The Journey continues, the Challenge goes on!

Sitting here, fingers poised over the keys, it?s actually quite difficult to know how to start things off. I suppose the best place to start is by saying that this isn?t my first journal that I?ve kept. From maybe late 2011 till 2018 I kept a recovery journal on the website nsupport.net. This site was actually a Christian-led website and although I am not religious, it was the first online community I discovered where I could keep a journal, ask questions, and helps others as well as myself. I didn?t access the site for a prolonged period of time (well into 2018) and when I did look to access it in 2019, as I wanted and needed to update my journal, to my dismay I found that the website was no longer accessible; presumably it had closed down. To say I was disappointed was an understatement. I?d kept a journal for such a long time (I guess maybe 300/400+ entries), and started countless other threads. Every now and again, particularly when I?d had a bad time (porn-wise), or just when I felt like looking back over my journey I would reread my journal and it was quite uplifting. It brought back all the ups and downs, the good times and the bad, the losses and the wins. So to find that npsupport.net was no longer operating, I found it difficult to take. I just hope that the folks who used that site, people I grew to respect and engage in conversations with are all doing well.

As the saying goes, however, life must go on and my old journal no longer exists. This new one is not intended to retrace my entire (almost 10 year) journey. Instead, there?s quite a bit I want to just get out of my head and onto a sheet of paper, as it were, as there are many things that I find difficult to talk about, but writing them down is a type of therapy for me. And there?s quite a lot to write down. As such, this first post may need to be broken down into a few parts. Saying that though, it?s hard to know where to begin, but I suppose a brief(ish) summary might help provide some context.

My porn addiction (?PA?) came to a head back in 2011 when I was with my first girlfriend (and first sexual partner). In short, I had major difficulties getting physically aroused or staying hard, and coincidentally I came across the YBOP website and all became clear. It wasn?t long after finding out and understanding my PA that my relationship with my girlfriend ended; she ended it and the relationship had lasted just four months in total. During these four months, we maybe had sex half a dozen times (maximum) and each time it was over and done with extremely quickly due to me not only suffering from PIED, I also had terrible PE. As such, although we had sex, I couldn?t really claim to have had a sexual relationship with my first girlfriend, nothing anywhere near what you would class a proper one, anyway.

The following years were a challenge from a recovery perspective but after steadily building up longer and longer periods of sobriety (from PMO) I started going months and months without porn. It was maybe a 2-3 year journey overall to get most of the negative effects of porn out of my system and feel like I was well into recovery. As a side note, anyone who claims to be ?cured? after 40 days, 90 days, 6 months (or whatever) are kidding themselves; to make a solid recovery takes a few years at least, not a few weeks or months.

Time passed and I had a number of life changes but it wasn?t until late 2015 before I was, in any way at all, physically intimate (it was barely sex) with someone again. I then had a couple of whirlwind-type dates with another girl but although these both ended up in a bedroom, neither ended in sex. I did, however, get physically aroused when with this girl, which was a huge positive for me (when compared with the experiences with my first girlfriend). Then, in summer 2016 (after almost five years), I finally found myself in my second ever relationship. This is also what I would say was my first proper relationship and first proper sexual relationship. I definitely think I was falling in love with this girlfriend but alas, the relationship ended after 4 months once again; like my first relationship my girlfriend ended things with me.

Once again, we need to jump forward a few years (three, in fact, to summer 2019) before I kissed another girl. It was alcohol-induced and I ended up going back to her place but nothing happened. Over the next few weeks we had a number of further liaisons and things steadily got more physical in the bedroom. The issue was I just didn?t fancy this girl and we had very little in common (aside from us working on the same project). The only reason I maintained this relationship was purely for the physical side of things and that being intimate with someone was better than not being intimate with anyone. It sounds quite bad and quite selfish, and even at the time I didn?t feel happy about it. Quite frankly, the only reason I kept going to this girl?s house was to drink, watch action films and receive oral s*x. The closer we got to having actually sex, however, I began questioning my motives even more. More than anything, I just didn?t want to have sex with her. It?d been around three years since I?d last had sex, and I?d had very little sex overall in my life but still I knew I didn?t want to have sex with this girl. I easily could have done but the only reason for doing it would have been to end the three year period, and to me that did not seem right. I could have prolonged the ?relationship? but I?d be lying if I said that I was still going to this girl?s house for anything other than to receive oral s*x.

Whilst I was meeting this girl, I?d been messaging another girl who I did quite like who lived back in my home town (as I was / am living and working in London). We?d known each other for quite a number of years but had rarely spoken at all. We got talking at a friend?s house warming party but nothing really happened until a few weeks later when I messaged her (something random) and we then began messaging quite regularly. She was a quirky and weird girl but through messaging quite a bit, I slowly became slightly infatuated. Then, after another night out (back in my home with friends), I ended up staying at this girl?s house. I didn?t sleep with her but I enjoyed the physical intimacy. Anyway, we made plans to see each other again in a few weeks? time but fortuitously, we were able to briefly meet up a week before our planned, full-day date; a meet-up that she instigated as she wanted to see me. Well the outcome of this meet-up wasn?t great to say the least. She was still suffering from the after effects of food poisoning from a festival she?d gone to a week previous, so we spent maybe an hour together before I needed to take her back home again. And then when I dropped her back home, she said, ?she?d met someone else at the festival she?d attended, and although she?d probably never see him again she wanted to pursue that person and didn?t want to continue things with me.? Suffice it to say, I felt pretty sh*t after that and it took a hammer blow to my confidence.

Within an extremely short space of time, I?d gone from fooling around with one girl I didn?t fancy and losing a girl I did fancy to being without anyone. I contemplated contacting the girl from work again but I knew I?d be doing it for purely selfish reasons and no matter how much I enjoyed the oral s*x, this did not outweigh all the other aspects; primarily I was bored (and so not happy) when I was with her. Anyway, that?s how summer 2019 ended and from then on, it was (and still is, to an extent) a bit of a rocky road on a personal level, but that can wait until my next entry. Throughout all of the above, and over the previous couple of years, porn hasn?t disappeared from my life. It?s nothing compared to pre-2012 and pre my first girlfriend when I?d be PMO?ing up to four times an evening, every single day. Even so, porn is still with me and although I don?t PMO that much, PM?ing is quite prevalent. I?ll often go a week, maybe two completely clean but it isn?t long before I?m watching porn again. I think there are a number of reasons for this, and not just related to my PA, but these reasons are more complex and further entries are needed as I need to go into a lot more detail for each.

Anyway, that's my first (new) journal entry down, here?s hoping there will be many more to come!
 

ShadeTrenicin

Well-Known Member
Hey happydude619,

Welcome, first of all, and hats of for recognizing that you cannot rid yourself from a PA in half a year. (i know that from experience myself). So you've described quite a rocky road towards the point you are now and although P does not have a major grip on you anymore, you still feel its effects, correct?

I can safely say that the things that you liked about nsupport, you will also find here. This is a great community of guys (and girls) with differenct backgrounds situations but all with one thing in common; porn addiction. On this forum you will not receive any negativity, but only support and understanding.

I hope that this forum will help you towards a P free life once more and that we can also help you in understanding your emotions and the things that drive you towards PMO.


Take care and i hope to read more from you soon!
 
Now that I?ve got my first (New journal) post out of the way I can now crack on with my second. For the most part these initial entries will be just one big brain dump, albeit without too much structure. But maybe the next topic I should tackle (and just see where it takes me) is on the relationship front and on my main friend group.

My five close friends are all in long-term relationships: One married in 2015 and has a child; another married in 2018 and has a child on the way; one got engaged last year; one is living with their partner of what must be c.5 years now; and the final friend, who lives in London (like I do) is also living with his long-term partner. Over the past couple of years, I?ve steadily become more and more frustrated as whenever we do anything as a group, there is almost always the conversation of, ?are we all bringing our partners too??. I do get on with all my friends? partners but when I meet up with my friends, I?m not that interested in their partners coming along because my friends behave differently and I am there to meet with my friends, not their partners. Due to not living nearby most of them I don?t see them very often so when I meet up, I just want to catch-up with them, not their partners.

As an example, during 2019 one of my friends suggested we (partners and all) go on a weekend break, book out a country home (or something) for a few days. The event never did materialise, which is unsurprising as my friends are very unreliable, but I flatly refused as I told them that, and I quote myself, ?I do not want to do couples go camping.? It may have been a little harsh, maybe not, but I?m tired of most of our events including everyone?s partners too. At my friend?s wedding in 2018, everyone there had a partner (in some shape or form). I don?t know whether I?m reading into things too much but I often feel that whenever I get invited to such events and people say ?you can bring a +1 with you?, it?s said awkwardly and because society dictates that you must ask the question; they know I have no one to bring but still feel they need to ask out of politeness.

At the start of this year, my friends had decided that for their joint birthday (mid-summer 2020) they were going to book another weekend away in the countryside and that everyone was welcome. Many of them really wanted me to come and even offered to pay a little towards my room because I?d be the one picking up the entire bill for my room whereas all my friends would be able to split the cost with their partners. I?m sure that it was a sincere gesture but I couldn?t help but think that there was an element of pity about it. Once again, however, I bluntly said that I would not be staying over as I did not want to feel like a spare wheel, be it perceived or not. Due to Covid-19 and the lockdown, this event looks like it has been cancelled anyway.

Another frustration I?ve had during the lockdown period comes from the group chat and a weekly quiz that my friends do. I haven?t partaken in any of these virtual quizzes as I?ve just not wanted to, and one of the reasons for this is, once again, whenever someone asks if we are doing a quiz, another will ask if it?s just the guys of whether partners can play too. I mean, why? And other times, my friends will say they can?t do the quiz because of some partner-related things that?s happened or is happening. Often these were really pathetic reasons and I just thought to myself if you can?t make a slot to chat to your friends for a couple hours once a week, it?s a poor state of affairs. As such, I was never in the best mood to want to join in with the quiz and looking back at our group chat, I haven?t messaged or spoken to any of them since early April. I?m just tired of the unreliability and stupid partner-related excuses for not being available to do stuff.

