Rebooting with a partner: What about sex?

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Overcoming porn addiction with a partner Also see

"How will sex affect my recovery?" This is the most difficult question we get asked. We don't have a pat answer. It depends on your individual brain, how far along you are, and whether you have ED. If it's too soon, orgasm with a partner can set you back, or throw you into a relapse.

See this rebooting account: Age 21 - Sex with girlfriend may have slowed reboot (ED). Another young guy's experience:

The connection between fapping to porn and getting social anxiety is puzzling to me, too. I don't think it'll be totally clear what's really going on until people do studies on this thing, which may be a few years because high speed internet porn is such a new thing, our generation of men (I'm 20 years old so same generation) is the first generation to really suffer from this. No one really could have seen it coming. Anyway I've had a very similar experience to you, the social anxiety is greatly diminished when you go a number of days without PMO, then as soon as you do you can sense in your interactions with people that you are less sharp, less charismatic, less confident, more loopy, etc.

My life is scores better since I started nofap, but it's by no means perfect. On one of my streaks where I was at like 13 days, a girl I worked with started hitting on me at work and we ended up hooking up and we started dating. I've been with her a few months now. Rebooting with a girlfriend is really hard, so if you start getting with girls a lot due to the regained confidence, just be really smart about how you handle it. If you start having sex too often, your brain will begin to crave that dopamine high again and you'll start feeling like you need to fap again. At least that's my experience. My girlfriend and I started having sex like every day, multiple times a day, after I had already put in a solid 3 or 4 months of slowly waning myself off of that constant, daily fapping regimine that I had going since I was like 12. Well, while switching to sex with a real girlfriend helps the social anxiety a little bit, it doesn't help as much as complete hard mode, and for me, when I have sex with her too much, I start thinking unhealthy sexually. I started pressuring her to let me film us having sex, which almost led to her breaking up with me.

So I guess the reason I'm sharing this is because you're probably going to end up having sex if you keep going strong with your streak, because us sexy men are just irresistible when we're not fapping all the time :p , but just be aware ahead of time that going from PMO to sex is complicated! In terms of the social anxiety, what I've noticed, in case you're wondering, is that, if you're having sex a lot, some of the symptoms remain, some are diminished and others are not there at all. For me, I still sometimes feel awkward in social situations if I had sex with my girlfriend like three times the day before. But it's not nearly as bad as it was when I was fapping, like I can look people in the eyes, and I can speak and smile and be somewhat casual without feeling like the whole thing is forced. There are less physical symptoms, (rapid heart beat, sweating, etc.) But there's still the negative self talk, and you aren't going to be as charming as if you'd gone 7 days without busting a nut at all. Hope this was helpful info.

If you have porn-induced ED, your brain is saying it has had enough orgasms for awhile. Listen to your body (brain). If you have ED, attempting to force an erection with fantasy or other methods is counterproductive to your recovery. If you do not have porn-induced sexual problems, read the rebooting stories and chart your own course.

KEY POINT: Having orgasms or trying to force erections may be counterproductive, but kissing, touching, and fooling around, can help rewire your brain to the real thing. Keep in mind, artificial stimuli through screens caused your addiction or ED, not human contact. You not only need to weaken your porn neural pathways, you need to strengthen you "real thing" pathways. During their reboots, some guys have good success with an ancient technique that calls for frequent intimacy without going for climax. (A guy who fooled around during his reboot - Age 30 - ED & girlfriend: 52 days we reached our goals)

A husband recovering from porn-induced ED said:

Early in the rebooting process I think that sex with the wife set back my progress a bit. However I feel that at a certain point in the reboot (individual for everyone, I'm sure) 'relaxed, no-pressure sex' with your partner (with or without orgasm) becomes of therapeutic benefit. It seems that for me the sex is helping to reprogram the healthy, normal and natural pleasure pathway that was lost to me. The more times I can achieve and maintain an erection through just caressing and holding my wife the fainter the voice of doubt in the back of my head gets and the more immediate and impressive my body's response is.

