"The most common path people seem to have is Hyper-Arousal --> Flatline --> Natural Arousal, where the final end is a natural, healthy attraction/drive towards women that didn't exist at the beginning. Now there are quite a few variations on this, but congrats on getting out of the flatline." (link)
This is a typical phase of recovery in men who have porn-related erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation or just plain porn addiction. We call it “flatlining.” It’s temporary, but it can be very disconcerting, because it can make quitting porn seem like the cause of sexual dysfunctions, instead of the solution. (See accounts below and these threads - Gentlemen, why do flatlines scare us so much?, List all the flatline symptoms?, Anyone else asexual now?)
Why this happens, no one knows for sure. It seems reasonable that your brain has conditioned (rewired) itself to require a certain level, and type, of sexual stimulation. When it's removed your libido drops because your subconscious expectations aren't met, and your body registers its "disappointment" by dropping your dopamine. In scientific terms, this is called a "negative prediction error."
Also read this thread in which guys suspect they have been living in a flatline for years.
Maybe prolonged abstinence leads to a slight drop in libido, even in healthy young men (reversible, when they become sexually active again). However, the severity of flatline symptoms (lifeless genitals, no libido, loss of attraction to real people) points to chronic porn use as the primary player in the flatline.
Growing data point to porn as a possible culprit in depressing libido for sex with partners: Studies linking porn use or porn/sex addiction to sexual dysfunctions, lower brain activation to sexual stimuli, and lower sexual satisfaction.
We know of no research on the flatline itself (yet), but here's what recovering porn users have observed themselves.
- A decade ago older men (28-50) with PIED experienced short flat lines and relatively quick recoveries.
- In the last 10 years the length of flatlines has increased, primarily in young men who grew up using high speed internet porn. Now, even some in their 30s report severe flatlines.
- Ejaculation can knock younger guys back into a flatline. It's far rarer for ejaculation to set back older men.
- Many men on the forums abstain and never experience a flatline. Most are not heavy porn users, or say they weren't addicted.
It's likely the flatline is related to neurochemical events occurring during withdrawal from porn addiction. It's well known that during withdrawal from an addiction dopamine drops even further, and stress hormones such as CRF and norepinephrine rise. This combo can kill libido.
With less dopamine, the further desensitized reward circuitry in the brain provides insufficient stimulation the brain's erection centers (hypothalamus). Less stimulation results in fewer impulses traveling down the spinal cord to reach the penis.
Although all addictions share the same fundamental brain changes, it's clear that internet porn use can adversely affect brain circuits governing sexuality, as witnessed by the many reports of morphing sexual tastes, loss of libido, and sexual dysfunctions. My hypothesis is that deeper brain structures governing male sexual behavior and erections (the hypothalamus) are altered by a long standing porn addiction.
The good news is that it will pass, and your libido will come back. Everyone's recovery is a bit different, though, and it is not necessarily linear. Even after you start to notice signs of life, it's quite normal to see them followed by phases of sleepy-libido before you are completely back to normal. A few men with longer reboots experience a return of libido for a few weeks, followed by a few weeks of flatlining libido, or several of these cycles.
The bad news is that this unnerving “flatline” phase can last weeks to months. However, we know of no one whose sexual performance issues are related to heavy porn use, who hasn’t ultimately improved—provided that he avoids intense sexual stimulation (ideally PMO and sexual fantasy) while allowing his brain to return to normal sensitivity. For the science behind your condition, and why it’s necessary to avoid intense stimulation, watch this video series Erectile Dysfunction and Porn.
If you want to shorten the misery, here are some tips that others have recommended:
Those who recover fastest (“reboot”), are consistent in avoiding porn and porn substitutes (surfing Facebook pictures or YouTube videos). Depending on your situation you may choose to temporarily reduce or eliminate masturbation & orgasm. If you choose to mix in occasional orgasm with a partner, that’s great, but some men with PIED find it sets them back early in their reboot. At first, any orgasm or intense arousal can trigger a powerful “chaser effect," and the result is a porn binge, which slows recovery. If you can masturbate based on physical sensations alone, without intense stimulation, it is less problematic—especially later in the process.
Edging to porn without orgasm is particularly detrimental, because 1) porn is the cause of ED, and, 2) dopamine levels are elevated for very long periods, which can lead to desensitization. Edging, with or without porn, is far worse than simply ejaculating and then moving to other activities (see - What if I masturbate (edge) or watch porn without orgasm?). One man reported that he ejaculated only once every ten days (because he saw benefits from conserving his sexual energy). Yet he still watched Internet porn every day…and developed ED.
Eventually, you may want to masturbate without porn to see if it kickstarts your libido. Examples of guys who did this appear later on this page.
Do not test with porn.
When your libido flatlines, or you have other symptoms, such as “lifeless penis,” it is easy to panic and want to test yourself with porn to see if you can still force an erection. This tends to slow recovery. Be courageous and patient. Remain in “The Void” until your body gives you signs that your brain and sexual responsiveness are back to normal.