Another reason that I?ve found the lockdown difficult is that I?ve moved back into my family home, which in itself is not a big issue, but all my friends are living with their partners. I can?t see this situation (me living at home) changing for quite some time and being in a situation where you have minimal human interaction (on the most basic level), knowing that the lack of any sort of intimate contact will continue for another vast chunk of time weighs heavily on my mind. I?ve stopped chatting in the group chat ? it?s close to three months since I chatted with my friends ? as I have far too many frustrations to get off my chest and if I was to speak my mind, people wouldn?t understand and they?d probably take offence to my feelings. The other issue is that with messaging rather than communication face-to-face, things easily get lost in translation. Also, aside from one of my friends it?s been two months since three of the others each messaged me directly asking how I was. Have I asked how they are? Honestly, no I haven?t. However, they are all busy happily chatting in the group chat so on the face of it, they all seem fine.

I have been regularly thinking as to whether the others at all at a different point in their life to where I am and although those differences don?t, on the face of it, mean I can no longer be friends with them, underneath I feel that these differences will only grow. They are my main and only friend group but I have wondered whether it is time to reconsider if my life and theirs have become too different for the friendship to continue.

So where does porn factor into all this, you may rightly ask? Well the total lack of any sort of relationship (or any form of physical intimacy) for what it nearing one year, it all weighs heavy on one?s underlying happiness. And the only place I find solace with a female ?partner? is through porn. I know it?s not really ? my god I?ve known this for a decade now ? and I know it will not fill me with any deep sense of satisfaction (quite the opposite, in fact) but I really struggle to repress my natural urges. I want to be with somebody, I want to be physical and close with them, I want to be with someone I fancy and am sexually attracted to etc. etc. Porn probably ticks a few of these boxes but only in the same way that alcohol helps people feel ?better?. For me, ?something? very quickly becomes better than ?nothing? and sad as it may sound, I just can?t see anything changing for the better or worse until I do find myself in a relationship. Based on my track record however ? a total of just two proper(ish) relationships in my life that add up to a grand total of eight months; once when I was 23 and once when I was 29 ? I have pretty much no expectation that this situation will alter any time soon. Ergo, porn will continue to be my ?go-to? outlet; it?s wrong, it won?t solve anything, it won?t actually make me feel better but for the brief moment I imagine that I am physically (or ?physically?) intimate with another person, it manages to make me feel a little better.

@ShadeTrencin, firstly thanks for your response. It sounds like I have found a good place in which to opening up, vent, share frustrations, and discuss failures and successes! And yes, in answer to your question, P used to engulf my life - reflecting back it was a pretty scary time. It no longer has the grip on me as it once did during the 2000s but the grip still runs quite deep. It really is just a gentle grip nowadays but I know that if I drop my guard, it wouldn't take long before that gentle grip would become a tight clasp.
 
Let?s keep cracking on with these ?brain dump? journal entries?

This entry I want to talk about my living situation, particular in London. I often joke with people that I stumble from one existential crisis to another and although this comment does come with a large dollop of hyperbole, there is an underlying truth to it. And I think a reasonable portion of this feeling comes from what I call ?home?. (N.B. Upon proof-reading this entry, the thing that I seem to reiterate the most is how I ?feel?; interesting?)

Back in 2016 I was on placement in London and from March through to September I was living in a great house share. I liked the area, I liked the house, I liked the living space, I liked my house mates and I liked my room. When I starting going out with my ex, at no point did I ever feel concerned of self-conscious about her coming over to ?my place? to visit / stop over etc. This house definitely felt like my home and when I left London and returned back to my family home in order to complete my degree (which was at a local university) I was gutted about leaving London and it took a long time to accept I had ?moved back? in with my parents. As mentioned in a previous post I have no problems with my family home but it felt a regressive step in a general life-progression perspective.

Fast forward to 2018 and I returned to London with a new job. As a quick note I absolutely love my job and the company that I work for, particularly because of their ethos and the great people that work there. Due to the impact of the coronavirus the company has recently decided that it needs to reduce its workforce so it may be that I am on borrowed time, so to speak. Anyway, I?ll deal with that when the time ultimately arrives. Anyway, back to living in London. When I moved back in September 2018 I essentially lodged with a friend of a friend in this person?s spare bedroom to begin with. The location was really nice, it was actually quiet at night ? something quite rare for London ? and I could open my window at night. However, I didn?t feel like this place was my place because I was living under someone else?s roof. Also, as it was an old town house and I was in the roof, it was quite a damp house. The bathroom did not have a stand-in shower and the boiler and plumbing were very temperamental so I had to crouch in the bath and rush having a wash; it was so tiresome. And that isn?t even mentioning the time there was a mouse in my room or the time the girl, whose flat it was, and her boyfriend fell through my bedroom door in the early hours (whilst drunk) and then slammed the door when they left. Essentially, the place was not home and I never felt totally at ease when there so I was always on edge, to an extent, meaning I was always slightly stressed. Whenever I returned home after work I always hoped that no one would be home, which is a sad thing to want.

After two months I moved out ? I?d sorted some new accommodation ? and I just moved out with almost no notice and I was happy to have left. Well as is the case with room searching in London, you have lots of competition from others and very little time to react to vacancies, let alone secure something, so this new place was a slightly rushed decision. The area was nice, the house was very warm and dry, which was great, and the communal space was more than suitable. The house had three other tenants (all girls) but what was weird, to me anyway, was that everyone sort of kept to themselves. In my 2016 house share we all often hung-out and it was completely natural, so this dynamic in my new house was very odd. I got on fine with the girls but there was no house ?vibe?. Well no longer after moving I began encountering lots and lots of negatives. My bathroom was fine but the shower had some of the worst water pressure I?ve ever known and the only way to remedy this was to switch on an extremely noisy pump-thing. With my bedroom being right next to the bathroom and the walls of the house being paper thin I?d always hear this pump in action whenever my housemate went in the shower, such was the noise. So in the evening around 10pm-ish I?d always be on edge if I was going to sleep and my flatmate was possibly going in the shower. I felt the same apprehension in a morning (5am-ish) because she did varying shift patterns. As such, this was one reason I slept lightly and on edge.

Further house-related issues with sound came from how appalling the internal sound transmission was. My room was on the second floor and from my room I could hear light switches being pressed and fridge doors closing (both on the ground). With this in mind, I?ll now mention the other doors in the house: bedroom doors and the front door. The girls seemed incapable of closing their doors without slamming them and the front door was always slammed too. Oh, I almost forgot, the shower door in the shower room on the first floor had a magnetic closer so this always slammed as well. And because sound transference was shocking I heard absolutely everything and this left me on edge too. The most annoying thing about all this was that within a few hours of living in the house I?d noticed it was noisy so I, therefore, was quiet and extremely considerate. I closed the front carefully, I closed the bathroom door carefully and I closed my bedroom door carefully. In fact the girl on my floor commented that I was like a ghost, such was my noise level. It pissed me off that I could be quiet with almost no effort and everyone else seemed oblivious to being a bit more considerate.

When I initially viewed the house (prior to taking the tenancy), one thing I hadn?t banked upon, which is now on my lessons learnt list, is the proximity of the house to the Tube lines, which ran above ground where I lived. Because of unbelievably bad luck on my front, in the cutting where the lines ran ? maybe <30m from the house ? were a set of points in the track. So whenever Tube trains ran over these points they made an almighty clattering noise. My house faced towards(ish) the lines so when it was quiet outside (i.e. at night time) the noise was so loud. With my windows closed I could not hear the noise but as someone who likes sleeping with a window open, it was so frustrating. Just noise everywhere? To combat excessive internal noise during the night I actually went out and bought myself some earplugs. I?d never worn earplugs in my life and I didn?t really like wearing them but they did reduce noise by maybe 15-20%, which was ok but not that great.

With all of the above, I think you can probably understand why I, once again, never felt truly comfortable or at ease in this house share. It did feel like my house more so that the previous lodging because I had a formal tenancy agreement in place and I wasn?t living with the owner of the house. Still though, it did not feel like ?home?. Anyway, with these feelings already quite strong and me already thinking about moving again ? the tenancy was only for six months and I was just four months in at this time ? I experienced the final straw that motivated me even more to find another place to live. I remember waking up one night to the not-so-quiet noise of heavy and slightly muted grunting, which periodically sped up and slowed down together with a banging on the wall; someone was obviously having sex and by the sounds of it, it sounded like next door. For reference this was in the early hours of the morning on a weekday. Well maybe a week or two later I was woken once more, at a similar time and to a similar noise. This time though I understood it was the girl in the room below me but this time, the noise was dreadful. I likened it to what I imagine the noise male walruses make whilst simultaneously fighting and mating ? this is completely true and not an attempt at humour. This was something that I did not want to hear, let alone be almost involved with such was the noise and vigour in the room below; it was extremely unpleasant. As with all of the above, all this combined noise just stressed me out and left me on edge all the time.

Anyway, I thankfully found another place to live, which was in the same area. Whilst seeing out the final month of my tenancy another new housemate joined, this time a guy, and to say he was strange was putting things lightly. When he came to meet the existing housemates ? a request of the landlord prior to him granting new tenancies ? the guy had a very odd aura about him. The oddest thing was when he was asking questions about the house, which was mostly normal stuff like the cost of a cleaner, kitchen cupboard storage space etc. Just to provide some context, the room he was taking was on the first floor, which had the use of the shower room on that floor; the shower room with the very loud door. On the second floor, my room had a bathroom and I shared this bathroom with the other room / girl on the second floor. Well this guy asked if it was ok if he could use our bathroom because he liked taking a bath. Note that this was the first time he?d met us. It was such an odd request and I didn?t know what to with it. Thankfully, as he was moving in I was virtually moving out so I didn?t need to deal with this oddness for long. And so came to the end my second place of living; I?d been in London eight months and I was just about to move into my third accommodation. And still, in those eight months, I had not been living anywhere that felt at all like a ?home?.

