Saturday, June 2, 2012

Harm reduction and porn

Every so often, I feel like my mind is being attacked, by images and plans, scenarios in which I could cheat on my woman. If I have the privacy to do it, I scan websites that review escorts, I look up online escort services, I look at strip clubs as I walk past them, I look up massage parlors. I imagine, in great detail, how I would go about evading getting caught and arranging a sexual encounter in one of these places, with one of these strangers. Thinking about these scenarios causes me to zone out for hours, and it's very sexually exciting. This is what addiction felt like, and I think it's no different than a drug. I lose time, I waste energy, I can't focus on what's important. I get stuck in a fantasy world, I sit, undignified, at the computer, wasting hours.

Odysseus tied himself up to the mast of his ship so that he wouldn't run to the sirens. My method is a little bit more prosaic. When I feel these - for lack of a better word - attacks coming on, I masturbate, using porn, so that no matter how much I am tempted, I could not physically pull off cheating. I am not sure if this is necessary or if it is excessive, I realize it is cheating in a way (though not nearly as harmful as cheating with another person).

When my woman is away, I do this even more. I feel like I am beating my brain, or my body, at its own game. It is demanding that I destroy my relationship and my future for anonymous, meaningless sex. I am responding by wearing it out through the most meaningless form of sex available (masturbation).

I would prefer to not use porn at all, and to just be free of this little voice in my head, these addictive cravings and compulsions. I think a combination of distraction and willpower can ultimately work. I want to free myself. I have tasted freedom and it is so powerful, so good, I want it again. I have it now, partially.

I am describing a classic porn addiction. The problem is that the porn addiction is the lesser of evils. What I think I am trying to do is the opposite of the gateway drug idea. But am I fooling myself? Am I actually, instead, heading in the opposite direction?

The one thing I have going for me is that, unlike with drugs, you need to be in a certain physical state - as a man, anyway - to actually engage your sex addiction. You can smoke or snort at any time, but you can only have sex if you can get an erection, and if you have beaten yourself to submission, you can't get an erection. So that's what I do.

I repeat, it's not my first choice. But it's my harm reduction method, like the methadone they give to heroin addicts.

Another thing I zone out on: creeping Music and Voice on the internet. I'm not as bad as Zuckerberg at the end of the Social Network, but I am not that far off. Voice is getting more and more famous, so there's more and more to see of her on the web. Music isn't, but she loves every new social network tool, especially involving photography, so there's always chances to see her.  Why do I do this? I don't want anything with these women. So, what am I doing? What is this behaviour? It also steals my time and energy, turns me into a criminal sneaking around. Why do it?

Maybe I need to sneak around? Is that the real thrill? Not reliving the sexual memories (which I do), but the need to have secrets, the need to have a secret life? A psychoanalyst might have a field day with this one, a pseudonymous blogger - who loves superhero movies and comics and shows like Dexter that involve secret identities - wondering, stupidly, if he gets off on the thrill of having a secret life.

My goal is integration - to lead one life, all above board, all clean and open. Is that goal generating these counter-drives, these counter-urges for secrets and sneaking?