BacktoLifeBacktoReality Ok, here we go. 50 years old, living in Australia. Married for 22 years. Been looking at these journals for last few weeks and a lot has resonated with me. My brief history. Dad died when I was 5 and raised with my sister by my Mum since then. My older sister who was very pretty and as she went through puberty many of my friends and their older brothers (probably their Dads too) were always commenting on her to me. This always aroused a strange mix of resentment and protectiveness towards my sister in me. We didn’t really get on as young children but as adults we have become a lot closer. I remember being about 10 or 11 and finding my Mum’s boyfriends Penthouse and at similar age my friends older brother showed us some hardcore mags e.g. Color Climax. It was shocking, hard for my brain to process, scary but exciting. I was a quiet, bookish kid who although I had friends was happy with my own company. It was the same in early high school. I was definitely interested in girls and would worm my way in to their affections by being a good listener but I was strictly in the friendzone. I started having wet dreams about age 13/14 and then discovered masturbation and then PMO with the beautiful ladies of early 80s Penthouse. My Mum also bought me “Where did I come from” a kid friendly sex-ed book some of you may remember. That helped a lot but also made me want to start making love as soon as I could find a willing partner. I lived in a rougher suburb than my high school friends and I had local friends from that suburb that I used to hang with after school and weekends. We started to play all kinds of sports together which is something I didn’t really do at high school. In the 2nd year of high school, I made more friends and they asked why I never played sports (I was teased for my cheap gear). So, I started playing and turns out all that stealth practice against the rougher guys made me a natural. Suddenly the book nerd was playing with the jocks and doing ok. This led to more interest from girls and I was loving it. I had a few girlfriends and was diving in to kissing and heavy petting; good times! I was so horny to begin fucking that I was driving those girlfriends crazy who were trying to maintain their virginity. I cringe at the thought of how unskilled and ungentle my hands were back then. In short I was one horny little bastard. Age 15 anew girlfriend who had already had sex displayed an interest and one baking hot day after school she came around and we just started doing it, I still remember her so clearly and the experience was great, once started we didn’t stop for about 3 months straight: very good times. After that I had long term girlfriends and my sex life was pretty normal for a young healthy guy. I was routinely unfaithful whenever an opportunity rose, I just couldn’t help myself when a new girl displayed interest. I also used to jerk off regularly as well, although not usually with porn. I got married to my wife at age 27 and we had a good if unspectacular love life. From our early fireworks she gradually seemed to get more prudish. Not to any great level but compared to the early days it was a slow decline. So slowly masturbation and porn usage crept back into my life. This coincided with the rise of the internet and smart phones. We had put off having children while she was trying to be a professional theatre maker. Relationship wise we had a few wobbles especially around the 7 year mark. I was tempted by some work flings I did not cheat. I had discovered massage parlours particularly Thai or Chinese ones and a good massage with a sensual ending was a revelation. Fast forward to 2010 and there I am age 40, I was the breadwinner, we were living in the UK and life was pretty good. Both sides of our family and friends constantly asking when the babies are going to come. So, we decided to try and have a baby. Having watched friends really struggle we were prepared for disappointment and the prospect of IVF. Doctors confirmed sperm count was good so off we went. Bam! Pregnant in a week! Cue the happiness and shock, very happy and people were so happy for us it was just great. We were trying not to tell anyone until the magic 3month scan but was too exciting news not too share. Then came that scan and they detected abnormalities, a second scan confirmed our son would have been born with severe developmental issues (Downs syndrome with a high chance of death in utero). We agonized over the decision and my wife’s best friend who had a Downs baby boy was completely honest with us about the impact it had on her life. In the end we decided to abort. It was a hugely painful decision that still causes grief to this day. We went through some time of mourning and were encouraged by family, friends and the doctors to try again. About 6 months later we felt ready to give it another try. We were feeling sad but hopeful. One day at work my wife was calling me but I was in a meeting. After the 3rd call I excused myself and rang her, forgot she had been for a routine breast exam. Lump, fuck, doctors did urgent scan; Cancer! The same cancer which killed one of her older sisters 10 years previously. Panic stations, luckily, I had a good job, with private health cover. Wife had to start treatment as soon as possible. We were advised to do a course of IVF in order to get some embryos stored in case treatment caused any complications. So in 1 week we did that and then went to clinic to get embryos sorted, result was 3 viable. Then the merry-go-round of cancer treatment began. I know I am not the Lone Ranger where this is concerned. Treatment was really god quality which made the whole experience more bearable but it really does make you evaluate your life and we decided to move back to