My new accommodation was (and currently remains) a flat share with one other person. I get on well with my flatmate, we?re both very chilled out and the flat is quite big and so is my room. And the shower is brilliant!! Now, onto the downsides? Once again sound transmission is poor, not as bad as the previous house share but still not great. When in my bedroom I can hear floorboards in the living area creaking loudly and the front door frame is slightly broken so you need to yank the door open and closed, which makes a lot of noise. And once again, as was the haste with which I wanted to get out of my previous house share and the rush to take this one, I hadn?t noticed something about this flat. Outside my bedroom window is a flat roof which sits over a post office and on this flat roof is a generator of some sort, maybe 1.5m away from my window. If you open the window and the generator is on, it?s very loud and even with the window closed you can hear and feel a dull rumble. It?s not a consistent or even a gentle rumble, it?s brash and dull and during the night the generator is constantly stopping and starting up again. So once again I have to keep my window closed during the night and I have to wear my earplugs every single night. My first night in the flat I almost cried because I?ve left one noisy house and have moved to somewhere where there?s a horrible noise every single night.

The flat is also quite cold, particularly in winter, and it?s slightly damp so I would often wake up in the night feeling extremely clammy. My sleep was and is never that great in this flat share and as with all others, I never feel totally at ease. Once again, my current flat is generally fine but it does not feel like home. During Christmas 2019 I returned to my family home for two weeks and when I returned to my London flat in the New Year, for a few days I just didn?t want to be there. I?d had two lovely weeks at home, a comfortable bed, quiet nights? sleep, no ear plugs and a window I could open.

All I want from a place to live is somewhere I can open my window at night and somewhere that isn?t acoustically designed to transmit every tiny sound to every part of the house / flat whilst simultaneously amplifying the sound. I just want to know that if I go to bed at 10pm, I won?t hear a ton of sh*t I shouldn?t be hearing.

From September 2018 to March 2020 I would regularly travel back to my family home for a long weekend. To begin with it would be every three weeks but then it became every two weeks and that?s how it has remained. At my family home I feel at home, I feel comfortable, I feel relaxed, and I feel part of a family unit. I sleep well at night, my room feels like my room, and I do whatever I want here because it is home. Being the age that I am (early thirties), however, it does concern me that I still feel most at home at my family home because, and I won?t deny it, I was definitely home sick for long periods of time whilst living in London. My working life was going extremely well, socially I was active too (both at and away from work) and when living away from home I like the person I become; more carefree, a lot more outgoing and I care not how others view me. Essentially my life boiled down to a clash of me loving my job and loving the person I was when I lived independently versus being very unhappy in my living, ?not a home? situation.
I don?t think my living situation in London has helped things on a relationship front either. At no point did I ever think to myself, ?I?d be comfortable bringing a girl back here? because of all the negative things which came with the places I?ve live and am living. I?m not great with relationships at the best of time ? see my first journal entry for proof ? so not feeling like I?d ever want to bring a girl back to where I was living further stifled my willingness to be more engaging with the opposite sex. And this, in itself, has not helped me with regards to eliminating porn out of my life because of the patently obvious reasons.

To close out this extremely long entry, I?ll refer to the very beginning about me joking that I stumble from one existential crisis to another. Reflecting on what I?ve just written, it?s probably a lot closer to the truth than I care to admit.
 
Back in mid-2011, when I was in my early twenties, I started going out with my first proper girlfriend. It was also at this time that my PA was at its peak / worse; I was PMO?ing 2-4 times every evening and weekends were similar but with the PMO spread out over both the days. I had a very mediocre social life with much of this reclusiveness brought on by my PA. I can?t say I was too happy with how my life was panning out either so this also didn?t help. It was against this backdrop that I began the relationship with my girlfriend. Up to that point in my life I had never kissed anyone, let alone done anything else so together with being quite nervous about all the potential ?firsts?, I was also extremely excited to find myself in a relationship with a girl that liked me and wanted to go out with me. She had been in a number of relationships already so was much more experienced that I was, which made me apprehensive because in the back of my mind, I was always a little concerned that I wouldn?t live up to her past relationships; ?live up? being judged against any criteria you wish to choose.

Due to not being in a relationship with anyone until this point, my behaviour was probably comparable to someone in their mid-teens. Whenever I was with my girlfriend I craved the physical contact with her, be it holding hands, lying together on the bed, or mostly just kissing her and caressing her body with my hands. It was all a novelty to me ? being physically intimate ? and there was a general immaturity (i.e. naivety) about my behaviour and actions. At the time though, I was practicing and learning my way around things; learning those physical skills that most people begin experimenting with during their teenage years.

The relationship progressed quite quickly and it wasn?t long before the relationship moved to having sex. I was glad to lose my ?V plates? but as I suspect most people also find, my first time was quite underwhelming. I found it hard to say ?No? to my girlfriend as well and I did think I was having sex too soon in that relationship. The first time, I remember being extremely excited and nervous (for obvious reasons) but as the following weeks passed by it was very noticeable that I found it difficult to get aroused. Even in the most intimate of circumstances I?d struggle to get even slightly hard, let alone fully hard and if, on the very odd occasion I did get hard, I?d suffer terrible PE. At first I put it down to nerves as this was my first sexual relationship. However, I?d still be PMO?ing to porn and it frustrated me that I?d easily get hard in front of my laptop but with my girlfriend it was if I was completely empty inside.

At the end of month three (out of four) of this relationship I was doing some online research and came across the YBOP website and everything became crystal clear as to why I couldn?t get excited with my girlfriend and felt quite distant from her (emotionally and physically once the relationship?s newness had worn off). I spent hours reading articles and watching videos about PIED, rewiring and conditioning of the brain, sensitizing and desensitizing etc. etc.; not that I really need to tell anyone on this site about all this!! It was like some sort of epiphany had befallen me and I was scared, worried, happy and also relieved (and probably many other emotions too).

I therefore entered month four, and unknown to me at that time the final month of this relationship, knowing all about PIED, PA and that it was important to reboot. I never mentioned any of this to my girlfriend and from the point of learning all about PA I actively avoided any form of sexual engagement with her. I knew I needed to give my body and brain a complete rest and reset from all forms of sexual stimulation so whereas previous I would regularly initiate sexual activities, I completely stopped this. More than anything I wanted to be able to perform in the bedroom so stopping sex was designed to be beneficial in the long term for the relationship and for me too. However, for a relationship entering into its fourth month and that already involved sex, me actively holding off with no explanation or obvious reason probably didn?t help things and this was the beginning of the end, really, for the relationship.

After spending the day together, a day during which I could tell there was something wrong, my girlfriend ended things with me. I was gutted and felt numb inside, which was weird because it wasn?t a particularly great relationship. I was sad because I had managed to lose the first person I?d ever gone out with and the first person I?d slept with. I was gutted because my brief foray into the world of sex had ended all too quickly, and I had no opportunity to find out if my PA reboot was working either, which was frustrating to say the least. I remember spending days checking my ex?s Facebook page to see if it mentioned anything about a relationship status update (to see if she?d quickly moved on). Based on a few things that happened I had my suspicions that she was cheating on me anyway and I believe that within two weeks of our relationship ending, she was in a relationship with someone else. I didn?t want to let go of her but common sense eventually prevailed and I finally deleted her phone number, our text messages, our Facebook messages and I blocked her on Facebook too. Only then was I able to properly move on from her.

It wasn?t the best relationship to start my relationship ?career? with because the girl was used to being in a relationship where the other person was with her most of the time. Although I enjoyed the time I spent with her I liked my own space and because I wasn?t spending all my free time with her, she said that she didn?t think I liked her. Clearly she had insecurities but at the time, I was unable to see that and I began changing my behaviour to suit her needs of me being with her more. As I felt pressured into this I can?t say that it add to my happiness, particularly. Overall, the experience gave me my first experience of a relationship, I lost my virginity and I learnt about my PA and all the detrimental things that porn does to one?s body and mind. Aside from this, there aren?t many other positives to take from it. We weren?t that compatible, we had little in common and I don?t think I ever truly fancied her. I believe I only entered into the relationship because it was my first ever opportunity, I was lonely, and it felt wonderful that someone actually liked me. If the situation had come about a few years later (i.e. my PA under control and my life on a far better trajectory) I genuinely believe I would not have entered into a relationship with her.

Why am I talking about a relationship from nine years ago, you may rightly ask? Well at some point in maybe autumn 2019, I had a dream about this girl, with these thoughts very much out of the blue. My thoughts about her remained and I proceeded to unblock her on Facebook just so I could see what she was doing. After nine years, seeing a few pictures of her with other partners elicited no emotional response; my life was going well and she was a distant dot in the tapestry of my life. Weeks and months passed and I gradually found myself thinking about her more and more. I wasn?t really thinking about the days out or nights out we had or anything like that, instead my thoughts were entirely of a sexual nature. Obviously it was all pure fantasy but on a number of occasions I came very close to messaging her. I never thought too deeply about what I would say but over and over I contemplated about how weird (or not) it would be to contact her after such a long time. I think much of the urge was driven mostly by hormones; I?d always maintained an element of regret that I never had a proper sexual relationship with her due to my PA and my mind wondered whether things would be different if we were to go out now.

During the lockdown period, I?ve found it quite challenging because I?ve been so used to living and working in a busy environment (London) so having virtually all forms of social contact removed has certainly affected me. It?s somewhat unsurprising that my thoughts towards past relationships and physical contact intensified during this period and I spent more and more time thinking about my first girlfriend. This was quite strange because I never found myself falling in love with her; we were very different people and not actually that compatible. My second girlfriend was far more my type, I fancied her so much, we got on really well and the sex was good. After the break-up of that relationship though, I knew that that it was absolutely over. It was a pretty low-key break-up but my mind knew there was finality to it. And since the break-up, I have thought little about this girl; possibly because there wasn?t a lot of unfinished business once it had ended. My first relationship, however, seemed to have so many things working against it that it wasn?t a true representation of what that relationship could have been. Again, it?s all likely just to be pure fantasy at work in my mind, not to mention that as time passes nostalgia deepens and morphs, leaving many memories with a rose tint around them.

