This is the story of a 36-year old TMS sufferer who was cured in February 2003 after he started following the advice on this site.
He wrote this about his background:
I was rather a latecomer to the masturbation game, not discovering it until three months shy of my 16th birthday. I had a vague idea what it was and knew there were taboos surrounding it and that it was something joked about. I had wet dreams from the time I was 13 -- about two or three a month -- and knew a lot about sexual functioning. I never connected the wet dreams to what was usually called "playing with yourself" or "touching yourself" -- activities which seemed to me irrelevant to sexuality. It was not until that Saturday morning when I was 15 that I made the connection.
It was quite an epiphany. I was just expending some excess energy bouncing around and rubbing against the bed, when I started to concentrate my thoughts on a particular girl I was attracted to. Pretty soon I felt the contractions starting, and it felt so much like a wet dream. This must be masturbation, I thought. You can guess what happened from there. I had two more wet dreams that week but never since.
I tried masturbating again the following Saturday, a week later, and did it three times that day. I've done it almost every day from that day to about four years ago which I'll explain below. In nearly every instance, I did it the same way as the first time. I'd take my pants down and lay the sheet and comforter over my erection, then place my open hands palms down on top of the sheet with a thumb on either side of the penis. Then I'd flip over onto my front and thrust away. I think this "artificial vagina" I created is smoother and less "traumatic" than some of the methods which involve rubbing against objects alone.
I did some reading on the subject those early days, and no less an authority than Wardell Pomeroy says in his book Boys and Sex that about 5-10 percent of males masturbate that way. Not only does he not say it could be harmful, he notes that it's most similar to intercourse. So I knew that nearly all males used the "fist" method but thought, if anything, I was onto a more efficient alternative. I certainly had no complaint with the frequency and intensity of my orgasms.
I did notice even that first year that I suffered a bit of a handicap with regard to venue: I could only do it in bed. I knew from my reading (and popular culture) that many practiced the habit in the bathroom if for no other reason than to obtain privacy. This was made evident that year during a 5-day visit to my aunt's house. As noted above, I was a daily practitioner, and going that long without relief was a hardship. I knew masturbating where I was sleeping was out of the question; being face down, the chances of being caught were too great. I tried to do it in the bathroom, even going face down on the rug, but to no avail. I was nearly 19 when I did it using the normal method for the first time. For some unimportant reason, I had gone without masturbating for about 8-10 days. It was at that point quite easy to reach orgasm using only my hand, and without even a sexual fantasy. I did not turn this into a regular habit, however. Until recently, I couldn't masturbate using only my hand without at least five days' abstinence. Until I was recently cured of TMS, I had maybe masturbated the normal way ten times.
I was 23 when I started using pictures. My mental pictures were wearing thin, and I initially started using swimsuit magazines to get aroused and later throughout the masturbation session. I switched to Playboy pictures at age 27 and these have been a staple since.
I made the biggest change in my habits only about five years ago at age 32: I started using lubrication. I had tried K-Y Jelly but found it too goopy to meet my needs. Then they came out with K-Y Liquid, and what a difference that makes. I still masturbated face down, but I did it into my hand instead of using the comforter, sheets, etc. I found that I reached orgasm much more quickly than before, reminiscent of my teenage days. Briefly, I started to think perhaps I was becoming too dependent on the lube and went back to the old method. It was around this time I noticed I was having trouble getting an erection. It would reach the point where I would start thrusting while limp (which is fairly easy to do when using the semi-rigid construct of comforter and hands I described) and then would be erect by the time of orgasm. Maybe.
I should mention that I had never been sexually active. I am a strong Christian and believe that sex outside of marriage is wrong. I had been out with many women and had even been physical with them, but had never done anything below the waist, either mine or theirs. When I was 30 I read a book that said that late virginity is bad for male sexuality. By the time of my 31st birthday, I decided that I would cease waiting until marriage. From a religious standpoint, I have to believe the damage I was doing to my body by waiting was worse than the moral error of not waiting.
