PMO
What’s wrong with it? If you don’t know the answer to this, why are you here? A whole book could be written on this subject alone, but I will highlight some main points. This is one of the most crucial steps in the entire process because without it, you will not have the drive to quit.
- It gives you a slanted view on sexuality, and is therefore ruining your personal relationships. We are excited by the appearance of nude flesh and sexual bits. A rush of dopamine floods our brain, and we are stimulated to feed that drip any way we can. Your brain wants it’s fix, and has no regard for the social or relational implications. A tight dress on your morning commute, while innocent to some can have vast consequences to the porn-addicted brain. A rush of dopamine, the excitement of guessing the shape of the figure underneath the clothes, your brain wants you to carry on the fantasy… maybe it’s visualising a video you saw recently with the lady in front of you, maybe it’s the thrill of tearing her dress off her…that’s if your lucky. As your brain is fed these dopamine drips, these familiar fantasies become common-place and therefore no longer provide the same excitement. The porn gets weirder, the fantasies get more aggressive and impersonal, and your mind is forever being drawn to whatever excites it most. You don’t love the girl, you don’t even love her body. You love getting the fix, in whatever way your mind feels like being excited. Worse of all, you don’t even love it. PMO becomes a chore. The video clips disgust you after you have blown your load. You start feeling the guilt before the act has even begun! All throughout this, you have failed to recognize the girl behind the boobs. What this does to your human interaction is disastrous. Failing to treat humans like humans is the wedge between relationships. I personally felt it was a key factor in my inability to sympathize with others, form successful mature friendships, and to feel love toward my girlfriend. Keep masturbating and you will treat women with contempt, and a lack of respect.
- Reduces testosterone levels, and energy levels. PMO leaves me feeling lethargic and unmotivated. A combination of reduced energy levels, and lack of respect for women (above point) can lead to a severe lack of motivation in life. Women are awesome, and I am so excited that I have a vocation, which I can one day share with my wife. Masturbation will drag you backwards into a lethargic mess, and you will lose track of your passions and life’s work.
- Waste of time. Think you spend a lot of time wanking now? You can double or triple that as you continue to get weirder habits, endlessly searching for the perfect video, or wrestling with the urges while you’re trying to keep your mind focused on your work.
- Manipulative pleasure. The images have a strangle-hold on your mind. The excitement of feeding this circuit of your brain culminates in a sub-par rush, which is a shadow of a real sexual experience. The images make you feel like you are really there, but you will remain forever disconnected from the beautiful sexual experience in several ways – someone’s else is doing the act, it is filmed for money not love, the girl is enhanced to play on your warped sexuality, she is presented in a 2D format, you are far away from her, and most of all – you are alone, stimulating your self. The sexual experience that does not manipulate occurs when you hold a person in your arms, and you love and respect them, wanting to protect their honor and integrity as you seek to enjoy and serve them.
- Disgusting industry. Every time you visit one of those sites, you are a cooperator in the revenue gain for this industry. Think of the sexualised culture we are placed in – the rape, the child molestation, the perverted objectification of modern day women, and the prostitution industries in third world countries where girls from low class families are abducted and sold at a brothel like a market. You are condoning and contributing to this industry by entering those sites. Sex is one of the most beautiful acts a man and a woman can engage in, but it is constantly being cheapened to a dirty greedy act of evil.
- It is addictive. Like drug abusers, or wow-addicts, you (like me) can become addicted. Read on.
One of the greatest steps in overcoming this was the stage of acceptance. It takes humility to accept to yourself that you are addicted. Fully understanding the power of this habit can be key to recognizing the seriousness of this problem. How would you know if you were addicted? It’s very simple. Do you want to quit, but you haven’t? Then you are addicted. When you want to quit (fully recognise the evil of PMO), but haven’t (not able to), then your mind is stronger than your will. Continual negative reinforcements have physiologically altered our neural, chemical hardware. That is a dangerous place to be.
You are addicted to it. Let that sink in. It’s scary, right? Like somebody else is playing puppets with your body. Let’s not skip over this point, for it is critical in treating your habit with the seriousness it deserves. Too many people will visit this sub, get themselves a counter, then ride out a series of short streaks expecting to one day be magically done with it. It doesn’t work like that. Treat this as an addiction.
