How long will it take to recover from Porn-Induced Sexual Dysfunction?

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Dangers of rebooting This is the number one question we get from guys suffering porn-induced ED. However, we cannot predict how long it will take for your erectile health to return. Among those who stick with it, progression is surprisingly similar—when guys completely stop pornography, porn fantasy and masturbation. Symptoms and feedback indicate that eliminating or drastically reducing masturbation produces a deeper withdrawal and shorter rebooting period. Here's one guy's account:

I'm very close to 90 days and just want to share my thoughts. In a nutshell, there IS light at the end of the tunnel, but there can be a good month of flatline [no libido] before you get there. From what I've read, the flatline seems to put people off. They go for 7 days and feel like superman. Then it just seems to die. I believe that a short-term reboot will bring short-term benefits. (i.e., 7-day testosterone spike, which is just a taste of things to come).

Only after a few months have I now begun to feel the long-term benefits. After around 70 days, I pretty much felt good all the f**king time! My anxiety is gone; my depression is gone; I'm fitter, healthier, and am no longer a slave to the opposite sex. I no longer see women as goddesses because I'm not craving them to begin with.

Although the recovery process is not linear (good days are followed by bad days and vice versa), here's what often occurs:

  1. Withdrawal symptoms and cravings usually occur immediately. However, some guys notice a rapid return of libido and confidence for a week or two...followed by a flatline that goes on for for weeks. See number 3 below.
  2. Absence of libido and erections, increased flaccidity ("shrinking or lifeless penis"): Often begins towards the end of week one, but can be highly variable. Continues for 2-8 weeks, dependent upon age one started and severity of porn use. However, some guys take longer and exit, then reenter flat-line period,
  3. Gradual return of morning erections, libido and occasional spontaneous erections at other times (still with "flat" days interspersed). Not all men experience a return of spontaneous erections.
  4. No more "semen leakage" during bowel movements, etc.
  5. Return of good erections, sexual desire for real partners, reports of extremely pleasurable sex, contented condom use even if it was once a problem.
  6. May be continued improvements in erection quality, libido and sexual pleasure for months following the return of quality erections.

A few rare fellows recover very quickly, within a few weeks. It's unlikely they had developed addiction-related brain changes. A few guys recover within 4 - 6 weeks. Most older guys, who did not grow up with the Internet, recover after 8-12 weeks of no porn, no masturbation and no orgasm. However, they will continue to see improvements after their erections return.

More than a few take 3-6 months, or longer to regain erectile health. Recent rebooting accounts indicate that young guys who started on high speed Internet porn at an early age can take 9 months or longer, and will continue to experience improvements for months after the return of healthy erections.


A list of possible factors that may affect length of recovery:

  1. How consistent one is with no porn (and probably no masturbation or orgasm)
  2. Age one started porn. Younger means stronger brain wiring for porn, and weaker wiring for the real deal. If masturbation began with Internet porn use, the pathways can be very deep. If you started masturbation and Internet porn in early adolescence (or if porn use preceded masturbation), recovery may take 3-6 months, or longer. Please be patient and see - 1) Adolescent Brain Meets Highspeed Internet Porn 2) Started on Internet porn and my reboot (ED) is taking too long; 3) Young Porn Users Need Longer To Recover Their Mojo; 4)Gary and Gabe discuss recovery from porn-related ED (show #9)
  3. Little or no contact with real partners usually mean longer. Guys who started porn early, and have experienced little or no sexual intimacy, need to rewire their sexual arousal to real partners.
  4. If you have a partner, it may speed up the process. Helps rewire your sexual response to a real human.
  5. Length of porn use. Longer may mean longer recovery.
  6. How often porn was used for masturbation. Always or occasionally.
  7. Frequency of PMO sessions (per week, per day)
  8. Previous periods of abstinence from porn. Recent periods of abstinence means faster recovery.
  9. The genre of porn currently used for masturbation. The more shocking or disturbing it is for the user, the more the brain has adapted.
  10. If you have developed porn-induced fetishes, it may take longer to be aroused by "vanilla" sex.
  11. Initial sensitivity of the brain to addiction (genetics, childhood traumas).
  12. Type of masturbation used. Was a "death grip," very fast movement, or prone position employed?
  13. Edging without ejaculation while rebooting. Really bad idea.

