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I just want to stop and I don't know how

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I just want to stop and I don't know how

Postby treebeard12 » Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:52 pm

I've been into porn most of my adult life (I'm 43). I've often felt a lot of shame about that. Even though no longer believe it to be such a "sinful" thing, I still feel like it is shameful for me.

I grew up very conservative. Saved myself for marriage. Got married at 21 and have been married for 22 years.

I do porn secretively, even though my wife knows I've masturbated to porn, she doesn't know how much I do it (which is daily, somtimes multiple times daily).

Throughout it all, my wife isn't super interested in sex. Though maybe she would be if I knew how to open myself up to her more. I honestly don't know how to share my sexual needs and emotional needs with her. She usually ends up feeling like any feeling of lack I have is her fault, which is never my intent. So I shy away.

A few years ago, I discovered that the internet opened up new possibilities for my sexual desires. I learned that webcamming was a thing (and I find it so much more addictive and expensive than porn). I feel creepy about it, but the idea of having a cam2cam session with a beautiful woman is invigorating (but feels shameful afterwards). I also feel guilty because I see it as a form of cheating.

THings got worse when I realized how easy it was to connect with escorts online. I had some school loan money put to the side that my wife didn't know about, so I tapped into that money three times. I met with two different escorts (one I met with twice). It felt very hollow, though they were both very interesting and professional women.

I've got a real problem here. I've had various therapists and only talked about this with one. I feel ashamed and confused. I feel discontent in my marriage, both emotionally and sexually, but feel like it is my own fault for now knowing how to be emotionally connected with my wife. It is also complicated by the reality that our libidos are very different.

But as all of the secret shame lingers, I just want it to stop.

I don't think it makes sense at all to tell my wife. That might let go of guilt but it would hurt her deeply and perhaps break up our family.

I wish I could go back to just watching porn. The webcamming thing is too expensive and I cant afford it (either financially, spiritually, or relationally). I worry about coming into a chunk of secret money and using it to go see an escort. Or I worry about what would happen if a woman (or man) were to show sexual interest in me to the point that it would be easy to fall into a more serious sort of affair.

I need help.
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Re: I just want to stop and I don't know how

Postby Snaga » Tue Nov 05, 2019 6:47 am

Hello and welcome!

It is.. a pernicious thing, isn't it?

I agree that confessing would... ease your conscience, but then be the end of the world. Which you understandably wish to avoid.

So... the webcam thing, you only get satisfaction from paying for private showings then? I can see how that would be an easy trap to fall into. Interactive is more titillating than watching something recorded. But yes it is uncomfortably close to cheating.

Have you thought about looking online or in the RL for a sexual addicts anonymous group?
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Re: I just want to stop and I don't know how

Postby ian37 » Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:22 pm

Hi. My story is actually rather similar in some ways. Even though the specifics are the same. This is a sincere shame for me as well. It has cost me so much within my life. It's also held me back in so many other ways. It can often perhaps feel like you are all alone. Because the guilt makes it hard to open up. I often feel the need to not only self-protect but one of protecting my better half. It can make it seem like to partner perhaps that she is the issue or problem. Especially when there is not always open honesty. That can maybe be hard for the one addicted to something being that there really is not any malicious intent. It just still does not necessarily make things any easier on those who happen to care the most.

Please try not to feel at fault. Having an addiction in itself does not make people like us bad. It is what we try doing that may mean the most. Sexual addiction is not as accepted nor understood as many of them out there. Which can make one feel even more at a loss.

As for my own self. What you suggest about having a higher libido can be a complication. It is not easy to be happy when not being fully satisfied in this area of life. It can lead to problems in many others. I, for example struggle with anger. Does the addiction ever serve as a stress release for you? I can only share that I'm very tired of losing so much as a result of all this. I'm actually trying to finish a semi-autobiographical movie script knowing it may prove of being healing. Not that this takes away the desire altogether. Just that it may prove to put your attention on other things at times. It can all become rather obsessive. I am also trying to find sexual happiness directly for the very first time with a partner. So as to share it with her. Not repress my being a sexual being. Just the fact that you do not want to hurt your wife suggests quite a lot of good in itself. Please know you are not alone. Even when it may seem like that the most.
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Re: I just want to stop and I don't know how

Postby winginitx » Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:44 am

Your situation is eerily similar to mine......although I am a bit older and married 38 years. Porn, massage parlors and had over 29 affairs.

Yes, therapy helps a great deal; these are ancient wounds we are trying to heal.

Let me tell you how I dealt with this.....and saved my marriage.

You probably learned about the cycle: desire - act out - guilt/shame - depression - which leads to the cycle repeat and down even darker paths.

