“How long will my reboot take?”

“I have Porn induced ED. How long will my reboot take?” This is maybe the most common question I get in emails and blog comments. And I understand why: you want to know what to expect.

While some guys with mild cases of porn-induced ED can reboot within 3-6 weeks of no PMO (no porn, masturbation, or orgasm), for others it can take up to 4 months. And in some extreme cases, it may take up to a year or more to fully recover.

So how long will your reboot take? While it’s a complex question and impossible to give exact timelines, what we can do is look at factors that influence the length of time a reboot will take.

I will do my best at a thorough answer, based on:

1. My own personal experience.

2. Reading many, many (too many to count) reboot accounts on various internet forums, in emails I’ve received, and in online surveys I’ve conducted.

From these sources, I was able to boil it down to 8 important factors. How long your reboot will take depends on:

1. Your age and past sexual experience. In general, younger guys without much sexual experience outside of porn tend to take longer to recover than older guys. This is because younger guys usually discover internet porn before they have sexual experiences with a real partner.

On the other hand, older men who learned to masturbate with their imagination, images (say, a Playboy magazine) or soft-core porn, and had sexual partners before internet porn came around, may find they have a faster reboot. Having had this past encoding in the brain with real sex seems to speed up the recovery process.

2. How many years you were into PMO. If you have been using internet porn heavily for 10 years it will be more difficult and take more time than if you just discovered porn last year (but really, who just discovered internet porn last year?)

3. How long your masturbation sessions were and how often. Five-hour sessions vs. 30 minute sessions. Three times per day vs. once every two days. Longer and more frequent sessions equal a longer reboot time.

4. How extreme your tastes escalated to. If you escalated to more extreme genres, you will take longer to reboot. More extreme = more time. Your brain will need time to rewire to the physical stimulation and “normal” sexual situations. And to answer the question: will I every be able to get off to “normal” sex again? Many guys have been there and recovered – but be prepared for it to take time.

5. How severe your ED is. There are different levels of severity of ED. For example, a guy who can regularly get 70% erections (without porn) will likely recover faster than a guy who (in the same situation) can’t get erections at all. Being honest with yourself about where you are now will help you prepare for the road ahead.

6. Whether or not you abstain from all three: porn, masturbation, and orgasm. From my own experience and many guys’ reports, recovery seems to happen quicker with abstention from not just porn, but masturbation and orgasm as well. Some speculate this may be due to the “re-sensitizing” of a desensitized brain/penis, the fact remains that no-PMO provides the best results.

7. How CONSISTENT you are in your reboot. Relapsing after 20 days or 50 days — like I did when I started — will set you back. If it happens, don’t beat yourself up about it. But know that it will set you back and create a plan to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Also, be warned — according to many rebooting reports, testing your erections before you’re ready may set you back.

8. Other less tangible factors. There are other things that are less concrete that will affect how long your reboot will take. For example, your attitude towards rebooting and your thought patterns.

Guys who worry more are going to take longer. Do you find yourself worrying a lot about things like “is this normal?” “Will I ever be able to have sex again?” This constant worry might make you more anxious about sex and even lead to performance anxiety – a common pairing with porn-induced erectile dysfunction. I was one of these worriers and it led to a lengthier reboot process.

How not to worry so much? For one, you have to have faith that the process will work. Many guys have gone before you and overcome porn addiction and porn-induced ED. Trust that your recovery will happen too. Don’t beat yourself up for thinking these things, but they will set you back in your progress – especially if you’re dealing with performance anxiety, which is a common pairing. To cut down on worry (and relax and clear your mind), I recommend a daily diet of meditation or progressive relaxation.

I’ve written about my own reboot timeline, which you can check out here: