May 15

The Madonna Whore Complex – Women Lovers and Haters

By Marcus Neo | Relationships

Sigmund Freud noticed that men who grew up with strenuous relationships with their mother developed a complex toward women. Hence he formed the theory of the Madonna Whore Complex. Freud argued that the madonna whore complex is a split between the affectionate and sexual currents in the male desire.

While Sigmund Freud theories surrounding the Oedipus complex, penis and castration fears have been debunked by modern day psychology, modern day psychologists have found that modern implications of Madonna Whore dichotomy remains.

The Madonna Whore Complex

The Madonna Whore split may be caused when the victim is raised by a cold but overprotective mother. This lack of emotional nurturing results in a man courting someone with maternal qualities, hoping to fulfil a need for intimacy unmet in childhood.

His need to capture his mother’s attention and affection as a child is later projected onto the woman he chooses to pursue. He ends up looking a woman with similar psychological make up with his mother. Since it’s ‘immoral wrong’ to think of his mother in a sexual manner, he forms an inability to feel sexual arousal in a committed and loving relationship. This returns repressed feelings surrounding the earlier relationship with his mother, hence preventing sexual satisfaction with his current partner.

My personal belief is that men who struggle in their dating and relationships life have some degree of skewed beliefs and towards women. The women lovers have a problem feeling sexually attracted to women they love. The women haters have a problem feeling romantically attracted to women they sexually desire.

In either cases, they are researched to feel less satisfied in romantic relationships. The lover is out of touch with his objectification of women and the hater is out of touch with his need for affection.

This can play out in your dating life (as it did in mine), you feel a lot of emotional affection for your partner, however for some reason, you aren’t able to perform in bed. On the other hand, you’re able to feel sexually attracted for a one night stand (a girl that you never thought of dating in the long run).

The Madonna – The Woman Lovers

Men struggling with the complex hence categorized women as either saintly Madonnas or debased prostitutes. Hence, the term “Madonna-Whore”.

Let’s take a look at one end of the spectrum: the women lovers. The men that see women as Madonna put women on a pedestal.

The complex plays itself out in the paradox in which any woman a man sexual desires must be a slut or a whore, and any woman who loves him and adores him is considered pure and consequently, he fears intimacy and feels inferior around her.

The women lovers worship feminine love, romanticize self-sacrifice and suffering for the sake of it. They are usually people pleasing and supplicant. They are the ones that find themselves doing things for women over and over again although there’s no form of reciprocation. They put sex on a pedestal and find themselves in love with their best female friends. These are the men that find themselves doing favours for a girl who has not shown them any signs of affection. 

These men, on the end of women lovers, are out of touch with their objectification of women: their desire for sex.

This may affect men who have little or no experience in sexual relationships. They may find it difficult to accept that women are sexual beings, have sexual needs, enjoy and desire sex as much as men do.

These beliefs may hinder your social interactions with women, you may being afraid to be physically intimate with her, believing then women do not like to be touched. You may feel that she may be more sexually experienced than you, thus feeling inferior to her.

Thw Whore – Woman Haters

Psychologist Richard Tuch suggested that woman-haters become who they are because as a young boy, because he suffered frustration and narcissistic injury at the hands of his mother, in adulthood, the boy turned men seeks to avenge these mistreats through sadistic attacks on women who are ‘stand-ins’ for his own mother, hence forming a hatred for women.

These men are the ones that see women as ‘whores’. They see women as something to be researched and conquered. They see affection and love as something that’s worked for and struggled for. They perceive women to be fundamentally different from themselves. These are the men that go on angry rants about how women not knowing their social roles, that they ‘belong to the kitchen’, being dirty slutty for desiring sex and etc.

It’s also important to note that women haters don’t exactly hate women. Rather, they experience a love hate relationship with women. They may also perceive women as fundamentally different from them. They may also maintain dysfunctional and manipulative relationships as the women they end up attracting profiles that match them in bitterness and distrust.

These beliefs are commonly expressed in the pick up artist community. Woman haters tend to gravitate towards being players. They are often out of touch with their desire for love and affection.

The Madonna-Whore Complex Expressed in Modern Culture

Through my years of talking to men as friends and a dating coach. It’s not uncommon to hear men saying that they want to marry a ‘good girl’:

She preferably has to be virgin, hasn’t dated a lot and is ‘pure’ and ‘innocent’. He, on the other hand, desires to date and have sexual experiences with as many other girls as possible, that he would never think of starting a romantic or committed relationship with them.

This is the conflicted desire of wanting to marry a ‘pure and innocent girl’ but then they couldn’t have sex with her, because if that’s true, that’ll mean she’s a dirty, down-ridden ‘whore’. However, when he wanted to have a sexual relationship with a woman, he’ll never date her, as sex signalled ‘her lack of morals’.

Love is only reserved for the ‘good’ girl, the girl you can bring home to Mum, the one who’s of ‘marriage material’. Sex, on the other hand, is reserved for the ‘bad’ girls.

This is commonly expressed as: “I want to have sex with many girls, but I ONLY want to marry the good one, that hasn’t had sex a lot.” This also suggests ‘good girls’ don’t desire sex as much as ‘bad girls’. Or ‘good girls’ are defined as good because they haven’t had multiple sexual experiences.

Not only this is a double standard, but this categorisation of female sexuality leads you to properly appreciate your partner as an integrated person with different needs.

Your Beliefs: How Do You View Women? 

The Madonna-whore dichotomy can often be unconscious and subtle. It can be difficult to pin point if you’re a woman hater or lover, even if you’re struggling with women flipping to and fro between these two different beliefs, flipping back and forth depending on the situation, and depending on the girl.

Regardless, both belief systems are unhealthy fixations. The woman lover obsesses for love, the woman hater obsesses for sex. Both belief systems lead to manipulative and dysfunctional relationships. Both fail to see the opposite sex as equals. One sees them as superior, and the other as inferior.

For the woman lover/ hater, when confronted with a girl they sexually desire, they would view her as a trash-ridden whore, something use for their own pleasure and amusement. On the other hand, when confronted with women with good morals and or status, they put her on a pedestal, seeing her as something pure, perfect and of a higher order.

I’m not saying that this psychological theory is carved out in stone, however, the Madonna-Whore complex concept can be used as a model to better your beliefs around female sexuality.

Curious if you harbour some of these beliefs?

You can ask yourself some questions:

  • What are your beliefs with women like?
  • Are you living out those double standards?
  • How do you feel and react if your partner earns more than you?
  • How do you feel about women desiring sex as much as men do?
  • Do your interactions with women involve the objectification of women?
  • Do your interactions with women lean towards feminine worship?
  • Has the relationship with your mother affected how you perceive dating and relationships with the opposite sex?
  • Did you grow up with a cold/ distant/ abusive mother?
  • How is your relationships like with female counterparts growing up?

