Hey bro, busy day yesterday, so I apologize for the late response.
Yes, this is a bit of a tricky situation, I know that feeling. Back in the beginning of my journey this was a major problem for me, especially when I was on vacation or down at the beach. I was trying to stay clean but since I wasn’t using porn, my mind reverted to sexualizing the ladies around me, which wasn’t hard to do since they were all in bikinis at the beach, or in booty shorts. And I know what you mean about not even doing anything and you almost relapse just by looking at them, this was especially hard because of my swim shorts. It can seem like there is no solution, but I was able to figure out some ways to deal with this.
The biggest issue I realized was my mindset, and this may seem like a crappy solution, but really, the power of one’s brain and the control we have over it is actually very phenomenal, but we have to realize that potential.
Back when I was having this problem, I was talking to a friend about this issue, and at the time I said to him, “I just think it’s ridiculous how we are supposed to stay clean when girls where crap like this.” And I was talking about that when he interrupted me and asked me why I put the blame on women when it was clearly my problem. He explained to me that no one’s telling you to sexualize them, you are choosing to. He said he had no problems with this, he just chose not to see them that way despite the alluring clothing.
At the time I thought my friend was stupid and not listening to me fully, but it got me thinking. And it wasn’t until a year later when I had a mentor that taught me the power we have over our mind and perspective that I was able to realize that I was choosing to look at woman this way. Not by concious, deliberate decision, but rather because I was allowing myself to shift the responsibility on the girls around me rather than on myself.
Now I’m not trying to say you’re choosing to have those feelings or something because, again, it’s not a deliberate choice, it’s just a result of our unconscious mindset, where we put the blame. My learning though was that these things are actually all under our control once we identify them. Not that it won’t take time and deliberate effort to change what’s in our head, but it’s possible to stop these feelings through the same place they are coming from.
And this really just makes sense when we think about it. We were addicted through our mind, therefore we must learn to become free through our mind. And I’m not talking about hippie stuff either, I’m merely talking about shifting of mindsets and rewiring our brain. In your journal, you talked about how you needed to release the tension, that is where I think your blame might be shifting, to your sexual organs. But you can learn to shift your mindset to remember that you are in control, no one else. And I hope I don’t come off as rude when saying that, I am just speaking from my experience and hoping that helps you too.
I relate it in the same way to how guys early in their fight will completely depend on porn-blocking software. Often their relapse statements will say that they just need a better porn blocker and that the blocker itself didn’t work. But this viewpoint is fundamentally flawed, and often people will take offense to this, but I mean it with the utmost sincerity because I have been there before. We have to change our mindset. Because in reality, the porn-blocker did nothing wrong, it did what it was supposed to. It was the person who chose to find a workaround, to push the blocker past its limits and search for keywords that would get by the blocker. They chose to relapse, not the porn blocker. In that circumstance, I would tell the brother that they need to remember that the porn blocker can’t make decisions for them, they need to take responsibility for their actions and use the porn blocker only as a line in the sand or as a way to avoid an unexpected trigger.
So that really is my biggest advice for you and how I learned to overcome it. Of course, I had some strategies to help me do that when I was out and about. I’ll list them below and you can take what you like:
Wear tight underwear. I prefer the boxing sport underwear that goes down on my thighs. Personally I find that looseness can aid in making me feel aroused when I was dealing with this problem, I would especially wear them with swim shorts.
Imagine the girls that you see as someone you deeply care about and could never imagine sexualizing and wouldn’t ever want to (i.e. your sister, your mom, your daughter). Bring back their humanity into your mind, resist those feelings to sexualize them. But don’t just resist them, convert them into feelings of care or concern for them. Remember that they are people too and someone’s daughter, sister, mother. Think about how you would feel if some guy was looking at your sister, mother, or daughter in the same way. Imagine you saw them looking at them in the same way and you saw them get an erection or something. I know that for me, that would make me angry, and so when I imagine that, it is easier for me to turn those arousing feelings into feelings of anger and wanting to protect the girl. Again, this will take practice though, but keep trying, keep pushing out or converting those thoughts, because at first they will keep coming back.
Another way I have found to change those feelings of sexualization is to imagine something that you know disgusts you whenever you get those feelings. This can be something about the human body or something entirely different. For example, I might think of sweaty feet because for some reason I’m really disgusted by feet in general. The point is to really get disgusted and change those feelings.
Another strategy I have found helpful, especially when the situation has gone beyond thoughts and you are stuck with an erection, is to exercise or cause a bit of pain for yourself (like pinch yourself really hard on your inner thigh). At the very least, stand up and walk around if you can, get your mind off it. Join in on an activity or conversation. Don’t just sit there, it will make it worse from my experience. Get the blood flowing elsewhere.
And with any of these things, remember that you are in control. Don’t let yourself shift the blame, always repeat to yourself that you are in control, this is your responsibility.
If you are having trouble remembering to do these things, I usually try to bring something with me as a reminder item. For example, if you have a habit of putting your hands in your pockets, then put a little rock in there or something. So that when your hands go in your pocket, you will touch the rock and remember to carry out your strategies.
Also, if all else fails and you get home with blue balls, go for a run immediately, a long, tiring run. That has helped me to get rid of it. Although, it will probably be fairly difficult to not relapse after going that far, but it is doable. Keep yourself around others until you have to go to bed. Don’t let yourself alone.
That’s what’s worked for me bro, but hopefully you can take something away from that.
You got this man!