I continued to contemplate contacting my first girlfriend and the more I thought about it, the more I have rationalised the logic in contacting her. This is against a backdrop of me knowing that it?d be completely the wrong thing to do. Coincidentally, it does seem that lockdown has made many other people think about and actually contact those from past relationships, each with varying levels of success as shown in this BBC News article from July 2020: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-53239520. I know my feelings are driven by an on-going lack of companionship and the element of loneliness brought on by life in general and further exacerbated by the enforced lockdown. It is quite apparent that the lockdown has given me and many others lots of time for personal reflection, which is both a good and a bad thing.

Anyway, more often than is healthy I find myself on Facebook, looking at pictures of my first girlfriend. What I expect to achieve from any of this, I don?t know, but it just makes me reminisce ever more about someone that is but a distant memory. Maybe the sensible thing to do would be to re-block her to prevent me wasting more and more time on a hopeless fantasy. It does make me wonder if this type of fantasy is that much less harmful that a PA; I mean both are examples of essentially fantasy people.

Once again it has been a long journal entry but writing at length about this topic and about a person that is taking up way too much time and energy in my brain has been quite therapeutic. Getting my thoughts into some sort of physical format and then sharing them, even if it is only I that reads them, feels like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders very slightly. Being honest with myself, accepting the notion that my thoughts about getting in contact with my ex or pursuing a new relationship with her are pretty ridiculous, and realising that blocking her might be the best thing right now have been good thoughts to get out of my brain and onto paper, so to speak.

Ultimately, this experience has reminded me of a quote from Bill Bryson in his book, The Lost Continent, in which he returns to America after many years of living abroad and goes on a road trip to many of the places he visited during his childhood, just to see what had changed and if his memories still reflected current reality. He wrote: ?There are things you just can't do in life. You can't beat the phone company, you can't make a waiter see you until he's ready to see you, and you can't go home again.? Although not specifically related to a personal relationship with someone from your past, I think the principle on, ?you can?t go home? is very true indeed. The relationship with my first girlfriend is in the past, it is over and done with. If she was interested in rekindling it, she would have been in contact with me anyway. It is time to close out this period of my life, once and for all.
 

EarthWalker

Active Member
Hi, happydude619.

I can relate to the apartment thing. I can totally relate to not being relaxed in the night. A few years back. I'd rent an apartment. It looked fine on first look. Then I'd move in and it just doesn't feel right. I'd stay there for a few months then move on. I think I changed 3-4 apartments. In ~2-3 year period. Then I was just fed up. I made an apartment in the attic of my parents house. It was unused space with lots of junk. It was "raw" space, no walls etc. I don't like the attic apartment. But it is not bad. I don't appreciate the sloped walls. But it gets the job done a lot better than any rented apartment plus it is in a house.

In a way it comes down to my own self image and my inner values and stuff. I'd very much like to make my own house. Staying in the rented apartments felt like being on enemy territory. This apartment in my parents house. It doesn't feel "mine" but it also doesn't feel like "enemy territory". It is the right space for me at this time, to get my shit together but in the long run, I'd very much like to have my own space.

I imagined that the job market and real estate market to be in a whole lot different shape in my 20s. I'd image I'd buy my own apartment when I hit 30s. Wages stayed practically the same the last 10 years. But the real estate prices are like 4x the price they were 10 years ago. I am not willing to get a 30 year loan. A friend of mine got a 20 year loan for an apartment. I am like. Not gonna happen for me. Why should I give bankers my time and sweat so they can sit on their asses looking at Excel sheets? I don't believe in loans. At least not under the current terms. So in a way. I accepted my situation that I am living in an attic apartment of my parents house.

What I can do is buy some land and put a tent on it. For me a much preferable thing over getting a 20, 30 year loan. So yeah. I found acceptance in my current situation. But I will revisit this at a later date. Right now I need to get my shit together in terms of P and other areas of life.

About your first GF. I can relate as well. I had this massive crush on a girl way back in secondary school. Even in my 30s I'd have dreams of her like 1-2 per year. I think it is normal for your first to have a special place in your life. In my view they key is to try to figure out what does it mean. Where is this coming from. What unconscious aspect of yourself is this about. How is this tangled up in the subconscious. For me I believe that girls is about my subconscious idea of a perfect life/girl. Magical thinking. I think she represents for me all that could be. That kid like potential. As a kid we could become anything....

For you maybe it is about like subconsciously you want to finish what you started together with some self image things. Like I was insufficient in the past, but now I've done the work, I am ready to do this again. A bit like Rocky. Got defeated by X. Train some more. Then fight X again and win. Some sort of satisfaction. But I guess this is coming a bit from the Ego. Like we need to prove something to ourself. Like we were not sufficient in the past but now we are.

At least I am getting this vibe with my relationship with P. I think a lot of us tried to reboot a while back. Now it is time to finish old business. Here we are again. Let's do this. I think with people it doesn't work that way. The relationship is unique and once it is over there is no 2nd try. There is no inserting ourselves back in the past and changing the past in the past with our experience form the present. It sucks. But I guess fact of life. There will be new relationship. I guess new is always better.

and you can't go home again.

I think our true home is inside ourselves and not someplace external. External can only be a temporary home. That is why we can't go back as it expires all the time. In a way this is a good thing. This means we get to experience many homes in the external.

Wish you best of luck on your journey.

EW
 
I think after four opening journal entries that were each very long and were essentially brain-dumps, it is maybe time for one that focuses a little more on porn, my PA, and how my recovery has been recently.

Compared to the depths of my PA (Pre-2012), right now I am extremely far away from being back in that situation. However, if I was to rate how I?ve been doing over that past few months, and maybe the past year in general, I?d rate myself as a four or five out of ten. I?ve not engaged in that much PMO, but it (the PMO) has been closer to what I?d class as being more regular than not. If I was to guess I?d say PMO happens once a month (on average) but more often than not, the PMO is typically preceded by three to five days of build-up; the build-up consisting of ever increasing amounts of PM. There is a definite cycle at work:

If Day 0 is when PMO occurs, then on Day 1 all sexual urges disappear and I feel back in control again. PMO has released the build-up of sexual energy, everything has calmed down and I feel like that PMO was my very last time of PMO?ing. On Day 1 I always have a headache, which I put down to the chemicals sloshing around in my body following PMO?ing. Since I broke the primary PA, I always seem to get a headache the day after PMO, which I?ve come to call a ?Porn Hangover?, because it sort of is. I always sleep terribly on the night of Day 0 and often Day 1?s sleep is affected too.

On Day 2 I still feel in control but sexual urges are typically much stronger now. It requires me to be a lot more proactive in keeping myself calm and not PM?ing. I never PMO in quick succession anymore (thankfully) but the watching of porn can return quite soon after a PMO. More often than not though, I am strong enough to deal with the urges and I can keep myself away from porn. And if I get through Day 2 unscathed, I find that Days 3-6/7 often pass by without incident. I may get the odd sexual urge but this is something that is perfectly normal and it is a genuine sexual urge, not an urge towards wanting to watch porn. Anyway, these urges are often brief and the energy rapidly dissipates. In fact, it?s quite comforting that I get sexual urges because it reminds me that my body is functioning how it should do. This is in stark contrast to when I was up to my eyeballs in my PA; back then I felt almost nothing inside and only by thinking about porn or mostly by PMO?ing was I able to generate any sort of sexual energy or feeling inside. I remember with my first girlfriend, as described in the above journal entry, when we were in the bedroom and I could not get aroused (due to my PA) I would think about porn and particular actresses just to get turned on?

By Day 7 and for the following few days I begin to watch more and more porn, just a little to begin with but the amount does increase as the days go by. Two weeks or so after Day 0 I?m often craving a PMO and I begin trying to justify to myself that I can control things and I can keep my PMO?ing to every two to three weeks. Obviously this is complete nonsense but addictions are built upon the irrational so it makes sense that you begin to rationalise something that is illogical. I usually get very close to PMO?ing but stop myself and I manage to regain control (to an extent) for a few days. After about three weeks I find my sexual energy has increased again and I?m craving anything really, but as my only outlay is porn, the urge to PMO is very strong indeed. Then at some point during Week 4 I give in to PMO. And then the whole cycle starts again.

Obviously, the above timeframes are subject to slight movements but the overall theme and order in which things play out remains the same. Sometimes I?ll have a NE (maybe around the Week 2-3 mark) which obviously calms everything down but when this doesn?t happen, PMO is often inevitable. Regarding how long this cycle has been going on for, I?d say we?re talking many months, if not the last couple of years. However, I feel PMO has been more frequent in 2020 than in 2019, when the above cycle was still present but it never really ended in PMO (like it has been doing in 2020).

How do I break this cycle? I mean I do know what I need to do but there are clearly underlying and more inconspicuous reasons for my on-going consumption of porn. And it?s these less obvious things that I really need to determine, understand and confront. That?s where this journal comes in; I can dump my thoughts and feelings and then reflect and assess them. I can look for patterns and I can keep digging deeper and deeper. Obviously, the PA will never truly disappear and it is not possible to permanently undo any addiction. You can weaken addictions and get them under control but you cannot eradicate them. It took some time for me to understand this but when I came to this realisation (back in 2012 / 2013), I actually felt better because it took away that win / lose mind-set. To use a sporting metaphor, the way I see things is that the best place to keep your PA is in a very boring, uneventful scoreless draw. As you can never win and the ?opponent? will always be present, albeit operating at different strengths, just aim to maintain that scoreless draw. Keep the PA pinned down in its ?own half? and be prepared to respond if it starts noticing your weaknesses. Having an uneventful recovery is important because it?s when things begin to get ?exciting? that you can start falling back into bad habits and you can quickly lose control of the situation. Do celebrate certain milestones and ?victories? but don?t get carried away; just smile and nod to yourself at the positives but don?t get excited as this can breed complacency.