Your brain is addicted to porn, and if you pull the plug on that fix it has grown so accustomed to, there is going to be a struggle. Your body and mind will crave that which it has been deprived. Urges will occur often, and all kinds of thoughts will turn sexual, as your brain desperately pleads that you fire up that neural pathway that is being starved. You will experience dreams of sex with women that look like your 2D girlfriends, often more sexualised and aggressive than your old fantasies. Wet dreams may occur, as your brain is so intent on firing up that neural pathway that you ejaculate involuntarily.
Therefore, knowing and accepting your addiction, you are faced with a choice, a dichotomy – will you give in to the addiction or rise above it. I will flesh out these two options a bit more.
- Give in – I call this the slave. Let it ruin you and your relationships. Let it hurt the people around you, even at the expense of those that are overseas, and are so poor that they would sell themselves into this industry and then find themselves enslaved just like you. Let it take over your life, and push you towards a cycle of inaction. This is the easier option. It is also the sadder option. It is the option you would take if you think it’s all a bit too hard.
- Rise above – I call this the warrior. Look your addiction squarely in the eye and say no. You can recover from this. Your relationships can recover from this. You can put on the armor of virtue, and slay the darkness that is inside you. When temptations arise you say “FUCK OFF”. This is the more difficult option. This is the option that leads to success in work, relationships, happiness and health. It will build character, and build a strength within you that comes from overcoming adversity and reaching achievement. It is the manly option, to overcome hardship and triumph with power. It is called the warrior because you are in a fight, and your enemy is your self. You will have to fight this enemy, and slay them.
If you could wave a magic wand right now, and do one or the other, I’m sure you would choose the warrior. Unfortunately, there is no magic wand, there is only yourself. This won’t come easy. It will require massive effort on your behalf. Do what is difficult because it makes you a greater person.
Destroying Urges and Other Attacks
If you have chosen to be a warrior, then you better learn something about the enemy, especially their methods of attack. I talked a little bit about what you may expect when you starve your brain from its fix, but now I want to discuss in greater detail, the main attack method – urges.
Your brain will be sending urges at you, with varied force. Attacks come often at first, but as you begin to hold fast, they lessen, and become less frequent. The attacks will be targeted at areas that are poorly defended, for example the lingering touch of a girl flirting with you has a special physical trigger which can lead to a breakdown of your defence. The attacks will also come at times when you are weakest – end of the week when you are tired, when you are in an area of privacy with your computer, when you are having a bad day, or even when you are feeling lonely and in need of human contact.
REMEMBER THIS: Never let temptation take a hold in your mind.
When temptations/attacks/urges arise, slay them, by ridding them from your mind. Do not entertain them in the slightest. This is serious remember, and your brain is in recovery. You must not ever let a sexual thought take hold. The best defence is a no bullshit attitude. Be uncompromising. Employ whatever techniques you have that work for you to rid these thoughts from your mind, such as push-ups, socialising, walks, prayer, pinching yourself.
The touching and the browsing always begins with a thought. Even months after not fapping, we can still get serious urges that arise seemingly out of nowhere. Do not entertain them just because you are on a decent streak. Some people are not allowed nice things because of their past mistakes. We are in that basket! (Note: if you have a sexual partner, it is good to enjoy them. Aim to connect with them, not just their body.)
Touching yourself – this is another form of attack. This can occur when you’re in bed, bored before sleep, and especially at times when you have to go to the toilet (mornings are the worst). Freeze with your hand, do not touch. Jump out of bed and go toilet if you must, and be careful and treat it seriously if you are fiddling around down there with your hands. And edging is also a no-no – seriously, when was this ever a good idea?
Visual temptations – this is an attack that ties back to the first form of attack (thoughts), and can have varied levels of power. Your response to this attack is to caution on the safe side and avert your gaze. If it is a swimsuit model, avert your gaze. If it is a pretty girl on the street, maybe it is worth averting your gaze. All nsfw material on reddit, even on the non-porn subs, is off-bounds. It is sad that it has come to this, but as I said above, some people aren’t allowed the things that others take for granted, because of the way they are. As an addict, you are prone to have urges triggered from visual cues, even innocent ones. Fortunately, in time, this will subside and you will get a feel for when you must avert your gaze and when you can have a look. It is important to know the difference between appreciation and lust. The former comes from our sexual attraction toward others (healthy), the latter comes from our selfish corruption of our sexual health (unhealthy).
