Marriage, Kids, Pornography, Masturbation

 

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First off, my apologies to whoever arrives at this post after doing a Google search for “kids pornography.” This isn’t what you were looking for :-P

Secondly, as the title suggests, I’ll be addressing some taboo subjects in this post, and venturing into TMI territory. Look away now if that kind of thing makes you uncomfortable. Or if you happen to be my mother (lo siento, madre!).

Marriage

In a response to last week’s survey, someone asked if I ever saw myself getting married and having kids.

Can’t say I really believe in the marriage thing. I’m not a religious person, so to me, it doesn’t make much sense to have a priest confirm my commitment to someone. The only way I could ever see myself getting married would be for tax or immigration reasons. That is, if I was committed to a partner anyway, and getting married would make our lives easier in other ways, then yeah, I’d be okay with it. I’d prefer to skip the religious ceremony though and just get hitched at the registry office, unless of course the future Mrs. Doherty felt strongly about getting married in a church.

Right now, I’m in no hurry to settle down and commit to any one person. I very much enjoy having lots of time to myself, doing exactly what I want to do, not having to worry too much about a special lady friend.

Sounds a bit selfish, right? I concede that I am selfish in that regard. Finding a long-term partner is just not high on my list of priorities these days. I expect that will change at some point. Maybe after I live out my crazy round-the-world travel dream.

Kids

I don’t feel strongly about having my own kids, no real desire to go forth and sow my seed. As I see it, there are too many people on the planet. A friend of mine once told me that he believed couples should only ever have two kids, because then they’re just replacing themselves. But that’s only true if you die as soon as your kid is born. Otherwise, there’s a huge overlap.

That said, I would like to be a dad some day, going the adoption route. There are plenty of kids out there without parents, and I’m sure I could be a good influence on one or two of them, give them opportunities that they might never have otherwise. Plus, if I adopt a black kid, there’s a better chance he’ll make the NBA :-P

As with the marriage thing though, I’d be willing to reconsider the above if I find myself committed to a woman who feels strongly about having her own kids. I understand that carrying a child is a magical experience for a woman, and I wouldn’t begrudge her that.

Pornography

As noted, I’m not religious, but I have been known to do the Lent thing every so often. I see it as a good exercise in self-discipline. I may even try Ramadan some time for the same reason.

When I was younger, I used to give up things like chocolate for Lent. Back in 2006 I decided to give up eating altogether, allowing myself only tea and water for three days. And then two years ago, I tried giving up pornography for Lent.

Best. Decision. Ever.

See, I had a problem with porn. When I got that itch, I’d spend way too much time online, looking for a fix. And then I’d feel like a dirty, undisciplined pervert afterwards. So I gave it up for those 40 days two years ago, and never went back.

Not that I’m strictly opposed to pornography now. I haven’t turned into a complete prude or anything. But, as I originally wrote within A Course In Courage, here are three good reasons to give that stuff up:

  • Porn doesn’t push you out of your comfort zone. It’s too easy to stay home and get your porn fix instead of going out and interacting with real people. Rather than settling for images on a screen or in a glossy magazine, why not go out and find someone who can help make your fantasy a reality?
  • Pornography desensitizes you. Before you know it you’ve developed some kind of South American scraped knee fetish and can no longer get turned on by the knees of regular people. Or you start to believe that real sex involves faceless men and interchangeable women.
  • Most importantly: Pornography kills your imagination. There’s so much of it out there, catering for every possible desire, that you no longer have to conjure up sexy images in your head. And that’s a pity, because what your mind can imagine is far more powerful than what your eyes can see.

Masturbation

Last year for Lent, I decided to raise the stakes and go without orgasms for the duration. I didn’t have a girlfriend at the time, so there was no problem on that side of things. The real challenge was to refrain from tickling the pickle. Methinks I’d never gone more than a week or two without a good old fiddle since I had that Eureka! moment back in my early teens.

But masturbation had always felt shameful to me. Perhaps it was the Catholic upbringing which led me to feel that way, or just Western society in general (in Ireland you never want to be labeled a wanker, and in the U.S. you hate being called a jerk-off). As comedian Des Bishop once observed, directing the words “you love yourself” at somebody in Ireland is intended as an insult. Somehow, some way, we came to believe that loving yourself was a bad thing.

