Porn Free for 90 Days

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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Postby Ben » Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:58 am

Dear members,
Once again - please return to topic. ( viewtopic.php?f=22&t=11563#p174892 )
Failure to abide by this reasonable request may result in disciplinary action.

Ben
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Postby Ben » Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:21 am

Dear members,

Since there is a great deal of interest in masturbation and pornography and this thread is drawing a lot of tangential discussion on those topics.

Please keep in mind that this thread is for those who have made a public declaration of adhitthana to give up porn and masturbation, to diarise their 'progress', and for others to give their support. Any discussion which is tangential, however interesting and notworthy, does not belong here.

I have no problem with anyone starting a thread on some aspect of pornography or masturbation from any angle (Dhammic, social, neuroscientific, etc) that is of interest so long as it is in the most appropriate forum and that the new thread isn't a duplicate of existing threads. Please check the existing masturbation threads for similar content.

Out of respect for those who have, and are, undergoing what is a very difficult and personal challenge I would like the focus of the thread to remain on them, their struggles and achievements. I want those undergoing the 90-day challenge or a similar adhitthana to feel supported so that they're comfortable talking about what is a real difficulty in their life and for them to receive the support I believe they deserve.
Thank you again for your attention and cooperation.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Postby dhammapal » Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:51 am

I lasted 168 days without porn until 7 days ago. I called my Buddhist friend and confessed (I e-mailed him last October when I stopped - I was fooled by a behavior therapy book that said pornography could help phobias) but searched again at midnight for a fantasy I had in a high school sex education class. I didn't find anything but just in the searching my heart was pounding and I see a cardiologist every 4 years. The next morning I was convinced it was something to avoid so I'm clean for 5 days.

My addiction was greatly reduced 8 years ago when I started donating money to the Rape Crisis Centre. I also started using medical terminology for parts of the anatomy e.g. mammary glands.

It is a big step forward to be able to confess to another Buddhist. When you keep it secret then the mind isn't honest to itself either.

With metta / dhammapal.
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Postby Thales » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:34 pm



I'm starting to experience some of the symptoms he's talking about... the desensitization, even some mild ED. I don't have any specific goals, I'm just going to go porn free for as long as I can and see where it leads. Day 2. :toast:
"Just as the ocean has a single taste, the taste of salt, so this Dhamma and Discipline has a single taste, the taste of release."

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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Postby dhamma_newb » Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:18 pm

Thank you everyone for your feedback. I have learned much through this process, not just about addiction and craving for sensual pleasures but also about my relationship with meditation practice and with life. I started off on the Buddhist path with so many unrealistic expectations and the need for my practice to be perfect and have been greatly humbled by the mistakes I have made along the way. Meditation is so much more than I first believed, and it has revealed some sides of myself that have been hidden from view for most of my life, stuff that would have preferred to stay hidden. Becoming aware of the greed, hatred, and delusion that is a part of being human can be pretty horrifying. During this process I uncovered much guilt and shame which spiraled into aversion and self-hatred, but I wasn't aware of it. With so many defilements in the mind at once I was bound to fail, which ended up being a good thing.

This experience has taught me the value of having compassion along with mindfulness throughout my practice and my life. I've also learned the importance of being aware of the presence or absence of defilements in the mind. These insights are priceless and will help me immensely as I move forward.

As a side note, when I started this thread I didn't think there would be others here on the forum who are facing the same issue as me which was pretty naive on my part considering many of the members of the forum are around my age or younger and frequently use the internet. It wasn't my intention to start a crusade against porn or masturbation. For those of you who do decide to stop using pornography I wish you the best and advise you to really pay attention to what others have posted on this thread. Take care.

With Metta,
Don
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Porn Free for 90 Days

Postby dhammapal » Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:42 am

Hi Thales, Don, all,

Very interesting Gary Wilson talk. He says there is a problem with InterNet porn addiction statistical research because of the rarity of “controls” i.e. young men who have never used porn. He says there is interest in studying the recent movement on the InterNet of men who have quit porn.