These are difficult questions that can lead to difficult answers. However, be honest. These questions helped me become more introspective about my emotional maps and belief systems. It has also helped me become more objective my relationship with women.

Moving Forward

So, assuming you’re a pussy pedalling individual or secretly belief that all women only belong to the kitchen, how can you get better? The cure to the Madonna-whore dichotomy isn’t simple. The only way to resolve your anger or worship toward is to confronting your deep-seated beliefs. It involves being introspective about your beliefs towards women.

Firstly, it is to perceive our female counterparts as equals. This means not worshipping or objectifying female sexuality. Secondly, it is to do the therapeutic work required to resolve any misgivings or anger. This may stem from your childhood, this may not. Ultimately, women are not to be worshipped nor objectified. They are similar to that as men: with needs, desires, virtues and vices.

Works Cited

Hartmann, Uwe (2009). “Sigmund Freud and His Impact on Our Understanding of Male Sexual Dysfunction“. The Journal of Sexual Medicine6 (8): 2332–2339

Baraket, O. (2018). The Madonna-Whore Dichotomy: Men Who Perceive Women’s Nurturance and Sexuality as Mutually Exclusive Endorse Patriarchy and Show Lower Relationship SatisfactionSex Roles, 1-14.

Tuch, Richard (2010). “Murder on the Mind: Tyrannical Power and Other Points along the Perverse Spectrum“. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis 91 (1): 141-162.

 

Client cold approaching
May 12

How to Cold Approach without Approach Anxiety + Infield

By Marcus Neo | Dating Advice for Men

If you can cold approach women effortlessly on the streets, you are going to be really good with women. However, the majority of men fail at cold approach because the idea of going up to talk to an attractive stranger overwhelms them. Secondly, the majority of your cold approaching success is going to rely on how well you deal with approach anxiety.

How many opportunities have you and I missed as the years went by. She walks by and you tell yourself: ‘I’ll approach the next one”. Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands by the years.

The Art of the Cold Approach

Let’s assume you are or an introvert that do not really have any other options. You aren’t also fan of the quality of women you get from online dating apps such as Tinder. There isn’t any other alternative right? You’re only able to get good at this through cold approaching and overcoming your approach anxiety. That’s it.

There are other benefits of getting the art of the cold approach down. The anxiety you feel when cold approaching an attractive woman is the same anxiety you feel when you lean in for the kiss. By training that emotional muscle of cold approaching, you’ll be able to rapidly improve in other areas of dating as well.

Step 1) Make an Internal Life Decision

You’re on a dating advice blog for a reason. You want to get better with your interactions with women. Look, this isn’t a Disney movie. There’s nobody coming to save you. This is your dating life you’re talking about. You need to decide to win. If you’re half hearted about getting your dating life handled (or any aspect of your life for that matter.) You are simply not going to win.

I want you to take out a piece of paper, and write your goals for your dating life. Yes, get serious about it. Can you hold yourself accountable to your life values?

There comes a point you need to pull the trigger and just fucking do it.

Life like a chess

Step 2) Put Evolutionary Pressure on Yourself

How many of us make internal life decisions but end up not following through? That’s a lot of us. That’s because you are still in your comfort zone.

The way to force yourself out of your comfort zone is to put intense evolutionary pressure on yourself. You need to give yourself no alternatives. This can mean not texting girls that you’re so-so into and putting pressure on yourself to cold approach women that you’re into. This can mean deleting Tinder or any other forms of escapes or excuses that you give yourself.

I only started cold approaching seriously only after I signed up for a coaching program with a dating coach. I put up skin in the game. If you can’t motivate yourself, then use your own psychology against you. If you pay up half your bank account like I did in my earlier twenties, I can guarantee you’re going to start approaching.

One other reason people procrastinate is because they lack sexual motivation. If you’re watching porn every single day you’re going to sit at home and procrastinate. The solution here is simple, cut down on your pornographic intake.

If all your friends mock you for attempting to better your dating life, then find new friends. In my later teens, I ran around introducing self help books to my friends. They told me I was raving mad. I responded by getting a coach, audiobooks and whatever material I can get my hands on. That pushed me to take action in my dating life. I also learned later in life that it’s pointless to discuss self development with friends and or family.

Step 3) How to Cold Approach Women Infield

If you’re socially awkward and never had positive responses from people or women in your life. Then let’s say you’re going to be crippled with approach anxiety. Only after learning the basics of dressing adequately and the ability to read basic social cues, you’ll be able to approach successfully

I did an entire Youtube video on how to cold approach women even in a conservative culture such as Singapore.

You can check it out here:

Step 4) Exercises to Help You Cold Approach

In my experience, the reason why people get overwhelmed with approach anxiety is because they haven’t made an internal decision. They either don’t feel worthy of success in women themselves, or their fear of rejection/ failure trumps the sweetness of success. You need to make an internal life decision. Now, and today.

You got to decided you are going to risk rejection for success. Furthermore, is there really real risk involved? There’s only perceived risk. You don’t lose money, a leg or an arm for by talking to some attractive stranger. There’s no real inherent risk.

So, you have decided internally. HOWEVER you realise going out and talking to the most attractive person you can find at the mall is daunting. So what you can do about it?

If you’re dealing with unbearable approach anxiety, here’s an exercise and a program that’s going to help:

  • Talk to 10 strangers, ask them for time and or directions (you can say that your watch or phone is broken)
  • Talk to 10 women who are strangers, ask them for time and or directions (you can say that your watch or phone is broken)
  • Talk to 10 women who are attractive strangers, ask them for time and or directions (you can say that your watch or phone is broken)
  • Talk to 10 women who are attractive strangers, ask them for time and or directions, then give them a light compliment and walk away
  • Talk to 10 women who are attractive strangers, ask them for time and or directions, then give them a light compliment, then follow up by making a statement about their hair/ dress sense or anything you can observe
  • Tell 10 women who are attractive that you find them interesting and wait for their response…
  • Tell 1o women who are attractive that you find them interesting, try to push for a conversation and so on and so forth

Cold approaching in a Mall

There are no hard and fast rules here. You can tweak the difficulty settings according to your cold approach responses and skillset level. This progressive desensitisation method is also clinical researched method that’s use across many therapeutical settings.

Note, if you’re having huge issues with even talking to strangers asking for time and directions. You should not be studying dating advice. You may need a therapist and/or talk to a professional mental health. However, if you aren’t then progressively moving your way up the ladder is going to help.

Step 5) The Reasons Why Most Men Can’t Cold Approach

In my experience, the reasons why most men can’t do cold approaches is not only because we fear rejection itself, but because the act of approaching is unconventional.

Yes, cold approaching a woman directly may be completely out of your identity and culture. Yes, cold approaching is an unconventional behaviour. However, success with women unconventional in itself.

