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Still F***in’ Up But Seeing Progress
I’ve tripped up a couple times, but overall I’m happy that I’ve continued to return to this intention. One of my slip up’s the girl completely shot me down, which given that I’m trying to be celibate makes you feel like a real useless person the next morning.
I haven’t watched porn in about 3 months, and I’ve generally lost the desire for it. For someone who used to watch it daily that’s a big deal.
I’ve also been able to notice my longings for female companionship with a bit more space. For a long time when I was pining for a woman, that impulse was overpowering. I needed to either find a girl to send me the right message, go on a date with me, etc. but now I can sit back a bit and watch it. Which has been cool to witness.
Somedays the urge is still incredibly strong. I walk around feeling like I’m bleeding out and in need of someone to save me. I get hits of excitement at every attractive woman I see. My brain gets foggy and all I can think about is finding an attractive woman to make me feel better.
During these times I still feel pretty awful. But now, I can sit back ever so slightly from the massive riptide that’s trying to drag me back to sea. I can watch it instead of being pulled away into the abyss.
I don’t really miss menage a un (not a real expression, but I think you get it). I do find myself missing sex fairly often though, not going to lie. I miss the lips and soft skin, I miss staring in someones eyes, all of it.
I do a lot of bargaining with myself. “Ya, but what if I already know the girl” “What if I’ve already hooked up with her?” “does it really count then?“
Furthermore, it’s easy to rationalize that I miss sex purely due to biological reasons. I’m a human after all. I haven’t had any release in (x amount of time) naturally my body is going to want me to find a partner.
After all, these sexual drives aren’t completely coming from some unresolved issue, there are some natural, healthy reasons for my drive as well.
That being said, I’m still going to set the intention to have little to no sexual contact with myself or others for the rest of the year.
But Everyday’s Different
That’s the strange part. Sometimes I’ll go a few days and not get any sexual urges or think about sex at all. Other times, the urge is as strong as it’s ever been.
Sometimes I feel like I could hang out alone with a beautiful woman without any concern of trying to hook up with her. Other times that feels like it’d be impossible.
My celibacy feels super important somedays, and other days it seems useless.
I’m assuming this is a natural part of the process. I know for the other sacrifices I’ve made in life I’ve gone through this phase as well.
Continuing To Peel Back The Layers
I was talking to a friend last night and I had a realization. A realization that I’ve known for a while now, but one I didn’t really feel until last night.
Something about the wording of this really made me feel it. I could sense the helplessness I felt as a kid when my dad left. There was nothing I could do to get him to stay.
The last thing I want is for that feeling to play out again, so I feign for unconditional love in the women I’m with, and in that pursuit I may even fall in love with them (or at least think I’m in love with them).
When I receive that love and stability then I want to leave. I find flaws in them, the poignancy of my emotions begins to dull and I pull away.
I’ve Noticed Some Differences
I’ve noticed that I’m actually interacting with and connecting with far more women than I did during my promiscuous times.
As I’ve talked before after meeting an attractive woman a race would start in my head. I would feel butterflies in my stomach growing, tightness in my chest and a general nervousness would overcome me.
I had to gain acceptance from this girl, I had to get her to validate that I was attractive, that I was good with women, that I had value and mattered. What was the easiest way for me to get acceptance from this woman? Sex.
So before if I saw an attractive girl I would generally divert my gaze. Unless I was feeling particularly confident, it was too much to receive even a small sign that she wasn’t interested in me.
I forfeited my sense of self worth to a revolving door of women, some I would get to know well, and others who were complete strangers.
I’m not trying to play a victim here, I hurt plenty of these women and wasted nearly all of their time. My point here is to lie down where I was, and where I’m going.
Now that I’m more aware of this, it’s far easier to talk to women I’m attracted to. The pressure to “gain approval” from them isn’t as strong. I can go into conversations with them without this intense pining for their perceived approval.
As mentioned, this has led me to be far more friendly with women I find attractive, and that’s been really nice.
Rejection still sucks, if you show interest in someone and they completely blow you off that’s gonna burn a bit regardless of who you are, but in general I feel less concerned with what comes of conversations with women.
Some of you may be thinking. Nice dude! 30 years old, and you’re now learning to have real conversations with women. Conversations where you care more about what they say, then how they can benefit you.
My response to that is yes, I am likely a bit late to the game, but I’m happy to be aware of this now, then later on (or not at all)
A shot of my friend Ranika. We became friends at the time I was really starting to second guess my approach with women and she’s been a good friend through this. If you’re interested in going to Carneval in Rio, she’s got a great business for accommodation, community & events revolving around Carneval, Cloud Connections.
Am I Just Trading One Form Of Acceptance For Another?
There’s a great quote by Alan Watts in his mind over mind talks that I love
When the police enter a house in which there are thieves. The thieves go up from the ground floor of the first floor. When the police arrive on the first floor, the thieves have gone up to the second. And so to third, and finally out of the roof. And so when the ego is about to be unmasked, it immediately identifies with the higher Self.Alan Watts – Mind Over Mind Talk
It’s interesting how this desire for acceptance can manifest in the most seemingly trivial ways. Just walking down the street for example.