He talks about the Coolidge Effect, the sexual desire for variety, for brand-new women. He points out that an InterNet user can see more nude women in a day as someone in 1800 would see in a lifetime. The brain reacts to this as hitting the evolutionary jackpot which profoundly affects the brain chemistry. The Buddha used a very harsh simile:
the Buddha transl. Bodhi wrote:And what, bhikkhus, is the Dhamma exposition on the theme of burning? It would be better, bhikkhus, for the eye-faculty to be lacerated by a red-hot iron pin burning, blazing, and glowing, than for one to grasp the sign through the features in a form cognizable by the eye. For if consciousness should stand tied to gratification in the sign or in the features, and if one should die on that occasion, it is possible that one will go to one of two destinations: hell or the animal realm. Having seen this danger, I speak thus.
From: SN35:235 The Exposition on Burning

The commentary tactfully explains grasping the sign through the features as thinking “What beautiful feet!” An example of thoroughly grasping the sign was a download list on my father's computer with an entry comment “Superb.” Despite the modern technology it can take hours of searching to find satisfactory images which is depressing.

I reckon porn is a root cause of depression, social withdrawal and social anxiety. But videos of people with no clothes on are less harmful than those with violence says Tim Berners-Lee the inventor of the Web when asked about creating a .xxx domain alternative to .com In the Brahmaviharas, the feelings of affection for a nude woman would be the near enemy of metta. I have preferred soft photos of volunteer female nudists with Duchenne smiles, but still they should have thought of the problems their photos might cause men with porn addiction.

I'm clean for 8 days so far this time. I'm still thinking about sex much of the time but mostly about funny quotes about the drawbacks of sex e.g. “Is that it?!” I look forward to sharing this journey with Buddhist friends.

For lay Buddhists giving up porn, a beginning is to observe some of the Eight Precepts on Uposatha Observance Days (4 days per month). The 2012 calendar is here.

With metta / dhammapal.
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Postby dhammapal » Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:52 pm

After writing that post I have decided to call my American Buddhist friend again to renew my resolve to completely lose interest in pornography.
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Postby Ben » Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:58 pm

Wishing you all every success.
kind regards,

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Postby dhammapal » Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:04 pm

I deleted the 17 nude photos off my computer and emptied the Recycle Bin!
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:39 am

I reckon porn is a root cause of depression, social withdrawal and social anxiety.
Can porn be associated with depression and those other things, possibly, but is porn the cause of these things? It is far more likely that one’s self loathing, feeling of being a failure and all of that which has to do with one’s imagined weakness in face of porn.

The problem is not the pornography; rather, it is more likely that one imagines that he not living up to a constructed ideal of what is holy, of what is pure, and in a fit of weakness the person has succumb to his lust and defiled himself by giving himself an dreaded, impure, lowly, worldly orgasm.

There is a lot of self-abuse going on in this thread, but it is not the self-pleasuring sort; it is the beating up of one’s self for not living up to an ideal that one put out in front of oneself. While one might flagellate oneself by calling their problem an addiction, I have seen no evidence in what is written here that what is being described is anything remotely near clinical sex-addiction, but what I have seen is a lot a young guys with crappy self-esteem because they cannot live up to self-imposed religious ideal and because they are not comfortable with their sexuality.

That is unquestionably painfully uncomfortable stuff to live with, but it is not the pornography itself that is the problem.

What is going on here a volatile mixture of being young and highly sexed, not comfortable with one’s sexuality, and a monastic ideal that takes a very dim view of sex.

Outside of ariya status the reality one is not going overcome one’s sexual urges. It does not help to take a negative attitude towards such urges and it does not help to assume that if one does not masturbates that one being holy.

Simply, one needs to do the practice and needs to be kind to one’s self. Self-loathing, a sense of failure and feeling degraded is not what the practice is about.

I would recommend simply this: keep in mind that kamma is the basis of our practice, it about choices we make constantly all the time. Small choices, mostly, but these small choices can snowball into bigger, far harder choices. It is an ongoing practice to see this. It is a matter of learning by doing and by doing over and over again.

Now, keep in mind that masturbation is not just about sexual pleasure, but it is also about loneliness, boredom, and such, and if one starts feeling an urge, pay attention to the feelings, pay attention to the habits around the feelings, pay attention to the small choices that are being made. Don’t get overly analytical, just pay attention. That may be enough to stop it there, but it may not and if you whack-off, pay attention, especially to the negative, judgmental feelings about one’s self afterwards, which are far, far worse in than the whacking-off itself in that those judgmental negative feelings simply reinforces all the negativities on either side of the act of masturbation, making it harder to respond to this in a wholesome way.

