Age 28 - 90 days, Q&A - HOCD and social anxiety improved
90 days NoFap, 86 days no orgasm. Edged twice, briefly viewed porn twice (unrelated to edging). Social anxiety, HOCD, and stress immensely diminished. Confidence up, energy up, relationships strengthened, and limitless flirtation with girls. 28 year old male. AMA.
[Responses to various forum members who asked questions:]
- On what day did nofap start to take effect?
I started to notice positive effects as I approached the 7 day mark. The first few days were pure willpower against the uncomfortable horniness, but as I pushed through I noticed a sharp drop off in general anxiety. Probably weeks 2 to 4 were where I saw the real physiological improvements, and as I moved further through the challenge I started to notice the mental clarity, increased focus etc. Those more mental improvements came through later, when I wasn't using my mind to fight my body quite so much.
- What do you think when you see some porn ads on the internet or something?
[This] has reshaped how I view sexuality altogether, which includes an awareness of the insanely pornographic culture we live in. When I truly broke the connection between my hand and my penis I interrupted the controlling effect of pornographic imagery.
Fashion ads, porn spam, none of that phases me directly anymore because masturbating to it simply isn't an option. When I do choose to look, I just look at it objectively, and usually think about the person in the photograph, not just their body. It is almost as if I would have to flip a mental switch to view it through a sexual lens. I could do it, but there wouldn't be much point because I already know it won't lead to any gratification.
- Feels good, man?
Feels amazing. My addicted self never would have believed that the subtleties of real life could be this rewarding, and produce such a profound sense of inner peace. I now understand that a peaceful, quiet mind is a precursor to happiness, which I think I am truly starting to feel.
It was just one of those things that came with time (probably 70 days).
- Improved flirtation, yes, but did you see results?
Sex was never an objective of mine with NoFap. The way I see it, goal number one was to better myself and become more connected with my family and friends. If those things are met, everything other than that (including sex) will take care of itself. "Let the chips fall where they may."
That being said, I did have some encounters that led to dates, and one that led to sex. I strongly feel it wouldn't have happened had I been fapping away all my masculine energy, but I can't say NoFap is DIRECTLY to thank. NoFap unlocked the real me, and I got myself laid! ;)
But there was one time, when I was eating alone at a deli, and a waitress cold asked me my name. I had a back and forth with her, and it ended up with her giving me an up-and-down look and saying "I hope to see you again sometime."
I could have said "how about after work?" Right then and there, but I didn't even feel the need to. To me, that's what the inner peace really feels like. Is not having to jump on every single opportunity presented to you like it's the last you'll ever get. As crazy as it sounds, the freedom that comes along with that liberation from sex feels more whole and fulfilling than sex itself.
Would I jump on it if I had another chance? Who knows. I'll tell you when it happens.
- What was your level of social anxiety before and what is now?
I was generally reluctant to socialize, even with friends and family. I would avoid returning calls, had trouble holding eye contact, and would generally display traits that gave out the vibe I didn't want to be there.
I think it was because I walked around feeling like a phony all the time; like I was living a double life. It got to the point where I would assume a subservient, conformist role in interactions with others to appease them until I reached the point where I could escape from the interaction. I did this with cashiers, new people I'd meet, friends and family, really I was scared to interact with anyone who would confirm my own existence on this planet - a true and sad form of self-loathing.
Things are so different now. Instead of fearing social interaction I CRAVE it. I feel like I have nothing to lose, because when it comes down to it, I don't! I hold eye contact, I dive head first into conversations, I joke, I tease, and most importantly I listen. That is the real form of interaction I was missing, was really listening to others and focusing on them, not ruminating on myself. (That is a huge part of this process too, the add/ocd/mind racing type activity, for me, has gone from 100 to about 15)
Overall my outgoingness is met with positivity. The result of which is true and meaningful connection, which I was scared to acknowledge was missing in my life. I never would have guessed it before, but by putting myself out there the world around me truly has changed for the better. The only negative reaction I get (rarely) is seeing someone turtleshell like I used to. But the important thing to remember is that it's not about me coming on too strong, it's about them and their personal issues. This is something that took me a long time to realize when I was in that state.