I walk down the street now and if I find a woman attractive I don’t divert my gaze if it meets here. I don’t stare intensely or approach her or anything I just hold the gaze for as long as it lasts.
Initially, I thought this was due to me not desiring an outcome from my interactions with women, but I’m starting to wonder if I’ve simply traded my one form of acceptance for another.
I’m reminded of the quote I put in my initial celibacy article
“Because the religious game is simply a refined and highbrow version of the ordinary game: how can I outwit me? How can I one up me?
So if I find, for example, that, in the quest for pleasure—the ordinary pleasures of the world; food, sex, power, possessions—all this becomes a drag, and I think, “No, it isn’t there.” So I go in for the arts and literature… [then] psychoanalysis, and I found out that’s not the answer. [then] I go to religion.
But I’m still seeking what I was seeking when I wanted candy bars! I want to get that goodie.
Only, I see now that, of course, it’s not going to be a material goodie. All material goods fall apart. But maybe there’s a spiritual goodie that’s not going to fall apart.
But in that quest, the quest is not different from the quest for the candy bar. Same old story, only you’ve refined the candy bar and made it abstract and holy and blessed and so on.”Alan Watts- Mind Over Mind Talks
Is the perceived acceptance or rejection of women passing by me my “refined candy bar”? Am I still seeking the same thing I did before, but just in a seemingly less damaging way?
I found myself pondering yesterday on how much my initial attraction to women is driven by this desire for acceptance & validation.
It’s impossible for me to put a hard percentage on this, but it’s certainly a big part of the pie.
Is that all I’m doing now? Am I still chasing acceptance and validation in women but instead of through sex now it’s through conversation and the thought that “I could probably date her if I wanted”?
Is the fragile ego simply moving up a level to now be validated in a different manner?
Have I even addressed the root of my issue? How can I get validation & acceptance from some means other than women?
I have had a therapist for a few months now, and without him I don’t think I’d be getting nearly as much out of celibacy as I am.
One of the last things he told me is that I need to be my own parent. I need to get to the point where I can better moderate emotions myself. Where I can provide myself the acceptance that I’ve been craving in others.
Even writing this now I can feel a wrenching on the bottom of my heart. “You mean I need to be able to heal myself?” “You mean no one’s going to come and fix me’?” “I have to prove to myself that I have value?”
No one other than myself can fix me?
That is a very helpless thought for me. Upon seeing this I feel scared and alone.
Intellectually, I’ve understood this for a long time. However truly taking the time to listen to my body and my emotions when I say this, it’s clear that I haven’t accepted this yet.
Ultimately, it touches on the deepest rooted fear I have. That I am alone.
A shot from my latest solo bike trip. The trip that started me again on the path of being a less horrible of a person 😂
Letting Go Of The Masks
Usually when I’m stuck in life, it’s because I’m holding onto a vision of who I want to be. Just like how I wanted to be the successful business man, (see the background story to Digital Nomad Lifestyle here) a part of the resistance I’m facing is due to visions of who I want to be.
Persona 1 – The Fit, Sophisticated International Playboy
I want to be international, sophisticated, and when it comes to dating that means that I date women who are international / sophisticated (part of me still wants to distance myself from my hometown as much as I can). I have this vision of who I want others to see me as.
I want them to see me as someone who dates attractive women from all over the world. Someone who is desired by lots of women. Someone men envy and women want.
Trying to be this vision of myself is at odds with being friends with women. It’s at odds with spending time with a woman I don’t have sex with. It’s at odds with someone who takes their time getting to know someone, as opposed to sleeping with them at the first opportunity.
This vision of myself feeds into my insatiable desire for validation and acceptance from as many women as possible.
Furthermore, if I didn’t care about being attractive to women, would I give into gluttony and eat myself into being overweight? Will I stop taking care of myself altogether? Will everything about my physical appearance fall apart? All the hard work I’ve done over the years could be ruined.
My underlying belief is that the only reason I take care of my body is because of my need to be attractive to women.
A shot of my mom, sister & I in Cartagena Colombia about a month after starting my own business. This was the height of me trying to be the sophisticated, international man.
Persona 2 – The Certain & Virile Man
Another aspect of myself of myself that’s being shed is my sexual excitement. At 30 years old, I don’t have the same sexual drive I had when I was younger, on top of that spending so much time without sex, romance, porn and masturbation I’ve noticed that my sex drive has continued to subside.
For long periods of my life I could get sexually excited at just the thought of being with someone. Now that I’m spending less time in those daydreams, at times I feel even a bit alienated from my sexuality. As if I couldn’t access it if I wanted to.
Initially this is a scary thought to have. I’ve felt this in the past and I would usually menage a une when I felt that disconnect, trying to re-build the link.
For such a long period of my life the sexual drive was so incredibly strong that losing it feels like I’m losing so much. I’m losing a part of my identity, a source of incredible joy and pleasure. Some of the most transcendent moments of my life revolved around sex. It’s as if I’m watching a dear friend slowly die in front of me.
