Am I a porn addict, and is it causing my ED?

Submitted by BrittleB on
Printer-friendly version

First, I have to say that I can't believe that I've found a forum to open up to. I've suffered silently over the last few years, and the last few months particularily so, with ED and the devestating effect it's had on my relationships, my self-esteem, my confidence, and my general well-being. For so long, I've wondered what is wrong with me and how I can fix it while keeping it a secret - it's reassuring to see a community of people who also have suffered (and overcome) what I have.

I'll keep my story brief (27yrs, male). Over the past several years, I've suffered increasingly worse symptoms of ED. After a breakup with my first love at 21, I began to experience soft erections whenever a condom was involved, but fine without it. Around 23, I began dating a girl and I couldn't maintain an erection even without a condom, and we broke up. Shortly after, I began using half-pills of Viagra to maintain an erection for another girl I was dating for several months, but I couldn't get an erection with her at all without it. When she broke up with me, I hit a two-year battle with depression, shame, and self-worthlessness that put my life into simply a state of existence. Nothing more, I was empty inside. It was so terrible to feel like I wasn't able to have sex anymore, much less become intimate with someone else. Would I be like this for the rest of my life?

Last fall, I began dating someone else, and I was secretly taking portions of Viagra pills, trying to wean myself off while building my sexual confidence. After 6 months, I couldn't hide it anymore from someone I loved - I told her everything. I have never felt more vulnerable in my entire life. She told me that she understood, that she loved me, and that we could work on it together. She broke up with me two weeks later.

That's ok, though, because I've finally realized that this problem is never going to go away unless I get in front of it and face it. Since then (6 weeks ago), I've decided to do something about it. I've approached a counsellor, who suggested I likely had performance anxiety, which I had already suspected. I went to the doctor hoping to get a test for low testosterone (which I still need to do), but I was surprised to learn that my daily habit of smoking marijuana could be a major contributor to the ED.

Today, I've learned that I might have a PMB addiction from this site. For the last several years, I've been smoking marijuana and using P to MB on an almost daily basis. Sometimes, much more. The scenes have become increasingly "shameful," to the point regular P doesn't do much for me anymore. I can MB without it, but it's more difficult to maintain an erection, and my thoughts wander quite easily, causing me to lose focus. I've been doing this for several years.

So, here's the changes I've made to deal with this so far:
- For the last six weeks, I've begun taking a multivitamin and 240mg of gingko bilboa (circulation booster) daily.
- Last week, after hearing from the doctor and researching online that marijuana can be a major cause of ED, I've quit 100% cold turkey. I'm only on day 10, though.
- Two days ago, I began taking a supplement called Drive (www.driverx.com) that claims to increase male potency and libido, although I'm skeptical. I'm desperate, though.
- I still need to get that testosterone test, and I will, but the doctor thought that was likely not the case. I need to rule it out though.

And now, after seeing this site and the SUCCESS people have had in overcoming performance anxiety and ED with a mental rebooting and abstinence from P/MB, I'm quitting that cold turkey as well. Starting right this moment. I can't believe that all this time, I may have an addiction to PMB that may be the cause to this problem.

I'll do almost anything to overcome this. I'm so tired of being a victim and needing a pill to have sex. It's not natural, they aren't healthy, and they only mask the problem. I want to be happy with relationships and intimacy again, and I'm willing to do the work to get there.

So that's it, I guess. If anyone can offer insight, suggestions, encouragment or whatever - feel free to respond. I'd particularily like to hear from anyone who has experienced a situation similar to mine, and how they overcame it. Is this a good strategy? What can I expect? What am I doing wrong? How long did it take? Did this help with performance anxiety? How does it feel to finally overcome this problem?

Thanks for reading, everyone!

PMO by itself is sufficient

PMO by itself is sufficient to cause the problems you've been seeing, so you're definitely doing the right thing to remove it from your life. Of course, even with the removal of PMO, there may be other things that cause you to still have problems (marijuana perhaps for example - I've no knowledge of its effects).

Good luck, my friend. You're in the right place. Give this your best shot Wink

Hi Brittle

Answers: "Most likely" and "most likely." But labels don't matter. What's really going on is a brain plasticity issue.

