...Apparently during abuse, the stress can be so great that the endorphin release can over-counter the stress to the point that we go back to that behavior just to get that endorphin high....Do you think that was a factor in your thoughts of acting out?
Good question. I finally heard someone talk about this phenomenon last week in a You Tube interview with Gary Wilson about porn and how it affects the brain. Hardly anyone talks about this. For many years I thought I was the only one suffering from this sexual compulsion toward fear and stress. To explain further, let me take you back to the original scene.TRIGGER WARNING
- Sexual Details - I will try to be as tasteful as possible, but this may be very triggering to some.
I was 11, and had just hit puberty, but barely. My very first masturbatory ejaculation had happened by then. It was to a copy of "Oui" magazine (men's magazine) that my mother had lying around in her apartment. I liked girls but was shy, and started to fantasize about them. The family friend / neighbor who ended up abusing me was around 28. He was never really coercive or forceful or violent; in fact he was very good to me in a lot of ways. But in hindsight I can see how he knew how to manipulate my affections and how to "seduce" me. Before this he had done some touching that made me uncomfortable, but nothing like this.
This is where it started. One night we were staying over at his apartment. I am not sure how we both ended up naked, but if I remember correctly, we had just taken separate showers, because I remember us drying off with large towels. We got into bed and I guess I was still very naïve because I thought we were just going to be sleeping, and that it was just kind of cool to be naked. But within minutes I felt his erect penis against my backside. I remember being very scared. But it was a confusing combination of fear, excitement, panic, adrenaline, revulsion and shame. I was a nervous person in general, but felt so small and out of sorts in that moment. To make a long story short, I was so rushed with brain chemicals and fear that I ended up ejaculating on the bed. In hindsight, I believe that happened because my body and brain were looking for a "high" to calm and soothe my fear and adrenaline surge. It released a big dopamine rush in my brain. I don't remember much else after that except falling asleep.
The next day, he joked about me having "glued the sheets together." That of course added to my shame and feeling small.
I ended up going back for more, but that is another story best left for another time.
But ever since that night, sexual desires became very rooted in fear and stress in my mind. That created a lot of sexual dysfunction, which I will not detail here, but you can PM me if you want to compare notes. Anyway, a few months ago I happened to re-visit the memory of this event and I saw how it created my "orgasm addiction," as I call it. I believe that this one event sent me in a direction where sexual pleasure was deeply connected to fear and anxiety and vice versa. In other words, when I was fearful or afraid, my brain would automatically seek a sexual high that resulted in ejaculation. All sex was shocking to me, but I also sought to at least view or imagine more extreme sexual acts that had higher shock value, like BDSM, etc. which basically are designed to shock or unsettle.
I was also extremely drawn to the goriest horror movies and to extreme music (heavy metal, thrash, punk) - go figure!
It was all part of my brain seeking out more shock and anxiety.
Gary Wilson mentioned that sometimes when people get bored of the usual porn, they will seek out more extreme, even violent porn, because the adrenaline and dopamine rushes that are triggered by the shock and anxiety of extreme porn are so much greater in intensity. Apparently the way the science tells it, the dopamine rushes (or high) that men get from regular sex or regular porn can lessen over time, so that they lose interest and need a more extreme version of the same to get that same high.
It is of great interest to me that this book Beyond Betrayal
discusses this in more detail - and in the context of abuse - because I hardly ever hear anyone discuss this. I thought it was me, that I was just "weak" and "not a real man" to have this sexual compulsion toward fear and anxiety.
I have never told this story before to anyone. I am not sure if anyone can really relate or had anything similar, but I have always felt ashamed of having this type of issue. That is why it is a big victory that this correlation between fear / stress and sexual compulsion / fantasy has finally been crippled. As I said, it is not always 100% gone but it is no longer an automatic place my mind locks into where I can never stop it from happening. Now, at least when I feel it happening, I can slow my reactions down and take steps to stop my mind from going there. It takes work. But many times I do not even feel the urge like I used to, so thank God for that
. I hated living like this all the time, it made me feel sexually crippled.