Easy access – If you are battling your hardest and clearing all thoughts from your mind, you don’t have anything to worry about. However, it is completely unhelpful if you still have access to material for your PMO addiction. I’m talking about the videos on your HD, the magazines, the bookmarks, or the erotic texts. The answer is simple. Delete it now, and never think about it again.
As you make progress on this journey, your brain will try to attack through more subtle means. These subtle means are not so easy to spot, because they can be disguised as half-truths. Here are some that I have encountered.
- Masturbation is ok, it’s the porn that’s causing the problem – if your brain tries to convince you of this, it is trying to work with your consciousness on a rational level in order to feed its negative neural pathway. While masturbation itself may be separated from porn, it is still feeding the same pathway that was triggered during your most active PMO years. As addicts, we don’t get to masturbate because of the way we have messed with our body. Resolve to yourself that masturbation is off the table. Ignore this, and you may find yourself backsliding as I did.
- There’s nothing wrong with it/It’s healthy – Nope. Check out the above sections on porn being destructive. Be firm in your belief.
- You need to ejaculate – not true. No proof for this. While it is healthy to ejaculate, we can satisfy this with a physical sexual partner. Work towards that, and don’t be discouraged if it takes some time or you never get there.
- This no-fap is destroying your sexual drive – I have never been on a long enough streak, in which I could conclude that my sexual drive was suffering, so I couldn’t say for sure. What I will say is that every time I relapsed, I relapsed with a similar intensity to my heavy years. This is a negligible fear. When the time does come that you are laying down next to your sexual partner and you’re required to perform (women have huge expectations from their porn watching too), I would rather say I defeated this addiction than not have to worry about performance issues but treating my woman like a fleshlight. Many users here also report performance issues because of their PMO addiction, so that’s another consideration.
- We beat it – No, you probably didn’t. As addicts, we are going to be fighting this a long long time. Men are very sexual beings, and most have powerful sex drives. It is a blessing and a curse. Keep fighting. Keep picking up the sword and slaying the temptations. It does get easier, but it is a long journey.
- Moderation is everything – This is damage control. Know that PMO is bad, and know that moderation is not getting rid of the problem.
- You’ll grow out of it – Nope, false. There are 50 year olds on this sub with this problem, and that’s probably a conservative estimate of the upper limit!
- You won’t want it when you’re married. A lot of men (and women) might go into their first years of marriage thinking they won’t want/need PMO when they have that life partner. But it doesn’t work that way.
As humans, we have our own work to do. Nofap is only part of the plan to a greater version of yourself. A vocation is an important part of any lifestyle change such as this, because it should be the centre of your attention and a framework upon which you can build your purpose. Fapping will distract you from that and make you lose faith in it. Be firm in your vocation, and redirect time spent wasted into improving your career and lifestyle.
This is not a post about lifestyle, it is about quitting a dangerous habit. But I will mention quickly the basics which all should be working towards in this area: What is your self identity (who are you, who do you think you are?)? What is your purpose? What do you value? What are your motivations (why do you do what you do?)? Are you handling the key areas such as health (gym, diet, grooming, living space, mental health), wealth (finances, career, education, future plan), relationships (family, friends, a gregarious disposition, romance), self-love (self-acceptance, confidence, control, power, reading, creating, reflecting, travelling, hobbies) and higher purpose (God, ethical system, sense of integrity, taking pleasure in what you do)?
Start each day with excitement that you are achieving something you care about.
To recap: know how evil porn is, and learn to hate it. Accept your addiction, and treat it with the seriousness it deserves. Avoid thoughts by having a no bullshit attitude, remembering that our privilege to check out women on the street is being temporarily revoked as we reboot our brains. And don’t give in to the rationalisations that your mind comes up with – it’s all a desperate ploy by your porn-soaked brain as it tries to get its fix.
Now I am going to get back on with it, continuing my journey of no-fap, and treating it seriously. Its getting easier and I am grateful for the insights I have read here and on affiliated sites. As a reward I am buying myself a pair of designer jeans for getting to 120 days. We can all do this. God bless.