Anyway, the question remains as to why I?ve kind of plateaued recently and why porn has become a regular visitor once again. I think that the combination of my accommodation situation (and associated issues) and the seemingly perpetual void when it comes to relationships have played a significant part. I suppose that another factor is that once I had flushed 90% of the effects of porn out of my system, which took AT LEAST a year of good quality abstinence, my body began behaving how it should have done. Sexual energy seemed natural and I didn?t feel totally dead inside when in any sort of emotional situation. And when I was with my ex (in 2016) I became very excited whenever I was with her and even when we were messaging with extremely flirty messages. I became aroused exactly when I should because the appropriate biological responses were actually happening due to my PA no longer inhibiting them. The irony is now that I have my PA under much more control, during periods of abstinence I?ll get regular pulses of sexual energy (due to my body being almost back to normal) and these urges often drive me back towards porn.

It?s quite hard to repress natural biological responses and feelings, and sadly the only place (or way) I can satiate these feelings is through porn. If I was to be totally honest, when I PM now, I kind of just enjoy watching porn. But I only get pleasure for as long as I am watching it. Unlike a really relationship where your mind can get entranced by your partner even when you?re not with them, porn provides nothing outside of the experience at the time. There?s no long lasting pleasure and when the ?moment? is over my thoughts immediately move onto other things. Porn provides no true gratification and does nothing other than make me feel emotionally empty as well as drive home the loneliness I experience. It?s such an irony, I look at porn to experience being liked (or not rejected) by someone, to feel emotionally connected and to feel some sort of pleasure with the opposite sex but porn really just undermines all of these things.

I suppose my closing thought is that I can?t really see a way out of my personal situation ? struggles with living accommodation that supress my urge to go looking for relationships and the unchanging dynamic of struggling with girls anyway ? which means I never feel like I have additional motivation to improve on my current porn situation. ?So what if I PMO every few weeks?? is my general attitude at the moment. I know porn affects many other things of one?s life aside from relationship-themed areas but it?s the relationship area that I focus on the most. In summary, I just don?t have the inclination to change my current PA status quo right now. It?s not the right attitude to have, I know this and it?s wrong to think like this, but this is just how I feel right now.

@EarthWalker, first thanks for reading my musings and for responding. I?ll properly review in my next journal entry because if I look to reply in this one, it?ll just get lost in all of the above and I don't want that to be the case!
 
Probably the best way to start this entry is to give an update on something I mentioned a couple entries ago. I was discussing how I had become somewhat infatuated with my first girlfriend. This was a relationship that was thoroughly affected by my PA, a relationship that only lasted for four months and which ended almost nine years ago. In that journal entry I mentioned that I ought to re-block her on Facebook as I was regularly wasting a lot of time on there in relation to her. Well after posting that entry I did go and re-block her and almost immediately I felt better and my thoughts or yearnings for her have gone.

Anyway, let?s move on to other pressing things. I?m not sure why but this seems a very difficult entry to write, as if I have a lot to write whilst having nothing to say. I suppose I need to say that I PMO?d on Tuesday (2 days ago); I think it?d been about three(ish) weeks since the previous PMO so my cycle seems frustratingly steadfast. The weird thing was there was very little build-up to it and it was a very anticlimactic affair whereas recently most of my PMOs have all been very calculated. I know exactly what I want to watch (and who?) and I try to make the situation last for as long as I can. The reason for this is because I don?t PMO all that often and in my mind I tell myself that I have to make each one count from a pleasure and experience perspective. If I just rush I feel like I?m wasting a PMO because I won?t get another chance for at least a few weeks. It?s ridiculous, I know, but these are the thoughts that are quite prominent in my mind.

@EarthWalker, again, thanks for your response. I do agree with your comments about self-image but for me, I?d also throw personal development into the mix too. I?m a very different person when living and operating with independence so although now living back at home does give me that feeling of being in a ?home?, I also feel constrained. There?s little opportunity for personal development and I can?t really pursue any sort of relationship, something that is further exacerbated by the Covid-19 situation. I feel like up until the end of 2021 probably can be wrote off, what with social distancing, working from home and the on-going economic recession situation. The silver lining is that being at home, I sleep well and I have access to a garden, and there?s lots of nearby green spaces, parks and walking trails. Like you though, EarthWalker, I do need to get my sh*t together regarding my PA and build-up a significant period of sobriety.

@EarthWalker, regarding my first girlfriend and what my recent thoughts and feelings mean, I suppose it relates to a life view I have (or had). As it wasn?t until my early twenties that I had first had sex, I?d got it into my mind that whomever I eventually had sex with, they would the person I would spend my life with. I thought having multiple sexual partners wasn?t necessary and that only ever having sex with one person would be extremely special. Oh by the way, I am fully aware of the irony of this mentality when compared with porn and my PA in which one has hundreds of partners, albeit virtual ones. I think my feelings (of thinking a lot about my ex) maybe emanate from all this; my first girlfriend was also my first sexual partner and it?s maybe that that I want to go back to. Like some sort of full circle.

As I mentioned, one of the biggest yearnings was to do with sex because (on my front, at least) this relationship was so bad in relation to sex due to my PIED and PE. There?s probably an element of also wanting to make up for nine years of missed sex with her. And all of this, as I also mentioned in the respective journal entry, is completely ridiculous. I don?t think I ever meant all that much to her considering we started dating very soon after she?d ended a long-term relationship and then she moved-on very quickly from me after we broke up. Also, I never really fancied her and the relationship never felt like it was going anywhere. For me it was predominantly underpinned by the newness, excitement and experimentation of a first-time relationship. Hence, why I know my recent feelings are all very ridiculous.

@EarthWalker, I do agree with you that there is an element of self-image and that I do want to have a good stab at making the relationship work because the original was so flawed and destined to fail even before it began. As I mentioned, there was just too much unfinished business with my first girlfriend together with not getting the feeling of true closure. To elaborate a bit more, I remember on our last day together, I knew something was wrong. We?d gone out walking together and although I can?t remember the exact details, things just didn?t feel right with her. At some point I asked her if she was ok (or something like that), she said she was and we carried on walking. The negative aura continued to linger heavily and a bit later on I asked once again if things were ok and she responded in the positive. I felt a bit better at this time and I think the general mood did improve slightly as I remember that the butterflies in my stomach calmed down.

After the walk we then drove to a large pet store, I think, and then we went to the local city?s shopping centre. There was still a tension in the air and as we were leaving to go back to the car, I made some excuse that I?d forgotten something and I went back into the shopping centre to buy a teddy bear gift for her; like some kind of ?I love you? message. Afterwards, we went to a MacDonald?s and by this time I think the mood had taken a downward turn once again, as had the weather. I recall asking my girlfriend if everything was ok, and if it was anything to do with my poor performance in the bedroom. I jokingly said I just need more practice and that I?d been slightly stressed with a health issue (not my PA, by the way) that I?d been working through recently. Due to being worried about where this day might be leading (i.e. a break-up) my stomach felt pretty awful and I hardly ate my meal. I can?t actually remember the exact moment that she said she wanted to end the relationship but I think it might have been after MacDonald?s when we were sitting in the car park. Even though it was a pretty crushing thing to hear, I was actually expecting her to tell me it was over, based on the events of the day.

For some reason we then went for a drive around the local area and after a while I asked where we were going / what we were doing. She said it was in case I had anything to say. I remember saying that things are clearly over, and that she?d made up her mind so there was really nothing for me to say. She finally drove back to my house and I remember feeling like sh*t because I knew this was THE END. Weirdly I had to really force any sort of tears because they just weren?t there and I said to her something like whether she was doing the right thing because she was my first time and to me that was special and was something that should be part of a long-lasting relationship.  Suffice it to say I got almost no response from her and that was basically it. I hugged her, something she didn?t reciprocate, and with extreme reluctance I got out of the car, went into my house and put on as brave a face as possible and didn?t discuss what had just happened. I never did give her the teddy bear. For a while the bear was kept under my bed as I had no idea what to do with it and I didn?t want anyone to see that I had bought a gift for someone who had then broken-up with me. I tried to return it to the stand that I purchased it from but they didn?t refund purchases (or something) so I eventually buried it under a load of clothes in a large bag that was being sent to the local charity shop.

I think we broke-up on a Monday and when I was back at work the next day, I never mentioned what had happened. On the Wednesday or Thursday, I think the realisation began to hit me that the relationship had ended. I remember just going into the toilets and having a quiet cry to myself. It was weird because after doing this ? an event which lasted no more that 1-2 minutes - I felt a lot better. It was if a good chunk of the negative emotions and feelings inside had been released and I could begin the moving-on process. Although this was a notable turning point, the time I struggled most following the break-up was at night in bed. My first girlfriend was the first person I?d ever slept in the same bed with and even though it was often uncomfortable and the sleep quality was poor, I liked just being close to someone in bed. Waking up next to someone in a romantic setting was also another wonderful feeling. And it goes without saying that fooling around in bed was another pleasurable experience. Therefore being alone in bed was a very unpleasant experience for me. Even though my bed was a single bed, it felt both enormous and empty, and it felt wrong that there was only me in the bed. It took quite a while before I was used to sleeping on my own again.

@EarthWalker, in further response to your point about trying to figure out what all this means (re: my feelings towards my first girlfriend) I think that one of the main reasons this particular girl weighed (and weighs) heavy on my mind is that the relationship never moved out of the initial stage. It all remained quite new throughout and for me, it never did really enter into the zone where you feel at ease with the relationship, you trust your partner and things are becoming serious. I never had that chance for it to develop into something that was particularly deep or meaningful. If we?d had a year together (or something like that) I am quite sure that I would have got everything out of the relationship that was possible. And it?s this that I think my brain yearns after, it wants to have a second try, to have a relationship that is not dysfunctional and to have one where a PA isn?t affecting me emotionally or inhibiting me physically.

Well once again I?ve written another entry that isn?t that far off the 2000 word mark. However, getting all these things off my chest is a good thing (I think (?)) so here?s hoping I can start building a reasonable period of sobriety and not keep failing at the three-to-four week mark. And I would promise that my next entry isn?t so wordy but I don?t want to make promises that I can?t possibly keep!
 
I know that in my first journal entry I stated that I did not intend for this new journal of mine to re-tread everything that was in my original, and extremely extensive, journal. However, I think it?s worth detailing events that preceded the discovery of my PA. My journey probably tracks similarly to many other people?s relationship with porn but for my sake I feel it?s beneficial that I review things once more.

