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#44032 - 12/11/03 12:55 PM Compulsive masturbation
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Squidgy's quotes in Scotty's topic raise some interesting points for me.

" "A high proportion of masturbatory experiences are motivated less by erotic needs than by general anxiety, tension, and boredom for which it becomes a sought-for tranquilizer." So when one is upset, depressed, lonely, or under much stress this habit becomes a convenient "tranquilizer" to blot out one's troubles. Therefore, to avoid masturbation, you must recognize this as an immature way to deal with problems."

This I agree with, and I think it was AA that created the acronym "HALT" to help people overcome the urge to drink - and masturbation when it's a problem can easily be considered addictive.
Hungry, Alone, Lonely, Tired.
And for me I only need two or three of those factors for something to go "click" and start me off.
As I said in the last post, even though I had distractions and contact with someone for a couple of hours the compulsion remained, and I gave in. And did I beat myself up ? of course I did. Looking at porn and masturbating is something I don't want to do. I want to have a normal sex life with my wife. And the maddening thing is so does she, she's a sensual and uninhibited woman. It's not as though I have any problem with not having access to normal sex.

The problem is that at times I still have the old fantasy of sex with other men, and I find it difficult to resolve that with having sex with my wife. I know where the fantasy originates - from my abuse. So I don't want that, but it's proving so difficult to erase from my mind. It's been there for nearly 35 years and I suppose trying to throw it out in 3 or 4 years might be asking a bit much ?
It's nowhere near as bad as it was, and I do accept to a degree that if this is as good as it gets FOR ME then maybe I will have to learn to accept it even more ?
But that's my view, and not everyone elses.

Another quote though I don't agree with -

"Suppose you accidentally see or hear something that is sexually stimulating? Exert your mind and reject the immoral thought. The arousal will soon die down."

For two reasons, firstly calling the fantasy "an immoral thought" just compounds the guilt - haven't we got enough guilt without piling more on top ? I know I'm contradicting myself here a bit because I don't want my particular type of fantasy, but I don't want any more guilt either, and I think that for me anyway the guilt is a greater burden than having a fantasy.
The second point is that I find the statement simplistic, "exert your mind and reject the immoral thought" - I've tried that - and it doesn't work ( for me )
Also, and more importantly, it's a perfectly natural thing to see, read or hear something erotic and be aroused.
It doesn't have to be porn, just an attractive person we see on the street, a scene in a movie or a passage in a book.
Of course it's better, or should I say more acceptable on a personal level, if the image that arouses us is something we agree with as regards being acceptable for us, the individual. But even people in good monogamous relationships look and admire other people or read erotic books.

Naomi Wolf the feminist writer wrote this in an excellent article about pornography and it's debilitating effects on men.
This passage shows, I believe, that it is perfectly possible to be sexual without resorting to vivid fantasy outside your frame of morality.
And this is where I want to go, to a position where I educate myself to what is acceptable to me.
I've tried abstinence, and I know that others here have as well with varied results, but for me it didn't work.

Quote -
Other cultures know this. I am not advocating a return to the days of hiding female sexuality but I now understand that the power and charge of sex is maintained when there is some sacredness to it.
The sense that sex is not every-­where on tap all the time benefits relationships. This is why many cultures condemn the wide dissemi­nation of sexual images. Many more traditional cultures seem to understand male sexuality better than we do. They understand what it takes to keep men and women turned on to one another over time - to help men, in particular, be, as the Old Testament puts it, “satis­fied with the breasts of the wife of thy youth”.
These cultures urge men not to look at porn because they place a high value on erotic married stabil­ity, and they know that a powerful erotic bond between parents is a key element of a strong family.

