Masturbation is not that big of a deal.
I can hear you now, though.
“What?! J.K. what is happening? Did you relapse?”
No, I did not. Masturbating is not a big deal. But that comes with a serious caveat.
I’m bringing this up because it’s a common topic in the Porn Addiction Counseling – Reboot Facebook group. Tons of men think that removing pornography from their lives means they’ll never be able to masturbate again. And that’s exactly what creates this problem.
Masturbation and pornography are not connected by default. You don’t have to watch porn to masturbate. But since you’ve spent the last 5, 10, 20, or more years associating masturbation with pornography, you have some work to do. You probably won’t be able to masturbate without slipping or relapsing, especially during the early phases of your reboot.
Masturbating puts men like you at serious risk of relapse if they’re still adherent to this false belief. If you don’t know how to separate masturbation from pornography, you have to go through the reboot process before you’ll be able to do it successfully.
Let Go During Your Reboot
How did you feel reading those last few paragraphs? Is letting go of masturbation something that sounds feasible? Or does that sound like a huge sacrifice you aren’t willing to make? Do you still believe that you’ll be able to watch porn and masturbate in moderation some day?
If your response was more aligned with the latter, you’re way too attached to masturbation and porn. You’ve got an unhealthy relationship with it and you need to take a break from it. That doesn’t mean you’re never going to masturbate again but it does mean you need to shift your view of it.
You need to completely remove pornography from your life and that often means letting go of masturbation during your reboot, too. There is no such thing as moderation for men who struggle with pornography addiction. You must give yourself the time to focus on the reboot process, learn to manage your emotions, and fix the issues in your life.
How the Reboot Process Works for Masturbation
The first 90 days of your reboot process are imperative. It’s when you first focus on letting go of pornography and masturbation and removing them from your life. Sure, you may slip during this period but you then come back with new data points and a deeper understanding of your condition.
As you build reboot capital, you begin developing coping strategies. What started as an intentional practice of letting go becomes less forced over time. You come to realize that there are other things more fulfilling than pornography, sex, and masturbation. You begin to experience joy within yourself and wonder why you’d want to ruin it with pornography.
This is the point where you realize that there are times to masturbate and times to enjoy other things. Masturbating isn’t your go-to form of pleasure or release anymore; you have many other areas of your life filled with things to enjoy. Masturbation isn’t directly connected to pornography anymore. It’s something you can enjoy now that your brain is rewiring.
Reconnecting With Healthy Sexual Behavior
Pornography addiction and compulsive sexual behavior destroy your concept of intimacy. There is nothing intimate about porn. Even the opening scenes that may feign tender moments are cast aside once the intercourse begins. Masturbating to a wide variety of these sorts of scenes creates an unhealthy idea of what sex is about.
Everyone has an intrinsic understanding of what intimacy is. It’s one of those things we are naturally created with. So it’s not like you have to build something that was never there; instead, you’re stripping away the hardened layers you’ve covered that innate intimacy with over the years.
Sexual urges are just as natural as intimacy, too. But when you’re used to experiencing urges based on your compulsive sexual behavior, it’s difficult to separate the two. Having wet dreams or feeling turned on around beautiful women are normal experiences. As you work on your reboot you’ll begin to reconnect with and understand the difference between your old behaviors and healthy sexual behavior.
Having Support Along the Way
You must have support as you work through the early stages of your reboot. Reconnecting with a healthy sexuality and recognizing when you’re testing the line is easier if you’re surrounded by support.
Like I mentioned earlier, this is a topic we often cover in the free Porn Reboot Facebook group. It’s a private group filled with men in various stages of their reboot, from those in their very first days to those with a few years free from porn and compulsive behavior. If you haven’t stopped by already, I’d love for you to join us in the group today!