I am 34 and have been using porn about 4-5 times a week for about 20-30 minutes per time since I was about 15. The frequency never really increased that much but the impact it was making on my brain and outlook definitely increased over time. The dysfunction increased over time for sure even though the frequency or duration stayed the same.
I would only look at pics and videos and would not even touch my dick until the last few minutes to edge until I decided to end it. It was truly all about the visuals. I became an absolute expert at manipulating my visual system for dopamine – and eventually I ended up not even MO-ing a lot of the time but still got the “hit” just from looking for a while and my dick would not even start to get hard. But lets rewind for a sec.
In my late twenties was the first time I even considered the idea that it could be bad or harmful in any way. In my late 20’s I tried to stop for a month about a dozen times but never made it more than a week or two and honestly wasn’t taking the challenge that seriously. When I was 30 I moved to a new city and my social network was significantly smaller than it had been during all other phases of my life, work was stressful, and I just felt more isolated. I think partially because of this I relied more on the soothing and stress relief effects of porn. Although I averaged 4-5 days per week, there were plenty of 7 day weeks as well. One of the first times I realized porn was affecting my sexuality was when I was 29 and my beautiful girlfriend was visiting me from out of town and I just wasn’t in the mood even though she was – so she went to bed. And then I was out on the couch looking at porn and that gave me enough sex drive to then go in and have sex with her. But I needed the porn and that was a clear moment when I thought, “Huh – I just needed porn to be horny enough to have sex with my willing, hot, naked girlfriend”.
Other memorable/shameful moments: the shame I felt when I rewound the DVR to look at a glimpse of a naked body shape that looked good to me and then I realized it was a woman’s dead body on a pile of bodies from the Haiti earthquakes and I felt totally disgusting and messed up. Just the body shape alone triggered that part of my brain and I hit rewind before I knew what I was doing. I also would find myself checking out mannequins at women’s stores at the mall and thinking about how amazing the bodies were and getting turned on by their perfect bodies as if they were people (and I appreciated that they were literally perfect bodies, even better than most actual women’s bodies). The lizard part of my brain didn’t care if it was a live person or not – but then again porn is just as unreal as mannequins are. Another time I was driving my car slowly in traffic on a busy street and a girl was riding a bike and she went over a speed bump and the way her body moved and bounced made my eyes roll back in my head like I had just stuck a needle in my arm or something – and I caught myself and was like “Whoa, that was way too intense of a reaction for seeing a hot girl on a bike”. I would constantly find myself taking small visual hits of hot girls I would see in public – as if I had to look – I couldn’t let a hot girl walk by without sexualizing her body for a mini “sip” of dopamine. If I was in a coffee shop trying to work I would not be able to stop myself from looking up every time the door opened and I realized that I was hoping it would be a hot girl every time. Also sometimes I would smoke weed and look at porn and that was the most intense high I have ever experienced. I even had an orgasm just from looking – no hands at all. Its like I got so good that my brain figured out a way to make it happen without even needing touch. I remember looking at porn after I had smoked and having the thought “i want to have this feeling permanently, I feel so perfect right now that I don’t need anything to change ever”. I also sometimes would hook up with girls after we smoked and that was super intense and in hindsight extremely unhealthy. I don’t smoke at all anymore but I still remember how intense those moments were.
I finally stopped porn altogether about 7 months ago. I was just over it and I knew in the back of my mind that my life was being held back in more ways than I realized from this. The first few weeks were quite brutal and I felt like I had the flu or something. Super lethargic and no energy, I wanted to sleep all the time. I just read and re-read the eBook Your Brain on Porn several times and that was very helpful. Felt depressed. After the first few weeks I was feeling better and better and my focus began to improve and things were looking good. I was exercising a lot and I didn’t even mind that I had the most dead, small, lifeless penis on earth. It looked and felt so small it was insane. I know that I am significantly above average when it is ready to go but it literally looked like a toddler’s dick 100% of the time, like it wasn’t even meant for my body. Testicles too. Crazy. It was like there was not one single drop of blood in the entire thing 24 hours a day, just dried out cold skin that had no weight to it whatsoever. But somehow I didn’t care and was almost amused by it and I knew it was a part of the process. I had no sex drive anyway so I didn’t really care.
This second half is the most important section of my post for sure. I met a girl that I was absolutely crazy about when I was three months into my nofap. I liked her so much right away and my feelings for her only grew from there. With other girls I dated I always had some voice of hesitation in the back of my head and with this one I just felt certain that she was the one I had been waiting for. I had the feeling I wanted but didn’t know if it existed before I met her – to like someone so much without any hesitation. I quickly fell in love with her and that never happens. When we started having sex after a few weeks, I noticed that it was a totally different experience for me. I felt self-conscious, insecure, and like my mind was not relaxed and in the present moment. I was thinking too much and the sex just felt disconnected and there wasn’t that typical feeling of chemistry, intoxication, and big horniness. At one point she looked back at me and said something like “Hi?” and I realized that she did that because she didn’t feel that I was interacting with her at all – and I realized that I wasn’t, I was just sort of mechanically hammering away and overthinking what I was doing and not being relaxed and confident. This happened another few times and then one night when we were walking around before dinner I just told her about the porn thing and that I had been doing it since I was 15 and thought it was unhealthy and a good idea to stop and that I had stopped three months earlier. She was initially thrown off but understood and appreciated it. I told her that it was a weird feeling because my sex drive was weird and it was just a strange transition and she said “Well I think what we need to do is go back to the room and I’ll put on a new outfit I got”, We went back to the room and hooked up and had sex, but the fact that I told her what was going on didn’t make the disconnected feeling and my insecurity and lack of confidence go away. It still felt off and I knew it was because of me.
