Discussion in 'Ages 30-39' started by Kichijiro, Apr 9, 2019.
That's helpful - thanks, Luke
Day 159 no P. Day 9 no MO (good for me!). Anxiety 2/10. Mood 1/-10 to 10. Libido 2/10.
Attachment Theory and Short Story Idea
Made out last night with a girl I've been on a couple dates with. Erection was pretty weak during it - about 3/10. However I also have not made out with anyone in a while and I realize to rewire I'll probably need pretty consistent physicality over a longterm relationship.
I really like this girl I've been seeing. She's absolutely beautiful and super intelligent and kind. Here's the kicker though - she is showing all the signs of being an "avoidant" in attachment theory, and I am an "anxious".
I just learned about attachment theory, but it makes so much sense to me and seems crucially important! Attachment theory describes how individuals connect with other important people in their lives, all the way from infants with their parents to adults with romantic partners. There are three categories: anxious, avoidant, and secure. Roughly 20% of people are anxious, 25% are avoidant, and <50% are secure. There's also a very small group of anxious-avoidant. Anxious people worry easily about the state of their relationship anytime they do not get the frequent affirmation and communication they need. Avoidant people worry about the state of their relationship anytime they feel their independence and space encroached upon. Secures naturally do not worry about the state of their relationship unless their partner is distressed. This is a very scant description of these three types but I hope it is sufficient. One of the worst combos is an anxious and avoidant person because one constantly craves and tries to increase the intimacy while the other fears and tries to minimize it. The authors of "Attached" go so far as to encourage people in these relationships to at least consider separating in order to find better mates (usually secures).
I cannot believe I had never heard of this theory or this scholarship until this point in my life. It seems like "Dating and Relationships 101" for the modern age. Armed now with this knowledge I can give better vocabulary and articulation to my needs and what I sense is working or not in a relationship. And what sucks is that this wonderful person I have met is someone I will probably need to say goodbye to because I am an anxious and she is an avoidant. From a PIED perspective it's especially frustrating because besides having a body that really turns me on, she does not seem super motivated by sex itself and also seems pretty understanding so I thought trying to rewire with her could have really worked out. (Relationships where one person is an avoidant actually have less sex take place typically, and when sex happens it is often unaccompanied by lots of intimate acts such as kissing, etc.).
Anyway, so back to the drawing board for me probably. I have been encouraged as an anxious by that book, "Attached", to try to date more people simultaneously so as to not get stuck on one person that may not be healthy for me. Anxiouses and avoidants often end up together because they happen to occur in the dating pool frequently (secures often make whatever relat. they are in work) and these people confuse the unhealthy volatile dynamics of their relationship for love or passion.
What I wanted to say though is that I think some work, academic work, could be done on the relationships between guys trying to recover from PIED and attachment theory types. I would imagine our experiences frequently make us anxiouses and may compound the problems anxiouses run into, i.e., trying to make a particular relationship work even when a non-PIED suffering anxious might have called a similarly unhealthy relationship quits (which can take years or never even happen sadly). Curious what you all think about this stuff?
The other note I wanted to make was that a really cool short story could be written about an undercover agent. My idea is that his agency encourages him to "bed" potential informants and for all intents and purposes they think he is having sex with these women. But his secret is that he does bring them home or to the hotel and they become intimate but do not have sex. And his unwitting informants usually accept his reasons for not wanting to have sex. But at the end of the memoir (perhaps that's the form this story would take) the agent reveals he has a deeper secret, that he is beginning to see someone his agency knows nothing about and he plans to share with her what, in spite of his professional and apparent sexual successes, no one else knows: that he has PIED.
Maybe I'll put that together sometime. Thanks for reading and any thoughts you may have.
Update to Attachment Theory post and My Victory Letter
Update to yesterday's post. That girl and I did end up deciding to stop seeing each other. Definitely a bummer because I thought she was "perfect" for me for the aforementioned reasons (very sexy/attractive to me, quite intelligent, common experience living abroad, etc.) and she liked me a lot. However it is for the best. She did some reading and found she was very avoidant and I have to appreciate that though I came to that conversation ready to break things off she actually made it happen. (It's usually quite difficult for anxious partners to end a relationship b/c of their attachment style and corresponding beliefs about romance, the availability of suitable mates, etc.) Last night was tough but I have mostly positive thinking about my future romantically. I began a long stretch of no MO while seeing that girl and I am going to keep it up even though things are over between us. That's the plan anyway.
I want to wrap up my summer by drafting my victory letter even though I'm not there yet and may not be for a long time. Years? I plan to share this post with at least some people, perhaps all my FB friends/perhaps not, after I have shown I can consistently get hard enough for sex mostly on demand. Here goes...
