"Look, I know you think abstaining from PMO indefinitely is a crazy idea, but what if it's not? What if I'm learning about myself as I go, realizing that if I can do this, I can do anything. So, I take a step, I think is this crazy, should I stop?... Then I think, not yet, there's always time to turn back, if I want to so, I take another step... and another... and another... until one day I realize I've crossed that line... and there's no turning back." Dear fellow rebooters, as of today, I'm 731 days clean of porn and masturbation. Most likely, my story does not really differ too much from the one of any other John Doe with PIED. So I try to keep it as short and simple as I can. If you have any questions though, feel free and ask as many as you like to, I'll try to answer them all. Summary: I am a 33 years old man who suffered from PIED for 15 years from age of 17 to 32. At the age of 13, I discovered porn and started using it regularly since being probably 15 years old. When being 17 years old, I already owned more than 100 DVD-rips of full-length porn movies (anyone remember the good ol' emule days?) I managed to have sex once being 17 years old with my then girlfriend but in all other attempts with her or other girls in the upcoming years (about 15 attempts) my dick was completely lifeless. I couldn't get an erection to save the life of me. My erections when masturbating with porn were no problem which changed drastically for the worse in my twenties. I ended up not being able to masturbate without porn and needed constant physical stimulation while using porn. Several urologists who I frequented during the years couldn't help me and even the Viagra they eventually prescribed to 20-year-old Pete didn't work. Not knowing what caused my ED was brutal and it robbed me of my confidence and negatively impacted me majorly. I was basically depressed for all my twenties and condemned my pitiful existence being cursed with unexplainable ED In 2015, I discovered YourBrainOnPorn.com and Gary Wilson's TED Talk which both were absolute game changers for me because I had finally found out what had caused my ED. I also want to link Noah Church's Mystery Box gig because he managed to express exactly how I felt and suffered all those years. Since I'm at it, Reboot Nation's channel is also a great ressource. I managed to rack about 100 clean days right away but crashed and burned heavily shortly after having the worst mental health state of all my life. Three years of hell began, where I would be an apathetic stone that couldn't function properly anymore who was overwhelmed with the simplest of daily tasks especially in social contexts. On January 5th of 2019, I relapsed for the last time and I haven't masturbated or watched porn ever since. After having sort of an epiphany while smoking a very light dose of weed, I managed to set the hare running again. In consequence, I was able to recover almost fully in regards to my mental health, and my depression completely dissolved after only being about a month clean and after having left an initial flatline due to a wet dream. On top of that, I was even able to stop taking meds which I desperately needed before in order to be able to sleep at all and not go nuts. Abstaining from orgasms and porn and the newfound hope made me contact a woman who I knew from before my mental breakdown and I started becoming a sexual human entity (again) after being approximately 4-5 months clean. This woman remains my partner to this day. Until the end of 2019, I used a small dose of Tadalafil (10mg the first few times, then 5mg) prescribed by my urologist mainly as a mental crutch. In 2020, I felt confident enough to try having sex without it and I was able to have erections that were as strong as before and free from any defects. To be honest, I could not make out any difference. Even though, I want to note, that when I had sex the first time without Tadalafil, I felt a little nervous. So, if you plan on rewiring with the help of ED meds, be aware that this will most likely be a (small) additional hurdle. On the contrary, the initial hurdle of having sex (again) might be lower and it may be easier for you to get back into the action. I consider myself fully healed of PIED which I suffered from for a good 15 years. As of today, I am 2 years sober. It is the best gift I have ever given myself and I will cherish it as such. Some tips and thoughts: Even though my porn addiction didn't cause my mental breakdown directly, rebooting made my depression dissolve after a really short period of time. In three years of experiencing heavy depression and anxiety, I tried a plethora of different things in hope of improving my mental state but rebooting ultimately fixed it permanently. I can't stress enough how much I benefited from having the help of a psychologist who took me seriously. During my crisis, I talked to several psychiatrists and psychologists who all would not understand me and tried a cookie-cutter approach. One therapist even wanted me to institutionalize myself after I told her in a probatory session that I suffer from ED due to my yearslong porn use and she suspected that I suffered from delusions. Be aware of the fact that many professionals still don't know shit about the dangers of porn and even actively tell you that it is healthy. I urge you, to trust the many independent