What I had to figure out is that I was treating the wrong issue to break the cycle. I could white knuckle it through a month or two, but always re-lapsed….because I was focusing on the acting out.

But the key for me what fixing on the depression.

Depression is the 'soup' and all the other things were just ingredients in the soup. Depression (not feeling good enough, self injury/debasement/cuckoldery, self- worth, etc) fed all those other issues and really prevents forward movement and healing.

So, how do I deal with depression? One could take meds....and I tried. But could never find the right combo that didn't have severe side effects for me. So I did (and do) it the old fashion way. I had to do things that made me feel good about myself. So, I started walking everyday.....just a mile or two....and some days I threw in the rowing machine or light weights/bands. That rush did a few things for me: Not only realized that if I am doing that, then I am not doing other things that hurt my ego and self, but the fact that this is positive; it is good for me and I feel good about that.

I also make a daily list of things to accomplish. I want 'wins' every day....and I define that as accomplishments, even if they are small.....like cutting the grass or cleaning the kitchen. Idle time is a threat, so I fill that with positive, good things that boost my confidence, ego and self-esteem.

This is no small thing, and it has a compounding effect. Success begets success; the more you do, the easier it will be and the more you will enjoy it. Depression starts to fade away and you don't feel useless, benign and contemplable.

While I do things/tasks or when I am driving, I also listen to a few things. On YouTube, I either listen to Meditation Music which puts me at ease and I also listen to talks by Dr. Jordan Peterson. Not about SA, but about integrity, character and what motivates people......really, anything and everything he lectures about or debates.

I don't focus at all on SA topics, but on personal development and betterment. Beat the depression and now you have a fighting chance to battle SA issues. Without that first, I feel, you stay stuck in that cycle and just go deeper and deeper.
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Re: I just want to stop and I don't know how

Postby treebeard12 » Sat Nov 09, 2019 4:20 pm

Thank you for the responses.

I'm looking for a therapist who can help with sexuality. And I am getting treatment for anxiety and depression (which are both a lot better, even though my sexual addiction is not).

I think, for me, the underlying issue is a deep need to connect. It isn't just the sexual release. That's why I like webcams so much. And, to be honest, I enjoy even just seeing the woman's face and the false sense of seeing and feeling seen. It is why I went to visit an escort. All of this felt exciting and vulnerable and I think I thought it meant I could fully show up in those spaces as a fully sexual person.

But it always disappoints because it isn't *real.*

I've found myself fantasizing about an affair a lot. The idea of starting over with a new woman where I could enter into the relationship with full honesty and vulnerability and sexual exploration. Where I can have the things I don't have in my marriage. I've even created profiles on dating apps, only to delete them right away.

The thing I'm realizing is that I don't want to give up the life I have. I love my wife, even though it often feels like I'm married to someone like a sister rather than a sexual partner. I love my family. And I'm doing what I want to do in my life, more or less. I don't want to give that up.

But in it all, I feel like I'm never fully myself. And this isn't just about sex. It is about self-expression and intimacy. And I think my sexual stuff is what happens when I feel starved for sensuality and connection and I go about things the wrong way to get it.

I'd love to have a better, more vulnerable relationship with my wife. But after 20+ years of marriage, getting there feels daunting. And I don't know what to do with sexual addiction in the meantime.

I'm hoping therapy will help. In the past, it hasn't. But the therapist I used to have never really clicked with me.
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Re: I just want to stop and I don't know how

Postby treebeard12 » Sat Nov 09, 2019 4:23 pm

Snaga wrote:Have you thought about looking online or in the RL for a sexual addicts anonymous group?


I'm a bit overwhelmed by the idea of a real world sex addicts group. I'm open to an online one...had no idea something like that existed. Any suggestions?
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Re: I just want to stop and I don't know how

Postby treebeard12 » Sat Nov 09, 2019 8:09 pm

I also want to clarify one thing. I honestly don't think any of this is a reflection of anything lacking in my wife. Sure, I wish she were more sexually expressive. But even that wish is largely selfish on my point...wanting her to be different so that I could feel more comfortable myself somehow.

No, the issue here is me. The stuff inside of me, that was largely put into me by conditioning and messages around masculinity and sex. I internalized a lot of shame and avoidance. I never learned how to be emotionally present. And even as I work on such things, the inner damage done to my soul is causing me to act out in ways that making things worse.
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Re: I just want to stop and I don't know how

Postby Snaga » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:31 am

No suggestions, other than checking SAA out online, or looking into NoFap. I know some groups have ways to hook up with accountability partners... some are religious, some aren't.
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