The gf of a man who suffers from porn-related ED--need some support!

Submitted by Openhearted1 on
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Hello All!

So, I am posting on here in order to get some support and advice. My bf has porn-related ED, and although we are also seeking support from professionals; I am feeling very alone in this process. My bf has been in the rebooting process for about 5-6 weeks, and it has been incredibly difficult for him. He has relapsed several times with P and hasn't been able to last more than a handful of days without M, although he can go for a few more days without O. I'm not sure how to better support him than what I am already doing. I believe he is really trying the best he can, but I feel like he feels hopeless to some extent. It's been very painful for me because I know he can get an erection with porn, or even looking at women in bathing suits on a screen, but it has been very difficult for him to get a semi-erection with me. He assures me that he finds me very attractive, and beautiful, but I miss having sex with him, (we were using viagra before, but then stopped having sex for his rebooting process), and I want to feel that desire from him. He doesn't even seem very willing to come-up with a back-up plan for when he has urges to PMO. Although he taken many other measures (blocked internet, etc.) to help him.

I've looked at the Candeo site that is a support system, but am not sure if it's just too much info being thrown at him, and I don't want to be the nagging gf. I just feel very alone in this. I can't talk to my gf's about this---only my therapist. I'm not sure what else to do. I love him, and want to be with him, but I can't stay in a relationship void of sex. It feels bad to give him an ultimatum as I realize this process is already difficult enough for him. *sigh*

Does anyone have suggestions how I can best support him without becoming a gf that does all the research and pushing him constantly? Also, does anyone know of support groups for partner's that suffer from this (the addiction). Any advice for him that I could share (please tell me how best to approach it--if men are responding, please say how you would like your gf to speak about it to you.)

Thanks everyone!!

OH

Welcome

Hello OpenHearted, welcome to this wonderful site!

Just like your boyfriend, I too struggle with porn induced ED. I don't have a girlfriend though.

I was a member of Candeo but I didn't like it because it was too slow and it was religious based.

Does your boyfriend know of www.yourbrainonporn.com ?

That website and this one (Reuniting) are the absolute best sites in the world for quitting porn addiction. It can help him a lot to watch the videos on YBOP and make an account here at Reuniting and start interacting with everyone.

It's good that he's trying to quit. Also, it's very normal if he relapses. The key is to keep trying over and over and over again. Experiment with different approaches. Tell him to make an Excel sheet with notes and dates and reasons of his relapses. Quitting porn is more like a "2 steps forward 1 step back" kind of thing.

There's not much you can do other than recommend him this site and Your Brain On Porn. Once he starts reading, watching videos, and posting on the forum and blogs, he will get very motivated to quit.

I wish you both the best in this journey!

~TheUnderdog

Welcome

It's late, so this will be short...unfortunately. Just keep asking questions, though, and we'll answer them.

It's tough for partners, but at the same time your presence in his life is potentially EXTREMELY helpful. Just don't push the sex for a bit. Instead push bonding behaviors: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cupids-poisoned-arrow/200909/the-laz... They'll keep you glowing, and him too.

Also, if you two want to experiment with a gentle form of intercourse *without the goal of orgasm* that can be fun too. Here are some addicts talking about its benefits: http://www.reuniting.info/node/7220

Let us know how you're doing. You can start your own blog too, if you wish. Click on "Members' blogs" to the left.

This can be really tricky, I

This can be really tricky, I can tell you though from my experience. My last g/f broke up with me because of the porn related ed. At the time I didn't know it was porn related. I went through a lot of things. I went to therapy, I saw a doctor, I even tried herbal remedies. For a time the ed subsided when I didn't realize that I was going without porn for a while without even realizing it. SO me and my g/f for a time were able to have sex regularly again. It was then that I became brave and watched porn again and the problem immediately returned.

But.. what made it extremely for me to get over the ed was the thought of losing my girlfriend. I was so scared to have sex because I felt like if I lost my erection that meant it was over. And sex became a very anxiety filled activity. I was so nervous.

But the fact that you're here asking for advice. Good god. I hope this man knows how lucky he is. It would be a shame for a man to lose a woman due to porn related ed.

I know.

It happened to me. /=

If it comes to the point where he's nervous about sex. And he's being pretty good about laying off the porn. Just re-assure him that everything's going to be okay. Let him know you love him. (which he should already know). Let him know you believe in him and that you believe he can do it.

Sometimes having the people we care about believing in us makes a world of difference. I just hope he realizes what he has.