How else are you going to outperform if you did everything similarly 99% of the male population aren’t able to direct approach an attractive lady on the streets, much less alone a night club or a bar. If it was easy and common, then everybody is going to be successful with women.

Unfortunately, it’s not easy.

However, that is good news. If you’re able to be competent in cold approaching. Then you’ll outperform 99% of the men out there.

This is also true of many other skillsets not related to dating. For example, building a business ground up is extremely difficult. That is why only a small majority of the population are business owners. The option of running a business is not readily accessible to everyone.

Step 6) Accept Rejection

I’m going to be a little philosophical here. Out of most of your cold approaches, the majority of times you’re going to get lukewarm responses. IF you’re doing it right, the ones that aren’t interested are plainly going to ignore you, or maybe give you a negative response. You’re not going to get slapped, I assure you.

Let’s say you cold approach twenty women. Out of twenty, five of them are slightly interested. You go out on a date with 2 and 1 fall through and you’re left with one. The sooner you accept that the majority of your interactions are going to go nowhere, the more free you are able to take action.

The reason why people hesitate and procrastinate over ONE approach is because they have this fantasy that every approach has to be perfect and that every girl they approach is going to fall head over heels for them. In reality, most girls aren’t going to be interested or available.

Lastly, there’s no need to feel like a need to ask for every girl’s number. There’ll be women that give out their numbers for no reason. There’ll be women that text you for no reason and won’t go out with you. So, stop feeling overtly anxious about approaching. Sooner or later you’ll get a rough feel of who is interested and who is not. You’ll also want to screen in your approaches.

Conclusion

Lastly, by going through tens of interactions by cold approaching, you’re forced to be good at improvisation. You’re forced to be able to improvise on the spot. You need to be able to tease, flirt and understand social cues right there and then. It’s not only the most direct way of getting to meet more women, it’s also a great way to practice other skillsets that’s required for dating success.

There’s something to be said about acceptance. The acceptance that you’re not going to be attractive to the majority of women at any given point of time. Only when you acknowledge that, then you’re free to being rejected. It’s not personal. It’s not about you. It doesn’t say anything about you, your successes, failures or your identity. it’s just the economics of dating, some luck and a lot randomness.

May 03

Attachment Styles – The Why of Rollercoaster Relationships

By Marcus Neo | Relationships

Ever felt like you can’t live without a certain relationship, be it a friend or a romantic partner? Or do you find yourself too afraid to be alone or make decisions on yourself? Or do you feel that you are repeating the same mistakes in your relationships with your partners time and time again?

In psychology, attachment theory can be used as a useful model to explain why your relationships have succeeded or failed in the manner they did. It can also point out repeated patterns of your relationship problems. In general, there are four kinds of attachment: the secure, anxious, avoidant and anxious-avoidant.

Secure Attachment

People with secure attachment strategies are comfortable with displaying interest and affection. They are also comfortable being alone and independent. They are able to prioritise relationships, draw clear boundaries and stick to them.

They also have a positive perception of others and positive perception of themselves. They make the best romantic partners, family members and friends. They are capable of accepting rejection and moving on despite the pain but are also capable of being loyal, sacrificing when necessary. They have little issue trusting the people they are close to and are trustworthy themselves.

Anxious Attachment

People with an anxious attachment style may value intimacy to an extent that they become overly dependent on the attachment figure. Compared to securely attached people, people who are anxious or preoccupied with attachment tend to have a less positive perception about themselves.

People with anxious attachment have a positive perception of others and negative perception of themselves. This strategy may be developed in childhood by infants who receive affection and care with unpredictable sufficiency.

Avoidant Attachment

People with avoidant attachment types tend to be independent, self-directed and are often uncomfortable with intimacy. People with avoidant attachment have a positive perception of themselves and negative perception of others. This strategy may be developed in childhood by infants who only get some of their needs met while the rest are neglected.

Anxious-Avoidant Attachment

People with this attachment style are much less comfortable with expressing affection. They frequently deny and suppress their feelings. They commonly have a negative worldview on others and view themselves as unworthy. These mixed feelings are combined with unconscious, negative views about themselves and others. They often have other emotional problems in other areas of their life: substance abuse and depression. This attachment type is commonly developed from abusive or negligent childhoods.

Here’s a useful model.

Psychological research backs it up as well, people with the same level of self esteem end up dating each other.

Research also suggests that anxious and avoidant people frequently end up in relationships with one another. It normally goes like this: the avoidant types are so good at putting others off that often times it is only the anxious types who are willing to stick around put in the extra effort to get them to open up.

I may be generalising, but think of the man who constantly pushes away a woman’s needs for intimacy. If it’s up to a woman with a secure attachment, she’ll simply accept the rejection and move on. However, an anxiously attached woman will be more determined by a man who pushes her away. The avoidant man then is reassured that he can behave independently around her and still ultimately avoid emotional intimacy (he’s avoidant right?).

You can argue that women that are willing to stay around and be manipulated are probably anxiously attached. The inability of an avoidant attachment styled male to express genuine affection and intimacy triggers her anxious attachment that makes her chase even more that in turns rewards the avoidant style that he adopts. She chases, he runs, and this goes in circles.

The implications from an emotional needs standpoint can run deep. The anxious and the avoidant have a fundamental belief that their emotional needs aren’t important. The avoidant denies their emotional needs by avoiding it, and the anxious attempts to force theirs by overcompensating. Ultimately, both end up failing to get their needs met in a relationship.

I experienced this chaser and chase pattern in my first serious relationship with my ex-girlfriend. Every time I chased, she ran. Every time I got sick of it and threatened to leave, she came back chasing. It was constant, tiring too and fro. It felt exhilarating at times, however, it’s not long before that relationship ended up exploding. The problem with such romantic relationships is that it can feel as if you made progress after going through emotional whirlwinds with the other party. The higher highs of reconciliation and the lower lows of arguments and fights. It can be mistaken as ‘love’ or ‘passion’.

The Narcissist and the Co-dependent

One other way to think about attachment styles is the narcissist and codependent dynamic. I am going to generalize again here, but bear with me. The narcissist is usually the ‘taker’, and the codependent is normally the ‘giver’. In many dysfunctional relationships, you can find the giver and the taker. The giver is the one that always gives and gives without takin as he or she feels intrinsically unworthy and unaware of his or her own emotional needs.

  • The Narcissist

The taker and the narcissist always takes and takes because he or she is unable to meet their own emotional needs and is attempting to fill a void.

The narcissist only cares about his or her own needs. He/ she is the overly domineering one in social interactions. This is the annoying individual who is always going on and on about him or herself and is unable to empathize with the people around them. It’s always him, his stories, her failures or her successes. They aren’t generally unable to listen.