They see that the sexual drive is like the pressure in a pipe; if you expose a man or woman to a myr­iad of intense sexual images of other mates, it is like a thousand nicks in the pipe, a thousand leaks of sexual energy; so that in the end there is less energy to bring to the relationship. These cultures may not be nice to women - but they understand the power of Eros. We can teach them about equality; -they can teach us about sacredness.
And feminists have misunderstood many of these prohibitions. Orthodox Jews do not look at the eyes of women because they under­stand that a direct glance can be meltingly erotic. Muslim women cover their hair because hair is sexy.
Critics of such practices have not looked at the benefits that these cultures glean from setting apart sex­ual stimulation for the enjoyment only of married lovers: if you have ever seen Moroccan women danc­ing at a wedding you will know how steamy scenes between observant Muslim husbands and wives can be. Observant Jewish women, who abstain from sex two weeks a month, tell me they have more erotically charged encoun­ters with their husbands than their secular counterparts whose mates come home after a long day at work continually slightly aroused by co-workers, billboards and ads, only to have to work at it to get excited by a naked ordinary wife.
I will never forget a visit I made to Devorah, an old friend who had become an orthodox Jew in Jerusalem. I found she had abandoned her jeans and T-shirts for long skirts and a headscarf. I could not get over it. Devorah has waist-length wild curly golden-blonde hair. “Can’t I even see your hair?” I asked, trying to find my old friend in there. “No,” she demurred quietly. “Why not?” I wondered. After all, I am a woman. “Only my hus­band,” she said with a calm sexual confidence, “ever gets to see my hair.”
When she showed me her little house in a settlement on a hill and I saw the bedroom, draped in Mid­dle Eastern embroideries, that she shares only with her husband (the kids are not allowed in) and only when the time is right, the sexual -intensity in the air was archaic, overwhelming.
It was private. It was a feeling of erotic intensity deeper than any I have ever picked up between secular couples in the liberated West. And I thought: our husbands see naked women all day on Times Square, if not on the internet. Her husband never even sees another woman’s hair. She must feel, I thought, so hot.


Personally I think that this kind of relationship with my sexuality would be perfect, although I'm not suggesting my wife wears a veil. But I'm trying hard to focus on our relationship in every aspect and I think that the husband of Devorah would also feel "hot" because they have moulded and developed their relationship to accomodate sex, and enjoy it with the mystery and delight of newly weds.
What Wolf advocates, and I agree with, is that porn and the non stop highly erotic images of advertising and MTV videos etc keep raising the level of what arouses us, way past the 'normal' arousal of seeing your partner dressed up and looking good, and them feeling the same about you. These highly sexually charged images desensitize us so we want more and stronger ones.
And for us survivors of course we have a headfull of memories and images already - the wrong ones !

So for us it's doubly difficult, we have our own images and when we turn the TV on there's Britney gyrating in front of us !
Where do we go to escape - is there an escape ? I don't know, it's hard to avoid all these influences and images and they trigger a normal physical response in us.
We can go and live in a cave in the desert, or somehow deal with what we've got. I'm trying hard to do the second one. I turn the TV off more than I used to, and try to regulate the influences I recieve. But it's hard.

I want to enjoy my sexuality, not feel guilty about part, or even all, of it.


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

#44033 - 12/11/03 02:37 PM Re: Compulsive masturbation
dwf Offline
Moderator/BoD Emeritus

Registered: 05/24/03
Posts: 1223
Loc: Austin, Texas USA
Hey Dave,

I've got the cure for masturbation! Take 450 milligrams of Effexor SR plus 300 milligrams of Zoloft every day for 18 months and then you'll be like me----incapable of performing the act that is such a scourge to so many survivors.

Question is then what happens? What happens to people who manage, by dint of sheer will power or by force of circumstance such as medical problems, to stop the objectionable action temporarily?

My experience is that unless I am actively engaged in an ongoing, daily attempt to follow some sort of program of recovery aimed at getting at and resolving the underlying motivation for the compulsive behaviors, then I will go on to find some other outlet, perhaps less objectionable, perhaps more, for the neurotic energy feeding the original compulsion.

IMHO, the masturbation is no more than a symptom of what is bothering us. Sort of like the idea that drinking booze is just a symptom of the greater disease of alcoholism.

Does that mean that ceasing the offending actions is without merit? Certainly not. We must begin to experience life without the anesthetic cushion of masturbation or drinking or any compulsive behavior in order to begin to have the reality of our emotional, psychological drives hit us in the face without the drugging effect of the addictive act. Only by stopping can we begin to develop newer and better ways of expressing the hurt and confusion that underly so much acting out.

But to imagine that an individual truly addicted to anything can simply stop and stay stopped by will power is an invitation to disaster, in my opinion. Either some other behavior will have to take the place of the addiction in order to defuse the explosive force of pent up emotion which drives the addiction, or the person will try to find another way to escape the pressure and pain of the motivating stimuli: often ways that involve harming themselves or others.

Changing from one addiction to another is like switching seats on the Titanic---we all end up in the cold, cold water.

I agree wholeheartedly with you that feelings of shame and guilt are counterproductive to recovery from the sexual abuse that is the mainspring of addictive and other acting out behaviors.

My sponsors repeat to me the time tested mantra of the three a's: Awareness, Acceptance and Action.