When men first learn that their ED is caused by porn use, they tend to become quite enthusiastic about stopping all porn, masturbation, and orgasm. Some succeed, but most relapse a few times, or add in occasional masturbation or sex with a partner. The challenging thing about a relapse before you're rebooted is that it can kick in the "chaser effect" over the next couple of days. Knowing about this can save you a binge, when strong urges hit you out of "nowhere" after a climax.

Here's another husband, age 50:

I only ever became interested in NoFap due to PMO-ED; not for moral or religious or any other reasons. So please take that into consideration when reading my response because my goals are no more lofty than to be able to penetrate my SO to mutual orgasm consistently and reliably:

After doing this nearly 5 months I've finally learned that the way my sexual gratification system is broken is that I get GREAT bursts of dopamine from just about everything even remotely sexual...other than sex with a real woman. (Yes, very sad, I know.)

I'm also in a 25+ year LTR and monogamous.

Beating off to anything, including thoughts about her: erection so hard the skin feels like it's going to break, 12-15 contractions, mess on my chest.

Sex with her: meh... if I've derived any kind of sexual gratification in the last 7 days...most especially if that gratification has come at my own hand... but if I can manage to NOT seek sexual gratification in any way for a week and MOST ESPECIALLY at my own hand...then... sex with her is fantastic! Still not as exciting, hard, or exploding as masturbation, but very possible and enjoyable nonetheless.

I know I've arrived at this sad place ONLY because of the ability to super-stimulate via type porn sites; but at this point for me it is not only porn... I've learned to get my 'jollies' from beating off; and sadly, I can excite me and make myself cum, but she can't unless I act as below.

So the thing is, my reboot is taking forever because I want to have those skin-stretching-15-contraction-rocket-propelling-orgasms but every time I mess up and fap I can't perform with her. (And I realize that when I really sit back and evaluate my life, I would rather share my sex with her than hide it in the bathroom.)

So for me, sex during my reboot is a good thing. It doesn't hurt me at all. (I used to think it did, and I have posted here as such.) But what I didn't realize was it was all the other things I was doing that were messing me up.

As long as my ONLY source of sexual gratification is actually doing things with her...AND...on a schedule my body can handle (which for me is right now once per week)... sex with her helps, not hurts... but ANY other form of sexual pleasure (even just a quick rub or fantasy that leads to nothing) hurts.

On the other hand, if you're back in balance, but not experiencing a lot of spontaneous erections, sex with a partner will show you that you are, in fact, back to normal. For example, here's what one guy said:

"Spontaneous erections might be a sign, but I'm not sure if they are a real sign. You don't have to walk around with a boner in order to feel things will work out. Last week, for example, I hadn't seen my girlfriend for a couple of days. I had no spontaneous erections during that time. Given my old troubles, I even worried a bit... Was I losing it again? But when I saw her everything was just fine. Her touch and smell totally turned me on and the penis worked. So things will work out, when your brain is in balance, even if you don't have a constant boner (spontaneous erections)."

Another guy:

"One part of this rebooting process which I really don't like is that one day you can feel like a 16-year old, and the next like a passionless 80-year old. Going through that with a partner can be tricky. You both need a lot of faith that the reboot healing process is working. She's great and said sex will happen eventually. Whether that is now or when I come back in a month, it's not a problem. That's such a comforting thing to hear, and totally takes the pressure off."

Another forum member:

I also think it's easier to reboot with a mate / wife but you have to involve her. You have to tell her about what's your problem and what you are doing at the moment.

I showed my wife the videos on YBOP and lucky me, she understood everything and wasn't angry or anything.

Here's a clever idea: The One-Way Street Method

This guy is rebooting with his girlfriend. His rules are that he can arouse her, but she may not touch his penis until he decides his reboot is complete. She has been pretty conscientious about it, but not totally consistent.

First off on Thursday night (Day 52) I stayed over at Rachel's house. We did the usual thing of cooking at eating together which was really nice and then we watched a film. We went to bed after the film. I went up first whilst she was sorting out the cat and brushed my teeth etc and got ready for bed, and then just lay there under the covers. She finished up in the bathroom and then came into the bedroom. We chatted as she got undressed and then she jumped on me once she got as far as her underwear. It was a very nice looking matching set. She went on top and we kissed, cuddled and caressed etc with the duvet separating us. Then she got into the bed and things went a little further.

