Submitted by bluegrana on
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thank you for this great website.
I am 22 m and been masturbating to porn since I was 15. I had two previous failed attempts at sex because I could not get an erection. however, with porn and constant simulation I could easily achieve one but I can't maintain it without manual simulation. I do get semi erect morning wood almost daily.
after reading this website I decided to stop my bad habits. today marks my 7th day without porn, and my fifth day without masturbation or orgasm. but I have never felt this bad before. I have no libido, no morning wood, no desire to do anything. it's worse than before. I am getting scared. is this normal?

thanks in advance.

dont worry, its just the bad

dont worry, its just the bad habits leaving your body. youre retraining your brain and there will be some 'weirdness'. from fluctuating libido to intense self analysis. you will learn a lot about yourself and how you perceive others in this endeavor, but don't let fear/shame get in the way. your body will right itself but there will be a period of awkwardness. but nothing in comparison to the awkward habit your getting out of.
best of luck my friend

This is NORMAL

as the brain returns to full sensitivity. It's not usually a linear process. It's like your brain has forgotten how to make the right levels of the key neurochemicals that make you feel cheerful and enthusiastic about sex. When they're missing you feel rotten, but if you wait, then your brain will realize you aren't going to "medicate" it with porn (which produces a big rush of those missing neurochemicals...and makes your brain even less responsive over time Sad ) it will get busy and start producing the missing neurochemicals itself. Then you're REALLY healing, instead of just self-medicating.

Did you read cyberbob's thread??? Start from the bottom and you'll see the whole story. Since you're younger, you'll probably bounce back even faster. But a lull in libido is perfectly normal during recovery. Welcome to "withdrawal."

Blog if you like.

*big hug*

i don't

see how this would lower libido after a short time. in the past i've gone over two weeks and was just busting the whole time. still.

Have you experimented

with any of the Solo Practices? These were developed my monks of the past, so they should be right up your alley. *evil grin*

Solo Practices

It's strange, but obviously different brains respond differently to overstimulation and recovery. Some people experience intense cravings, some experience flatline libido, some a mixture of the two. But with time, the brain finds something approaching a normal balance.

it is

basically mind-racing, pacing, amped-up-ness, disquiet, scatterbrained, distracting, starting-stopping, intrusive thoughts/fantasies, sleep issues. 34 days.

I admire

the courage you guys have in turning this corner. It really is like being a superhero in sci-fi novel, because the monsters you battle are in your own head - until your neurochemistry settles down.

when does it settle

it is strange. i've done it before but not this long. after 4 days it all begins. not any crying or loathing though. not for me at least. just what i mentioned above. for those who believe that your inner whatever magically manifests itself, wouldn't the coming down manifest itself to others? would they sense turmoil?

probably yes :)

[quote]for those who believe that your inner whatever magically manifests itself, wouldn't the coming down manifest itself to others? would they sense turmoil?[/quote]

Uh, yeah :) I mean you're screwing around with our BRAIN CHEMICALS right now! Those two weeks were horrible. I told my friend that it was like a deluge of depression crashing down upon me, wave after wave after wave. It took all my presence and self-awareness to not overreact emotionally and self-destruct. At one point, I even told my co-worker to remember what it was like when she quit smoking cold turkey. That's how bad it was for me.

BTW, as for the inner whateer magically manifesting, I'm a skeptic about magical thinking. There is, however, a cause/effect relationship between how you feel mood-wise and how you perceive and treat others. Then there's another causal relationship between how you treat others and how they treat you. I had to be really careful not to make a lot of stupid decisions out of my current emotional state.

out of the pits

I'm definitely not in the gorges of depression that I was for the first few weeks. I think, in retrospect, that I was dealing with more stressors than normal and probably more in need of my dopamine fix. I had just ended a sexual relationship, and it was very sad. Not being able to turn to PMO only made it worse.

Things are much better in general now, physiologically, speaking. But I'm still in "addiction recovery". The first part is the physiological response. But the other part is that my old drug was numbing me from having to feel pains and stresses with which I was trying to cope. I'm still working on the latter more than the former.

On a related note, I had a "spontaneous erection" for the first time in bed last night. It happened after having a sexual thought that was triggered by seeing some sexual reference in diagram form. But no real frontal nudity. What's crazy is that at one point, what was necessary for me to get to the point of arousal was almost absurd. Porn wasn't enough, it had to be the RIGHT porn. Now I got erect from what was essential a sex illustration diagram? Hell, in 6 months, I'll be able to look at ancient cave paintings and get turned on lol. For the record, it's been 71 days since this journey started for me with a binge week about 56 days in. PMO sober for 13 consecutive days and counting.