So, as a bit of an experiment, I resolved to give up masturbation for Lent last year, and indeed I made it through the 40 days and 40 nights.

And I’ll NEVER do that again.

Seriously, bad idea to give it up. I regularly found myself feeling tense, needing that release. I now believe wet dreams exist as a fail safe in case we forget to jerk off, or do something silly like abstain on purpose. That stuff needs to come out of you, one way or the other.

The other bad thing about giving up masturbation was that I found myself becoming more and more desperate for female attention and approval, like I had an increased need for that external validation. In his book Radical Honesty (affiliate link), Brad Blanton suggests that couples try masturbating in front of each other. The idea is to demonstrate that you’re not with the other person simply to satisfy your sexual desires, to get that release — because, hey look! You can take care of yourself!

That’s not to say that masturbation is as good as sex — not by a long shot — but it does take that edge off when needed so you can stop being so distracted by female shapes and, you know, do other stuff.

Got your own thoughts on any of the above? Go ahead and let me know in the comments. I’d also appreciate if you could share this post via Twitter or Facebook (buttons below).

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65 Comments

    • Thanks, marius! I must admit though that I’d been holding back on writing about pornography and masturbation for quite a while. It makes it easier that I’m now in Spain and won’t have to look my friends and family in the eye for a while :-P

    • Indeed! Honest personal perspective is refreshing – I’m sad its taken me so long to stumble upon you and your writings! I am a 49 yr old mother of 4 grown children, only 1 planned which is a transgender individual, twin sons I gave birth to at age 14 .. forced by life circumstances to make the decision (in their best interest at that time) to surrender custody to adoption. I am in my 3rd marriage, ironically enough to the young man who is the father of the twins. I was able to connect with them about 10 years ago & our relationship has been as if they had never left my side (one of the few bright spots in my life) As for the rest and its pertinence to the subject matter, my parents were functioning alcoholics with a number of “perversions” – things I certainly don’t feel I should have been exposed to, either directly or indirectly, by accident or carelessness on their part. Marriage #1 was primarily a way to get out from under my parents & have a home of my own. 3 months after the wedding, my father committed suicide; my mother remarried 6 months later. I separated from husband #1 after 5 yrs and quicky took up with another man 11 yrs older than me and my son (now 25 & transgendered) moved in with him; we ended up married in about 18 months & I was pregnant with my last child, my only girl, before we married. After we married, BOY DID HE CHANGE!! The temper came out of the closet as did the PORN!! I lived under that pressure cooker for 14 long years. To him, I was nothing but a vessel to empty into! I have never felt so degraded and worthless and if it wasn’t that, he was throwing a blazing temper tantrum about the least little nothing! I lived fear and with no self esteem for the entirety of our marriage. I reconnected with the father of my twins just after
      9/11 and although we were both in marriages, the spark was still there – I had always felt he was my soulmate, even though I felt wronged during the time of my pregnancy and when the time came to make final decisions about the future of our sons. We did much talking & soul-searching over many, many months; I gained the courage to leave my traumatic marriage, then, a few months later, he decided to separate as well. Time passed and I filed for divorce, he did likewise, deciding he wanted to be with me. In many ways it was like a fairy tale come full circle. My son & daughter were still teenagers, so we had to get them through school & handle issues that come with raising a blended family with kids in that age range (13-16). I bought a house, cars, furnished the house, many “extras” just because – then, health issues began to catch up with me & take over. I started a string of surgeries in 2005 that continued through 2010; 13 in all. I had to leave my job permanently in June 2008, caused by yet another very painful condition: chronic migraines. I received some short term disability payments through my company disability insurance, which then converts to long term after a period of time, however- they decided to make it as difficult as possible for me to receive long term benefits & I went without income for 4 months! The long term was quite a bit less than my regular pay so our bills had to be juggled as never before. In the spring of 2010, I entered into loan modifcation with my mortgage company, which ultimately turned out to be a huge fiasco ending with the foreclosure of my house without notification – we weren’t even home, the kids were! So we’ve bounced around a couple of places, ending up leasing a house in a small town just outside the major city where we were living – right after signing the 2 yr lease agreement, paying the deposits, 1st month lease + a prorated amount …. I received a letter from the disability insurance company saying they were stopping my benefit payments and that I should proceed with Social Security Disability benefits. I had already refiled for these (at the requirement of the private disability company) – Social Security had denied me upon first application, which I understand is an automatic process in our state! Soooo….. my husband works for a branch of the government & also plays in a band; he is an avid musician & has been for years. Our relationship became increasingly strained over the past couple of years, & especially in 2011. Being the highly intuitive person that I am, I began to suspect another woman. I wanted & tried to deny it within myself, but actual proof was adding up – I confronted him Christmas Day – he was stunned & angry but admitted to it. I was devastated! The one man I thought who loved me for me, inside & out, good, bad, rough, or somewhere in between! We went to counseling after a few days and HE wasn’t sure if he wanted to stay with me & work it out!!?? WTF????! I was willing to work it out, work on forgiveness & rebuilding trust – one of us leaving was never an option to me, never mind how deeply hurt, no crushed, I was – but my love for him had not changed or diminished; that is something I just can’t turn off or on like a water spigot… My whole life has been a poster child for dysfunctional – this journal writing is merely a photograph! In closing, my opinion from experience: Porn is poison! Masterbation can take over so that it is the only way a man can orgasm. Full intimacy of body, mind, and soul – on behalf of both partners is crucial for a mutually satisfying physical relationship. With this, whether a short term or long term relationship is at hand, trust will be abundant.. as will be the balance and harmony.