Forcing or "checking" your erection process = pretty much worse thing you can do - 9 out of 10 times it's not up to expectations and ends up stressing you out. I mean lets be honest your doing it not for anything sexual but just to check your erection, which means you really aren't thinking in a sexual fashion, should your penis really get hard to begin with? The more you break down how faulty the logic is to "check" yourself, the better you'll understand that it serves zero purpose and usually just causes you to be down the rest of the day. (from this thread: Forced erection)
Do not overdo it when the moment arrives.
You may want to take it easy once you decide to reintroduce regular ejaculation. Several ejaculations in a row have sent guys back into a flatline. A vague recommendation, I know. If you severely sprained your ankle, does it make sense to play six hours of full court basketball the day after you stop using crutches? A thread on orgasms throwing guys back into a flatline - just when i thought i was out of the woods...
Do not compare yourself with others.
It’s true that those who started masturbating long before high-speed Internet porn, and those who only started watching high-speed fairly recently tend to recover from porn-related sexual performance problems the quickest.
However, the severity of the problem is also tied to less tangible factors. First, brains differ in their sensitivity and response to excess dopamine (stimulation). Your brain may have adapted more quickly, and may need more time to return to balance. Second, the numbed pleasure response, which is the cause of your problem, doesn't appear to be directly tied to hours of viewing according to research. It's tied to "intensity of experience."
This can obviously vary for people. This guy even got lucky and recovered without much in the way of symptoms:
I really never had any withdrawal symptoms . I may have had blue balls for 10 minutes once. Other than those ten minutes, nothing. ED is as bad as it gets...always working to stay hard, not enjoying the sex. Man, I am glad to be over it.
Not everyone has a flatline, and it doesn't always begin around the same time. Most have it happen after about a week, but others (myself included) may have it much later. For the longest time I figured I wouldn't have one at all, but I ended up having a short one for most of week 7. It can also vary wildly in terms of length. There are many theories about why one experiences the flatline, but nothing is certain. Personally, I believe the flatline is a transition stage as you start giving up on the porn and stop thinking about it at all. Because you aren't sensitized to real-world cues yet, the libido plummets as neither real-world nor porn thoughts stimulate your brain. (I really noted a strong correlation between the beginning of my flatline and the disappearance of any porn-related cravings.)
Try beneficial stressors to "kickstart" a return to normal sensitivity to pleasure.
Beneficial stressors include cold showers, exercise and fasting. For a scientific discussion of why these mild stressors can improve mood and increase sensitivity to pleasure and satisfaction, visit www.GettingStrong.org.
If recovery or your flatline is taking a long time see - Started on Internet porn and my recovery from porn-induced ED is taking too long
If you need a laugh: The Time I Doubled My IQ (Dilbert's creator)
Flatline Stories (we have seen countless of the same)
Age 24 - ED healed, but sex initiated a 7-week flatline. I am finally healed
Almost 5 months in, my thoughts on flatlining
A fellow NoFapper messaged me asking about my experience with flatlining, because he's going through it right now and hates it. I figured I'd write my response here in case others find it handy:
Flatlining has actually turned out to be a godsend for me.
It would have been a lot tougher to make it to 147 days if it wasn't for me coasting through a large part of it because of the flatline. I was flatlining probably through half to two-thirds of my current streak. It's like your best friend in this game.
It actually tells me I'm doing something right. For the first time since I started masturbating, I feel like I'm on top of my sexual arousal in non-sexual situations! Flatlining just means you're not feeling turned on for no goddamn reason (which only happens because without NoFap you realize sexual release is just a few strokes away at any time).
here's a list of long flatlines to give you hope!
Hey guys. For me and many others, the dreaded flatline and it’s accompanying side effects (low energy, anhedonia, insomnia, etc) is the most horrifying part of the reboot. We sometimes worry we are in a permanent state of being broken. I have compiled a list of long flatlining accounts I have found from r/nofap, ybop, yourbrainrebalanced, and rebootnation. This list is not comprehensive, but can hopefully give you the hope and courage to continue without relapse and without losing faith in the reboot process. While “90 days” is thrown around a lot, many people flatline from between 2 months and 2 years!
Here are some longer flatline accounts, from 2 months to 2 years, in order. I have tried to simply cut and paste them, in a few instances I had to splice sentences together to make the account make sense without the context of the whole original topic it was found in. Text within parenthesis I have added myself, for clarification.
Here they are:
Unfortunately, after only two/three weeks of sex i crashed dramatically into flatline. Flatline ended the relationship and i sat in it for 7 weeks (~2 months), until the last week of August 2013, with no libido, depression, no confidence…
I hit 3 flatlines before recovering permanently. First flatline was from days 0-28, second one was from days 31-38, third was from days 47-52 (essentially a 7 week flatline: ~2 months)
I had only one, but long flatline, more than 50 days (~2 months). So don't worry, eventually it will get better.
My flatline lasted 50 days (~2 months)
at day 75 till today: super hard erections after a super long flatline of 50 days (~2 months) (i almost gave up and thought i'd never regain my libido but boom!)
I just did 105 days of the reboot with no relapse. The first two months I experienced flat line
I think it’s safe to say my libido is back, but it was eight weeks (2 months) of no porn, masturbation or erotica, and minimal fantasy.
