What’s your viewpoint on masturbating to memories of my significant other?

What is your viewpoint on me masturbating to memories and thoughts of regular sex (that is, no inclusion of porn-induced fetishes or anything) with my real-life partner? We are currently long distance, and I feel masturbating to thoughts of my partner 1-2 times a week is actually helping to keep me away from porn. I want to eventually cut out masturbation as well, but porn is of course the real enemy here. Am I slowing down my reboot? I can’t see this being unhealthy, but what are your thoughts?

It is hard for an “ex” porn addict to establish a healthy masturbation routine – that is non-excessively masturbating without the use of pornography or pornographic fantasy. I put “ex” in quotes because I believe that the effects that porn has on the brain last for a long time, especially since many of us first-generation Internet porn users learned to associate our sexualities with the computer screen from a very young age.

Whenever I told myself I would only masturbate and never go back to porn, it wasn’t long before masturbation became kind of boring to me. I would fantasize about real-life memories in the beginning, but my brain would quickly jump to memories from porn scenes & unrealistic fantasies. From there it would lead to erotic fiction, to amateur images, and then straight back to the hardcore porn videos (notice how it escalates?).

For myself, I’m a huge fan of the cold-turkey approach. Similar to how many alcoholics going through recovery never return to the cup for the rest of their lives, some porn addicts will have a hard time returning to masturbation. I think that Fapstronauts can return to a healthy masturbation routine after engaging in NoFap’s challenges, but for many people it takes longer than 90 days of abstinence.

I’m not an anti-masturbation zealot. If you believe that it isn’t negatively impacting your relationship or other areas of your life, I’m not going to tell you not to do it. But just keep in mind that it seems to be a slippery slope and it’s easy to gradually fall back into old habits. If you notice that your mind is straying towards unrealistic fantasy or pornographic scenarios, maybe it is time to take another break.