  1. This was… different :P First, I was surprised to see you actually talked about these subjects seriously. Many people just try to attract traffic by throwing around sex terms and that always disappoints me.

    With regard to marriage and kids, I think you approach them very rationally. Marriage (at least in my country) doesn’t need to have much to do with religion. I think we have many more married couples than religious people here. The question remains whether or not you believe in marriage, monogamy, this form of commitment etc. and that’s just everyone’s personal opinion.

    Kids, although I like your thoughts on adopting, it’s not all that easy (for example, we can’t adopt because my boyfriend is over 40). Having kids of your own goes a lot beyond “spreading your seed” or “maintaining the family name”. It’s more of a gut feeling that makes you want to have a family or not go down that road. Also, if you find a partner that loves to have kids but you don’t, by all means don’t just give in and have them for her sake. That’ll kill your relationship, and worse, it’ll kill the relationship with your kids if you do get them. Recipe for disaster. You have to be on the same page on whether or not to have children if you’re in a long-term relationship. Also, please don’t forget gay marriage and gay parents.

    I enjoyed hearing your viewpoint on the other two “touchy subjects” XD The topics are, however, very different from the stuff you usually post here. I’m curious to see where this will take you.

    • Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Esther. Much appreciated.

      I’ve never looked into the adoption process. I’m sure it’s not easy, as you noted. Surprised to hear that you can’t adopt if you’re over 40. That sounds a bit unreasonable. I’m 29 now, and I expect it will be at least five years before I started seriously considering settling down and having kids.

      I get what you’re saying about being on the same page with my partner. Right now I feel like I will want to be a dad at some point, and my preference would be to adopt, but if she felt strongly about giving birth, I’d happily go along with that for one child. I’m not firmly against having a child of my own making, but I’m not firmly for it either. I could be swayed easily by the right person and would hold no regrets :-)

      As regards where this post will take me, I have no particular destination in mind. I like to share whatever I’m thinking, not label this blog too much. Sometimes I write about building an online audience, other times I write about pornography. Who knows what I’ll be writing about a month from now!

      • I think next month you’ll be writing on Spanish music. Or tapas :P

        The adoption process probably looks very different from country to country. Up here, it’s pretty strict. It also takes forever and costs a fortune. Ironically, the rules for adoption are way stricter than for having kids of your own.

        I’ll happily discuss my personal position on all of these issues further with you if you’re interested – you have my email :-)

      • In Ireland, I’ve long been amazed that you need a license to own a dog or a TV, but there’s no restriction on who can have a child. Not that people should be restricted from having kids of course, but I just find that juxtaposition odd.

        Side note: No idea if I used the word “juxtaposition” correctly above :-P

        And yup, I have your email. I’ll be in touch if I come up with some questions on all of this. Thanks for the offer!

  2. Hi Niall!

    Thanks for sharing. I absolutely agree with your take on marriage and children, and I have done myself your experiments with sex (or rather, chastity), getting to similar conclusions.

