Moving Forward

PrometheusUnbound

Active Member
No PMO Day 280; no MO Day 11

The other night I Googled [insert celebrity name here] nudes after seeing a video on YT discussing her Onlyfans page. I clicked on the first link. My App blocker stops all 18+ material, and it blocked the link. I clicked on the next two. All stopped. I then clicked on the Images tab. There were some bikini pictures, but no full on adult material. I had my ‘wtf am I doing’ moment then and closed the tab and put my phone down. I had a stomach ache and felt the jolting rush of the chase. When decided to search I half knew what I was doing. But it was through a labyrinth of twisted logic. I won’t go on a 'porn' site; I only want to see this particular thing; I won’t wank.

Celebrity nudes is probably the first thing I ever typed into a search engine as a teenager. I think I felt a little FOMO the other night. I have no problem with the idea of never going on a porn site ever again, but there is a part of me that feels aggrieved that I will never see this hot famous person naked even though so many can at the push of a button. And I’m trying to work out what that feeling is. Do I feel I am entitled to see this person without clothes? Or is it just that I have done this so many times in my life, whenever I heard of a new actress or saw a movie, Id type "[insert name here] nudes" straight into Google, that those neural pathways are still wired that way. When I said I half knew what I was doing, the other half was watching myself make a stupid decision. Just like my fellow addicts in Dopamine Nation, which I am a quarter of the way into. I had a similar feeling a while ago on another YT video where people were discussing another celebrity’s OF page. I didn’t act on it at all, but the thought and feeling of it lingered for a few days. I’m glad this time didn’t lead to a relapse, but the possibility was hovering right there. The thing that saved the situation was the blockers, and also the fact I had committed to a month of no MO. If I was MOing then the decision to step away would have been a lot more difficult.

One common denominator here is YouTube, which I would say is the most unhealthy aspect of my existence right now. I spend far too much time watching utter nonsense on it; and, similar to porn, I try to watch less and cut down, but it doesn’t really work. It is really like I swapped out one addiction for another. When I first stopped using social media for a while, the first thing that happened was YT use shot up. Another factor is probably is stress in my relationship. Now that we are back we have slipped into familiar patterns and habits. The next day I could feel that I still wanted to see the material and MO to it, and I didn't want to be intimate with my partner (I was at work and there was no chance of it anyway, but the feeling was there). It still has a degree of power over me that is quite scary .

Still, I'm pushing on. I'm lucky I didn't see it. And I will continue to be blessed as long as I don't. The only thing I am missing out on is being miserable, not something of value.
 

Blondie

Respected Member
Hey @PrometheusUnbound, first of all congrats on staying clean and yes, sometimes those blocking apps can really save us from our slave-like actions. This feels very similar to me. I too had my first experiences with nudity in a lot of ways with nude actresses etc. so I understand this completely.

Why can't we look at pictures like everyone else?

I've asked myself this many times over the last years, especially this last one. I think eventually, just as I've done with porn, I had to say that it just wasn't an option for me anymore. And yes, I got pissed about that :). All of this stuff is part of the problem, because it's all tied in together, into our habits starting from an young age, and unfortunately, it's hard to do one without the other. Obvious we "could" do one without the other, but at this point, what's really the point of the exercise? I think this time around, I finally have got to the point where I don't really care anymore, although there's moments, where I still feel it's not fair!. I saw a movie last night with a cute girl in it. Back in the day (as in after I quit porn five years ago) I would have Googled her and looked at some pictures, not nudes, but pictures nonetheless. This time around, I don't do that much anymore, I might just look her up on Wikipedia or something, but that's about it. Is that too far in the opposite direction? Probably. But does it work? Yes.

Is it stupid that we can't watch nude scenes like other full grown adults? Yeah, it's really fucking stupid lol. But I've finally come to the conclusion that a relapse would be even worse and even more stupid. We must get it into our heads that we're not "missing out on anything" if we don't see some new hottie's boobs etc. It was funny when we were teenagers looking for hot pictures of Britney Spears (that was one of many for me!:cool:) but eventually, we have to grow up. Maybe I'm going too far the other way, I totally admit that, I might even become less strict as time goes on. But I do know this, that there is nothing better than being free from this nonsense, and if that means never seeing stuff like that again, then so be it.

Just my thoughts brother.
 