"Hello world. I have something to say coming from deep in my heart. It is very personal. It is going to be graphic and my intended primary audience is young men. But I want others who love me to know this as well.
I am a recovering internet porn addict. I have been sober for 1 year. You may think porn cannot be a real addiction. That may have been more true in the pre-high speed internet porn days. But in the last 10-15 years, millions of men (and many women) have undergone addiction-related brain changes due specifically to high speed internet porn (and VR porn bodes worse things to come). There are several sources for this but I would point you to the research and website of Dr. Gary Wilson, yourbrainonporn.com . Since my discovery of my problem, I have changed my life to just not include porn (of any kind really) anymore. But to be honest, kicking that addiction - which some in the know say is harder than kicking nicotine or alcohol - has been easy compared to the next battle, a mental one, I want you to know about.
I discovered I had an internet porn problem because I developed porn-induced sexual/erectile dysfunction (PIED). This means that I had taught my brain to only get sexually aroused - an erection - when using internet/video porn. When in erotic contexts with a partner I was unable to get hard enough for sex. To this day there are some abilities I have not and may not ever recover (what are called "spontaneous erections", one of the simple and mostly innocent pleasures of being a man). I wish I had known from a firsthand account how real this problem was before I unwittingly developed it. That's why I write this now, as a warning to young men.
I want to take you a little bit into my mostly silent battle. Imagine discovering you could never experience one of life's greatest pleasures, sex (again). That's what I was faced with when I discovered the reality of my situation. Further, imagine that as a man. Womanhood is defined in various ways, but sadly, there are fairly few ways manhood is defined in our culture (these ways being as elusive or permanently unattainable as they are leading to the masses of depressed, lone gunman men) and being a sexual being is seen as essential to being a real man. Finally, my greatest desire in life for decades has been a wife and children I cherish. All of this - the believed loss of all sex, the loss of my masculinity, and the loss of my greatest desires - came crashing down on me in March 2019. I lost 10 pounds. I stopped sleeping. My thoughts were suicidal. My days were a blur of numbness, every moment a reminder of the consequence of my decisions. And let's explore that for a moment. I developed PIED because for years I lived and slept a lonely existence, craving intimacy but never getting it. Day after day, night after night, from my late teens through my twenties and into my thirties I was alone. Of course I craved sex itself so in my late 20s I began using internet porn as an every other night virtual substitute for the real experience I wanted. This choice I made turned into a habit that continued with that regularity into my 31st year. And that was the year I discovered something was wrong. Unfortunately because many men don't realize they have a problem until they turn the porn off and try sex with a real person there are thousands if not millions of adolescents through middle-aged men out there who do not even yet realize they have PIED.
So that's the sob story of it. And it is sad. I take responsibility for my actions and mostly for the way my life has panned out thus far. I want to highlight that if my circles had taught that physical intimacy and sex with another is good and not forbidden my story might have been a little bit different. I am pointing that directly at conservative Christian circles - they lie when they claim that their scripture says sex between two single people before marriage is sinful. No scripture says that. It's a convenient idea that controlling moralists spread with a fury in American Christianity. I also should point out that I really did not fully understand or know the consequences of my porn use. I had perhaps heard vaguely of PIED but nothing clear about it. No horror stories. Further, for decades psychologists have been encouraging porn use without carefully checking the results. But, again, the decision to use internet porn 3-4 times a week for years was my own.
So back to the story. I discovered in spring 2019 that I had developed PIED. I had been depressed in my life before - deeply, clinically depressed - but in March and April of 2019 things were about as dark as they had ever been in my life. Recall that my ability for sex, my masculine identity, and my dreams of intimacy and children and grandchildren were all seemingly gone. Well, at this point I am so grateful for the writings and work of Noah Church, Gabe Deem, and Gary Wilson. These men have had different experiences - personal or via research - with PIED and were seriously lights at the end of a very very dark tunnel.
That summer I began the phase many call "rebooting". I went through a number of interesting withdrawal symptoms others quitting internet porn addictions experienced - part of that was the weight and sleep loss, vast mood swings, and other things I won't mention here. But rebooting is only half the process. After taking the substance away from the brain, most men have to "rewire" - redevelop the neural pathways allowing them to get erect in sexual contexts. You can probably imagine my fear while dating at that time: Starting something new with a woman and trying to discern when to tell her about my condition, my recovering from PIED.
Well, I mean it when I say I felt blessed when I began a relationship with ___. Even though we're not together now, I want to credit her with my recovery. It was a process of months. Many times in the early months we'd try to get intimate and nothing much really happened. But then I started to get stronger, and longer lasting. And finally one day it worked! It took some time, days, but then we were able to do it again. And then again. And my performance got better and more reliable.