    For me the key for those last two is to bring in the light on consciousness. Watching porno and masturbating (horrible word by the way, they made it sound like it’s a contagious deadly illness) are very good and useful if you don’t use them to deflect your attention from what matters: one can allow himself acts of courage only if he stops seeking for distractions in the first place, right?

    • Thanks for sharing, Dario. I like your perspective. I guess the same could be said for sex, which is all sunshine and rainbows but can become a dangerous addiction. It’s not inherently bad in itself, but people can take it too far, and other parts of their lives suffer the consequences.

  3. Whew! Racy! Lol. Quite a lot of honesty in that post, Niall. I don’t agree with you on a lot of it (I doubt that surprises you) but it was refreshing to see your open-mindedness. Good write up!

  4. Very intelligent and reasoned thoughts. I really admire your frankness and candor too.

    Friends of mine who work as dating and relationship coaches hold similar views on porn and masturbation based on their clients challenges (of course, it’s mostly a male difficulty, though women face their own trials). Short-circuiting that natural, healthy desire to connect with a real woman by going online and handing things yourself is fine in the short term, but can lead to long term problems. I’m concerned about this generation of boys coming of age right now, who are one quick URL away from all the porn that they can consume. It’s a far cry from “borrowing” Dad’s Playboy magazine from the top shelf of the closet.

    It’s like going to McDonalds. One unhealthy fast food meal won’t kill you. But getting used to the artificial taste and the convenience, and forgetting (or never knowing) how to prepare nutritious meals – that will create long term health problems.

  5. Hey Niall,

    Great to hear your thoughts on these subjects. My wife and I are with you on them as well. (despite the fact that we’re married! :) legal benefits. Neither of us are religious)

    It is interesting though, before we got married my wife said flat out to me, “I hope you don’t want to have kids, because we’re not having any.”

    I was okay with that. Prior to that I had always assumed I would grow up, get married and have kids. It was when she said that that I realized I could choose otherwise!

    About five years into our marriage my wife started feeling the gut feeling that Esther mentioned. Despite our best efforts, after seven years we have no kids, and no interest in medical procedures to help us have kids.

    So that’s out for us.

    I could never go 40 days and 40 nights without orgasm. Though I think I could restrain myself from intercourse and masturbation if necessary, I would have wet dreams. My body takes over if I go to long without orgasm, and there’s nothing I can do about it!

    Great stuff Niall!

  6. Oh, one other thing! I also feel that there are too many people. As I’ve mentioned in my blog posts humanity is currently consuming 1.3 times the earth’s capacity to support us.

    While I don’t have a solution it is also puzzling to me that we have to pay and get permission to have a pet, but can have children willy nilly, whether or not we can a) afford them and b) parent them.

    Economic considerations are complicated in a matter such as this with kids, and I just read an interesting post at Click Clack Gorilla (link) on how Germany is actively encouraging and paying it’s citizens to have children to fight the plummeting birth rate there.

    That’s a messy and controversial topic all by itself.

    Buenos dias!

    • Thanks for the comments, Spyros. Much appreciated. I just read that CCG post. Very interesting topic, and yes, messy and controversial too. I think most would agree that the planet has an overpopulation problem, but at the same time nobody wants to be told how many kids they can or cannot have.

      • The problem inherent with that is telling a person. China’s population controls might have the right idea behind them, but certainly produce poor results. Trying to educate 7 billion people would take far too long.

        The birth rate seems to be only part of the problem. According to this the birth rate is declining (albiet slowly) (chart)

        The flip side is how much longer we’re living. I don’t have the data handy but I’m fairly certain that our mortality rates are dropping with health advances that keep us living longer, and saves more babies from dying in child birth/infancy.

    • Like many others, I’m hoping there’s a future in changing the way we live on this planet instead of trying to stop the world population from growing. That’s where sustainability comes in. This is a lot easier said than done, but there are many inspiring initiatives out there that make me feel a little bit more positive about our future.

    • I think the world would easily sustain all of us had we not been abusing it from Industrial Revolution up. Pity.

