Age 27 - "No Viagra - First Time in 4 Years" (ED)
[First post] I'll keep my story brief (27yrs, male). Over the past several years, I've suffered increasingly worse symptoms of ED. After a breakup with my first love at 21, I began to experience soft erections whenever a condom was involved, but fine without it. Around 23, I began dating a girl and I couldn't maintain an erection even without a condom, and we broke up. Shortly after, I began using half-pills of Viagra to maintain an erection for another girl I was dating for several months, but I couldn't get an erection with her at all without it. When she broke up with me, I hit a two-year battle with depression, shame, and self-worthlessness that put my life into simply a state of existence. Nothing more, I was empty inside. It was so terrible to feel like I wasn't able to have sex anymore, much less become intimate with someone else. Would I be like this for the rest of my life?
Last fall, I began dating someone else, and I was secretly taking portions of Viagra pills, trying to wean myself off while building my sexual confidence. After 6 months, I couldn't hide it anymore from someone I loved - I told her everything. I have never felt more vulnerable in my entire life. She told me that she understood, that she loved me, and that we could work on it together. She broke up with me two weeks later.
That's ok, though, because I've finally realized that this problem is never going to go away unless I get in front of it and face it. Since then (6 weeks ago), I've decided to do something about it. I've been scouring the 'net for weeks trying to find successful stories of people overcoming this, and so far, this community seems to be the only one.
[One week into reboot] This whole process isn't without it's challenges. Some days seem to be no problem, but there are times when the urge to MO, with or without P, is almost too much. In the morning, I usually just jump out of bed and get going with my day and it helps control the urge. Some nights, like last night, I can hardly sleep and I just toss and turn battling the urge to turn on my computer and find the relief I need. I can't believe the grip P has/had on me, this last week has been a serious wake-up call. I always kind of thought that I was little bit different, and that other guys probably didn't watch the same kinds of porn I do. Now I understand that it's not the porn I was after, it was that rush of excitement that the edgier stuff gave me. It makes total sense to me that I would suffer ED when my brain is looking for something else for stimulation. So I would say the biggest challenge this first week is just trying to resist the urge - one day at a time.
[Seven weeks] I had been doing it usually 2-3 times a day for years, and I always felt as though I had to look at edgier stuff to get the same satisfaction. I frequently felt awkward around girls, and I suffered from a lot of depression knowing that I wasn't able to maintain an erection without medicinal aid. That's when I decided to try the whole rebooting process.
I've had some success overcoming PMO addiction and ED, so I wanted to post and offer some encouragement to others here. I know that rebooting can be a frustrating and sometimes lonely experience, and I know it helps to get inspiration from others who have been through it.
About seven weeks ago, after a humiliating and awkward breakup because of ED, I decided to make some lifestyle changes and do whatever I could to help overcome it. That's when I stumbled upon this community and realized that I probably had a PMO addiction. I had been doing it usually 2-3 times a day for years, and I always felt as though I had to look at edgier stuff to get the same satisfaction. I frequently felt awkward around girls, and I suffered from a lot of depression knowing that I wasn't able to maintain an erection without medicinal aid. That's when I decided to try the whole rebooting process.
I have been looking forward so much to the day I could post my success story in here, both for my own gratitude and to inspire others to get here as well.
I met a really amazing girl, and we totally clicked. We've been seeing each other for about a month now, and last week, I confided in her about my need to use Viagra to have sex. She agreed that we should cut it out completely and try to overcome ED together, and we did.
The next night, I successfully had sex without Viagra for the first time in nearly four years. I failed the next attempt a few days later, but then successfully had intercourse again without Viagra last night (and again this morning).
The feeling of getting over this is totally incredible - I'm so happy I finally stopped playing victim and got in front of my problems. I want to thank everyone in this community who commented on my posts and offered their thoughts, advice, and encouragement. Nobody else in my life knows about my PMO addiction, so this community was a major pillar of support through the last few weeks. Thanks again.
I'm not sure which combination of lifestyle changes cured the ED, but here's what I did in case anyone is trying to overcome this as well. First, do the rebooting process. I think that has probably been the most significant factor in all of this. No question, it's tough and there are going to be nights when it's all you can do not to reach for your computer, but do anything you can to avoid it. I've MO'ed four or five times in the last seven weeks, so I know how hard it can be, but I believe you will recover faster if you don't.
Also, commit to not looking at porn. I haven't seen an image or video since I started the reboot, and I hardly ever have the urge now.
Second, I was smoking weed multiple times a day, and a doctor I went to see about ED when I started the reboot told me that she thought for sure that weed was the cause. I quit cold turkey right there in the doctors office, and I haven't touched it since. I don't know if marijuana was causing the ED or not, but I don't regret quitting nor am I feeling like I want to go back to it. I loved smoking as much as the next guy, but being in a successful sexual relationship is more important, so I don't touch it anymore just in case.