As said, there are things I lost to internet porn. I want any and all young men in my life to know the risks. Sadly, statistically almost all of those young men, even the principled ones, are using internet porn, trading real sex for a virtual substitute and risking some abilities they may or may not ever get back. And while I'm at it, I want even the not so young men, and the men in relationships and marriages to know the risks of internet porn. If you or someone you love uses internet porn I'd say there is a 2/3 chance that your sex life is not what it could be. Because even if you can still perform, it's probably not as good as if you weren't using porn. All these "For Hims" and "Viagara" ads? They are merely pawns of the porn industry which wants you to keep using. You don't need viagara. You need to quit internet porn.
So I can gladly say I am mostly recovered at this point. And my prayers now are as much for the good of others as myself and my partner in these matters. I pray that in an increasingly virtual and disconnected world, men and women will reject the false intimacy, the false gods that internet porn and its cousins offer, turn their devices off, and risk meeting, talking, laughing and becoming truly intimate with other people. Thanks for reading."
Yeah, so that's a draft of my victory letter. Felt good to write it. And I like that in writing it it actually gave me the idea of setting "a time goal" for recovery from PIED. I know that is mostly a silly idea - who can schedule one's own recovery from an affliction of the mind and body? However, in the interest of moving towards my goal of finding a life partner I set a goal of having a relationship this year that lasted a month or longer and I have found that goal helpful. This most recent relationship was 3 weeks in length, so I am making progress. And thus why not just say that I will have had sexual intercourse by the one year point from discovering I had PIED - that would be February 27th, 2020?
My victory letter will undoubtedly go under other revisions but one other note is that I am not sure whether I will include in it or not that I had been a virgin going into the PIED experience. I think that actually would be a really powerful detail in the letter. Clearly a personal one. Anyway, we'll see.
Sexual Peak and Flatline Observations/Wonderings
Day 163 no P. Day 13 no MO. Anxiety 3/10 (getting back to work has raised it). Mood 1/-10 to 10 (varied from -2 to 2 today).
With one remark, my therapist kind of wrecked my day. (Pushed it to the -2 on the mood scale.) I've talked a lot with him about PIED over the past several months. Today I was recounting the experience of Noah Church to him, seeking to use it as a point of hope for myself. I mentioned that in Noah's estimation he had masturbated from being a toddler through life and got hooked on internet porn around age 9 or so. Then when he was in his early 20s he was finally able to quit PMO and have successful intercourse with a woman. I thought this was encouraging because my own life has looked very different in some ways. I legit didn't jack off (masturbate to completion) for the first time until I was 21. Almost 22 actually. But as soon as I mentioned Noah was in his early 20s when he was finally able to successfully rewire my therapist noted "Ah yes, when men are at their sexual peak", which I recall is around that time. Damn. That crushed me because now it's got me wondering if I am finished since I am so far from my sexual peak! (At least 10 years beyond it.) Anyway, I know there are a lot of conflicting ideas about sexual peaks and when they occur but it still shook me.
And on a related note, I got the "The Brain That Changes Itself" book that so many PIED sufferers love to reference. I look forward to reading it but I do worry about another thing even before I begin. Some of the case studies mentioned (stroke patients re-learning to speak in old age, e.g.) in blurbs about the book seem to be dealing with very different situations than a primal need (hunger, thirst, sex) reward pathway being completely rewired by addiction. My fear is that the pathways leading to sexual arousal are so fundamental they end up being not very plastic at all, or not plastic enough to rewire to a completely, or almost completely, new experience (in my case, full arousal in the presence of a woman sexually).
So, on to my flatline wonderings: the further one gets from the last time he ejaculated, does his desire for release and his experience of spontaneous erections/semis decrease? I ask because it's seemed to have possibly been working that way for me. The best erection I have gotten in the presence of a woman since starting no-PMO and possibly for even a year before that was after I was about 44 days in to hard mode no-PMO but had just given in and been MOing a few times that week. Then this summer I got a couple semis after I had finished a 13 day no-MO stint with a decent amount of masturbating. I suppose the goal is to be able to continue no PMO until one can build up to an erection hard enough for intercourse and only at/after that time come to orgasm during sex. I think what I might be seeing in my experience is that I am still in the flatline? I've started another one of those relatively longer no-MO runs and I have had very few semis even in somewhat stimulating situations, I've nearly gone back to "shrinky-winky", and there's just no real desire for release (or even desire for the desire for release) right now. The last is why I didn't even list libido at the start of this entry.