Hanging out with a narcissist is equivalent to social waterboarding.

They always require more. That is because external validation is a temporary high. It feels good at the moment but is still an empty victory. I’ll argue narcissists get more results in their dating life than co-dependents solely because of their willingness (and blindness) to assert themselves in spite of negative social feedback.

The taker, the narcissist is unable to generate self-esteem from within and hence strives to generate it externally.

  • The Co-dependent

If your life choices, decisions or self esteem is dependent or another person, you may have a co-dependent relationship. This can be your best friend, your parents or your romantic partners.

Co-dependents find themselves in relationships where their primary role is that of the rescuer. Their happiness is reliant on their ability to meet their partner’s emotional needs and not their own. 

Unresolved patterns of co-dependency can lead to other problems such as alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, sex addiction, self-destructive and defeating behaviours. Co-dependents also have higher chances to form abusive relationships, stay in stressful jobs or relationships.

The listener, the giver, the co-dependent who listens to the narcissist’s troubles quietly and doesn’t give any input. He or she just takes it in and may seem sympathetic to the narcissist’s sorrows. That’s because the only way the listener can feel loved or accepted in that social situation is to tend to someone else’s emotional needs.

For the Overly Attached: Note on Roller Coaster Relationships

Ultimately, rollercoaster and dramatic relationships lack true intimacy and boundaries. Both individuals do not get their emotional needs met. They both are unable to accept love and validation, yet at the same time overcompensate in getting their needs for recognition, love and validation from each other (or others).

Psychologists argue that our unconscious is constantly attempting to seek out attention, love and validation that we miss out from out parents growing up.  There’s research suggesting that parents who view their children as an extension of their own self, hence, getting their needs met by the child leads to the child to believe that his or her own needs aren’t important. The child becomes attuned to the parent’s needs and feelings instead of the other round.

This plays out when someone attempts to get their needs met from people around them as adults. This can be from areas of their lives other than their relationships. You may overcompensate and seek to meet your unmet needs through sex, achievements, financial pursuit or just about any area of life.

Look, everyone needs a pat on the back and validation at some point. The question to ask yourself is this: are you pursuing something from a standpoint of values or are you scratching an unresolved emotional need?

The Attachment Theory – Self Esteem Model

The problem with a lot of dating and relationship advice is that they don’t encourage the expression of emotions from a secure standpoint. Instead, they promote insecure strategies such as using of lines, techniques, not calling back in X amount of days in attempt to manipulate someone else into doing something. They aren’t effectual on the long run, and may only work on individuals who aren’t able to express themselves directly as well. You’re blocking out any genuine real emotional engagement. You’re still not getting your emotional needs met.

If you’re wondering if attachment theory has something to do with one’s self esteem. You’re right. Psychologists also hypothesised a model showing one’s attachment strategy corresponding to the self image of yourself and your perception of others. Your attachment style is connected to self esteem, emotional needs and vulnerability. These ideas are interlinked.

How to Find Our Your Attachment Style

How do you know if you are overly/ underly attached? You may do a self test to figure out which attachment style you fall under. There’s an attachment theory test that you can take to find out your attachment type. If you don’t want to take the test, then rely on the following examples to roughly give you a guess on your style of attachment. 

You can ask yourself some questions:

  • Do you have your own life handled or are you merely using your relationship as an excuse?
  • Flip it around and ask yourself if the person across you has his or her own life going on, or is he or she living vicariously through her relationship?
  • Are you dependent on each other for each other’s happiness, or are both of you already happy as individuals with or without a relationship?

Can Your Attachment Style be Changed? 

Is there hope for the anxiously attached hopeless romantic or the commitment phobic avoidant? Or maybe you are reading this and determined you’re either a pushover codependent or a raging narcissist. Hear me out. The good news is that attachment styles can be changed. The bad news is that it’s slow and difficult.

I was a classic hard core avoidant throughout my teens up till my early twenties. Since I started therapy, I had one anxiety uncovered after another. There were periods of my life where I swung heavily from avoidant to anxious. You’ll be surprised to find that underlying avoidance may be anxiety. There were other periods where I was going through phases of emotional vomit and flipped manically in and out of being anxious and avoidant.

There’s also research suggesting that an individual with an insecure attachment who enters a long term relationship and the other party who has a secure attachment can be “raised up” to the level of secure over an extended period of time.

Unfortunately, insecure attachments such as the anxious or avoidant can also “bring down” a secure attachment. Other extreme negative life events such a divorce, death of a child, serious accident, lost of friendships can also cause secure attachment types to fall into a more insecure attachment.

Conclusion

There’s no quick fix for changing attachment styles. Similarly, there is no quick fix for a lack (or overflowing) of self love.

If your happiness is derived from making extreme sacrifices to meet other people needs needs. Then it’s a red flag. If you’re the giver or the listener, then you need to stop being a pushover. It’s time to stop being Mr Nice Guy/ Woman. You’ll need learn how to assert your own emotional needs and get your needs met in your relationships.

Now, I am not saying you can’t sacrifice for each other in a relationship. However, there’s a difference between sacrificing for someone and a lack of relationship boundaries.

Or maybe you find yourself as a raging narcissist and constantly get pushed away by others. You may want to take a step back and learn how to empathise with others. The point here isn’t to be overly selfish or aggressive. It is to find a fine balance between caring for their own and other’s people’s needs.

Unfortunately, I’m not immune. In my life, I had my fair share of stages in my life where I fell into co-dependence or fell into narcissism. 

However, all in all, I’m happy to report that today, I’m a lot better at handling my relationships today.

Ultimately, attachment styles can give us a good frame work on healthy relationships.

So are you saying that all healthy relationships non dependent on each other? Nope. The best forms of relationship are not completely independent, but interdependent. An interdependent relationship is where two partners support each other unconditionally. They are able to generate self esteem as an individual. They aren’t vicariously living through their partner. It’s two emotionally independent individuals consciously choosing to support one another.

Works Cited

Alan Rappoport, P. (n.d.). Co-Narcissism: How We Accommodate to Narcissistic Parents.Retrieved from AlanRappoport.Com: http://www.alanrappoport.com/pdf/Co-Narcissism%20Article.pdf

 Hazan C.; Shaver P.R. (March 1987). “Romantic love conceptualized as an attachment process”J Pers Soc Psychol52 (3): 511–24.

Apr 11

How to Overcome Anxiety – a Psychologically Research Guide

By Marcus Neo | Self Improvement and Social Skills

I remembered starting my first business when I was 22. I dropped out of accounting school and started a website. In, three months, I gave up and told myself: I’m not cut out for this. This isn’t for me. I had too much anxiety and  froze up, not knowing what to do next. If you see an attractive stranger walk by us on the streets. You look at them, faintly hoping they’ll look at us. They might even you a hint or two and even if so, we freeze dumbfounded there with anxiety running through us, unable to make the next step. 

