I quit using porn and now I feel worse. Is this normal?

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Porn addiction withdrawal can be miserable

Yes, it is normal to feel worse before you feel better as the brain returns to full sensitivity, and rewires itself. Recovery is seldom a linear process. Withdrawal can be miserable. A drop in libido and the sensation of "lifeless penis" are also not unusual at first. See HELP!!! I quit porn, but my potency and libido are decreasing.

"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?"

On the other hand, some guys feel better during the first week or so, but can feel worse later in the reboot. Some guys are severely addicted while others  may be attempting a reboot for reasons other than porn addiction. Eliminating masturbation is another factor in experiencing immediate benefits. A flat-line  may still rear its ugly head. 

(Days #5, 6): I would say, these were the hardest days so far. Some minor - medium urges. The hardest part was not really a urge to look for new porn, but a feeling of something very satisfying is missing, a feeling of sadness and a feeling, that I deprive myself a very pleasant experience. Plus, my general mood and speech seem to be somewhat unbalanced (I wouldn't say out of balance, but shaky).


This guy did a vlog post about low energy at the beginning of a reboot:


Recovery is NOT linear. This journey has been extremely tumultuous. I felt awesome the first week. The next 2-3 weeks was a terrible flatline. I felt as bad as I had for years. Depressed, lifeless, anxious, irritable, tired, etc. It literally felt exactly like a comedown from cocaine or adderall; certainly all dopamine related. The key is not to get distressed or disillusioned by these flatlines.

My last flatline came around day 70 when I thought I was over it. Nope. The good news is that after every flatline I reached a new level of improvement. I came out stronger each time. Just think of he mood swings as a sign that real change is taking place inside your brain.


The emotions and withdrawal symptoms have been all over the place. Saturday (day 6) I found myself with some of the worst anxiety again. I had another date lined up with a girl that night, so I'm sure that had something to do with it. But man I felt horrible!

Then at some point during the day I started masturbating a little at home... and holy crap, I could honestly feel the dopamine surge through my body. I just wanted to test it out a little to see how things were going, but man I got so turned on quick. I felt like a heroin junky finally getting a fix. My whole body felt better; no more cold symptoms; sore throat was gone; I could breath through my nose perfectly; I was energetic, happy; and the unbearable anxiety was totally completely gone!

Crazy... I knew I had a date that night, so I didn't want to orgasm and deal with the downer feelings and cravings afterwards. Luckily I got a text from her, which diverted my attention and I was able to stop... The date went well.

On days 7 and 8 I'm finally starting to feel a little more balanced. My voice is actually deeper and more solid too, if that makes sense. I can just say something without too much effort right now. Back in the porn days my voice was shallower and unpredictable. Sometimes when I would quickly say something my voice would be too soft, or it would even crack like I was in puberty (I'm 31, lol.) Talking just required so much effort and I had to always monitor the sound of my voice, which undoubtedly added to my social anxiety... I feel like abstaining from porn and masturbation is worth it even just for the improvements in my voice so far!

I did masturbate a little again today on day 8, it's just like an instinctive habit or something. I'm definitely regaining sensitivity, because I quickly had the hardest erection ever... with no porn or even fantasy. Again it was tough to stop, but I took a cold shower and diverted my attention. I found that focusing on another goal or activity helps tremendously. Kind of like changing gears in my brain to get engrossed in another task or activity.


It's a bitch, man. It's a fucking bitch to recover.

I'm on day 42. Longest streak without O, and second longest without MO or PMO. I'll make the PMO record in a few days. Here's what's up:I can't feel good about anything.I'm worse socially than I ever was. I don't want to socialize. When I have to socialize, I usually feel like a complete dumbass. It's embarrassing. It's god damn horrible to try to lead a normal life when you're going through withdrawal. I wonder what people must think of my shitty, sullen, brooding behaviour these last few weeks. I'm not acting natural and I'm just not fun right now.My mood changes at the drop of a hat--usually to a feeling of rage, an emotion which has never been a problem for me before.

I have trouble falling asleep.

