At the age of 7, I was playing at my friends house and we decided to go out to his father’s truck. In the truck we found a porn magazine. I don’t remember thinking that much about it at the time. But at a later opportunity we took the magazine with us and started reading. I did not really understand anything, but there was something that was exciting, but not in a sexual way. It was more like I was getting a high from looking at something shocking and new.
After that I never ran in to any porn until I was 14 years old. My friend at the time had cable and we decided to watch a porn movie late at night. The only thing I remember was that it was a pretty bad and boring movie. I remember feeling disgusted and we quit watching pretty quick. Later that year I watched a British TV comedy show that was making jokes about masturbation and after that I started to masturbate. I remember it as an amazing feeling, one of the most pleasurable experience in my life. From that day it became a daily habit.
I have always been a very sensitive person and had the ability to take on other people’s emotions, for good and bad. This made me a very happy kid but also sometimes very anxious. Since early childhood I experienced some signs of OCD that I mostly attribute to my intense gaming habit. I started playing Nintendo at a very early age and was hooked until my early twenties. When I look back I am almost in some way thankful to have been addicted to playing games during my teens instead of looking at porn. I was living on the country side and was blessed with a bad Internet connection. This made my exposure to porn and nudity very rare and I also never had my own computer or any good opportunity, except a handful curious adventures. As soon as I started masturbating I started to experience a lot more fear and anxiety and it slowly turned in to social anxiety. At that time I did not make a connection, because masturbation was healthy and normal, right?
Because of the gaming and regular masturbation my brain was set up to be the perfect porn addiction candidate, I was a dopamine junkie going down. I was so addicted to intense games that my father had to lock the modem in the safe at times, for me not to spend 8 hours on a weekend in front of the computer.
At the age of 20 I moved from home and started to study at the university. I also got access to the best broadband there was at the time and besides gaming I really consumed a lot of manga. I quickly transferred my gaming addiction to reading endless amounts of great manga. The novelty of manga was an even more high than the gaming. But at the same time I also started to watch regular porn and it very fast turned in to a death grip that would hold me almost 10 years. After some time my desire to play games and read manga was close to zero. I felt no positive emotions at all from doing it expect from porn anime/manga. At the same time my social life started to completely die and I isolated myself and my social anxiety took new heights and my self-image was close to nothing. Being addicted to games never made me feel guilt or any strong negative emotion, except anger, but porn… it really destroyed my mind.
It was first in my mid twenties that I really realized that I was addicted and that it was almost impossible to go to sleep without a strong hit of dopamine. I tried to quit for several years and it was impossible with the computer in my room, within arm’s length. For me, the porn addiction was always at late night and only on my computer. I have never watched porn on mobile or during the day time. Night time was my domain, then I could hide in the dark doing what I believed was normal behavior. During my first real attempts at quitting I installed a software that controlled the time when I could use the computer. At first it worked for a couple of days or close to a week. I could not use the computer after 10 PM to 6 AM and there was nothing I could do about it. Because I had set a random password and thrown it away. I was laughing in porn’s face and thought it was the end. Unfortunately I majored in computer science and I found a way around it. That´s when I realized how bad I was hooked, that I would spend time hacking the computer in the middle of the night, just to get my hit of dopamine.
I was good at telling myself lies to get a fix. “You deserve this, it´s Friday” “You don´t have a girlfriend, of course you should do this, it´s only normal”, “You have worked hard, you need to relax.”, “If I do it once in a while, then it´s okay.”, “I need to make sure my stuff is working, that is just healthy.”
I remember being proud about the fact that I could masturbate to porn three times in a row without having to recover. What a complete loser. Anyway, that was not possible for a long time, because as time went by I found it much harder to stay excited and at the time I was delusional and told myself that I finally was getting over my addiction to porn and that me being less excited was a proof of that and that I was now more mature and in control. But little did I know that it was the opposite, I just needed something new, to find that perfect scene. Until this day I thank god that I did not escalate too much in terms of how extreme the porn was. I seemed to be able to get my fix on novelty, not on weird stuff. But the few times it did get weird I felt the worst negative emotions I have ever felt in my life and it’s a miracle I did not contemplate to kill myself. I have always been good at punishing myself and tearing myself down in my mind when I make mistakes.
