Today I want to write about a question from one of our brothers.
“Hey, J.K. I’ve been doing great so far with the Porn Reboot program but I want to know how to discern between healthy flirting and dangerous fantasizing. I’m currently talking to a bunch of women but not sure how to pursue things. Getting too sexual over text may cause me to relapse. Sometimes I’m not sure whether I’m leaning too far into the realm of my compulsive behavior or if it’s simply a genuine interest in a woman. How do I navigate those nuances?”
Do you ever find yourself in a situation similar to this? Are you concerned about where the line between healthy flirting and dangerous fantasizing lies? It might not be as complicated as you’re making it out to be, though.
Here’s the thing: I don’t see any nuances here.
This brother mentions that he’s talking to a bunch of women and worried about getting too sexual because of the risk of relapse. If flirting with women over text puts him in a situation that may lead to relapse, that should be a very clear boundary. He shouldn’t be texting sexually with women if he thinks it could result in a slip.
I want to point out two more important things in his question.
- What is the purpose of flirting with a ton of women?
- Why does flirting over text equate to things getting sexual?
Flirting with A Ton of Women
The first thing I recommend is getting clear about why he’s flirting with a lot of different women. I do want to mention that I see nothing wrong with having casual sexual partners. I went through a phase like that myself. I also think it’s risky to pursue relationships like this too early in your reboot, but there’s a place for it when you have more control over your behavior.
But it doesn’t sound like that’s what’s going on here. Our brother says he’s talking to a lot of women, not dating a lot of women. What is the purpose of talking with them? Is he trying to learn to become more intimate (the primary priority when rebooting) or is he only looking for sex?
Since he mentioned he’s worried about things getting too sexual I’m guessing that he’s looking for sex.
Again, it’s okay to have casual sex once you’ve rewired your brain. If you’re worried about relapsing because you’re flirting with someone, though, your brain probably hasn’t rewired yet. It might be a better idea for you to focus on building reboot capital in other areas for now instead of flirting with women.
Texting Getting Sexual
This brother also mentions his concerns about texting getting sexual. While texting doesn’t necessarily equate to things getting heated, that is something more common with flirting in today’s world. Sexting and sending explicit pictures have become the norm among men and women today.
This creates a problem for single men who struggle with out-of-control sexual behavior. You can’t conduct yourself like everyone else, brother. It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing; learning to control your behavior should be your priority. This means that sexting, sending dick pics, and receiving naked pictures from women isn’t an option for you.
I’ve been in a relationship for 13 years and neither of us has ever sent an explicit picture to the other. I assure you it’s not because we’re conservative people but it’s because I set a hard boundary early on that it’s not something for me.
Even if you’ve been in a relationship with your partner for a long time, explicit texts are a slippery slope. Naked pictures and videos of your wife or your girlfriend still count as pornography. It doesn’t matter that you see her naked all the time; it’s the fact that it’s a digital image that gets you stimulated.
Texting isn’t inherently sexual but oftentimes it crosses the line into that today. If you can’t keep your text conversations conservative then you need to shift your priority to working on yourself some more.
Focus on Building Intimacy
Your porn use and compulsive sexual behavior destroyed your understanding of intimacy. Porn addiction effect is the furthest thing from intimate. It doesn’t portray the true nature of intimate sexual relations. Building intimacy is an important part of the Porn Reboot process and it won’t happen when you’re only focused on sleeping with women in the early stages.
It takes time, energy, and attention to build intimacy. It doesn’t come from a one-night stand. The more you spend time listening to the women you’re talking to and actually hearing what they say, you’ll build a stronger connection and a healthier relationship.
If you don’t feel like you’re able to build intimacy just yet, though, that’s okay. It comes with time and takes practice. You’ll learn to build these kinds of relationships the longer you stick with your porn addiction recovery. For now, spend some time with us in the free Facebook group and let us know what we can do to help.