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21 M with porn addiction


Grat3
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Hi all.

I want to thank you in advance for any assistance you offer.

About Me

I am 21, a student at a good university. I am a pretty successful person from most people's perspectives of me- I am smart, I have friends (though they aren't as close as I'd like them to be), I'm starting a business this year, and everything is going pretty well.

What I Look For in Porn

But that said, I am realizing that I am addicted to porn, particularly porn of perfection and fantasy. What I mean by perfection is I am a perfectionist, and I spend a lot of time, sometimes hours in one sitting, looking at images and youtube videos for someone I perceive to be "perfect" to get off to.

I also spend a lot of time in the fantasy world with porn- like roleplaying online and reading erotic literature (though I am a slow reader, and I often get bored before I am turned on :P ). I have heard that people tend to gravitate to rougher and more violent porn as they develop their porn addiction, but I have not. I've consistently searched for that perfect girl to fantasize about. Quite frankly, I find a lot of the porn that people look at hideous, and it can take hours to find something I am attracted to.

I'm going to go a little further, but I don't want to make this inaccessible by blathering on :o I'm going to talk about my girlfriend and what I think are my triggers for porn.

Girlfriend

I have a beautiful girlfriend... (though I don't see her as "perfect" physically all the time) and our sex life is damaged by my porn addiction. Even when I don't masturbate before we hang out, I find myself wanting to go to sleep a lot of the time when she is horny... and she is always horny. I don't feel that I am really emotionally connected to her- and I don't know why that is. I think she might not be as intelligent as I would like a long-term partner to be, she doesn't get a lot of subtle jokes that are my favorite and she rarely makes me laugh... Unfortunately, everything else about her is great, we have never had a fight. Ever. We both enjoy cooking and exploring outdoors...etc.

Triggers

So my triggers are numerous.. I'll list them for you and explain if I think I need to explain :)

-Images on tv/in movies that meet my criteria for perfection

-Facebook images of people I have known that are revealing- usually for those that I could have a fantasy about or that test my boundary of perfection

-Actual girls- So when I see a girl with a nice body in a miniskirt or a low cut top with nice boobs, it sends me right to the computer.

-Stress- When I get overloaded with work, particularly large projects for class or time sensitive things that I have put off too long, I retreat into masturbation... and then I feel guilty for doing it instead of the work.. and do it again. Sometimes I will do it up to four times in a sitting when I have work I need to do. [The other cause of me doing it multiple times in a row is that the first time isn't satisfying enough... I am left with an empty feeling]

-Stress (sort of) This one I find somewhat humorous in reflection. I listen to baseball games on the radio of my favorite team and when they lose, I feel disappointed and stressed... and I react frequently by masturbating.

-The tingle- It sounds kind of odd but it is the best name to describe it. I call this the tingle because that is what it feels like, I cannot stop it, it interrupts whatever I am doing. It is a bad case of the above causes, and sometimes occurs without provocation. This, however, occurs infrequently- and usually acts as a withdrawal sort of trigger.

One note: I have never been super successful in attracting women- I've dated fairly attractive women, but I don't feel comfortable around them until I know they like me... and I do much better in one on one (though that is getting better as I gain confidence in myself in other aspects of my life).

I hope this has helped you to get to know me- and my problem. I try to keep things light-hearted, as that is my nature, but I am very serious about this problem.

Thank you again for your help in advance.

Warm Regards,

Grat3

Edited by Grat3
Post revealed a little too much about me, I think.
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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Grat3 and welcome,

There are a number of essays written by psychologists and posted on this site about perfectionism. Just do a search of this site to find them.

Perfection is the "perfect way" to feel miserable because nothing and no one in this life is perfect. This can also be a good way to keep people at a distance from you. Yes, you have a girl friend but you find fault with her. Well, that will always be true because no one is perfect but dissatisfaction with those imperfections keeps her at arms length.

Porn is a way to play it safe and is also distancing. It is impersonal, distant, yes, titillating, but "peeping tomish." If the two of you watched it together and got turned on together, that could be part of your intimacy. But, this way, its the opposite.

What do you think and what do others think about this?

Allan :)

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Thank you Allan, I really appreciate your response and your help.

I will definitely search for those perfectionism essays and read them- and get back about that.