Studies show that fears, anxieties, traumas are imprinted on our brains in similar ways that our physical habits are. They are hardwired into us and never disappear. They are our emotional habits, just like all our other physical habits. If you can build a habit to study hard for examinations, it’s the same ability to build an emotional habit to feel less anxious during social or sexual situations.

How to Overcome Anxiety – Understanding Anxiety

Here’s the thing about anxiety. Everyone has a degree of social and sexual anxiety, no matter how rich, handsome or beautiful they are, it’s part of being human.

The good news is that although anxieties can’t be removed, it can be replaced with higher order behaviours. You can build a habit of acting against your fears.

The people who perform well in a high pressured situation as compared to those who flunk is not due to the lack of anxiety, but how well they managed their anxiety. They both experience similar anxiety, however, one is trained to harness it rather than to be crippled by it. People who are confident in their abilities become more energised and assertive with their anxieties. Their nervousness even goes to help them perform.

I asked myself: How can I look forward to my days? How can I be excited about going to the examinations and feeling competent instead of seeing it as something that is a pain in the butt. How can I be excited to head out with friends on a night out to potentially meet a new romantic partner? Can it not be a non – stressful event? Can it not been as something to be competed and fought against, and something that’s collaborated and enjoyed? This is why I looked into research on how anxieties are formed and how to overcome it.

Principle 1) Questioning our Deep Rooted Beliefs

Someone can be rich and popular but still don’t feel any more secure in their day to day confidence. There are deep rooted beliefs about ourselves that we aren’t willing/able to let go of. Our past pains contribute to our present pain and this may hurt us in all areas of our lives. 

One way to overcome anxiety is to understand why you’re feeling anxious in the first place. This is to question our own thoughts and beliefs about ourselves. This requires self awareness. It’s helpful to take a step back and ask yourself whenever you’re feeling anxious about something. You can ask myself if it’s that really true that if you perform X desired behaviour, you’ll get a negative Y result. 

The other thing you can do is to attempt to understand if a past experience or trauma contributed to your current anxiety. If you’re afraid of start business, could it be because you failed with money in the past and you convince yourself that you’re just not cut out to be an entrepreneur. The process peeling one layer back and another can be emotionally painful whilst doing so, but necessary in the long run.

When I lost money in the stock market, I convinced myself for a year that I merely sucked as an investor. However, that wasn’t the case. One bad trade don’t make me a bad investor. That one horrible trade that I made just meant that I failed at a trade when I first started out. It doesn’t say anything about my long term identity. 

Secondly, instead of believing what’s ‘true’ why not believe in something that’s helpful. Psychological research shows that our human psychology is at most times, biased and unreliable. We often convince ourselves of the ‘truth’ to ourselves and others, whereas, in plain reality, it’s often far from actual reality. So at the end of the day, there’s actually no final ‘truth’. Hence, it’s better to believe what’s helpful, rather than what’s ‘true’, since what’s true is often what we merely convinced ourselves.

Principle 2) Defence Mechanisms

Now, let me get to our excuses. It’s what I call: defence mechanisms. It’s the lies you and I tell ourselves day in and out when you fail to approach that girl, hit the gym or start a business.  You and I all have defense mechanisms that run rampant when it comes to different aspects of life. The common defense mechanisms can morph between apathy, blame, avoidance and procrastination, depending on your life circumstances and different past experiences and upbringing. 

  • The Blame/ Anger

Some of the common ones that I get from myself and people around me: my parents fuck me up, I’m just born like that naturally. I mean, it’s society’s fault, all women are haters. It’s easy to blame something and be angry at someone or something, paint yourself a victim than to take responsibility for something in your life. 

  • Avoidance

When I started improving my dating life, on some nights, I’m completely avoid about social situations by convincing myself that I don’t care. I somehow convinced myself that I don’t want/need to talk to girls and I’m perfectly cool about it. Yeah right Marcus, you are full of crap, you have been talking about this whole approaching girls fearlessly thing the entire week, now that you’re in the club you are not going to talk to a single girl?

  • Intellectualization

Intellectualisation is also another form of avoidance. However, in this case, instead of completely avoiding doing that action, you convince yourself that you can learn more about that subject. Hence, instead of actually performing that action, you end up reading and watching videos or tutorials on how to do that action. 

There’s nothing wrong to get a more insightful perspective on how to better attract women or build a business. However, if you find yourself reading one book after another without doing anything about, then you’re probably using knowledge as an excuse. 

Sometimes, behind these defense mechanisms are emotional truths and realities that we’re out of touch with. The trick here is spotting the excuses you give yourself, and acting despite these excuses. 

How to Overcome Anxiety Principle 3) Progressive Desensitization

When it comes how to overcome anxiety, many are going to teach you a lot of nonsense. Some say it’s a purely a matter of willpower and hustle. Some say that anxiety isn’t real. Others say to focus on the positive and ignore the negative. Some say: just man up the fuck up, grab your balls and just do it.

This strategies work in the short run. However none of these are sustainable and it can actually harm you more than help you in the long run. These solutions only create short term gains, they don’t create permanent habits over the anxiety. Remember, anxiety is an emotional habit wired into your brain and to overcome it, you must hardwire a different, more positive habit on top of it.

Through my experiences as a dating coach for men, I noticed that many of the guys from the community were hyping themselves up before going into the club to meet women. This isn’t really a sustainable strategy in the long run.

One of the most reliable methods of helping you overcome your anxieties is referred to cognitive behavioural therapy, often known as CBT. CBT is based on the concept of progressive desensitizations and gradual exposure to something that makes us afraid.

This is effective on two fronts: 1) It slowly develops our willpower over the course of time instead of overwhelming us at once, and 2) Builds a strong base of confidence in our ability to handle a situation, makes us less likely to freeze up.

If you’re afraid to start a conversation with a stranger at the library, you can start by asking strangers for the time and directions, to build you up, to get some social juices going. Nothing else. Then once you can do that comfortably, you build up to asking strangers for directions and then inserting a compliment. You can get creative with your exercises here. The trick here is this: You continue to progressively push yourself until you’re comfortable with the action.

Willpower is a muscle that can be depleted, and also can be built. If it’s not exercised, it becomes weak. The longer someone becomes a couch potato, the harder it is for them to get up and hit the gym. On the other hand, people who have a lot of discipline and positive habits are able to adopt new habits and push through uncomfortable situations much easier.

Principle 4) Self Acceptance

What you resist, persists. When it comes to fear and anxiety, don’t you notice that the more you focus on it or fight it, the stronger it becomes.