Australia. Settling back in but still having regular check-ups it was found that my wife was also developing ovarian cancer so she eventually had to have a complete hysterectomy. As well as removing her ability to conceive or carry a baby it also brought on early onset menopause. Previously I had thought of menopause being a bit of a joke but it has had a devastating impact on our love life. The constant hot flushes and associated flashes of anger are bewildering and concerning. Added to this the medication my wife has been on has also made her put on a lot of weight. All in all our recent experiences have not been conducive to romance to put it mildly. I still love my wife and I admire her for her strength in getting through all of this to get back to some normal life and in fact flourish in terms of her career. However our relationship is somewhat broken and the physical intimacy side beyond hugging and kissing is just too difficult so we tend to shy away from it. Due to my wifes weight gain she started developing sleep apnoea and I have taken to sleeping in the spare room as I am a light sleeper and the snoring was driving me crazy. All through these last few years I have self-soothed myself and my sexual feelings through PMO or when I had money I would go get a massage usually at an AMP. Gradually both these activities increased in frequency and duration. The last few years especially have escalated even though outwardly life was going well. We had moved to Australia and my wife had found a dream job so we went for it and moved to a city neither of us had ever lived in. I got a decent low stress job which has been very enjoyable and we bought our first house. But still PMO or happy ending massage for my sexual outlet and an overall drift into depression and aimlessness like life is just going through the motions. Only making work type friends with very few connections of any substance has left me feeling alone and dark. My old friends are all very settled in their lives and cities. Most of them have their own families so I just feel awkward when we do catch up. PMO got really bad a couple of years ago and I started noticing I was getting EDas well. Erections wouldn’t come automatically and were not the steel bar they had been previously. As others have experienced my danger times were when I had spare time or my wife was out/away. Then I would go on a PMO binge chasing the perfect clip. Hours would vanish and then the shame and self-disgust would crash down on my head. I would swear to never do it again until I…did it again. And again. Yadayada you know the drill. 2 years ago I had a hip arthroscopy to clean up what had become a painful old condition. The recovery was great at first then complicated as I experienced knock on effects. My Covid year was pretty good considering because I had changed jobs to a low stress, nice organisation while still maintaining my earnings. But as the year went on and I approached the milestone of 50 the depression started to kick in. My Mum's cancer came back and she lives in another city so my sister and I try to tag team to see her. Her condition is terminal so we are just trying to get her all the proper care in place but it sucks to see such a strong woman laid low. So far 2021 has been good for PMO, I started off making a resolution to stop this shit and so far so good with a couple of big caveats. I have been seeing a couple of women for massage, a Chinese and a Thai lady. Both are married and over the last 6 months relationships with both have developed and then petered out because the next steps were full affairs and neither of us has the time or the inclination to really commit to it. Because of the secretive nature of our meetings they are very passionate. I have been very anxious about making love with either of them. I finally did it with the Chinese lady (I'll call her Lin) and it was very awkward at first with ED so I just concentrated on her pleasure. It was great just to express my sensual side with another person after so long. She was a little bit stunned and embarrassed because I made her lose control and yet my dick would not stay hard. Since then we did it a few more times and the last time was fantastic. After thar time we had a great talk about how realistic it was to continue and progress. We didn't want to hurt our partners and both agreed we had juat had a perfect moment. We had fantasies of running off together and indulged them for a while but then reality kicked in. We have cooled things down for the moment. I feel it has equally helped and hindered my recovery. I really needed to feel that passion again as I have been feeling generally flat. Reading about people's flatline experience on this forum has resonated strongly with me. I believe I am in that zone and I half want to go full hard mode and swear off any stimulation including seeing these women and half wanting to see them but stay off porn, stimuli in general. I have had a couple of relapses in the last couple of weeks where I desperately wanted to confirm I could still get a full erection so I went to erotic stories site and MO'd. I then found myself a few days later in a youtube rabbit hole looking for sex scenes in martial arts movies. I have been good at staying off my usual porn sites and image searches but clearly I still have a long way to go. So, sorry for the long winded confessional post. I am setting my counter from today and will aim for 90 days to try and reset my brain. This will mean no vids, pics or stories and talking to the 2 women concerned to let them know that I am going to spend time working on myself. This may mean giving up massage for a while which will probably save me some money as well. I want to do this for me, to break the cycle and to get my sense of self back.