Turn a bad coping skill into a second income?


So, these pandemic times of isolation and physical distancing from other people along with other things triggered a maladaptive coping mechanism that I thought I had laid to rest. it is one that because of the sexual nature of it is difficult once triggered to just stop because the endorphin and dopamine release that comes from the anonymous cyber sexual interaction is no less real than if it were an in person interaction. I used to be able to turn to my running to give me the same natural "high" that I get from this coping mechanism and if I am honest from my other maladaptive mechanisms because they all center around altering brain chemicals either through pain, numbing them with alcohol or drugs, or a combination with pain and pleasure in sex.

Since I can't run safely any longer - I have had an ACL replaced, my achilies on the other leg repaired, the meniscus and PCL repaired, I have arthritis in both knees and calcium deposits/bumps in my hip joint, all of which means no running and I have not found any other form of exercise that gives me the mind-body connection that running gives me which fills that need.

I am trying to find a way helps me to work through this mechanism, that does so in a healthy way and doesn't impact other people negatively and I started thinking maybe I don't need to do this as a two-way conversation. What if instead of connecting with anonymous men on the internet I just wrote down how I thought the conversation would go from both perspectives. So I have been doing this for the past couple of days, holding off re-connecting to the men I had chatted it up with over the past few weeks and wrote our conversation down as a story.

Now I know this is where it gets a bit weirder (yes I know this is weird already) and maybe a little creepy I realized that what my "sexting stories" are is what is called an erotic short story. Now, it gets this stuff out of my head, it keeps me from seeking out an anonymous cyber hook-up, it would then keep me from potentially bringing that maladaptive hook-up into real life which is not only better for my mental health but in all honesty a lot safer for my physical health. And here is the thing, if I wanted, I could create a pen-name, self publish and maybe turn my bad habit into a second income, one that could maybe pay for additional therapy? or retreats that I have considered, pay off bills/debt, what ever that is if I actually made any money at it.

So the reason for this really long and weird post is I am wondering what others here think? I am going to talk to my T about this during our session tomorrow just to get his take on my writing the stories and whether that is better or worse than actually having the conversations. But it you had a chance to possibly take one of the many bad, crappy screwed up things that are the result of our traumas and maybe make something maybe not positive but not so negative out of it and earn some money would you?


I think talking this through with your therapist is a great idea, and I'm glad you feel comfortable doing so!

A couple of thoughts come to mind:
  • Running and exercise, for most of us, are calming, giving us a little high, but not leading to obsession. If you're going to write stories, my question is, will this run out of control like an addiction? or will it be a nice release that is a positive thing in your life?
  • Are the stories sexually healthy, or at least benign? Or do they feed into directions that you would rather not go? I read a romance novel a few weeks ago. The sexuality there was very erotic, but all of the sexuality was placed in a larger context of emotions, personal interactions, and relationships. For me, I think reading the story was a positive thing.
  • One possible danger of writing on-line is that people who do so sometimes get hooked on wanting either accolades or income, and then they change what they write to try to get those things (I read a post on Medium from one person who was stopping writing public posts for this reason). Personally, this is what would happen to me (I would want accolades/approval), and why it would be a bad idea for me to do this.
Maybe you can take small steps. Write a little bit offline, see how you feel, talk about it with your therapist, and then decide the next step.


If you're going to write stories, my question is, will this run out of control like an addiction?
This is one of my questions/concerns to an extent I would need to have someone hold me accountable limiting the number or length of the stories
Are the stories sexually healthy, or at least benign
This would be what I have to work through, the idea is yes for them to be healthy, not negative mental recreations of my trauma experiences but maybe positive creations of experiences I want/hope to someday have with a SO.

One possible danger of writing on-line is that people who do so sometimes get hooked on wanting either accolades or income
I think knowing that this would be something that I kept private (not sure who if anyone other than T would know) accolades would be unwanted and the income I would need to be careful to not send off signals that would tell people I have a second income as I wouldn't want/be able to explain


I am a strong proponent of writing and think writing about our struggles is very therapeutic. That said, talking to your therapist and keeping him/her informed about your progress (regular check-ins) would be important since there is the potential for it veering off into places it best not. It might also help bring up some things the two of you can explore.


And here is the thing, if I wanted, I could create a pen-name, self publish and maybe turn my bad habit into a second income, one that could maybe pay for additional therapy? or retreats that I have considered, pay off bills/debt, what ever that is if I actually made any money at it.
I’m not dialed into the publishing world, at the moment... meaning I can’t tell you which publishing houses to connect with... but it’s worth it, IMO, to at least research the market.