I started to flatline around day 7 ….lasted until about day 80 (2.5 months)
70 days of flatline!(2.5 months) There was simply nothing happening under my belt, my D was totally dead!
I started to flatline around day 7 ….lasted until about day 80 (2.5 months)
70 days of flatline!(2.5 months) There was simply nothing happening under my belt, my D was totally dead!
after a 7 week (~2 months) flatline, lots of sex in the last 5 days
had a flatline for 3 months and i started to slowly recover from it about 2 weeks ago
i flatlined for about 100 days (over 3 months)
I flatlined for 86 days- no orgasms/clean reboot.
I started flatlining on day 90 and it went for like 100 days (3 months). Was pretty insane.
As for the flatline, I had “dead dick” and “lifeless penis” from day 1 till 125 at least! (3.5 months)
I recently broke 120 days of hard mode (4 months)….My sex drive recently came back with a vengance.
for the first 100+ days I felt no superpowers and was mostly in flatline. Since about day 120 (4 months), I have felt great. I have so much energy, drive and determination.
I had a flat line pretty much the entire time up until 120 days (4 months)
(after 130 days=4 months): amazing libido. NO brain fog. Emotions I didn’t know I had.
I am almost at the 5 month mark..of hard mode…(most of it in flatline but starting to come out)
[flatline was] about 4 or 5 months. I wouldn’t say it was one flatline but a few ups and downs.
Only recently have [I] felt a decent libido returning….That’s a whopping 5 months or so
[I flatlined] at least 120 days. may have been as much as 150 (5 months), but can’t remember.
I got a huge. fucking. flatline. I’m talking 6+ months of no drive.
Took me about 6 months to get over my flatline. I was in a similar boat (12+ years of constant fapping to porn). Stay strong, and don't give up!! The porn will never cure you :D Great job!!!
I have reached a stage that I feel like my natural libido has almost evened out and I am no longer going through peaks and troughs. This took somewhere between 6 or 7 months.
In the 7th month my libido finally came back
I started 8 months ago, and am only now apparently off my flatline. The key was to cut out all stimulating images.
Each time [after orgasm] I’d wake up feeling like fucking hell. not just flatline but full on depression. orgasms no longer make me feel like shit. This was after going 7 or 8 month with zero PMO.
I was in and out of flatline up until 9 months (Gabe)
I had a flatline for 9 months. Unable to focus or concentrate on things, brain fog, zero libido, no motivation or emotions.
Hey man, I had flatline symptoms for almost a year so I can relate.
I am 26 years old, 19 months into a no-PMO reboot (~1.5 years) and have just begun feeling functional in society again.I had zero libido, many worsening mental symptoms and a near-inability to get hard
Months 2-24: FLATLINE. (~2 YEARS) No libido. No desire to have sex. No desire to masturbate. Feeling asexual. (Note: user made it clear that he had no medical or psychiatric conditions)
(He says socializing cured his flatline)
So I still can't believe what happened today. I've been in a severe flatline last weeks. Today I decided to take the bus to the city centre to walk around and have some people around me.....
Link - Still cannot believe what happened today. NoFap FTW!
The Dreaded Flatline comes and goes. The last few mornings I have woken up with raging hard-ons...something I haven't experienced in a very long time. The flatline really hit me around day 3, and it was the classic symptom of feeling like your dick/balls have shrunken into a lifeless piece of skin. Now my genitals seem more normal. As of this moment, my dick seems like what a dick should normally feel like, if that makes sense. 12 days down, on day 13.. My report thus far
There were a couple of 2-week cycles, for 2 weeks I would have a boner every day and strong sexual urges, and then for another 2 weeks nothing (flatline?). I've become more assertive, honest, confident and sociable. I'm getter more done.
70 days of flatline! There was simply nothing happening under my belt, my D was totally dead!
That's what caused me to masturbate too much in the first place. I'd be sitting on my computer or doing some work and all of a sudden, out of the blue, I'd feel this intense feeling arise that compelled me towards seeking orgasm. I wasn't even thinking about anything sexual prior to that moment! So I would just masturbate, simply scratching the itch. But in these last 5 months, during the flatlining periods, sometimes a couple of days would go by and it wouldn't even occur to me to jerk it, and rightly so because in those times I wasn't around an attractive woman or in a sexual situation.
But don't worry, you haven't lost any of your libido or mojo.
Here's the best part: When I'm in a sexual situation or with a woman, or occassionally when I let my mind wander into the realm of sexual fantasies (not a good idea, makes things more difficult for you), my arousal feels so much richer and deeper, a fuller experience, and far more sexy. Feels damn good. Just trust that when you are with a girl, your erection will be there, right on cue, enthusiastic as ever and harder than ever before. In fact, I'm getting so turned on these days that just grinding on a woman is enough to make me cum. Yes, I've jizzed in my pants with more than one girl during NoFap :)
If you're worried about losing the energy and desire to go out and meet women because you're less horny now, it's got little to do with your flatline and more to do with your lifestyle. I suggest that you take advantage of other things to trigger your horniness.