What about fantasizing about porn? A bad idea, as it strengthens sensitized addiction pathways. But fantasizing about the real deal may be OK, especially for guys with little sexual experience.

What about having sex while trying to reboot? Probably a good thing. If you fool around or have intercourse and purposely avoid orgasm, it may be fine, even beneficial. If it's too soon, orgasm with a partner can set you back, or throw you into a relapse (see below). Porn-induced ED is your brain saying it has had enough. If you have ED, attempting to force an erection with porn fantasy or other methods, seems to be counterproductive to your recovery.

On the other hand, if you're back in balance, but not experiencing a lot of spontaneous erections, sex with a partner will show you you are, in fact, back to normal. For example, here's what one guy said:

Spontaneous erections might be a sign, but I'm not sure if they are a real sign. You don't have to walk around with a boner in order to feel things will work out. Last week, for example, I hadn't seen my girlfriend for a couple of days. I had no spontaneous erections during that time. Given my old troubles, I even worried a bit... Was I losing it again? But when I saw her everything was just fine. Her touch and smell totally turned me on and the penis worked. So things will work out, when your brain is in balance, even if you don't have a constant boner (spontaneous erections).

Finally, there comes a time when young guys who trained their sexual responses to porn need to rewire to real partners. If not sexually, then socially. You need contact with others. You may need to fantasize or start self stimulation. See - Started on Internet porn and my reboot (ED) is taking too long. Unfortunately we cannot tell you at what point you need to integrate sexual stimuli.

From this thread - Just started today. How long on average does it take to return to full function?

As others have said, it's highly variable. I found the following things sped things up:

1. Removing any stimulating images, even normally fine things like Facebook and OkCupid. I'm fine with them now, but it helped starting out when my brain was sorting things out
2. Rewiring with a woman. Find someone you can cuddle with, as often as possible. This will speed you up enormously.
3. Going no orgasm. I made the most progress when I went 98 days without orgasm, while rewiring. I added orgasms once I had 100% erections
4. Change your attitude towards sex. You say "I can't please a woman as I am", but that's completely false. You can do a lot to please women with your mouth and hands, usually more than you can with a functioning penis.

A lot of guys on here post "tried sex, failed, waaaaa", which indicates a flawed mindset. You can have sex, and cuddle, etc. It's rewiring. If you do that for a while, your ED should disappear.

The hard cases on here typically aren't doing much rewiring.

Stick with it. It feels great to be able to have sex again, it's all worth it. It'll come back for you too :)

 

It's really important for young guys to rewire their sexual response to real persons, this succesful rebooter said Rewiring has sped up my reboot!

Hi everyone! So I'm at 100+ days no PMO and I've been spending some time with a great girl.

The almost all of this reboot I've been in a flatline - while my morning woods have slowly been getting harder and increasing in frequency, I've still had very little libido and zero spontaneous erections.

About 7 days ago I spent a comfortable, relaxed night with a girl that seemed to have reawakened something in! We kissed, cuddled and did some touching all with clothes on. It was an amazing feeling - I've been feeling an increase in libido and healthy sexual perspective on women since!

I'm definitely still not recovered - my erections aren't hard enough yet, and I'm pretty sure I couldn't have successful sex, but I just wanted to write because I really, really, really think that kissing, cuddling and being intimate without orgasming can accelerate your reboot by leagues


The "Chaser Effect"

When men first learn that their ED is caused by porn use, they tend to become quite enthusiastic about stopping all porn, masturbation, and orgasm. Some succeed, but most relapse a few times, or add in occasional masturbation or sex with a partner. The challenging thing about a relapse before you're rebooted is that it can kick in the "chaser effect" over the next couple of days. Knowing about this can save you a binge, when strong urges hit you out of "nowhere."

Whatever you do, realize that it was porn that caused your erectile problems. Staying away from porn is your top priority. So if you have an uncontrollable urge to masturbate to ejaculation, do so without porn. If you can't masturbate without porn, then it's not true sexual desire. Instead, your urge is "only" an addiction cue that has been triggered by a thought or a visual.

