I've been a lurker on this forums for nearly 8 months now, after discovering YBOP last July. I've been doing the No Fap thing, but I've not been posting about it. I have been quietly observing the consequences of my "reboot" and drawn the conclusion that based on my anecdotal experience that there is a definitive link between social anxiety and masturbation (not necessarily porn). I'm posting this isn't the Social Advice column because I feel very strongly that there is a link between lifestyle and social success. Fapping (and porn addiction) are strong components of a particular lifestyle. If, in fact, there is a correlation between frequent masturbation and social anxiety, I feel it needs to be discussed in the capacity of social coordination.
A quick history. This is not meant to be a journal, but just a basis for stating my observations:
I've been viewing porn since I was 13 (first internet connection). I am now 32. I've had two serious relationships, both lasting > 4 years, only having sex with one of them. I never had any great interest in sex, but had a daily interest in porn and MO. All of my life I've suffered from social anxieties and depression; neither of which were very serious, but they did prevent me from seeking social contact with people I wasn't required to interact with professionally.
Last June I discovered YBOP and began my reboot on July 22. I didn't count the days, but I lasted until sometime in mid-December. I spent about 6 weeks in flatline, then I gradually started to notice changes in the way I perceived other people. I actually started to enjoy going out and interacting with people, something that had never happened before. My depression was reduced, but not gone entirely. Girls seemed prettier and easier to talk to. I suppose you've all heard the bullet points on the benefits of rebooting, so I won't go through the list. I will just say that the biggest impact was my social anxiety was nearly gone.
I mentioned that I lasted until mid-December. I never went back to pornography (quitting P was never that hard), but I did resume M and O at a frequency of about 3 times per week. Mostly, this was just to keep the tank empty, so to speak. After about two weeks, I noticed my social anxiety was coming back. I was once again hyper aware of everyone around me, and I had an overwhelming urge to check my hair and clothes for imperfections. I was always checking to see if my fly was open. I, once again, started looking behind my every time someone laughed or talked loudly. I constantly worried about what people thought of me, and was afraid to say anything or "make a scene". I would get into a social situation and begin to panic and all I wanted was out.
So I quit again. For another 2 weeks. As I expected, my social anxiety went away. Mid January, I began again with M O, except this time at a slightly reduced frequency. I'm now starting to keep track of how far I can push it before the anxiety comes back. I'm aware that reduced social anxiety is one of the rebooting bullet points, but I haven't seen too many people talk about it in terms of specifics. It will take a little while (possibly a year) before I can draw any reasonably definitive conclusions on time and effect, but in the mean time, I need some peer review.
How many of you have noticed this? How many of you have found that social anxiety is linked to M? Has anyone else experimented with this? If so, how far are you able to "push it" before you notice changes? What are your limits? Have you noticed anything else effects it as well?
I know there are a lot of infotainment media points and washrag news articles that claim that there is a link, but AFAIK, no studies have actually been performed on this.
I would like some group input here.