Techniques to curtail sexual thoughts

Discussion in 'Rebooting - Porn Addiction Recovery' started by kropo82, Oct 2, 2018.

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  1. kropo82

    kropo82 Fapstronaut

    I've just hit the two year mark abstaining from porn and I haven't masturbated for 722 days, so my core 'reboot' is going well. And like so many others here I have found I want to add other elements to the reboot which will make me a better man (a better person). One of these is to stop ogling or lascivious gazing. I added that goal back in April and it has been going remarkably well using techniques I picked up from these forums (listed here).

    More recently I decided to add sexual fantasizing to my list of reboot goals. I don't mean immersing oneself single-mindedly like when masturbating, I mean idle sexual daydreams. They are proving much harder to root out because there seems to be not clearly signposted start. With ogling or with the temptation to look at porn there seems to be something I can react to and mentally say "no". But with daydreaming the mental reel has been running for some time before I notice and act.

    I know there are lots of folk here committed to stopping fantasizing. What techniques are working out for you all?
     
  2. daemonswithin

    daemonswithin Fapstronaut

    I started a similar thread that's in my signature below, but I can say without a doubt that the single best technique I've used in the past is writing my fantasy out in detail. This may seem counterintuitive, but I'm not talking about creating erotica. What I do is I describe the fantasy as if it were a dream and I was telling it to my wife. As I'm writing it out, I quickly recognize the flaws of it and how unrealistic it is. It manages to put out the fire and give me a much needed breath of fresh air.

    Granted, this is a technique I turn to for fantasies that have been plaguing me for days, so although it may work for the random fantasy that pops in our heads, unless you're at a computer or have a smart phone it may not be the best solution. It's also not to say that the fantasy won't come back. It probably will, but what I've found is it helps me to inject a dose of reality into it, and that's fantasy kryptonite. When we hold on to fantasy, I think there's a part of us that believes it could happen, or if I had made different choices this is what would have happened, or some other kind of similar justification. When we start adding doubts and reality into it, it diffuses it.

    I've read of similar experiences people have had with prostitutes or escorts. I've never experienced either, but I've read consistently that the first time was usually disappointing because the reality didn't live up the fantasy. Similar concept with this.
     
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  3. kropo82

    kropo82 Fapstronaut

    You did! And not only that, I'd already liked it. Sorry about that.

    Counterintuitive indeed! Mine are definitely erotic, typically mild, but erotic. They are exactly the kind of erotic story I would have enjoyed reading in my porn days.

    Mine don't plague me, they come and go. At least I think they are not the same, I'll try to keep tabs on that.

    I believe (hope?) that I do not believe it could happen. Fantasies are not goals. But I take what you say on board and I will examine my motives in this.

    Me neither, thank goodness. I always wanted to but sensed that I would enjoy it too much, that it would be the sin that would consume me and I would lose my life.

    If I come across other techniques I will add them to your original thread.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018
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  4. daemonswithin

    daemonswithin Fapstronaut

    I realize that my comment could have come across as a bit rude. I didn't mean that at all, I just referenced it in case it may be of some use to you, not to suggest at all that, "Dude - you're repeating my previous efforts here - back off!"

    I think the more threads regarding this issue the better, and if others come hear and suggest different things that I hadn't thought of I'll go back and edit my original post as well.
    I think the longer I continue my reboot, my fantasies are starting to stalk me less and less. I notated in my journal that I intentionally indulged in fantasy last week because of an ignorant attempt to test my libido, and before my current streak I would have been obsessing and indulging in that fantasy for many days, but when I tried to come back to it right before bed it didn't phase me. I'm hoping that's a good sign that my brain is starting to heal, but I can't be sure. Regardless, other than the stupidity of intentionally indulging in fantasy as I did last week, I still need to address fantasies and sexual thoughts that appear because they are dangerous. It's a good reminder to review previous techniques and try to implement them because otherwise complacency will creep in.

    It's always comforting to know that I'm not alone in my battles. An interesting development that has occurred for me over the past couple of months is that I've placed a greater emphasis on managing my emotional state. I used to think that fantasy was a trigger that led to porn, and although that's true, it's not entirely accurate for me. I'm beginning to realize that fantasy and porn are far more closely related than I thought, and that I use fantasy as an escape from dealing with my emotions in much the same way I used porn. The difference is fantasy is always readily available whereas I'm not always in front of a computer to access porn. In a sense it's the ultimate gateway drug for me. That's not to say when I fantasize I consider it a relapse (there are others I've dealt with that have thought that, and I never adopted that point of view), but when walking up the chain of causes that lead me to porn, fantasy is rarely at the top. It's as if I'm constantly plugging holes (fantasy) in a dam to hold back the flood of water (porn), only to realize that I'm the one shooting holes into the dam. Patching the holes won't do a single thing unless I address the core problem.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018
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  5. TheBox

    TheBox Fapstronaut

    Very good, interesting and well thought out thread.

    I have myself been dealing with overcoming sexualized fantasies when meeting new people, and many of the things brought up here are things that really have their role in overcoming this part of porn addiction.

    For me, and this may sound a bit controversial considering what has already been written here, but I believe this technique is similar to writing down the fantasy, is to treat the fantasy the way I treat urges: with urge surfing. I have found that after a while, the need for my mind to constantly reel up fantasies ebb out when I simply let them come but never act out any of it. Fantasies are of course often more vivid and sometimes even stronger than the primal urge to watch porn, but by simply acknowledging them but still remain in full control and let them vanish, because they eventually will, has been incredibly self-empowering for me.