Where and when things all began, I?m unsure. I think it must have been around the year 2000, when I was in my early teens, that I first MB?d. Over the following couple of years I did what probably most adolescent boys did back then and regularly looked at things like Page 3 and other ?Lads? magazines. I steadily collected and built up a stash of these types of materials until maybe 2003/4 when our household got its first communal computer together with our first internet connection. It was probably a few months, at least, before I had my first experience of internet porn. And when I did view pornographic material it was just static images (due to the slow internet speeds of the day) but the material was far more explicit than I had ever encountered in magazines and newspapers. I saved all this new digital material and by the time I purchased my own laptop (maybe at some point in 2007), I had quite a large quantity of saved material. Also through the mid-2000s, while I was at secondary school, I think I was MO?ing quite regularly, definitely more days of the week than not. Sometimes it was to porn but for the most part, it was to mental images. This all changed though when I purchased my own laptop.

When I did buy my own laptop, having the ability to access the internet in my own room and in private only encouraged my urge to consume more porn and PMO. At that time, however, internet speeds were still low and most of the material I viewed was static images, albeit still explicit. I don?t think it was too long though before I came across X-rated video material. These videos were mostly only 30 seconds long ? previews of the full length video, in fact ? and due to our internet speed they took a very long time to load. However, now that I had my own laptop and therefore private access to video material I remember my heart did somersaults; I was so excited that I could watch videos! These 30 second clips were also downloadable and once again I began accumulating an ever-growing library of material. Unlike before though, this porn library was heavily weighted towards video material rather than jpeg files. After buying my own laptop I?d regularly PMO, maybe a few times a week in 2007, but this increased over the following year until I must have been PMO?ing every day.

All of these actions and this behaviour ? my large amount of MO?ing during the early and mid-2000s, and the regularly PMO?ing in 2007/08 after I?d purchased my own laptop ? were what transformed a habit into my PA; of this I am quite certain. In 2007/08 my PA was likely quite strong but then something came along that turned a relatively steady, slow moving descent into the depths of a terrible PA into a rapid and accelerating downhill rush. That thing was broadband. No doubt many others experienced a similar thing when broadband came along but if my heart (and brain) did somersaults when I discovered extremely slow-to-load 30 second clips, I don?t know how to describe the feeling I experienced when I watched my very first porn video after getting broadband. It was unbelievable. The excitement, the wonder, the knowledge of the unlimited potential of the videos I could now watch; it was almost indescribable. And this, my friends, was the tipping point. Although I wouldn?t know about chemical drugs, I?d maybe compare my tipping point to those people who smoke cannabis, and then one day are tempted by cocaine or ecstasy. Your body receives a hit from something extremely potent and it likes it. That?s what I got once we got broadband.

From the point of our household getting broadband (at some point in 2008), to the beginning of my first relationship with my first girlfriend (summer 2011), my porn consumption increased almost exponentially. This 3-4 year period saw me PMO?ing every single day, without fail, to a point where it was as normal as eating breakfast or waking up. There were a few moments where I did think to myself, ?I wonder when the last time was that I didn?t [PMO]?? but I brushed off these thoughts as quickly as they came along. By 2010 I?d be PMO?ing twice an evening and then in 2011 consumption increased ever more. It was pretty common for me to be PMO?ing 2-4 times an evening; I just couldn?t get enough. I think by the time I started going out with my girlfriend, I had maybe 30-40 ?actresses? that would be my regular go-to?s for PMO and who I viewed as my favourites. And it goes to show how deep the connections run with some of these actresses because even today, I still have surprisingly strong feelings towards a many number of them.

When I started going out with my first girlfriend I effectively stopped PMO?ing or consuming porn on any level. It wasn?t until I started having bedroom issues with her that I?d go back to the occasional PMO, just to see if I could still get aroused. PMO seemed to work fine so I dusted off my issues and assumed they were down to nervousness. Even then, I did not make the connection between pornography and my (unknown-to-me-at-that-time) PIED and PE. PMO gradually became more common as the relationship progressed and it took until the final few weeks of the relationship before I found the YBOP site and when the whole PA, PIED and PE all became clear and made sense. Immediately I went teetotal, both from PMO and from sex with my girlfriend, and for the first few days of no PMO?ing or O?ing with my girlfriend, I noticed no difference. However, as the first teetotal week went on, I began experiencing all sorts of feelings and emotions and other things too. I?d be happy, then sad, then angry, then confused. There?d be times when I could not focus, as if thoughts in my brain were travelling a million miles an hour in all directions. I?d feel hungry but wouldn?t want to eat anything. I?d feel sick but then feel fine. I?d struggle with sleep, I?d be restless throughout the day, and my body wouldn?t feel like my own. And then there were the headaches; I don?t know what migraines are like but the headaches I experienced were awful. At one point I thought I was losing my mind and I visited my GP in relation to the headaches. Thankfully, after two(ish) weeks of being teetotal all the aforementioned withdrawal symptoms disappeared and I began feeling normal again, which was a relief. Cold turkey for me wasn?t a great experience!!

The main reason I initially went teetotal was because I wanted to be able to have proper sex with my girlfriend, not sex that was majorly affected by PIED and PE. By this time though, the relationship with my girlfriend was beyond salvageable. As well as me holding off on sex, after I?d gone through the initial withdrawal period (as above) I then flat lined and my libido vanished. Shortly after (in mid-September 2011), the relationship ended. And even though I was very down and unhappy about the break-up and wanted desperately to return to that everlasting ?nirvana? of PMO, the YBOP information had scared the absolute sh*t out of me that even following the break-up, I remained strong and continued ahead with my recovery. It was a very rocky time and when I began my recovery journey, I actually charted my progress on a calendar; days without PMO marked green, days with PMO marked red. For four months I spluttered along with periods of sobriety averaging between 5-7 days in a row before PMO occurred again. Obviously this was not amazing but compared to what I was like before ? PMO?ing 2-4 times every day ? these short periods of sobriety were actually incredible. One of the benefits of tracking progress on a calendar was that I slowly began to notice a pattern, which was that most PMO happened on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. My conclusion for this pattern was related to my lack of social life at the time. Aside from a full-time job, my PA had driven me to an almost hermit-like existence and once the working week was done, I had nothing to look forward to at weekends and was basically alone. My only solace during these days of the week came in the form of PMO. I came to dread weekends because I knew I?d almost certainly PMO because the only thing to look forward to was the return to work the following Monday. However, amongst all this negativity I was still remaining far more sober than not and this eventually paid dividends!

After four months of having weekly slips as well as me coming to fear Friday nights and weekends, I finally managed to break the cycle; a moment I remember vividly. It was a Friday night in mid-January 2012 and I just thought to myself, ?I?m not f*cking PMO?ing tonight, I?m just not. This is the night I just turn off my laptop and go to bed early!? And that?s what I did. I was shocked at how simple it all was. After that day I went almost six months before slipping again. Reflecting on those initial four months of weekly slips separated by 4-6 days of sobriety, the short periods of sobriety definitely had a cumulative effect. Slowly but surely they eroded the strength of my PA, gradually weakening it until I was mentally strong enough to say, ?No? to a Friday night PMO. It?s for this reason that I?ve advised many others that some sobriety is better than no sobriety, and that slipping is perfectly natural and one slip simply will not undo all your progress. Acceptance that you are likely to slip takes away that huge burden that if you do slip, you?ve failed; you haven?t! You just need to work out what events led to that slip, what emotions you were feeling in the hours or days previous and then make sure than when these circumstances arise again, you are better placed to deal with them and you don?t resort to PMO.

Since that first six month sober period, my recovery has ebbed and flowed. The first half of 2012 was really good, the second half was maybe an 8 out of 10. 2013 was a mixed bag in that it followed the trend of the second half of 2012; I?d probably rate 2013 as 6.5 out of 10 because I rarely built up regular periods of extended sobriety. 2014 was much better and I went nearly 8 months sober but for whatever reason, the tracking of my progress ends towards the end of August of 2014. Tracking returns in short bursts at the beginning of 2017 and again in 2018 but it?s not since the first few years of my recovery that I?ve properly charted my progress. It?s not majorly important to track your progress all the time, I don?t think, and I believe I stopped tracking because I was otherwise very busy with other things in my life, particularly university and graduate-related employment. Also, I?m not sure how much benefit I received from tracking my progress after the initial 3-4 years of recovery. Now, however, I feel that getting back to marking off the sober days may help me to get beyond this damn 3-4 week cycle!

And there we have it, two decades of my relationship with pornography in 2000 words. As well as my PA changing significantly over this time, so have my feelings towards pornography. Once you?ve decided to quit and you work on recovery, even if you slip and get back into bad habits the relationship with porn just isn?t the same anymore. As with any seismic event within any relationship, your decision to quit alters the dynamic to such an extent that even if you do go back to consuming porn to the same levels as before, it just isn?t the same. You might not be able to put your finger on why things are different but they just are. And it?s this topic I want to write about in my next journal entry.
 
Unfortunately, this journal entry will start with some bad news. I?d gone 11 days sober and then on Sunday night I PMO?d. I hadn?t quite made it to the end of my 2-3 week sober ?cycle? but I could tell a PMO was nearing. As it was, I found myself watching material containing one of the people I was extremely attracted to during my heady porn days. In fact, the actress I was watching is the one I was (and still am, if I am honest) most attracted to; I think without a doubt they would be the one I would class as my ?favourite?. (But more on this later as this topic of attraction is a nice segue into what this journal entry?s topic was originally going to focus on prior to slipping). Getting back to this slip, and to many of my recent slips in fact, one thing I find is that I tend to ?O? very quickly. With this recent slip, I had had one of my regular yearnings, this time for my ?favourite? actress and I was casually watching porn but that was it really, and this is all that was needed to ?O?. Very little physical stimulation took place prior to the ?O?. This is also what happened two weeks ago when I slipped then; I again was watching material of a ?old porn flame? and before I knew it or could control it, I O?d. In a strange kind of way, this might be a good thing to happen as not only does it stop me from PM?ing for significant periods of time, it also shows that I no longer need excessive or extreme levels of material to get excited or get off to. I shouldn?t be P?ing in the first instance, I know, but in times like this I need to find the silver lining to every cloud?

