Age 23 - PIED about cured: Morning wood is consistent, I am more relaxed, my anxiety is very low, and I overall feel more confident
My experience with porn began when I was young like many of you, and I masturbated aggressively for many years starting around age 10. At that age I suspect I was too young for it to affect me badly, and I had no knowledge of PIED or anything of that nature. ED was not something I was at all concerned about. Around age 18-19 I was having very successful sex with more than one partner, even though I did use porn fairly regularly.
Masturbation was still frequent at 3-4 times a week also. I had just started a relationship with a girl I was very into, and I had made the decision before we became sexually active to stop using porn. This was a random decision, and even now I don't remember what inspired me to choose this. I stopped using porn and masturbating roughly one month before we began engaging in sexual practices, and the sex was amazing once we started - still just as great as it always had been, still no worries Here is where things went downhill for me:
I was the type then to have some trust issues in partners, and this girl I was just starting with was best friends with her ex-boyfriend, and it drove me absolutely mad. I felt hurt and betrayed and didn't like that she was so close to him. Thus only two months into my no-porn rule, I felt compelled to break when she went on a 4 day camping trip with her ex.
My previous porn use might have gotten to one or two fappings a day with porn, totaling maybe an hour if I was just browsing. However, these new sessions lasted at LEAST an hour each, and I found myself masturbating on average 3-4 times a day with porn. Within a week of this event, there were no sexual problems yet. Exactly eight days after I started porn again I went cliff diving and messed up some stuff in my spine and ribs that caused me pain to lie on my back. My girlfriend tried having sex with me the next day, and the pain was so bad that I had my first ever case of ED and could not finish.
Those of you who have experienced that feeling of failure and incompetency know that my morale was pretty battered by this, but I tried not to let it break me. My girlfriend tried to be sympathetic, but she still took it as though it was a problem with her. Of course, the next time we tried to have sex the first thing on my mind was not being able to keep an erection, as well as the pain from my back. Boom, same results, this time quicker. And if my girlfriend wasn't sure that it was her fault before, now she was insulted and called me out for not being able to "stay up" for her. This was the first stage of my downward spiral into ED nightmares and porn abuse.
I went to college and moved away shortly after this, and ended up breaking up with her. I was optimistic that a fresh start would be good for me, that a chance to get away from those problems would fix my issues. I started hooking up with a new girl, but by now I had developed pretty bad performance anxiety. Before I had left there were numerous more failed sex attempts, with only a few ending in ejaculation (although even those were accompanied by weak erections). I had seen a chiropractor about my back, and that ended up improving things slightly, but I still was not at the same level I was before.
There was a new stress that accompanied any sexual experience, with my mind immediately flicking back to all those times I couldn't or wouldn't have sex because of erection issues. It was clear to me this was a prominent anxiety problem, and I tried to talk it out with all my partners, but I still didn't feel confident in myself. The only thing that worked at this point was porn, and I found it as a solace that I could maintain a strong erection when alone.
I had not yet realized that porn was part of the problem. After about a year and a half of on-off success with sex (still no strong erections, just occasional ones that were barely able to penetrate) I was extremely frustrated that I was having these issues in the prime of my youth. I perused all sources of info on erectile dysfunction that I could find, and I became convinced multiple times that this disaster had a singular source completely unrelated to porn use: first it was that I wasn't getting enough sleep, then it was that I had certain nutritional deficiencies, then it was that my hormones were out of whack (huh, that last one may have actually been onto something... :p). I proceeded to create programs for myself to try and get out of the funk, but none of them had good or lasting results. As such, I spent another year or so trying different things to get back, but none of them worked and I fell into a limbo.
Now we are at about 3 years into my ED and sexual anxiety fueled lifestyle. It was absolutely consuming my time and thoughts. When I wasn't using porn (which was now up to about 5 times a day), I was staring at women and thinking things like, "Damn, what I would do to her," or, "I'd fuck the hell out of her". I saw them as pieces of meat, but even though I wanted to do all these things to them, I knew I couldn't get it up to even try. This was the lowest point in my journey. I was completely reliant on porn, didn't know it, saw women as sex objects only, and had terrible performance anxiety. I no longer got random erections, or morning wood, and the amount of stimulation it took to get even a partial erection was ridiculous. On top of that, my erections while MASTURBATING were weak. I was almost certain I was never going to get back to a good point.
Then one day I had a random thought in the shower: stress is obviously tied to anxiety, so work on your stress. It was a pretty simple thought, but I gave it a go. I utilized breathing techniques and took time to take care of my stress through whatever means I felt necessary at the time. My stress slowly dropped, and I saw a small improvement in the quality of my erections. These were baby steps, but I felt compelled to approach the issue from a new angle. I realized then that this was not an incurable issue, and that I could reverse the process, but I would need to find out how and why. I stumbled upon "Your Brain on Porn" a month or so later during my research, and it all kind of clicked when I started learning about PIED. But I was still skeptical. There was no way just stopping porn could cure my issue. The issues had to be linked to other things like too much sugar, poor exercise, bad sleep, etc..
