Wrestling with a fetish all my life

For Fapstronauts who are disciples of Christ

  1. XandeXIV

    XandeXIV Fapstronaut

    Some of you may have seen my introduction thread in the New to NoFap forum, so I hope this doesn't count as double posting, but I need to opening up to Christians more about what I struggle with, as I'm too nervous to open up to Christians I know in person about this.

    I struggle with a sexual fetish for women tied up, particularly damsel in distress scenes in film, TV etc. Being quite artistic I've been able to draw pretty much any fantasy that comes to mind, and spent a lot of time on this in the past. I've also found ways to tie myself up in the past and get off on that. Technically none of these activities are 'porn' in the usual sense (which honestly doesn't appeal to me at all), but for the sake of accountability, measuring progress etc. I regard it as such, and as coming under the 'P' in 'PMO'.

    I did actually have a really good run of MO only for a good few years, and occasionally a month or two of no PMO at all, but in recent years its all crept back to full PMO, and gotten worse while working from home during the national lockdown. Having decided to join these forums I've found my mind telling lies of the form 'have just a bit more fun before you commit to the 90 day challenge or becoming more accountable' and being more tempted because of it. I know these are the lies of the enemy, and having PMO'd following this 'logic' the other day I've decided to get my act together and record my journey here, essentially treating this like a journal if that's okay (I'm not completely clear on how journals work on this site).

    Eventually I want an accountability partner but for now I'm just getting used to opening up about this, taking baby steps... I struggle with social anxiety too, and so opening up about something like this is never easy! In any case, I need start opening up to Christians in some way, and after my latest PMO, I want to stop making excuses. If I know I'm going to have to write about my progress (or lack thereof), I know I'll be more reluctant to entertain my fantasies. I become somewhat obsessive when it comes to being honest, and even when I want to lie I'm terrible at doing it... so I want to use this to my advantage in opening up to people :)

    Some of these posts will be daily progress, others reflections on the past, or both. Please reply/comment any time. I also hope that my openness will encourage other brothers and sisters facing struggles with fetishes of any kind to open up... because I know how embarrassing it is to talk about!

    And whether you comment or not, whether you relate or not, please pray for me.

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    Over time I plan to index some key posts below (updated 08/05/22):

    Fetish Development

    These posts mostly focus on events in my life which I believe are key to the development of my fetish. They are mostly arranged in the order they happened, not in the order I posted them:
    Recovery keypoints
    Reasons we PMO:
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    General personal development
    - last updated 27/04/22

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    Helpful articles - last updated 05/03/2022

    What Your Sexual Fantasies (Might) Say About You by Jay Stringer

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    Needs Analysis

    An analysis of my needs, how I sought to meet them in my fetish and how God actually meets them (updated 07/05/22):

