I hit the 30-day mark this morning. No news. No newspapers. No television news. No news magazines. No online news This month I’m news fasting.
No news for me right now is good news.
I don’t see myself restarting the news habit any time soon, because without doubt, my news fasting has reset my sex life.
What is news fasting?
- News fasting is intentional abstinence from any news media including newspapers, television news, news magazines and online news for a period of time.
- News fasting intends to eliminate or reduce and manage news consumption to control stress.
- News consumption may resume with a new mix of media and information which enables personal growth and mental health.
What does news fasting have to do with sex?
I’m so glad you asked! All news is social expression and all sex is social expression. I’ve fasted from news in the past. Several times over the last year I came to the brink of, I’m so tired of this shit!” and broke from the news for a week or two.
This time is different. This is a reset button. This is news fasting.
The drip feed of news throughout the day started with Google feed in the morning, mid-morning coffee with coworkers news rants, NY Times morning briefing and ended with a late afternoon online progressive news show. If I was really desperate, I’d also check in with Google late at night which would inevitably kill my sleep.
The constant feed of news kept me at a low level anxious hum throughout the day. I was always a little bit mad, a little bit scared and a little bit depressed.
Not a recipe for a great sex life.
The bottom line was that news was a powerful influence on how I felt about myself and my life playing out on the stage of fabricated news drama designed to sell more news. Not exactly a great context for personal sexual pleasure. There’s little motivation for sexual growth and adventure — just personal survival.
The news fasting helped me recover control of my own thought life. My erotic, sensual and creative aspects of my life continued to be the main determinants of where my life was going. The bonus was all the time I recovered. Now, I write poetry or erotica or even a blog post in the morning. Now, I tell my friends and coworkers, Just update me on the important stuff; I don’t feel like ranting. Now, I read fiction again!
Here’s why news is such a powerful influence on our social lives and consequently our sexual lives
Confirmation bias is nothing more than a tendency to seek news sources, stories and people who agree with how we already think. Each of us is prone to insane use of confirmation bias. Any story that turns your crank should tell you that confirmation bias is at work. The next thing you’ll do is look for another story that supports the same idea.
More confirmation bias.
We make the bias even more powerful by surrounding ourselves only with people who agree with us. To complicate the bias even further, media strengthens our side by taking political, religious or moral positions which support what we already think. Add to it another level again. You may not know it but your online news feeds and search results are designed to support your bias by delivering to you strictly news and stories which agree with your positions.
When you’re cranked and seeking more stories to support your position, media outlets and advertisers are happy. Sounds like a conspiracy. It probably is.
Richard Zwolinski, writer for Psychcentral.com, says, “take your news with a good grain of skepticism — it’s designed to stress you out!”
With our minds in this kind of a rut, our sex lives are hardly balanced and growing. An erotic mindset requires consideration and openness to ideas and perspectives other than our own. If we’re not growing and learning, we’re sexually stagnant.
News that sells is generally bad news, and if it’s not bad news for us, it’s likely bad news for someone else. News teaches us to look for fault and flaw in our world. It seldom teaches us to look for nuance, pattern and surprise. That would be sex. That would make us feel good. That’s not news.
We can counter bad news in our lives with our own erotic energy, but unfortunately our news systems are designed to determine our news diet for us. We don’t usually get to do that.
News is one-eyed and unfortunately, we very easily become one-eyed as well. One-eyed means you only see the profile of someone and you’ll never see them straight on or from any other perspective. Think of the political character you despise the most. You’ll see the perspective the news gives you and no other.
Our erotic lives allow us to see many perspectives and to notice the good in others. While critical thinking is powerful and an acquired skill, the ability to note more detail in people enriches us and our ability to relate socially.
News is short-sighted.
The world is going to end in the next 30 minutes. We’re all screwed. It’s not safe to go out on the streets any longer. You can’t trust anyone.
The interesting thing is that the news can prove all of the above. It’s all true, but news is only right here, right now. There is no historical context, no accounting for our power to change our world, no consideration of our dreams and desires. News is very limiting in scope.
While sex is very much an in the moment aspect of our lives, it requires safety and grounding as well as room to grow, reach and stretch. News doesn’t contribute to that. It can’t. News disconnects us from our mooring in life, tips us back on our heels and offers us little hope. Sex sells, but fear sells better.
My news fast has probably done more for me in calming my fear and allowing me to restore hope than anything I’ve done.
Zwolinski gives some great advice on how to manage your news consumption and keep your stress down.
What I Do When News Fasting
What you do to manage your news consumption is probably not so important as the fact that you yourself choose to do it. Empowering yourself is most important. Be ready and willing to self-adjust. You will notice change in your overall mental health and erotic outlook. Here’s what I do. Take it for what it’s worth:
- I don’t watch TV at all. I haven’t watched TV for 18 years. When I catch sight of a TV, I’m glad that I don’t watch TV. I watch film. I love film.
- I don’t read email or news first thing in the morning. My first activities in the morning are creative— usually writing.
- I don’t read nonfiction before going to bed. My last activities before bed are walking, sex or fiction. Sleep is important to my sex life and a mind occupied with pleasure ensures great sleep.
- I don’t read my financial news or reports until Friday afternoon. It’s the nature of financial markets to rise and fall. Checking them once a week is enough.
- My reading material during the day is a mix of nonfiction and fiction as well as creative activities that involve both. My sex life enjoys the benefits of both the real and imagined aspects of my world. Feeding my fantasy is important to my erotic health.
- My social life includes people with whom I completely see eye-to-eye as well as those who offer me contrasting perspectives on the world. I enjoy people who are quirkier than me. It’s important though, that the people in my life value me for who I am. It hasn’t always been that way, but I’m learning. They don’t need to agree with me to value me.
Sex is social. News is social. Fast if you need to reset.