But I decided to give it a go, and quit porn once again. I lasted maybe a week the first time, and it was brutal. Didn't experience any improvements either, which was discouraging, but the success stories kept me going and I tried again. The next time, I got a week and a half, and the time after that a month. It was after the month episode that I got my first partial morning wood again, and I felt a thrill at the change. It was the first one I had experienced in three and a half years. That is a LONG time to go without something like that, so I decided to keep at it. I was now determined.
My next attempt at no porn lasted 5 months. I was resolved, and for some reason I had low trouble staying off porn, although I was still masturbating a lot. I had a new partner part way through this phase, and was able to have slightly better sex with her. My erections still failed part way through though, so I knew I had to keep going. I broke once more at 5 months after a particularly stressful day, but got right back into it. This time though, I started to cut all stimulation. The recovery was MUCH MUCH faster when I completely stopped all stimulation and porn use.
After only two to three weeks I was able to consistently finish through with sex, and the erections were stronger still. My anxiety was lessening, and I was receiving strong support from my partner because she noticed as well. Our relationship also started to improve because I began to view her as more a person that a means for sexual release. Overall, things started going uphill now that I had motivation to quit.
Now here is where I knew it was the porn and masturbation combo for sure. I had another bad week binge nearly 4 years into this journey, and my progress seemed to reset completely. The timeline was perfectly matched; as soon as I started my porn binge, the issues returned. This was the final push I needed to stay off the stuff for good.
I got back on track, and with my partners help I have managed to stay porn free for months now. I now see it as an evil, and I resist the urges as hard as I can whenever they appear. But now I can say that I am three months in currently on no porn, very little masturbation (once a week at most) and am enjoying the results. Morning wood is consistent, I am more relaxed, my anxiety is very low, and I overall feel more confident. Currently, I still experience some erection loss during sex, but it is minor, and I can still get her and if I pause to get the erection back, it comes with little prodding. Things are still improving every day, and the only time I get cravings for porn and times of EXTREME stress. I have resisted the urge consistently though, so I am confident that I am through the storm and ready to worry about other things than PIED.
So, after all of this stress and worrying and terrible experience, I would like to impart some advice to those of you still reading:
- STOP USING PORN - FOR REALZIEZ You might be like me and feel comforted by the fact that you can keep erections while on porn, and it might make you feel good. But you know what feels better? Not needing to rely on it, and the feeling when you can maintain an erection without the use of a video. Brain plasticity is a big part of this change - your body is used to needing and wanting porn. You need to tell it that there is ABSOLUTELY NO NEED FOR THAT SHIT.
- DON'T GET DISCOURAGED BY SLIP UPS Many of us relapse on the journey, but use that as a learning experience. Why did you fail? How are you going to NOT fail in the future? My biggest issue was turning to it when I was really stressed, so I made a no computer rule for when I got stressed. I would go do something active to keep my mind free until I was through the stress. You won't get anywhere if you keep creating an environment where the same accident occurs repeatedly. Change things up and commit to change! The day count isn't as important as the subjective changes you notice. All of your work doesn't completely disappear in one day, but it will still take a bit of time to come back.
- FIND SOMEONE YOU TRUST TO GET THROUGH THIS WITH YOU My current partner is amazing and understanding, and I attribute a lot of my recovery to her being supportive and helpful. Don't go to booty calls or anything like that while in recovery. Many people go no sex-porn-masturbation, but if you must have sex or have an SO, make sure they are part of this recovery with you and are willing to support you.
- BE GOOD TO YOUR PENIS Use lotions, keep it moisturized, eat good foods, exercise. Do what you can do promote healthy erectile function.
- AVOID PENIS OVERSTIMULATION If you do masturbate, ALWAYS use a lube, and don't use the deathgrip. Overstimulating the penis is a big part of the problem, so giving it ample time to recover is paramount to success. AND DON'T USE PORN
- WORK ON OTHER PARTS OF YOUR LIFE OTHER THAN PIED Stress was a huge factor in my life, so I took time to reduce it. Do you not get enough exercise? Fix that. Eat poorly? Work on it. Anything to improve your lifestyle could potentially help.
- THERE CAN BE BAD PERIODS The male body is not some magical weapon with 100% uptime. There are natural times in life where the body doesn't have high libido or doesn't want to cooperate. Just stay calm in these situations, and focus on improving. The results are not the determinant, if you are ready to have rock hard erections, you will. If not, keep working and you will see the results eventually.
- IF YOU KEEP AT IT YOU WILL SUCCEED No great achievement ever happened on day one. Just stay motivated. It took me four years of doubt and pain and stress to get here. But had I got discouraged because there weren't immediate results? I would still be looking forward instead of looking back.
In closing, anyone can recover from this, just keep motivated and know that you are reaching for a better life! I believe in you all, and KNOW THAT YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO!!! Good luck guys, stay strong!
- Come backing 23 years old now, finally back to my natural libido and sexual function