    Need: Everyday sustenance (food, shelter, etc)
    • As a child: I was totally dependent on my parents for these things.
    • As an adult: I can no longer depend on my parents; I have to work to survive.
    • As a child of God: My daily bread
    • How bondage ‘fulfilled’ the need: A simulation of the tight, enclosed space of the womb – a place where all my basic needs are met despite no effort from myself.
    • How God actually fulfils the need:
      • Matthew 6 is full of examples:
        • “Give us this day our daily bread” (v 11; as part of the Lord’s prayer)
        • “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (v 30)
        • “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (v 33)
      • Also John 6:35: “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst’”.
    Need: Acceptance
    • Throughout life: I always felt acceptance was necessary for the first need (sustenance).
    • As a child: By my family, friends and teachers
    • As an adult: By my family, friends, coworkers and employers
    • As a child of God: By God himself – In His case His acceptance is necessary for salvation. My testimony is a story in which I fear losing His acceptance, and the enemy tempts me to doubt this still today.
    • How bondage ‘fulfilled’ the need:
      • A hugging sensation; hugging being a gesture of acceptance.
      • Self-bondage was always something I would do when alone with no risk of interruption. No people means there is no acceptance to crave and no need to stress over losing it. I only have to please myself.
    • How God actually fulfils the need: We are accepted through Christ, so long as we choose to receive that acceptance:
      • “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” - Romans 15:17
      • “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out” - John 6:37
      • “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" - Romans 10:13
    Need: Freedom from blame and responsibility
    • Throughout life: I have feared that blame will cause me to lose acceptance from all those I fear losing it from. Furthermore, it has often felt that no matter what I do, mistakes are made.
    • As a child: I never liked being told off for being naughty, or for making mistakes.
    • As an adult: It’s less likely I’ll be shouted at, but the cost of mistakes could be my own job
    • As a child of God: I fear that errors will have eternal consequences for myself or others.
    • How bondage ‘fulfilled’ the need: It’s not the damsel in distress’ fault that she’s tied up… somebody did this to her and now that she’s in this state she cannot be held responsible for doing or not doing anything. So, I misconceive bondage as a state of freedom from responsibility and therefore from blame.
    • How God fulfils the need:
      • He takes care of all things; all blame is taken care of on the cross.
        • “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed” - Isaiah 53:5
        • “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith” - Romans 3:23-25
        • “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” - Ephesians 1:3-4
      • Besides, we can seek God’s help in the tasks and responsibilities we have: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” - Proverbs 3:5-6
      • And in any case, nothing we do can circumvent God’s will. Whatever does or doesn't happen is His will:
        • “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” - Psalm 115:3
        • “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord” - Proverbs 16:33
    Need: Rest & Meditation
    • Throughout life: I’ve never been good at just sitting still. I’m not comfortable in one position for very long.
    • As a child: Apparently I had a lot of energy and was very restless!
    • As an adult: I’m terrible at not being busy! There’s always something to do. My mind is always distracted.
    • As a child of God: Time to reflect and let God speak – to “sit at Jesus’ feet”
    • How bondage ‘fulfilled’ the need: When you’re tied up there is nothing to do but just think. Especially true when blindfolded and free from visual stimulation. Many people into bondage even when the motivation is non-sexual are into it for this reason – it’s an aid to meditation, much like an isolation tank. This is actually related to the freedom from blame and responsibility - these things create stress but recreational bondage removes them and gives me peace.
    • How God fulfils the need: Rest is a commandment because He knows it is good for us. At no point does He say bondage is necessary for it. Besides, in self-bondage I “meditate” on evil fantasies, not his Word, which is what He does want us to meditate on.
      • “Be still, and know that I am God” - Psalm 46:10
      • The story of Mary and Martha - “[Mary] sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted by much serving” - Luke 10:38-42
      • “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” - Joshua 1:8
    Need: Sexual gratification and expression
    • Throughout life: I have feared that not having a girlfriend or a wife and never experiencing sex would render me not normal - i.e. I feared society would judge me for it and that I'd become a joke. This is related to fearing a loss of acceptance.
    • As a child: This was not a need at first, but became one as I entered puberty.
    • As an adult: We are wired with a sex drive!
    • As a child of God: A wife with whom and only with whom to share sexual experience – selflessly for her gratification and not mine.
    • How bondage ‘fulfilled’ the need: It was how I discovered my sexuality. Knowing porn was wrong but already recognising a link between women and bondage, I sexualised that link instead and now I know no other way to express my sexuality.
    • How God fulfils the need: 1 Corinthians 7 reminds us that we don’t necessarily need it, but if we really want it (which is not a bad thing!), it must only be through marriage. The whole chapter is relevant but verses 8-9 summarise it perfectly: “To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”
    Need: To be heard and understood
    • Throughout life: Being left out and somehow never in the loop. Not being taken seriously when I knew I had the solution to a problem. Struggling to get my point across and frustration when I can’t.
    • As a child of God: We are supposed to share our struggles with one another and seek counsel from one another – I need to be heard in order to help others and in order to seek help.
    • How bondage ‘fulfilled’ the need: The damsel in distress understands… she is powerless (bound) and unheard (gagged). In this sense I empathise with the women on screen, and become intimate with them by ‘becoming’ them through self-bondage so we can share in our helplessness.
    • How God fulfils the need: He understands the experience of not being listened to. Despite his limitless power, the Israelites did not heed His warnings. He bestowed absolute Truth upon them but they continually ignored Him. Christ was ignored when he claimed to be The Son of God. God understands what it is like to not be listened to, so He fully understands what I experience. I do not need to turn to false idols to feel understood.
    Summary: These are all connected - I need acceptance in order to gain my needs on this earth and in eternity, and I see both blame and celibacy as means though which I may lose acceptance (and therefore wellbeing) by people close to me and also by society at large. There is nothing wrong with celibacy but society would have us think otherwise. I also feel that in order to be accepted I need to be heard and understood. Ultimately I should only worry about God's acceptance, which I would understand better were I to meditate on His Word and His love for me even more, but I am distracted from this by worldly 'needs' that rob me of my rest - and I turn to evil in order to enter a restful state in which I 'meditate' on evil.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2022
  2. CPilot

