I’m cracking. I’m like a lobster being brought to the boil right before my very eyes. I’ve lasted 25 days… I’m into the final stretch. But my defenses are fading. Do I trust myself? No, I can’t leave myself in the same room with a phone in fear that I’ll start throwing out a few feelers but I’m strong. It’s all about mind over matter. However, there is a certain calm that seems to come over me every time I weather my basic instinct. Lust over sense it has always been. But finally, maybe sense is starting to take back control. I’m motivated to keep the anchor down.
The first ten days was just getting over routine. The next ten days was a mixture of feelings, emotions, and self-reflection leading into self-correction. I don’t know what it is, am I trying to change myself knowing fully well my hormonal tendencies will simply return or am I affecting change that will hold me in good stead as I slip into the next chapter of my existence? I suppose one doesn’t understand if they have affected any sort of change until they’ve experienced a situation where they respond in a way they previously would not have even considered. But do I want to reside in a providence where chaos does not reign and I’ve been reduced to an observant talking head frowning upon open conversations about one’s sexuality and the habits that come under that sticky, unkempt blanket. Come on, we are talking about a month without masturbation and ejaculation, not a month of morphing into an 87 year old bible abiding, G rated movie-going conservative.
My biggest achievement so far? Getting through two uni assignments without caving to that lustful calling. The boredom of writing about administrative law and the common law duty to provide reasons for decisions is amplified when you cannot treat yourself with a little TLC. Nonetheless, the success and fortification of my pledge was satisfying in a platonic, sexless kind of way even if the essays were at best, of Daily Mail standard. It is funny; I’m not really a porn guy however I found myself watching a few videos just to aid my mind in reminiscing on the lazy Sunday afternoons gone by. It wasn’t really an intelligent idea when considering I am going 30 days without, not 30 days with.
I miss sex. I miss the intimacy. I miss the spontaneity. What I don’t miss is the complication and the consummation of my thoughts. I view this experiment akin to ridding myself of any minor addiction. You take away something that you’ve grown accustomed to, in this case sexual gratification, and you’ll be gifted with withdrawal symptoms, frustration and eventually a sense of zen, whether temporary or otherwise, that will have you singing Fairground by Simply Red with little more than a native Indian headpiece on. It’s not quite that romantic and exhilarating, but then again, nothing really is.
Dirty messages with past lovers, a filthy mind and ‘that cover’ featuring FKA Twigs all combined to confuse my senses on the tough days spent in front of my textbooks, yet I also have felt more connected to myself in more sophisticated and desirable ways. I struggle with the contradictions. I’m at once deliciously enamored by allowing people into my inner circle but concurrently finding distinct pleasure in being alone, without a phone, in a library or a gallery where I can enjoy my own thoughts without them being interrupted by the tight grip modern communication has over most of my ‘sleep with your phone under your pillow and your laptop at the end of your bed’ generation. How can one possibly have any sort of understanding of their depths without challenging themselves to go without something they consider important? Yet, then again, what about the old classic ‘if it feels good, do it’ mantra that allows you the freedom to be whoever you want to be without having to live in the shadow of society’s expectations?
You know what, let’s not get over analytical here. I’m giving up sexual gratification, not taking a stand against major corporations. Essentially though, my train of thought and internal dialogue currently revolves around ‘So this is growing up?’ and ‘Time’s gone inside out’. My expectations of romance have softened with time, and my expectations of life panning out the way I imagined it have disappeared. Does that disappoint me? Not in the slightest. My visions of romance have become something entirely different, and frankly unromantic by old world standards but again this does not leave me bitter. The world owes me nothing. It is me who owes myself something.
Maybe this was the reasoning behind this experiment. I know I can drop back into old habits but where will that leave me in several years? In the same position I am now. I see friends, acquaintances and strangers remaining in a bubble for long periods of their life, not developing in any capacity. Whether they are fine with this is another matter altogether. Ignorance can be bliss, but enlightenment can be just as gratifying. I suppose completing 30 days without this form of gratification won’t be the difference between me picking up my bat and ball and moving to London and staying put but it might just be the catalyst for committing to the discomfort and discipline of strengthening my willpower.
I’m not quite sure if this is the reason I took on this silly experiment. It is just like that tease ‘growing up’ to never let us know when we have grown up. All we can rely on are social constructs that inform us that when you get close to your mid-twenties you should have moved on from morning masturbation, clubbing with teenagers, sleeping in until midday and watching ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ repeats. But really, when has society definitively got it all right? I feel like I’ve achieved something here. Whether that means anything in the long run is a whole new question… Hands are meant for touching right?