From all reports, the men who regain their erectile health the quickest completely abstain from masturbation and orgasm. The more often you masturbate, the longer it takes. That said, all your efforts are somewhat cumulative. Here's what one guy said:

I went 6 weeks and had slight relapses [viewing soft-core to test for erections - not recommended] once every 4 days or so. When I finally went back to celibacy, I didn't start from zero, I started from like week three. I know this because when I first started I could not get hard from just masturbation. But after a relapse I did not go back to that beginning state.


Back in the saddle

When you do have sex again, it may be a good idea to approach it with a new mindset—not focused on sexual performance. Apprehension due to past failures is common and it may take a few tries to overcome anxiety   Here's some advice from other men who had ED, rebooted, and then had sex.

  • In my 3 times of "connecting and bonding" with my wife since beginning my reboot, there were no expectations of intercourse. We started out just playfully fooling around, enjoying each other's bodies, caressing and kissing, and the next thing you ... WHAM!!! It was all very relaxed.
  • I knew I had a problem when I was in my late teens. I eventually had successful intercourse in my early 20's, but I didn't consider myself cured, so I had performance anxiety, and 9 times out of 10, couldn't perform. I guess my thinking now is that if 4 days of intercourse in a row don't convince me that my libido is ok, then what will?I might have expected too much in the past. I assumed that I should be up and ready to go at a seconds notice, no matter how stressed I was. I expected to get a boner every time I looked at a beautiful woman. Now my expectation is to eventually get erect if I'm relaxed in the presence of a woman I like (i.e. my wife). So it's a combination of reason and a slight change in expectations I guess. I will say that I would have never dreamed of giving up masturbation for 90 days if it wasn't for this site. Also this site convinced me that the connecting aspect is so important.
  • Performance anxiety is a really tough thing to beat. Anytime you are in bed with a woman and you start observing yourself, an erection probably won't happen. I know full well it's not fun to enter into sexual relations worrying about performance. The key is to enter into it not worrying one iota about erection. It's easier said than done, but that's the challenge that many men face. I faced it, and I'm surprised I got through it.

In other words, forget porn-style sex and just be playful. Relaxation actually promotes erections. In fact, oxytocin (the "cuddle hormone") is vital to erections, and you produce oxytocin when you engage in affectionate, generous touch. Go figure!

Also see recovery accounts here and here, and How do I know when I'm back to normal?

Comments

Is it safe for me to have sex wth my girlfriend while trying to reboot?
As in, can I stay away from porn and masturbation, but still be able to satisfy my girlfriend? The period of libido loss concerns me in the process, is this COMPLETE libido loss? or only porn related

Here's a link that somewhat addresses the question. http://yourbrainonporn.com/rebooting-with-a-partner

From your description, your path may be easier. You may or may not have a crash in libido. I have no idea what will happen. Most guys go through the rebooting process without wives or girlfriends, so they don't have sex. Continuing to have sex may affect the flat line period that normally occurs. You will have to see. Let us know what happens.

The loss of libido refers to little sexual desire, no spontaneous erections, "a dead penis", even penis shrinkage. Cravings may be reduced, but an addiction to porn is not true sexual desire. It's an addiction, which is confirmed by a crash in libido for those guys with porn-induced ED. Old guys have ED from problems in their penis, but they still have sexual desire arising from the brain. Men with porn-induced ED have penises that are just fine, but their libido centers of the brain are no longer getting stimulation. The urge to watch porn arises from addiction cues or thoughts. If it was true libido, they wouldn't have ED.

As long as you stay away from porn, fantasy, or other types of artificial stimuli, you will eventually heal.

good luck, gary

Every time I go through the list I get scared...

I started watching porn from young (12), I started using pictures of girls in lingerie as soon as I started masturbation, I am 21, I used porn to masturbate 90% of the time, I used porn most days in the last few years - maybe an hour a day, I did look at "shocking and disturbing" porn, I did use a "death grip".