When I was in an academic setting, the more I was afraid of failing my exams, the more I was afraid of picking up my pen and doing some practices to score. Hence, I ended up failing, despite investing an enormous amount of mental effort stressing out over the examinations. It almost felt as if I put in the effort, and yet had no results. 

The times where you accepted that the fear is there, and things may not go how you’d like them to go, you decided that you were okay with whichever outcome that is going to occur, you relaxed and performed fine.

Instead of focusing and spending a huge amount of mental effort on how to beat your anxiety, you can just say to yourself: “You know what, I’m a nervous guy, and this isn’t going to go away or get any easier. I am just going to live with it and act despite it.” This relieves the pressure of not forcing yourself to not feeling anxious.

Till this day I still feel anxious when speaking to someone new. On some days, I still convince myself that I don’t want it, or I don’t need it. Despite writing hundreds of blog posts, I still feel anxious or avoidant when publishing an article. Our emotional habits don’t go away, they merely get replaced by higher order behaviours and habits.

Self development, at the end of the day is changing how you feel about others, and yourself. It ties into concepts such as anxiety, our attachment system, self esteem and etc. The bedrock of acceptance commitment therapy is to go with, instead of against your negative feelings and thoughts as opposed to challenge it.

On the other hand, taking the ACT approach, If I were to just accept these negative thoughts, and be non judgmental about it, I wouldn’t spend the mental energy ruminating over those thoughts in my head.

The Art of Defusing From Your Thoughts

In acceptance commitment therapy, whether a thought is true or not is not that important. It’s far more important if that thought is helpful or not.

Thoughts are also stories we tell ourselves. The mind never stops telling stories, not even when you’re asleep. It is constantly comparing, judging, evaluating, criticizing, planning, pontificating and fantasising.

We all have beliefs, the more we tightly hold on to them, the more inflexible we come in our attitudes and behaviours. 

Fusion happens when you’re blending with your thoughts.In a state of fusion, it seems as if our thoughts are our reality. What we’re thinking is actually happening, here and now. Our thoughts become the truth, the truth of our reality. 

Now, how do we defuse from this ‘self created truth’ to the actual reality of things? 

To defuse your thoughts, it’s first to bring to awareness an upsetting thought that takes in the form of ‘I am X’. For EG. ‘I’m not good enough’, or I’m incompetent’. Preferably a thought that often recurs and that usually bothers or upsets you.

Now, take that thought and insert this phrase in front of it: ‘I’m having the thought that….’ 

Now, this time, phrase it longer ‘I notice I’m having the thought I am X’.

This practice gave you distance from the actual thought as if you “Stepped Back” from it.

You’re no longer making your thoughts your identity, you’re no longer making it your truth. 

Principle 5) Taking Valued Based Action

One part of acceptance and commitment therapy is to take valued based action. Your values are different from goals. A value is a direction we desire to keep moving in, an ongoing process that never reaches an end. You can make the analogy that a value is akin to heading west, no matter how far you travel there’s always farther west you can go. Getting married is a goal. Being loving, honest and empathetic. These are values.

One of the revelations in the book man’s Search for Meaning, written by Viktor Frankl, who was a Jewish psychiatrist who survived years of unspeakable horror in Nazi concentration camps reported that the people who survived longest in the death camps are those who are connected with a deeper purpose in life. The deeper purpose if often rooted in values. One of Viktor Frankl’s values is in helping others, and so, throughout his time in concentration camps. he consistently helped other prisoners to cope despite the atrocious conditions. He also helped them to connect to their deepest values. Taking values based action gives our lives meaning and a powerful antidote to give your life purpose.

Principle 6) The Struggle Switch

The more we struggle with or against these feelings, the more trouble we create for ourselves. When these negative emotions show up, the thing is not to struggle against it, but to just let it be. Our anxiety levels are free to rise and fall. Some times, they’re high, some times, low, more important, you’re not wasting your time and energy struggling against it. Initially, you can willpower through your issues. However, willpower is going to run out.

When we beat ourselves up over our own thoughts and emotions, then that’s when the struggle switch is on.

‘This can’t be good for me.’ ‘I’m such a crappy friend’ ‘I shouldn’t be doing this.’ ‘I’m acting like a child’.

You end up feeling guilty about being angry. You might feel angry about feeling anxious. There are secondary emotions that might come a long with the primary emotion. It’s a vicious cycle. There’s no avoiding discomfort. However, there’s no need for additional suffering. This struggle switch is like an emotional amplifier. When you switch it on, we can have multi layer emotions such as anger about our anxiety. You can feel guilty about our your depression.

When it’s turned on, we’re completely unwilling to accept the presence of these uncomfortable emotions. Not only you’re unable to get rid of them but you’ll also do whatever it takes to get rid of them: this may be through pornography, binge eating and etc.

These are control strategies. Instead of avoiding or struggling against these feelings, it’s better to ‘expand into it’. Expanding into your negative emotions is similar to the defusing technique. It is to step aside from your thoughts and observe your emotions. By allowing these sensations to be there, two things might happen. Either your feelings will change, or they don’t. It doesn’t matter either way because this technique is not about changing your feelings but accepting them.

Closing Thoughts

There’s no fool proof technique to overcome anxiety. It’s going to take practice and effort to practice. Now, I believe that not all negative emotions or thoughts should be merely ‘accepted’. Negative emotions can push us towards value based actions during times of need. Furthermore, it’s not enough to just accept all your negative thoughts or negative feedback. If you see a clear pattern in your life and you’re feeling upset about it, then perhaps you got to do something different. 

Lastly, these techniques shouldn’t be used as control strategies. When you’re throwing your arms in the air and being frustrated and pissed off at why ‘defusing your thoughts’ isn’t working as it should be. You’re probably using it as a control strategy. There’s nothing to control here. Just a plain awareness of your thoughts, accepting them, nodding at them. With no judgement. Our anxieties don’t go away, you merely form better habits on top of them.     

Mar 30

Reshveen Rajendran – Idiocy in Selling Options for ‘Income’

By Marcus Neo | Rants

This is a review of a value investing seminar I attended years ago. It’s taught by Reshveen Rajendran. You can find his website at MillionDollarRush.Com. Here are the reasons I am publishing it after all these years: 1) I’m much more educated in financial markets today. 2) I researched my rights as a consumer. 3) I avoided writing negative reviews for the fear of potential legal action taken against me. 4) I decided to balls up. I am also exasperated at Singapore’s investment education industry pitching flamboyant theories that don’t work in real life to prey on unknowledgeable public. I got nothing against education. I am all for it. However, when you’re teaching the wrong information leveraging on the knowledge gap and using unethical marketing strategies: over promising and under delivery, I’ve got a problem with that.

How Did I Sign Up in The First Place?