  7. Just comments on the marriage and kids things. I used to think exactly as you do – very rationally. The thing is, for me at least, when the right woman came along both topics became no-brainers immediately. Where before I was not bothered about getting married or having kids, now I’m ravenously hungry for both! She had the key that unlocked those hitherto buried instincts inside me. Rationality cannot compete with this.

    • Thanks, Simon. I do of course reserve the right to change my mind about all of the above ;-)

      Seriously though, I get where you’re coming from. I know that my beliefs and desires can change, so I won’t be stubborn about any of these ideas in the future if I should get smacked by Cupid.

  8. Good post and I’d agree and empathise with most of it. On the marriage front I thought much the same as you and to some degree still do even though I will be getting married in the next few years. It’s complex once you meet someone who you want to spend the rest of your life with and who wants to get married for their own reasons. It becomes less rational to argue about it. I found out the hard way that saying “we’ll get married because you want too honey” is not the right thing to say. It may be rational and you may have the best intention but she may not take it well.

    Also, in Ireland at least, marriage confers rights to the father. Right now I have zero custody rights over my daughter. If my daughter’s mom died I wouldn’t be automatically entitled to take over custody. The state would gain custody and then I’d have to fight for custody and it hasn’t turned out as you’d think for many fathers in Ireland. So getting hitched is a simple custody fix (though I’m getting pre-marriage custody papers drawn up too so that we can get married in a timely fashion rather than just to keep the kid out of the claws of the state.) I’m not sure how it works in adoption cases though. Don’t assume you have custody because the kid calls you daddy is the bottom line.

  9. I would bring up one thing someone close to me once told me, and it has stuck with me ever since.

    There are a LOT of idiots having kids and there are consequently a LOT of messed up kids out there. If you think you can do a decent job of it, you almost have an obligation to the world to bring a few well-adjusted people into it, if only to balance out the crazies. Leave the world better than you found it and all that.

    Just another way to look at things.

    • Cheers, Dave. I get the balance thing. I’m thinking though that if you adopt an orphan instead of having a kid of your own, you can end up with a “score” of 1-0 instead of 1-1.

      • I get that side of it, and I like it. I have great admiration for my neighbors, who are adopting a child themselves. I guess I was simply agreeing with you in a roundabout way … being a parent, rather than knocking someone up, is the important bit.

  10. Bloody hell mate,

    I thought IIII was open and honest haha! I want to touch on one thing in particular. I went through the same thing with porn and could. not. agree. any. more on the down sides to it!!!

    Of course, I don’t tell my mates that or they’d laugh me out of the room and not listen. Interacting with a woman, the challenge and the thrill of the chase …etc beats “jerking off” to porn any day. No looking back.

    On a side note; if you ever find out why women say they are “fine” when they are in a bad mood and blatantly not fine, I’d appreciate you blogging about this :P

  11. Quite 2 years ago I stopped masturbating (and eventually watching porn) when I got to know that a fellow girlfriend (who we had both legendary and tough times with) moved from her country to my city (distance was of factors that made our relationship epic) and got married.

    “WTF I waste time for?”

    I thought I stopped these things forever and even wrote a blog post about it in Russian (How not only to stop bad habits but also not to come back to them).

    Life showed that I mistook.

    I periodically resumed masturbating with or without porn and periods without them both.

    I also thought like you that I have enough imagination if I want to please myself not to watch porn.

    I tried to analyze all the consequences of porn and masturbation for a balanced decision on them and got to a conclusion that they do not have a serious impact enough to eliminate them from life at all.

    I still become surprised how could I spend time on it and resume doing it then.

    When I date a girl I definitely do not watch porn (because it is she, real woman who grabs my attention) but when it comes to masturbation I can either do not make it (if she had somewhat “purifying” impact on me) or start masturbating more (if a desire comes stronger but I do not satisfy it with her for some reasons. The brilliant thought not to cross relationships and your own desire also fits here)

    Of course when I had “everyday sex” all of this was irrelevant but as I generally I rarely have sex I can present such a large observation on it :)

    • By the way for me observing beatuful women online is a similar issue and that is what I have successfully thrown out from my life (though I rarely did it)

      Looking at beauty people not in real life makes your standards higher and generally less happy with female appearances.

      That’s why I don’t look at beatyful pictures at some male sites while studying information.

