Quitting just P, or M too?

Discussion in 'Rebooting - Porn Addiction Recovery' started by penitent, Apr 11, 2021.

  1. penitent

    penitent Fapstronaut

    I'm just getting started, but what exactly should I do? I'm not considering quitting O because it would put a huge damper on the sex life I have with my gf.

    I've been off P for a couple weeks now, which is nothing I haven't done before. I define P pretty broadly... any sexual content that I dwell on (including social media pics, etc). But I guess I'm debating whether I should quit M for a while, too.

    My goal, at least right now, is just to not want porn anymore, and not think about it as much as I do. I don't want not watching porn to be a fight forever.

    So, should I quit M too?

    My reservations:
    • I don't think my masturbation habits, in and of themselves, are unhealthy or unnatural. I think they become unhealthy and unnatural when combined with P
    • It also essentially means that my gf is totally in control of when I have orgasms. There's nothing I'd change about our sex life, and it is extremely rare for her to turn down sex, but something about not having control over my own body bothers me
    • I don't want to add unnecessary difficulty to something, especially when I don't see how it specifically helps me meet my goals
    But I'm not dead-set against it. Based on your knowledge/experience, and what my goals are, do you think quitting M would be helpful? If so, why?
    kropo82 likes this.
  2. RiverBlue

    RiverBlue Fapstronaut

    This is something you've got to work out for yourself, although you'll probably get a lot of posts telling you have to do something one specific way.

    The concern with M by itself is that, generally, you'll be imagining or fantasizing about something while you're doing it. For some guys, that a trigger and a first step back to porn.

    For others, it may be a replacement for porn. Rather than triggering a desire to view porn, it takes away the physical urge.

    You probably just need to experiment and see what happens.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2021
    skaterdrew likes this.
  3. m1nd0v3rm4tt3r

    m1nd0v3rm4tt3r Fapstronaut

    Just my 2 cents from personal experience but absolutely I think quitting M was key to my rebooting process. I started on this journey years ago but kept relapsing and I think a big part of that is I cut out P but never M. Im not trying to say there is only 1 way to do this but I have read many similar stories about how M makes reboot from P either take way longer or fail entirely. I also didnt think my M itself was unhealthy or unnatural (I only did it like once a day)..but I used to think my P use wasnt unhealthy or unnatural either. Unfortunately I think the problem is that in this day and age M and P cannot be separated. Like most guys my whole life starting from a young age I basically never did M without some kind of P so the two become inevitably connected. M/O without P actually took serious effort and honestly never felt as good. The first times I tried to reboot even though I wasnt technically using P during M I would still fantasize/picture women in my head. Obviously that isnt the same kind of "visual stimulus" that P is, but it reinforced those same exact pathways in my brain. I even tried to not think about P and just about random women. I think that even just letting myself fantasize about these women led to more cravings and urges which made it harder to resist even thoughts of P and eventually caused relapse to using P. After a while I started to think about scenes and images from P bc my brain got "bored" and before u know it ur back to using P itself. I didnt think this would happen but it did everytime even when I was on a great streak. I think it also kept training my brain to constantly see women as sexual (aka picturing everyone naked) and again that made my urges more frequent even just while trying to do day to day things in public. Not that there is anything wrong with liking women we are human after all, but I think there is a time and place. Being attracted to a woman u see or having a passing sexual thought about her is way different than actively lingering on those thoughts and using them to M later. Honestly instead of navigating all the grey areas and trying to control what exactly was in my head while I did M it was much simpler and more effective to just cut M out completely. It was rly tough but in a way the black/white structure made it easier.

    Part of what made it hard is I used to see M as a normal way of self care and thought it was something I just "had to do" so I didnt want to give that up. But tbh I think in reality it was a lot of the time a coping mechanism and there are way healthier things to do that actually benefit my life and make me feel much better afterward (like go to the gym). Basically instead of replacing P/M/O with M/O, replace it with something totally different. For example I started doing pushups instead of M in the morning and got some nice biceps from it lol. Plus it personally makes me feel rly good just to know that I have the control and willpower over my body to not "need" M/O. I used to think I couldnt get to sleep without it but now I can. I also like being able to wake up in the morning take a quick shower and just start my day.