The most important thing is start putting yourself in front of women. Go out to social events, or nightclubs, or meet friends of friends, or join evening extra-curricular classes and lessons. Even if you're 'not feeling horny anymore', I bet that once you start actually interacting with women more, your body will start to kick into high gear and the horniness will start to come back as your body responds to the women around you. Start talking to them, teasing them, laughing with them, flirting with them, and your body will reward you with the beautifully natural desire to put your dick in them.
I find I'm least horny when I'm not meeting women in the course of my daily life, because now with no promise of sexual release in my own hands and no women around me, what else is my mind to do but shut off its own arousal? It's like when you go without food for a while, first you're really hungry then you stop being hungry. Your body adapts. Put a nice steak dinner in front of you and all of a sudden that hunger comes right back.
If you're flatlining, put some real life women, sexy women, in front of you and tell me you're still not feeling the horniness.
And as much as it is said on this subreddit, do work your body!
Lift weights, or even cardio is better than nothing. And consider kegel exercises. All of these things get your mojo going, I don't know why or how, all I know is they do work. There were times where I'd sit at home and do nothing, and blamed only NoFap for my flatline. Now that I'm working my body hard, I'm finding the flatline is diminishing (making NoFap tougher for me). Now when I see attractive girls on the street, I get that electric feeling buzzing through my body again.
Let's just say that flatlining were to occur in cycles, and I dip in and out of flatline phases for as long as I NoFap, I'd never use it as a reason to quit NoFap...I'm enjoying the feeling of self-discipline too much.
For people who are considering masturbating once a week or so in order to remove the flatline, realize how tough that actually is.
I think people who masturbate exactly once a week have way more discipline than me, even though I'm almost at 5 months. Because those people will never get to the flatline phase, and will be in a constant 'chaser effect' phase. I'd much rather not make my life about constantly fighting the desire to masturbate. I'd rather be in an onoing 'flatline' phase (I'm putting it in quotes now quite deliberately), but where everytime I'm in a situation with sexual overtones my sexual response is always there and even more potent than it would have been pre-NoFap. These ideas of masturbating once a week were something I had too, then I realized these they were just rationalizations caused by 2 things: horniness and self-sabotage.
Don't let your horniness get the better of you under the guise of eliminating the flatline to help you meet more women, that's you trying to sabotage yourself.
If you've told yourself you're going to do NoFap, then just do it, flatline or not.
Very long flatline!
I just wanted to add for any worried about flatlining. I last masturbated October 25 2012. I had absolutely NO libido for 18+ months. I was curious why, and this was before I discovered the flatline. However, it was the best thing for me! For 35 years I was in the pit of sexual addiction that caused multiple disasters in my life. The flatline allowed me to forget sex (I was also divorced at this same time) and concentrate on getting my life in order. A main piece of this was healing the underlying wounds that were causing me to use sexual addiction as medicine.
I now have a very good libido, I'm 52yrs old, I get very hard in my sleep and love waking up with wood that could kill! Lol I look forward to someday being reconciled with my wife and being able to have the type of sexual love affair we both dreamed of but never had.
Things seem more.. More REAL!!
As stated above, things are more REAL. More vivid! It's crazy. As soon as I started NOFAP I hit a MAJOR flatline. I'm talking anxiety, depression, dull, crappy mood. No drive to do anything. Music and videogames were not even enjoyable and negative thoughts were ramped 24/7. It got better as time went on. I'm on day 46, I just created an account to tell you guys.. LIFE DOES GET BETTER.
Maybe you are questioning the point of NOfap, I mean we all know, it's easier just to give up right? But no, push through the hard points. It gets better. The past few days I have been feeling much better. Sex drive is back, excitement and joy for life is back full-force, I feel like I did as a young teenage boy. Life is just awesome.
Allow your brain to Re-wire to REAL stimulus. Hanging with friends, working out, going hiking, natural things we are made to ENJOY are now enjoyable. Start on healthy eating, cold showers & weightlifting. Don't forget meditation. Things do improve, I promise.
My flaccid size has decreased dramatically. Since the second or third day since starting this (I'm 30+ days in now), I haven't had any morning response. I don't know if it's endocrine or neurologically driven.
(Age 24) Next 6 weeks - FLATLINE this was the worst. It felt like someone had "pulled the plug." My little man felt lifeless and dead it was scary! I kept reading posts about the flatline to keep me encouraged that I was gonna come out of it. And I did! Had my first wet dream in years and it was amazing. Then I felt back to normal. So please don't give in. The flatline will end. http://www.yourbrainonporn.com/age-24-90-days-life-much-improved
The flatline is kind of scary. Even tried wiggling it around a bit but, nope, lifeless. Might as well have had a gherkin hanging down there for a week. http://yourbrainonporn.com/age-22-my-clarity-thought-has-improved-tenfol...
After a few days of brain tantrums (cravings), flatline for several weeks. Basically I just felt totally indifferent about girls, sex, everything. There’s a little nagging voice from the PMO beast that nagged at me in the back of my mind, but mostly, I just didn’t care. And my penis was just very lifeless and small. It was like somebody just pulled the plug on whatever machines provides my sex drive. No libido at all.
I flatlined for 3 weeks. My penis was completely dead and useless, but now it's big and firm.
Day 6 - As for raw, physical observations regarding my penis; since the start of my streak, I haven't had one full erection, no morning wood, and it looks smaller (like when it's cold out or when you get out of the shower).
