Age 33 - DE, social anxiety, self-hatred gone, loves life
I have completed the 90 day challenge! Have I learned about myself and become a better man from this experience? Yes, but not for the reasons I thought. Allow me to explain. I am 33, and have been a PMO addict for over a decade.
Like many here, I grew up with the internet, and being the “hacker type” I was fascinated with newsgroups, underground bbs boards, 4Chan (before it got cleaned up), TOR and other non-mainstream services where unregulated content was easy to come by. My viewing habits became more fetishized, to the point that a naked woman no longer got me aroused – it took extreme shock value to get me off. After a PMO session I would come back to my senses and be disgusted with myself. I would think “I would never want to have this type of sex in real life, why is this what I HAVE to use to get off? Am I damaged?”
During my addiction, my life was a shell of a human being. I lived by myself for many years, so PMO was habitual every night before bed. It was as “natural” as taking a shit – the guilt I felt when I was younger being replaced by a certain satisfaction that I was a virile man that could get hard on command. But that was all ego, and in fact I was mentally damaged from my years of viewing disturbing images – something I was not willing to admit to myself or others – even in an anonymous online forum like NoFap. I was detached from family and friends, feeling like I was in this world alone. I was living with depression, and Fapping was my only dopamine fix.
I felt unworthy of a female companion, secretly fearing that no woman, no matter how sweet or good, could fulfill my deviant desires. I did not deserve a “good girl” instead I resigned myself to always playing the white knight who “saves the troubled girl” – and have many short term (failed) relationships to show for my efforts. Addicts of mental pain tend to seek like company. I because socially awkward and anxiety was hurting the few social relationships I held onto. It was then that I made up my mind: this is NOT who I am.
I needed to find another way to live life, and as an avid user of Reddit I aware of NoFap but thought it silly that abstaining from PMO would lead to real life changes. However, I identified my negative thoughts about myself stemming from my PMO use, so decided to try NoFap as part of the process of working on myself. Boy was I surprised…
When I decided to really abstain the first few days were hell. My balls literally burned as they ached for release. I had to sleep on my back as even a slight touch was physically painful. There was a constant craving and I was moody for the first week – something that convinced me even more that this was the result of dopamine being denied to the body. I made it to 32 days with my first attempt. In that period I noticed many of the “superpowers” mentioned by others in this sub. I relapsed a few times after that at about the 1 week mark, but this time I am proud to present myself for the 90 day ceremony commencement. After the first few weeks it DOES get easier to abstain. Point being: never give up – this is not an easy challenge…. But it is so worth it!
The “superpowers” I experienced for myself:
- Social anxiety gone – Before NoFap I was on the verge of getting Xanax or other medication to help me be more social. I would “hide” at home during the weekend on PMO binges. When I would go out I felt like everyone knew my secret and secretly just wanted to be alone. Now? I am back to my old social ways – making jokes and putting together trips to the beach/movies/dancing/etc with friends – a 180 turnaround from a few months ago.
- More confident – Before I would avoid giving my opinion in case it offended someone by accident. I was not being truthful in my interactions with people as I would always be agreeing with them to get them to like me. Now? I confidently walk places, eye contact with both men and women, deeper voice and an ease in my everyday actions. I now feel as if my opinion and actions are as relevant/important (or more so) than anyone elses - my confidence in myself is unlike it has been in years.
- Healthy relationship – I am a good looking guy and make good money, yet I would always end up in unhealthy relationships where I was such a beta. I even considered prostitutes just to get my physical gratification without all the mess of a relationship (which I felt unworthy to have anyway). Now? After about 3 months of NoFap (I reset a few times in the first few months) I met a girl at an after-party. When I met her my badge was on day 2 – but I decided that she was worth my effort to break this crippling habit. The time I would normally spend searching for porn then PMO I instead used to date this girl. Now 90 days later she lives with me and we are talking about marriage/kids.
- Sexual stamina – From years of PMO I had unknowingly messed up the natural sexual urges that allow normal orgasm during sex. I could get hard but had DE (delayed ejaculation) to the point where I was ashamed to have sex as I would not be able to cum with a woman. Now? It was a difficult transition to have a steady girlfriend, but she was loving and patient with me – something that I am not with myself. My DE is much better, and the techniques for delay are now used to make her orgasm multiple times. My pent up sexual desire now has a valid outlet and it feels soooooo good to be the sexual creature that I was born to be without feelings of guilt afterwards.