Your input is much appreciated. Thanks for reading!
Day 173 no P. Day 2 no MO. Anxiety 4/10. Mood 2/10.
No, no progress PIED-wise to write about here yet. Still trying to find a gf. Working on it. But I wanted to write something down while I was thinking about it.
Frankly, even if I could never get hard with a woman again that does not mean I could never find love and a life partner. Yes, there would be some significant challenges to that but it's not ruled out at all. I think I have a lot of potential as a romantic partner and a ton to offer so I have been getting some peace about that recently.
And on that note, I want to defy the odds against me and my healing by referring to my past. I did not kiss a girl until I was 26 and my first kiss & make-out session happened when I had a huge nasty beard and long hair and had just eaten some garlic aioli creation (could have even been fried squid - I can't remember) and the girl knew that. My first significant gf I snagged a year or so later with the hair and beard even bigger and nastier. And the first girl from a club that stayed the night with me wanted to keep seeing me even after a couple dates even though I had told her we wouldn't be fucking that night because I was doing a no-PMO thing (didn't explain the PIED) and when the next morning she gave me a hand job she felt that my dick was fairly soft. Didn't matter! She still wanted more of me.
I say all this as real encouragement to myself that time and again, even in spite of great disadvantages - smelly breath, nasty hair, a soft dick - I manage to win women over. Regardless of ever coming back erection health-wise, I can and will prevail in my quest for love!
(Further, I want to note that while recounting the club girl hand job experience, just thinking about it got me 70+% hard, which in my estimation seems hard enough for penetration. Super encouraging. And what's more, while I wanted to beat off the rest of the way I stopped myself from edging or orgasm. However I know for PIED-recoverers even hard-ons coming from memories/fantasy while one is alone bear zero meaning about one's real potential when with a real partner.)
In conclusion, I want to note after I am healed I will be writing some special words for the church and Christian institutions I was a part of in my teens and twenties. I will basically blast the hell out of the teachings I had received that sex before marriage is bad/sinful. There is no text that says this. And this teaching - and the lack of real instruction/guidance I received on how to appropriately develop physical intimacy when in a relationship - is partially to blame for my lack of experience with women and turning to porn as a substitute. Anyway, I look forward to how I will write that, not because I love heaping judgment on things or people but because I love the idea of correcting errors and helping others be free.
Day 177 no P. Day 0 no MO. Anxiety 2/10. Mood 4/-10 to 10.
Today was a red letter day, gentlemen! Bought a car, kissed a girl, climbed a route I hadn't climbed before a bit above my level, and got more than a semi while making out (between 35 and 60% hardness)!
Month 6 no P. Day 2 no MO.
Telling the world you have PIED
Question: What kind of bear is best? Just kidding.
Real question is, what are the benefits and costs of telling the world you have PIED?
I ask b/c I feel in some ways it would lessen my burden?
It would certainly complicate things, too, especially since my job is working with teenagers all day (teaching) and I would have to accept whatever the hell they thought of me if they heard/knew that. Not to mention it might make my dating prospects dry up a ton - would seem that no longer could I wait till we were starting to get intimate to explain my situation, I would have to tell it pretty up front b/c "everyone else" knows anyway.
But I could see it easing my burden in that it's no longer a secret. It's no longer something I am spending great emotional energy hiding from others. It's no longer something I can't be empathized with or that I feel largely alone in. Telling the world would let me be authentic (my modus operandi anyway) and allow people to understand the struggle I've been in and lend their support.
I don't know. What do you think?
Month 6 no P. Day 2 no MO.
Erection fluctuation during recovery
I have another question: what do you think determines one's propensity to get an erection while recovering from PIED?
It seems like on some occasions where I have MOed a lot since quitting porn, it is during those weeks or like the day after or something when I actually manage to get semis or even decent erections just out in public. Further, the erections I get while masturbating seem to be stronger after I have already MOed a couple or few times before during these periods.
And then, times when I go a few to several days without MOing, there just won't be a lot of life or response at all down there to things in the real world. And it may also be that when I do finally masturbate again, the erection is not super strong the first time or couple times or so.
Does anyone else notice this? I guess my deduction from this is that the more you "use it", the more you are MOing, the better it gets. And the less you MO it's almost as if your arousal mechanism and penis go into something like a "standby mode". I imagine this might be true even for PIED recoverers who are again sexually active - the more they have sex, the better their performance is; and when they go several days or more without sex their performance wanes (weaker erection, premature ejaculation, what have you). This intuitively makes sense to me, but perhaps I am completely wrong about this.
What have y'all noticed?
Thanks, and stay strong.