Anyway, for the first 10 minutes when she was on top of me and we were holding each other close, I was rock hard. I got hard when she got into bed and then it gradually faded as I began to pleasure her. Then my attention was on her and making her feel good. It is quite one sided but then it's going to be as she isn't allowed to touch me. Back on day 17 when she did last touch me it was one sided but toward me, so I guess it balances out. It was nice but that kind of stuff is off limits for the next 21 days.

It's good because I haven't tested myself without any MO in anyway and I haven't been feeling hugely sexual during the reboot, but I think that is down to the fact that I am taking it so seriously and want to do well and so I have been shunning all things sexual, including Rachel. We are still naked together but because she isn't allowed to do anything to arouse me or touch me etc, I have remained flaccid throughout most of our bedroom activities in the last 54 days. But on Thursday night I got a glimpse of easily I respond when she does do something to arouse me.

I must admit I didn't touch my penis with my hand, but it certainly felt firm, it stayed firm for 10 minutes and all it took was kissing, cuddling and light touching. No heavy, direct, manual stimulation, no dirty talk, no having to look at Rachel's ass, no swapping positions or trying to force anything. It was just like my brain tuned in and BAM, I was turned on. It certainly bodes well for the future

The following is a pep talk to a fellow site member just beginning the rebooting process - from a recovering guy whose porn had led to weak erections during lovemaking

"It is a hard place to get out of, but it is entirely possible. I have found that over the past several months of re-wiring my brain, that porn was just an outlet for fear—and unfortunately also a charging point for that fear. I was able to give up visual stimulation and the urge to jerk off constantly to it pretty easily, because I am lucky enough to have the unconditional love of an amazing woman.

The healing process has only really been marred by the lingering fear: performance anxiety, rejection, loss. These are fading into the background now, and I am feeling much healthier and happier.

The recovery pendulum was a bit disconcerting as I am with the absolute love of my life. Feeling (libido-wise) better one day and worse the next was a very harrowing experience. I've sobbed like a baby and had days where I was so subjectively upset with myself that castration almost seemed a good idea.

I've also had hour or so-long love making sessions with my fiancee—with energy running through me like I was being charged with the full energy of the stars.

The process has been frustrating and amazing. I can imagine going through this alone as being both better—and worse. I felt ashamed for even bringing my porn addiction into our relationship. That shame was also hindering my recovery. Without my fiancee I can't say i would have had as much residual fear about this process.

At the same time, however, without my fiancee I may not have been led to this healing path. I also wouldn't have had anyone to cry my little eyes out too, or express my fears and concerns to while having someone there to be supportive of my transformation. I am incredibly lucky and overjoyed to be with someone while going through this.

It has been very hard for her, and we have had had moments of doubt and fear arise between us. For all I'm learning about myself, she is also learning about herself. It's no Sunday picnic but it is all worth it.

I can't imagine undergoing this process and inviting a new person into my life however. My fiancee actually pointed me to the key insights for healing. Had she come into my life while I was undergoing this change of brain chemistry and circuitry, and not been 'in the know,' I can see it might have been too hard for a new lover to understand.

But no matter what, with or without someone special in your life, rebooting is something that can only yield beautiful results. You've made the right step and your recovery into a healthy perspective is just around the bend.

Your boot camp analogy is perfect. This process is much like a rigorous exercise that we as p/m/o addicts have wanted to do but never had the balls, so to speak."

Comments of this same man's fiancee a few months later:

"D's healing process has been a miraculous adventure, and I really should say "our" healing process, because being with a recovering porn addict is definitely a dual endeavor when it comes to healing. As any woman might suspect, it can potentially activate some blind spots when it comes to insecurity on the woman's part as well as the man's. Facing these fears head on AS THEY COME UP is key, and I cannot overstate how important this is.