I think I have been through about three flatlines so far. To describe them is easy. It's a cloudy, depressing feeling most of the time, with a very flaccid penis. I would say it feels like sitting in darkness for a long time. Each one has lasted about a week and an half with brief periods of peace in between. I am really hoping this was my last one. My erections are back to 85-90%.
It has been 2 weeks since I used porn or orgasmed. I just had sex with my girlfriend, and wasn't feeling very turned on. Lackluster erection and early ejaculation. I used to be rock hard for hours a few years ago! Will this get better? I'm worried.[A few days later] It really helped to clarify how common these symptoms are! I am seeing positive signs: morning wood twice and a middle-of-the-night erection last night, both of which felt about 70-80 percent full! It's great to see these physical changes early.
I'm also past the dead penis stage, which was pretty weird. My penis just feels fuller at all times. I am beginning to feel stimulated and get half hard without touching, and only thinking about my girlfriend. All good signs; I'm on the yellow brick road!
After 1 week, it felt as if my penis had no life. That it basically was dead. I was afraid as hell. But after two-three weeks, the morning erections started returning. They were not strong at all (Only like 20% strong) but they have improved and I would say they regularly are around 70% [at one month] .
Over 60 days...No Libido
[Age 37, Day 40 no PMO] For me the flatline thing first went for about 20 days. Then there was a super-intense urge to O. I would feel drunk on horniness, but wouldn't have an erection. Some days, if I wore silk boxers and drove on a bumpy road, I would feel like I might have an O while driving, even though I didn't have an erection at all. Just these waves of warm, erectionless horniness.
Just observing, it seems to me that these washes of total horniness without an erection are some kind of leftover process from watching porn. When I first watched porn, I felt like I was going to have an O without an erection. That's how powerful an effect the porn had on me. I think my brain probably just dumped an overdose of dopamine, and yeah it certainly feels great.
I'm guessing the tolerance is way up there for people who have watched porn for years, and we don't feel this wash anymore. They need the porn-level stimulation just to function, like a junkie who needs drugs just to feel like they are at their own baseline.So anyway, after will-powering through a few days of intense desire for an O, I went into a sort of a flatline again, for a few weeks. There is something ok about this.
Actually, now I have to say I think it's a good idea to be ok with the flatline. Here is why. We have been obsessed with sexual imagery. Not just imagery, but forms of stimulation which don't exist in real life. In porn the camera moves around, one scene cuts to the next, magical orgies, etc.
Our flatline comes because we are not yet re-acclimated to real life. In real life we get aroused because we are sitting next to our lady at the movie theater and she is saying intelligent things and playing with her hair, or because she keeps taking sips of cranberry juice and fluttering her eyelashes, or we are just thinking about making out with our girl on the couch.
So, we need the flatline period to get from artificial dopamine overdose levels back to being able to get aroused by the real world. And over the past few days I have been. I've noticed all through this process there have been fairly regular erections in the morning, though generally they are on the weak side and only last a few seconds after I wake up.
But these past five days or so, I've been waking up with fairly normal fantasies in my head and the erections have lasted for quite some time. They've also started happening at random times, while driving and not thinking about anything.
One thing I REALLY hate about beginning a reboot is that the balls tend to get really, really small before they start to get big again. A lot of the time it feels like they're trying to crawl back into my body. Surely as I've stopped emptying them, they should maybe at least stay the same size, not shrivel?
(Age 38 - Day 60) When I go noPMO, there is a period in which my penis feels like a cold dead withered fish. It's small, nothing seems to stimulate it, and it actually looks white and dead. It's a little nerve-wracking. Right now, after 60 days, I'm getting spontaneous and huge erections. It comes and goes though. Last night, it had the cold dead fish syndrome again. It's still kind of in that phase, but some stimulation will help it grow a little. However, I pretty much always wake up with morning wood now. Hardness and duration vary. A few weeks ago I had an erection in the morning that was probably the biggest, strongest thing I've had in years. I was amazed.
(Day 12) I'm still flat lining, my penis is unresponsive and small but I knew that was to be expected going into this so I'm not too worried and honestly I'm enjoying not being ruled my my PMO cravings.
Shrinkage is a common experience and pretty scary while your member looks like it's getting reabsorbed into your pelvis. After a while things return to normal and maybe even improve. Hard to tell unless maybe you're measuring with calipers etc. In sum, don't worry about it. It is definitely part of the process.
[Report on symptoms after a month of rebooting]-ED (Working on it with some progress)- No morning erections (Some progress)- Cold penis (Gone)
I’m desperate. My penis is dead and my libido is dead after 3 weeks, is this normal? I'm getting so depressed. I think I’m worse than before, doing no PMO. I’ve used lots of porn stimulation, but with time it caused me ED. I’m desperate and fear to lose my 8-year relationship.
My libido kind of plummeted this week (week 10). The problem I had a few weeks ago, where my penis retracted itself appearing like I just had a cold shower, came back. I'm not stressing about it though, I figure it's just another phase in my recovery. (Read his full rebooting account.)
[Day 35] I never realized how serious my ED problem was until I came to this site. My penis feels so tiny and lifeless in general right now, which worries me a little bit.