    Since u said u have a gf something else to mention is a big reason I wanted to quit P was to feel closer with my wife, and I think continuing my M and thinking about woman other than her was still negatively effecting that intimacy even without technically using P. My P use was also leading to some PIED and with me still doing M that wasn't rly going away, I think bc I was still using fantasy to get off and simply bc touching myself made me less sensitive. Dont get me wrong I am very attracted to my wife and love having sex with her but watching P for so many years gets u so used to novelty and fantasy that even without it I would harldy ever think about her during M. Basically u develop sexual ADHD. Yes sometimes the mind wanders but I think it is a healthy goal for ur real life partner to be ur main source of O. I dont think u should look at it like something she "controls" but rather think of it as something that is special shared between u two. M and P make getting O so easy for that cheap dopamine hit but honestly it felt good to have O with just my wife and it started to feel much more satisfying that way. It sounds rly cheesy but O became less about just physical release and more about connection and true satisfaction. And stopping M made sensation during sex more intense (though that part took quite a while to change just fyi)

    I wont lie stopping M was rly hard and it took a while to feel like it was actually working, definitely more than just the 90 day challenge NoFap talks about. But Im now 1 year P and M free and it gets way easier. I can confidently say it has changed my life for the better and I think Im a better man bc of it. Sure I still have urges and times when I rly want to, I think that is natural but now I am able to just move on and do something else (with a bonus that the next time with my wife is that much more exciting lol.) Maybe someday I will bring M back into my life (never ever P) but tbh I just dont feel like I rly need it anymore. It took a while to get there and I didnt think it was ever possible but here I am and it feels freeing. I would just try it and rly stick to it and see how u feel. I think especially since u have a gf it will be easier since u can still have O with her and just put all ur sexual energy into that. Sry for the rly long reply I just remember having the same struggle and questions so I was hoping to be helpful, if u want to talk about it anymore feel free to message me. Either way I think its great ur on this journey, good luck man wish u all the best
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2021
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  4. metobefree

    metobefree Fapstronaut

    Why not simply try it?
    You won't loose anything if you cease masturbation for a certain timespan and it might be a great experience.
    kropo82 and CarP like this.
  5. pump20

    pump20 Fapstronaut

    You might as well quit all of that because it helps the recovery in a long run.
  6. Liminal

    Liminal Fapstronaut

    You are subcounsciously trying to justify relapsing, and thinking about this will eventually get you to relapse. You'll justify yourself with "I won't look at P, I'll just M", and guess what, two days later you'll be back looking at P and M'ing to the same shit you used before. I've been there, this pondering is the main cause of my realpses. Nasty thing, don't let it get to you, just go hardmode, no PMO and completely exclude the possibility of fapping, none of that. Of course you can have healthy sex with a person you love if you want, that's the whole point. But in the end it's your decision and you're the one who'll have the final word on this and will determine if you either succeed through this or fall back into it, which even if it happens, you can get back up from, but it'll make you feel really bad and might further discourage you. Good luck, stay strong!
  7. frere

    frere Fapstronaut

    Imo it's not that black and white as it seems. I think you have really strong arguments for not quitting M but only P.
    But i believe that quitting both P&M will make the beginning of this journey easier, because, just as m1nd0v3rm4tt3r said very often those two are subconsciously connected. Which could result in you eventually using thinking about P while M and then use it.

    Again, i dont think it has to be black or white and now feeling pressured to neverever M again will lower your motivation! So why not give it a shot to not M, maybe it will help recover more easily.
    db001 and metobefree like this.
  8. kropo82

    kropo82 Fapstronaut

    @penitent I faced the same dilema, for similar reasons to you. In the end I decided to try quitting masturbation too and the result was a revelation. Like you I do not think masturbation is wrong, on the contary I think it is healthy. But masturbating kept draging me back to porn, and suprisingly giving up masturbation made it easier to give up porn. I have come up with two analogies as to why that might be:
    1. The castle analogy (here)
    2. The gin and tonic analogy (here)
    I don't know if they'll help you answer your question, they have me.

    I also agree with @metobefree: this site is experimental, what works for me may work for you and may not. Try it and see.

    Good luck.
    frere and metobefree like this.
  9. m1nd0v3rm4tt3r

    m1nd0v3rm4tt3r Fapstronaut

    I do have to say, for me the eventual benefits of no M went way past just reducing temptation for P aka even if I am able to resist P while still doing M (which it sounds like what @penitent had been doing previously) I think quitting M had extra bonuses that make it worth stopping too especially with my marriage. But everyone has their own journey ! We are here to support u
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2021
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  10. capablex100

    capablex100 Fapstronaut

    Welcome to the site @penitent! I'm with @m1nd0v3rm4tt3r on this one. I was actually doing just fine avoiding P even while continuing M but quitting M too was a game changer. I did it initially as an experimental personal challenge but have stuck with it since. To qualify, I'm also in a relationship, so to be fair I can't say how it would be if I were single/not having sex regularly. But IMO even beyond reducing cravings for P it confers a lot of other romantic and personal benefits. Took me a while to really buy into that but it just takes time.
    db001 likes this.

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