So why did I sign up in the first place? I was a naive person in my early twenties. I wanted the short cuts. I wanted the quick answer to the financial markets. I also knew most of the programs in that market were extremely expensive: charging up to 5000 dollars for a seat. Since Reshveen Rajendran’s program was relatively cheaper than what the market was offering, I gladly participated along with a couple of other factors:

  • Reshveen was recommended by a friend (social bias here)
  • He safely assured me that doing 10% a month on my portfolio was easy and many others including himself has achieved those returns
  • The course’s irresistible marketing angle was: generate ‘part time’ income as a student.

Now, before I’m accused of making false claims here. I’ll back it up. The following pieces of information are taken from his Facebook page and his website’s blog post.

The Review of Reshveen Rajendran’s Course 

The instruction taught in the course was entry level. The course promoted using options to generate ‘insurance premium’ on underlying assets. It serves as a ‘monthly cashflow’. This wasn’t substantiated by the course instructor in his profit or loss statement. For the ones more financially savvy, you’ll know that options don’t always expire and there’s a possibility of it being exercised. Since you can’t predict the market, you can’t guarantee a cash flow from premiums generated from selling options.

Secondly, in the instruction, commodities were also recommended by the instructor as an investing vehicle. This goes against the fundamental principle of value investing. The fundamental principle of value investing is purchasing companies when their prices are traded below their intrinsic value. Commodities are entirely different from companies.

Thirdly, to claim that your ‘6 figure’ equities portfolio generates you a passive income is highly suspicious. Now, assuming you built a portfolio around the highest paying dividend yield stocks in Singapore. The average yield would be approximately 5-7%. You’re required to have one million dollars invested to have a dividend income of 6%, $60000 annually, which adds up to $5000 per month. That’s a million dollar account, alongside with the assumption that you’re invested in the highest dividend stocks for the last 10 years and the companies pay out dividends regularly. 

Lastly to cite a quote from his blog:

My returns have been very substantial with 5 -7% compounding growth every month!

– Million Dollar Rush Blog

Let’s take an average of 6% compounded growth on a $10000 starting account balance, you’ll end with $20121.96 at the end of 12 months. You’ll achieve a 101.21% per annum returns. Let’s compare these returns to actual, audited investing track records.

  • Warren Buffet’s Track Record

Everybody favourite uncle: Warren Buffet. His returns are 23.8% compounded per annum.

  • Charlie Munger’s Track Record

Vice CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, partner to Warren Buffet. Charlie Munger’s compounded returns: 19.8% per annum.

  • Walter Schloss’s Track Record

Referred by Warren Buffet to be one of the greatest value investors ever lived. Walter Schloss’s compounded Returns: 16.1% Per Annum.

Here’s the reference. You could argue that Buffet claimed that he could achieve 50% returns per annum handling smaller amounts of capital. However, I’m sure Buffet himself never claim he could generate 201% in a year, much less this trainer.

Selling Put Options as a Strategy to Own Undervalue Stock

You’re required to have some basic options trading knowledge and experience to understand the following.

One of the theories proposed by the instructor is that you are able to sell put options to generate cashflow and to potentially own undervalued stocks at at a discount. Firstly, not all stocks have an options market at the price at which you valued it to be your purchase price. Secondly, not all stocks have an options market trading far out of the money. Yes, you could sell options at stocks are trading ‘at the money’ of your valuation. It’s barely worth selling a put option when it’s valued near ‘at the money’ (it’s better to own the stock itself, since it is undervalued in the first place right?)

Henceforth, the entire notion of selling options on an undervalued stock to generate free cash flow that leads to passive income, is absurd.

The Lack of Empirical Evidence

I don’t make these arguments without evidence. I’ll retract this article if there’s new evidence supported: audited or non-audited profit and loss sheets: namely the trainer’s profit and loss statements and trades.

Years ago, I negotiated with the trainer for a full refund of my course fees, citing the evidence and stating the mentioned case studies. However, he outrightly refused and cited that I haven’t applied any of his instruction on my end and am unable demand a refund of his course fees as it would be unreasonable. Ironically, I took it upon myself to test out his methods. I also took it upon myself to do acquire investing knowledge independently of his course material and instruction. 

Note: If you’re looking to sue me, there is a difference between online defamation and a negative product or service review. I present my case with basic mathematics, supporting evidence and no intention to accuse or character assassinate the company nor trainer.

2020 update: Low cost index fund investing has gotten me a far better returns that actively managing capital for the last 7 years. No fancy options trading or theories. Statistically, the average individual is not going to outperform the market. No, you’re not a Buffet or a Munger. No, you’re not special. No, you don’t belong to the minute percentage that are able to generate an income from trading options. Unfortunately, the trainer is still going around selling the same program to the public at scale.

References:

https://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/articles/columbia-business/superinvestors

Mar 27

How to Stop Watching Porn – It Can Ruin Your Life

By Marcus Neo | Self Improvement and Social Skills

I remembered that I had a Windows 95, a dial up connection and that was all I need. I was one resourceful kid. I caught on the hard core stuff really fast. The BDSM porn, lesbians and foot fetishes. You name it, I watched it. It was only when I started in reading up on psychology that I was exposed to the negative effects of pornography that I started limiting my intake and figure out ways on how to stop over watching porn.

In the men’s dating advice community, there are positive reports from guys who went through the ‘no fap’ diet. It’s proposed that if you are masturbating too much, watching too much porn and not getting much out of your sex life, then going ‘no fap’ can help. So, can reducing pornographic intake help in multiple areas of your life? If so, how can you stop watching porn in an effective manner?

The Science of Pornography

The intake of pornography is researched to be a supra normal stimulus to our brains. This means, it’s way more pleasurable than the average arousing stimulus. Our brains aren’t ready to take in those kind stimulus and hence develop a need for higher forms of stimuli and arousal. This is why you become desensitised and develop a need for more novel stimuli through fancier or more hard core pornography.

Ultimately, pornography paints an unrealistic picture of sexuality. This skews our perception of what beauty is and gives us unreasonable standards for sex with the people we meet. In my younger days, I used to think that having sex with a porn star in multiple crazy positions would define my masculinity.

That can’t be further from reality. The majority of partners you meet aren’t going to live up to the unrealistic narratives in pornography films. Sex is an intimate act for both partners. When it actually happens, it’s usually nothing like you see on computer screens. Sex is actually an activity where either parties may feel unsure about themselves. Everyone get’s a little nervous before an intimate act. It’s nothing like the hard core bravado you watch on pornographic sites.

Shame, Guilt, Addiction and Pornography

Okay, if you’re wondering if pornography is an actual addiction. It’s debatable. Whilst it isn’t a ‘real addiction’, you can’t ignore the data that shows many people do experience real life problems with it. It has been linked to issues such as unhappy and unsatisfied partners, depression, anxiety, and loneliness.