It was like for my whole life, porn was a sort of intimacy armor that I wore into sexual encounters that allowed me to feel horny and confident, but I was using the sex almost as a sort of extension of porn. Now that I was having sex without my intimacy armor on, I felt much more conscious and aware, less intoxicated with objectifying horniness, and more aware of how intimate an experience sex with another person was. And I realized that I sucked at being comfortable with the deep emotional connection during healthy sex. It actually terrifies me. I basically realized that I had no clue whatsoever how sex should be if it is not modeled after porn. It was also very unusual to be mentally attracted to her, but my physiology didn’t follow. She was the most sexy and sensual and sexually comfortable and confident woman I had ever been with – and yet my libido would not respond – although I didn’t have ED, I was only horny for her in my mind.
As time went on, the sex was better here and there but it never really got great or had the chemistry that I had felt with so many other partners. But I knew if I was normal, she and I would have had the best sex of my entire life by far. She mentioned many times that she didn’t feel the emotional connection with me that she wanted, and that I seemed to be thinking about something else or not in the present, but really I was just very scared and uncomfortable with this new level of emotional intimacy associated with a sexual experience and just because I wanted to make it happen didn’t mean it was just going to happen right away. I knew our disconnect was not actually a chemistry issue between us, but just my dysfunctional stuff that had not yet had time to fix itself and figure itself out. Sometimes I would have ED issues and I could tell that she was disappointed every time she noticed that and even though we had talked about that being a part of the process, it took her totally out of the mood. I could feel her patience wearing out and I was getting so worried and anxious because I was in love with her but I could not speed up this process and I felt panicked. This panic and feeling her not being satisfied led me to the mistake of thinking that she was too important to lose so I tried to resuscitate my sex drive by watching porn every day for 8 days when I was just shy of six months into reboot. I thought maybe I could kick start my ED issues, alpha male attitude,and sex drive with porn and then she could take it over from there. That didn’t really work, although the porn did activate old pathways that I had worked hard to erode. It is such a strange and helpless feeling to be so attracted to and in love with someone but to not be able to create or feel the deep visceral horniness and libido that I knew I should feel. To her, I think I just seemed very calm and methodical and she could not feel passion from my end. I know the feeling of passion taking over and kind of putting you into overdrive but I just couldn’t make it happen and I know this made her experience much less satisfying.
The devastating blow came when she broke up with me after five months and her reasons were that she didn’t “feel the same passion for me that I felt for her”, “she was hoping that the chemistry would develop over time but it didn’t”, and “you are amazing in so many ways that I know I won’t be able to find in anyone else but the physical connection just isn’t there and that is an important part of a relationship to me”. I was completely devastated. I couldn’t get out of bed, I was crying and sobbing every day for two weeks. I had lost someone I loved more than anything due to my inability to bring emotional and sexual intimacy together in a way that met her needs. I told her that it was just a temporary thing and that its not our chemistry but she just didn’t seem to believe it. She was never mean and is extremely caring but she just eventually couldn’t do it anymore.
I want to make sure everyone on this site realizes that stopping porn alone will not solve all of your problems – for the majority of us there are deep psychological issues often stemming way back to childhood and family of origin issues including insecurity, unresolved self-esteem issues, intimacy fear and discomfort, problems with healthy emotional connection and many other things. These underlying issues are why we relied so significantly on porn in the first place and when you stop the porn, you are just taking off the armor so you can now address the real things underneath. I am just so sad and devastated that my intimacy disorder and undeveloped emotional intimacy skills with sexuality caused me to lose the best woman I have ever met.
I feel like the breakup caused me to start all over as I feel like I still have a long way to go before my sex drive and erectile function is normal. I am somehow fully back to “toddler dick” with an almost non existent libido and I only relapsed for 8 days and that was two months ago. I don’t know if the depression and sadness form the breakup and rejection has somehow killed my progress and libido even more. Who knows. I guess I am in for a much longer reboot than I thought. This breakup experience has been the toughest emotional thing I have ever gone through. I just wanted to share this in case it can help anyone else out there relate. I wish so badly that I had met her 6-9 months later than I did. I hope all of you guys stop ASAP so you can start to build the real sexual and emotional intimacy skills that women in the real world actually want. All of the BS in porn where the girls are just submissive and drunk with horniness and just want to have totally disconnected objectified sex has conditioned our brains to think that this is what it is supposed to be like – and then when I met a girl with the most beautiful and healthy sexuality I have ever experienced in my life, my sexual intimacy skills were not enough for her and she is now moving on because of it. I hop this does not happen to anyone else. YBOP is a revolutionary site that is enormously helpful. Guys, please go through the pain now so you don’t have to deal with 1,000 times more pain later.
Also to Gary and admins, I think it would be helpful to do a radio show or article to address some of these intimacy fears and problems that can arise from stopping PMO. I see that almost every post is all about the amazing success that just happens automatically from stopping but my experience is that stopping uncovers other significant hurdles with connection and healthy sexual relating. I didn’t just turn into a sex god from stopping porn and maybe some others are having a similar experience? Good luck to everyone.
VIA EMAIL, MARCH 2016