I think in a way, this post

I think in a way, this post should be mandatory reading for most of us. Reading this gives me more resolve to beat this problem. I know you are looking for a different answer Openhearted1, and I hope you find it here, this is by far the best place to look for answers to your issue. It is interesting to hear the voice of someone doing so much for someone they care about. It is also good for us to see how we effect other people(most notably women we date and have sex[try] with.) The only advice I can give is to listen to Marnia and hopefully at some point he wants to fix himself as bad as you want him to. I might be in a rare minority here but I agree with you, if you do not have sexual intimacy in your relationship then it is probably hard to sustain.
Good Luck

Hi

It sounds like you communicate and that's a great thing.
I'd remember that what he says is true - he still finds you attractive even though he has been looking at other women in porn. It's the chemicals that are released in PMO that are what he is addicted to.
Sex wise - I am sure that there are ways that he can arouse and satisfy you without penetration. This and just been close together, bonding, karezza should bring you closer together.
You are very astute when you say you don't want to be the GF who finds out all the info and pushes it to him. Guys don't like to feel hassled sometimes where learning is taking place. He has to take responsibility for tackling this too. You don't need to become his crutch where he continues to PMO then feels bad and you comfort him as this will reinforce it.
So I would
1. Keep talking to your therapist.
2. Keep talking to BF. Talk about PMO as the challenge 'we' have. Mention a few things you've learnt - get him on here to read or watch the videos on YBOP.
3. Give him and you both time. It will take months to sort out if it goes well.
4. Lastly - take it from me, if he can get through it then he will be so much better for it, almost a different person. So if you really like him now you'll be pleasantly surprised. I have seen massive changes in myself and I know my wife appreciates them (even though I have gone 99 days and feel like I have beaten this I haven't been able to tell her about it)
Keep on here - reading, posting etc. You will get a lot of help.
Stay loving and strong.

Wow, thanks so much to

Wow, thanks so much to EVERYONE for the responses! I was afraid I wouldn't get very many. It is so nice to feel less alone around this!

@TheUnderDog: My bf does know about yourbrainonporn.com --that's how we decided to start the rebooting process (I discovered it after reading a Psychology Today article about porn-related ED). The issue is, his computer is essentially locked from the internet as a precautionary measure- (he kept finding ways around the site blocker, so he just blocked all sites except one for school or something like that) -so the only way for him to view the videos to learn more is to use my computer---which means I have to ask him to watch them. I'm happy to have him use it, but I tried having him watch them with me, and that did not go over well. :( I appreciate the info about candeo. He and I are not religious, although very spiritual, so that probably wouldn't be a good fit.

I've sent him some of the rebooting stories on there to his email since he can't access the site, but he's only read a few, and I'm not sure when he will read the others. He has a lot of resistance to learning more--I think he feels he knows everything he needs to know about the rebooting from what I told him, and he gets upset if I push things too much, so I'm trying to be more aware of when to discuss it, and when to just chill around it.

@IM1969: Do you have any tips for my bf about abstaining? He's gone several months without porn on his own, but was MO almost everyday--and now with trying to not MO, he had the several relapses--he's feeling so frustrated.

Lastly, I wanted to say, that I've agreed to not MO either while my bf is doing the rebooting---and that has not been easy for me! With not having sex, it's been even more difficult, as I have always had a high sex drive. I haven't been perfect at it, but our therapist thinks it's good for me to focus on myself as well in this process, and I definitely have more compassion for my bf because of this, I think.

@Marina--I am really interested in Karezza, but am also nervous I won't be able to do it--it's difficult for me to get really excited and then not have a release, but I miss sex so much, it might be worth testing out when we get to that point again. I think it would be good to take the pressure off him, too! And yes, I'm definitely getting as much cuddling and bonding time in with him in other ways as possible. Smile

Hi Openhearted1

Abstaining? I realised that even MO was going to lead me back to webcamming chat rooms/PMO so that was my motivation as I really can't go back there again. The thing is I think that when men MO there are fantasizing or recalling porn images and that probably sets off the same neural pathways of the addiction. Otherwise why would he not get ED when he MO's.
It's not easy. The things I can suggest are not looking at anything remotely arousing, no storing images or feelings during the day for later. Look on here for the 'red x' technique to stop the thought process developing.
Most importantly I kept in mind where it would take me - maybe he doesn't see the link between MO and relapses. I doubt the MO is helping his cause. He needs to see the benefits and believe they will come.

Thanks for this Marnia

Thanks for this Marnia (sorry I mis-spelled your name the first time!)

I'm curious, has anyone used supplements (such as multivitamins, fish oil, amino acids, etc.) to assist in supporting them during the withdrawal period? I know it's used for people in recovery from substance addictions, and has been proven to be really beneficial--I'm wondering if the same would work for those trying to quit a porn addiction. I suggested it to my bf before, but thought that if anyone on here had actually tried it, and found benefit, then perhaps he would be more willing to test it out. The theory behind it is that without adequate nutrition and supplementation, one has more intense withdrawal symptoms, but if the brain is being supported nutritionally, it has an easier time adjusting to changes.

