Back to Square One

Discussion in 'Ages 30-39' started by squareone, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. squareone

    squareone New Member

    Hello, forum. Only today did I realize what a widespead problem porn-related ED has become for people my age. All day I've been reading reports of people with similar experiences to mine, and I'm really glad to see both that this is a problem with a solution and that there are places online to turn for experience and support! Of course, I'm on day 2, so the scope of the challenge ahead of me is only just dawning on me. Having quit smoking two years ago, I know that I have the willpower to follow through on this as well, so I'm going into this process with both confidence and some anxiety.

    I'm a 30-year-old and have been in a relationship for almost eight years. Until last September, when I moved to start a PhD program, I lived with my girlfriend, and our sex life, though probably pretty boring by most standards, was always solid. I used pornography regularly without my partner's knowledge, often after she went to sleep. I never experienced ED in that time, though we did successfully confront temporary medication-related lack of libido and got over it. At one point, earlier in our relationship, my partner caught me in the act of masturbating to porn, which became a major issue (more on that later).

    Anyway, having moved about 400 miles away to start my graduate program, I found myself devoting quite a bit more time to pornography. I don't think my viewing habits changed, but living on my own without the structure once provided by work and my partner's presence, I found myself MB'ing twice a day, whenever the mood struck. I wasn't concerned initially, since I've regularly watched porn since I was 15.

    If anything, I assumed that a long-distance relationship would improve our sexual relationship, but the last three times my girlfriend and I have had sex, I've experienced ED. At first I thought it had something to do with my physical fitness (a PhD student leads rather sedentary existence) and I started taking cycling classes to improve my stamina (VERY out of character for me ;D). Unfortunately, fitness has not improved my performance. I started thinking my porn habit had something to do with it, and found that I couldn't masturbate to orgasm without visual stimulation either. What a terrible feeling! That's when I decided to clear off the hard drive and take this reboot thing seriously.

    The biggest concern I have right now is trying explain this to my girlfriend. I don't think I'm going to abstain from sex entirely, just no PM, but sex is kind of an expected thing on our visits, and I totally expect to experience the same lack ED/lack of libido that I've read others going through. I also don't want to make excuses or lie about why I'm experiencing this problem, but I know admitting my porn habit to her is going to be difficult. She is very disapproving of pornography (as I learned from the last time this issue came up). Our relationship has been strained by long distance as it is. However, we are very supportive of one another and have been together for a long time. My first post-reboot visit is this weekend, so I will be back to report on my mood and other issues next week.
  2. Sturnus

    Sturnus Guest

    It is great that you have a strong and deep relationship with a women (; ED will pass away (; Good luck on this journey (; It is worth it.
  3. squareone

    squareone New Member

    Day 5 of my reboot, first day back from my visit with the girlfriend. For better or worse, I didn't tell her about my situation. I thought that another sexual failure would force the issue, but I managed to keep an erection for long enough to achieve a relatively successful moment of intimacy. 8) I could tell that things weren't perfect though, which was a reminder of why I am taking this reboot seriously. I never thought of myself as a selfish lover and really don't like feeling like one now. Due to school commitments, I won't see my girlfriend again for a few weeks, which hopefully will get me through the worst parts of this experience before giving intimacy another go.

    That said, now is definitely not the best time to risk a "brain fog" so I suppose I will need to develop some alternative activities that can help me keep my thoughts in order.

    Today was the first day I really felt an urge to PMO, also the first time I felt like this was really going to be a challenge. One thing that really helps me is knowing that I am not swearing off porn because of shame or guilt, as I have on certain occasions in the past, but because I now have a very rational and scientific understanding of the disadvantages this kind of habit can produce in my brain, and thus of the biological (rather than psychological) basis of my dependence. I once thought that pornography was just a deep seated part of my sexual makeup and that gave me an excuse to continue to abuse it; knowing that I'm struggling against a set of neural circuits that I myself programmed through habit, and not against some mysterious, unspeakable fetish, makes the prospect of getting over this seem easier. I'm much more prepared to confront a bad habit than a bad self, if you know what I mean.
  4. squareone

    squareone New Member

    Day 7. Yesterday was difficult, I must say. My school is on a quarter system, and I'm taking three seminars with hundreds of pages of reading a week each. There is a lot of pressure in a short period of time. PMO was a major outlet for stress relief for me, although it also created a different kind of stress as well--i would waste a lot of time at the computer and feel guilty, but also could break up a long day of reading with a quick fap. Yesterday I found myself really feeling an urge, and I didn't quite know what to do about it. I tried playing guitar for an hour, but as soon as I put the guitar down, that feeling came back. Reading other peoples' experiences was more help, but I could tell my brain was waiting for me to press the dopamine button. I had a really difficult time sleeping last night and my mood has been terrible all day, though I'm really glad I didn't just give myself a pass.

    As I expected, brain fog has been a problem. One moment I'm on top of things and the next I find myself lost in class discussion. I have major depression issues, for which I have been taking medication, but being in a situation like graduate school brings back all that intellectual insecurity that comes with my depression. I've always felt my porn use was tied to my depression. As soon as I started opening windows and looking at videos, the self-critical part of my brain turned off, and I would stay in that mode for as long as I could -- an hour, two hours go by, while I know I have more important things to do, but the stimulation porn offers keeps me focused on something other than myself.

    Eventually, I orgasm, which brings both relief and an immediate sense of shame or guilt, when I realize I've stayed up for hours being unproductive. There's also the shame of the secrecy -- clearing my history and recent items, worrying when I go out that I've left a hard drive plugged in or a window open, knowing I'm keeping a part of myself hidden from my partner. I used to use marijuana as well, and a lot of friends with depression self-medicate that way, which I think works in a similar way, though without the same degree of shame. It temporarily relieves anxiety, depression, or stress, but creates paranoia and self-recrimination.

    Now that I understand the neuro-chemical nature of porn addiction, it makes total sense. The only anti-depressant that ever really worked for me has been bupropion--a dopamine reuptake inhibitor, it also adds to the level of dopamine present in the brain. So the information that led me here has really helped me understand some of the causes of my depression, and I'm starting to get an idea of some of the activities and dietary choices that can help moderate these symptoms.

Share This Page