Whilst pornography ‘addiction’ isn’t validated as a clinical form of addiction, I’m guessing that there is some correlation between toxic shame and pornography overuse. I suggest that because there’s research that suggests that clinical addiction is used to cope with shame, to soothe out their feelings of inadequacy. They just do it through alcohol, drugs and etc.

There’s research suggesting that toxic shame is related to pornography usage. It also suggested that people that had shame were less motivated to alter their behaviours. I’m not going to go on about the differences between guilt and shame int his article, however they found the exact opposite when it came to feelings of guilt. There are other factors leading to compulsive and addictive pornographic usage as well: namely: depression and anxiety. In my personal experience, healing shame through the means of hiring a professional therapist can be a useful way of dealing with overconsumption of pornography, not to mention therapy offers insights into depression and anxiety as well.

How to Stop Watching Porn

Now, let’s get serious here. It’s not only your dating life or your relationships you’re talking about. It’s your entire life. This will not only determine dating success, but also determine your ability to hand up work on time, increase your productivity, cure cancer or send someone to Mars. It’s life changing stuff.

I’ll share with you some methods that have helped me over the years.

1) If you can’t quit porn overnight, leave it to the last activity of the day. You can use pornography as a reward for the productive work you’ve accomplished during the day. You’re using this to rewire the pleasure reward mechanism in your brain. Ideally, you want to land yourself in a position where you have accomplished so much work in the day, that you don’t really want to jerk off to ‘spoil the good track record’.

2) Psychological research shows that building habits in a small way is a more sustainable way to do it rather than flooding yourself with too many habits at one go. Habits are built small and then compounded over time. Starting small such as keeping masturbation and pornographic intake the last activity of the day is a small step that anyone can start applying in their lives.

3) If all else fails, fly to another country for a week or two. Travel can be used as an effective means to break and build habits. Whenever I’m out of the country, I’m much more productive and I don’t use pornography that much. You can use environmental changes to break or build habits.

4) Create an environment of inevitable success. When I was studying in the United States, I was stressed out of my head, behind time on my academic schedule and had a ton of assignments to finish. On top of that, I had personal responsibilities such as laundry, phone bills, making friends and making sure I go out on dates. I suddenly had much more important priorities as opposed to using pornorgraphy.

5) Take a step back and ask yourself the underlying reason you are using pornography. Are you’re using pornography to cope reduce stress? To relief oneself from boredom. Or used to cope with negative feelings or situations? Research suggests that individuals with maladaptive coping skills are much more vulnerable to using pornography as an outlet. Hence, are you merely using porn as a coping strategy?

6) If you do wish to masturbate… think of women you’ve met in real life instead of using pornography clips. Let’s say you met a girl last week in the club and you’re sexually aroused by her. Instead of relying on pornography, you can fantasize about her. It’ll tremendously re-wire your mind to more sensitive and engaged with real life interactions.

7) Change your environmental cues that leads you to watching pornography. Habit researchers found that in order to create new habits to break the old ones, you should not focus on the behaviour but the environmental cue itself. You can do this by installing pornographic blockers, restricting your computer and etc. Clinicians have also recommended such a method.

8) Therapy. If nothing else works and you find your life being interrupt by your intake of pornography. I recommend working with a clinical psychologist. Cognitive behavioural and acceptance commitment therapy has been researched to potentially help with pornography addiction.

The Positive Effects of Not Watching Porn

Going out a masturbation diet and limiting pornography is one of the methods dished out to be more sexually motivated. Self development books such as Think and Grow Rich talks about the ability to transmute sexual desire into creative pursuits such as productive work or art, instead of it depleting one’s energy and motivation. Successful personalities such as Steve Jobs are said to withhold from having sex just to get a creative boost at work.

If you’re overusing pornography, you may also have found yourself desensitised in your dating and relationships life from the years of using pornography. You may find yourself numbed to a real woman’s touch. This is because you are probably desensitised from unrealistic portrayals in pornography. On top of that, a female touch is completely different from the tight grip of your hand.

It was only when I started being serious about getting my dating life handled that I consciously chose to limit pornography and masturbation that I felt more motivated and confident. I also made sure that whenever I’m seeing someone, I would also limit pornography intake as well. (Read: This is to also ensure performance)

Over the years, I’ve never really quit cold turkey or completely. However, the times that I consciously limited my pornography intake, I’ve felt the positive side effects of it. I used to worry and get nervous about performance issues from being desensitised. I am happy to report that I’m facing less of these problems with the reduction of pornographic intake.

Cutting down pornographic intake has also helped me performed better in other areas of my life from academics, sports and be more confidently aggressive in my dating life. The women I notice on a day to day basis became more beautiful and I started appreciating their physical imperfections instead of fake pornographic displays. There’s also a noticeable improvement in general motivation and sense of well being.

When I find myself watching pornography on a more frequent basis, I find myself a lot more judgmental of the women I’m willing to approach. There’ll be a perfectly beautiful girl who walks past me and I’ll put it off and give myself the excuse that she isn’t hot enough. I also notice a difference in general anxiety. I feel more grounded and centered going about my day to day activities when I’m not on pornography.

Relapse and Should You Quit Pornography Completely?

Through the years, I didn’t see a need to quit pornography completely, I actually attempted a couple of times and I found myself unable to focus after a week. However, I am sure that I’m not addicted to it. There are many periods when I’m feeling the urge and if I’m not dating someone, I’ll ‘relapse’ and use pornography there and then.

Here’s my verdict: it’s different strategies for different people. Personally, I believe by keeping pornography intake to a minimum is sufficient. There are clear benefits. If you’re an upwardly mobile individual trying to balance out academic commitments, business commitments and personal relationships… it can get stressful. Sometimes, you just need to get one out. That’s perfectly okay. Just make sure it’s done in moderate dosages that don’t affect your day to day productivity.

It’s ultimately up to you to figure out what works for you. I don’t see it as an all or nothing thing. If pornography isn’t interfering with your day to day life, there’s no reason to be super strict on a no fap diet. There’s no hard and fast rule. However, I do encourage limiting pornography intake on the whole.

Works Cited

Hilton, D. L. (2013). Pornography addiction – a supranormal stimulus considered in the context of neuroplasticity. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 3, 20767

Koukounas, E., & Over, R. (2000). Changes in the magnitude of the eyeblink startle response during habituation of sexual arousal. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 38(6), 573–584

Stewart, D. N., & Szymanski, D. M. (2012). Young Adult Women’s Reports of Their Male Romantic Partner’s Pornography Use as a Correlate of Their Self-Esteem, Relationship Quality, and Sexual Satisfaction. Sex Roles, 67(5-6), 257–271.

Schneider, J. P. (2000). A Qualitative Study of Cybersex Participants: Gender Differences, Recovery Issues, and Implications for Therapists.Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 7(4), 249–278.