Age 20 - Medical student: I recovered from porn-induced ED in 5 months

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med studentI'm a 20-year old medical student. I'm a pretty normal guy. I like hanging out with friends, playing sports and have never had any traumatic event in my life causing me to have caused a problem. I have recovered from Porn Induced ED

and just wanted to put my story and tips for recovery on here for people to see. I realised I had porn-induced ED about 5 months ago but my story begins way before then...

My Story

I first watched porn around the age of 13/14 and like everyone else I was immediately intrigued. I watched porn regularly from that day on, my usage increased when i found tube sites and how to hide what I was doing from my parents. I became sexually active from the age of 16 and have had sex pretty consistently with girlfriends since then until about a year and half ago whilst I was single.  I always had a pretty low libido. Throughout my teenage years I decided to stop watching porn as I think I always new something wasn't quite right. However, I always went back to it (I now know this was due to hypofrontality). Anyways during my first year of university I went back with a few different girls and found I couldn't get an erection. For months I thought it was due to alcohol but I managed to rule that out, then i thought i had PA (even though i was pretty certain i wasn't nervous) until I stumbled across YBOP towards the end of my first year. This was a huge relief.

After finding out about YBOP I began to make changes to my life, recovery has been really hard but now I tend to look at it in a good way as it can/will make you a better person. This is the summary of my recovery and then I will talk about tips and advice to everyone else struggling with this. I have split the next section into rebooting and rewiring.

Reboot

Stage 1: My first week was great, my dopamine levels must have been high off of realising I was going to recover and I spent a lot of this week breaking into the world of porn addiction with the help of Gary Wilson, Gabe Deem and others...

Stage 2: Week 2, I flatlined really heavily, became depressed and incredibly anxious - this heavy flatline lasted for about 2 and a half months.

Stage 3:  About 3 months in - My erections came back slowly. I would have a few days of morning wood and SE and then I would go into a minor flatline for a week or so, this was pretty recurrent for a while.

Stage 4:  About 4 months in - The flatlines became less gradual. My erections progressed slowly and i began to get what i would describe as dopamine spikes every couple of weeks where I felt on top of the world (the first time this happened I was driving and i could not stop smiling at everything around me- its a very peculiar sensation). During this process you can literally feel your brain rebalancing itself.

Rewiring

I rewired with a permanent partner which is what I would advice for everyone. In my opinion, one aspect of porn is the idea of new and different women being exciting, and the need too move on quickly from porn star to porn star into endless novelty. By having a permanent partner you fight that novelty urge. Also, even just from cuddling ect you are rewiring and realising oxytocin into your body which will give you a great feeling. I found that after the 5 months of no PMO I could get an erection fine apart from sometimes it was a bit delayed this has become progressively better and better. I can now have sex way more than I used too and it feels 100x better. I think for me rewiring was quicker as I've had a fair amount of sex through my life from a young age so I have the neural pathways already in place. This obviously isn't always the case for everyone but don't let this put you off.

One massive part of the rewiring process was telling my girlfriend about my problem, i remember being incredibly anxious about it (which is inevitable) but actually for everyone worrying about this - don't! She was amazing about it and understood completely.

My Tips and Advice

Don't see this process as just getting your sexual health back, see it as a self improvement process. Before I quit I was heartless and I didn't really care much about other people. This never really mattered to me because I had porn in my life and had effectively self medicated with it for years.

1. Exercise! - The most important thing is exercise (besides no PMO), I have always played a lot of sport and gymed regularly. For those who don't exercise, you should definitely start. I could write a whole article on how this will help. Look into High intensity interval training to boost testosterone, dopamine and reduce cortisol ect. Get into weight lifting and i would also advice to do at least one sport which is sociable for example football or basketball. A small article on training and increasing testosterone:

2. Cold Showers - I won't go into detail but look into the ted talks on this as it is a very strong tool for recovery. I tend to just hop in a cold shower every morning when I get up and again when I get back from exercising later on or before bed. This is the TED talk on cold showers:

3. Intermittent fasting - This is something I have recently got into and again there is talks on it. The main thing for me that i got from intermittent fasting is the distraction from thinking about my problems and there is obviously lots of health benefits from it as well. I think in about 5-10 years time this will be prominent in medicine for preventing neural diseases.

4. Meditation - I was very cautious of this as i am not religious at all. For me, transendental meditation was great for dealing with anxiety and depression. Also, it is stupidly simple so anyone can learn. I also credit this practice for dealing with the small amount of insomnia I suffered from as it relaxed me, allowing me to go straight to sleep. If you don't want to pay the fee for TM then look into other meditation forms such as mindfulness meditation ect. The only reason i recommend TM is because it has convincing research backing it.

5. Eat healthily - Sort your diet out. Eat as healthily as you can without stressing out about it.

6. Read and Learn - During my reboot I really got into learning from ted talks and books about various aspects of self improvement. There is loads of information out there for people too access. I would advice replacing social media and porn viewing time with learning about the effects of porn and anything else which interests you. Another great way too do this is via the various radio shows which are popping up such as

7. Sleep well and take care of yourself - Your mind and body is going to go through a tough time so make sure you get at least 8 hours. I always found this helped during my flatline. In regards to taking care of yourself, I reduced how much I was drinking. Going out 3 times a week completely smashed wasn't really doing me any favours and was making me more depressed and anxious.

8. Prepare for the recovery process - I did a bad job of this as I was always telling myself how long it should take me too recover. e.g i was like oh it will only take 8 weeks and so on. By about 3 months i stopped doing this and just let me body naturally recover when it was ready. The huge thing with porn addiction is the variance in time it takes for people to recover. Some take 3 months whilst other take up to a year or more. The point is you are going to recover so look forward to it!

9. Avoid Porn and cues - I avoided all porn and sexual pictures, i even stopped watching Game of Thrones as some scenes contain sexual images. Don't watch TV which contains sex scenes. I even stopped looking at the music channel in the gym for a while as it will have an effect on you even if you don't realise it does. The other part of this is porn fantasy- at first I didn't think it was a bad idea but as I progressed, I learned to avoid it and eventually my brain stopped trying to fantasise. When my brain wanted to view porn, I just visualise a red X instead and then distract myself. This is now pretty much an autonomous response for me now.

10. Get outside and socialise - Humans are social. There are physiological changes which happen when you spend time outside or with friends and family.  Both also act as a great distraction. I spent way too much time beating myself up about my ED while recovering and in hindsight I didn't need too. I am a big animal person so I really enjoyed running with my dog at the park and taking him on extra walks.

Ok so those are my 10 basic tips for recovering. I will probably think of more and add them at a later date. If you can do at least some of these then you will definitely see improvements in your mental and physical well being just like I did. There is strong research behind pretty much all of those 10 points, proving how good for they can be for an individual.

More importantly than all, know that you are going to recover. This is just a problem in your life and when you do recover you will be a better person for it. I now look at the last 5 months as the most important of my life to date as the have defined a lot about my character and made me a much better, stronger and more rounded person.

If anyone has any questions I'm happy to answer and feel free to PM me.

Cheers,

John Doe

LINK - My Story and Advice on Recovering.. (5 Month Recovery)

By JohnDoe6