M3rcury Journal: LFG!

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by M3rcury, Aug 28, 2023.

  1. M3rcury

    M3rcury New Member

    Hello - I am in my early 40's. Started using porn around age 13. I've suffered from psychological ED my entire sexual life, which began age 18. Through my 20's I'd frequently be able to get hard enough to receive oral sex or hand jobs, but as I got into my 30's I lost the ability to have erections with a partner at all.

    I'm a gay man, and my ED is compounded by the fact that gay sex is terrifying to me. I grew up during the AIDS crisis. I was raised to believe that even touching a gay person might give you AIDS. So the fear of HIV is deeply embedded in me and plagues me during sexual encounters. I also do not enjoy or engage in anal sex, perhaps because of these fears, which introduces a whole different dimension of sexual performance anxiety, since this is the preferred sexual activity of many gay men. My point here is that PIED is only one dimension of my ED... there's also health-based fear, and performance-based fear compounding things.

    Because of all this, I've spent most of my life single and very rarely have sexual partners. Any time I am sexually engaged with another person, even with no pressure for anal sex, I'm still unable to get an erection. No matter how mentally aroused I may be.

    On top of my sexual issues, I am recovering alcoholic with several years of sobriety under my belt. So I am familiar with the process of abstaining from my drugs of choice. I know that abstaining from pornography and p-subs will take more than just willpower, but a whole host of tools and spiritual grounding. Luckily I am familiar with those through my sobriety journey.

    I am optimistic about my ability to complete the reboot. A few years ago, I successfully completed a 90-day stretch of no P, a 30 day stretch of no MO. I eventually went back to P because my erection still did not happen on a date with a very attractive guy and I gave up. But now I am realizing that I did not truly reboot. I still allowed myself plenty of MO in the 90 days and lots of fantasizing and hypersexual thought during that time. This time I know that the 90 days must extend beyond P and P-subs, but cover all hypersexual thought and triggers.

    Why now? I recently had 2 risky situations arise that are a direct result of my sexual dysfunction, rooted in my addiction to PMO. I could have (and may have) lost things in those situations that I am not willing to lose. In other words, I've hit bottom.

    Today is Day 1.
    I've spent the weekend researching what this is going to take and I even spoke at length about it with my sponsor from my alcohol recovery program. I know I have to do this and I know why I am doing this.

    On a positive note, even though I haven't even started yet, the last several mornings I have woken up with raging MW. So I guess this a good sign to start? I know there is no physiological issues happening down there, it is purely psychological.
  2. Montesquieu

    Montesquieu Member

    Welcome to the forum, @M3rcury. I think we all benefit from showing up here regularly to read other people’s stories and sharing our own. I’m sure you will too. Best of luck with your recovery!
    M3rcury likes this.
  3. path-forward

    path-forward Well-Known Member

    Welcome @M3rcury. Very sorry for all your struggles. But you’ve come to the right place.

    Read people’s journals and find an approach that works for you. Learn from both successes and failures.

    learn to get back on the horse after any relapses. And to learn from your mistakes. None of us are perfect here. We are all addicts here in various stages of recovery.

    good luck with your recovery.

    never stop fighting!
    Caz and M3rcury like this.
  4. M3rcury

    M3rcury New Member

    Thanks very much for the support! I look forward to taking this journey with you all.
  5. M3rcury

    M3rcury New Member

    Thank you for these great suggestions and support! I hope this community will be a huge part of my recovery.
    path-forward likes this.
  6. mailboxsam

    mailboxsam Active Member

    Welcome M3rcury. I believe that you will bring spiritual strength with you from your fight against alcohol and I hope that it will be a big asset for you. Here’s to you recovering from your bad place.
    M3rcury likes this.
  7. M3rcury

    M3rcury New Member

    Thank you, @mailboxsam , I am hoping the same. I appreciate the encouragement!
  8. Caz

    Caz Active Member

    Welcome. @M3rcury
    Good to see your optimism. You said you had success abstaining before so use that. Don’t worry about the count or number of days just keep going. You got this!
    M3rcury likes this.
  9. DBA

    DBA Active Member

    M3rcury I have sent you a message. You will get a tick in your inbox and will find it there.
    I have suggested someone that you could ask to be your recovery or accountability

    Sometimes guys can't see how to reply to a new conversation. I think you just click on reply
    at the bottom right hand corner. If you can't do that and want to reply to me, just
    open a new conversation with our two names, and a title, ticking the box at the bottom
    to lock it into the two of us.