It was only about five years ago that I had sex for the first time. I was finally intimate with a woman (one of the first since the 31st birthday) and ventured south of the equator for the first time for some manual stimulation. When it was time, my member would not perform. I think most of that was first-time jitters. (I was more worried about premature ejaculation than anything else!) The next day, we tried actual vaginal intercourse, and still nothing. I had not told my partner I was completely inexperienced and instead told her it was nerves. I remembered my experience by hand after a period of abstinence and thought I'd abstain from masturbation and try again in a few days. I also saw my internist and explained the situation. He suggested I come clean with my partner and maybe try Xanax. That night, I told her the truth about my inexperience, and shortly thereafter, we were able to have intercourse. (I didn't use the Xanax.)
The going has not been smooth from there. In the year after we first had sex, I was only been successful at a third of the attempts. I tried a different partner a few years later but never had an orgasm with her. Frequently I can't achieve erection when called for, and when I can, I often can't have an orgasm. A lot of this is a dependence on masturbation. I still practice it frequently, but I find if I abstain for 2-3 days before an anticipated sexual performance, I can do OK with the erection. It's still hard to get an orgasm some of the time. I've tried quitting masturbation, but it's a problem since my girlfriend and I aren't living together, and she can't have sex every time we're together because she can't take birth control pills. I think I enjoy masturbation more than intercourse -- a definite sign of maladjustment, no doubt -- because there's so much less stress and need for performance. I think I could switch permanently if I could have intercourse (successfully) every three days, but given the scheduling constraints I mentioned, that's not possible at present. I'm also concerned because we've only had sex in the missionary position. I'm not sure how I'd do at any of the others.
I must take the blame for this situation, because despite the lack of warning from Mr. Pomeroy and his colleagues, I had internalized the idea that I was getting a lot more friction from my masturbatory technique than the standard method and suspected all those years that anything other than missionary sex would be unstimulating. I have to believe that abstaining from intercourse for over 32 years exacerbated my problem. I think if I'd been more like the typical male, I would have been having sex when I was 16 (after only a few months of masturbating) and developed normally. I'm glad this web site is here to warn younger males not to turn out the way I did.
Here are some of the sufferer's messages to an online TMS support group. They are reprinted here with his permission.
Friday, February 21, 2003
Hi, I'm in an abstinence period right now. I was planning to go 5 days this week and started on Monday, but on Wednesday AM I came down with a case of vasocongestion, better known as the notorious blue balls. I knew I couldn't make it 5 days. And I suspected the only way I could do it by hand after only 2 was to use Viagra. Yes, it's very pathetic to spend that money only to do it alone. Has anyone else used Viagra to get cured? Has anyone ever used Viagra for solo purposes?
Anyway, I took the little blue pill and it worked in about 1/2 hour. I went to work and was able to do it by hand in less than 5 minutes, which I thought was good at my age (I'm 37) and a lot less time than I usually take doing TMS. I did stroke very fast though. Is that a problem? I could feel the Viagra working for another 12 hours. Had a lot of erections. Man, they should put that stuff in the water.
I'm glad I resolved to do it by hand with the Viagra. It would have been a cop-out to do by TMS in order to resolve the congestion.
I think I'll give it another try tomorrow after 2 more days. I'll try it without help from my blue friend this time. I'd be really happy to be cured like this. It's a nice thought that maybe I've done TMS for the last time. These abstinence periods are very stressful, however. I'm glad I have this group to share it with.
A: Good luck with your abstinence. I hope two days is long enough. I don't think we've ever discussed Viagra in here although someone alluded to it in a brief message posted on the web site. Your experience is encouraging. How much detail did you have to tell the doc about TMS to get the Viagra?
You should try to use as little force as possible when you're stroking by hand. Perhaps that's a pitfall of only abstaining 2 days. The whole point behind waiting 5-7 is that your member will be so much more sensitive after that long.
Friday, February 21, 2003
I did it again today, using only my hand. When I got near the end, I stroked a lot more slowly and with a lot less force than I did on Wednesday. Does this mean I'm getting more used to the feeling? Also, I used only 1/2 a Viagra (25 mg). Those things are expensive, so I figure I should make them last. I wonder when I'll be able to do it again.