I've noticed the 'dead penis' syndrome. After about 4-5 days my libido is absolutely shot and my penis shrivels up to nothing. It's terrifying actually.
I wake up every morning hoping there is something...anything....but nope. Day after day there is just nothingness. I felt better fighting The Urge because at least I knew there was something going on, but there is no Urge now. Also, does anyone feel that their penis feels cold? Or maybe it's just my mind playing tricks on me.
My penis is limp. I get random erections, but it's extremely dead..lol, if that makes any sense. Like it's just there. It's shrinks a lot. And I don't know why. I can have sex if the time comes around, but when I'm not aroused, it just goes completely dead!!!
Apart from mild headaches and restless sleep, I haven't had the withdrawal symptoms many people mention. 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. Haven't been horny. I've had opportunities to have sex but my body is not responding.
I'm taking tango classes, so I'm reasonably social 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.
The softness and shriveling are absolutely part of it. I would go a week or so no PMO and then give in because I was so horny, or else I would do PM just in hopes it would charge up my libido. This only made things worse. You will have to go through some weeks—some people go months—where you are worried that your libido is going away forever and even more worried your penis is getting so small you think it's retracting into your stomach like the head of turtle. It's terrifying. It really is.
Age 34 - 8 years of ED (graphs showing progress over several months)
The weeks where the my daily boners were low I found to be the hardest weeks of the process. These are the "flatlines," and it's very easy to turn back to porn just to try and get your daily boner count back up. You start thinking that maybe this isn't working, but I'm telling you, these are the most important times to stick to your resolve.
I wanted to be with girls, as my solo sexual experiences were just depressing. So I decided to quit masturbation and said to myself, "Orgasms could only come from girls." This forced me to go out approach, and flirt with, girls. One side-effect of the 'I am not allowed to masturbate' is that I stopped watching porn. I didn't know about this website or porn addictions at this point, so I was sort of giving up PMO by accident.
I was surprised. I quickly started to feel attraction for girls. I was horny and knowing I could only get sexual gratification from a girl (my self-imposed rule) started to actively approach and pursue girls. I met this amazing girl one night when clubbing. We had a surreal connection, with stupidly high levels of attraction, kissing, grinding, and feeling each other's bodies all over on the dance floor. I asked her to come back with me that night, but we said she didn't know me enough. I went home and despite wanting some release, didn't allow myself to masturbate.
We met again and ended up in her room. I was nervous, as it had been so long since I had been in bed with a girl. We kissed passionately and undressed each other, but I wasn't getting an erection. Nothing. In fact, my dick was tiny and completely limp. Nothing she did had any effect. She was really understanding, and said "It's your body there is nothing to be ashamed of".
She was totally comfortable with her own body, and loved being naked. We spent the whole night lying naked together talking, relaxed and comfortable. It felt great.
The next day I got home and went to my room to masturbate to see if everything was still working. The experience was disconcerting. First, I struggled to get hard, and then when I did I would lose it. It took about 1.5 hours before I had an orgasm, using the most intense fantasy and hand action I knew.
At this point, I assumed that abstaining from masturbation was not a good thing! No PMO forced me to meet girls—but it also seemed to kill my erections. A Catch 22. (I didn't know about rebooting, flatlining etc.)
[Two weeks since porn use and orgasm] I feel more relaxed, but my penis is extremely shrunken and so are my testicles. I don't know why, but they are.
It's amazing how the great libido pendulum swings around. The last week or so, as I have been purging sexual fantasy out of my mind and dealing with the grubby withdrawals from that, I have felt lost, lonely, confused, almost asexual, worried, anxious and depressed. The only thing that was keeping me going was faith in my creator, nature and in the reboot process.
Getting fantasy out of your system starts out as a hard task. It starts to get easier after a while. Then you notice that your libido starts to completely depart from you, even in your mind. You start to lose all desire for sex. At that point, I started to panic, I tried to force fantasy with little to no results on the penis. Many times I would try to fantasize and I had a hard time constructing a fantasy at all. It was like a skill that I was losing the ability for. At some point I just completely let go. I figured if fantasy was going to be that hard to conjure, I might as well just relax and let it truly pass away.
This results in a flatline of the libido, both in the pants and in the brain (was scaring the SH*T out of me).
But, as I said in my last post, the night is darkest before the dawn...Today was incredible! For the first time since I can remember, probably when I was 23 or so, I had spontaneous erections in public induced by nothing more than the presence of beautiful women. I felt like an animal! But in a good way! I knew something was different on my drive into town. I saw a woman jogging and suddenly I felt a rush of blood down there. I wasn't fantasizing at all; it just happened. I saw another woman and it happened again, only stronger. And another and again and stronger still.
What was going on?
I was in orientation for my new job and there were quite a few very well dressed hotties in the room - one was sitting next to me. About five minutes into one of the presentations (I was actually paying attention believe it or not), the girl next to me started playing with her hair. I was instantly aroused - I couldn't help it! There were probably a total of 5 very attractive women in my field of view, and I started really noticing them. Some were making eye contact and some weren't. I started feeling like a damn baboon! Before I knew it, SSHHWWWIINNG! We have liftoff!