It’s frightening. If I’m not careful will I hasten the natural decrease in sex drive that’s coming anyway? Will I be able to please a women? Or will she need to have someone with more sex drive to satisfy her?
I recall a conversation I had with a Chinese friend of mine, she said
“You know what the biggest difference between American & Chinese people are in relationships? Chinese people will stay in relationships even if the sex is bad, Americans won’t.”
While there are exceptions, I tend to agree with that idea. For that reason I’m worried. If I lose my sex drive, will I ever be able to have a successful relationship with an American woman?
I think I’m far more aware of my aging than most people at 30. So these thoughts occupy my mind, even if only on a subconscious level most of the time.
The other element of this persona is the certainty.
I feel a bit lost in this process, I’m not entirely sure what I’ll end up getting out of it. I don’t know if I’m doing it “right“. I don’t have a clear plan of action, and that is threatening to this aspect of myself.
I can envision these elements of myself as a stranded king at sea. A despot who was overthrown and sent off on his own in a boat. While his boat is being shred to pieces by the sea, he’s desperately clinging to the gold, luxuries and the identity he previously held.
Persona 3 – I Always Follow Through On Things
This is another persona I hold onto. The idea that whatever I start I finish. That I don’t quit while others do. This is why I’m able to do X,Y,Z, etc.
Slipping up on my celibacy as much as I have is really at odds with this idea of myself. How can I follow through with things & be proud of my perseverance if I’m messed up so much?
This part of me says that I decided not to have any sexual contact or even kiss a woman, and I’ve failed a couple times at this so it’s tough for that aspect of my mind to handle the cognitive dissonance.
A headshot of Ram Dass, a man with a super interesting story. From Harvard professor to a devotee of an Indian Guru in an Ashram 📸 – Getty Images
I Don’t Want To Fully Identify With Those Persona’s Anymore
I don’t want to clutch onto these visions of myself. I want to feel good enough without constantly seeking external validation. I want to feel confident in myself without needing the glances, flirting, or sexual contact with women I meet. I want to be able to pull on a sense of validation that comes from within me.
I want to be able to recognize that my sexual drive isn’t as strong as it was when I was younger. That’s natural and desperately trying to cling to it is only going to cause problems.
I don’t want to beat myself up so much when I make mistakes because I’m clinging to idea of myself that’s really just born out of insecurity.
The deeper I explore what my sexuality means to me the more these concerns are going to pop up.
And Sometimes It’s Much More Simple Than That
Sometimes my mind see’s an opportunity for sex with someone I find attractive, and it thinks in this scarcity mindset. It thinks that there’s an opportunity for sex now, and we don’t know when this will come by again so we should take advantage of it.
It’s like my mind is scavenging in the forest for food, and it eats what it comes across because who knows when I’ll come across food again. This is a pretty poor reason to have sex with someone 😂, but this sort of scarcity mindset definitely drives me to want to have sex with others.
Can I Hangout With Women I’m Attracted to Without Flirting or Trying To Hook Up With Them?
My initial answer is I don’t think so. And it really goes back to the scavenging analogy above. If there’s a chance to be rewarded, why wouldn’t I go after that?
The thought of hanging out with an attractive woman and not (at least trying to) hook up with them makes me feel anxious.
I believe that anxiety stems back to the validation, how will I know if I was good enough in their eyes if I don’t see if they’ll hook up with me or not? How will I know if I’m still attractive? If I’m charming? If I’m as intriguing to women as I think I am?
It all comes back to validation. How can I find other, more healthy ways to feel valuable & meaningful in this world.
What’s Going To Be Left?
Furthermore, life feels like it could be pretty void without chasing the validation of women. As I’ve mentioned, most of the intense ecstacies I’ve felt in my life where due to a woman. Not even just sexual per se, but being caught up in the emotions of a fun night with someone you’re attracted to is a real high. Landscapes are prettier, colors are brighter, and they’re the moments of my life where I’ve felt the most alive.
The way I am now, I don’t get those ecstasies with women I’ve been with for longer than a few months.
If I lose those moments what’s left? The chasing of the highs, validation and sexual gratification I get from women has been a beautiful distraction from the fact that I don’t have much purpose to my life.
I can sense my brain desperately seeking for something else that could potentially fill the void, but maybe that’s not the way. Maybe really sitting with that reality is the way.
Sitting with the reality that life is inherently empty, and devoid of meaning outside of the meaning I attribute to it, and I can’t change that. I can try to find distractions, or stories to soothe myself but it’s not going to change the reality. It’s my responsibility to find other purposes and drives to fuel me.
Perhaps there are deeper planes, different dimensions, a god or gods, etc. I have no idea, but I do know that this reality I’m experiencing now is essentially a game. A fun game, but a game nonetheless and getting too caught up in the transitory pleasures of it is a bad idea.
I Have Faith That I’ll Figure It Out Though.
I have faith that becoming more aware of these aspects of myself will uncover new elements of myself I wasn’t aware of before. That I’ll have more energy to focus on other purposes to life, ones that don’t give me the same highs as chasing after women. But purposes that I’d prefer to spend time on anyway.