I am very consistent (day 35 tomorrow), I do not edge, I do not fantasize, I do not have sex (although I do make-out with my girlfriend - no orgasm).

Looking at the above factors, I predict that I will be in this situation for much longer than the typical 8 weeks. What's the longest people have heard of someone recovering, whilst being very consistent, and using porn the way I did?

Thank you.

"11. Type of masturbation used. Was a "death grip," very fast movement, or prone position employed?"

Interestingly I've used both, and one resulted from the other. Let me explain... So I learnt to masturbate prone. I don't know why, I just did. This is called Traumatic Masturbational Syndrome (TMS). My TMS days went from when I was 12 to about 15. When I got to about 15 and I started to think properly about having sex and the mechanics of it (this just won't work!), and also realizing that everyone else does it differently to me. Things weren't adding up so, at 15 years of age, I began some research. Needless to say, I came across many websites telling me that I had to learn to masturbate properly in order to have a healthy sex life in the future. I tried to masturbate "correctly" but failed on Day One. I decided to abstain from masturbating until I did it correctly. At this stage I had been masturbating daily to abstaining was very hard, but I did it. After abstaining for 3 days, and trying to do it properly every night, I finally orgasmed "correctly".

I now know that "correctly" wasn't as "correct" as I thought. In desperation to reach an orgasm using my hands and not lying prone, I began using a "death-grip". This is how I learnt it and continued to use this death grip for the many years of masturbation after I was cured from TMS.

For those of you who have been following my progress, on this page http://yourbrainonporn.com/about-site-us-users , you will see that I've done many things over the years that have been bad for my overall sexual health. I strongly believe that in today's society not much time is spent in educating young men into the correct way to masturbate: gently, slowly, realistically and with no or REALISTIC fantasy (and obviously without porn!). It is really quite simple and if someone told me this when I was 12 years old I would not be in the runt I am in today.

We must educate the world! Spread the word!

I have two short questions please !

1_ Are all those symptoms that occur through the withdral certain to happen ? , or only some of them may happen and others may not ?

2_ How can I be sure that the complete recovery is done ? is it only by actual sex with partner ? or it will be clearly touched thorugh my feelings and gradual erections and changes you described ?

I can't thank you enough for this site !

  1. You could have any number of symptoms, or rarely, none at all.
  2. If you have ED, you can use erections as one barometer. Here's the FAQ on your question: How do I know when I'm back to normal?

Good luck, gary

It's the 70th day now of no PMO and I'm in this flat-lining again ( it's the second one during my reboot ) , it's hard to get it up and no real sexual pleasure except rarely . Someone advised me that I should start to be with some girl and have close rapprochement ( like dating ) to help myself to get out of this flat phase .. is this correct ? .because I've decided not to begin any kind of relations before I'm ready ..

**

I can't thank you enough for this site !

 Here's an faq on the subject -    Started on Internet porn and my reboot (ED) is taking too long

It may take longer than 70 days. Buy rewirng to the real deal may be the key. It is for a lot of guys.

Now to start with I'm quitting, come Hell or high water but I still want to know: If a guy has porn induced ED (I am positive I do) and abstains from all sexual activity for at least 120 days, maybe longer, will he definitely recover from ED?

In other words, as long as I'm physically healthy, what are my chances that this ED is not permanent and I will recover?

then you will recover. It is not permanent. The brain is the most changeable organ is the body.

How long it will take I don't know. Stopping orgasms is recommended by guys, but sexual activity with a partner may be beneficial.

It doesn't matter to me how long it takes, I was just afraid that the damage may be permanent. I had no idea how repairable the brain was, I always saw it as sensitive and weak. Thank you so much for the site Gary and for the help. I would never have the opportunity to recover if it weren't for YBOP

I had no idea how repairable the brain was, I always saw it as sensitive and weak

If you need inspiration, check out this excellent book about the mallaebility of the brain - The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science - http://www.amazon.com/Brain-That-Changes-Itself-Frontiers/dp/0143113100