Third, I started taking a daily multi-vitamin and the maximum effective daily dose (240mg) of Ginkgo Bilbao supplements. I don't feel like the multivitamin did much, but I did notice that after a few weeks of taking GB my morning erections felt much more firm and strong. GB supposedly relaxes smaller blood vessels and capillaries, which would allow more blood into the penis during an erection. As an added benefit, I also noticed a significant increase in my cognitive function.
Fourth, I started doing a little more exercise and eating healthier. I have to be honest. I really only started working out once a week or so, but I do try to walk places I normally wouldn't and I sometimes pick the salad over fries. Better than nothing, I suppose.
Another important thing I want to mention was actually mentioned by another person in this forum who overcame ED, and that is to stay positive. Things looked very bleak for me when I decided to make these changes, and I was hurting bad over a recent breakup. And the rebooting process was definitely frustrating at times, downright lonely and horrible at others. Use the forum and ask the community for support; it helps to have others help steer you back on course and keep that hope alive. If nothing else, lurk around and read the success stories.
Whenever I felt hopeless, or suffered another setback/relapse, I would read about others going through the same thing and imagine how it would feel to be one of the ones who wrote my own success story. You totally can too.
Again, I just want to express my gratitude to everyone here who helped me, and to encourage others to keep on trying. Believe me, I know how hard it can be at times, but the feeling of overcoming this is totally worth it. Today, I'm with a great girl and my mind is in a much better place than it was two months ago. I know that there is still some room for improvement for me, but after re-reading my first post in this community seven weeks ago, I can see that I've made some great progress. I hope I can inspire others to do the same. Please feel free to private message me or comment on this post, I will be back occasionally to say hello and offer any thoughts I can. Good luck to anyone else who trying to overcome ED or a PMO addiction; it's tough but you definitely can do it, and it's totally worth the fight.
BY - BrittleB
"Only in the last five years have we been hearing self-reports of the severe symptoms we write about: sexual performance problems, morphing sexual tastes, uncharacteristic social anxiety, lack of attraction to 3-D potential mates, and so forth."
I totally agree with you that the research needs to catch up with the reality. The conditions described above are exactly my experience, despite being a user for over 10 years. My own personal history of escalation is definitely not one that I'm proud of, but I have understood so much better since I've found this community.
I remember when I first started looking at porn, I was a teenager (I'm 28 now) who was deftly able to outsmart my parents by simply erasing my Internet history on the family computer. At that time, high speed wasn't available yet and I remember waiting for still images to load so I could just look at them. I remember getting this terrific feeling, kind of tingly and anxious but in a good way, whenever I was able to sneak a peak. I know now that this was the dopamine rush, but at the time, I assumed it was a natural feeling you were supposed to get when getting aroused, which I guess in some ways, was true. I found myself starting to look forward to the times the house would be empty so I could look for more.
One thing to note is that at this point, in the beginning, a totally vanilla still image was more than enough for my adolescent brain to enjoy. The rush from a simple image of a woman posed suggestively in her underwear was simply fantastic, and I was able to store that in my mind for future use when I was alone. Around the time I turned 18, I developed a serious relationship with a girl and although we would sometimes look at porn during foreplay, it was very much a non-issue and nothing like the feeling I got from being with her.
A few years later, we broke up and I moved into my own place with high-speed internet and an awful lot of time to myself, not to mention I felt quite lonely after the breakup. I can say that this is when the problem of escalation really began for me. At first, I would look for short clips of basically vanilla porn, but these would be movies instead of images. As time went on, I found ways to download entire movies and stream short previews from websites, all the while still enjoying the rush I found and my new favorite pastime
I'm only writing this because of the anonymity - I'm really embarrassed and totally ashamed about the next phase I'm about to describe, but I recognize now what happened in me and people need to know so that it doesn't happen to them. It was during this time that I started to go through a period of change in myself. I was quite popular at University, and I partied a lot, but an ever-increasing amount of my time was spent online engaged in PMO. I even had a girlfriend, but when she wasn't around, that's what I did.
Around this time, I found that the regular stuff wasn't cutting it anymore, and that's when I started to explore some further regions of the Internet. I started to watch videos of sexual activities that included some rougher stuff, and only then did I start to get that feeling back that I used to get back when I was a teenager first looking at porn. At first, I just thought that I was more naturally inclined on a sexual level to just simply be turned on by that stuff, but I recognize now that my brain was becoming desensitized and needed more of a dopamine release to get me turned on.
I should mention that by that point, I started to feel that I didn't think I would like it if any of my friends were to find out about my little secret, so I took great care to cover my tracks. I was always nervous when a friend or girlfriend was using my computer. One time, a friend even commented to me that he had accidentally stumbled upon a porn video on my computer and he said that he was quite surprised at what I was watching, and he even mentioned it to my then-girlfriend. It was incredibly awkward- I played it off, but didn't stop there.
It was at this time that I began to notice I was developing ED. At first, I couldn't maintain an erection whenever I was using a condom, but I attributed that to mostly performance anxiety and/or being drunk. The thought of PMO and ED being related was non-existent, although it's painfully obvious now. As time went on and I continued to PMO to rougher stuff, though, the ED got worse and worse. It reached a point where I could no longer keep an erection with no condom, sober, and with a comfortable girlfriend, and it was at this point I got my first prescription to Viagra. Imagine how I felt then - walking out of a doctors office at 24 years old with that. It was secretly humiliating, and of course only masked the symptom of whatever the problem was, but it did let me be able to have sex again.