In the mean time, I think I see porn as a means of escaping interacting with females because I'm not sure of myself around them. I don't know if this is my problem or if it is because I went to a university that was a backup for me and I have trouble finding conversation that is intellectually stimulating. At the same time, I think it would still behoove me to develop these social skills.

I also feel that I don't really have intimate relationships with anyone- I keep everyone at arm's length. And I don't know why that is, I have trouble respecting people? I try to "spill" myself to my friends more, in hopes that that was something lacking, that me guarding my problems was keeping me at arms length. But then again, no one knows about this problem, and maybe that is part of it- I don't feel there is anyone I could go to about this, less one person maybe, that would respect the issue and not make it into a joke.

As for others... I think I retreat from them occasionally to look at porn and disengage, but I think part of that is because I'm in a frat house and they are all out looking at girls at parties, which I can't really do as I am in a relationship... and my girlfriend doesn't really like parties.

I met someone recently who provoked me to look at a saying: "You either love money and use people, or love people and use money." Since I saw myself as somewhat using people, in whatever way, I have been trying to spend more time with my friends, so the issue of retreating from friends has gone down somewhat in the last month and a half.

I am not really sure if there are things I should be taking responsibility for that I am not, or if I am taking responsibility for things I really can't change, or what...

Thanks again Allan,

Grat3

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I see another dimension to this that you might be able to work on. Besides looking at perfection, you're only considering one single measurement: visible beauty.

Maybe, when you encounter a woman, on the street or whatever, instead of spending the time to rate what she looks like, try to think about her as a human. You won't know for sure unless you meet her, obviously, but just try to imagine what her life might be like. Anything to disrupt the beauty-rating.

Or try talking to a few, without regard for how she looks, if you have the social skills (I probably haven't.) They're all different, and there are lots of dimensions other than looks. Even in sex, there are other things than just how beautiful a woman is. Is she loving, giving, skillful, loud ...

You mention that you've become closer to your friends lately, which is good. Are any of them female? Do you share any secrets with any women, including your girlfriend? So far, I only know that she's attractive-looking, but not perfect. Is she nice? Does she support you when you're feeling down? Does she laugh at your jokes? Does she make you think?

I'm not going for an interrogation, here; you don't have to tell us the answers. I'm just trying to see if I can help you can jerk your mind out of the visual-beauty rut, and think about women as humans. What do they care about, what do they want, what else could you want in a woman, and so on. There's more to the real ones than what you can see in a photo.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Grat3,

Thanks, Malign, I agree with you and wonder what your response will be, Grat3?

As for taking responsibility, I would put it another way. It has to do with learning and what better place than psychotherapy?

Allan :)

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Thank you Malign,

I have started to do that and it is helping- but it takes a lot of conscious effort. I really appreciate that feedback.

My girlfriend is caring, loving, she laughs at my jokes... but she doesn't make me think. We are taking a break for 6 months while she is interning at a wildlife reserve out of state- and I hope to take this time to reflect on our relationship- and possibly go on a few casual dates to see if that gives me insight into the "think" aspect. I enjoy thinking and that is a problem.

Thank you for your help Malign

I read this article: http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=weblog&id=115&wlid=6&cn=353 on perfectionism. I am an adaptive perfectionist- so I set high standards, but I don't really stress too much and I find challenges exciting. What I do notice- which may or may not be related, is that I procrastinate till I am fairly stressed when I have large assignments due, to do them. It's like I need the stress to kick my ass into gear if that makes sense. I've tried developing a lower threshold for stress to motivate me, but it doesn't always work- I tend to do what I want to do when I want to do it... and if that isn't the time-pressured assignment, it gets pushed off. Perhaps this stems from my Montessori upbringing.

It was nice to see that article differentiate the two, I see a lot of articles on perfectionism and depression, and I'm not that way at all- I'm usually quite happy- but perfectionism's still causing problems like the objective approach to women.

And Allan, what do you mean about psychotherapy? I honestly don't know much about it, or if I could afford it.

Thank you both for your help!

Grat3

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Grat3,

Psychotherapy is a way for people to learn how to solve their own problems when nothing else seems to work. You mention two problems for you to bring to therapy: porn and perfectionism.

Look around our website, mentalhelp.net, and read all you can about psychotherapy.

My bet is that you could get therapy through your school health center.

Allan :)

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