Or read all the rebooting accounts

Looks excellent. I'm ordering it as soon as I can. I appreciate the inspiration, it is just the boost I needed

hey guys,

im 27,on day 11 of rebooting/quitting.
i didn't realise how bad my addiction was,and how badly it was effecting my life.i found this site...and boom,i made my mind up,I'm quitting,im changing my life.

anyway...the thing that's quite scary for me at the moment is the ED....i mean with my porn induced ED,i could get it up...and at times it would be what i consider a 100% full erection,however it would not maintain,i have a very high sex drive,always have...since reading this site,and completely admitting to myself that i have a problem...and now that im on my 11th day with no porn,no masturbation & orgasm...my penis feels literally dead,as iv'e read on this excellent site...this is considered normal.iv'e had a few times (maybe 4) since i stopped iv'e had a very semi...like 10 - 15% hard,im not horny...at all,i haven't had cravings....not like i used to when i was in my addiction...i think it could just be iv'e really decided iv'e had enough,i want real women,and a 'normal' life.whats the longest period im looking at to regain full erections and a normal libido again? iv'e read 'usually 70....120 etc' is there a chance it could take 6 months? more? has anyone ever not fully recovered?

This forum - http://www.yourbrainrebalanced.com/ - as most are dealing with porn-induced ED

We have no forum on YBOP, and its unlikely anyone will comment on your comments. There is no usual anymore as younger guys who started early on high speed can take a long time. Yes it could take 6 months, but that's a meaningless answer. You will only know by trying.

Good luck

I chanced upon this site and this topic from an article in Psychology Today a while back. I'm now 36 days in on reboot mode after a recurrence of ED problems. Here's my story:

Pre-Internet days I masturbated often to images of girls from my high school and Playboy magazines/lingerie catalogs. This continued into college and beyond. It never hindered my sexual performance. I would masturbate to orgasm at night in bed several times a week.

Internet and beyond: Once I had access to high speed Internet at work and at home, I started out with still images of Playboy-type of women and would masturbate to orgasm in front of the computer, while still sometimes masturbating in bed at night to sexual fantasy stories I created in my head. I started to realize that this was an "issue" but have spent about 12 years struggling to stop - to stop both the Internet PMO sessions and my solo sexual fantasy sessions. Over the last 2 years, the kinds of porn I get regularly off on has morphed from soft-core still images, to sometimes having to visit RedTube and its ilk. I can still get "satisfaction" from still images but I frequently start out there and move to clips of softcore/hardcore stuff on RedTube, etc. I haven't (yet) gotten into the bizarre porn stuff.

About 7 years ago I started to experience ED symptoms - inability to maintain an erection. The Doctor ran tests - nothing physiologically wrong with me. Of course, it never occured to me that PMO might be the issue. The Dr. put me on Levitra and it worked great for about a year, then more ED symptoms. (All this while I was still doing PMO with the Internet and also masturbating to my solo sexual fantasies in bed) The Dr. then put me on Cialis, 50mg and that has worked great for about the last 6 years. Again, still continuing with my habits both with Internet porn and solo masturbation sessions. Most recently, I had ED symptoms again after taking my usual dosage of Cialis. Unable to maintain an erection. Perhaps I didn't wait long enough after taking it before intimacy. Don't know. This most recent recurrence of ED was jarring because I've had so much luck with Cialis and my usage of Internet porn has decreased, not escalated.
I do know that the guilt & shame cycle over the last 6 years has made me dial down my Internet porn sessions to about 1x week, sometimes 2x week. Rebooting over the last 36 days has been easy. No strong urges to drift off into sexual fantasy land and seriously no urge to do PMO. I've read copiously on this site that sexual performance issues go away as you reboot, but I'm still *incredibly* anxious about sexual performance until I recover my mojo. My partner and I haven't been intimate for over a month because of our other health issues (she has an auto-immune disorder and I have low back pain) I plan to keep trying Cialis, and might even try Viagra if need be. Anyway, this site and the Psychology Today articles have been a revelation for me. I've been trying to figure out for years why my Internet PMO impulses are so stubborn, and why these sexual fantasy stories are so compelling that I'm willing to risk my job and marriage for them. It's all clear to me now and rebooting has been easy. Thanks for reading. Any insights are welcome.

