Age 37 - ED is rarely a problem for me now. Relationship between my wife and I has drastically improved.
I want to start by saying that I feel to be somewhat in the minority here, since I am older and married 18 years - that's more years than some of you have been alive. I'm not doing this in hard mode, and I am trying to have sex as often as I feel comfortable doing so.
I digress. As to how I'm doing, I would have to say "um, ok, I guess". This 90-day period hasn't transformed me into a beast in bed, nor do I have any superpowers or tons of increased confidence, etc. As far as sex goes, things are improving, but not at the pace I thought they would, although I have surprised myself a few times. I have recently been able to O twice, so I got that going for me. I think this is due more to sperm retention than anything. One positive is that I have pretty much stopped using ED meds, as ED is rarely a problem for me now. Most times I am just anxiously horny, and by the time my wife and I are able to have sex, my body and mind are ready. I still have some performance anxiety, but my raging horniness usually overcomes it. Plus, I have learned a few relaxation techniques, and I have had to sort of re-learn what sex is supposed to be between loving partners. I still occasionally find myself having unwanted thoughts of P during sex, so this is quite disconcerting.
The relationship between my wife and I has drastically improved. And, I have noticed something significant: I can feel more strongly than I used to. I feel much more love and affection for my wife, kids, and family than I ever have. I think this comes from the sense of freedom I have achieved, and knowing that the porn does not have control over me any more, and it never will again. I am also far more spiritual than before (I was sort of closet agnostic), but I think it is good for me to have faith in a higher power, and indeed my prayers and time in church/worship have been more meaningful than I remember them being in many, many years. I am also much more calm, less angry, and far less sensitive about the small things in life.
All of this has been a gradual change, and of course it has been accompanied by some major modifications to my lifestyle. I have been intensely and consistently working out (lifting and cardio), improving my diet, taking supplements, and (as I mentioned) improving my spiritual life.
But shit still sucks. I still go through mood swings, occasional depression, feelings of hopelessness, horrible flatlines, and thoughts of suicide.
I don't feel like I have fully reset.
So what's next? Another ninety days? YES, but I plan to continue this indefinitely. After 12+ years of fucking around with pricey therapy and 12-step groups I feel I have finally emotionally detached myself from porn. I am hoping another more time will help me fully reset.
Thanks to everyone in the NoFap community for getting me through this.
P.S. Porn can go fuck itself.
Your friend, TemporalLobe
It's probably not beneficial for everyone to tell their spouse - that really depends on the spouse and how understanding they are (I know of a woman who left her husband because of that issue alone). I would say that for most couples though, open communication is the key to success with any marital issue. We must communicates our needs, desires, and struggles in order for the other person to know what to provide.
The benefit I've seen is that over time, my wife has come to understand that the sexual dysfunction is not occurring because I'm not attracted to her or because she was not enough for me. Also, telling her (and discussing it from time to time) takes the secretive component out of the equation, which reduces the "forbidden fruit" syndrome associated with fapping.
Like many others have been saying, each experienced is nuanced in many different ways. In my case, years of PMO have led to a sort of sexual burnout and boredom. It started very much as you described in your letter (which I read). I would fap, then have no sexual desire for my wife, and when she waned to be intimate, I would feign the tired/headache/sick/stressed excuse. This eventually lead to less and less frequent sex. Then, when we would have sex, there was always this little nagging reminder in my head that since I had fapped earlier that day or the day before, that maybe I wouldn't be able to perform. That worry turned into a slight fear, and years later, I had my first episode of DE, then ED. After the ED started, it was a downward spiral, and I was an in infinite loop of failure. I tried to overcome the problem by recalling porn fantasies, which sometimes worked and often times didn't.
When men (and women) finally let go of porn on every level (physical, emotional, and spiritual), they start to re-learn what love, sex, and intimacy actually are. For years now, I have often not been having sex with my wife, rather with a porn fantasy. Yes, I suppose some fantasy is normal and healthy for a sex life, but when it completely invades your bedroom, it becomes a poison.
