recovery ,anxiety and withdrawls

Submitted by recoverer on
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i am addict in recovery. i have suffered from this addiction for close to three years. my habit grew progressively worse as i fell into depression both from habitual use as well as watching my life outside suffer as well(ie job losses, failed relationships etc...) i became a regular viewer of certain fetishes, which i had never even thought of before, and even went so far as to act out. i really had no idea what was happening to me. i had never heard of porn addiction but rather thought it a normal thing to watch. i understand now that porn just takes you to more and more extreme viewing. and now i look back shake my head at what i was watching and thinking as "normal". i began to realise that i was on a very dark path. i had such a very empty i feeling inside of me and i could see how screwed up i had become . i eventually realized the common thread was porn. oh and i am not criticizing fetish lifestyles, its just that i wasn't making healthy choices for myself. i was leading a somewhat double life.

anyway, i attended my first SA meeting which was a big step for me. to actually go out and admit that i had a problem to other people was, well quite challenging and relieving at the same time. i still wasn't committed to giving porn up until the spring summer of 09.
since then, i have made a concerted effort to recover. i had a few slip ups, but for the most part i believe, with the help of websites such as reuniting, and tantric concepts i learned through tanja diamond, that i have things under control. i still have urges to use it from time to time, but i am able to recognize and counter triggers. I am at the point where i am beginning to feel disgusted by porn and my past behavior. i have regular visions of porn, when i visualize sexual fantasies, which i find disturbing. i can recall with accuracy scenes i watched a very long time ago i thought long lost. but they are still there. i have started to masterbate without the goal of ejaculating to "retrain" my mind again (a tantric method).

my real concern now, and i believe what made me slip up in recent months, aside from momentary feelings of depression, were feelings of anxiety. in short i find it hard to be intimate with someone. both on a personal level and at times i suffer from performance anxiety. i know i can perform, its just i have so much fear. this was never a problem for me in the past. i regularly dated and never had problems meeting woman or performing (with the odd slip up of course..haha).

my thinking always starts out with worrying about failing to perform as good as i used to before internet porn. and of course the more i worry the more i make it likely that i'll lose the my erection. i know i can perform. i wake up with a daily erection and generally have no problem getting an erection on my own without porn. its just such a mind fuck. like i can have an erection and still my mind says i can't perform!!! explain that one..

i am working to alleviate these feelings which i am starting to see are just thoughts, and not real, through meditation. as well, as i have said, i have stopped ejaculating for the past 3 weeks (minus a couple slip ups) and i believe its helping.

recently, however, i met someone with whom i am starting to date. we have not been intimate as of yet. but it looks like we will be. hence i am having feelings of anxiety, when i think about love making. i think this person is really special. i am not entirely sure i can share with her my experiences with porn addiction yet. i am just not entirely sure on how to proceed. viagra is of course an option, but i preferably don't want to go that route .

oh i wanted to add. since i have stopped watching porn regularly, my life has begun to improve dramatically at all levels. as if i am waking from a fog...

i suppose my questions evolve around this issue.

is this a normal part of addiction recovery? is this part of the of withdrawal?
if so,
how long do most people find this lasts?
what can anybody suggest i do?


Thanks for sharing your story. Maybe some of the gentlemen here will have some thoughts for you. I just want to say that from what I've read of people's stories, everything you're experiencing IS normal. Your brain is recalibrating...unhooking from one form of stimulation to another (normal sex). It's not suprising that it's a bit...hesitant at first. It's still rewiring.

My thought is that it may be normal to think of your body as a machine that's supposed to perform sexually at the flip of a switch in just the way you know it can at peak performance. But this is partly a product of watching porn stars who are disconnected from their feelings. That's not a healthy place to be, and it doesn't lead to deep, satisfying companionship. It just leads to performance. Wink

The more I learn, the more I realize our expectations around sexual performance are seriously out of whack. Have a look at this article, "Intercourse vs. Orgasm":

Other primates don't ejaculate each time they engage in sexual activity. They use it as a bonding behavior (only) just as often. In other words, it's quite likely that "normal" sex for humans IS something closer to karezza, with the emphasis on affectionate touch, gentle intercourse, and the occasional mating frenzy.

In any case, there's nothing wrong with telling this new goddess that you have had too many short, passionate relationships, and that you hope this one will last and you want a slow start. Try just sleeping together for a bit, with lots of affection. As long as you assure her how delicious you find her, she'll probably be fine with that.

Women, too, have been sold the "hot sex" recipe, but it just makes us tire of our partners more quickly, so it's quite counterproductive. If you'd like me to explain this to her, just let me know, because I lived this problem...and the karezza solution. Wink

Hi recoverer, I can't relate

Hi recoverer,

I can't relate exactly to your situation, as I am not required to 'perform'.

However, I think staying away from orgasm for a while will help you regain your clarity and hopefully diminish your anxiety.

And encouraging your new partner to go slow, but with lots of affection - sounds like a good idea to me.



Dear Recoverer,

Your story made me is almost a mirror to my experience...........uncanny.

The flight from intimacy, the resulting anxiety, the performance stress, etc.

Look, you've taken the first step and that is to unhook from porn......saving your energy for the real experience of life.

Read, Read, Read.

Most of my problem has been my issues with intimacy. For me, it was an issue of not letting anyone in too close.....fear of being let down or hurt, lost, left ....whatever.

The anxiety can be handled by more positive outlets...exercise, music, walks, etc. But what is FUELING the anxiety is the real question. Porn, masturbation were the means to handle the anxiety.....that caused the addiction. But you are breaking that cycle now....CONGRATS.

Marnia is right, if this new person is cool, she will understand that you want to take it slow( she may even appreciate it). THAT will ease your feelings and promote trust......the rest will unfold brother and I bet you will have NO issue with "performance".

Oh, the viagra hook. I have used viagra and kept it a secret (so i think). It can also screw with your mind as you start to believe that it is the only way for you to get an erection. it IS ADDICTIVE in and of itself. You already know your body works. Now, once you and your partner relax into this, you will look back and laugh at the money spent on this drug (by the way, I am in the medical business........Pfizer is making a KILLING off of us and laughing all the way to the bank.........most of "Erectile Dysfunction" is mostly due to porn, masturbation addiction.....and they want to keep it that way).

Just a few thoughts............but it seems to be working for me.


thanks crow

thanks crow. funny thing happened. just writing about it seemed to alleviate a lot of the stress i've had regarding this well, everybodys responses made a lot of sense. thanks again.