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Overcoming Pervasive Sexual energy and urges

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Thank you all again for any and all advice

RE: Overcoming Pervasive Sexual energy and urges
Answer
4/22/19 9:01 PM as a reply to Silas Day.
I think this could be addressed at many angles. But here's one.

It seems you cannot stop yourself. One time I taught meditation to a family member who is alcoholic, but who really wanted to practice the Dharma and keep the 5 precepts. She felt really bad that she would just fail again and again to keep the fifth precept. Since it was unrealistic to abstain completely in her case, I suggested the following program:

To decide on periods of time she is able to abstain from alcohol. If it's half a day then so be it. To tell herself she will practice the precept during that period of time and use that time for dedicated practice.

Would you be able to do the same? "During such or such period of time, I will focus on practice and not indulge in the said sexual behavior". You choose a period that is realistic for yourself. During such times you may not feel distracted and that all this is an impossible struggle because you are working within your capacity. As times go on you may eventually be able to extend the periods longer and longer.

Another consideration is to let go of excessive guilt. Masturbation is not against the precepts for non-monastics. If it's too much it could deplete your energy for practice though, but nothing immoral here. 

A final consideration. In some cases an excessive drive for sex can be an unconscious compensation for cutting off from emotional engagement with others. Psychological aspects may be worth exploring around that issue. 

Your age is definitely a factor. 

Best wishes with your practice.

RE: Overcoming Pervasive Sexual energy and urges
Answer
4/22/19 9:03 PM as a reply to Silas Day.
Hello Silas, seems to me that you need to work on your relationship with sex. You're just 22 and are not planning to become a monk, so sex will definitely be part of your life. You need to be honest about why you're watching it and realize that every time you do it you're reinforcing this pattern.

Would be very beneficial to have a partner that you love and explore your sexuality from a "free" place. 

Someone said that learning about sex from watching porn is like learning to drive watching the fast & furious LOL.

Another thing you can do is every time the craving arises you take a deep breath, look at it and says "Mara, I see you!" 
;)

RE: Overcoming Pervasive Sexual energy and urges
Answer
4/22/19 9:33 PM as a reply to Silas Day.
The ability to meditate for hours along with insatiable sexual desire makes me think of A&P territory. If your goal is classic enlightenment I would continue to practice and try to skillfully manage your desires as much as possible. As Ben suggested, maybe give yourself rules of when you can and cannot indulge. Eventually the desires should lessen and become less of a hindrance to your formal practice.

RE: Overcoming Pervasive Sexual energy and urges
Answer
4/22/19 9:42 PM as a reply to Silas Day.

RE: Overcoming Pervasive Sexual energy and urges
Answer
4/23/19 4:49 AM as a reply to Silas Day.
This is a practice area that has been a focus of mine & at times, an obstacle.  I am now in my late 20s but started seriously meditating around that age that OP is.  There is already good advice on this thread, although I would not recommend nofap movement , as my impression is that it verges on sex negativity & over promises certain positive effects that can not generally & logically be linked to one cause.

The one thing I can say for sure is that through practicing the entire 8fold path (meaning living a harmonious, ethical, balanced, healthy life), things get better.  And they can get better quicker than the process of hormones “calming down” - meaning, I am still at an age where, if I did not practice, I would likely have rampant desires in this area.  However, because of taking a balanced approach, the chi has really chilled out in a nice way.  At the same time, I feel more embodied with libido + integrated with masculinity than I ever have.  There is a positive psychological component of becoming a more ego-developed, mature human being who owns their desires consciously, that is important.

I hope the sentences above are helpful.  I’m just trying to provide a general testimony that things can become more balanced with good practice in the 8fold path.

RE: Overcoming Pervasive Sexual energy and urges
Answer
4/23/19 4:59 AM as a reply to Silas Day.
I do have actually, some specific suggestions.  If you could find & implement good, grounding qigong instruction & maintain those instructions for months consistently, I think that could cause a sustained balancing of libido.  Similarly, if you could find a good, licensed traditional Chinese medicine doctor, herbs & accupuncture could help & have helped me in these efforts.  Eating “temple food” daily has helped me - meaning weekly meal prep of vegetarian dishes that aren’t over spiced & such.

Just want to caveat that I am not calling for suppression here: it is important to have a positive attitude about the body, sex, desires (both personally & in general).

RE: Overcoming Pervasive Sexual energy and urges
Answer
4/23/19 6:25 AM as a reply to Silas Day.
Silas Day:
Hello again,

For a while now in my practice and throughout life recently the biggest thing that blatantly keeps me from progressing to deeper levels is the urge to masturbate and watch pornography. I can meditate for hours a day, making wonderful progress but then an urge will arise, I will notice the urge, yet I can't seem to claim dominion over that area of my life. 