There's Something Missing Here

Hi OpenHearted,

First off, I think you are a treasure. To be so sweet, so compassionate, so giving, and so keen on helping the man you love says many wonderful things about you. I agree with trogdinator...I hope your bf knows what he has. And it's with that in mind that I'm writing this. Please forgive me in advance if this sounds harsh.

Reading your comments about your bf and your situation, it seems to me that this is not going to end well. I say that because...

1) this addiction is hard enough to beat when you're committed 100%. But it sounds like your bf has a resistance to diving in and learning all he can about it. It also sounds like he lacks humility. This isn't a phase he's going through. His brain is physically damaged from pornography and masturbation. The ED will only get worse. His attitude/mood/self-esteem/ability to be intimate and affectionate with you will get worse. It's one thing for a single guy to be bummed out that he can't get it up like he used to. It's another thing entirely to be in love and not be able to make love to your girlfriend. If he's not looking at this as a life or death situation, he's missing a huge part of his recovery puzzle.

He should be devouring every reboot story he can find, taking any supplement you put in front of him, watching the YBOP videos, and posting here HIMSELF.

Instead, YOU'RE the one coming here, introducing yourself to strangers, asking what you can tell him, and how to tell him so as not to trigger his defenses. Openhearted...there is NO WAY he is going to get through this if that is his attitude.

2) internet blocker issues. It's true that for an addict, the web is full of landmines. I don't know what blocker he put up but blocking all internet is not the solution. ESPECIALLY if it means he can't (won't) access important resources like the videos at YBOP.

May I suggest K9? It's a free blocker that is highly customizable. In addition to blocking problem categories like 'pornography' and 'adult themes' etc...you can create an 'always block' list for sites that are favorite go to's as well as a 'never block' list for sites like YBOP and reuniting.info. You can create 'time restrictions' so that after a certain hour, the internet will be blocked. The best part is he can have YOU create the password so he can't get in but you can if there's an exception comes up at some point. Please consider this if you haven't already.

3) your bf's MO habit. It's not just porn that has changed his brain and lead to ED. It's excessive masturbation, orgasm, and fantasy as well. You'll see "PMO" all over this site, but really we're talking about "PMOF". I'm not a brain scientist so I will direct you to YBOP for documentation on this. If your bf continues to masturbate and ejaculate regularly, his ED recovery will take a long long time. How long can you hang out and wait?

4) your statement (which I totally understand and agree with) that you cannot stay in a sexless relationship. Obviously, sex is important to you, as it should be. I suspect that in addition to being in love, this is part of the reason you are working so hard for the solution to your bf's ED.

The tough question here is not how your bf can heal himself, or even how you can help him heal himself...the tough question is how long you can go on like this, with him resisting, with you walking on egg shells, with the both of you being frustrated and unfulfilled sexually, before you decide you did all you could and it is not your responsibility to fix him. At some point, he has to drop his defenses and take full responsibility for his ED.

***

Believe me, I have gone through a heartbreaking split with a wonderful woman myself and the last thing I want to do is be the doom and gloom guy. I want you two to make it work, be totally in love, have lots of sex, and be happy.

I hope the two of you will try Marnia's suggestion of bonding behaviors and eventually give Karezza a shot. For those of us without a partner, these are things we long to have in our lives as we try to heal. Is your bf willing to try this stuff?

I hope I don't sound too fatalistic, but I speak from personal experience and I feel it's important for you to know that you are already doing all you can. The rest is up to him. Until he becomes 100% willing to do this ALL THE WAY, this is just a painful lead up to a sad break up. I truly hope he will realize how much he has to lose and will drop his resistance. You deserve that.

All this is just one guy's opinion. Maybe some of it will help you two.

This is a difficult journey and you're come to the right place. Wishing you and your bf the best.

FREE

Thanks for all the good

Thanks for all the good info. I'm just not sure what else to do---or how for him to be more motivated. He has a lot of really difficult things going on in his life, and I'm afraid that if I push him it just makes it worse. I guess he has to do decide for himself. It's really painful for me. I feel so isolated in my experience--I can't really talk to anyone about this. I want to be with him AND I want him to have a successful reboot so we can enjoy that other need and level of intimacy. It makes me really sad sometimes because my communicating to him around this I'm sure feels more like not being able to trust him or let it go. I'm just not sure what else to do. :(

You might try another

You might try another approach. Read all the karezza threads and see if you can internalize that and find ways to receive him as a pathway to him turning toward change. Changing yourself is entirely within your control. The more he wants you, the more he might walk in the directions that bring him close to you.

