Porn addiction recovery - my story, and request for feedback (old thread)

Submitted by musicman on
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Dear all - I am happy to have found this forum, and I am relieved to see that I am not the only one who has this addiction. Here is my brief story: I broke up with my girlfriend, because of her jealousy; yet her jealousy was caused, in fact, by my addiction to porn - without her realizing the true cause.
The long version: I have not really been exposed to porn as a kid (I am 34 now) - though I was highly interested in medical books presenting the female reproductive system. I had my first orgasm at age 5, having accidentally played with the shower. I did not start masturbating then, but at age 12, if I remember well. I was a very shy boy, and I have lost my virginity rather late. I have been masturbating ever since I was a teen, but at first this was not a compulsive behavior. I did not feel ashamed by it - but I felt ashamed I was a "sexual" person at that age, so I was avoiding girls (even if I was not at all attracted to boys, but very much to girls).
Since I lost my virginity (and gradually my shyness), I had several sex partners. I did not have many long-term relationships (though I also had some one-nights stands), so I "had" to masturbate when I was between partners. Nothing too odd, I think. At first, I was masturbating having in mind real girls; later on, when porn became an internet phenomenon, I started to masturbate to porn pics and movies. Over the time, I thought it was a normal behavior: everybody watches porn, everybody masturbates. However, over the past - say - 10 years - little by little, slowly, slowly, porn has taken over my sex life. I happen to like skinny girls (even anorexic ones), so I was watching mainly this type of porn - together with porn involving female bodybuilders. Nothing extreme - no scat, no torture - just beautiful bodies. I was even preferring solo girls in extreme explicit positions, rather than hardcore (penetrative) porn. The thought of extreme porn, or the sight of it, was not arousing me whatsoever.
Porn and masturbation were, therefore, a substitute to my sex life when I was not in a relationship; trouble is that it became to be a parallel sex life, gradually, even when in a relationship. Not that much at start. I was still craving sex with a real partner. Four years ago, I have met a lovely girl, whose body I was not particularly attracted to. I had a big sex drive back then, so when I started dating her, I was both having sex with her, and masturbating to pics of skinny girls (as she was not skinny). After we split-up, I had a girlfriend I was very attracted to, but she then broke my heart. I was shocked and betrayed - I thought she loved me, yet she cared nothing about me. This has affected me, psychologically, a lot. A girl that was courting me, but whom I was not attracted to, came to visit soon after. We started to make out, but I could not have an erection. My first ED episode... I need to say that until then, I had great performances in bed.
Last year, I had two casual sex encounters. No erection problems whatsoever. Yet, as I was single, and had no girlfriend, I increased my porn intake (and masturbation) a lot.
Last autumn, I started dating a girl. Very thin, very cute; perhaps not the sexiest face, but I was blown by her innocence and inner beauty. She was not very experienced sexually. She had visited me before, and I was always getting erections when kissing and caressing her. Then, she became my girlfriend and ... I was unable to get a strong erection when trying to have sex with her. Once, twice, thrice. I got scared. I saw a specialist, who recommended me some herbal supplements. With them, I was able to have normal erections.
Yet ... in the mean time, I increased even more my porn intake. I went even further on in replacing my sex life with porn and masturbation - even if I had, in my life, a girlfriend with a dream body. Sex with her became not only difficult - because of my ED - but also something I felt "obliged" to do. My mind was elsewhere. My mind was to the countless women what were "pleasing" me from my hard drive. Yes, I could make love to my thin girlfriend; instead, I was searching for pics of thin girls on the internet. Why on earth? Why?
As she was not that sexually experienced, she saw nothing too worrying in my lack of a sex drive. Meanwhile, I was unable to have natural erections even when watching porn. Yes, I could masturbate to porn, and I was having 80% hard erections from hand simulation. But, when in bed with her, I was having very soft erections (thus unable to penetrate her), without the help of the herbal stimulant. I also saw another sexologist, who told me I am physically OK (he examined me), and that I should rather see a psychologist, as my ED is of a psychological cause. When I told him I was masturbating, he said that yes, this lowers the sex drive, and I should cut down on it. At that time, I have tried, but could not give it up.