  12. Simply because marriage means a ton to a woman when you talk about commitment. It’s not so much about the perks/benefits/technicalities of a marriage, it’s about the deep essence of if. There is something about spending a ton of money for the love of her, speaking those words, coming up with creative and crazy idea to say it, putting that shiny ring on her finger…. there’s something about publicly declaring your commitment in front of all the witnesses, pictures to remember that special day “you became mine” (officially). If not to you, then it speaks volumes to her. It’s worth it, trust me.

    Married (and happy) dude

    • Thanks, Ross.

      I love getting the views of married folks on this. I’ve never been in a committed relationship for more than 8 months, so I’m aware that my frame of reference is pretty limited here. Thanks for sharing.

  13. I also came to realization that even if you view life from a “be what you want to attract” point not supporting going out of comfort zone – it is anyway irrelevant to watch porn if you want to attract any kind of partner.

    Masturbation also falls down here but I tend to support a view that your behaviour is better not to be affected by not being sexually satisfied.

  14. As a woman, I have little care for getting married. I’m not keen on the ‘ownership’ associated with it. If, for whatever reason I do get married (immigration comes to mind – my partner is a dual citizen and it may be convenient), I will keep my own surname. As for the money spent on it, why not put it towards a holiday, improving living conditions, or (preferably) donating it to a worthwhile cause or micro-enterprise?

    I also get the kids thing. Again (luckily), while my partner would eventually like to have biological children of his own, he has a condition which has a 50% chance of being passed on, which he refuses to subject anyone else to. So, in the event we decide to have children, we will either foster or adopt. Win win, as far as that can ever be.

    Funnily enough, despite never imagining myself to be so, I was married at 21. It lasted a whole 18 months before we separated. During the event, I felt like a fraud. I wanted to be anywhere else but there. I loved him, but it simply didn’t feel right. They say marriage changes things, and it does, but it isn’t always for the better. I wouldn’t change my experience, and I am an improved person for having done it, but it reinforced the understanding that marriage is not necessary in my society.

    I’m not closed to the idea of marriage and kids, but they aren’t for me, right now. If and when circumstances change, I will do what I feel is right and best at that point in time. Shrug!

    • Thanks for sharing that, Karen. Great points all around, especially on the money bit. I could never see myself spending a fortune on a wedding. I’d much rather splash out on some of the alternatives you mentioned.

  15. Totally agree on all 4 points! You don’t need a minister or judge to be committed to someone, there are so many children in the world needing a family, porn totally ruins things creating unrealistic expectations, and masturbation is a human necessity!

  16. This is the 3rd time I’ve tried to post on this.

    I agree on three points exactly: children, marriage, and masturbation.

    The pornography point is something that I can’t quite figure out in my own mind. It seems limiting to say don’t do it at all. However, I do know that the fetishes can get pretty weird, which is why I avoid those. But what if you had a partner and you both watched it to explore some ideas by watching 1 on 1 scenes?

    • Hey Matt, thanks for the comment.

      I haven’t fully made up my mind about pornography either. I mention in the post that “I’m strictly opposed” to it now, and it’s pretty much for the reason you put forward. I don’t think I’d have a problem watching pornography with a partner.

      At the same time, there’s the “exploiting women” part of the equation. While I believe many women enjoy working in the porn business and don’t feel at all exploited, there are undoubtedly many more who are doing it because they don’t have much choice. And it doesn’t feel good to be possibly be a part of that system, even if I’m just the consumer.

      Definitely a complex issue, and something I’ll continue to think about.

  17. Hello. Now that post was weird! I can’t believe you posted that stuff about yourself. However, I respect the hell out of you for doing it. Way to go. Tell it like it is.

    I agree with most of your basic premises. I’m not into the “official-ness” of marriage either. Kids, too much responsibility. I’d do it if the right woman INSPIRED me to do it. Otherwise, no point. I have my brother’s babies to keep me busy. Religions, no thanks. Dogma is not for me. I see it as a mental cage.

    Now, when it comes to holding it in, I can assure you that my record smokes yours, lol… Try training baguazhang and chen tai chi chuan for awhile. If you “emit” too much, it ruins your skill completely. If you do proper breathing while not ejaculating for a few months, you can actually convert the nervous energy that results into what the Chinese call chi. And that’s the best thing I’ve ever discovered, bar none.