- Healthy thoughts – I would hate myself. I would belittle myself in thought. I considered suicide. I would wish I could sleep forever. Now? I love life. It is the exact same life (same job, same car, same problems) yet the people in my life and the new set of circumstances make me excited to wake up. Depression is a terrible thing and your mind really does create your reality. Healthy mind = healthy life. Unhealthy mind = unhealthy life.
*TL/DR: NoFap has changed the way I view myself. It has given me something t be proud of. It has taught me self-discipline. It has made me better than I was before. *
Thank you all for your posts in this sub-reddit, it feels good to know that I am not alone. Life really does gets better without PMO, and one day you will understand/believe why I say that (even if you don't feel that way yourself currently). I hope I can inspire at least one person to stick with the challenge and change their life - the same way I was inspired when I was ready to change.
by craphty 90 days
UPDATE 180 DAYS
Hello fellow journeymen, I wanted to give an update on my "new normal" as well as a few words of encouragement for those on this self-improvement journey. Today is my 180th day of avoiding PMO. I am 33 years old and when I look back at my past porn habit I am ashamed of how much time I have wasted.
PMO was a habit for me, one where I would spend 2 to 4 hours a night searching for "just the right video" that was bizarre or degrading enough for my mind to feel satisfied. Like any habit the amount and intensity of the required material escalated to unhealthy levels. I was a slave to my mind. I rationalized away my self-destructive behavior, excusing myself again and again, all while feeling weak to my own urges. I viewed women as sexual beings only, and secretly hated myself and felt unworthy of love. If this is also your story fellow Fapstronaught... take heed: there is hope.
After finding out about NoFap (from 4chan of all places) I read up and watched the Your Brain On Porn videos. I then understood that part of my problem was willpower... the other part was addiction. When I understood my behavior as an addiction like any other (to cigarettes, drugs, etc) I resolved to take control of my life and wrestle my mind free from its addicted state.
It was not easy at first. I had physical pains and withdrawal symptoms in the fist week. There was a literal burning sensation in my groin that wanted release. I stuck with it. I relapsed a few times but now, after relapsing I understood that it was like a smoker wanting for "one more cigarette" - and I forgave myself. I saw my body as acting separate from my true desire and made peace with myself that although the flesh is week, my spirit was willing. I did not give up, and neither should you.
I started on "hard mode" (no gf) but after a few weeks I met this new and amazing girl who will become my wife in a few months (we are engaged!). It was difficult to transition into a relationship as years of self abuse using porn had desensitized me sexually with DE as well as mentally. There was a period of resetting to my "new normal" which is what I now live everyday. Here are some things I now enjoy that I did not before:
- Improved mental clarity - there is a mental fog that used to follow me around blurring and dulling my sight and other senses. I feel more alert and sensitive to the world now.
- More productive time - I used to have a routine of coming home from work, eating food then spending the rest of the night torrenting porn or searching for the "right video" to get me off. Now, I have my fiancee with me in the evenings to talk to, to cook together, to play with the dog, to enjoy our time instead of waste it.
- Self esteem - I used to avoid social situations and even going out with friends as my anxiety worsened. This social anxiety was rooted in feelings of unworthiness. I did not feel I had anything useful to contribute to conversations and my presence was a burden to others. Not anymore. I speak from my heart and am bold in my actions - I have re-discovered the man I was years ago.
- More in control of emotions and life - Before I would feel like I had little control of my daily life and that my insular routine was keeping me "safe" - in fact my sheltered existence was wasting my life away in a daily grind that only served to fulfill my base animal desires (eat, sex, sleep). I have broken that cycle and you can too. Through meditation I now have more control over how I think and feel and use that control to choose positive things to dwell on. You are your own worst critic... learn to forgive yourself. Learn to love yourself... weaknesses and all.
I hope others in this sub reddit stay on course and benefit themselves the way I did. I used NoFap as a starting point to bettering myself and my life. I have leaned that no one is a lost cause and we are all able to be better people. NoFap gives you a sense of self-pride which will carry over into other aspects of your daily life. Other people will notice a difference in your posture, attitude, mood and energy level.
My "success story" is just one of many. This 90 day challenge is a beneficial teaching tool - it teaches you about yourself. Learn your body. Learn your mind. When you do, you will figure out how to "hack your brain" and divert your negative energy into something more useful. Do it for yourself. Do it for others that are important in your life. You are worth it.