Moving onto what I did want to discuss in this entry, I want to just write about how I think and feel my relationship with porn has changed (or not) during my 20 year journey. Prior to discovering my PA, it?s difficult to remember how I viewed the people I watched in porn. Was it purely lust, was it a deeper level of attraction, was it romantic, or was it none of these? As I have described before, during the initial years of internet pornography I developed a strong affinity to tens of actresses. I remember once attempting to write a list of all the actresses I watched / liked and getting to 40 was uncomfortably easy, and getting to 60 was slightly more challenging, although not by much. I had my regulars ? maybe a group of 15-20 ? that I resorted to the most but really, every one of the actresses on my list received a ?look-in? from time-to-time. The question remains thought is why was it this selection of people and not others? Did my non-porn, natural sexual preference define my porn viewing or was it vice versa? Really, this probably isn?t a question that needs asking or answering but I?m only musing over it out of pure curiosity.

I do think that as time passed and I watched certain actresses more than others, I did develop genuine deep and meaningful feelings towards some of them. This isn?t all that surprising as a sexual release is arguably the most intense biological stimulus there is. So having hundreds of PMOs over certain people was sure to build-up strong feelings of emotional connections to these people. It?s this forged connection that I think can make quitting porn so difficult because your brain has created extremely strong links between these people and the feeling of pleasure, due to the sexual release. You are in a unilateral relationship with these people and unlike in a real relationship, it is you who is 100% in control of the relationship, deciding whether it continues or ends. The porn actress won?t very well end things with you, will she? Ergo it is you that must choose to end the relationship but because the neural connections are so strong, your brain does not want to. Why would you want to end a relationship with someone that has given you so much pleasure? Even if you do decide to end the relationship, a porn relationship is unlike real life where when a real relationship ends, it is likely over because the other person moves on or it was the other person who ended it. A porn relationship is ALWAYS ready and waiting to be returned to. Years could go by and still the actresses will be there and will instantly welcome you back, no questions asked. They don?t do ?refusal?, they don?t tell you they?ve moved on, and they don?t say they?re seeing someone else now. They always respond to your advances in the positive and will immediately pick-up the relationship where you left it.

This is where my major problems lie with porn at the moment. Since the beginning of lockdown and home-working, I have spent virtually all of my time at my family home and only went out for a walk one week ago. I am also on furlough leave (i.e. not working but still employed for the time being) so right now I feel like I have no purpose. I can?t really go anywhere, I have very little to entertain myself with and I have no job to keep my mind busy. I seem to just amble from one pointless activity to another, wander round the house, and continue to achieve nothing. I feel like I am not in control of anything and each day is exactly the same as the previous: pure monotony. I?ve started calling everyday ?Noday? because they are all exactly the same and there is nothing to differentiate any of them anymore. My self-confidence is through the floor right now, my motivation is almost non-existent and I just feel evermore lonely due to a lack of intimate and social contact. And I don?t think I need to mention how my personal growth and development has taken huge steps backwards, and even regressed. I am so frustrated with everything right now that I need to vent my feelings but I have nowhere to vent them or no one to vent them to. Writing in this journal helps a little but it doesn?t compare to having a good scream and shout to someone. I have so many feelings and emotions bubbling just beneath the surface but externally I continue on as if I am fine. Negative thoughts regularly flow through my mind, so much so that I am really able to notice those moments when I?m not thinking negatively. I don?t seem to be able to stabilise or focus on anything and the only thing that seems to provide an element of pleasure and happiness is porn.

Porn feels warm and comfortable, it feels calming, and it makes me feel like I?m intimate with someone. It?s the only thing that seems to provide stability, certainty and purpose to things right now. The irony being that whenever I do PMO, this action only exacerbates all the negative feelings I am experiencing right now; the proverbial vicious cycle. Bringing this entry full circle (sort of), in an earlier journal entry I spoke about how I had become infatuated with my very first girlfriend, someone I have not been in contact with for almost 10 years. I didn?t really come to a conclusive reason as to why I yearned after this person but part of the reason was because I maybe wanted to go back and right certain wrongs, try again with her, see if this time would work out much better. Amongst other things, I missed and craved physical, emotional and sexual intimacy. Right now, I feel the same level of infatuation growing in relation to certain porn people, particularly those ones I viewed as my favourites. Could I go back and try again with them, could I make it work rather than the ?relationship? descending into a terrible PA?

I have no purpose in my life; I need some purpose
I have no control over my destiny right now; I need to regain some control
I have no intimacy in my life; I have no idea where this will come from, if it ever will
 

imsorrynotsorry

Active Member
Hello happydude,

Normally i wouldn't reply to ones journal when not read all the entrys proper, so please excuse me and the lack of my questions.

I can understand but really don't like how you find comfort in PMO. Sure, it helps in short way but it will always turn you away from your goals. You want to be happy? Be it, but PMO don't wants you to be happy, PMO wants to make you happy for like 30 seconds. It's consuming your energy and lifetime, while they exploit people and you feel numb. Is this really something one can talk positive of?

I didn't catch if you self-educated yourself with Gary Wilson, Gabe Deem or Ybop. Have you?

The time when you had your five male friends on your own ended with the first guy considering bringing partners. That's how it is, people change, relationship changes and friendships change aswell. You as a part of this circle of friends can or can not grow in this through those periods. Now it's friends with partners and new borns, that's what it is right now. It's up to you if want to be part of that or not. Sure, i understand you feeling the discomfort, but be sure that all is only a moment in life. In 2 years from now it could be you having a GF and another friend being divorced or whatever.
What i want to say, i don't think that isolating yourself from your friends isn't helping, although the reasons are quite obvious. Face those feelings, grow with them. Not processing them is an error.
 
Hello imsorrynotsorry, I?m in total agreement with you that I also don?t like that I am finding a growing amount of comfort in porn. It concerns me greatly as I know it?s a slippery slope to an ever-increasing usage of porn and it?s a slope I do not want to go down. I know as well as anyone who?s been fighting a PA for a long time that PMO brings only brief moments of pleasure followed by an elongated period of feeling very negative. That?s why whenever I?m in the mindset of wanting to PMO, there?s a voice in my head saying. ?You do know you?ll sleep terrible, you?ll feel crap afterwards, and for three to four days you?ll have lots of negative thoughts?? It?s almost a rhetorical question because by this point, I?ve often already decided that I?m going to PMO. PMO doesn?t make me happy, quite the opposite, in fact, as in the days following a PMO (sometimes up to a week) I feel really unhappy. I drive myself crazy because I know using porn will make me feel sh*t but I carry on regardless. The problem I have right now is that I am unhappy in a general sense, with or without porn, so I seem to rationalise those 30 seconds of PMO pleasure. If the 30 seconds of porn gives me some pleasure rather than absolutely none at all (which is the case right now) what?s the worry about using porn if I feel unhappy anyway? Let me confirm though that I really do want to get rid of porn from my life, just at this point in my life I am finding things very, very difficult and those 30 seconds of pleasure often appear potently alluring?.

Re: Gary Wilson and YBOP, it was the YBOP website that first opened my eyes to PIED and PA. This was way back in 2011 and back then, I actually shared a few emails with Gary. When I look at the website today, it looks very different to in 2011 and back then I must have watched every video that was on there and read every article in every section of the site. It was both an enlightening experience and one that also scared the sh*t out of me upon realising what porn had done to my brain and my body.

Re: my friends, this is my conundrum that I can?t work out whether things have changed to such a degree that my differences to them are too different now. My main problem is that because I don?t see my friends all that often, I just want to see them and talk with them about things; there?s lots of things I would talk to them about that I otherwise would not if their partners were with them. My outlet of getting things off my chest instantly becomes unavailable once partners join a get-together. Take last weekend as an example, one of my friends organised a barbecue at their house for the afternoon / early evening and another organised a garden party so everyone would begin at the barbecue then move on to the garden party. Once again, it?s all friends with their partners and with my self-confidence in tatters right now, I just couldn't face meeting so many people after such a long time of seeing nobody. I?ve not met-up with my friends since early January due to me living and working in London and them not, and I?ve not met anyone outside of my family since early March (which was my work colleagues prior to the lockdown). I?ve not chatted with my friends in our group chat since early April and there was no way in hell that I wanted to 1: Meet-up and put on a brave face as if everything is ok with me because it really isn?t, 2: Get bombarded with questions about whether I?m alright because no one?s heard from me for four months, or 3: Make lots of small talk with people who aren?t my friends as I am just not in that space right now. Feeling extremely lonely right now, I also could not have handled being in the presence of so many happy couples. As such, I did not attend. However, no one seems all that bothered I?ve not responded or said anything for months, or that I didn?t attended the parties last weekend. Only one friend asked me directly to come. You mention that isolating myself isn?t helping but I think that the isolation has already set in and been accepted.

One of the main issues of if I had met-up with everyone is that there?d likely be one comment along the lines of, ?Not heard from you for ages, how are you?? but that would be it and we?d be into normal conversations as if everything were absolutely fine and normal. And right now, everything most definitely is not absolutely fine and normal with me. I?m just so frustrated, bored, angry, stir crazy, anxious, uncertain, reclusive, annoyed, lonely, and many other things besides right now. I really do think if I did start talking to someone about what I?m feeling right now I would explode into a furious tirade. I need some sort of safe environment in which to just talk to one person in confidence.