Maybe prowl around

in the Karezza Korner links. I know it's a long shot, but even if you both heal and live happily ever after, there will be times when vigorous lovemaking isn't the right answer, for whatever reason. Pays to have some other approaches ready to go.

Thank you both Freedom and

Thank you both Freedom and Marnia. I will take a look around the Karezza Korner. I think it really will be helpful, for both of us. I do believe we can both heal in this process together, and that my bf can do a successful reboot with my gentle support, but the process thus far has been really difficult (hence why I'm on here).

I think when we get back to the stage of having sex, Karezza might be the easiest way to relax his anxiety around having sex again, and help me not to push or focus on O. In the meantime, our therapist has recommended we have one designated night a week where we are intimate in a sexual way, but without having sex and no O for either one of us. I think that Karezza will probably help with this "homework," too. There is a part of me that is skeptical that sex without O will feel as good to me, but I would be happy to be proven that it is very possible.

Thanks so much, as always, to everyone for the info and support. This is so helpful!

It definitely

is *different* but it can be surprisingly yummy, so I'm glad you're keeping an open mind.

Yes, anything you can do to keep the performance pressure off of him for now will help...assuming that he can put the brakes on orgasming solo.

This book even talks about "soft entry," which is the ultimate "no performance" approach. Winkhttp://www.reuniting.info/tantric_sex_for_men_richardson

Remember, male sexuality is like Old Faithful. It *will* return if he gives things a rest and endures a flatline. His genes really *want* him to stay in the procreation business. So have faith. When it comes back in a balanced brain...it's truly a thing of beauty. So think to the future.

Good call by the therapist. Basically the same idea as bonding based lovemaking. More ideas at http://www.reuniting.info/resources/exchange_of_the_day

really great to see the

really great to see the other perspective and how much you are willing to help out your bf.

there has been great advice already. I would suggest the following:
- he needs to come to you for support if he feels urges/cravings, then you can help encourage or distract him from the cravings to MO. go for a walk with him, start a training/exercise program with him. there will be resistance, just start slowly.
- he needs to avoid MO for some time, yes it's hard, slowly the intervals should get bigger
- need to identify triggers so he can learn to handle them in a different way
- porn blocker needs to allow safe sites like this
- he may feel anxiety when you get back into sex, that's something you will have to try and reassure him about without being overly 'protective'
- a lot of it is in his mind and it's impossible to say what trigger will make him commit fully to rebooting, maybe it is the threat of you leaving, maybe that will send him into depression... hard to say

my wife doesn't know about my problem/reboot but she is absolutely aware of my PE and ED issue.

personally, i found just physically being close to her was helpful. if i could hold off during cravings and just hold her later on or hug in the morning before leaving for work, it helped. obviously you won't be able to get your bf to do this, but maybe just slowly working in non-sexual touching (ie bonding behaviours a la karezza) will help him quietly. the touchy part is to not do it in a way that might trigger him or cause him to suddenly think "what's going on?" or maybe just tell him what you are trying... everybody's mind works differently.

good luck and stay strong!

An update

So, my bf is continuing with the re-booting, but it's still been a struggle. Although, I think there is some progress. The issue I'm experiencing is still the lack of his desire toward me. I feel it sometimes, but today he made it clear that he just doesn't have that to give to me right now (the sexual desire). I think this is the most painful process for women who are with men that have porn-addiction and porn-related ED. After time it wears down our feeling of attractiveness.

He tells me I'm beautiful all the time, but because he lacks the physical desire for me, it doesn't seem that he means it or feels it, and it is so painful. It has been even more discouraging knowing that when women dress extremely revealing in public he gets turned on by that--he explained it's the fantasy around it---and has used that image later to MO to. He admitted that this happened last week, and I was devastated. I understand that men check out other women--it's natural. But, it's so painful when the man you love uses that for fantasy--and then that blocks me out. I hope that after a successful reboot his normal sexual desires will come back, and he will have that sexual attraction for me again. I guess I want some hope around this--I know he can do the reboot--although it may take a lot of time, but after the reboot he should see me in a sexual light? I'm an attractive woman--I'm healthy, take good care of myself, and care about my appearance. I feel very sad when I see other men noticing me, and my boyfriend doesn't in the same way. It's like he can see that I'm pretty, but would be fine if we never had sex again (that might be a slight exaggeration, but it sure feels that way).

At first I was like, okay, this is how he is, it's his brain, not me. But now, after months and months of it, I feel it taking a toll on me. I just don't know how to be with this--I guess I just have to trust in the rebooting process. *sigh*