I am a very physically healthy 20 year-old who has been been negatively affected by porn and masturbation for a very long time. My story begins at the young age of 8 when I began to realize that touching myself would release positive sensations in my body. I would masturbate to orgasm without porn at this age almost every day, using only imagination.
I did not fully understand what I was doing, it just gave me an indescribable rush that I wanted again and again. It wasn’t until I was about 10 and realized what masturbation was exactly, that I began to do it multiple times a day, as it felt less shameful. While this already sounds bad enough, things hadn’t escalated too far in the scope of things yet.
This carried on until I was about 12, when my family first acquired high-speed internet. I would bump into sexual photos that I would masturbate to, and about one year later, I was already watching hardcore porn videos. This carried on all through high-school and into my second year of college. I would watch pornographic videos every day with a slowly, almost undetectable, changing sexual taste (escalation of genres). As I turned 19, I noticed that I wasn’t desiring to look at porn as much anymore, and that I wasn’t becoming as aroused by real women as I used to. This didn’t really phase me because I did not have a girlfriend, and at that point I was mostly masturbating to kill time. I began edging to porn for as long as 1.5 hours at a time for an intense orgasm so I could feel as aroused as I used to.
When I turned 20, I decided that I had lived in a shell long enough and decided that I would have sex for the first time (I was still watching porn throughout this period). Having decided this, I went out to a few parties and I finally brought a girl back home. I had already had a few drinks so when we tried to have sex and my penis wouldn’t get hard, I convinced myself that alcohol was the cause. Although I told myself it was just the alcohol, it still created an increase in anxiety about sexual situations for me. This caused me to decide to acquire a girlfriend rather than a one night stand so that anxiety would be less of an issue. I created a tinder account so I could meet more beautiful young women. I went on many dates, (none of which I felt I clicked with), until I met this one girl I felt I had a lot in common with. I went on a few dates more with her, and though I knew she was attractive, I felt no sexual stimulation. I knew she wanted to have sex soon, and not knowing what was wrong with me, I intensely searched the internet for answers. It was then that I discovered Gary Wilson’s TED Talk “The Great Porn Experiment”.
After watching, all of the symptoms I had fit in so well with what he had to say that I instantly gave up porn. I continued to date this girl, and I told her that I wanted to wait for sex because of anxiety (only partially true). She agreed because she really liked me too, and so I began my journey. I had no idea how long it would take me to recover from over-stimulating my brain, but about two months in, (I had masturbated once without porn in this time frame which I do not recommend), I was going to sleep next to her when I realized I had an erection. Taking things slow, we began to have successful intercourse! I lasted way too long (about 45 minutes) due to the desensitization from chronic porn use, but it was still a success.
I had a severely fluctuating libido and still some anxiety, so we had sex about once a week for 1.5 months, sometimes my penis would work and sometimes not. I feel that my recovery was both helped and hurt by this. On one hand I became more accustomed to the touch of a real person, but on the other, I believe that firing up my neurological pathway to orgasm may have slowed some of the necessary changes taking place in my brain. This month I have been having sex about three times a week, but I still feel my libido is very low (I have to have physical stimulation to stay aroused). I am about 3.5 months porn-free at this time and I still know that I have a ways to go to be completely recovered. We have discussed taking a month off of sex to help me move the process along which I very much look forward to. I have made a huge amount of progress so far, but there is still much ground left to be made. If anyone has had a similar rebooting experience, I would love to hear it, every now and then it’s nice to hear something encouraging.