One thing that's different this time is that I'm no longer obsessed with trying to "replicate" the arousal. I'm going to take it for what it was and trust that the fewer times I get aroused, the less stimulation will be necessary for me to get an erection. Trust the process....


i find just the opposite

i find just the opposite with this. getting hard a lot throughout the day. that was the case before. kind of a calm day. i hope it stays this way. the symptoms i described above were on-going 'til yesterday.


That's awesome. Do you have generally have ED problems? Or have you always been consistently able to get aroused?

Arousal doesn't always lead

Arousal doesn't always lead to an erection. Why do we assume the reverse...that ED means one can't get or isn't sufficinelyt arroused?

I'm genuinely curious about this because I've never experienced the ED everyone is talking about. Maybe I've not been in the right places or maybe it isn't an issue for me. I just can't imagine that in a wholesome relationship ED would ever be an issue. If it is it means something is wrong. It is a good sign, not a bad one, in my mind.

can't speak for all

...but here's my experience. I was in a 6-month relationship with a woman I cared deeply about and who loved sex. But I could not get an erection with her without the use of porn. That's the bottom line. Combination of performance anxiety along with a need for super intense stimulation made sex a whole lot less fun.

How do you know if it was

How do you know if it was the superstimuli or the anxiety? ED seems much more anxiety based to me. It makes sense that nature would build in a protective mechanism so that we don't procreate with the wrong woman. Superstimuli might affect that in that they might lead us to no women or the wrong women or even to think the right women is wrong. Superstimuli might promote and support the anxiety. However, if the anxiety is still there, then I still see ED happening. Perhaps I don't understand enough about this issue.

there is some truth to that

I do agree that there's probably some defense mechanism there to protect us from the wrong women. I can tell the difference between when it's anxiety vs. ED. By 6 months I had very little anxiety around her. I even told her about the porn addiction by the end of it. But I was still having a hard time even feeling turned on. Even when she was naked in front of me.

It's hard to explain...maybe you just have to experience it?

How do you know it is

How do you know it is reversible? If it is protective, I would think ED or not is a one shot deal. You either have anxiety or do not. That way you know if you should move on and so does she. It gets more complicated with the people who have been in long-term relationships and then ED crops up. Maybe that is a natural sign that the man/woman should move on.

I'm not saying the superstimuli play no role, but that we should be careful about putting all life's problems on porn. Males are not sex machines. There is a lot more going on than naked women --> erection --> sex. Just that expectation seems anxiety invoking. I doubt we're any less complex than females and they are certainly not always ready. Porn might more often lead erection because there is no / less anxiety.

Perhaps this topic should get it's own thread. It would be nice to get the female view on ED and their own anxiety. I don't even like the name ED because I don't think there is anything wrong with the way the system is working.

It makes no sense to me that

It makes no sense to me that it should work that way all the time. Perhaps the ED comes from it working that way sometimes and not others. Then anxiety creeps in from actions by both partners. Or perhaps porn itself creates the anxiety by the fact that the guy is always ready.

I think this might be one of those situations where lack of experience might bring a different view because I've never gotten that exact nxiety. I clearly think about libido and ED differently than many on here. I could be wrong, but it is going to take a lot more convincing. Caveman never had ED? I doubt it. Foreplay didn't come about post-porn. Women don't watch porn as much, but are not always ready to perform.

I would have no problem at all being in front of a naked women and not getting erect. I would just take it as a not now signal. Heck, for all I know the moon has some role in this process.


[quote=jman1601]That's awesome. Do you have generally have ED problems? Or have you always been consistently able to get aroused?[/quote]

had any ED issues. in fact it is even more raging now. always was.


In connection with my site building, I happened again upon this description of cocaine recovery from a cocaine site:

Although cocaine withdrawal does not typically have visible physical symptoms like “the shakes” and vomiting that are common with heroin or alcohol withdrawal, the level of depression, lack of pleasure, and craving caused by cocaine withdrawal equals or surpasses what is experienced with most other withdrawal symptoms. The good news is that cocaine withdrawal symptoms can disappear completely over time. The bad news, however, is twofold. First, if the abuse has been chronic, various symptoms such as depression and craving can actually last for months. …

This sounds a lot like what folks here go through in terms of lengthy recovery. Gary says that makes sense because dopamine dysregulation is the main player in cocaine addiction.