studies that point into the opposite direction and all the reports of fellow forum members. When I started my last and current reboot in 2019, I wanted to rule out all possibilities for my ED. Therefore, I contacted a urologist, told him my story and he ran a few tests which all came back fine. To my surprise, he was aware of the phenomenon of PIED and encouraged me to abstain from porn and masturbation in order to get better. As a crutch and because I requested it, he prescribed me a small dose of Tadalafil in order to get going again. He assured me, that it wouldn’t make me dependent which turned out to be true if I look at my history and the experience I made. Personally, I think abstaining from both masturbation and porn is particularly important for people who have PIED. Not only because I believe the recovery period is shorter but I also felt first-hand how much motivation I had to find a partner having implemented the simple rule that I would only experience an intentional orgasm when having sex. I do think "semen-retention" is real to a certain degree but I do not believe it's solely or mainly due to the fact that your "balls are full" simply because I had several wet dreams during my reboot. Not exposing yourself to artificial images of women lusting for sex and not acting out leaves you with a lot of energy looking for the real thing. I can only speak for myself but between day 60-120 of my reboot, I had incredible energy and I felt less fear, especially fear of failure or rejection. I made the decision to abstain from masturbation indefinitely. The sex I get is enough for my needs and if I shouldn't see my partner for more than fourteen days or so which has happened from time to time during the past year, I keep my skills sharp so to speak. Furthermore, I don't think masturbation is bad per se, but for me as an addict, it's too closely connected to a behavior that is like a death sentence to me. If I let it come too close to me again, I'm in great danger of losing something I've fought the hardest, longest and most exhausting battle of my life for. A few fleeting moments of pleasure, or the release of "pressure" is simply not worth what could possibly happen in consequence. The accounts of rebooters who have successfully rebooted and have fallen back into the trap pose as a stark warning. I don't think, I am special or any better, so I'm not going to nibble from that cookie box anytime soon. I'm letting the sleeping dogs lie for now... Ever since I found out about how dangerous porn can be to your sexual and mental health, I wanted to tell my brother about it because I wanted to spare him the same fate I had to go through. After I was able to rack up a few clean weeks, I was courageous enough to tell him and he took it really well and was thankful. I then went on to tell my sister also about it and my three closest friends. Every bit of shame I had revolving around my ED and all the years without sex and girlfriends dissolved. Everyone I told my story was very understanding and even thankful because they could understand my past and present behavior better. And to my own astonishment all of them had to share their own stories with porn or sexual problems or problems in general. It was fascinating to see. And the best of all: My relationships to all of them have strengthened in the process and my wish to stay clean for life also has fortified. I hinted in the summary that I had an epiphany while being slightly baked after I relapsed for the last time. Being utterly depressed for so long, I was trapped within the range of the emotions remaining. And I think, altering my mental state as an exception helped me to put things into a different perspective. Therefore, I was able to connect with myself again for the first time in a very long time. As I entered this state of mind, I started reading a reboot journal that had a lasting impact on me. Unfortunately, I cannot remember anymore which journal it was, but it was a journal of a guy in his fifties that I ended up reading. And because of my slightly altered state of mind, his journal moved me and I was able to connect with what he wrote deeply. It was full of regret and it described his wasted life. He vividly wrote about how porn has been controlling him since his early days; that he had spent countless hours and dollars in VHS porn stores; that the first thing he does when he comes home, is loading up porn only to indulge in it for hours on end; that living a double-life was very stressful and depressing; that he wasted so many opportunities; and that using porn never feels fulfilling. Reading all this in detail, it dawned on me, that the guy I was reading about was basically me only 20 years older. And that the path I was walking along was the same road he had travelled. That his fate is going to be mine. This night, I decided to give rebooting another honest try, and as corny as it sounds, the rest turned out to be history. Journaling and getting peer support helped a ton. I can't tell you how thankful I am for the good folks who contributed to my journal I had on Reboot nation and who shared their perspectives on philosophical as well as pragmatic questions that I raised during my reboot. The journal was also a very good indicator of the progress I had made during the reboot. At day 234, I stopped journaling because I simply didn't have a