Month 10 no P. Day 3 no MO.
Lessons Gleaned from The Brain That Changes Itself
Started a long post detailing every lesson from Norman Doidge's The Brain That Changes Itself that I felt could be somehow useful for PIED recoverers. Was interested to see it saved even when I put my Macbook to sleep. Well, I guess I closed the browser and that long, thoughtful post got completely deleted. Uggh. So maybe we can crowdsource here. What neuroplasticity findings/lessons can we list here? I was going to go chapter by chapter. I may start again. Anyway, I think as far as brain plasticity 101 we know that neurons that fire together wire together and the corollary neurons that fire apart wire apart. This gives the reasoning for one to first reboot - quit using internet porn and masturbating - and rewire - start allowing yourself to be aroused when intimate with a real partner. I hope to go through the chapters again sequentially soon and make posts about their respective lessons.
However, I'll add something I thought of to try. Let me be clear this is in no way Doidge, Wilson, or other PIED-expert endorsed. I came to think of this situation as being similar to having some kind of brain injury and so I looked up what were important things for one's diet if they had a brain injury. What I came up with was choline, creatine, Omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc. Also avoiding alcohol as much as possible. My therapist also mentioned ginger and tumeric being useful? Anyway, I started taking some of those early in my reboot process. I wish now I had waited till the rewiring - seems they'd make more sense then. But I might have finally found a partner (?) and so I will probably start taking those things again here. Also going to get more strict about no MO now. I think having a partner I want to please can add the motivation needed to avoid MO. We'll see.
Please post with anything about brain plasticity that you think might help the PIED-recoverer. Cheers!
355 days no P. 49 days no M. 0 days no O.
Am I Ready?
The biggest and best news is that I have found a pretty wonderful woman. We have been dating now for nearly 2 months and it's going really well.
Obviously I was scared to tell her about my PIED. However, as I was hoping and thinking, she was totally cool with it and, even more, says she'd be okay if I never recovered, that we would work around it. That's a pretty damn special woman. Anyway, she herself is a virgin (maybe not surprising if she said could do w/o sex potentially forever - not aware of what she's missing yet ;P ) and wants to save vaginal intercourse for when she's in love with someone and thus there has nicely been no pressure to recover quickly from her side. But I have some questions now.
My goal was to successfully have sex by Feb. 27, the one-year mark from beginning my PMO journey. That has been completely eclipsed by my new primary desire to make my girlfriend happy and comfortable and make the decision for intercourse together with her. But I seem to be running into some roadblocks that are super puzzling for me.
One is that I am trying to wait until we have that intercourse for me to orgasm. And clearly from my above count I am not doing well at that. I was on a 37 day kick and then while underwear-on humping on top there was a bit too much friction with the furniture below her that made me blow my top. Then 6 days later I had her work my bare dick with her hand while straddling and kissing me and I lost it. And then tonight - 6 days since then - again we were humping with underwear on and I knew I was close and stupidly put her hand on it (over the underwear) anyway and, again, came.
So one of my questions is - how can I avoid blowing my streak of no-MO days until I meet the goal I have, of at least another 37 days and the context of vaginal intercourse? We have instilled some rules that may be helpful if we actually follow them, like, stimulation only over my underwear and me on bottom for any humping. Are there other rules that would help us? Certainly a lot of this is just a mentality as well.
And then this question - do I even need to try to abstain from orgasm at this point? I mean, maybe the answer is yes if I'm still not getting as hard as I want at all the precise times I want. However, for example, when she walked in my apartment tonight I got super hard - like prob. penetratingly hard - just having her in the room with me. And a lot of times when we're underwear-on humping I believe I'm getting hard enough that I could just slip it inside her if we took everything off. I am a virgin myself so I can't be sure how much force I'll need and whether I'm getting that hard right now. But anyway I thought getting some input from others more experienced than myself could be helpful.
your progress is inspiring my friend! I also have suffered from PIED.
That's great news man!
I wouldn't worry much about orgasms with your girlfriend. What you describe (making out, humping, kissing) is rewiring and it'll only help in the long run. Your girlfriend is very understanding and supportive and that's a great gift. So there's no reason to put yourself under pressure. You already had some good progress regarding erection quality, right? So what you are doing (staying free of porn, rewiring with your girlfriend) is working and you'll make even more progress if you keep going.
Are you ready? I'd say yes. Just take things as they come. There's nothing to worry about. If you and your girlfriend both feel ready and it doesn't work, what's the worst thing that could happen? Your girlfriend seems very understanding and she won't leave you. You rewire for a few more weeks and try again. Don't worry, just relax!
Separate names with a comma.