I was never really a porn user in the traditional sense. I would look at porn, sure, but what I really was addicted to was erotic roleplay. Since high school, I took pleasure in going online and becoming someone else, living out sexual fantasies through the magic of partnered creative writing.
For awhile, maybe, this was okay. I’m not part of the camp that believes any form of masturbation is unhealthy. I think that under certain circumstances, it’s fine, and maybe even a good way to relieve stress. But it can definitely become an addiction, one with physical and mental symptoms. I realized I suffered some of these when I began dating, and found myself experiencing PIED.
My girlfriend at the time (now my fiance) was, thankfully, very understanding. At first, we tried to integrate pornography into our sex life. She enjoyed it, just like I did, but it felt strange to me. Porn was something I was used to looking at by myself. Watching it with her, and sharing the experience, had me nervous and on-edge.
And it didn’t reduce my PIED–if anything, it got worse. I could get and maintain an erection while watching porn, or when touching myself, but shortly after sex began, I would begin to feel very anxious, and my erection would fade. She was patient, but frustrated.
I started to question my sexual orientation and gender identity–were these the reasons I couldn’t engage in satisfying sex? This was when I was desperate enough to google my symptoms, and found nofap. The discovery of PIED as something other men experienced was instant relief for me.
My physician recommended I go on an antidepressant to address my underlying anxiety. I was hesitant, but agreed, since I was losing sleep and supposedly it helped with that. I also began nofap at the same time.
It’s hard to say what has been more effective in helping me; the medicine or the no-fap. I’m sure both have been part of my recovery. But I can confidently say that I feel like myself again now. My OCD symptoms have faded; I can focus on what’s in front of me now, for the most part. Worrying is something I can choose to do, not the default state of my mind.
And, best of all, I can have sex again. My PIED has faded, to the point where I’ve had erections lasting nearly an hour. My fiance` and I have had great sex, and although the antidepressant has given me some difficulty in ejaculating, I can still do it with enough work. And it’s very enjoyable for both of us.
If you’re experiencing PIED and are looking into nofap, I suggest talking to your doctor as well. You may have an underlying issue with anxiety, like me. H-OCD (homosexual OCD) or other porn-induced OCD sufferers might also benefit from it.
But the NoFap element is also important, if for nothing else, to demonstrate to yourself that you can live without it. I MO’d nearly every night for 7 years, and I thought it was something I’d have to do to sleep. But nofap has shown me that’s not the case. You are stronger than you think, and you deserve a healthy sex life. And more importantly, there’s a woman out there who deserves the man you can be.
It’s been nearly two years since my last PMO. Never thought I would say that, but I’ve surprised myself a lot as I’ve gotten older. When I was 27, I hated my job, lived by myself, and pretty much just came home and masturbated to porn/erotica/smut roleplay 3-4 times a week. My life had plateued, and I was facing panic attacks regularly, as my life just seemed to have no meaning, and my identity was rapidly hurtling towards ‘pervert.’
But that changed. I’m 31 now, married to a beautiful and intelligent woman, doing well at my job and actively looking for ways to be more productive in life. This isn’t entirely due to giving up porn, but that was a key component of it. I can’t stress enough how giving up porn won’t make a massive change in your life if you just replace it with something equally destructive (drugs, pick-ups, gambling, etc.) To be honest, I think porn is a fairly benign addiction compared to some of those things, but it is bad all the same, and can definitely affect your mental health.
Think of the person you want to be, and set goals; realistic goals, with realistic deadlines. Here’s the trick; do not lie to yourself. You know what you can do if you put your mind to it. Don’t give yourself extra weeks or months. Be your own boss and expect the best of yourself. When you reach that goal, you’ll feel something you may not have felt in a long time: pride. I think a little pride is okay for a man.
There will be good days and bad days. On the good days, reward yourself, but make sure not to indulge. On the bad days, well, try to keep sight of your goals and don’t be afraid to lean on your friends and family, this community, etc. I certainly didn’t make it this far on my own, and there’s no shame in that.
Doubting yourself is something that will happen no matter what; but whether you believe in those doubts, or believe in yourself, that much you can control.