After reading all this I am

After reading all this I am definitely less worried about it. thanks to all of you. Marnia I will try the solo practices. I should mention that the porn I was addicted to is pretty hard core. like fetishes and stuff. maybe that is why I am having these symptoms.

In a sense, yes

It's actually not "content" that matters, but the degree of neurochemical stimulation with which your brain responds.

I was thinking of you and realizing that you really need to read articles 2 and 3 here (, so you understand what's going on. This scientific experiment holds the clues you need:

Rats don't care about porn, but they certainly respond to "food-porn." Smile And it affects the same reward circuitry in their brains - which governs appetite for food, sex, drugs, whatever, in all mammals, including us. When scientists gave them unrestricted access to frosting, cheesecake, sausage and Ding-Dongs (think "unrestricted access to extreme Internet porn"), what happened?

Nearly ALL the animals ate to obesity (binged, pretty much non-stop). At the same time, the pleasure response of their brains was numbed - no matter how many goodies they devoured in their search for satisfaction. And for weeks after they were put back on normal rat chow, they "couldn't get up" (had no desire) for normal rat fare.

See? Paradoxical as it seems, the desperate search for more goodies to try to feel good, and the flatline libido when you try to return to normal stimulation (no porn) are both symptoms of the same underlying problem: a decrease in your brain's sensitivity to dopamine. This doesn't reverse itself immediately. And no one can say how long it will take you, personally, to return your brain to normal sensitivity.

One thing's for sure though, the more consistent you are with avoiding intense stimulation (PMO&Fantasy), the faster your brain will "reboot." At the end of this article, a recovered guy theorizes about how long recovery takes with different scenarios:

Anyway, trust matter WHAT you were watching, you can recover. Just know that recovery doesn't mean you can go back to "frosting and sausage" *giggle* Too much stimulation will always drag you back into a desensitized brain state. (I'm sure you'll make your own experiments one day!)

But this is why it's so prudent to figure out gentler ways to have sex a lot. That way you don't get so hungry. Smile

so basically the animals had

so basically the animals had no interest in the regular food they usually have. hmm I hope they recovered fast. lol. thanks for all the support marnia I really appreciate that.
my next question is
do you think that the hot scenes that we usually see on TV, and movies will have a negative effect on the recovery process? it is kind of hard to avoid these sometimes.

At first

just about anything is a cue that will get your brain jumping with cravings -but what really counts is what you *do* with those feelings (fantasize, dwell on them, return to them etc.).

Some people find it easier to do what they can to avoid the images. Just look away if you can't do anything else. And there's an ad blocker for computers here:

But it won't always be so difficult. You won't be fighting yourself so hard soon.

*big hug*

i noticed mental discomfort

i noticed mental discomfort when confronted with these scenes at first. it made me feel bad because they just seemed like reminders of what i had done to myself. and it may have stunted my recovery to insert fear and loathing where i had usually placed great erotic emphasis. well, definitely didnt help :) but over time i learned that i was not helping myself when i felt negative. its damn near impossible to avoid these triggers in society, after all, sex sells everything in a way and advertisers and executives know this very well.
try looking at it the way i ended up looking at it. its not that its a reminder of what we were, its a reminder or what weve moved away from.
the recovery process has not been easy, what with all the balancing going on, sometimes it feels like the pendulum will never swing back the other way. but the one thing ive really learned from this is the over all idea that "patience is key"

in my experience

Perhaps you can read some of my blog, but I went 62 days, and only had 2 days where I really felt libido. On day 62, I was erect for 15 minutes during the day, and I believe if I would have continuted to improve with no PMO. It's hard to do, but I've told myself this time... Just don't pay attention to your libido and erections for 90 days. You have nothing to lose. If you go without PMO for 90 days, and your issues still aren't resolved, then at least it's more data you can report to a doctor or psychologist. I'm willing to bet most peoples issues can be healed with 90 days of abstinence though.

Or even less

because the first try also counts, even if you slipped backward for a bit.

@freedom - no one's suggesting there's anything wrong with a man not responding sexually when circumstances aren't right. That said, when they are, then clear, healthy sexual energy generally seems to flow into sexual responsiveness. To my mind, the improved results men experience as they allow their brains to return to normal sensitivity speak for themselves. You're not trying to run a head trip on them are you??? Smile

I'm not sure what you mean.