It is difficult for us both to remain objective, to not take things personally, to not become paranoid/critical/and unknowingly engage in an age old separating mechanism, etc...(you know, the usual.)

But loving physical contact during said communication is doubly important. If you find yourself in a heated argument, no matter how much you may despise each other in that moment, it is absolutely imperative that each of you shut the hell up and receive 150 ccs of snuggles before you continue the conversation again, in a calm, rational, loving and respectful manner.

I also came up with an idea for red alert moments in lover's spats that involves momentarily separating into two different rooms, (preferably with a door between you to heighten the feeling of "space" without actually ditching each other) and each party does a headstand, and then returns to the scene of the crime.

For those of you men out there who fear you have killed your penis for good via furious masturbation? Fear not. It really does come back. Good god does it come back. He swears that I "made his penis bigger or something," and yes, it is a massive and pulsating wonder. As flattering as it is to hear him say it is my doing, it is simply a product of a healthy sexuality and heightened sensitivity.

Speaking of sensitivity, I am going to make a disclosure on his part, because it was kind of a milestone in his recovery process in it's own right: A week or so ago, we were, you know, making out, and um...he came in his pants. It was actually kind of beautiful in and of itself. What that showed is that IT"S WORKING. His brain has successfully rewired certain circuits and increased the amount of receptors available to receive the neurochemicals floating around in there.

I mean, we KNEW it was working, and it wasn't like we needed that to happen to recognize that making love to each other has become exceedingly more and more amazing, but it was definitive solid evidence that very profound changes had occurred in his brain. Years of damage have been reversed. It was proof. A moment of reckoning. Something clicked and we both understood: "Holy shit. It's healed. Something's really happening here."

All of you recovering porn addicts out there should take note of the fact that he has gone through his entire recovery process with me, within a loving relationship. Do not be afraid to enter one, there is no better time than now. Be brave. It's worth every second of awkward vulnerability you will feel. :-) Absolutely beautiful."

A guy said:

I actually continued to see a girl for a couple months after that. We had fun, holding hands, kissing, cuddling, all the great stuff. But this was smack dab in the middle of my flatline, and thus not many erections came and often not strong. Long story short, we never had sex and aren't seeing each other anymore, but it helped to have someone there. Honestly though, IMO the reboot is easier by yourself to an extent. Since we stopped dating, I don't feel any pressure to have a quick reboot, been more relaxed about it, and I virtually hadn't been single for almost 4 years so it took some getting used to but it's nice, although I'd like to find a girl soon to start dating and get to know.

For this guy, the relationship was a problem:

I had a serious girlfriend (a very sexually active one, ha) for the first 5 months of my NoFapistry. This greatly hurt my recovery. She was okay with us avoiding sex, but she would always walk around the apartment naked, would want to take showers with me, and was generally just turning me on without meaning to. Which would've been great, if my dick wasn't a dickhead. She'd turn me on, then I'd try to have sex, go limp, and I'd feel like I was starting from square one again. And when I did get it up, I'd find myself THINKING about sex, to get off, rather than focusing on the sex I was having. It was just a very difficult situation to overcome. For me, and the type of personality I am, this challenge is something that I have do on my on, and isolate myself, to some degree, in order to succeed.

Another guy said:

I don't know if I'm quite back to 100%, but if it's not 100% then its somewhere in the 90% percentile. Guys be patient and strong, the reboot works!!! Friday will be 8 weeks for me. Don't know if that's what it will be for everyone but I went through the whole dead dick period and everything. During the process I had sex about 3 times. The 1st time being after the 4th week. Don't take my word for it but I don't believe intercourse slows down the process after a certain point. The next days after the sex sometimes my dick felt like it had gotten even better. Once again that's just me can't speak for others.

I went the whole 8 weeks with no PMO. NO relapses. My only orgasms were from sex. Like I said don't know if I'm quite 100% yet, but this shit is GREAT!!!! I'm actually glad I went through this although it was hard. It freed me from porn and now I have an even higher appreciation for my penis and my erections. I love my penis like it was a person, maybe more lol!!!! I had to post this to give the guys going through it some hope!!!