Dealing with porn addiction and also HOCD

Submitted by greek922 on
Printer-friendly version

Starting with porn
So here is a background of what i am going through. I started watching softcore porn on HBO and Showtime when I was around 12 or 13 and the show Real Sex on HBO allowed me see a wide variety of sexual activities. I would watch late night television that had some form of sex but did not start masturbating to internet porn until I was a freshmen in high school. Ever since that first experience I have masturbated more or less everyday for around 8 years. At that time I started out with mostly straight porn but when that got boring I would try something new and novel so I would sometimes turn to gay porn, but only if the people acted straight and looked like models. I often switch off from straight porn to gay porn but because I feel that gay porn is more forbidden and has a certain taboo to it, the mix of shame and guilt along with the fantasy of it usually leads to a heightened experience.

Anxiety Problems and Dating
I first started having panic attacks and social anxiety when I was around 16 (coincidence?) which made it very hard for me to go to school or go out with friends. Because I often felt alone and would have to force myself to be with other people, I usually went to porn to make me feel better and to get a quick rush that would temporarily relieve my anxiety. Of course because this is the age of development where you should try to be chasing girls and learning self-confidence, I did neither and skipped homecoming and prom because I was so nervous about asking anyone out or being in an intimate relationship with anyone. I have always thought about being in relationships with girls and every time I have made out with a girl it has been a pleasurable experience, but my constant self-doubt has always lead me to avoid relationships. Because of this, this made me start to think about going to craigslist for anonomous sex. Because I didnt want to go to prostitution and I already watched gay sex, I thought that maybe I could try it. BAD IDEA. In the RARE event I would email someone on craiglist (once every couple of years when I felt really alone and depressed) it lead to me feeling more depressed and having huge panic attacks about "wow is this really how I want to live my life?" So instead of ever acting out anything sexually, I usually just went back to porn.

Crisis and Deciding to stop my porn addiction
In the past 6 months my anxiety dropped off dramatically and I finally had enough confidence to try to date girls, even though I was still watching porn 1 to 2 times a day. But after getting rejected and feeling depressed and then subsequently going on a family vacation where I couldnt get internet, I finally discovered how bad porn was for me. I started getting HOCD thoughts like "since you arent successful with girls now you must be gay" and anytime I saw a guy who looked like a model my brain would say "wow you think he looks attractive you must be gay". This made my anxiety come back with avengence and I was on the verge of a mental breakdown because being gay was never something that I thought I was. Throughout the whole vacation my HOCD became worse and I usually had 2 to 3 panic attacks a day which lead me to be constantly be checking to see if I was straight or not. Once I finally returned home, I tried masturbating again but this lead to extreme stress. Fortunately I went to sites like and which gave me more guideance on what I was going through. So after deciding that I had an addiction to porn, last week I finally decided to stop.

I decided to put web filters on my computers which really helped me to not watch porn, but wow were the first 72 hours horrendous. I got headaches, toothaches, I couldnt eat much, getting 4 hours asleep a night (usually it is 8 hours) was the norm, and I sunk into depression and for a while was the lowest that I have ever been. But after the initial 3 days, I got somewhat better and even had the confidence to ask a girl out that I knew liked me. We went on a couple of dates and even made out, something that I hadnt done in years. Even though my porn addiction is doing quite well after 7 days, my HOCD is still a constant battle. After 6 days of no porn or masturbation, yesterday I had too strong of an urge because I was fantasizing about the girl I am going on dates with and decided to masterbate but without porn. BAD IDEA. The orgasm wasnt great which lead me to think "well it's probably because you thought of a girl instead of a guy" instead of "you are rebooting and probably have a low sex drive now." This lead me to going back to constantly checking to see if I was straight or not which lead to much more stress and anxiety. It felt like I was back to day 1 but still today I feel like it is going to be a battle that I can overcome. I would love to get some advice and I will for sure keep an update on what I am going through in case someone else is going through something similar.

First, congratulations

on taking a courageous step and getting that far on your first try. Even asking a girl out! Wow!

It sounds like you're talking about transexual porn, rather than gay porn. Is that so? If so, know that the audience for transexual porn is straight. That said, once that "forbidden" genre gets boring, the next stop can be ANYthing: gay porn, minor porn, animal name it. To your brain, it's all just "dopamine," and the content is as meaningless as the cartoons you watched as a kid.

That said, as you point out, the more "forbidden" you judge something, the more neurochemical excitement it releases. Worse yet, anxiety heightens you can end up wiring your sexual arousal to anxiety. I suspect that's what causes the OCD-like reaction.

I suggest you read Gary's latest post. It will explain why those "heightened experience" brain pathways pack more punch than normal mating behaviors. This may be true for a while. Even after the intrusive become more seldom. And, frankly, in a desensitized brain, they indicate NOTHING about your true orientation. A desensitized straight guy can escalate to being able to get off fastest to transexual/gay porn... end up not getting hard for straight porn...and still be straight. Confusing, I know.

The reason we know this is that guys are recovering from this problem...slowly. And as they stay away from ALL porn, their brains return to normal sensitivity...and normal tastes.

However, there can be *really* bad days, where it takes enormous mental discipline not to analyze or test your tastes...and just trust the process.

Remember...this problem arises from Internet porn use because it's SO STIMULATING that it allows you to override your normal satiety mechanisms. That's far riskier than anyone knew. Much better to allow your sensitivity to return when you can't get off by "normal" means...than to resort to something extreme just because you feel you "need" an orgasm to medicate your hurtin' brain.

Anyway, be sure to read this page and all the links:

Bottom line: Your brain is plastic. If you turn your thoughts to something else EVERY time the intrusive thoughts come up, you will gradually feel better.

Start your own blog if you like.


Thank you for all of your suggestions! I frequently go to and it is always helpful. Even though it does sound like it, I never got into transexual porn because eventually straight or gay porn would make me have an orgasm (even if it took 45 minutes to an hour to do it) and I never allowed myself to go to a third option. Thankfully I never went there, because that could have been a slippery slope to leading to more extreme versions of porn that would have left me more anxious. Also going to college in a liberal big city also allows me to have a lot of friends who happen to be gay and I have never been attracted to them, I just see them as friends so that is comforting. Thanks for the suggestion for the blog, I think it is going to be really helpful!!!