    I'm long married with a wife, and therefore not a suitable recovery partner myself.
    M3rcury likes this.
  10. M3rcury

    M3rcury New Member

    Thanks, Dick! I was not able to reply privately for some reason. But I appreciate the warm welcome!
  11. M3rcury

    M3rcury New Member

    Yikes… this is tough!! I’m on Day 8. So far it has been successful. I’ve avoided PMO entirely. It’s not really unusual for me to go 3-4 days without PMO, but over a week is extremely rare. So we are entering rough territory.

    I’m waking up with MW most mornings. This is encouraging. Although I never really lost MW, it was always every other time of day I couldn’t get hard.

    I’m doing my best to keep my mind clear of sexual fantasies. I’m avoiding checking out attractive men who I see around town. I’ve done a pretty good job. I’m not succeeding at avoiding looking at them entirely, but I have done good to not stare and not get lost in fantasy or lust over them. But it’s so hard! I’m realizing this practice of avoiding sexual thought is only going to get harder as time passes.

    Am I doing this right? Am I supposed to be avoiding checking out attractive men and avoiding all lustful thoughts?
  12. DBA

    DBA Active Member

    Hi M3rcury,

    Kaamos has opened a private conversation with you.

    If you can't reply, go to your account, conversations, open new conversation, put in M3rcury, Kaamos (with a comma between), give the conversation
    a title, and tick the box at the bottom to make the conversation private to you and him.

    Then under your account, tick the box so that messages come into your email. When you get one, you can then post in your conversation with Kaamos.

    I have a recovery partner and we write to each other every day. You need to do this, going to YBR each day to write to Kaamos.

    If you want to write to me, then open a private conversation with me, putting in M3rcury, DBA in just the same way. But you and Kaamos are
    very similar in age and he was also looking for a recovery partner. And I am already in several conversations.

    Yes, it is difficult, but not nearly as difficult if each day you talk things over with your recovery partner, discussing what does or does not count
    as simply a slip, and what counts as a relapse (PMO). Kaamos has lots of days on his counter and is doing well.

    I don't think, myself, that you have to stop looking at handsome men. Nor do I think you have to stop MO. You are bound to have lustful thoughts
    and shouldn't feel guilty. What you must do is get out of the habit of watching porn and MO while you are doing so. The counter is for PMO.

    Over the difficulty, have a look at the thread I started called Why is it so difficult to beat porn (under Porn Addiction).

    All of us here have different ideas about how to reboot. There is no one way. You need to find your own way, and it will really help you if you
    do this talking to Kaamos every day, discussing anxiety, depression, poor self image, thoughts, psubs (ie in your case pictures of naked or
    near naked men), etc etc.
  13. DBA

    DBA Active Member

    Hi M3rcury,

    I have sent you another private message. You will see it as a tick in your inbox.
  14. Montesquieu

    Montesquieu Member

    Hey M3cury—congrats on getting through 8 days!

    With respect to your question about whether you are doing it right, I agree with DBA that you have to figure out what works for you. Sex addicts anonymous has a helpful three circles approach. The inner circle includes those behaviors that you absolutely mustn’t do (e.g. watch porn, PMO, or whatever that might be for you). The middle circle includes those behaviors that are risky (slippery) but not necessarily off limits entirely. These will typically include behaviors about which you need to be careful because they can easily lead to inner circle behaviors/relapse (fantasy or masturbation might lead to watching porn). For me, masturbation with fantasy is a middle circle behavior, and so is deliberate, lingering fantasy without masturbation. I basically avoid them and don’t make a habit of them (haven’t done either in months) but give myself *some* leeway since I’m a human being. We don’t want to be so strict with ourselves that we set ourselves up for repeated failures. And then the outer circle includes everything else—all of the other activities in life you might enjoy.

    I’d recommend thinking through those things and defining those circles for yourself. I don’t follow the SAA program, but I did find that particular exercise helpful. It’s important to know what you allow and what you don’t, what leads to relapses, etc.

    But one other that I will add is that most of us aren’t just porn addicts; we also suffer from hypersexual disorder. Porn addiction is a manifestation of a broader problem. So at least in my view, it probably isn’t a good idea to just cut out porn. I think that your inclination to try to limit sexual preoccupation is wise. Of course we are going to have sexual thoughts and and are going to find people attractive and occasionally check them out. But I think that your inclination to not allow it to become an ongoing, regular preoccupation is wise. Otherwise, we’re not really dealing with the deeper issue of sexual preoccupation/obsession.

    But I hasten to add that this is just my view based on my own experience and my own research.

    Good continued luck in your journey!
    path-forward and mailboxsam like this.
  15. Caz

    Caz Active Member

    Re “Am I doing this right? ”

    its all subjective. As you said you have extended your streak. Your in uncharted territory so that says progress to me, so YES to answer your question.

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