It's been about 4 months or so since I last had a problem looking at pornography. By pornography, I mean something that nearly any (sane) person would call pornographic. I haven't had a problem with masturbation for over two weeks.
I've been tempted many times to give in to both evils. Sometimes I started to entertain the ideas. I've found myself looking at pictures that aren't healthy for me in this state. Just last weekend, I started watching some videos that weren't good for me either. I was flirting with the line. I was putting myself into fire. Thankfully, a friend messaged me on Facebook. I felt a sense of guilt and shame at having been watching something like that. I closed the browser tab and talked with him a bit.
This morning, the temptation came again to give in. I paused for a moment, made sure I was looking at what was going on around me, and tried to tap into what I was feeling. Sadness, depression and a feeling of warmth inside. Heavenly Father does know what's going on with me. He knows what my needs are. When I'm not taking care of my needs or letting Heavenly Father take care of what needs I can't take care of on my own, I'm far more vulnerable to being tempted to 'take care' of my needs with something counterfeit. In fact, many times when I've been tempted I've thought "Yeah, that will feel good for a moment, but I'll be even worse afterward".
One need that I've been struggling to meet is getting adequate sleep. I feel tired at night until the moment my head hits the pillow. I then get a feeling of longing. I want someone to snuggle up to. I want to be held by someone until I fall asleep. I find my mind going into fantasy and the temptation to masturbate grows. For instance, last night I had to open my eyes many times to get a good dose of reality. I had to remind myself that I was along in the room. I had to tap back into my feelings of exhaustion. After some struggle, I was able to fall asleep. Lack of sleep really doesn't help with my overall mood.
Another contributing factor is the fact of physical pain. I've been having some strange and particularly annoying headaches lately, accompanied by pain in my shoulders and neck. I went and got a massage last Saturday, but that didn't seem to help much. The whole area either feels tight, or burns. The feelings of pain come and go. I'm sure this may be from stress related to my job and trying to figure out life problems.
Another need I feel is lacking is the need to connect with other men. This need seems to be plastered all over my thoughts and actions. My primary way of feeling connected to another person is through touch. I have all sorts of fear, beliefs, and stories around touch that make things difficult. Sometimes I feel like I'm having to 'sneak in' getting touch. Sometimes it feels like it's something that can only be done in 'secret'. On particularly difficult days, I find myself believing that wanting to be touched or wanting to touch another man in any way is 'bad'.
On a related note, yesterday I had to carpool with some men from my work. Three of us had to squeeze into the back seat. Both of the other men were bigger than, one by quite a bit. Needless to say, it was a bit uncomfortable. The man on my left finally put his arm around the seat behind me. The man on the right kept moving himself away as far as possible to 'give me space'. Honestly, I would have been totally happy with him putting his arm around me. I really wanted him to. Yet, how could I ask something like that? I honestly was afraid of what the man would think of me? Was it 'bad' that I wanted this guys arm around me? Was it bad that I liked how it did feel to sit right next to him and the other man?
I feel like I'm getting desperate to figure out how to handle this need. On the way out of a clothing store, I had a strange urge to walk up to one of the male mannequins and starting rubbing its chest. I thought it was a little amusing at the time. Now it feels shameful and disgusting. It's a similar urge that I get toward other men.
I feel like I'm trying to white knuckle my way through this. There must be a way to get that need for touch met, without it becoming something sexual or romantic. There must be a way to give and receive affection with another man without violating any sort of gospel principles. I'm just having a hard time seeing it right now. I pray that God will help me find the answers soon. I pray I'll find the answers.