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PrometheusUnbound

Active Member
No PMO Day 160; no MO Day 160
It's been a long time since my last post. I've been meaning to check in for a while but have been putting it off too. Things are going relatively well. I didn't look at porn for around 420 days before a few relapses until around 6 or 7 months ago when a period of pushing the boundaries ended in a few relapses over the course of a week. Then a couple of weeks off, then another relapse. It started off relatively vanilla. I was scrolling through Netflix looking for sex scenes like I was a teenager back in the 90s. A couple of relapses in I was heading right back into murky territory, like I hadn't learned anything from my breakdown or the hard work of the year and a half that followed. I was going around in circles. I couldn't believe that I had managed to not wank for 6 months and it was a mystery how I had stayed away from porn for so long.

The way I broke out of the cycle was redefining what a relapse meant for me. My current count of 160 is from the last time I wanked over something I looked at for titillation. It wasn't porn, but it was keeping me trapped in the cycle. I have to be honest with myself about what behaviours lead there. Thirst traps on IG are one for me. Watching Korean dancers on YT shorts. Clicking on the link of 'You wouldn't believe how this celebrity looks at 50 in a bikini' etc. So-and-so has an OF. The main triggers for the relapses where related to my partner's drinking. Part of it was to soothe the stress of some of the fights it was causing, and other parts were revenge. Like if you don't take care of your addiction why should I take care of mine? In the self-loathing of the first big relapse I internally blamed my partner. Thankfully I have worked through that mindset. I am responsible for my actions and mental health and it's my responsibility to myself and my family to look after myself better.

I try to meditate for around 30 minutes per day. This has generally helped me a lot with delaying gratification but also breaking out of the circular thinking I typically get stuck in. I am more mindful of my patterns than before. I get urges to look at porn here and there but I recognise them when they arise and know not to give them the power they crave. Meditation has also help with my patience, especially towards my partner who has just started therapy and is making a concerted effort to quit drinking. Quitting porn hasn't been the fix-all that I once thought it would be but life is certainly better without it. It has led to a burgeoning interest in Buddhism, mindfulness, neuroscience and I'm reading more than I have in years. I still struggle badly with internet addiction (which is partly why I can't really come on this site anymore) which is an ongoing process of adjusting behaviours.

Strangely enough, when I logged on just now I got this backed up aching feeling in my junk that I used to get when I had urges to watch porn. It's like a conditioned response. I don't currently identify as a porn addict, which I have found enormously helpful. For me it's the same as not drinking, not smoking cigarettes, weed, or taking other drugs. I habitually don't do it and I am happy with the idea of never doing them again. I do know that it would be very easy for me to fall back into the habit. The period of relapse showed me that. And for that I am grateful.

Anyways, wishing everybody well on their journey. x
 

PrometheusUnbound

Active Member
It's been about 8 months since my big relapse last July. Since then I have had a few slip ups with MO over IG accounts. A couple of months ago I looked at some nude photography (without MO) which wasn't good for me but I thankfully didn't escalate it further. I haven't MO'd for a couple of months now. I am keeping in mind that it will not solve my urges, but only make them stronger. There is a clear domino effect that happens when I do and life starts to fall apart in the ensuing weeks.

Honestly I have been struggling a lot recently. The guilt and shame of the worst parts of where I ended up have been cropping up daily, hourly, sometimes more, for the past couple of weeks. It started during a conversation with my partner. After watching a show she brought up a topic related to a big scandal in the media local to where we live. It was a stressful conversation for me but I thought ok, I'm ready to open up about some of the darker experiences that I could relate to. For some reason at that moment she switched on the lights of the room as I was starting to speak. It triggered something. I couldn't carry on the conversation. The next day I had what I would guess were 2 panic attacks. Up until around 4 or 5 days ago my obsessive thinking around the guilt and shame reached a fever pitch.

Then a Buddhist podcast I was listening to talked about watering the right seeds in the garden of the mind. I realised I had been watering the shame and watching it grow and grow. The irony of that is that during that time, my urges to MO and look at porn were higher than they had been in a very long time. The more I beat myself up about being a creep and a piece of shit, the more I get the urge to do things that would land me back ther. And that in order to be headed in the right direction I need to let go of the shame and identifying with it (the feeling of guilt can stay - my moral compass had become pretty warped and I never want it to again). How to do that is something I'm working on. Trying to see when I am stuck in negative circles; listing the positive parts of myself I want to focus on; trying to spend less time online etc. It has been helping over the past few days - I am not in the worst of the shame vortex. This morning I was looking at my son thinking how lucky I am and my brain said 'yeah, but you...', so I have a ways to go.