  18. Can’t possibly go wrong with such an experiment! It actually increases sexual power. But you have to DO it, and doing it is not easy, discipline-wise. I find that all exercises in discipline are useful, because without discipline, I never get anything done. Ever.

  19. Hey Niall,

    Came here from your traffic report but I’m no sicko buddy.

    Love the openness of this post but was left wondering: without pornography how do you masturbate?

  20. Hey Niall,

    I’ve been following your blog and your posts are always very inspiring. Thank you for putting the time and effort. :)

    Concerning this post I mostly agree with your conclusion except maybe about pornography. See, I’ve been struggling like many men with this plague for some time now and the problem is that people always give you very good support and advice but it never works. It’s just like telling a drug addict to quit drug by simply saying that drug is bad… I really thing this a personal but also a community issue . As long as we people as a community will not face our own hypocrisy relating to sexual topics nothing will really change and people like me will keep going from abstinence to relapse. I’m not blaming anyone in particular but let’s face it: Pornography as become a health issue and must be dealt with accordingly.

    • Hey Jake,

      I agree that it’s a larger issue and it can only be solved en masse at the community level. However, as an individual, I think that’s a dangerous thing to be counting on, as you’re essentially giving up your own power to break the habit by relying on something external to come along and do it for you. It’s a bit like a smoker blaming all the cool tobacco advertising for his inability to quit. He might tell you that as soon as society steps up to prevent such advertising, then he’ll be able to quit.

      That said, I get that it can be extremely difficult to quit any kind of addiction. My advice would be just to keep trying to reduce how much pornography you consume, and don’t beat yourself up whenever you have a relapse. Seek improvement, not perfection.

      All the best.

  21. Hey Niall!

    Took me a good 3 days to read the whole post, with comments and reply’s and everything… By the time I’m done with the work worth doing, most of my daily dose of attention is gone and I find it hard to concentrate and give your post the focus it deserves.

    Very controversial subjects, in which I have spent a lot of time thinking with my very unique mindset. Being Mexican, the first 2 subjects already have an answer in what I call “the script”. The other 2 are words and subjects that no “decent” person would ever touch other than in his own mind…. And even there, we’re programmed to feel shame just for thinking of them… Allow me to elaborate on all:

    Marriage: I used to wish for marriage. I used to pursue it as a need in my life. Hell, I even tried those online sites not for dating, but specifically to get married ASAP. Later, after the brain unfreeze (More on this on one of my blog posts, soon to be released) I realized that marriage was one of many society-invented needs. I realized we don’t need it! Marriage was born in another time, for very different circumstances, and it is as of today obsolete, IMHO.

    Why? simply because I believe a relationship should be something that develops over time, leading to a committed relationship and that’s it.

    Probably my atheism has a lot of influence over this opinion, but that’s something I like. And that brings me to: Why do people immediately link marriage and religion? The very definition says its a “Legal Contract”, and still people links it with some religion…. That really ticks me off (shouldn’t, working on it…), because shows me that marriage is something done without thinking.

    So, I simply believe marriage doesn’t need to exist anymore. Besides, “domestic partnership” is recognized by the law as a legal contract, without the need of signing any documents (At least in méxico, and I seriously doubt we’re the first or only), so that even takes legal paraphernalia aside.

    Kids: I already have a beautiful daughter, which I wished for a long time. Now that I have her, I think its enough, and if from 2 individuals, only 1 is produced, we’re on our way to reduce the population. As You probably believe too, we have to do what we can, and expect everybody else does.

    For somebody else, I would tell them that its their personal choice, but as every other choice, we have to consider the environment we live in, more than just ourselves.

    Porno: During my teen years I struggled a lot with this subject. I eventually came to the conclusion that I just like it. I tried giving up, but simply couldn’t… I found myself searching for porn at every chance, so I just accepted myself as I am, a healthy porno-liking man.

    I agree that it can numb you from real stimulation, and I just read an article a few days ago describing the chemical process in the human body and how if the receptors get the stimulant, they will want more each time to get the same thrill. Still, I find that a few days off porno, brings my receptors to its original level.