And that's really good, because it means you absolutely *can* turn this around by rebooting and rewiring your brain. I assume you watched Gary's videos at "Your Brain On Porn." If not, they should be your first stop. http://yourbrainonporn.com/ (Right-hand column)

Did you see this link? http://yourbrainonporn.com/ask-us There are about 3 FAQs on the subject of ED. You probably want to read them all.

Glad to have you aboard. Start a blog if you like.

*big hug*

Brittle

It's good to give pot up as it may contribute to ED, but I have searched and found no actual science to confrim pot's role in ED. It's unlikely that you have low testosterone, and if you did, it's extremely unlikely it has anything to do with your problem. Why? Because babies have erections and have virtually no testosterone.

I would place a bet that it's porn. As it is for almost everybody under age 40.

Doctors mention anxiety, alcohol, pot and testosterone to young men because they don't know that Internet porn can alter the erection control centers of the brain.

Thanks so much everyone for

Thanks so much everyone for the replies and well-wishes. I'm looking forward to overcoming this. I never even considered an addiction to P as a possible cause of this, although it makes total sense. I will read up on the links you guys have provided, as well as explore the site some more.

Likeanidiot, it's so encouraging to hear that. I've been scouring the 'net for weeks trying to find successful stories of people overcoming this, and so far, this community seems to be the only one.

Hi Brittle, yeah, this is

Hi Brittle, yeah, this is the right place. I've been there with the condoms as well and feel your pain. Condoms have always been my sexual nightmare - and a source of multiple moments of embarrassment.
I also took ginkgo. Stopped taking it today (after finishing up the bottle). I also took L-Arginine and stopped that as well. I think fish oil is better and should be enough. Multivitamin is always good. I've been taking some sort of herb since November, I think. I think all the stuff I found on various websites about herbs might be a bunch of BS. But fish oil and vitamins are good in general - for your overall health. I don't think there's a herb that would just bring your erections back. You, like me, need to work harder than that.
Quitting porn forever and masturbation at least for a long time is best. No orgasms but also no touching of the penis whatsoever (masturbation without orgasm) seems to be good for you. In the beginning you might have porn-related fantasy (which must also be avoided). I still have some scenes in my brain - that's how powerful/indoxicating that stuff is - but with time (I'm at day 90 right now), the fantasies seem to become less prevalent and easier to substitute by healthy thoughts about real females.
On pot - I doubt it is as debilitating although it might be, who knows... So, it's best to stop, at least reduce it - especially if you do it on a regular basis. I've also been interested in this though I don't use it regularly at all. But in the past I had sex while high. However, it's more difficult to have sex while high since pot seems to dull the natural sensation - which makes arousal harder. But once sober, I think it's irrelevant - in case you can stay sober (which you can - judging from your sober post :-)).
Good luck with this and don't give up; I think there's something to be said about increased sensation as time passes. So hang on no matter how long or unproductive it might look at first. This might take months, so you must try to be consistent and not give up.

BrittleB

BrittleB,

Your story is not mine exactly but it's about as similar as I've seen. I'm 23 and have experienced the disappointment with not being able to have sex as a result of ED. And as a result, everything good that comes from having a sexual relationship/companionship for the most part. I never tried a condom because I knew there was no shot of me being able to feel anything with one on. Don't think I could even get one if I wanted to as a result of being limp. Never tried Viagra either because of logistic reasons. If I could have bought it hand to hand from someone, I probably would have done it. But as you might have stated in other words, that's really just a band-aid to a deep cut. The dating/mating world is not for the weak. And, even though I can imagine how hard it hit you when that girl left 2 weeks after saying she understands and will help you, you should be thankful it happened. We're gonna have to step outside of the game for a while and focus on ourselves. It's the offseason for us but we'll all come back and be in better shape than ever before. But anyway, I'm on Day 10 so I don't have much of a success story to motivate you or anything. I haven't had any physical benefits thus far but mentally, I do feel more confidence, assertiveness, motivation after ten days. I think it's inevitable that if we have discipline to keep your hand off your cock and your eyes off of porn for at least two months, that ED will be gone and the possibility for intimacy, companionship will have arrived along with the shame and negative emotional/mental impact that all comes with the package being left in the past. So, just completely shut off the engine and start this reboot with a blend of patience and excitement for what's to come when you turn that key over in 60 days (roughly).

