Sexual fantasizing is a form of Pornography. Sexual fantasizing is the root, porn is the crown.

Discussion in 'Problematic Sexual Behavior' started by ultrafabber, Oct 31, 2018.

  1. ultrafabber

    ultrafabber Fapstronaut

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    I often see this disconnect on nofap - people agree pornography is bad but somehow think sexual fantasizing/masturbation is not bad and/or even healthy if done in "moderation".

    If you consider porn to be unhealthy in any quantity (which is correct), you should hold the same view for sexual fantasizing/masturbation.

    Pornography is just a catalyst to your sexual fantasizing. It helps you disconnect more efficiently and effectively from real life and live in a parallel world. It just helps you "reach your goal" faster and easier. Nudie mags act the same way, so does Instagram, erotic books or sexual audio files. Porn just so happens to be the most potent catalyst of your sexual fantasizing, that's why it's easier to notice the damage.

    Porn is like a freight train hitting you instead of a car or a motorbike hitting you. But you still get hit.

    Sexual fantasizing is the foundation on which porn, nude mags, erotica get a grip.

    Even though sexual fantasizing is considered normal, it's not. It's just a by-product of a sex-obsessed and instant gratification oriented society. Your sex drive is for women, not for mental images of women and your hand. You are not supposed to get aroused in your head while you're alone. You are not supposed to fuck your hand. That is a perversion of your sex drive, not a "healthy expression" of it.

    Your brain does something truly phenomenal. It can plan ahead and create an imaginary world. This is an amazing feat that allows you to have goal-oriented behavior/plan for the future or re-examine the past. However, you can use your brain capacity to go one step forward, immerse in that imaginary world and derive pleasure from it. This is where things go south fast because pleasure is a reward mechanism and you're basically short-circuiting your own brain. It is the path of absolute least resistance. Pleasure is supposed to reward effort, yet you just cheat the whole system. Delaying gratification is one of the best predictors of future success and it's of no surprise why.

    Sexual fantasy is the worst offender because it produces the most potent/intense reward. It has a sedative effect, it is pleasurable and it creates a feeling of social bonding (through oxytocin - basically you get to feel you're not alone when in reality you are). It's the motherload of rewards, but a reward for nothing. And the worse part is by doing it and getting such a reward you only encourage your body to demand more and disconnect more from reality.

    You do not need sexual release, you are not owed sexual release. If you use sexual fantasizing/masturbation to relieve stress/sadness/etc, you're already messing your brain chemistry and drive. Sex is something that happens with somebody, not alone, not in your head.

    Again, do not mistake imagination for fantasy. Imagination is essential for goal directed behavior. Fantasy is not. Fantasy destroys goal directed behavior.

    Fantasy, not just sexual fantasy but all fantasy is an unhealthy escape/coping mechanism that distracts you from pain. If you're truly happy you don't need fantasy, you just enjoy the moment and are grateful for what you have. If you are not happy, you use that frustration as drive to change something so that you can be happy later: goal directed behavior.

    Sexual fantasizing is not healthy for you if you're single, Sexual fantasizing is not healthy for you if you're in a relationship and it's also cheating.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
  2. VeganRights

    VeganRights Fapstronaut

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    That was a very nice read, lots of wisdom in that post. Thanks for sharing
     
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  3. ShutOut

    ShutOut Fapstronaut

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    Thanks for this post. Something I needed to hear as I struggle with fantasy. Sometimes I prefer it over porn. Much appreciated.!
     
  4. I agree with you. I didn’t start having sustained victory and strength until I said no to the constant fantasizing.
     
  5. RobbyGo36

    RobbyGo36 Fapstronaut

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    Alright, but the question remains as to how to stop. In my experience, fantasy is relentless. It just happens and keeps coming back no matter how much I dismiss it, until I just give into it. I would like some practical advice if your admonishment is to mean anything to me.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
  6. Philomath

    Philomath Fapstronaut

    Curious. I want to explore this further, but I'm gonna be a bit unpopular and take a slightly skeptical slant. If only because I don't see how we can measure fantasy in the population of men, in any meaningful way. This argument would imply, that those with healthy sexuality, and healthy lives, fantasise less.