Me, I always want to go from the awareness of a problem in the action of solving it. Which doesn't work. The acceptance of a thing is what leads me to freedom from it. Condemning and fighting with a behavior, such as in the "have more will power" approach only seems to enmesh me further. Acceptance doesn't mean that we approve or like what's happening. It simply means that I recognize the true situation, the real nature of my dilemna, and accept the fact that it exists, is real and is there for some purpose.

It means that I stop hating and condemning myself. That I accept and love myself. Only then can I take actions that are truly restorative and do not continue to perpetuate the harm already done to me by others.

Sorry to go on so long....I realize this is a bit of a soap box thing. But I feel strongly that we must resist the inclinations towards self hatred and self deprecation if we are to hope to have a sane and healthy sex life.

Sure, stop the behavior or moderate it's effects on your lives. But never forget that the behavior exists for a reason, serves us an important purpose and has probably saved our lives and our sanity over the years. What can we find to take it's place?

That I think is the real question to be answered as we trudge this road together.

I'm glad I'm at least on the road these days, and that I don't have to trudge alone.

Hope these ideas help someone somewhere to think more lovingly about themselves. That is the true victory for me.

Thanks for the topic, Dave. As always, you have stimulated and informed.

Your brother,

"Poke salad Annie, 'gators got you granny
Everybody said it was a shame
'Cause her mama was aworkin' on the chain-gang"

-Tony Joe White

#44034 - 12/11/03 03:46 PM Re: Compulsive masturbation
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
once again you make perfect sense, thank you for that.

I agree totally that just stopping masturbation - cold turkey - is a non starter.
The drive behind the compulsion is STILL there and will manifest itself in some other way.
We have to address the "three a's: Awareness, Acceptance and Action." before we go anywhere else.

I can spotaneously masturbate with no guilt or shame at all, even to my fantasy of other men.
I accept that as being part of being the man I am and perfectly normal.
I get the guilt and shame from the process of winding myself up to masturbating over a period of time, sometimes many hours. I used to be days when I acted out.
That's the bit I want to fix.

We have to become aware of our triggers, the situations that set us off and we find so hard to retreat from. The H.A.L.T. thing is one of my big issues for sure - especcially "L" Lonely. Then I feel unwanted and insecure and the downward spiral begins. I know that, and I 'phoned my wife about 30 mins ago because of that. It helps immensly.

Acceptance ? I have to accept that at this time I'm not as healed as I'd like to be, but I also accept that I'm trying bloody hard to get where I want to be !
Do I have to accept the fantasies I don't like ? that's a difficult one.
My therapist is also a very well respected Psychosexual therapist, and she say's fantasy is ok. It's a release of our darkest thoughts and all theat Freudian stuff. I can accept that. But I have a fear of the past catching me up once again.
It was fantasy getting out of control that eventually made me act out, or it was certainly a big factor. And I don't want to go there again.
I know how strong fantasy can be, and if dream up a new one of and a giraffe for instance, will I be breraking into zoo's in a few years time ? I doubt it very much, but the knowledge of past is causing conflict there.

Action ? I've tried all kinds of things, and the best one for me is the 'phone.
So why didn't I use it the other day then ?
It beats me.

Thanks Danny

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

#44035 - 12/11/03 04:51 PM Re: Compulsive masturbation
Brayton Offline

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 696
Loc: Minneapolis
It means that I stop hating and condemning myself. That I accept and love myself. Only then can I take actions that are truly restorative and do not continue to perpetuate the harm already done to me by others.
For me this is a key point.

Fantasy is just fantasy and not a bad thing but as noted above is a sort of release. It can enhance sexual experiences with a partner.

I know that it is important to be able to listen to my mind and body, really listen and know then when something is uncomfortable that there is something about it that is not good for me.

I have discovered that the abuse taught me to not listen but to suppress these keys to understanding myself, my natural intuition about what is good and what is not good for me sexually.

I am taking 5 medications now, an antidepressant, 2 to moderate moods swings, one to manage anxiety and another to help me sleep.

One of the side effects is a lessened ability to get and maintain an erection. My psychiatrist even prescribed Viagra at one point to help overcome this but since it is my libido that is suppressed, that didn't accomplish the desired effect.

My interest is sex is practically nil and masturbation is clearly compulsive and the fantasies I use clearly connected to the abuse I experienced.