Your perspective is interesting because your husband is very likely where I was about 13-14 years ago (my understanding is that you guys are a young, recently married couple). I considered myself an "addict" back then, and I went through various 12-step programs and individual and group therapy, but none of it worked, at least not for very long. The only thing that forced me into this Come to Jesus moment was getting ED.
What helped me early on in my journey was a Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist. I think if I stuck with it, it would have been successful. It's worth checking out. The term "addict" is thrown around a lot, so I don't know if your husband truly is an addict, but whatever you call it - compulsion, urge, desire, sin, etc. - it's still a problem that has the huge potential to destroy intimacy. I wish I could write a letter describing this to my younger self!
Don't feel like writing a whole narrative, so how about a synopsis composed of sentence fragments? 37, married 18 years. Been PMOing since 10. Have HOCD. Tried stopping. Didn't work. Went to expensive therapy with sexual addiction counselors for years. Didn't work. Attended SA groups. Didn't work. Prayed and begged God. Didn't work. Got ED. That worked. Figured it was PIED after watching yourbrainonborn and other videos and desperately researching causes of ED. Tried ED drugs, which sort of helped the ED, but I started PMOing again and got ED again, and on top of the that DE! Found NoFap. Hallelujah. 40 days PMO-free (that means no P or M). Now I'm working out, taking care of myself, and having somewhat normal PIV without drugs. No ED, no DE. In fact, I can't last more than 1-2 min. The end.
Being that it was father's day yesterday, I so wish I could have shared this joy and achievement with my children. If only they knew how much of a father I wasn't to them before this.
I have been porn-free for a full year! I started out on NoFap and lasted about 9 months there, but continued going porn-free until now and still going strong. I am going to list below some of the things I've learned and experienced (these are simply my observations and opinions, and therefore not necessarily correct).
- There is no silver bullet and no single technique to avoiding fapping and porn. It takes a huge motivator and hitting rock-bottom in your life. For me that was sexual dysfunction (ED, DE, etc.) and the near-destruction of my marriage.
- Exercise is very important. I'm not sure exactly why, but it seems that when the urges are strong, vigorous cardio and strength training release endorphins and other hormones that really help both physically and emotionally.
- Believe in a higher power. Again, not sure exactly why this works, but being more spiritual and praying has helped me leave behind my desires.
- NoFap/Porn-Free is not necessarily a cure for ED. I found that out the hard (well, not so hard!) way. My ED was brought on by performance anxiety and poor health (not to mention getting older). My wife and I are now seeing a CST (Certified Sex Therapist). By the way most herbal supplements are complete bullshit, except L-Arginie + Pycnogenol, which is well documented and researched by NIH. I will not link to any brand or study - just do the research.
- I have begun to "feel" again. For almost the entire period of my fapping days (about 15 years), many of my emotions were clouded or subdued, except for anger and hopelessness. I am a much happier and far less angry man. I feel love, kindness, and sadness more deeply than ever before. I empathize far more than I used to, whereas before I noticed a sense of detachment from most human beings.
- Woman are far more attractive than they used to be. I can be watching any TV show, any movie, etc., and when an attractive woman comes on, I'm like "Oh my GOD". Even older women, or women from the past (60s shows, vintage photos, etc.)! I see women for their actual beauty and sex appeal, and through porn-goggles.
- This has not really altered my sexual preferences and fetishes at their core. Long ago, I started to get into shemale/tranny porn and other abominable genres I won't divulge. I no longer have the desire to fap to any of this kind of porn, but I still occasionally use these fantasies during sex or masturbation to get aroused. My conclusion is that is either an inseparable part of me, or I need more time apart form the porn.
- It's unclear if real sex helps (i.e., PIV sex with an actual human being, in this case my wife). I've heard that the so-called "hard mode" is more effective, but that having sex helps with healing. In any case, I've been having sex as much as I can, at least when the ED doesn't get in the way.
- Therapy Helps. So does anti-anxiety medication if you need it (I did).
- Sharing the experience with your SO helps. My wife and I have been on this journey together, and without her support, this would not have been possible.
- I have only one regret - that I ever got into porn in the first place, that I allowed myself to be controlled and ruined by this filth, that I chose porn over my wife, family, friends, and and my job every single time.
TL;DR: I am a better father and husband thanks for NoFap and PornFree.