I'm lucky in that I have a supportive partner who has stayed with me when many wouldn't (or couldn't) have. It's a messy process. It's ongoing. It's very current. The damage this addiction has caused to so many. It's terrible. I'm not sure how to fix anything I've broken; but I'm not going back. I'm pretty sure that I need therapy. Getting it in English where I live isn't easy; my worry is that I wouldn't feel able to talk about the darkest aspects of things so I guess a specialist online will be the way to go.

To end on a more positive note, recently I have started volunteering to help in a local garden with my partner, which has been wonderful. There are so many butterflies there and different kinds of flowers and fruits. My son and I walk in it everyday before I drop him off at kindergarten making bets about whether the lotus flower will be open or closed and naming the flowers after people we know. When I'm there I feel present and remember that life can be beautiful.

Best.
 

Percival

Active Member
Our struggle with guilt and shame are almost as big of a problem as the actual temptation and sin itself (I don't mean sin in its religious sense, just the indulging of the temptation). It's proper to feel guilt, of course, but it can become self-defeating: I know I've had moments where I relapse for longer and into worse porn simply because I already feel guilty: might as well make it worth it.

As you say, eventually we have to let go and not let it dominate us, even while admitting that we should feel the shame. One thing that helps me a little is to look for the positive whenever I'm rebounding: maybe I looked for a while at whatever, but not for as long as last time, or it was only lingerie instead of nudes, etc. Not to excuse it, of course, but to acknowledge that failing less is progress, even if it's not quite the goal.
 

PrometheusUnbound

Active Member
Our struggle with guilt and shame are almost as big of a problem as the actual temptation and sin itself (I don't mean sin in its religious sense, just the indulging of the temptation). It's proper to feel guilt, of course, but it can become self-defeating: I know I've had moments where I relapse for longer and into worse porn simply because I already feel guilty: might as well make it worth it.

As you say, eventually we have to let go and not let it dominate us, even while admitting that we should feel the shame. One thing that helps me a little is to look for the positive whenever I'm rebounding: maybe I looked for a while at whatever, but not for as long as last time, or it was only lingerie instead of nudes, etc. Not to excuse it, of course, but to acknowledge that failing less is progress, even if it's not quite the goal.
Thanks for that Percival.

My guilt had become self-defeating and I have been going around in circles. Since yesterday I have being saying the word "circle" to myself to note when I am starting to go into a thought/feeling of shame spiral. When I started it seemed to be every couple of minutes. Today it has started to calm down. It means I don't actually engage with the thought, just am aware how often it crops up and check it at the door.

And yes, it is important to note that failing less is progress; or on the flip side, succeeding more.
 

PrometheusUnbound

Active Member
Yesterday I managed to note my way out of a shame spiral which I am grateful for.

My partner and son are away for a couple of nights at his grandparents due to our conflicting work schedules. Instead of reading, having a bath and getting some needed rest I watched YT until 3am after I finished work at 10pm. I have been doing this around every 2 weeks or so. I ban myself from watching YT and then during one tired night when the routine changes I think fuck it I will just watch one video, or one short, and then BOOM 5 hours have gone and I have messed up my only chance for rest (plus I have mostly watched unmitigated trash during that time). When I tell my partner about things like this she usually answers 'well, it's good to have some emotional rest', but actually I think it's that I don't really know how to handle the change when the apartment is suddenly empty. I think like with porn, junk food, drinking, smoking etc, there is some programming that I haven't been aware of. I don't even think of why I suddenly feel like it's ok to watch YT, or that I only suddenly get the urge to do it when the apartment is empty at night. That my son's night time schedule is the thing anchoring me to a lot of my best habits. It's not that I can let loose when he is gone, it's that my structure falls apart.

In general I would say that I have cut out more than 90% of my ogling behaviour. I do find that I want to fall in love on the metro to work still when I am not being careful. It takes me a second to remember that I don't ogle anymore and look away, and then another second to remind myself that I have a beautiful partner that I love and that I am a dad who is greying and nobody wants that shit. I don't feel aggrieved by the thought I can't look at someone I think is 'hot' anymore - a crazy entitled emotion now I think about it.