My girlfriend knew I was watching porn - yet she did not know the real extent. She thought that watching porn was not "that good", but it was normal, it was OK - everybody does it, after all. She was tolerating my behavior rather well.
However: she started to be very jealous. She was feeling - without me telling her - that I was not "burning" for her. She started to be extremely jealous on other women - thinking that I would cheat on her. She did not realize that, under her own eyes, I was indeed cheating on her - yet not with real women, just with pics and movies. She was making scenes every time I would talk with a female colleague, or I would compliment a girl. She became extremely possessive; when coming back from her town (we were living together, but she was occasionally going to see her family), she was counting my condoms, to see if I had used them with another woman. She was checking my mobile phone, to see whom I called and who called me. Her jealousy was even against women that I was totally not attracted to (I have told her that I would never be able to have sex with a chubby girl - yet she was even jealous on chubby girls). She was not trusting me at all, no matter how much I was reassuring her I was not cheating on her. One day, when she was away, we had a chat on yahoo messenger, and said bye for now. Later on that day, when I returned to my computer, I found an angry offline message, asking me where I was. I had gone to the grocer without telling her.
We had a fight several days before, when I was talking with a female colleague from work on yahoo messenger about some work issues. She insisted she stays there with me so that she can see what I am talking to that woman.
We had a fight ... she left; after a few days, I went to her city and we made peace. I kindly asked her not to be jealous; she asked me not to be that joyful in the presence of women (truth is I am an extrovert, and I enjoy everybody's company, and I am joyful both in the presence of men, and women). I told her I cannot change my personality - and I don't want to change it. In any case, we came back home.
Imagine what - I was not having the desire to have sex, even after regaining my girlfriend! My sex drive was very low. All I had in mind was to see porn, just for the sake of it. Why? Why?
Last week, after she asked me about a girl I was talking to (she had contacted me on yahoo messenger just to ask me for an advice; I told her I was busy; then my girlfriend started to nag me), I had a huge argument with her, I shouted to her like mad. I have lost my temper. I have not hit her - yet I abused her verbally. I told her to leave, because I cannot live with a jealous and possessive woman. I chased her away. And she left. Nine beautiful months have ended.
Now: Yes, she was extremely jealous. Yes, I was feeling frustrated, because I was being wrongfully accused. Yes, I was feeling like being in a chain. Yes, I even now think that she needs to change, in order for her to have a healthy relationship.
Yet - the person that needs to change most, is me. I realised that her low self-esteem was amplified many times by me neglecting her; by me not really seeing a woman in her, but a mere companion; by me seeing, in fact, some pictures on the screen as my real sex companions; by me making love to her, to her beautiful body, but thinking about other bodies that I never saw live.
I started to feel horrible about myself. I asked myself: Why would I still watch porn and masturbate - which I was doing when single as a substitute for a real sex life - if I had a real woman near me - a woman I was neglecting? Why?
So, I searched for porn addiction on the internet, and I found this forum - thank God.
Now, I have one worry:
I have stopped watching porn, and masturbating, the day she left, the day I realized I lost her because of my vice. Yet - ever since then (5 days), I had no erections, and no desire to look at porn. My sex drive is as low as ever. What worries me is that I read stories, here, of people unable to resist the urge to masturbate, or to look at porn. Yet - even if I was hooked on porn, I feel actually no temptation to look at it, and I feel no temptation to masturbate. Is it because I am shocked? What happens to me?
Yes, I totally WANT to stop - both the porn and masturbation. Yet, I feel no withdrawal symptoms as yet, no erections I need to calm down, no nothing. Why?
Please advise,