    Can we support that with studies or data?

    And what if I fantasise about real people I intend to actually connect with. I fantasise about my girlfriend as I'm falling to sleep. Maybe it's that oxytocin, perhaps - self soothing. But my sexual desires and interest are growing in her. It's too hard to reflect on a cause - it could be just nofap - and maybe I am better off trying to dodge sexual thoughts like dodgeballs.

    So already, this discussion gets more complicated when we consider fantasy of real people we intend to mate with, and people who are not real in our lives.

    Now masturbation? That's a different factor altogether. But lustful thoughts?

    I'm just not convinced, yet. :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
  7. Pinetree

    Pinetree Fapstronaut

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    Yes, but the brain also creates automatically fantasies, and the best argument are dreams (including sexual).

    Also, there is a lot of fantasy at the core of "reality", and movies like Matrix point in that direction.

    The logic of your post begs for generalization.

    There is a lot of stuff in the real world which imbalances the "reward system".

    A good example is sugar.

    Also, many things which give pleasure, like physical exercise, sleeping too much, nice tasting food,

    Ok, but what is the goal here, if not pleasure ?

    And if the goal is pleasure, why is it better than pleasure in your head ?
     
  8. Great post, I literally realised this recently, and just before I read this I posted in the 40+ about it saying pretty much the same thing. It all starts in my mind, that’s where it begins and that’s where my power is, not halfway through when I’m saying “please don’t do it” to myself but still going ahead
     
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  9. ultrafabber

    ultrafabber Fapstronaut

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    I am very familiar with the feeling. Those are intrusive thoughts and they're an OCD symptom. I'm not saying it's actual OCD, but that part of OCD is definitely there.

    What we have too look at is how a behavior, any behavior, is formed: positive reinforcement. Your brain starts the craving, intrusive thoughts start to unroll, you end up caving into them and ultimately orgasming. The common denominator and the reward? Pleasure. Lots and lots of pleasure. You get pleasure during the arousing thoughts and you get pleasure when you orgasm.

    Looks like a dead end street but thankfully our body provides the counter-balancing for pleasure: pain. As pleasure/reward enforces a behavior, pain/punishment will not only stop a behavior but will extinguish it over time.

    So when you first start to get the intrusive (fantasy) thoughts, you have to do something unpleasant or painful, or at the very least something that requires effort.

    Ideally you'd do something that requires effort, such as pushups to failure or something. The downside to this is that at the moment your brain (particularly when it's addicted) starts craving, pleasure is very easy to get and summoning the strength to get up and do something if very difficult.... it's much, much more tempting to just get pleasure. So in my experience this needs an iron will and realistically an addict will find it next to impossible to summon such a thing. 1 month of abstinence in it's attainable.

    Then we have cold showers. They are not pleasant at all but don't require the effort pushups to failure do. They do however require willpower because it's a choice of doing something unpleasant vs doing something pleasant.

    The first two are also much harder to apply when you're in bed and even half asleep. That's when many fantasies start and that's when you are most vulnerable.

    So we have to find something easy to apply and painful. I had great results with dried hot peppers. I had a small stash in my bedroom and one on my desk. Whenever I felt an intrusive arousal thought i'd just take a bite. No delaying, no nothing. Sexual thought>hot pepper. This works great in my opinion but the problem is you can't have infinite hot peppers and it's not too healthy to eat them on an empty stomach (so you're exposed to the hardest period - nights or early mornings when you're half asleep).

    Then i used to push my thumb on my canine. It's a bit painful but it's not sustainable in the long run imo and it can do actual damage to your thumb.

    Lastly, and this is by far the best thing i've found, is getting zapped with a piezo-electric device. It's a very low current and as far as i know you can do it infinitely and it's safe (don't quote or trust me on that). Easiest way to get one is from a gas lighter. I use this one. https://cdn.images.fecom-media.com/HE1536462_160481-PHE-LEQ-P01.jpg?width=1600

    I removed the casing and whenever i get a thought i just hold it over my hand and zap once. I usually target the hand i used to masturbate with. Good thing about it is you can do it as many times as needed and it's instant use. You can keep it next to you in bed and use it very easy. And it's not even particularly painful, it's more like the shock that kicks out the thoughts.