It takes anywhere from 90 minutes to 2 hours to ejaculate but, as ridiculous as that is, I still feel compelled to do it. And still do it even though more than ever I feel shame and self-loathing afterward.

Loneliness and being bored have a lot to do with it but also the desire to escape.

Back when it took only a few minutes, I wasn't really aware of the content of my fantasies and what they might mean. I didn't experience the shame and self-loathing as I do now but rather just the relaxed good feeling.

My compulsion and my growing awareness of the abuse I experienced are linked but I do not yet see it clearly. I feel a resistance "inside" to understanding this more clearly.


Sometimes, things just won't work the way we want them to.

#44036 - 12/11/03 09:39 PM Re: Compulsive masturbation
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Ah Masturbation;

Engage in it and you will go blind or grow hair on lyour palms. My god if that were true we would be a species of blind hairy men. Sure it stimulates fantasy without actually performing the fantasy. Masturbation is a release from tension and goddammit it feels good too. And there should be no shame in it.And it is harmless unless you wear out from over use. But isnt that true with anything taken to excess.

Some fantasize while doing it. So what!!! Better to fantasize than act out the fantasy to your detriment or harm.

I think the buggaboo about it with us is that any sexual act is dirty and unclean and we feel shame from the pleasure. I mean thats what the abuse was all about guilt and shame. Misplaced as it was. I was 16 and I was aroused by all that those three assholes did to me. My guilt my shame. Yeh right!!!

I learned it all by myself as a youngster and was terrified that I would go blind. Nearly went nuts the first time I had an orgasm. Thought I was gonna die. What a lot of crap!!!




#44037 - 12/11/03 09:50 PM Re: Compulsive masturbation
survive75 Offline

Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 304
Loc: Massachusetts
To post a simple, short reply:

Fantasy and masturbation, like anything, are great when you can choose to use them, but not when you begin to NEED them.



"Even though I know/I don’t want to know/Yeah I guess I know/I just hate how it sounds"

#44038 - 12/12/03 01:54 AM Re: Compulsive masturbation
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Thank you Sean. I guess I am verbose



#44039 - 12/12/03 02:02 AM Re: Compulsive masturbation
Thomas Offline

Registered: 07/31/03
Posts: 109
Loc: boise
Uh, Dave, not to be a pedant \:o , but I think the acronym is:

H - hungry
A - angry
L - lonely
T - tired.

I'm very aware of this acronym because it very well describes the triggers of my compulsive masturbation - at least I think of it as compulsive. What happens? For some reason or another, I become angry or lonely (my two biggies) and off we go to the races.

I agree w/ the quotation about masturbation often being less about erotic needs than etc. The contents of my fantasies make that clear. In my session w/ my therapist this morning, I told her about my downloading pornography and really doing some marathon masturbating since last Friday. This is certainly less about erotic needs than about anger at someone deceased whose birthday was last Friday. I've also noticed that I use masturbation as a weapon to make me relive the past w/ all its guilt and shame. Sheesh!

I don't have any grand conclusions or even any little ones to offer, not that any were requested anyway. I grew up in a religious tradition and later chose a different tradition, both of which view masturbation as sinful. Personally, I don't concern myself w/ that. I'm more concerned w/ the compulsivity of my masturbation. As long as any activity has control of me (and it does), I've quite a ways to go in recovery.


To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive. - Robert Louis Stevenson

#44040 - 12/12/03 02:13 AM Re: Compulsive masturbation
Green Offline

Registered: 07/13/03
Posts: 115
Loc: NYC, NY
I would argue the possiblity that masturbation is a good and natural action and a very large percentage of the population does it.


#44041 - 12/12/03 07:07 AM Re: Compulsive masturbation
blueelectron9 Offline

Registered: 11/07/02
Posts: 387
Loc: Victoria, BC Canada
I like the HALT acronym. I've not heard that before.

My T suggested that I put a rubberband on my wrist and snap it when I find myself involved in fantasy as a way to help bring me back. At first, it worked like a champ, but I regret that after a day at Disneyland (and I already feel guilty about it being my partner's birthday), I'm stuck on two-three particular men who I just can't get out of my mind.

We're watching some movie tonight where the girl goes home to Alabama. There are attractive men in it as well as on Survivor (I'm smitten with Burton). I just can't seem to escape it now.

I am particularly susceptible when I'm bored or have low self-esteem--i.e., see other's who I think are better than me.

It's a miserable existence and I keep thinking that it wouldn't happen if I just had a normal sex life.

Fat lies.


An odd duck who likes even numbers.

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