During this time my overall health had declined and it was a miracle I managed to graduate and to start working. My social anxiety was really destroying my daily experience and I very rarely felt good or relaxed. I had for the last years started to read and learn a lot about personal development and health and I had at one time managed to stay away from porn a whole 4 months. But, I did not really get it. I was still masturbating on a regular basis, only eliminating porn. I did not see the big picture and only saw porn as evil. I came from a point of desperation not from a point of power. I finally had some sort of physical and mental breakdown. This was about 3 years ago. My anxiety went through the roof and I felt I had no control at all. I even had to take a leave from work trying to understand what was going on. My immune system was breaking down and my body was as stiff and inflamed as an old sick man, cracking in my joints as I was moving. My body was destroyed by stress and negative emotion and I also caught a serious flu like sickness that even today affects me. At the same time I was unlucky and got a few injuries that really put a dent on my overall health.
I became obsessed with health and tried everything to recover, to feel somewhat normal again. After a while I lost all trust in allopathic medicine and I was trying everything to get results, spending A LOT of money. But in the end it was worth it, I learned so much about health and about the human mind and body. I got some good results but, at the time I did not understand that my addiction was one of the major factors of my illness.
Two years ago, at the age of 30, after a decade of addiction, I came across the Gary Wilson video on you-tube. “The great porn experiment | Gary Wilson | TEDxGlasgow”. It changed everything, I had no idea how deeply my addiction to porn affected me and how similar it was to any other serious addiction. I had for a long time known that it was not a healthy habit. But the extent of damage that I had caused to my body and mind was a real epiphany. I had tried to quit for a long time but without the proper knowledge and support. That was also the time I first heard of nofap and since then I have been a regular lurking visitor. It was the inspiration from people’s stories and the knowledge shared, that there was nothing wrong to begin with, but that I had done this to myself all this years. Since that day I have not looked at porn. The first two months was the hardest, I ended up masturbating 2 or 3 times the first month but then the need just faded. I was surprised at how good I felt when one abstained for a week or two and I realized I was starting to come out of the fog.
During my addiction I have been depressed, very anxious, socially awkward and no real ability to relate to other people and especially to women. I cannot remember feeling any real joy, only dopamine eruptions. I had lost a lot of sexual sensitivity and had started to experience PIED. One of the scary things was that during the last year of addiction the amount of pleasure at orgasm was almost zero. Instead I felt a burning sensation in the brain that sometimes almost hurt. I had forgotten how it once felt.
The last two years have to me been short of amazing. I was partly messed up before I got hooked on porn, the part about social anxiety. Removing porn from your life will give you the opportunity to change your life and heal, it’s a long process but the rewards are beyond what I could believe. We are all different and I believe that for most of us, porn is a side effect of other issues in our life, a band aid. I believe everyone takes damage from regular porn consumption, just like regular use of alcohol or refined sugar and other drugs, but it will manifest differently in each human being.
Each month I abstained, I healed myself slowly but shortly. The mood always goes up and down but the down always becomes a little higher as time moves along. After about 6 months I started to finally feel free, compulsive addictive thoughts had faded enough to be ignored. Depression was now nonexistent, it disappeared pretty quick. I have had moments of God-like confidence, but general anxiety has sometimes come back, not like before, but different, and most of the time I have no problem at all. Until this day I continue to heal old trauma, the root cause of my addiction. I used to have a lot of intrusive feelings and thoughts that I thought was normal. It was not until they disappeared that I realized that I had been living in a prison for almost 10 years.