As sexual being, barring ariya status, we are going to have sexual feelings and responses. Ideally, what one learns -- and one cannot force this to happen -- is to be comfortable with one’s uncomfortable feelings. In other words, “Ah, that is a mind with lust.” One need not act on it, either to cultivate it or to try to squash it. And, yes I know there any number of very specific meditative tools that are designed to squash it, but those are expedient tools. More long term, with deeper results, is seeing that such mind states are conditioned, that they rise and fall, and that you can choose how you are going to act in response. It takes times, and in the process one needs to learn how to be gentle, to kind and forgiving to one’s self.

If one slips up, acknowledge it (no need to beat yourself up over it) and start over. Each moment you are in is new; each movement is point of choice as to what direction you are going to go.

Just be a bit kinder to yourselves.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Postby Ben » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:24 am

Wise words, indeed, Tilt.

We need to be gentler on ourselves. As you know I have congratulated and encouraged those on this thread who have made a public declaration of adhitthana to overcome what is a significant demon in their lives. I was once in a very similar situation well over twenty-five years ago. And through the passage of time realized that it was my own approach to overcoming my sense attachment by sheer will was a significant part of the problem. I would be very gung ho, maintain the momentum, then stuggle, then acquiesce and then fall in a heap of feelings of inadequacy and self loathing. Then sometime later I would manage to resurrect the motivation to start all over again.
I hope this is not what is going on with some of our members and I do hope that they take the time to read, consider and implement your excellent advice.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Postby dhammapal » Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:46 am

dhammapal wrote:I deleted the 17 nude photos off my computer and emptied the Recycle Bin!

I was awake most of the night preparing to throw out all the backup CD-ROMs with the 17 female nudist photos on them (they were all downloaded in a few hours last July so I haven't been a heavy InterNet porn user). I didn't want to risk waking my mother so I put the two remaining CD-ROMs on top of the computer to throw out after daybreak. I had about an hour's sleep during which I started inclining towards keeping the photos. But I had patterns of tension in my body (high blood pressure?) that gave me a sense of urgency to get rid of the CD-ROMs for my physical safety. As soon as I tossed them in the garbage my ED eased and I slept better than I have in years.
dhammapal wrote:After writing that post I have decided to call my American Buddhist friend again to renew my resolve to completely lose interest in pornography.

I rang him at 10am and he said he was proud of me for deleting the photos. I was rather lost for words, still with some slight resentment that he was the cause of my loss. But having the 17 photos would have been the basis for seeking additional brand-new photos. And afterwards I figured that women can have Duchenne smiles with their clothes on too.

I can look forward to relating better with women. Recently on my Brahmaviharas blog I had the idea of metta phrases using people's e-mail addresses to overcome the mind/body problem. It helps not only with e-mail friends but with people I live with when they are going to the bathroom etc.

When I said that porn was a root cause of depression, social withdrawal and social anxiety, of course the dots of color on the screen aren't the problem, but the world of porn, which broadcasts the message that if women liked you they would take their clothes off for you, becomes alienated from the real world, leading to social withdrawal and social anxiety because when women aren't enthusiastic about flirting etc. it is interpreted as meaning that you are unattractive and inadequate and that the only way to see women in the nude is to watch porn where the women can't reject you. And it is embarrassing to be joining a social tennis club with the sole purpose of meeting a woman who would undress for you.

Recently my Mum reminded me of when I was about 16 (1986) and they were going to visit friends of the family. She asked me if I'd come. I lied, saying no I had to study when actually I wanted to stay at home by myself to watch porn videos. I feel regret when I think of how my family friends' son who was a couple of years younger than me would have been disappointed at my absence. I don't know if I ever saw him again.

I'm “clean” (for want of a better word) for 9 days (and 168 days before that). Writing here is helping. If it wasn't for my posts last night I would have kept the photos.

With metta / dhammapal.
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Postby Sarva » Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:08 am

dhammapal wrote:
Recently my Mum reminded me of when I was about 16 (1986)

I'm “clean” (for want of a better word) for 9 days (and 168 days before that). Writing here is helping. If it wasn't for my posts last night I would have kept the photos.