    It's the same principle that's behind a hand elastic band you pull and let go to snap you out of intrusive thoughts (a common technique actually). It's just a bit more potent.

    So ideally you use push-ups/cold showers (see why on a post below), but to initially cut the worst part of the addiction you use something that requires less effort, is more direct and painful.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
  10. ultrafabber

    ultrafabber Fapstronaut

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    Surely, studies would be ideal but difficult to do, especially in our over-sexualized western world. We already have something interesting tough - studies on our closest relatives, monkeys (obviously not about sexual fantasizing cause we can't ask a monkey about that, but masturbation, which we can link to fantasizing). Some monkeys don't masturbate at all and the ones that do are in MM-MF systems (promiscuous system). The interesting bit comes from a research on a species of macaques (which are in a MM-MF system). The macaques that mate more masturbate less and the macaques that mate less masturbate more. Basically the low and medium rank macaques that get less females masturbate more than the high rank macaques that get more females.

    >So already, this discussion gets more complicated when we consider fantasy of real people we intend to mate with, and people who are not real in our lives.

    Thinking about your gf is probably related to bonding and not a bad thing. She is after all someone special to you. Thinking about having sex with your gf even if she's not there is where things get rather tricky because you're getting pleasure/reward from nothing. That's the distinction i was trying to make between imagination/planning and fantasy - the latter generates a lot of pleasure. More so, you are consuming your sexual drive -which would bond you to your gf should you use it when you are together- by actually bonding with a thought.
     
  11. Pinetree

    Pinetree Fapstronaut

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    You are missing the obvious point that there is pleasure in pain.

    When pain happens, the brain produces pleasure inducing chemicals. Same goes for cold showers and pushups.
     
  12. ultrafabber

    ultrafabber Fapstronaut

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    Sexual dreams happen more if you fantasize during the day. If you don't fantasize you rarely get sexual dreams. And more so, if you actively want to stop fantasizing you involuntarily stop sexual dreams (i noticed this on myself).

    Yes, sugar imbalances the reward system. It's a good example actually. It's empty calories that mess up your reward system.

    Physical exercise is pleasurable but in this case pleasure rewards a healthy and productive behavior.

    So on one hand you get pleasure from a bad behavior and on the other hand you get pleasure from a good behavior. Therefore the general argument that "I do X because it's pleasurable" is invalid.
     
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  13. ultrafabber

    ultrafabber Fapstronaut

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    The point is that pain extinguishes a behavior in most circumstances.

    When you do cold showers or pushups the pain comes first, then you get pleasure. So the unwanted action gets the punishment and is associated with pain. You usually get two consequences: the bad behavior gets extinguished and the good behavior (pain/punishment of the bad behavior gets reinforced with pleasure that comes next). It's win-win.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
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  14. Pinetree

    Pinetree Fapstronaut

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    Yes, but you are going in circles, what was wrong with that behavior in the first place ?

    So the original behavior was wrong because it produced pleasure, but you are replacing it with a new activity which also produces pleasure.

    But if it works for you ... And maybe a reason I don't get this is that I tolerate pain pretty well.
     
  15. ultrafabber

    ultrafabber Fapstronaut

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    The behavior was not wrong because it produced pleasure. The behavior was wrong because it short-circuited the actual behavior that is supposed to get rewarded with pleasure: real sex and real bonding.

    Cold showers are good for you and so is physical exercise. And they require effort. Getting pleasure at the end is normal and healthy.

    You can get pleasure for example just by getting electrodes in the reward center of your brain. There's even experiments on mice that would learn that pressing a lever would activate the circuitry pumping pleasure and they'd get so obsessed with pressing the lever they would stop eating or sleeping or be interested in sex. They would die eventually if they were not removed from the cage.
     