Emotional Upheaval is Not the Best Guide

It sounds to me like the emotional shock of your recent loss is definitely in play. When my wife walked in on me wanking off to porn a few years back, she was so upset by the discovery that I felt certain that she was going to divorce me. The "shock" of a pending divorce kept me clean for probably two weeks. I white knuckled it thereafter for a while but eventually went back to my old ways.

From the sounds of it, there is definitely some compulsions in your life about the use of porn and masturbation, but time will be the surest guide. Reality has a sneaky way of catching up to us all sooner or later.

Right now it sounds as if you are hurting from your recent breakup. Notwithstanding that your ex may have had some self-esteem issues, you can't fix those, all you can do is work on yourself and try not to beat yourself up too much.

Kudos for having the fortitude to look at yourself and question whether or not you may have an addiction to porn. Keep hanging around and I'm sure you will learn a lot. This site is a wealth of information.

Self-esteem, and time

Thank you for your quick reply. Yes, I am hurting a lot from my recent break-up - even though it was me who ended it. My girlfriend's self-esteem problems were not caused by me, but were amplified a lot by my neglect of her. Plenty of women would react, perhaps, like her: "I am young, I am cute, so, why doesn't he make love to me? He must not be interested. He must have another woman". As for her own problems, I cannot judge her for not being aware of them. How many porn addicts are aware of their addiction? I wasn't! And when I became aware, I was in denial for some time ... and I needed a shock to show me the root of the problem. Also - I had no time for her - I had no time for us - because I had a lot of work to do, I could not take time off work, so the time I used watching porn was the time I had to give to her, to give to us...

Sorry for your pain

All is not lost. Who knows? You may even win her back. But for now, you're right, work on yourself.

Everything you've experienced is, unfortunately, quite normal. And it all makes sense once you understand that the cause lies in the changes in your brain, brought on by over-stimulation due to today's very exciting Internet porn.

Ironically, the more intense the stimulation, the more your brain numbs its pleasure drive you back to more of this "super-valuable" thing (hot, novel mates on the screen). When you stop, it takes time for your brain to return to its normal sensitivity. When it does, your erections will likely be normal, too.

In the meanwhile, you're in a very uncomfortable place of feeling numb to pleasure, but also (possibly) a lot of other withdrawal symptoms: erection trouble, depression, mood swings, trouble sleeping, headaches, anxiety, cravings, etc.

The good news is that you probably just need time...and abstinence...and you will be fine. You'll see your girlfriend differently, and even yourself. But there is no quick fix here.

This man, for example, needed about two months to sort out the situation: Each person is different, but you sound - as you say - like you were quite normal before the advent of Internet porn, so I suspect you just need some time.

Checkout the articles here, which collect some of the wisdom gained by others in your situation:

I'll enable you to blog if you want to keep us posted on your progress.

Thank you, Marnia

Marnia, thank you for your reply, and for enabling me to find answers. This forum helps people to heal. But what can we do about prevention? If I only knew that porn was addictive, if I only knew that it causes erectile dysfunctions, if I only knew that it twists the human brain and messes up relationships! Smokers are now scared (yes! a good tactic!) by pics who are obligatorily printed on cigarette packs, showing lung cancer. I wish porn sites had flaccid penises and the words: "Porn overuse causes ED", instead of that "are you over 18" screen. Because, such screen would scare some people, or at least would make them inquire on their own whether this is true or not.
Yes, I can blog, if you think it is useful. For now, I will tell you my withdrawal symptoms: still no erection, yet I have flashbacks with porn images in my brain. How can I get rid of these? Also, I wish at least I had to battle the urge to masturbate! I have zero libido - yes, I feel I would "like" to masturbate for the pleasure of the orgasm, but my body does not ask for sex! Is this normal for a recovering porn addict? Thank you.

We would have to gather support for a law

if there were ever to be "warning labels" on porn.

We could also look for ways to make the practices of the industry that ensnare under age consumers public. Those would be some good things to do if you want to fight back against the industry, "prevention" wise.