Its day 81 for me and i feel that at least my mind is clear.I am not an animal anymore who can be controlled using food.I am in much more control right now. Absteniance can install discipline in you which is crucial.I still rememeber my early days when i used to have erection and i couldnt get it down. It would stay there at that angle for 4-5 minutes absolutely firm.Nothing would put that thing down. This was when i was 23 and didnt had any laptop then and am 30 now and its nowhere near to what i felt at that time. I would request all the guys to do few things which might speed up recovery:
1. Maintain ideal weight, be physically active and no PMO (yes the O also),do not stimulate your body parts 2. Have good food to recover from the loss(almonds,milk,liver,fruits and veg)food with more fiber(oats etc..) 3.exercise well 4.practise breathing techniques/kegels. 5. Dont be in false world be in real world.
Signs of recovery :: Getting erection just by thinking and staying hard for a long time.(the longer the better)
IF you are unable to put on a condom and stay erect while its on then i believe you still need more time. Also pls maintain ideal weight***.

Very helpful to gary wilson and others for doing this great work.

I belive it might take few more months for me to get complete recovery but still i am very happy with the progress. Will definetely present my report once i feel i am cured. I spend far less on internet bills (almost 1/3rd) these days. Unbelievable!!!!

I'm 32 days in (no p or mo) and I haven't had a flatline, at all. Still have urges to masturbate frequently. I get almost daily morning wood, but other than that, zero erectile improvement. I've massively improved my diet and excercise. Am I being worried over nothing?

Two things really bother me:

"Remove masturbation/orgasm from the equation and most guys experience a sharp decline in sexual desire, we call the flatline." - Has not happened, at all. In fact I'd say the opposite has happened.

"It has been surprising to witness that most men have an easier time eliminating masturbation than they do porn." - The exact opposite has happened. Porn was easy, masturbation was damn near impossible. Even as I write this, the urge to MO is pretty intense.

You may have a different experience. I always suggest seeing a good doctor to rule out all organic causes.

You're absolutely right, all experiences are different. I was just worried that mine was a little too different, and I'll talk to my doctor to make sure there isn't good reason for it. I've spent the last month having cold sweats, dizziness, lack of concentration, nausea and anxiety almost daily, along with a lack of a flatline and seemingly never ending urges to masturbate. All of this is starting to have serious negative impacts on my life and job. I've pretty much conceded that cutting masturbation cold turkey just isn't going to work for me, and the orgasm reboot might be a better option, even if that means swapping three months for a year.

And if i mustn't check my erections periodically from time to time, how i will know when I'll be full recover?

- though some guys say to not check. I don't see why they say that, other than it could cause dissapointment, or lead to wanting to use porn to really check it. 

Okay, apologies about some of my previous posts, I'm thinking a little more clearly this time. Now I have a question about the order of the list at the beginning. Points 2 and 3, do they (almost) always happen in that order? Nocturnal erections and morning wood are almost daily (quantity does not equal quality!), I've had a few spontaneous 50-75% erection recently, a few memory based semis, but this damn flatline is just not kicking in. Either that, or my idea of flatline is completely wrong. Is flatline a complete lack of desire, or just a lack of a physical manifestation? My main curiosity stems from the fact I do have the shrinkage that supposedly goes along with it. Maybe I'm just weird.

Also, how common is 4? Closest I've had is self lubrication during one of the memory based semis.

Anyway, thankyou for this wealth of information. This site certainly has made a positive impact in my life.

I know every guy wants to know if the will heal, and how long will it take. I say everyone can heal, and I have no idae how long it will take. Everyome is different. The list may not apply to any one individual.

Have you seen this faq -

HELP! I quit porn, but my potency, genital size, and/or libido are decreasing (Flat-Line)

Thanks for pointing me there again. It's amazing how the same words are so different on day 60 compared to day zero. I guess I'm just frustrated because I thought flatline would just kill all sexual desire/thoughts, which would be VERY welcome. As it stands I'm going through all the physical symptoms and none of the mental ones. Well they're all mental ones really, but I think you know what I mean. Anyway, thanks again.