    I would also like to add two things, to broaden the discussion:

    In a way, I think sexual fantasies are good. It makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint to seek sex with new partners, and if imaging a possible union is what helps our minds to do so, I think it’s pretty understandable why so many people have these fantasies. However, I would argue that these fantasies become wrong, abundant (i.e you imagine sex with a lot of partners because you hav been able to have many “partners” on porn sites) pornfied and over-sexualized because of porn. For me, these fantasies often lead to guilt because I feel like I wrong the women that I fantasize about. But, when this thought occurs, I often console myself with the fact that it’s our ACTIONS that define our character. I’m on my way to breaking this acting out behavior of watching porn, and I always act with respect whenever I met a new woman. That does not forgive me for having a fantasy, but I am at least trying.

    The other thing is about geniune attraction and interest and curiosity. By constantly over sexualizing normal interactions, I think it becomes difficult to realize when you are actually ATTRACTED to another human being. I have written more on this topic in my latest journal post, but I would love to hear what you guys think about attraction in this context.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018
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  6. daemonswithin

    daemonswithin Fapstronaut

    You raise some interesting points, but allow me to add my thoughts to these in particular:
    It's difficult to discuss this with regards to morality simply because of differing belief systems. Without making any assumptions with regards to spirituality on your end, I can point to my end and say I base my morality on biblical values, and as such I tend to have a more conservative position on whether sexual fantasies are good or bad. I think part of making that determination on a personal level is to factor in some of the other things you say.
    Part of rebooting and recovery is to regain (or in some cases develop) healthier attitudes towards sex and women in general. It's the objectification of women that contribute to so many toxic views of sexuality, and porn does an excellent job of reinforcing those views. I don't believe all objectification is wrong. I objectify my wife regularly, and she supports and even contributes to that objectification, but our relationship is more developed and grounded than that. It's when the objectification happens inappropriately (with others we know) or with porn scenarios that the problems tend to appear. This begs the question - are there healthy or appropriate sexual fantasies? I think the prevailing opinion would be of course! However, there are different standards for sex addicts just as alcoholics have to adopt different standards for their addiction. I'm not an alcoholic, so entering a bar to use the bathroom poses no risk for me. The same can't be said for a recovering alcoholic. I liken sexual fantasy to that bar. It's a place that I know well and would even enjoy spending time there, but the risk associated with it is far more dangerous than it would be for a non sex addict.
    That's a very healthy way of looking at it. However, I tend to think that my fantasies wrong my wife more than they wrong the target of my fantasies, especially if my fantasies involve women I don't know such as objects of my leering, women I've seen on television or in porn, or even fantasy women I invent. Indulging in fantasy is in a way focusing my sexual energy away from my wife rather than towards her, which is where it belongs. However, this reasoning hardly ever causes me to stop fantasizing, especially if my wife and I are on the outs.
    Very true, but at the same time our thoughts drive the actions we commit. I can easily indulge in fantasy as my addiction, and perhaps I'll never cheat on my wife as a result, but I can guarantee you that if I keep myself in a sex-induced state due to my fantasy, if a temptation arises where I'm able to have an affair, I'm quite sure it would be far more difficult to avoid that temptation than it would if I had been fighting and avoiding fantasy. Unfortunately, the ultimate fantasy in my opinion are those that have the potential of becoming reality. This is why fantasy is such a significant part in many relationships (often in a healthy manner, so not necessarily knocking it here).
    I didn't go back and read your journal post, but I agree with you. Granted, I'm married, so genuine attraction is a bit of a touchy subject, but it can still apply. I have problems with leering, and if I'm attracted to a woman just because of what she's wearing, it's hard to distinguish between a genuine attraction vs. a porn fantasy. I've written in my journal previously about suffering from extended fantasies of women I'm not genuinely attracted to, but I attribute that to my hyper sexualization of all women when under the influence of my porn-induced brain fog. I suspect my sustained abstinence is helping reduce my leering moments, and should the moment arise where I find myself attracted to a woman while in my current streak of abstinence, I would argue it's more of a genuine attraction (and perhaps even a more dangerous one). I once was fixated on a mom that regularly attended my son's soccer games a couple years back. The only reason was because she loved her short shorts, and it didn't hurt that she was actually attractive. She invaded my fantasies for months before I turned my mind elsewhere (curiously around the same time I no longer saw her anymore). Was that a "genuine attraction" or a porn induced fantasy? Probably both, but either way, it wasn't good by any means. My litmus test could easily be a conversation with my wife: "So, does it bother you that I'm constantly fantasizing about little Billy's mom all the time, or is that okay?"

    Anyways - my 2 cents ended up being far longer than I expected, but hope this helps.
     
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  7. TheBox

    TheBox Fapstronaut

    Thank you for your extensive and well thought out answers.

    I must confess that I’m sometimes rather divided on this point. I am a Christian and I hold the values of Jesus high. At the same time, as a medical student, I must also hold high what is known about evolution. Both because it is supported by strong scientific evidence, but also because denying evolution is simply not compatible with becoming a respected doctor in my country, Sweden. I absolutely agree with that sexual fantasies are morally questionable, but I think it is unevitable to fully avoid them, because so much of our purpose as a species is based on an active sexual drive to procreation.

    There is a deeper layer though. Humans are almost unique in our ability to form strong emotional lifelong bonds with our partners as it is theorized that the offspring has a greater chance of survival with two parents or within a group, which of course requires social intelligence. “Social evolution,” our ability to form groups, may have led us to also stay with one partner to ensure group stability. So, from an evolutionary standpoint you can also explain unagreeable behavior of looking for new partners.

    As I write, I’m not sure what my final point is. I just wanted to share my thoughts.
     
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