I wake up too god damned early, restless and unable to stop kicking my legs and thrashing around.

I feel like my head is in a dark, dark cloud.

I can't concentrate. I get confused. I can't follow a book very easily. When I get home and lie down, exhausted, I feel like a giant hand is pressing down on me, physically keeping me from getting up.

Oh, and my penis was declared dead several weeks back. That's the least of my problems...

Believe me, I've felt the highs too. The first few weeks of my first attempt six months ago, I was in a constant state of euphoria. Happier than I'd ever felt, more social, more confident, etc. And during those weeks, I charmed the pants off a few girls and met my current girlfriend. But now... Well, I feel like crap.

I hope other people who are having shitty, protracted withdrawal symptoms get some comfort from reading this. It seems to me there aren't enough posts about the awful long-term withdrawal symptoms some of us experience.


Getting more stuff done and feeling more focused, but the morning wood went. I've read about the flatline, but this seems alittle off. My penis is a little above average and has always been pretty tiny flaccid. But it's shrunk over the past 3 days. A LOT. It gotten short and narrow and has turned darker colored and what used to be pink is purple. It also feels dead and i feel like if don't try to PMO it might die and fall off. The color change looks disgusting and thats bothering me alot.

Wheres the confidence everyones talking about? I feel like a depressed asexual. I have no cravings for porn or anything sexual and I'm getting really needy sad feelings about my ex which I never felt that bad, even when we broke up. I was also progressing alot lifting weights and just recently wasn't able to finish my third sets on any exercise. Has anyone else experienced the extreme change in the appearance and feeling down there? Or the decreased strength? If this is all flatline, whats the longest you've personally seen someone go through it? This feels like crap...


You see, your brain has forgotten how to make the right levels of (or respond correctly to) the key neurochemicals that make you feel cheerful and enthusiastic about sex. When they're missing you feel rotten. Withdrawal symptoms can vary because these neurochemicals, such as dopamine, perform multiple functions. Moreover, imbalances in one neurochemical alter the messages of other brain chemicals. Normally, the neurochemicals in your brain play a symphony like a well rehearsed orchestra. During withdrawal, each musician is playing his own tune.

Exercise, meditation and socializing all help balance the brain naturally. Check out Solo tools for techniques guys have found helpful. Also try Rebooting Advice & Observations and Uncle Bob's Porn Addiction Recovery Tips.

If you wait confidently, your brain will realize you aren't going to "medicate" it with porn (which produces a big rush of those missing neurochemicals—but makes your brain even less responsive over time). Eventually, your brain gets busy and starts producing (or becomes more sensitive to) the key neurochemicals.

Then you'll really be healing, instead of just self-medicating. Be patient. Depending upon your age, brain, and length of porn use, it could take weeks to bounce back to "normal."

At this page, you'll find one man's graphs of his recovery. Here are word descriptions of the kinds of miserable withdrawal symptoms people report during recovery from heavy porn use. They can be very similar to drug withdrawals, as explained at that page. Also have a look at Is my erectile dysfunction (ED) related to my porn use?

Here's another interesting observation about cravings changing with time: 

When I stopped orgasming (I've never been in a relationship) my diet and exercise routines went to hell. I started getting addicted to food, fat, sugar, and the internet (minus the porn). So, I was more "healthy" when I masturbated a lot.Now 1-2 years later, and probably 10 ejaculations later (from masturbation), I'm on my longest "semen retention" ever (a month+ strong). I notice I'm LESS vulnerable to external stimuli than I was before quitting porn.

Here's a reply in response to a guy who asked why he was urinating more frequently since (recently) quitting porn: 

In the beginning, you have increased sensitivity. But as you recover, you will notice that you need to urinate less often. I can only speak from a personal experience. This pattern is also applicable to sexual thoughts. In the beginning, you crave them and the impressions in your mind "chase you."But if you get past a month or so you notice that they do not possess your mind the way they used to (at least most of the time). Something like eating in moderation. In the beginning, you crave for food more and more. But after a certain period, say a few weeks, you will realize you do not need to overeat.