As a note to conclude on, I?ve achieved 11 clean days now and over the last couple days my mood and mental state have stabilised to an extent where I don?t have cripplingly negative thoughts. I feel more like myself. The only thing I?m noticing is my libido is increasing, as it tends to do when nearing the two-week mark after a PMO. It?s not that my body now begins to crave porn, instead it?s the genuine physical intimacy that I begin to yearn after and it?s not uncommon at this point of a sober period that my thoughts return to past girlfriends or other more casual relationships I?ve had. This is not in a sexual way, more in an intimacy way, like when I used to lie in bed with my last girlfriend. As I?ve spoken about many times before, the combination of a huge lack of confidence, a lifelong issue of managing to attract girls (which I put heavily down to appearance), and the current era of social distancing which brings all the major constraints of meeting people in person, I just cannot see my situation changing for at least one to two years AT BEST! Porn seems to know that I?m struggling and it knows it provides the only avenue of hope, albeit an avenue of false hope, that I can have just a modicum of intimacy in my life. I?m trying extremely hard to stay sober but I think that this current period has been one of the toughest for a very long time. The problem I have is that I cannot see any light at the end of the tunnel, nor can I identify any positive developments. Hence, why maintaining my distance from porn is bloody difficult right now.
 
Just a quick check-in today. I've reached 14 days sober and it must be quite a few months since I've made it this far. I definitely feeling calmer and less like I'm losing my mind, which is good. It'll only be a few weeks now before I find out if I'm to lose my job. I will be gutted if I do lose it but because of working from home for the 6 weeks to the end of April, and then being furloughed ever since it feels like I have one foot out the door already. Anyway, it won't be long now until I know either way.

As a side note, a few days ago I had the urge to unblock my first girlfriend on Facebook - the person I'd only re-blocked a couple weeks prior. This is the girl mentioned in previous journal entries. Whenever I get P urges, my brain often returns to those I've been intimate with in the past. Even though unblocking this person would serve no productive purpose I carried on regardless. To my (un)surprise I found out that she was now going-out with / dating another new person. Prior to my relationship with her (in 2011) she had been in relationships with quite a few people and after we broke-up, she had many, many more relationships with different people. She never spent more than a couple of weeks single in between relationships and I think that, on average, all her relationships were 6-12 months in length. As such, I don't really know why I have had urges and feelings to want to return to this person as she will have been with probably 10-15 other guys since our relationship. Obviously, people can do whatever the hell they want and live their lives how they want but for me, I would struggle to connect with my ex, for the aforementioned reason, if the occasion did ever arise. (Ironically, I also suspect that she's been having WAY more sex than I ever have so in that regard, she's probably a lot happier than I am...). Anyway, I've now re-blocked her.

When I was with her I did get the impression that she was one of those people who couldn't function unless they were in a relationship. One evening, early in our relationship I was at hers and as I had a very early start the next day, I said that I needed to get home. She then began crying saying that I didn't want to be with her. She also complained that I wasn't messaging her all the time, and again she said she didn't think I wanted to be with her. And then one week when her parents and family were on holiday and she was at home, because I didn't want to see her every single day and stop over at hers every single day she again said that she didn't think I wanted to be with her. I know it's ironic that I go on about how lonely I am at times and would sometimes give anything to be with someone whilst simultaneously saying that I felt my first girlfriend had issues when single / on her own. However, I did get the feeling that she had some deep, underlying insecurities that were driving her need to always wanting to be and to being with someone. I suppose the third irony of this entry is that I was actually jealous that she found it so easy to find a new partner whereas my life, except two four month periods, has been spent entirely single.

Anyway, two weeks sober and counting.
 

imsorrynotsorry

Active Member
Man, so sad i just lost connection on my phone and my whole text was deleted.

Anyway, will try to cut it short.

I deeply respect your situation and i'm sorry for being a bit harsh, ok?

I'm not a specialist like a therapist, but you managing your PMO thing is just the perfect start to sort things out. It will contribute to your happiness in the long run, for the rest of your life.
The frustration with all is understandable. I would like to think that acceptance of that is the right thing. You sound quite clear about the situation with your friends and the ex GF. She doesn't seem to be very happy even she had tons of BF. You don't need her for feeling better. All you need to feel better is right now inside of you, waiting to be discovered and unfolded. I recommend watching some videos or podcasts about self-love.

Stay with us, stay clear and process what comes up in your mind.
 

BabySteps

Active Member
Hey Recovery000

Congrats on hitting the 14 days mark without pmo!

About the X girlfriend, my model is simple "I delete her from my Facebook account".

About the friends situation with their partners, it kind of hurts I know. Most of my friends are married as well, I also find myself avoiding to see them. I try to go out more often and socialize, I now have new friends but most of them are like 5 to 7 years younger than me. Still grateful for having them!

We just have to keep going, focusing on the here and now!
 
Hey imsorrynotsorry, I too have been 'burned' by typing loads of text for a journal entry or for a reply and then losing everything when a website times out. You start furiously clicking 'Go Back' but you know that all your hard work and effort has been lost forever. I've taken to writing my entries in Microsoft Word first then pasting them into Reboot Nation, just in case! Thanks for taking interest in my situation though and making the effort to input; it's really appreciated.

Re: you being "harsh", at no point did I get that impression so no need to apologise :) I much prefer when people are straight-to-the-point anyway and everything you said previously was totally correct. As a general update, I'm up to 17 days sober, the longest for quite some time. I do feel more calm and less like my brain and soul want to escape from my body. The only challenge at the moment is my libido is pretty strong, as it tends to be when I get over the two-week sober mark. Porn has also been in my dreams a few times recently and I'll often wake up in the night and in the morning feeling highly 'charged'. I don't mind that my libido is strong though because this always reminds me that my body is back to normal, which compares with when I was in the depths of my PA and my libido was nowhere to be found; I'd PMO'd it to death. And you're right about my ex / first girlfriend in that I don't think she's truly happy and no matter who she finds, she probably never will be. But it's not my problem and I should not spend any more time or effort thinking about her. And don't you worry, I'm definitely staying with the Reboot Nation family, it took me long enough to find this site as a suitable replacement for my previous PA and recovery website so I'm not going anywhere!

And @BabySteps, thanks for the encouragement. I've reblocked my ex and now that I have the knowledge that she's with ANOTHER guy, this very much pours a bucket of ice water over my thoughts of getting back in contact with her after almost 10 years. It was a ridiculous thought to have in the first place but hormones and the legacy of a PA sometimes makes you think and do stupid things. Anyway, I think that mentally, I'm now quickly moving away from thoughts concerning my ex. In relation to my friends, under less strange circumstances (i.e not Covid-19, lockdowns, social distancing etc.) I'd likely just confront them outright and state my feelings, pure and simple. Now that most communication is via a WhatsApp group it's a little different. I don't know, I can just see me unloading (in a big way) all my grievances and people getting offended.
 

imsorrynotsorry

Active Member
That sounds great.
You identitier the strong libido which is a sign that our body and brain is 'working' or 'sorting' things out. Sometimes it's difficult to handle this and ends in a relapse. The brain needs now the time to figure out what is to do with all those overdimensional brain receptors for dopamin. To decrease them you have to let time do the job while you can focus on other nice things.

From my experience those urges decrease but they don't go away completely and therefore you will have to find out how to cope with it in the long run. Nowadays i definitely want to have intimacy with my GF again and i tell her more often that i desire her, even though she's not 'answering my calls' more often. That's maybe an outcome of me PMO over years while she thought that this is the amount of intimacy which a couple has after years.

Keep us updated and continue to identify potential triggers or things that hold you down

Imsor
 
Today will definitely be just a short entry. I've made it past the three week mark for PMO. A few days ago I did have a NE which was during a very intense and porn-themed dream. I had been having quite sexually-orientated dreams for the few days preceding the NE so I wasn't surprised when the NE arrived. The one thing I do notice when comparing a NE to a PMO is that a NE causes very few after effects. Whenever I PMO, I sleep terrible for 2 to 3 days, I have trouble focussing my thoughts and a general sense of negativity comes over me for around 4 to 7 days. With NEs, I experience none of this, or if I do the symptoms are extremely mild.

The main (an ongoing) challenge is my libido, particularly at night in bed. My thoughts often wander and drift to things of a sexual and porn-themed nature, especially when I'm in that state of semi-consciousness just before falling asleep or when I wake in the night.

Anyway, three weeks and counting - let's hope this clean period carries on for a little while longer...
 

imsorrynotsorry

Active Member
It was the same with me. In the beginning of the reboot i had some sex dreams, but they vanished quickly after a week or so. It seems that the brain is processing so much P related and is looking for every possibility to do so. For me it went to normal and stayed that way.
 
I've now reached 25 days sober, but for the previous three nights I've experienced NEs. Whenever I've stopped PMO'ing in the past, NEs have been reasonably common, particularly around the three to four week mark of sobriety. As such, I have no issues with what's happening at the moment; it's purely an observation. Shortly after last night's NE, I remember drifting in and out of consciousness as I struggled to return to sleep and it was during this time that I experienced one of those really hard/strong no-stimulation erections that takes a long time to go away (sometimes 5+ minutes). Again, I don't mind this as I think this shows that my sexual health (mentally and physically/ biologically) is probably returning to a more natural level. In fact, I often wished that I could achieve this type of really strong erection when I was with my last girlfriend and my first girlfriend...

(It seems like the above nighttime erections are a result of other hormones at work in your body that are there to help you sleep, and that night time erections are deemed healthy and natural - I just did a quick bit of research to check out this information, by the way).

My libido has calmed down slightly (during waking hours) but I suspect this is a knock-on effect of the NEs I seem to be having. Although I mentioned in a previous journal entry that NEs have a much reduced effect on me (brain fog, poor sleep, headaches, negative thoughts etc.) than a PMO does, I did have a headache two days ago when I woke and needed to take paracetamol to get rid of it. And yesterday, my emotions and feelings were slightly more negative than they had been over the last week or so. Both of these I put down to the after-effects of the NE. Today I feel fine so I think after three nights of NEs, the impact of them has now reduced.

Anyway, there's not much more to report. Everything is generally status quo. @imsorrynotsorry, I'll keep a track on if / when these porn-themed dreams disappear. Frankly, I don't think my dreams will ever be totally free from porn material. My PA was so strong (by the time I finally discovered that I had a PA) that I don't believe my brain will ever permanently disassociate porn from sexual thoughts or sexual material, be it in real life or during sexual dreams at night. This isn't a huge issue for me - eliminating active and conscious porn usage is the primary goal - but I just need to ensure that any porn material that leeches into my dreams doesn't then start me back down the road of actively consuming porn.
 
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