With metta / dhammapal.


Good luck with your right intentions, dhammapal, I hope it helps you to see craving 'arise and pass away' within you and this will lead to liberation from concepts, desire and habit. :)
Do you mean you were born in 1986 or you were 16 years old in 1986?
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:19 pm

dhammapal wrote: but the world of porn, which broadcasts the message that if women liked you they would take their clothes off for you, becomes alienated from the real world, leading to social withdrawal and social anxiety because when women aren't enthusiastic about flirting etc. it is interpreted as meaning that you are unattractive and inadequate and that the only way to see women in the nude is to watch porn where the women can't reject you. And it is embarrassing to be joining a social tennis club with the sole purpose of meeting a woman who would undress for you.
Why would you take the "world of porn's" view of women as being how you should act or what you should expect? The goal here is to see women nude? This has nothing to do with porn, but it has everything to do with an immature view of women and men and sex. Maybe the goal should be something else, such seeing women as individuals, as humans beings with thoughts and feelings. Growing up can be a painful, slow process. Rather than blaming porn, you might want to reassess how you view yourself and how you view women. Maybe some sort of therapy might help you get a handle on this, but if you keep blaming external things for your own actions, you are not going to get anywhere healthy.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Postby YouthThunder » Thu Apr 26, 2012 8:02 pm

dhammapal wrote:Hi Thales, Don, all,

Very interesting Gary Wilson talk. He says there is a problem with InterNet porn addiction statistical research because of the rarity of “controls” i.e. young men who have never used porn. He says there is interest in studying the recent movement on the InterNet of men who have quit porn.

He talks about the Coolidge Effect, the sexual desire for variety, for brand-new women. He points out that an InterNet user can see more nude women in a day as someone in 1800 would see in a lifetime. The brain reacts to this as hitting the evolutionary jackpot which profoundly affects the brain chemistry. The Buddha used a very harsh simile:
the Buddha transl. Bodhi wrote:And what, bhikkhus, is the Dhamma exposition on the theme of burning? It would be better, bhikkhus, for the eye-faculty to be lacerated by a red-hot iron pin burning, blazing, and glowing, than for one to grasp the sign through the features in a form cognizable by the eye. For if consciousness should stand tied to gratification in the sign or in the features, and if one should die on that occasion, it is possible that one will go to one of two destinations: hell or the animal realm. Having seen this danger, I speak thus.
From: SN35:235 The Exposition on Burning

The commentary tactfully explains grasping the sign through the features as thinking “What beautiful feet!” An example of thoroughly grasping the sign was a download list on my father's computer with an entry comment “Superb.” Despite the modern technology it can take hours of searching to find satisfactory images which is depressing.

I reckon porn is a root cause of depression, social withdrawal and social anxiety. But videos of people with no clothes on are less harmful than those with violence says Tim Berners-Lee the inventor of the Web when asked about creating a .xxx domain alternative to .com In the Brahmaviharas, the feelings of affection for a nude woman would be the near enemy of metta. I have preferred soft photos of volunteer female nudists with Duchenne smiles, but still they should have thought of the problems their photos might cause men with porn addiction.

I'm clean for 8 days so far this time. I'm still thinking about sex much of the time but mostly about funny quotes about the drawbacks of sex e.g. “Is that it?!” I look forward to sharing this journey with Buddhist friends.

For lay Buddhists giving up porn, a beginning is to observe some of the Eight Precepts on Uposatha Observance Days (4 days per month). The 2012 calendar is here.

With metta / dhammapal.

What do you mean by that?(the bolded words)

dhamma_newb wrote:Thank you everyone for your feedback. I have learned much through this process, not just about addiction and craving for sensual pleasures but also about my relationship with meditation practice and with life. I started off on the Buddhist path with so many unrealistic expectations and the need for my practice to be perfect and have been greatly humbled by the mistakes I have made along the way. Meditation is so much more than I first believed,

Whta type of meditation?Vipassana?
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Postby reflection » Thu Apr 26, 2012 8:58 pm

Ok, me myself I turn out to be pretty bad at this refraining from sexual activity right now, so I guess I need to revise my tactics a bit. A year ago or so I did not have this craving much, and so I think I know how to overcome it -at least for a big part- if there is the drive to, but my conviction (call it faith if you will) is not big enough at this time. I hereby want to say I'll try to establish a daily practice to establish more conviction and see where it will bring me.

