[History, Day 12] I’m a 35-year-old man. I was married for about ten years and had no problems at all, sexually speaking. Also, I had never seen porn. I used to make love with my wife for hours. Functionality was something I just never even thought about.
Upon getting divorced about 5 years ago, I was all alone and decided one day to take a look at porn. When I first saw it, it was a very intense thing. It felt like someone had injected about half a bottle of whiskey into my bloodstream, and I almost had an orgasm just from seeing it. An orgasm without an erection. My whole body and especially everything in my groin felt warm and tingly and, well, wonderful. I only watched a certain kind of porn (lesbian) which I found to be very sensual and never really escalated at all. But for two years on and off just watching it would give me these reactions.
(Before viewing porn I had no problems with E.D. whatsoever.)
Fast forward and a year or two later I was with a woman I really wanted to be with and discovered I had pretty terrible E.D. I tried Cialis three times but it didn’t work very well at all. My libido was disappearing. I was going for weeks without an erection. So I would try to “charge” myself up by watching some porn. Things did not get better.
I found I could only give myself a fairly decent erection by thinking about a specific fantasy. This fantasy is pretty close to something I’ve actually done, but sometimes there were, “advanced” versions. I would read erotic fiction, thinking, well, if my mind can give me an erection, this is a good thing. But now I don’t know.
Anyway, I am not sure what to do about fantasies and urges and tingling to best help myself recover. I find now I can bring on the tingling wonderfulness just by thinking about sex, or looking at a woman. Sometimes this gives me the beginnings of an erection. And sometimes I feel like I could have an orgasm just from thinking. And here on day 12, I’m just starting to crave one.
[Next day] Had an intense panic attack and didn’t sleep all night.
I stopped P a year or so ago and have no strong desire to look at it anymore. But whenever I try to take a break from MO it seems like it’s easy for the first week or so, then all of a sudden it just takes over my whole brain. I think about MO and fantasies at least a hundred times a day. So anyway, it was about 6 this morning and I knew if I just O’d I would get sleepy. I had been basically writhing for two days when I was alone, just wanting an O so badly. I caved in. I did get a few hours of sleep, which was a relief.
I have to say though, that during the abstinence I felt different when I was in public. More solid as a human being. More confident. I’m generally anxious and look at the ground. But I was just walking around with my head high, talking to folks, etc. I had to avoid looking at pretty women at the mall too much because I was starting to notice that I was about to react each time, and it’s been so long since that happened, I wasn’t sure what to do.
But anyway I don’t really feel all that guilty about having to reset the o-dometer this morning, because I was out of my mind with panic and tiredness and desire, and also, I’m confident that I can get further this time, especially since I got a little taste of how the better balance will effect me.
We all need to remember that we are working against habits which we may have implanted over five, ten, twenty years, with thousands and thousands of sessions, images, repetitions. So it’s not going to be easy, and there will be many bumps in the road.
[Several months later] I went 15 days no PMO immediately before these 16 days now. Around day 13 of the previous attempt I was a writhing, horny wreck. I was thinking of sex more, and more obsessively, than I did when I was in high school. I’m in my mid-30s now. Probably a hundred times a day the time, just completely daydreaming about it, writhing, tingling, completely wanting it.
Now it’s barely crossing my mind. It was worrying this a little bit. But now I’m starting to question the role sexual fantasies have played in my mind. (I have managed to avoid them almost totally this time around.)
I think they must have always just been a total escape from reality, not a longing for a connection with a woman. So today I was walking around the mall. Something a rarely do. And of course there were some really attractive women there, and I looked at some of them, but I wasn’t really distracted that much, as I’ve always been. I felt a lot less nervous.
And later, when I was in a class with a women I’ve been fantasizing about for years, after class I sort of imagined she followed me out to my car and propositioned me sexually. Just sort imagined her saying the words, and not the usual sex fantasy. And I thought that if it really happened I would say something like, “I don’t really feel any connection to you.” This is because I don’t. She’s just a nice person who happens to be in my life. I don’t need to enter some fantasy sex realm with her.
This is sort of a revelation to me. Being addicted to fantasy makes reality completely nerve-wracking. If a women talks to you and you are hoping you’ll be able to say something so witty and charming that the sky opens up and you enter a white hot perfect fantasy realm, well, you end up seeming really nervous, and then everyone is uncomfortable.