NoFap definitely played big part in helping me claw my way out of it. Especially when my mind didn't have the mental clarity to just resolve things on its own.
- What helped take your mind off the cravings the most, when it got particularly bad? Just wondering what other things you might have been doing alongside nofap.
I would say I'm a generally unstructured type guy, so I didn't exactly have a go-to distraction whenever I got the urge. I know some guys do push-ups, but when I was in the heat of the moment my distractions were usually more cerebral (shifting my attention, etc).
A lot of times I would have difficulty in the 30 minutes before turning out the lights to go to sleep. I would have such an agitating feeling of horniness with very little to keep my hand away from my junk, so sometimes I would throw on headphones and an eye-mask and just lose myself in music. Other times I would try to identify other things that I was craving, besides an orgasm. For example, If I managed to break my focus from the horniness I would realize I was actually hungry, and go tend to that need instead. Doesn't cooking a delicious meal just sound like an fantastic alternative to fapping away in the fetal position? Self_as_object has a great description of this technique of identifying underlying discomfort called "flipping your gremlin" in one of his YouTube videos. Hugely helpful.
Something I discovered at about the 75 day mark is the power of a cold shower. If you EVER need something to take you out of your own ahead and put you into the physical real world, a cold shower will do it RIGHT NOW. I tried doing full cold For a few days in a row, and got to the point where I became a fragile and irritable wreck, so now I have switched to the "Bond" shower (start hot and end cold), And have been on that for almost 2 weeks now. Absolutely loving it. But I can say that a cold shower in any time of weakness will throw you into full throttle warrior mode, guaranteed.
In terms of extra self-improvement activities, I have been running fairly regularly, trying to do yoga as regularly as possible, and generally eating better. These are all things I wanted to do for a long time, but only since NoFap am finding them easier to stick with
Now I'm about to head out to buy Mindfulness in Plain English, as 1440p suggested, and try to add meditation to the list!
- On a weekly basis, how often did you fap before?
Probably 10 times. If I got it down to 7 it was a real "champ" week for me. Such a helpless state to be in. Although, any desire to improve should be seen as positive. But it was an inability to orgasm from sex that was the final push to quit.
- How did orgasm make you feel? You went 86 days so I assumed it happened early on (or very recently), but having just had some sex with a (more or less) stranger, I'm honestly feeling quite a bit more depressed today.
Mine was pleasurable, but fairly empty as well (yes it was on day 86). It was a good reminder of why I joined NoFap in the first place. I am not looking for a better orgasm, I'm looking for connection. With out it the orgasms are just as meaningless as jerking off. It was a good reminder to not get in the habit of mindlessly pursuing sex just because I don't masturbate.
- Random advice?
This is a challenge of the mind. If you approach it with a determined attitude you will succeed. Envision the person you want to be, and decide that you already are him. Then take the practical steps to ensure you stay that way.
Getting your badge is the first step. Then you may choose to use a porn blocker. Have distractions ready. Pick up a hobby. Finish a project you've been putting off. Do whatever it takes to facilitate your recovery, as it is unrealistic to expect yourself to do it on willpower alone.
Finally, let go of the idea that you need to orgasm to feel happiness in life. It is simply untrue. Sexual gratification is a shallow feeling, don't be afraid to let it out of your life, at least for a good length of time.
- What got you through the first two weeks?
Honestly just gritting my teeth and refusing to give in. It was a lot about mental commitment for me in the beginning. Failure was NOT an option. Period. I also distracted myself when needed. Just change something, ANYTHING to get your mind of fapping.
My hardest night was at about 14 days. I was laying in bed trying to soothe myself down from a pretty horny state so I could get to sleep. I would say I was in a pretty fragile state to begin with. Then all of a sudden my upstairs neighbours started rutting like pigs and moaning a LOT. It felt like sex was closing in on me from every angle, like the universe was telling me to just give in and relieve myself because there is truly no escape. By I refused to do it. I resisted so hard that tears were literally streaming down my face in bed.