I'm not sure what you mean. I interpret the ED/libido discussion to mean than the circumstances are always right and the failure on of the male reflects a defect in him. We're not even talking about when all works according to the defacto plan...although that might add to the discussion because then we can assess what is different when things go in a direction other than the expected course.

what is balanced homeostasis

It's a not a direct response to your reply, but it did have me ask myself, how do I know when my brain has fully rebooted? Well, I do know that at one time in my life I could have gotten an erection by watching a stripper. I know that 3 months ago, I couldn't even get one while she was giving me a lap dance. (One thing I learned through this process, though, is that going to strip clubs in an effort to "try to get an erection" isn't helping me, it's slowing down my recovery.)

But I'd feel pretty good about myself if a cute girl I really like and trust touched my inner thigh and "got my attention".


Balanced homeostasis is

Balanced homeostasis is likely different for each. I think shared characteristics would include goallessness and awareness. I think you might have too much goal. You could test this out by setting aside the ED issue and using your awareness to see what happens. You might be surprised.

I have no idea how we know when we are rebooted. Perhaps we are never rebooted. After all, the brain reboots in some sense when we sleep and even during the day as it needs to. I think rebooting itself can become too much of a goal. Rebooting is more symbolic of the return to a default state and a cleaning away of the temporary clutter and changes made since the last reboot. Perhaps we need reinstallation in some sense too. That would likely have a clearer end. In that sense it might not be good due to the goal inducing aspects.

I'm wondering how I incorporate goals into balance or do I eliminate goals entirely. If the later, how do I learn to live in a goal driven world and how do I select a course that might lead to a goal even if the goal is not the objective. Perhaps course selection is the goal and not the goal itself.

Maybe a new wrinkle ... or not!

51 year old male here, and a lifetime porn user. My wife divorced me last year after 28 years of marriage. I received a diagnosis of adult ADHD, the inattentive type, three months after the divorce was final. Just a tad too late! As I have explored this new dynamic within myself, I say new since I never understood why I acted like I did and had never received a diagnosis earlier in childhood, things are slowly falling into place. To make this short, I discovered that I used porn to self-medicate my deficient dopamine levels so I could focus, increase my working memory, and alleviate the symptoms that those of us with ADHD deal with daily.
One of the now interesting issues for my marriage was my inability to achieve orgasm in what most would say is the normal manner. Occassionally I could orgasm through vaginal intercourse, but most often I provided her with multiple orgasms over an extended amount of time and myself via masturbation.
Over time our relationship degenerated into the parent/child paradigm, which I have learned is common to ADHD marriages. I became less and less interested in sex, but I was very content with our non-intercourse physical bonding. As my porn addiction became more intensified, I began to view everything to gain that dopamine rush. My wife became convinced that I was a closeted gay man and that was why I exhibited a pretty much non-existent libido.
Having stumbled upon this website and read some of the information, I am developing a notion that my extreme dopamine levels and the accompanying anxiety and depression associated with them played a significant role in my eventual divorce.
Maybe I am grasping at straws, but it seemed that as my marriage progressed my wife was always demanding orgasmic sex while I was satisfied with other physical bonding and the occassional orgasm. We were vastly out of sync and did not understand what was going on with all of the dissatisfaction on her part.
Granted, my other ADHD symptoms played a contributing role, but it was the SEX issue that was the nail in the coffin.
I would be curious to know what others think about my thought process. I could just be completely off the track, but it always felt that I was more satisfied and happy in our marriage, I feel because of the lower, stable level of dopamine.
Anyway, I have chosen today to begin my abstenance from porn and masturbation and see if any sign of a libido comes back. I am still trying to find the correct meds to assist me in handling my ADHD and have been in therapy for my severe depression now for 4 months. Maybe there is a chance for me to yet find contentment and intimacy in my life.

Be optimistic

I think you're asking the right questions, and making a very bold, but wise, experiment. You may even find that the ADHD symptoms were related to heavy porn use. The human brain is more sensitive than our culture has realized.

Internet porn can really interfere with lots of things. We're slowly gathering useful materials (gathered on this site) in a new site, so you may want to have a look over there, too: Keep in mind that your libido may flatline for a while during the "reboot." Stay calm. Wink

Keep us posted. I've enabled you to blog.