    CPilot Fapstronaut

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    Speaking as a sinner who struggled with this sin for far too many years, I think there are several positive points to focus on from the thoughts you have written. (1) You are determined to no longer delude yourself. I think for many years I deluded myself by thinking what I was doing wasn't that bad but I was wrong. (2) You recognize the enemy - one of the devil's most successful tricks is to convince the world he doesn't exist (3) You are seeking the help and experience of fellow Christians. I can attest that God provides the only true help from this pit of sin and the only way to the Father is through the Son.
    I apologize to all of you who have read this before from me but I believe it is helpful. Without exception, every failed attempt of mine to quit this sin was precluded by two things. (1) I relaxed my commitment to daily, heartfelt, prayer to God and (2) I relaxed my commitment to immediately curb my thoughts and avert my eyes from any alluring image or person. It only takes a second for an evil thought to enter the mind - I cannot afford to let them linger there otherwise I am inviting sin back inside of me. I am praying for your success, please pray for mine.
     
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  3. Welcome! I am so glad you have found this group and taken the steps to be open an honest about where you are on the journey toward Christ-likeness. That is where the real work begins. We've all been in some pretty bad places, so you won't find much in the way of judgment here. Instead, you will find support and encouragement. We cannot take this journey alone!

    Be sure to check out the Information section in the group for some helpful resources. When you're ready, you will easily find some great APs here, too. Until then, I will be following your story with great interest. Onward!
     
  4. Welcome brother. This is an important step in the recovery process. Admitting there is a problem and bringing it into the light.
     
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  5. XandeXIV

    XandeXIV Fapstronaut

    Thank you all, it's great to have your support :)

    Thank you. I can relate to number 2 in particular. I've become complacent on so many occasions it's ridiculous... I now operate under the assumption that I could fail at any time, no matter how long I've managed to abstain. I had a friend who was a recovering drug addict. Many years clean, but he and others who shared his battle would always say "once an addict, always an addict". In my view, we're always at risk and it's never safe to assume we're safe.

    I actually have a similar attitude with respect to keeping my faith alive in general. My commitment to Jesus stays strong because I believe I could fall away at any moment. For me one of the hardest things as a Christian has been some of the most faithful Christians I know give up on God, some of whom even played a role in leading me to Christ. I always think back to St. Peter, who although never gave up the faith, became complacent when he assumed he'd never deny Jesus... and then went and did it three times! No matter how strong we think we are.... we aren't!

    Anyway, today's been a good day with respect to temptation and self control. But I'm going through a stressful time at work and about to get crazy busy outside of work. Times of stress are often those when I'm most vulnerable. Many years of living with anxiety, and support I've received with that problem, have taught me how to manage stress, but I'm no expert!

    In particular if I'm working on a hard problem at home on my own sometimes out of habit my hand wonders where it shouldn't and suddenly I'm touching myself to relieve stress... this has been much worse now that I'm working at home during this pandemic. However I've recently started wearing gloves when I'm working home alone. This is helping, though on one or two occasions I forget to put them on!
     
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  6. 1 Corinthians 10
    8 And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day.
    9 Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites. 10 And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death. 11 These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.
    12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. 13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

    We commit to doing whatever it takes to get free and stay free, no matter what. Great stuff!
     
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  7. That is definitely true for PMO as well. Always have to stay on guard and vigilant.
     
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  8. CPilot

    CPilot Fapstronaut

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    I bow to everyone who recognizes and internalizes this point because it took me a long time to do the same. I wanted to believe that after a certain number of days of purity my brain would be healed and that I would no longer desire this sin. This is a secular thought and the threads of it can be found on this very web site. Nevertheless, it is a false hope. As someone who failed many, many times in my attempts to quit this sin, I now recognize there is no cure for the temptation. However, one can build greater and greater strength to resist it and it becomes much easier to do so as long as we maintain the practices that set us free.
     