[Day 22] Feeling pretty dull and hopeless. Just read a bunch of posts here. There was a post with a link to a proposal video on YouTube and I got into a jag of watching proposal videos and when the couple hugs and kisses so sweetly at the end of the video I just feel a deep, deep, aching longing. Ah, well.
[Day 40]I’m at Day 40 with no PMO and would like to report on some things for those of you on Day 3 or 13 or wherever you may be.
I’ve probably never gone this long without M. I started M when I was 3. Didn’t add the porn in till 35 or so. I’m now 37.
Anyway, for me the flatline thing went for about 20 days, then there was a super-intense urge to O. I would feel drunk on horniness, but wouldn’t have an erection. Some days, if I wore silk boxers and drove on a bumpy road, I would feel like I might have an O while driving, even though I didn’t have an erection at all. Just these waves of warm, erectionless horniness.
Just observing, it seems to me that these washes of total horniness without an erection are some kind of left over process from watching porn. When I first watched it, I felt like I was going to have an O without an erection. That’s how powerful of an effect the porn had on me. I think my brain probably just dumped an overdose of dopamine and yeah it certainly feels great.
So for people who have watched porn for years, I’m guessing the tolerance is way up there, and they don’t feel this wash anymore, but they still need the porn-level stimulation just to function, like a junkie who needs drugs just to feel like they are at their own baseline.
So anyway, after will-powering through a few days of intense desire for an O, I went into a sort of a flatline again, for a few weeks.
There is something ok about this. Actually, now I have to say I think it’s a good idea to be ok with the flatline. Here is why. We have been obsessed with sexual imagery. Not just imagery, but forms of stimulation which don’t exist in real life. In porn the camera moves around, one scene cuts to the next, magical orgies, etc.
And the flatline comes because we are getting re-acclimated with real life. In real life we get aroused because we are sitting next our lady at the movie theater and she is saying intelligent things and playing with her hair, or because she keeps taking sips of cranberry juice and fluttering her eyelashes, or we are just thinking about making out with our girl on the couch.
So, we need the flatline to get from artificial dopamine overdose levels back to being able to get aroused by the real world.
And over the past few days I have been. I’ve noticed all through this process there have been fairly regular erections in the morning, though generally they are on the weak side and only last a few seconds after I wake up. But these past five days or so, I’ve been waking up with fairly normal fantasies in my head and the erections have lasted for quite some time.
They’ve also started happening at random times, while driving and not thinking about anything
Two days ago I signed up for a dating site and some women have contacted me, and one of them seems really smart and cool and sent me her picture and just this picture of this woman sitting at her desk gave me an erection. She is smart and beautiful to me. This is how it is supposed to work.
Now, I AM a little worried that I am getting aroused while I am on my laptop looking at a picture, and so I am thinking maybe I will have to decide if I’m going to be ok with a dating site, or if maybe I should suspend my profile and wait another forty days. In any case, I definitely feel like things are going in the right direction.
I am going dancing with a lady acquaintance next week. I’m going to try to get out and just talk to people a bit more.
Another thing I’ll mention is I find women seem just a little more friendly to me now. Beautiful women who would never even make eye contact with me are now smiling at me, sometimes nodding. When I talk to women, I don’t feel like quite such a freak. I bet not M-ing for 40 days changes something about your personality you could never change directly, and which you may not even be able to perceive.
One last thing for now. Another reason to be ok with the flatline. Porn has planted these strange norms in our minds. Like every encounter has to be a explosion of sexuality, and I think maybe it makes us afraid to fall short.
But remember, an erection isn’t the center of the universe. You can have a wonderful night just going out for ice cream and then making out and giving your lady such a relaxing massage that she falls asleep on your chest because she feels safe and loves you and you just lay in there in the dark looking at her, grateful for her, wondering how you ever got so lucky–for two or three hours, and then you fall asleep, happy.
Think about this during your flatline. THIS IS OK.
Also, I’ve never really had any confidence approaching women. But now that I am on day 40, I actually feel and experience confidence sometimes. And I think women are sensitive to a deep subtle confidence that can’t be faked while we PMO all the time or worry about recovering.
[Day 45] (Advice to another) It’s vehehehehehry scary at the beginning of no PMO because it really feels like you will never be able to get aroused again, and like your sex life is gone for good.
