Age 28 - (ED) Dating sites caused relapse
When I was about 23 years old, I used to consider myself pretty good in bed. Sometimes I was a bit shy around girls, but I was always able to get over it. I had no problem getting it up and minimum problems with premature ejaculation.
Now I'm 28. I have porn induced ED, and I'm anxious about either not getting it up at all, or getting it up 50-60% and cumming too soon. I have a low self esteem, and even when I'm able to ask some girl on a date, I fear what will I do when it comes to sex. I have fear of intimate contact. I want it, but I see it also as a possible source of great disappointment.
I always thought that my problems had something to do with my PMO habit, but until recently a had no real evidence. I sometimes searched web, looking for a proof that porn is addictive, but I found nothing. Then, one day, I randomly browsed the net and accidentally found yourbrainonporn.com and suddenly everything started to make sense. I saw myself in lot of the stories. I saw the same behavior patterns, the same feelings. It was pretty clear that I was addicted to porn.
The same day, I decided to try my own reboot, in order to rewire my brain and finally start to have a life. So I did. I started to journal, to exercise regularly, to wake and get up in the same time every day...I took it very seriously. In addition I was meditating (not related to rebooting I started more than year before).
First few days there were strong cravings and horniness, but I was so determined that I was easily able to get over them, even when I needed to be in front of the computer for several hours a day (I work from home).
Week 2-3: lethargy, tiredness, very low self-esteem, inferiority feelings, no morning wood, low libido, mood swings, anxiety.
Week 4: symptoms started to weaken a bit, libido comes to normal, mood swings all over the place, but some days were not so bad.
Week 5: good and bad days are 50:50. Some days I experienced also some great feelings with a lot of energy flowing. I was getting used to all those mood swings (knowing that when I feel bad it will pass soon).
Week 6: good and bad days are 70:30, some urges to look at porn, but manageable. Mood pendulum swinging with lower amplitude.
By week 6, everything looked better. I got morning wood regularly (no wet dreams). My self esteem was slowly rising and I was confident enough to try my luck on a date, to see how it would go. So I borrowed my brother's camera, made some pics of myself and registered on three dating sites.
So far so good, but there was a danger which, at first, I hadn't seen. You see, dating sites are a lot like porn sites. You can filter search some girls from your town, single, between 23 and 30yo ...there are a lot of them. And there are a lot of thumbnails with their photos, and when you click the thumbnail there are galleries of their photos and some of the pics are pretty hot (although not naked, but after 6 weeks of not PMO they are sufficient).
And what does a lizard brain think about a lot of hot female pictures? That's right!...potential mates...release dopamine! Very soon I was visiting the dating sites several times a day to look "what's new", which led to relapse on day 40 :-(
After that, I was struggling for one month to get myself back on track with rebooting. There were relapses every few days, at least two of them with porn. I realised I had to stop visiting those dating sites immediately. It was hard, because I was already chatting with some girls, and had a prospect of at least three dates. Nevertheless, I blocked all the sites.
Now I'm back on track and this is my day 16 of no PMO. First week I experienced some cravings, but I managed.
Second week there were another bunch of symptoms that I hadn't experienced before: severe anxiety (fear of losing my mind), depression, feelings of worthlessness, whole week-long flu (which may or may not be related to my reboot).
Yesterday evening, almost all of this symptoms subsided, although I still feel weak and kind of sluggish. Because of the flu, I cannot exercise and I'm too lazy to meditate (although I managed to push myself into 10min of meditation yesterday and it seems it helped). Nevertheless, I'm really happy that my depression is over.
Now, I experience almost no cravings, but I have some sexual fantasy several times a day, which I'm trying to evade as soon as it comes.
What really helped in my case:
- Exercising - Whatever a man can do to make himself sweat a little.
- Meditation - This really helped me to withstand the symptoms. I do the yogic meditation described here: www.aypsite.com
- Getting out of the house every time I can – Taking a long walks, getting together with friends or family.
- Figuring out what is triggering my habit and getting as far away from it as I can.
- Watching myself and my thought patterns.
- Reading as much as I can on the subject of porn addiction, relationships and male psychology.
About socializing and meeting women: I'm looking forward to a second level of yoga class I was visiting earlier. It should be starting soon. There are a lot of pretty and interesting women. Socializing in real life is far better and more beneficial than on the net. It's one of my goals now.
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BY - Alchemyst