The funny thing is, I was capable of paying adequate attention to the presentations while covering up my boner with my books. I had probably a 50% 60% erection for about a total of half an hour or more during the pres. NO fantasy, truly spontaneous - just from looking and eye contact. There were probably times where it spiked up to about 80% which was enough to cause the books to start jumping up and down (I am a compulsive PC muscle flexer lol!). I scooted back in my chair and sat forward to cage the madness. All day I have felt as horny as ever. It probably has something to do with being at Vanderbilt all day surrounded by angels.
Seriously guys, I am 30 and, until I discovered my PMO addiction and this site, I was convinced that this level of virility was simply gone with age. I was buying in to all that western medicine corporate propaganda with viagra commercials starring guys in their 30's.
Have you all noticed that? It seems that lately viagra and cialis have been targeting younger and younger guys. Anyway, it is all BULLSHIT! Though the great libido pendulum in my brain is not likely done with all of its bouncing around, I am seeing dramatic improvement.
Today was simply incredible. 48 days and pressing on. I plan to go 90 days or until I feel like the improvements have reached a general plateau.
I stopped PMO over 2 weeks ago, and to my surprise, I have had literally no cravings for porn at all. It seems like I've jumped straight into flatlining?? I've had some tiny flashes of horniness here and there, but they are very few and far in between. I have only had 2 strong erections in the last 16 days, and one I believe was caused by a semi-awake dream of porn-related images, which I couldn't really control. Otherwise I have been as limp as a noodle.
This cold turkey thing is just so brutal. Seriously, it's almost like my dick freezes off, like some necro-organ or something.
(Day 52) Today, after about six weeks of what seemed like the flatline which people talk about, I was hit with the strongest and most persistent urge of the war so far. It was like a sucker punch from George Foreman. Thank God I was at work and keeping busy when this wrecking ball hit me, for I would surely have fallen if alone at home. For almost the entire work day, sexual thoughts were constantly entering my mind. That in itself is not so peculiar, but the ferocity with which it consumed me was precisely that. The fiercest erections threatened to puncture my dress pants -- erections unlike any I experienced in the midst of my addiction -- a blessing but also a curse. Many times I had to raise myself off my chair to vainly relieve some of the undue pressure in my loins and what I assume is the area of the prostate.
It was a battle that subsided eventually, and while I never touched myself (I was at work for crying out loud), I certainly edged in my mind, considering how I let the sexual thoughts drag on unnecessarily. I will not be resetting my badge, but I think it's essential to point out that edging always begins in the mind. There is always a mental submission to the urge that precedes the physical submission. I gave in mentally, and only my temporary circumstances prevented it from maturing into physical fruition.
One positive thing I noticed about the battle today -- my thoughts were no longer about porn, nor was my first inclination to masturbate. I realized my sole desire was for actual sex with a woman. I lack a key component for that to happen at the moment, but it's very encouraging to know that the reboot is working.
(Day 30) My flatline basically started after the first week. Or at least what I call flatline. I will try to elaborate. I do get morning erections to about 70-80% percent strength I guess. Some days I have sex drive or rather feel horny, but always with dead-dick symptoms. I call it that my Libido makes these jolts, and they last for maybe an hour.
But the rest of the time, maybe 95% of my time awake, I have absolutely no sex drive. No spontaneous erections. It's a very strange feeling when you look at a beautiful woman and in your head you have your normal thoughts like "Wow, shes beutiful I would like to get to know her"! and yet you have sexual thoughts or intentions. It's a very strange and for me quite a scary experience. It's like you've been castrated...
[Sometimes the flatline shows up as flat emotions.] At 87 days I have had a long flatline with spurts of life in between. I've almost gotten used to the feeling. I know this can't be normal. It will pass. The signs of life have shown me the light. I have some of my personality back, but I know it's not the whole story. I felt very very bland at one point though.
(2 weeks into reboot) A few other withdrawal symptoms have sprung up. I feel tired all the time, and my head feels like it's stuffed with cotton. I don't really feel "present" in life right now. My penis still looks and feels dead; haven't been able to get much of a reaction out of it.
I'm dealing with severe shrinkage of my genitals. WTF? My balls are bigger then my dick. Really weird. On the other hand the fact that my morning wood is returning is definitely a positive sign.
(Day 28) My penis is comically small - just about non-existent (sometimes I even have issues holding it while urinating).
Day 17 no pmo now. Some days I feel like I have a sex drive or feel horny - but always with dead-dick symptoms! It's like my dick won't wake up lol. Today is the first day I'm feeling more horny, but not as dead as before!
About my flatline. When people say they feel like their dick is dead, they arent exaggerating. Iit literally feels lifeless. It feels like a burden to have to carry it around.
So a few days ago I posted about having successful intercourse after PMO-induced ED. At the time, it felt great and I was really pleased. Had nice morning wood for several days afterwards and felt like I could easily have PIV sex with my significant other again. http://www.reddit.com/r/NoFap/comments/yi9ly/day_28_suffered_from_ed_progress/
Starting yesterday, I feel like I'm flatlining again. "Dead dick" and no spontaneous erections to speak of save weak morning wood. I haven't been fapping and I can't think of anything else in my life that might be causing this.