For me nofap have been the foundation to build on and the next big block has been meditation. After a year on nofap I started to seriously meditate each day and my mind is in the middle of transformation. Sometimes a lot of old emotions come up and you might feel discourage to continue. I have been doing a lot of yoga and going to the gym, trying to find a good form of exercise for my body. I have done wonders with my body and it is slowly opening up and most of my health issues are gone. I have hurt myself a couple of times and struggled with consistence, but I have finally made it. I have also messed around a lot with the food I eat, finding a better ways to live.
The energy and motivation you get in the beginning of nofap is amazing and must be used to ensure success. During my addiction my social life had been a mess and I have improved a lot, meet new people, made new friends. I also have taken care of the issue of not being able to meet women. Today I view myself as completely free of the addiction. When I feel bored I have no problem. When I feel lonely I have no problem. When I see a old trigger I have no problem. However I still suffer from the side effect of the addiction, it´s just a matter of time before I completely heal.
In the beginning I thought the cure was control, to always be in the driver seat. The problem with that is that it takes a enormous amount of energy. In the beginning you have to consciously take control to be able stay on the path. But after some time, it becomes unconscious and you don´t have to use extra energy or focus your attention to succeed. For me it took about a year before there was no struggle at all. Today I have no fear at all when it comes to relapsing. I know it will never happen. The rewards of life are so much greater.
I have been trying do everything to rewire and heal my brain. Mediation, binaural beats mediation, brain games, dance class, juggling etc. I have done everything to build new connections, restore normal brainwave activity and balancing the brain half’s. And eat foods that promote the change of the brain.
During these two years of nofap I have quit a job I felt stuck in, I have bought an apartment, I have been traveling and backpacking. I faced many fears and found a lot of rewards. Will life be like a dance from now on, not really? You will always face adversity and question your path in life. From time to time I come to believe that I have reached a state of mind that is normal and healthy. But each time I look back I see change and I don´t think it ever will stop as long as I live with good habits. And anyway, I don´t really want to be what is considered normal, why should I stop improving myself?
I recently lost my new job and I almost got stuck in a new one that I knew I would regret. I decided it was time for a big time out, a real change. I decided to travel the world and change career path. I have to this day not found my real passion and I´m now out in the world looking for it, learning about people, different perspectives and all the wonderful things in the world we live in. I no longer focus on a goal that is gonna make me happy, but I enjoy the moment, the journey. I don´t care where it ends, because I´m doing things I never thought I would have the guts to do and I can face life with a smile.
About women, I love how I see them today. It´s a complete shift from before. Not only for women but also my fellow man. I see what I could not see before and I hear what I could not hear before. A woman is such a wonderful loving being and I believe there is a lot of good genuine people in this world.
I was a 30 year old lonely virgin with close to zero experience with relationships and women. The first year of nofap was hard mode, I believe it´s important to do hard mode to really heal if you feel like you are not in control of your life, but that is just my experience. During nofap I had my first real kiss, my first real date and my first sexual experience. I understand now that sex will not make me happy and that not much change after, it´s just another experience, a good one.
Each new relationship I have had during nofap have been better and more mature. Each woman I relate to make me a better man. Right now I´m in a relationship and I really love this woman, it will be hard finding someone more amazing, but somehow I doubt she is my true love and it so happens we are both on two different paths and have to split up. It hurts, but I´m still happy.
I have never had any negative emotions after making love, it’s wonderful. But I would suggest not having too much sex in one day when recovering. If I do it more the once a day, I start to feel very fatigue and it´s easy to lose motivation, having motivation is such a energetic good feeling. What works for me is once or twice a week and I really enjoy times when I don´t have sex and can focus one life.
I feel proud to be part of this community. I really look up to all the young people here, that early in their life realize they must change for the better and fight for an amazing life. If I had half of the wisdom and insight at your age, that many of you have, a lot of things could have been different, but we all have our own path and I don´t regret my own experience.
This is my first post and probably my last. I wanted to give back to the community what you have given me. You gave me hope, inspiration, compassion and love, sharing your stories. I believe this community is fundamentally more important then one might first believe. This affects everyone around you and it´s a really important movement, the change of behavior and attitude among the new generations growing up.
Thank you and good luck on your life journey.