    For the imagination part, sometimes its scary how things I imagine, soon after are featured on some new porno style…. I thing they read my mind or something!… Point is, my imagination is always way ahead of the current porno trend, which indicates its not blocking me…

    And something else… I’m married, and a lot of the things I imagine my wife doesn’t want to try, or will never allow me to do by myself, so porno helps me live them a little ;)

    Masturbation: I agree with you 100%. I also believe is something the body needs, and why women don’t need that release as men do, its beyond me…. Hell, I even do it the same day we have sex! I guess my relationship with myself is unbreakable ;)

    More on my blog soon, thanks for the post and for touching sensitive subjects, they need to be touched, just as ourselves, he he…

    Cheers!!

  22. Just a quick observation about Jorge’s comment…

    I’d say women do need that release as well (though probably not as frequently as men). The women I know who masturbate more or less frequently have great sex lives with their partners. They’re happier, more relaxed and know what they want in bed. The ones who don’t, well… that might sound odd, but I do actually know women who have never masturbated, since they consider it “dirty”. Needless to say, they have some serious sexual issues, and are less relaxed than their “dirtier” female friends. Us girls need the release as well, specially during those tricky ovulating times ;)

    • Thanks for that, Gabriella. I have to admit that I’ve noticed the same thing with girls and masturbation. Those who don’t are usually not very comfortable with their sexuality and more prudish in bed.

  23. BTW, Niall, I see you mention fasting for three days. Do you have a post about that or could we please have one? :)

    Is there a search box on the site to look for certain articles? If there is, I can’t seem to find it.

    • No search box yet, but I’ll be adding one this week hopefully. For now, the best bet for finding stuff is the Archives page.

      Oh, but I’ve never actually written about the time I fasted for three days. It was back in 2005 I think, long before I started blogging about these kinds of things. I might try it again at some stage and right about the experience. In the meantime, check out this post from Mike Roberts, who did a 21-day fasting experiment!

  24. Hello. I also agree with most of what you say, but I want to point out one thiing; A lot of people, male and female, watch pornography and/or masturbate because they feel they CAN’T find a partner. It’s a matter of settling for what they can get, rather than replacing real with imaginary. I can vouch for the feeling, since the only time I’ve ever dated anyone at all it ended in disaster. I never had a date at all until I was 19. I’m not exactly a beauty queen, and most guys just aren’t interested in anything more than friendship. I also seem to be incapable of having a crush on a guy who is not A: Gay B: Already taken or C: Both. I understand that it’s better to have a real partner, but for some of us, it’s not as easy as just going out and finding someone.

    • Thanks for the comment, Marci.

      I don’t think it is easy just to go out and find someone. Not at all. It’s been a real struggle for me over the years, but I’ve gotten better at it recently. (And I believe anyone can get better at attracting desirable sexual partners if they work at it.)

      Even so, I would say that pornography hurts more than it helps if what you really want is a real sexual relationship. For all those reasons I gave above.

  25. A clever post! I agree on pornography. It has a place and time for some, but I’m inclined to believe that it has the ability to damage a healthy sexual scope.

    Marriage and children is touchy, but it’s smart to a) know how you feel and b) know that a lady may change that.

    My husband and I got married because we knew that we were partners for life, and because we just wanted to declare it to our loved ones. It wasn’t religious, but certainly spiritual.

    Adopting is a beautiful thing. I’m a mother to one biological child and we don’t plan on any more. No thing, place or currency can compare to waking up on a Sunday morning with my husband and daughter curled up in a massive heap in the bed.

    Of course, as you may have observed, I’m inclined to be more emotional than rational on the subject. Cut the chase to masturbation and I just have to agree with you 100%, but thankfully I haven’t had to worry about that for a long time! :)

  26. You mentioned that not masturbating for lent made you feel like you were more needy for female attention. Here’s my question for you:

    Do you think people that don’t masturbate are more needy for attention from the opposite sex?

    I think this could be a great conversation topic.

    • Hey Julia. I was just chatting with a friend about this the other day. First thing I’d say is that I doubt everyone would experience the same feelings as I did from that experiment. And there’s also the possibility that I just didn’t stick with it long enough to “get over the hump.”

      I might experiment with this again some time in the future, but for now it seems to work better for me to get that release regularly.

  27. Totally concur on marriage/family.
    50/50 on giving up porn.
    Totally concur on not giving up on pickle tickling.

    I believe that is a 80%+. So an ‘A’.