  9. XandeXIV

    XandeXIV Fapstronaut

    Agreed! In anxiety management we often speak of 'acceptance'... the first step to addressing anxiety is to accept it's there and could be forever, as attempting to resist or 'fight' it only releases adrenaline and makes it worse (instead, we 'manage' it). I have a similar attitude towards the temptations I have and the fetish I have. This is not to say I use it as an excuse for porn or masurbation, but that if I try to deny how I've been wired I cause myself stress and make myself vulnerable. I'm less tempted if I accept that my temptations are what they are and that I am dependent on God to change this.

    I actually regard my fetish and my PMO as different problems. Related of course, but even if I was into 'normal' porn I'd probably still be stuck in the same PMO cycle. PMO I can address through discipline, changing my habits, etc., but when it comes to how my mind is wired all I can do is pray for God to change it if that is his will (Psalm 51:10 - "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."). And of course, I can still pray against PMO too!

    Today's been a bit harder... I've had the sensation of wanting to fail again, the same inner voice that tries to convince me to really binge on my fantasies before making a proper commitment to giving up. But so far I've said 'no' and feel okay now.... but in keeping with what we've been discussing I'm not going to let my guard down of course!
     
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  10. Our minds can rewire and heal, if we become disciplined and remove the stimulus that keeps them enflamed with lust. We do this by taking each thought captive for Christ, finding the lie in each temptation, countering that lie with the Truth, and then keeping our focus on the truth instead of the lie. If we do this consistently with diligence, our thoughts will change. As they do, our behavior will change, too. Romans 12:2.
     
  11. CPilot

    CPilot Fapstronaut

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    When it comes to mortal sins, sins committed with the full knowledge that it is against God's will, who among us is qualified to judge that one is less serious than another? I have a close family member who is gay. That lifestyle is abhorrent to me and clearly gay sex is a sin of the flesh. After much prayer about this person, it occurred to me that in the eyes of God, I cannot say if my sinful behavior is judged as better or worse than that.
    Perhaps as humans we are only safe in concluding that all mortal sins are a rebuke and an insult to God. Human beings are God's greatest creation; creatures made in His own image. When I consider my ugly sinful lust, I see that it demotes women to mere objects of physical pleasure and in that I am desecrating one of God's greatest creations. Just because I don't share your fetish, doesn't mean I am any less of sinner in the eyes of God. Put another way, PMO, without this fetish, may be no less serious of a rebuke to Our Father.
     
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  12. All sin cuts us off from the Vine. All sin is a tragedy.
     
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  13. XandeXIV

    XandeXIV Fapstronaut

    Yes, all sin cuts us off from God and no matter what out selfish desires are and the fact that we pursue them makes us all equally sinners. Thankfully we are all equally forgiven when we accept Christ as our saviour :)

    Stress levels were really high today. So much to coordinate at work and so many plates to keep spinning. Communication is tough and it nearly drove me over the edge once or twice, desperate for a release, but thankfully I didn't give in. Visited some relatives this afternoon, had a nice time, and generally felt relaxed by the end and still relaxed now.
     
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  14. CPilot

    CPilot Fapstronaut

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    It took me too long to recognize it and deal with it but negative stress, frustration and anger are all tools the devil pulls out of his toolbox to tempt me to sin. The pattern I see in myself is that I feel these negative emotions, I feel sorry for myself and I seek some form of comfort. Only yesterday he tried this attack on me but Our Lord reminded me that this was the devil at work and renewed my determination not to be so easily led astray. I pray all of us do not allow ourselves to be an easy mark for the devil.
     
  15. This is exactly how it was with me, too. I have been a lifelong slave to comfort. God is slowly changing that in me. It is hard -- but very, very good. :)
     
  16. XandeXIV

    XandeXIV Fapstronaut

    Missed a post yesterday... again I'd been rather busy! Stress was bad... and to make matters worse I didn't sleep well the night before. I really depend on sleep for my mental well-being. At points I felt depressed too, something I've noticed before when sleep deprived.