Also meaning... sure. Self publishing is an option. But collecting rejection letters? :sneaky: Super fun. :sneaky: (Writing for publication is a series of WINS.
- First win = getting a form letter back, meaning it was good enough to actually reject, rather than just moving onto the next piece in the slush pile.
- 2nd win is getting ANY personalised note in the rejection letter. Because the editor found something specifically wrong with it and took the time to actually tell you what it was... the longer the note, the better. Even one word or a circle around a part of the form letter is a win, but if they actually go to the trouble / take the time to write a whole sentence or bullet list what’s wrong??? Preen. They don’t take that time unless they liked more than they disliked.
- 3rd win is no form letter, but a written letter telling you what’s wrong.
- 4th win is “tighten it up and I’ll buy it.” or similar half/rejection half/do this and I’ll pay you.
- 5th win is a straight sale. For awhile I had all my :D FIRSTS! :D framed on my wall. I loooove collecting rejection letters.) Because with writing for pub? you get feedback worth it’s weight in gold, from actual editors who know what the hell is up...and then cheques to follow, as people start buying your stuff.

The world I grew up in? You could send your piece into a contest for $100... competing against tens of thousands... or send it into an editor, competing against hundreds, and get paid $1000.

I DO know that very very few publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts these days. Which means needing an agent. Which you can only get by having a portfolio of published works. Less catch22 than you’d think... because that means short stories in magazines & anthologies. Which is exactly what you’re considering writing.

So my 2.02? Go snag a bunch of magazines, head to websites for submission guidelines, and don’t just self publish but publish-publish. Seriously. Go for it.


I loooove collecting rejection letters.)

Have you seen the Chinese rejection letter?

The ‘Chinese Rejection’

I DO know that very very few publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts these days.

Smaller houses do and I have found a few others that do an either/or. There are a bunch of journals/magazines that accept erotic writing, though.

You might try Duotrope - costs $5/month and sends an email with journals and the themes they are looking for.
It depends on the level of maladaptivity, if that's even a word. Maybe I should say "level of abusiveness." I published stories that I wrote on a very niche website catering to men with a very specific fetish. I now believe that most of them, like me, had been abused in very specific ways.

Basically, if your stories are very niche-related, then it's probably a bad idea. If they're something a mainstream publisher would take, no problem. Something halfway in between, like BDSM, could go either way.


I'm not gonna reply as to what you might think for you and options, as need more time to get familiar.

But just to the Q, absolutely.
Heck, is what I do when I want to have any functional work life. Turn the massive trauma trainwreck into somehow safer trainwreck, with better backup, hoping something good comes out of it.


So I talked to my T about this tonight and he is definitely on board with me finding a different outlet than sexting with anonymous strangers. We did talk about topics to stay away from including anything that would be a trauma recreation that reinforces my cognitive stuck points. So I am going to give it a try, @Friday thank you for the feedback I hadn't thought about serious publishing.

It was actually a really good session, I have been really down the past several days after a conversation with the guy I have been seeing or not seeing since last fall, I really don't know what the hell is going on which didn't help when my session a few weeks ago triggered my spiral down in to the world of anonymous cyber sexting. He helped me to see that I was projecting all of my insecurities and negative self thoughts on to him. That doesn't get rid of the insecurities and negative self thoughts but it does make me acknowledge them and recognize that I need to work on them.


To me this is a pure and its best sublimation!

Even if you become obsessed with it and the sexual nature is above and beyond whatever that is considered healthy, I think if you can put into words, make a story and make a living out of it as an artist or as an author, you will no longer be considered having this as issue (except as you see yourself) or maladaptive . There are a lot of amazing artists, authors, intellectual who do weird things and make their weird (or result of abuse) or fetish or whatever into livelihood. Your post sort of reminded me Dali and Anaïs Nin, both were sort of freakish artist and writer about erotic and sometimes weird sexual escapades.

I am absolutely saying this is one of the cures (IMHO) of whatever that has happened to you. Yes please talk to your therapist but there should be no shame using your natural imagination to find a way to cope with such experience and find healthy way to share it with others and at the top a possibility of getting paid. C'mon!

ps. IMHO, what is considered maladaptive is often based on era, society or danger to self or others so without knowing much of your history, anything that goes outside of that and can be expressed in creative and legal manner is not maladaptive in my opinion and that is where I am coming from. I just do not see if you get published, regardless of the content, as long as it is fiction and not infringing on others' freedom, how this can hurt and I am keeping an open mind to learn.