This was the beginning my a 3-4 year period that marks the worst in my life. Although I was succeeding academically and later, occupationally, my personal life was in total disarray. I hit a really difficult period of depression, shame, and worthlessness that felt like a trap I just couldn't escape. Being a chronic suffered of ED at such a young age was tearing me apart inside,and the worst part was that I had NO IDEA what was the problem. I thought it could be a testosterone deficiency, performance anxiety, poor diet, or a number of other things. I approached several doctors and counselors - none of them provided me an answer I couldn't already find on the Internet. I just felt so terrible inside, and I felt as though I wasn't able to have a relationship because sex was no longer an option for me without drugs.
I had developed some very unhealthy patterns by this point. I started smoking weed much, much more - at first daily, and then many times a day. I also started to PMO much more frequently, and to much more noticeably rougher stuff. In fact, I was spending most evenings at home alone engaged in PMO because I was so depressed, and the rougher stuff was no longer working for me. I then started looking at video that contained non-consensual/reluctance sexual activities, and although it was never anything illegal, I was so utterly and totally ashamed of it. I hated it. I could not believe that these situations that totally disgusted me and shamed me were getting me off. Worse yet, I couldn't stop looking for them. I would spend time at work thinking about more effective ways to get to them, and looked forward to getting home to find them. Disgusting.
This was probably the darkest stage of my own personal PMO addiction, and like it was written in the quote above, was within the last five years and therefore outside of the research. I was always known as being the life of the party and a very comfortable social person before, but by this point, I was totally the opposite. I could no longer even look women in the eye, much less talk to them at all. I always felt like a total creep, and I think they picked up on it. I was always very irritable, tired, and secretly depressed. I became very isolated, and my life consisted mostly of going to school/work, while less and less so socializing. When I did go out, I would binge drink until I became angry and eventually blacked out. Additionally, I was totally uninterested in developing any kind of romantic relationship, and my libido was non-existent. I really began to dislike women, and always held a condescending attitude toward them. I didn't want to have sex with any of them. In fact, I went through an uncharacteristically long dry spell of about 3 years before I even found someone I like. Girls didn't want me, and I didn't want them. It was at this point I was PMOing most frequently, and with escalating tastes. Dark times, indeed.
About two years ago, I met a girl and we began to date. One of the things that drew me to her was that I found out she was especially fond of the type of scenarios that I particularly enjoyed watching on the Internet. This would've been fantastic for my addiction-riddled brain if not for one problem - ED. At first, I was secretly taking pills to prevent it, but they eventually stopped working.
This was a major turning point in my PMO addiction. We became close, and I eventually confided in her that I suffered from ED, that I was secretly taking Viagra on a near-daily basis, and that I had no idea at all what was causing it or what to do. I was totally, utterly humiliated. At first she was understanding and wanted to help me, but she left me a week or two later. It was at this point that I discovered YBOP and this community while trying to find the cause of my ED that none of the doctors could explain.
Things are much, much better now because I've made a number of life changes. Most importantly, I've realized my PMO addiction and taken steps to overcome it. I no longer watch any porn at all, and MO as infrequently as I can manage. Exercise, dietary changes, plans for when I feel vulnerable to relapse, mediation, writing in my journal, and being active in this community have all been tremendous help in overcoming this addiction. I've found someone I love to be with, and last year after confiding in her, I stopped taking Viagra and eventually had successful sex without it. ED is still barely present sometimes, although always ever decreasing and what I attribute much of that to is leftover performance anxiety. I no longer feel this under-the-rug condescending attitude toward women, and I have absolutely no problem now looking them in the eye and smiling while I make jokes and keep a personable conversation. In fact, my problem now is that girls are trying to keep my attention and spend too much time with me (Sorry ladies, I'm taken ), even girls I knew a couple of years ago who wanted nothing to do with me. I crack jokes with the best of them in social situations, and my phone is constantly buzzing with texts from people who want to hang out. Guys ask me for girl advice, and girls talk to me about personal stuff. I'm in the best shape I've ever been in, both mentally and physically, and the reason for so much of this is because I've given up my addiction. I wish I hadn't wasted to much of my valuable time and life staring at a computer screen, but looking forward, I feel so much more confident in myself knowing that I have overcome this (for the most part).
In summary, for me this escalation phenomenon has been very much real, and I feel as though the effects of such mentioned at the start of this post are totally a consequence of that escalation. My problems seemed to get much worse over the years as the escalation increased, and those same problems have all but disappeared once I realized PMO was the problem and started making the lifestyle changes to fix it. I would encourage anyone who recognizes those same symptoms of escalation I've written about in themselves to start taking steps to stop it before things get worse, because they will only get harder to fix the longer you put it off.
The above post was written at the end of July. This guy's first post appeared in April of the preceding year.