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  16. Pinetree

    Pinetree Fapstronaut

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    So basically what you are saying is that we are supposed to get rewarded by pleasure only in activities that are matching our goals.
     
  17. ultrafabber

    ultrafabber Fapstronaut

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    Yes, but not necessarily, that would be too much of a generalization.

    I'm focusing here on sexual behavior and rewards. The point is that, fundamentally, your brain is wired to reward real sexual behavior (seeking, mating, bonding). The reward is so great (so much pleasure and other stuff) because getting and holding a partner, raising a child with that partner etc is not easy. It requires effort.

    Should this biological goal (reproduction) not exist, there would be no pleasure associated with it.
     
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  18. Dan9876

    Dan9876 Fapstronaut

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    Woah. I learned a lot from this thread. Thanks a lot all
     
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  19. Philomath

    Philomath Fapstronaut

    That claim feels more like a big-ass assumption. :cool::p:D Sexual fantasy, in the mind alone, unacted upon with masturbation or porn - consumes your sexual drive - and is destructive. Am I misrepresenting your argument there? o_O

    I can argue it strengthens my sexual desire in her, and have as much evidence, really. Except I wouldnt' dare to proclaim it as fact. (We really need to use more academic hedge words like: maybe, would suggest, possible to conclude. You speak as though this is established fact.)

    I think it is the nature and type of the sexual fantasy that defines if it is destructive or constructive. (Notice how I say I think, and not that it is. :rolleyes:)

    Firstly, we need to distinguish between imagination/fantasy and fantasy more. At some point in my life, many years, a fantasy emerged within me about owning a dog. It produces the warm fuzzy, oxytocin feelings of connection. Before, I used to be afraid of dogs, and rarely stuck near them. But because of fantasy, that fear has lessened. So, that fantasy has built up, to watching training videos, and researching breeds. Am I consuming that drive to connect, or reinforcing my desire to have a canine companion one day?

    In a similar vein. I was only recently discovering myself as bisexual. (Long story! :eek:). I used to think I was just gay, and sleep around with guys. My journal goes into more detail on development, but to cut the story short I met a girl to experiment, and we got on so well that she's my girlfriend and is flattered she was the first girl. :D, (been together six months). So, I'm an unusual mental position to observe myself.

    We tend to see each other for a week on, then a week off and repeat. On those weeks I'm without her company, I do sometimes fantasise about her and sex acts with her, especially as I'm letting my mind rest to sleep (no doubt it's a self-soothing mechanism.) And I'm finding my sexual desire is growing in her.

    A similar example, and slightly TMI. My girlfriend is super-into err....restraints and being tied down. Now I was pretty apprehensive to indulge her, so I would chicken out a lot, and just keep it sort of erm...vanilla. :oops: But again, I find myself allowing myself to fantasise about what she wants. And I do find myself slowly coming around and liking the idea, and mixing things up. :D So, in this case - I'd argue fantasy has actually been constructive. I'm actually forming pathways to things I want. I'm not going to ask her to reboot out her submission kinks. :cool:

    So I'm at odds with the general condemnation of sexual fantasy.

    So let's get a bit more micro, and come up with more distinctions on fantasy. I could say there is:
    • Sexual fantasy fulfilled. (Masturbation = orgasm.)
    • Sexual fantasy unfulfilled. (Lustful thoughts.)
    • Sexual fantasy that is easily achieved (a girl you know and flirt with)
    • Sexual fantasy that is impossible (tentacles/porn stars.)
    • Sexual fantasy that is desired (my girlfriend)
    • Sexual desires that is not desired (tentacles/porn stars)

    In regards to those studies on monkeys - that again pertains to masturbation and fulfilled sexual fantasy. So yeah...

    I think the contention lies with the idea that sexual fantasy, or lust, is harmful. But I argue it is on the basis of what sexual fantasies you have, and how they fit into your life.

    The only real people we can look at are those who actively suppress sexual thoughts: the religious - particularly priests. Not counting the ones that abuse children. :p
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
  20. sfmark12

    sfmark12 Fapstronaut

    What a great thread, and ending it with this knowledge slap.
     

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