My Flat-lining Experiment- Warning: Anecdotal Evidence
I wouldn't say any 'super powers' have been particular evident, other than a consistency in personality. I am no longer hostage to the random highs and low associated with frequent PMO, and it is this quality that i would attribute my recent ability to maintain a healthy relationship:
After meeting a girl 20 days in, and following up to the point where we are now in a relationship (despite her being waaayy out of my league) i soon found myself in a terrifying position. One night we go out with friends, im drinking, shes drinking...you see where this is going. When it came to actually doing the deed however my little fella wasn't up to the task :( No worries, i pass this off as whiskey-dick.
However what followed was the strange phenomenon known as flatling. It lasted for a week after this night, and with a complete lack of sex drive i start worrying heavily about whether i'll be able to get it up next time.I have never had erectile dysfunction, however i also never gone so long without masturbating before.. i did not know what to expect.
Despite a complete lack of sexual desire towards anything over this week, when it came to actually being with my girl, i was out of my mind horny...throbingly so. I feel i can take this as evidence my brain has been rewired to be stimulated only be real life interaction, and am proud i have stuck it out to experience this wonderful realization.
Last September I broke up with the girl I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with after finding out she was cheating on me. I was with her for just over four years, she was my first love. Can't say I PMO'd loads during the relationship, maybe 2/3 times a week or so, but was used to regular sex with her, maybe 3/4 times a week. I was down in the dumps for a long time after we broke up and long story short was fapping to porn, a lot, sometimes 3 times a day on a weekend. I knew it wasn't healthy and I should stop but I didn't. Had a wakeup call when I got with this amazing, gorgeous woman (my now current gf) and my erection was just non-existent, I'd never had ED before and it was terrible as fellow sufferers will well know. Luckily she was very good with me as she has had issues with sex before because she has endometriosis. I immediately stopped masterbating cold turkey and the flatline hit me like a tonne of bricks, just completely lifeless, long story short this went on for around 3 months where I couldn't get it up for sex and was worsened by my worrying that nothing would happen, I remember a couple of times she'd give me a blowjob and I couldn't get anywhere past a semi, demoralising for both of us to say the least.
Jump to last weekend, I hadn't seen my girlfriend for about 2 weeks and for the first time in months felt horny and couldn't wait to see her and have sex. I wasn't worried about ED, I almost knew it was going to be fine. We met and had the most amazing sex, I can't remember any better than that. Not only that, after sex I maintained my erection after we had stopped, she noticed after about 10 minutes and said let's not let it go to waste.
I feel like a totally new, more confident person with a raging libido. I said to myself I'd write a post when I get through this to thank everyone here for everything I've read, good luck and cheers guys you da real MVPs.
Sometimes your penis comes alive when it needs to:
- (NPH to thegreat123) I'm over 145 days and I have zombie penis but when I have sex I do get an erection. The morning wood and spontaneous erections have gone. The recovery is not linear so it's frustrating to suffer zombie penis after such a long time without porn and masturbation. I find it really easy to avoid porn and have no desire to watch it even when my sex drive escalated. We all just need to be patient
- (thegreat123 replies to NPH) Yea I have a dead penis too but I haven't attempted having sex to see how I am doing in that regard. Morning woods were happening around days 30 to 35 or so but now there is not anymore morning wood and no spontaneous erections. I too find it easy to avoid porn and masturbation. Thanks for sharing that you are 145 days in and still are having issues. I was beginning to think that I was the only one suffering from a dead penis this late in the reboot process but I am just getting started.
Not everyone finds the flatline unpleasant:
- I'm having very little fantasies and also very little erectile activity and no morning wood. I guess I'm giving my brain finally that needed rest.. there have been some days with more libido, but still no real erections. It seems like I've hit this state where I seem able to continue forever this way. It took many months to develop the mindset that is required for this, and every relapse was part of that process. So don't give up.
- Also, letting desire go feels good. It's not that I want to be desire-less forever, but right now I'm having all the success I want with women. I don't have to get them in bed. Just having fun with them and fooling around is already success. And the women seem to appreciate that. And I in turn appreciate female contact more than ever. It helps so much in this process.
- I think that realizing that flatline symptoms are a normal body response is key. A lot of men's self-esteem and identity actually revolve around their penis :), or better saying about their perception of their sexuality. And the erection being an involuntary and unconscious process, this trap is actually a very common and strong one for men.
- I will read with interest What do I tell my girlfriend? Actually I have been able to share this with a girl (female) friend and was the very reason behind my initial motivation to look for more information. I think that being able to share this experience with a woman, in the context of a relationship, is something that I do want. I mean, I think that falling into the trap of porn also means that I was not able to share my feelings and myself in the context of a working relationship with a woman. So I even see a positive intention of porn induced ED: sort of having a signal from my whole being that I want more, that I want to share myself and connect deeply with a woman. Strangely enough, I see porn induced ED as a great opportunity and motivation to achieve this, as I strive for recovery. :) I mean: if I didn't have porn induced ED, I would probably be hooked to porn ad eternum, and would never actually want to connect with a woman on a deeper level.