Glad it helped

It's unusual that someone blogs their story from beginning to end (sort of Wink ) in that format.

Anyway, yes, it IS normal to feel no libido for a while...even though not everyone goes through this phase. Stay calm; be patient. And what have you done to block the porn on your computer for now? Smile

Porn blocking

Marnia - I did not block the porn - I deleted all the pics and movies, destroyed my 20 or so DVDs (with no regret!), and once I reset the cookies, the google search is back again on "moderated". I am trying to resist the urge, should it come, without any block; your forum, I hope, will suffice in terms of blocking software :). This is also a test to see whether I am strong, or weak, willed.
Withdrawal symptoms: extremely agitated sleep.
Libido: a bit up
Erections: Interestingly enough ... even though I did not have a spontaneous erection in months (that is: no porn / no hand simulation/ no herbal help), this morning happened something strange. I had dreamed about sex (a strange dream: aliens had invaded Earth in military blimps, and forced everybody to copulate with some kind of ray. I dreamt no naked bodies, but I *knew* people were having sex). I had no morning wood, though I had woken up immediately after that, but then, all of a sudden, the image of a girl in a bathing suit came to my mind. In the same time, I started (involuntarily) a Kegel exercise. Surprise - I had an 80% strong erection. How about that ?

*big smile*

See? You're well on your way. Just know that recovery usually isn't linear. So be patient on the days when it seems like you're making no progress.

Thanks for the withdrawal symptoms, too. Very helpful to others.

And watch out for those aliens. Wink

I was in a simlar position,

I was in a simlar position, I had left PMO for 10 days without even one small urge, I felt I was cured, day 11 came with a killer craving and I relapsed, I would advise you to stay free of all forms of sex for a few months.

Just keep at it..

Thts deep dude.. but a healthy diet and time out in nature is what u need.. stay off the computer unless u need it.. and get out there.. hit the gym.. get familiar with yourself.. and take it day by day.. you will see benifits coming left and right.. I stopped drinking soda too... that eases the mind as well..

hope tht helps


Did someone ask for advice? No probs!

Marnia's right, when she says it's easier to handle the issue once you understand the brain science about how the addiction (and other addictions work) it makes more sense in terms of how and why this happened. There's no substitute for interaction with other human beings for beating this thing.

Interaction with humans over the internet is a terrific way to get feedback and learn more about how to handle this condition. It puts the computer at the center though and that can be problematic because computers were also at the center of our addiction. It works for some of us who are able to go 80 plus days without porn, masturbation or orgasm (PMO) by coming on this website and blogging their experiences. I am always inspired by them to keep working at it.

It didn't work quite that way for me but I know it's only a matter of time before I can put that kind of time together. Part of me still *likes* porn and misses it, even though I'm not using it or looking at it. So I recommend you find a trusted confidant in your life whom you can tell about this stuff, preferably a therapist or some sort of professional. If you can't afford or get one of those...the kind of friend you can trust to tell you objective things about yourself in a loving way.

It sounds like you are either currently quitting or are ready to quit so here goes. You gotta delete your stash of porn, if you haven't already, and quit masturbating for awhile while so your brain can get back to a neurochemical balance. If you haven't ever quit masturbating give it a try and you will definitely know more about yourself and your brain. See how long you can go. Then repeat experiment.

Also look into porn blocking technology and other techniques on how to block porn which can be found on the website - also founded by Marnia and Gary.

I hope for you that your relationship issues work out the way you want them to. Whether you stay together or part, you will learn how porn could have had unseen impacts on relationships. It's important to remind yourself you are only human and don't beat yourself up too much. Be on guard against shame or guilt, you aren't to blame for falling into a trap that was laid before you without your knowledge. Also do something healthy every day especially exercise, but find things to do that are positive and life affirming. You know get out in nature, take up bird watching, eating vegetables and fruits...that sort of stuff.

Good luck, I'm sure we are going to be hearing more from you.