Brittle,

as you may have read by now, a long "flat-line" (absence of) libido is not unusual as your brain reboots. That's especially true of the ED sufferers. So don't panic. It'll all come roaring back when your brain reboots.

ED and Porn

If you haven't already, make your first stop be to check out Gary's Youtube video on the subject of ED and Porn: http://yourbrainonporn.com/erectile-dysfunction-and-porn

Simply put, porn- or more to the point, the way you've been using it- is likely, dare I say almost certainly, the cause of your ED. It's been affecting your brain in really, really drastic ways, to a degree you'll probably find surprising because you're not really aware of them yet. After just a couple of weeks of abstinence, while you'll be far from "out of the forest" but you will very likely have a much clearer perspective on how your brain and perceptions have been effected.

Thanks again everyone for

Thanks again everyone for the advice and encouragement. I've been doing a lot of reading up since my last post, and I'm really surprised that I haven't even considered before that I might have a porn addiction. Looking back at my past behavior, and at how hard PMO abstinence has been in the last few days, it seems clear to me that I do. I can't wait to "reboot" and see if my ED is cured.

So, Day 5 in progress. Good luck to everyone else out there doing this! Thanks again for the kind words, everyone.

Today's porn

is sneaky stuff...at a brain chemical level. Definitely worth running a solid test. Could be a fast track to feeling much more powerful and effective. Hope so. Smile

my opinion

I have ED, so I feel what you feel, man.

First of all, Marnia and Gary have more knowledge about our problem than anyone else. At least, they offer a sustainable theory which works for some people. Do any of your doctors can tell you a success story? I bet no.

I suggest you to experiment with abstainance. It does weird things to your subconsciousness, like giving your weird sexual dreams. I am sorry to say it but I think that most people here exaggerate about effects of abstainance. I am sorry but to say you are suddently thinking more clearly or you memorizing ability is better, you serious?...c'amone; it affects you subconsciousnessly through dreams, or some unusual behavour only, or like your sudden fliirty talk with a random girl, etc...

good luck and please tell us if you have a progress. I want to know how to fix it. So far I used some Chinese viagra, which works good, but it's not a solution.

Reality check, noobzealot

I'll add to Marnia.
The reward circuitry is the absolute central hub for the brain and bodily functions.
- It controls and produces all emotions, all feelings, all desires, all urges, all moods, all motivation.
- All mental illness involves the reward circuit.
- It's where you fall in and out love. It's where you bond to anyone.
- It's where all learning and memory begins.
- The hypothalamus and amygdala within the reward circuit control all hormones, fight or flight response, stress response, sex hormones, sexual desire, food and water intake.
- Guess what - the reward circuitry is your subconscious.

The list of reward circuitry functions can fill a textbook, so I'll stop.

In addiction, the reward circuitry becomes rewired, and several neurotransmitters, along with their receptors (not just dopamine ) become imbalanced. This imbalance can and does manifest as any number of possible symptoms. Any possible symptoms - because the reward circuit does everything but wash your windows.

Noob - Don't practice neurobiology without a license (like we do). :)

noobzealot

I fail to respect someone taking Chinese viagra as it pertains to the benefits of PMO abstinence. If you have previously been through a credible streak, my words are rescinded. That said, I think memorizing ability and clarity of though are second-hand goals for most here. The majority of us are aiming for a healthier conscience and an ability/desire to mesh with fellow humans as we were "born" to. I probe that memorizing ability and clarity of thought are supplemental effects as a result of a brain free of heavy muck bogging it down with temptation and delusion non-stop. I agree there might not be a rigid difference in some things. I'm led to believe things like memorization, clarity of thought, ambition, and confidence come "easier" of a healthier sub-conscience in all. I say that to say this. You still have to "want" these things to happen, but it's much easier to achieve for example, memorization, when you're in a more positive state of mind. I'm not correct as I have no proof thus far. But, at 13 days, I do feel a little better mentally.

Noob,

Just curious. How long have you tried to abstain from PMO?

It may seem strange that returning the brain to balance would affect so many areas of your life (confidence, drive, ability to concentrate and socialize, priorities, tastes), but in fact, the reward circuitry of the brain is at the center of all those things, as well as at the center of addictions (when it gets hijacked by overstimulation).