    I was tested when flicking through a dating app and coming across somebody I not only used to have a bit of a crush on, but later went on to fantasize about a lot as well. The temptation to get lost in fantasy didn't last long and I was able to carry on without giving in, but with other temptations coming and going throughout.

    Thankfully I slept well last night and had a much better day today, feeling more positive throughout about work and other things. I made good progress and got a few jobs out of the way to make the weekend more relaxing. Again temptations came and went.... the little part of me that doesn't want to give up PMO (which I wrote about here) was nagging a lot, but I'm still 5 days in without giving in. I've done much, much better in the past and still failed, so by no means do I plan to be complacent about it!
     
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  17. XandeXIV

    XandeXIV Fapstronaut

    Thank you :)

    Today I woke up quite tempted, and I think I had a dream about one of my fantasies, but temptation went aware fairly easily as I went into the day. This afternoon I met up with church friends and sat around in the park. Was really chilled and fun. I'm more of an introvert than extrovert, but I am finding in recent years that after spending time with people I have a clear head with respect to temptations and the thought of entertaining any impure thoughts becomes unthinkable, as though being with people sobers me up in some way. I hope to use this to my advantage in fighting my battle in the future and make more time for others.
     
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  18. CPilot

    CPilot Fapstronaut

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    FANTASTIC! I can relate immediately to what you wrote. Relish such moments of joy and freedom from sin. When I am tempted, it is helpful to me to recall such times, whether they were with other people or just quiet blissful prayer with Our Father. When I compare the feelings I had during those times of bliss with the shame I felt after giving in to temptation, it helps me to stay the course.
     
  19. XandeXIV

    XandeXIV Fapstronaut

    Thanks :) It was the same today, actually. Spent some time with family and again had the same feeling of 'sobriety'. It's really not a new experience, but as you say, I relish these experiences and reflect on them when tempted. Doesn't always work, but it's better than nothing.

    Even before then today was a good day. A bit of a struggle when I first woke up, but it passed, and I ended up reflecting (still in bed) on motivations for giving up PMO, comparing the experiences I truly cherish when 'sober' and the goals I wish to achieve against a life in which I give up fighting and let my temptations have their way. The latter truly is NOT what I want. The former, by God's help and through your prayers, is the life I want. After this morning's reflections I felt really determined to make the 90-day count and I still do now.

    It could change, of course. My mind wants its dopamine hit and I could wake up with a different attitude tomorrow morning. But I pray that the Lord God helps me keeps this mindset is that is his will. Ultimately this is all dependent on Him transforming my heart and mind, though I accept that in order to let him work I have to actively take necessary steps and fight some difficult battles.

    Tao already quoted Romans 2 in relation to this. Another verse that helps me remember how God uses trials to transform our hearts is James 1:2-4: "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
     
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  20. XandeXIV

    XandeXIV Fapstronaut

    Difficult morning... not with respect to temptations, just in terms of energy levels and focus on work. Basically, just your average Monday morning! A few unexpected things I had to deal with too, but a much better afternoon.

    That said, I was blindsided by a temptation in a completely unexpected context. I was reading a completely unrelated article and out of nowhere a damsel in distress was used as an analogy of sorts, complete with a screenshot of such a scene from a TV show or film. I scrolled past it immediately and didn't take it in, but the urge to investigate was nonetheless there. The problem with a fetish like mine is that it is based on a trope that has been common in media since pretty much forever and as such it is hard to avoid. I can often brace myself and not let myself be turned on by such a scene if it looks like one is coming in a TV show or film, but it's a lot harder when the scene is completely unexpected. When it comes to arousal there's definitely something about serendipity that makes a trigger more stimulating.

    Anyway, I moved on and it wasn't an issue for the rest of the day.

    Went running after work but it's really hard in the heat we're experiencing where I live. In general my running hasn't been so good recently - I run up a steep hill and used to be able to get up without stopping most of the time. I love the runner's high that comes from pushing my heart to its limit! It's such a great way to burn off stress and a much healthier way to do so than masturbation, of course! But lately my heart has gotten used to it and other factors reach their limits before my heart does. Today it was overheating. Other times it might just be that my legs get tired first.
     
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