Not addicted - yet now more stable & confident, clearer thinking
I'm very new to this forum; I've heard a lot about it from my good friend FuGu, but I haven't browsed much. He's the reason I'm here on this forum, as well as the reason I'm a former porn user.
About a year and a half ago, I quit porn. FuGu had some serious issues with PIED, and when he told me about his plans to quit, I decided to do it with him, to support him. I'd been considering it for a long time, but I never felt like I really NEEDED to, so I kept putting it off. Before the information I got from him, I hadn't seen any of the research on how it can affect your brain.
I have to say, I wasn't sure what to expect going in. I don't think I ever used porn as much as FuGu, and I had never had any of the physical manifestations, so I wasn't sure I would notice anything (although I was still glad to be quitting). That being said, I had had a lot of anxiety and confidence issues for as long as I could remember, especially regarding women.
I started looking at porn in early high school. I can't remember exactly when, but probably ninth or tenth grade. I had a computer in my room, and I can remember a period where I would come home every day and masturbate to porn. We would have sleepovers where we would collectively watch porn and masturbate to it. Sounds weird when you say it out loud…
As I got older, the habit faded a bit, and by the time I hit sophomore year of college, my habit took the shape of "One week on, two-three weeks off". I was KINDA trying to do it less, so I would avoid it for a couple weeks, but then I would be feeling particularly sad, or stressed, or busy, and I would masturbate to porn. That would trigger a week of doing it every day, maybe twice a day. Like I said, during this whole time, I had a lot of issues with anxiety, self-doubt, and bi-polar moods - brief periods of being really happy, followed by weeks and weeks of being depressed.
The start of our Junior year of college, the two of us gave up porn. I never got as bad as having PIED or PE, so my recovery process was not as involved as it often is. I also didn't have to deal with the anxiety and depression that seems to often come with quitting porn. I DID, however, notice a difference, and it came on pretty quickly. I suppose the best way to say it is that I felt more stable. I felt more confident in myself, and I felt like I was much more capable of thinking clearly.
One of the biggest improvements for me was my ability to talk to women. I had never had sex, never had a girlfriend, had gone on only a handful of dates and only kissed a girl for the first time the year before. It wasn't an overnight thing, but I was becoming more confident, and more able to just… be myself, without nearly as much of the anxiety I used to deal with.
A big marker for me was about three months in. I went to a birthday party a friend was having, and there was this INCREDIBLY cute girl there. Normally that would be enough to freak me out, I wouldn't talk much, and that would be the end of the story. But I had this… certainty. I knew I could get her number. And at the end of the night, I did. We went on a date, and it never went anywhere after that, but still… I biked home that night thinking "Well, I am NEVER looking at porn again."
The trend continued, (with plenty of ups and downs), and a couple months after that, I found myself in my first relationship. Something I had been worried for years I would never be able to do, and it had happened less than a year after quitting porn!
At that point I hadn't orgasmed in seven months, so when we started having sex, I… Uh… didn't last long. But that got better after a month or so. That relationship ended in the summer, and I felt so much better than I had the previous summer. I continued dating around, feeling more confident all the time, and a couple months ago, I started another relationship with an incredible girl.
It's funny; looking back now, I've gotten so used to this newer, more stable and confident way of being that it's almost hard to believe I dealt with the things I used to deal with. Of course, I'm not 100% better; I still do deal with a lot of anxiety, and I still have a lot of self-confidence issues. But it's gotten so much better. The difference is really astounding. And I firmly believe that quitting porn is the most important force behind the transformation. I've become a staunch advocate for quitting, and when I hear about men with issues similar to mine, I try to mention how much it's helped me (tactfully, of course. It can be an awkward thing to bring up)
Anyway, I hope this story can be some sort of motivation to someone out there. You're doing the right thing!