A: Those are both good things. It sounds like you're weaning yourself off both the Viagra and the force you're used to from TMS. Good luck. Keep us posted.
Saturday, February 22, 2003
I am getting better! I did it a second time yesterday. I could still feel the Viagra working though, but I did it with less force and speed than the first time yesterday and much less than Wednesday. I tried it again this morning but no luck. Will give it a try tomorrow and if I can't do it, I've still got the other half of the Viagra sitting in my pill cutter.
A: It's good news that you were able to do it a second time yesyterday. Congratulations. I don't know how meaningful it is that you couldn't do it this morning. That would be a lot to ask of a TMS guy after doing it twice the day before. I wouldn't worry about it, but do try it tomorrow without the Viagra and see how it goes. Only use the pill if you really think you have to. Good luck.
Sunday, February 23, 2003
I did it tonight without Viagra. I think my pressure level was about moderate. It took a while for me to get hard, but once I was going, I came fairly quickly. This is real progress. I've never done it by hand before after less than 5 days abstinence, except earlier this week when I used the Viagra. I feel like I'm on the edge of being cured. I hope I never do it prone again.
A: This is very encouraging news. I don't remember, was this the first time you've tried getting cured? It's very good that you only started abstaining last Sunday and are already feeling cured a week later, especially since your abstinence period was cut short. You've been through three rounds of abstaining in a week, when the advice on the web site if taken literally would mean you'd need closer to three weeks to get to this point.
I suggest not doing a "double" tonight like you did the other day. Just give it 24 hours rest and see if you can do it again tomorrow night. The true sign of success, in my opinion, is when you can cut your abstinence period and still achieve results. Good luck.
Tuesday, February 25, 2003
I did it last night at bedtime, only a day after the previous time. I'm feeling more cured every time. On the plus side, I did it without pictures too. There was a small setback earlier. I tried doing it a few hours before that, but my penis was sensitive and there was even a little blood. Horrors! I think there may have been some soap from the shower that didn't get washed off and it irritated the area. So I coated it with K-Y Liquid (the best substance on earth) and it didn't hurt and the raw part got better.
I'm so happy being down to one day, I don't even know what the goal is now.
A: More congratulations. I think the goal is to be able to do it every day until you're sure you're cured of TMS. Then to try to adjust to intercourse. Do you have a partner to help with that? Soap is an enemy of tender skin. Can't say that enough. Always, always make sure you wash it all off, if you even let it onto your privates. And hey, no need to wean off pictures! Good luck.
Thursday, February 27, 2003
Feeling a little set back after the great progress earlier in the week. I just couldn't do it on Tuesday or Wednesday. So on Wed. evening I took the other half of the Viagra, then did it again.
I'm still feeling a bit roughed up, and I don't think it's from soap. I think it's from my new way of doing business. The trouble is, I'm not at the point where I can use lube. Every time I've tried it by hand with lube, I've been unsuccessful. Really deadens the senses, at least from what I'm used to.
Did it again this morning, and I'm pretty sure the Viagra had worn off (was more than 18 hours later). I think the key is to concentrate mentally on what I'm doing. I've noticed that once I get into it, I come really quickly (like within 5 minutes).
A: Don't be discouraged. Life is so full of setbacks. But at the same time, you report that you've learned mental concentration is key. In a lot of ways, you need to put yourself in the place of a 13 year old who is just learning these things for the first time. It's really about relearning what to do. Try to do it only when you can really concentrate. Once you're used to the new feelings, you'll have an easier time when you can't concentrate. It sounds like the Viagra is a crutch for you at this point. If you can do it once after only a day with out the Viagra, you should be able to do it every time without the pill.
As for the abrasion, maybe take it easy. If every other day is easier than every day, perhaps cut back to that. Once you get used to the new feelings -- and you'll notice the amount of pressure you use decline -- you either might not need lube or you'll be able to introduce it without feeling like you're losing anything. Good luck.
In March 2003, he told the author he was no longer using Viagra and able to masturbate once or twice daily with no problems. He considers himself cured of TMS.
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