Sure enough, as all pain does, the horniness passed and eventually I got to sleep. The feeling the next day was a whole new level of serenity. After those first two weeks things started to get better, and sometimes worse, but always on a steady incline overall. Flatlining and sexual frustration were hurdles throughout the challenge, as was a strong desire to just view porn (not masturbate) at the midway point.
I remember being at 8 days. Congrats on the number circle :) every day is a milestone. Be proud of each day, hour, and minute you aren't giving in. Eventually the accumulation of time will become a great source of strength for you.
I suffered with HOCD for basically ten years of my life. It started when I was 17 (that was in 2001 before Google handed you everything on a silver platter). Having no idea what it was I quickly spiraled out of control and reached an extremely desperate time in my life. After 8 years of painful soul-searching I finally learned that I wasn't gay, but that I was in an obsessive cycle of questioning and trying in vain to determine my orientation.
Once I discovered what hocd was it took me a few months to accept the idea that it might be a description of my own behaviour. I sought cbt treatment and through lots of self talk and support from my family I emerged. Now looking back it is crystal clear that I my story was 100% hocd. Even though I did experiment with porn in my teenage years, which led to some gay porn, I wouldn't call it porn-induced hocd, but porn was undoubtedly one factor of my initial questioning.
Flash forward to last year and I was noticing that while my hocd tendencies had faded I was still experiencing the familiar social anxiety (it was actually worsening, which was surprising because I was able to say/do whatever I wanted in social settings without analyzing it for signs of homosexuality) and I had a general anxiety and rumination that was taking a negative toll on my day to day life.
That's when I realized that while hocd was the predominant force, a bunch of other ocd and generalized anxiety issues had set in over time which I never noticed. I tried to isolate most of the symptoms through self talk and mindfulness/cbt, but they were hard to define and therefore difficult to fight against.
Now, here's where this long winded story gets interesting: for those entire 10 years, without fail, I was fapping 1-3 times a day. I never saw it being a problem, especially after my hocd epiphany when I stopped forcing my self to think of dudes because it "matched" my "true" orientation. Instead I went wild fantasizing about girls and looking at "straight" porn because I finally could without a voice in my head telling me I was incorrect. I thought this was harmless because I was now mentally healthy. I fapped and fapped, continuing to think I had moved beyond all my past issues.
Yet the general anxiety was still there.
The entire time I knew there was a quiet voice telling me "this fapping is wrong, it's not even pleasurable, it's self abuse, you dot have control" etc etc. But as I'm sure you all know, your conscience can be dangerously easy to block out in the throes of addiction. So finally, after some heavily disappointing DE with a girl, I reached a breaking point and decided to join NoFap.
That's when the superpowers kicked in.
I know everyone reports their own results differently, but in addition to the immediate boost in self confidence, the positive outlook and the magnetism toward women, I experienced a ton of qualities that indicated my general anxiety had diminished SIGNIFICANTLY. I have become 100x more social and outgoing, have less fear of failure, I ruminate less (past/future thinking), I have focus and clarity, brain fog decreased by 70%, I am physically motivated, I eat better, I eat MORE, I crave social interaction instead of hiding from it, and I take control of situations that aren't working for me as a person.
Essentially, I'm every bit the man I was at 17, only a lot wiser, more self-assured, and more capable to handle ANYTHING life throws at me.
I know I just uploaded half my life story on your post, but when it comes out it comes out :) Honestly I don't expect anyone will read this, except for those with ocd as we tend to like to read and compare other stories to our own experience. For the OP I will post a TL;DR, and thank you for sharing your reddit real estate with me.
TL;DR: I didn't think PMO was contributing to my anxiety until I joined NoFap. Now, based on the improvements I've experienced, I know with certainty it was the single biggest contributer.
by Kcyd91 days