I have some ideas on how to do this but if anyone can share their ideas, that would be great. Right now I want to reflect on past experiences of not craving, project on how the future would be if I manage to abstain and how it'll ultimately lead to the Buddha's freedom. Also I want to start reading more about this. If there is something somebody can add, or a specific sutta or book reference, it'll make me very happy.

Metta to all especially those in similar circumstances,
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Postby Alex123 » Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:08 pm

dhammapal wrote:I reckon porn is a root cause of depression, social withdrawal and social anxiety. But videos of people with no clothes on are less harmful than those with violence says Tim Berners-Lee the inventor of the Web when asked about creating a .xxx domain alternative to .com In the Brahmaviharas,


By violence do you mean violent porn, or violent action movies?
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Postby dhamma_newb » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:06 pm

Thanks again Tilt. I always appreciate your ability to cut through the BS and point out another perspective that I haven't considered (or was in denial of) on the issues we discuss on this forum.

YouthThunder wrote:
dhamma_newb wrote:Thank you everyone for your feedback. I have learned much through this process, not just about addiction and craving for sensual pleasures but also about my relationship with meditation practice and with life. I started off on the Buddhist path with so many unrealistic expectations and the need for my practice to be perfect and have been greatly humbled by the mistakes I have made along the way. Meditation is so much more than I first believed,

Whta type of meditation?Vipassana?


Yes. Prior to learning Vipassana I practiced Transcendental Meditation and I thought meditation was all about blissing out. Vipassana has shown me otherwise.
The watched mind brings happiness.
Dhp 36

I am larger and better than I thought. I did not know I held so much goodness.
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Postby dhammapal » Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:43 am

tiltbillings wrote:
dhammapal wrote: but the world of porn, which broadcasts the message that if women liked you they would take their clothes off for you, becomes alienated from the real world, leading to social withdrawal and social anxiety because when women aren't enthusiastic about flirting etc. it is interpreted as meaning that you are unattractive and inadequate and that the only way to see women in the nude is to watch porn where the women can't reject you. And it is embarrassing to be joining a social tennis club with the sole purpose of meeting a woman who would undress for you.
Why would you take the "world of porn's" view of women as being how you should act or what you should expect? The goal here is to see women nude? This has nothing to do with porn, but it has everything to do with an immature view of women and men and sex. Maybe the goal should be something else, such seeing women as individuals, as humans beings with thoughts and feelings. Growing up can be a painful, slow process. Rather than blaming porn, you might want to reassess how you view yourself and how you view women. Maybe some sort of therapy might help you get and handle on this, but if you keep blaming external things for your own actions, you are not going to get anywhere healthy.

Thanks for the reply. Good points.

I've used porn for less than 12 hours since donating to the Rape Crisis Centre in 2004. And I started using medical terminology for parts of the anatomy e.g. mammary glands. I stopped mentally undressing women I saw in daily life and understood that nudity is something very delicate, even for prostitutes.

Looking at porn starts with curiosity after searching National Geographic magazines for topless New Guinean tribeswomen as a child. And there was a feeling of being loved when a woman has given her consent to reveal her body. But looking at nude photos is indulging in sensual pleasures and is addictive. See nude photos doesn't just satisfy the desire to see women in the nude but increases that craving:
the Buddha transl. Thanissaro wrote:beings not free from passion for sensual pleasures — devoured by sensual craving, burning with sensual fever — indulge in sensual pleasures. The more they indulge in sensual pleasures, the more their sensual craving increases and the more they burn with sensual fever, and yet they feel a modicum of enjoyment & satisfaction dependent on the five strings of sensuality.
From: Magandiya Sutta: To Magandiya (excerpt)
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Also see this post of mine on sense-restraint to the Open Dhamma pornography thread.

I have avoided looking at photos of nude women for 9 1/2 days.

With metta / dhammapal.
Last edited by dhammapal on Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:00 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Porn Free for 90 Days

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Apr 27, 2012 4:49 am

dhammapal wrote: . . . Looking at porn starts with curiosity . . . .
It is worth mentioning one last time: it is not the pornography that is the problem.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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