The point that made this clear to me might be interesting to you, too. Most psychotropic drugs (the ones used for depression, anxiety, ADHD) work directly on the reward circuitry. In short, psychiatrists know this, even if it seems miraculous to the rest of us.

Here's another bizarre example. A surprisingly large percentage of people taking dopamine-like drugs for Parkinsons disease and restless leg developed *addictions* they didn't have before just due to the drug-enhanced dopamine-like effects on their brains.

In short, shifts in dopamine/sensitivity to dopamine can, indeed, have the kinds of changes people here report. I hope you do, too, one of these days. Smile

It's been a week since I

It's been a week since I started my "rebooting," so I thought I would write a post and note some of the effects. Things are going well enough, I think. I haven't seen any P, nor have I MO at all since I started last Sunday. I'm in the middle of studying and writing my University finals, and then moving to another city on Friday, so that helps distract me a bit.

I've experienced some of the withdrawal symptoms. It's been pretty difficult to sleep the whole night, although test anxiety usually does that to me as well, so I can't say for definite what the cause is. One thing I've noticed for sure is an increase in erections - I get them every morning now, and they are rock hard. Most of the nights as I'm waiting to fall asleep, I notice I'm able to get an erection just by letting my thoughts wander and without even touching myself. This is a marked improvement from even a week ago. I suffer from ED, but I feel like if I had a woman in bed with me this morning, I couldn't have been able to stop an erection if I wanted to! Even with a condom, which has always been a show-stopper for me.

I've noticed some improvements in my mental well-being, too. I've been inspired reading the couple of success stories that have been posted here this past week, and I'm encouraged by the fact that so far, I've been successful in following their footsteps. I've been so much more comfortable talking to the girls in my classes, too. My jokes seem to land where they should, I feel some-what more confident, and I don't know if it's in my head or what, but I feel like I've noticed a lot more girls smiling at me. I should mention that I quit cold-turkey my daily habit of smoking marijuana three weeks ago too, so some of my increased mental well-being is probably from that.

This whole process isn't without it's challenges, though. Some days seem to be no problem, but there are times when the urge to MO, with or without P, is almost too much. In the morning, I usually just jump out of bed and get going with my day and it helps control the urge. Some nights, like last night, I can hardly sleep and I just toss and turn battling the urge to turn on my computer and find the relief I need. I can't believe the grip P has/had on me, this last week has been a serious wake-up call. I always kind of thought that I was little bit different, and that other guys probably didn't watch the same kinds of porn I do. Now I understand that it's not the porn I was after, it was that rush of excitement that the edgier stuff gave me. It makes total sense to me that I would suffer ED when my brain is looking for something else for stimulation. So I would say the biggest challenge this first week is just trying to resist the urge - one day at a time.

I want to mention that last week I asked out this girl that I've been crushing on all semester. We went out, things seem to be progressing a bit on that front, and I'm hoping that something comes of it. I'm under the impression that she is the kind of girl who would want to take the long road to sex, and that's totally where I'm at too. I want to get to know a potential girlfriend and get comfortable before moving into the bedroom. I think that will greatly help reduce anxiety when the time comes. I know these things are obviously impossible to plan, but if it takes two months to get to actual intercourse with her, then I think I would be pretty comfortable to try again at the end of my rebooting process. I guess I'll just have to wait and see how it plays out.

Overall, though, things seem to be going good. I'm still researching and reading info about porn addiction/ED, both on this site and elsewhere, and I'm still taking vitamins and 240mg of ginkgo biloba everyday. Like I mentioned earlier, I'm moving into my own place on Friday, and I'm going to start the P90x exercise program May 2. I hope that by cutting out 100% marijuana use (which I realize, may or may not cause ED), taking some vitamins, exercising daily, and abstaining from PMO, that I'll be able to cure my ED and eliminate my addiction to porn.

So that's where I'm at. I'm going to just keep going how I've been doing, and see where it takes me. Thanks to everyone who expressed support on my previous post, and offered suggestions/encouragement. Good luck to anyone else reading this and trying to do what I'm doing, I'm starting to see how difficult the "rebooting" process can be.

All progress comes through struggle Smiling