I think the one area that I have to work a lot on, and is probably the deepest and most pressing of all my sexual issues, and the one I have done the least work on, is being satisfied with my partner. We use a lot of fantasy talk in our (not-so-regular-but-still-existing) sex life. We both enjoy it but a lot of it revolves around other people. In this way I think it serves a similar function to porn and I don't enjoy sex so much without it. It's like a compulsion. Sometimes I will think it's not suitable/appropriate and not share but I will be thinking about saying it in my head the whole time. I do not spend time fantasing about sex like I used to - and stopping MO has been a great help in that - but there is a part of me that thinks being able to sleep with someone else would fill a vacuum that seems empty; or that having a threesome would somehow spiritially fulfill me and not open up a new bag of issues to contend with. I still hold sex up as the highest form of something - although I'm not sure what anymore. When I started this journey away from porn in earnest, I experimented with just being present with my partner then I fell back into old habits. I think it's time to start working on that again.
 

GBS

Respected Member
I think the one area that I have to work a lot on, and is probably the deepest and most pressing of all my sexual issues, and the one I have done the least work on, is being satisfied with my partner.
Hello again Prommers. I read all yours above. Sadly I don’t have time to say more, but the quoted bit stood out to me. Being satisfied with your partner and no one else I think is tricky but probably essential. The so called Coolidge effect (men hard wired to want and need multiple partners) could mean that satisfaction with One partner must be about more than physical things. Spirituality must play a huge part. You might ejaculate more explosively with a new woman (or in a threesome) but is the explosion the holy grail? I posit not. And us addicts searching for the opposite of what we searched for before is quite the quest. But I think we owe it to ourselves to try…..really hard.

Nice to have you back, pal. Keep writing. Hero.
 

PrometheusUnbound

Active Member
The so called Coolidge effect (men hard wired to want and need multiple partners) could mean that satisfaction with One partner must be about more than physical things. Spirituality must play a huge part. You might ejaculate more explosively with a new woman (or in a threesome) but is the explosion the holy grail? I posit not. And us addicts searching for the opposite of what we searched for before is quite the quest. But I think we owe it to ourselves to try…..really hard.
It's good to be reminded of the Coolidge effect. I think sometimes I am hoping that this will magically disappear one day. But it's something that has to be managed and responded to in a more healthy way. You are right, the explosion is just a moment. I like that - 'explosion' - it kinda takes the sensuality out of it and makes it sound a little more destructive. I think the holy grail is more like feeling comfortable with (the discomfort of) life now and not wanting to try to escape; which indeed is quite the quest.

Cheers for that mate.
 
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PrometheusUnbound

Active Member
No PMO Day 259; no MO Day 65; no SUB Day 55

It's been a busy few days and I haven't been journaling or posted here since my return to the forum. Partly because of tiredness but also because of Netflix (something I have just gotten back under control by starting an inspiring new book: Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet by Thich Nhat Hahn).

I messed up last week and got an answer to a question that had been troubling me for some time but I hadn't quite been facing head on. During intimacies with my partner I said something inappropriate. Without going into what I actually said, it was inappropriate because it was a mixture between something real and something in the realms of fantasy; and also because of the way I said it: it wasn't clear whether it was some kind of confession or just boundary pushing. It left my partner in a very awkward position. Intimacies stopped because it had gotten awkward. The people pleasing part of her went on to accommodate everything I had said at the expense of her own emotions. Later, after some time to process her emotions, she was doubly hurt. One, by my messy disregard for her feelings in the moment; and two, by her own attempt to accommodate when it hurt her to do so and wasn't necessary.

There are two unhealthy behaviours that have been lurking that I need to address. One is my unhealthy use of voicing fantasies during sex. Like MO it's clear that I can't do it moderation (any more?? or never could?). What was something fun and titillating at one point has become something compulsive for me and now has led to hurt. Recently even when we hadn't said anything out loud there had been thoughts screaming to say something, and the reason I hadn't were that there were other thoughts saying 'would that really be ok? I'm not sure'. So to her, we had had something quite pure and for me there had been an internal conflict. The other thing that I hadn't been able to face up to is using sex as a way to be honest about things that I wouldn't be comfortable enough to otherwise, like drugs and alcohol. My partner and I have a pretty open relationship in that we can talk about most things but there was still this aspect to it.