I and loads of other guys on this forum have been through it or are going through it now. Today I’m on day 45 of no PMO and things are definitely going in the right direction, but you have to be patient and let your body get back in balance. PMO all the time is like a super-drug so understand that it’s going to take some time.
[Day 68] (Advice to another) The softness and shriveling are absolutely part of it. I did the same as you. I would go a week or so no PMO and then give in because I was so horny, or else I would do PM just in hopes it would charge up my libido. This only made things worse. You will have to go through some weeks–some people go months–where you are worried that your libido is going away forever and even more worried your penis is getting so small you think it’s retracting into your stomach like the head of turtle.
It’s terrifying. It really is. But just decide you are going to be strict with yourself so your body has time to get back into balance. You sound like a disciplined guy, running and benching. You have chemically injured your sex-system and now you need to put a cast on it and let it heal. If I were you (and this is what got me consistent) I would get a piece of graph paper, and each day you go without any PMO, shade in a little box, perhaps before you go to bed. You might relapse a few more times, but once you get a good “run” going, your competitive nature will take over and before you know it two months will have passed and you will be in shape again.
I’ve gone a little over two months now and things are much better.
(As for pursuing relationships while recovering, I would say if the relationship can’t wait for two months, or can’t coexist with the healing process for two months, then take two months off from that relationship. There are creative solutions. But you want and need to get this taken care of, so make it a priority. Good luck!)
[Day 69] (Advice to another) I’ve struggled with depression for many years. I will say that spending a lot of time on the computer always makes me feel worse. TV is a little better, but I feel like crap when I turn it off, as I think it overstimulates. Better to just sit and read a book if you have to sit. Even better, get outside if you can.
The flatline thing can really get you down if you think about it, and it’s next to impossible for depressive types to just “not think about” something that’s really bothering them. So accept that you are going to think about it a lot but now start to think about it in a different way. Think, “My body is fixing this now.” You don’t drive your car while it is being fixed and you don’t play a violin while it is being fixed. Your body is a lot more complicated than either of those things. And now you are giving it rest. This is a good thing. It needs rest to heal. Remind yourself of this whenever you start to worry.
This is tough, no doubt about it. I’m not so sure there is a path to recovery, but you can keep working at it, and this kind of engagement with life is a good way to be. See if you can be a little more accepting and understanding of yourself. Nobody’s perfect. Nobody is even close to perfect. Hang in there. Be available to your boys. It’s also ok to sit on a park bench for two hours and eat a whole container of caramel corn and stare absentmindedly down the street. Relax a little bit. Meanwhile the physical things will slowly take care of themselves.
[Day 70] If I look back at myself honestly, I have to admit that when I started this process I was probably most interested in being able to “perform” again. I wanted my raging libido back, and I wanted to be ready for action.
But today, over two months later, I find my libido isn’t raging. I feel a little sad about it, because there is that infantile part of me which really enjoyed constantly fantasizing about every woman I met, and getting so turned on by the special kind of porn I liked, and edging, edging, edging, and feeling like I was melting because I was so horny.
I see now–all that was infantile. It’s infantile to be so preoccupied with ones own sexual release. Afterwards, all the fantasies evaporate, and if you don’t love the person you are with, you immediately notice the crud in their eyes, because the angel dust that got sprinkled all over everything by millions of years of evolution goes….POOF…and you are staring at real life, which isn’t always beautiful and pleasing.
For you young whippersnappers, “angel dust” is a drug, and I think it’s a good idea to think of arousal as a drug. Because it distorts reality. And we rebooters all got addicted to it. And then habituated to it. And then certain basic body functions got screwed up, and that’s why we’re all here chatting on this site.
But the point is, I feel like my levels are evening out for the first time in my life, and my relationship with my sexual nature is changing for the better. “Hey, sex wasn’t supposed to swallow up my entire personality! It’s just a part of life!”
Don’t worry though, horndogs. The machinery comes back even if you’re a pansy like me. These days, sometimes I have to stay in the car for a minute or two when I arrive somewhere because, well, I am a little too ready for action. This kind of thing hasn’t happened for a long while. Other things happen now too, but I’m not going to write about all that, because it’s not the most important thing in the world.
Hang in there and you’ll get there. Be vigilant about it. I hope you will find a new balance too, because you will feel stronger, and more at ease with yourself, and more in control of yourself, and, man, that is really sexy.
[Day 71] I’ve been experiencing some very welcome changes in balance, perspective, calm, as my reboot progresses.