It can even come up in my meditation practice as a big wall that i seem to keep running into over and over again. I can make wonderful progress in a day but suddenly boom i can't seem to stop myself and any want to be on the cushion, practice, read dharma books, or practice throughout the day is thrown out the window again until I can come to my senses. 

I have attempted several times or the past few years to stop completely, but all my attempts are in vain. Does anyone have any solid advice for kicking this? For reference, I am a 22 year old male so my hormones are against me at all sides it seems, but I just know deep down that This is a big thing that is keeping me from going even deeper into my practice. 

Thank you all again for any and all advice

What is helpful is to challenge yourself to accept the urge and not give in. As you succeed at this over and over again, the brain knows that there is a choice. It's also good to look at psychological PAIN to make the choice easier. Notice the pain of reinforcing sexual images from people who are doing it only for money and the lack of love there.

Notice disgust. Really think of disgusting details as if you were to do the stuff that is in there, for real. The brain is responding with imitation to how much fun the sexual partners are having, but a lot of that is acting. The brain imitates savouring faces, and vocalizing, like in advertising. The brain sees people doing something gross, but they are showing enormous pleasure and satisfaction. Yet if you were presented with realistic people, realistic out of shape bodies, possible STIs, weird personalities, would you really like it in real life with all the bad details? Do you really want to have sex with no exploration on relationship consequences? In desire the brain likes to ignore gross, or bad details.

Watch the movie Shame if you want to see a good depiction of emotional emptiness. All addictions lead to a dependency that leads you away from psychological freedom. Notice how porn takes time away from your goals. 

Then finally. What is your goal with sex? If you want good relationships and good sex, wouldn't it be better to read books on good sex, and find psychologically healthy partners that you want to spend time with outside of sex? People you trust. A lot of pornography gets people to want to act things out on Tinder with random people. I remember one server at a restaurant saying bluntly, "I like being married. I don't want my sex life to be mainly in the backseat of cars." LOL!

Think realistically. Are these women you like on porn in good shape? Are you in good shape? Do you have lots of money and success? Are you a "catch"? A lot of people have unrealistic images of what they will get for sexual partners compared to what they can offer. A form of narcissism.

Your problem is a problem for a lot of people in our modern society, and I commend you for trying to get out of it. It's not easy!

Good luck!

RE: Overcoming Pervasive Sexual energy and urges
Answer
4/23/19 6:59 AM as a reply to Silas Day.

RE: Overcoming Pervasive Sexual energy and urges
Answer
4/23/19 10:35 AM as a reply to Silas Day.
Hi Silas,

So it sounds to me like you have a bad habit that you want to break, right? A habit is a series of actions, usually unhealthy or unskillful if the habit is bad, that results in a burst of pleasure inducing neurochemicals at the end which are the reward. Checking out wikihow.com/Break-a-Habit, they outline a six step process. A few notes about the procedure.

Step 1 is to Commit to a Goal. This involves intention and the stronger you make your intention, the more likely you are to succeed. If you are of a devotional mindset, you can ask for some help from some bodhisattva or buddha or if you have a strong concentration practice you can crank it up and generate the intention when you back off on the concentration a little.

Step 3 is Examine the Context of your habit. I would imagine part of the context in your case is sitting around in your room browsing porn sites. Step 4 is to Make a Plan, and in particular, to change the context. Now young people today have lots of options that weren't available when I was young. Stickman's suggestion up thread comes to mind, or you could try Tinder, or even maybe attending a sitting group and seeing whether a relationship develops. A couple I know met through Sierra Singles many years ago and they have not gone hiking since. Note I am assuming here you are straight, if not just change around the specifics above to match your preference. And I am also assuming you do not intend to be celibate, if so I would suggest you take a look at the mess the Catholic Church is in and reconsider.

Finally, Step 6 is Practice Mindfulness, but here it seems you are ahead of the game because you are already doing it.

Breaking a bad habit is tough, especially one where the reward is as strong as it is in masturbation but with strong intention and a focused approach you can do it.

Good luck!

RE: Overcoming Pervasive Sexual energy and urges
Answer
4/26/19 7:48 PM as a reply to Silas Day.
People with high histamine levels tend to have a compulsive sex urge. High estrogen can also cause this. Take supplements and change your diet to reduce histamine and estrogen. Do some reading on things which help accomplish this. Holy basil can definitely calm you down. 

Also, restrict porn and masturbation to one day a week, at the most. If you have urges, postpone them for that one day.

RE: Overcoming Pervasive Sexual energy and urges
Answer
4/30/19 11:22 AM as a reply to Silas Day.
There are actually specific ancient Buddhist mediation methods that had been used by monks and lay persons for more than 2000 years to help them deal and overcome this exact problem, they are:

"Contemplating Thirty-Two Parts of the Body" meditation, and, "Contemplating the Corpse" meditation.

Probably not a good idea to attempt them without guidance from a meditation teacher who is qualified to teach such meditation though.