So it's clear to me now that I can't continue with these 2 behaviours. The fantasy part is a relief in some ways as there is a clear line under something that had been troubling me. Doing it in reality is going to be another matter, and I will have to do quite a lot of work on reconditioning this tendency I have. I posted recently that my ogling behaviour had decreased around 90%. I think this may be true but my desire to ogle hasn't. In fact, it seems to have increased and this has been causing a lot of stress. Last night at dinner with my family there was a young lady in my eyeline in a slightly revealing outfit. I wanted to look so badly and was quite relieved when she left. On the bus recently my brain has sometimes been like a pinball machine. I look away but I still notice every woman that I might feasibly find attractive, and that's a lot. I think that fighting it makes it worse sometimes. I have to accept that I have desires, a lot of them. I can't fight that. I just have to keep acting right by myself and my partner (and son). My partner told me she would like me to think of ways to be sweet to her, not just being wild (though that can be fun). This is my project. On the other side, not using sex or drugs to be honest, well that is something I have to suck up. I know the harm it can do.

During a Netflix show there was some nudity. I wanted to MO later; and thought about watching it again. That urge has been there for a few days. In general this period has been the strongest for some time for urges to MO and use things to MO (although not porn exactly). Partly due to tiredness - also to increased scrolling/Netflix watching and less reading and meditating. I am consistently reminding myself of the way that things escalate and fall apart when I MO. Urge surfing is useful too. The entire time I have been writing this I have had urges. So it feels like a time to renew my journey away from porn. I have things to do, more than just stay sober; and now it's clearer what they are.

And so on to the positive. My son continues to grow, be a generally sweet and funny guy. My relationship with my partner is in a pretty good place overall. I am still reading and meditating. I have been working on some art. Got a small payrise at work. I haven't been using porn and MO to escape.

Best.

PS. I recommend the 10 Per Cent Happiness podcast for anyone who needs some self-help inspiration/meditation/self-compassion advice etc.
 

PrometheusUnbound

Active Member
Hi mate. Pointing out the bleeding obvious but the above quoted is great. Life’s not easy, in fact it’s fucking hard. We used to give in. We don’t anymore. Keep battling on.
Cheers for that. Sometimes it's good to put that at the top of the list. It's really easy to miss the bleeding obvious sometimes. Actually most of the time.

Hope you have a great weekend.
 
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PrometheusUnbound

Active Member
No PMO Day 263; no MO Day 69; no SUB Day 59

Things are going ok. I haven't had any porn urges for a few days and MO urges are lower. My partner and I tried intimacies without fantasy on the weekend and I did my best to stay present and not augment it with other things. The urge to was there as I have spent a long time programming it in. I think I did ok and it was nice for both of us, although I have a long way to go before my baseline will be healthy. She has been holding some anger towards me for a while, which is understandable though not fun. I have been doing my best to be understanding.

Early this morning I woke up from a non-sexual dream about an ex-girlfriend with whom I had lived abroad in the past. I found I couldn't get back to sleep and all I could think about was how addicted to porn I had been and how uncomfortable I was in my own skin. As I'm writing this I think it's important for me to remember some of the beautiful times and more positive memories. Especially since I had a breakdown in 2022 and my subsequent journey away from porn, I have viewed my life in terms of being a porn addict and split my story into a before and after but I am realising that it's un-nuanced negative stories about myself that has been a factor in leading me down that path. Now it's important for those around me that I find a little more balance.

“Each of you is perfect the way you are … and you can use a little improvement.” Shunryū Suzuki​

 

PrometheusUnbound

Active Member
No PMO Day 264; no MO Day 70; no SUB Day 60

Fighting with my partner has led to urges to MO and ogle. The lady in the office whom I stopped ogling before is suddenly looking very attractive again and I have stress horniness. But now I can feel that it's from loneliness and old habits. Writing it down here is taking the sting off it a little.
 
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PrometheusUnbound

Active Member
No PMO Day 266; no MO Day 72; no SUB Day 1

A couple of days ago I clicked on an IG thirst trap (some bikini pics) and lingered on it for a minute before I remembered that I was keep track of my use of porn subs. I had started to mindlessly scroll social media again. A couple of days off IG and FB now. Last night I watched YT shorts and mindless shit in bed until around 3am and am feeling the effects today. At some point I clicked on some hot athletes shorts or something like that; not too much but also not in my realm of healthy behaviours - and recently something I have been a little more lax about. The YT binge is something I seem to do around every 7 days after some time off. I feel I'm doing a pretty well on the porn front but still exhibiting the same behaviours when it comes to YouTube and repeating the same patterns. Sometimes I open multiple tabs for videos in the same way. It's escapism. Not wanting to be 'bored' or not wanting to feel uncomfortable or just sit with myself. But I just haven't found the urgency to deal with it that I had to with porn.

POSITIVES:
birdsong and butterflies
danced with my son in the local garden
told him I loved him
finished an art piece
working on some music
thawed a little with partner
 
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