NOTE: I deleted my original post and moved this to my blog.
I'm 28 and I've been aware that porn is having a big negative impact on my sex life and my life in general for some time now. I came across this site and much of what I read resonated with me. Basically, my use of porn has left me with erection problems, arousal problems, possibly contributed to my long-term depression and has left my feeling disconnected with people and life in general.
First some history so others have a basis for comparison. I saw my first pornographic image when I was in Scouts so I must have been about 11 or 12 years old. Some of the older kids brought along beer, cigarettes and some Playboy/Penthouse magazines. I'd never seen anything like it and I was spellbound. However, I didn't start abusing porn til later, but only because I had no ongoing access to it. At that age, I was still much too shy to go into a shop and buy a magazine.
My descent into the depravities of porn next escalated at the beginning of year nine, so I must have been 13. I borrowed a porn movie from a guy in my high school and watched it while my parents were out. This was a VHS tape so it was before Internet porn really took off. At this point I'd never masturbated before or even had an orgasm, but what I saw in this movie prompted me to started experimenting with it. And that night I had my first orgasm by my own hands. And I didn't stop at one.
During high school I continued to masturbate and look at porn but this was still mainly limited to magazines like Playboy, Penthouse and some others. I also used to like the stories and I'd occasionally download and print out pictures and stories and hide them in my room for later use. I would also point out that during this time, I was utterly useless with girls. They terrified me and porn was a way to satisfy my teen libido without going crazy. I probably looked at porn and masturbated to multiple orgams at least once a day, on average, during high school, probably more.
After high school I went straight into university to study IT. I was the stereotypical computer nerd with glasses and no social life. I was still playing a lot of sport though. Most of the time I'd stay in my room and study, play guitar or masturbate. I got pretty good at all these things, but the latter is nothing to be proud of.
By second year I landed a work placement with at my university and this meant I had good money coming in and I was still living at home with my parents. I could afford my own cable Internet connection straight into my bedroom and this is when the floodgates opened so to speak. Now I had virtually unlimited access to high quality Internet porn 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I developed a pattern of late night binges surfing the web and looking at porn. I’d stay up til 4 a.m. some nights and get up at the crack on noon the next day. There were a number of months that I binged so much on porn that I exceeded my Internet quota and started getting bills of close to $1000 per month. I could afford it too. It makes me sick now knowing how much money I just threw away on porn. It is literally thousands of dollars. I could have traveled in South American for years with that money. My porn collection was growing rapidly and I sat there for hours watching it sorting it, and classifying it. Now I have nothing to show for it.
This pattern continued through out my early twenties. I was not happy at all and was diagnosed with depression by a GP. This was stating the obvious in my book but it did help to have someone explicitly classify me as something other than normal and this was the start of a long road to recovering from depression. I probably had depression with varying severity from around the age of 14 to about the age of 22, but it was a gradual descent so it took me a long time to realise and even longer to develop a strategy to cope with it.
What I later realized was that I was using porn to avoid dealing with my attraction to women. My horniness and attraction scared me and porn temporarily took my desire away so I thought it was a good thing to keep me “balanced”. In a weird way I was proud that I could look at a hot girl on the street and not feel the slightest hint of arousal because porn had desensitised me. It was a way of taking back the power that I believed women had over me. Only much later did I realise how destructive this pattern was. Most of what I’d learned in school, the media and the Internet said masturbation and even porn are healthy and all the guys I knew were into it so I never so it occurred to me how abnormal it actually is in terms of a natural sex life. As far as I knew at the time, masturbation was healthy with no down side and looking at porn was just something all guys do all the time. Many of my friends, who are in their late twenties now still have this view.
I didn’t have a girlfriend or lose my virginity til I was 23. My first time was terrible. I was semi hard and nervous and nothing was working. I did not enjoy it at all and I’m sure my ex-girlfriend would say the same thing. I did love her but I’d been training my nervous system to respond sexually the same way for so long, it was like my body didn’t know what to do. We ended up breaking up after 2.5 years and one of the main reasons was our sex life. I was watching porn a lot the whole time I was with her. Now I realize that the break up was partly my fault and that I was unknowingly sabotaging our relationship and porn was the vehicle I was using for that. At the time I blamed my ex-girlfriend, who while she did have problems of her own, didn’t deserve 100% of the blame for what happened. In my defense, I honestly didn’t know any better.
I haven’t had a long-term, stable relationship since then. I’ve had sex but I’ve honestly never really enjoyed it and been able to relax. I’m always nervous and frequently have problems getting an erection. I’ve decreased my use of porn quite a bit but I’m still what I’d call an addict. In the last couple of years I’ve realized that porn is a problem for me. I've abstained from porn before, but I've never tried abstaining from both porn and masturbation for an extended period. After reading this site and others I’ve realised that I need to give this abstinence thing a try. I want my libido back. I want to feel normal again. I want to be connected with the rest of the world and enjoy my life. I realize now the role porn has been playing in my life. I’ve been using it to escape and I’m convinced it played a significant part in causing my depression.
I’m about three weeks in. I’ve haven’t watched any porn or masturbated since July 6th. My last orgasm was at the hands of a Chinese massage girl and even then, I had trouble orgasming. She was pretty and had an attractive body but it took a long time for me to orgasm and she almost gave up. This is just one example of how I feel I’ve shorted circuited my ability to become sexually aroused through normal means. A hot girl can be naked with legs spread on the bed in front of me and I’d still need some sort of manual stimulation to get hard. This really scares me.
The strange thing is that it hasn’t been hard to stop watching porn or masturbating, once I’d made the decision. I haven’t had the withdrawal symptoms many people have mentioned. Instead, I feel nothing. It’s like I just don’t have a libido. No morning wood. No wet dreams. No spontaneous erections. No cravings. I haven’t been horny at all. I’ve had opportunities to have sex but it’s like my body is not responding. My diet is reasonable. I’m working out regularly. I’m taking salsa classes so I’m reasonably active but still no sign of my libido. I can dance with a beautiful girl and have no physical reaction whatsoever. I’m aware cerebrally that a girl is attractive but I don’t feel it physically. I don’t think I have low testosterone. I’m doing fine at work and have reasonable energy levels. I definitely do drink too much alcohol, but I’m still young and I like to party.
The thing that keeps me going with the abstinence is that I have faith that if I abstain for long enough, I’ll be able to reboot my brain and get back to normal, but it’s frustrating. My birthday is in late September so this is my present to myself. I’m really hoping I can feel normal again by then but we will see. It would be really helpful and reassuring to hear from men who have had a similar experience.
Thanks for reading...