lot to talk about anymore regarding my recovery from porn induced sexual dysfunctions. Take yourself seriously and take the addiction seriously. I urge you to think about it for a second. If you, dear reader, are reading the words I have typed, you have not come here by accident. Your porn (ab)use is most likely causing you great trouble, whether you acquired sexual dysfunctions, or you put your relationship in jeopardy, or your sexual tastes have morphed, or your dopaminergic system is so exhausted that daily life has become mundane and grey or you even have become depressed. Do not trivialize the damage porn has been doing to you. Being away from porn for so long and interacting on a daily basis with a woman who is my partner made me realize how many misconceptions I had about woman and sex in general. Even though I was well aware of how porn portrays a very unrealistic image of sex and everyone involved, it didn’t prevent me from building and having many misconceptions. Being aware of manipulation does not equal to being immune to it. In that case nobody would advertise anymore. Speaking of commercials: Once you rack a few clean weeks under your belt, it will dawn on you how super sexualized our world is. When I started my first reboot in 2015, shortly after I almost felt like being in John Carpenter’s movie They Live. It’s actually quite disturbing once you realize and truly digest how omnipresent sex is in our world is and how it is portrayed and used as a product to sell to you. In the moment, it was actually quite disturbing. Be aware that when you start your reboot, that there might be a time of turmoil ahead. Inevitably you will reflect more upon your life and how you have been living it. You will detect many things you want to change and that will cause you stress and pain. Do not try to save the world on one day. You’ve got a long walk ahead so pace yourself. If you relapse, despite the negative feelings you will experience, try to learn from it. Ask yourself how and why you ended up using porn? If you can pinpoint and identify a few characteristics, it will be a lot easier in the future to prevent more relapses. Using porn often goes hand in hand with other activities. Are you more likely to relapse when you are hungover? Stop drinking. Is facebook triggering depressive thoughts that lead to you using porn? Delete your account. Are continuous arguments with Person XYZ causing you stress and you cope with porn? Put the contact on hold or learn to deal with the feelings. It might be the case that you won't be able to successfully abstain right from the get go. It took me four years to get it right. If you have to add a few extra laps, that won't diminish your success in the end. It's important that you reach your goal and achieve sustainable longterm sobriety. You have to be very clear about this: Your porn problem won't go away on its own, no matter how hard you try to ignore it or pretend that it isn't that much of a deal anyways. Porn ≠ Porn. You want to aim for not artificially stimulating yourself sexually. Your brain does not discriminate between porn sites, erotica, an underwear catalog in the mail, or your neighbor’s 19-year-old daughter’s facebook profile. Knowledge is key: Read in about the science about the dangers of porn. Your Brain On Porn by Gary Wilson and The Porn Myth by Matt Fradd are excellent books for example. If you want to learn about habits and what prevents and promotes them (hint: the way you act out/use porn is habitual), I strongly recommend you to read Atomic Habits by James Clear. The information you will be presented is not earth-shattering but it is very helpful to be reminded how the basics work and how little changes in your daily life can be either beneficial for or detrimental to you. The less willpower or individual effort you need in order to become or stay abstinent, the more successful you will be in your attempt and Atomic Habits will help you with that. I found counting days helpful mainly for one reason: As a PIED person, anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that being squeaky clean is of utmost importance in order to recover from PIED and for the ED not to come back after having recovered. So, the number of days abstained from PMO was a good indicator for me as to when I should be expecting any improvements and as to when I should act regarding rewiring. The most daunting thing of my recovery was definitely the rewiring. After not having successful sex for more than 10 years, I had so much anxiety revolving around it. But when I was noticing that my reboot could yield fruit, I vowed to myself that I would actively look for a partner to rewire with after being 100 days clean. In the end, everything worked out smoother than I could have ever imagined. I'm absolutely sure that if you miss the point of taking action in regards to finding a partner, your recovery can come to a halt and derail completely because it feels like it's not going anywhere. Moreover, I assume that many of the rebooters who fail do it because of their fear of rewiring. In consequence, they sabotage themselves with negative thoughts (“nobody wants me; I will never find someone; getting to know someone in COVID-times is impossible; If I fail to get an erection, I’ll look and feel like the world’s biggest idiot”, […]). These are all valid and understandable thoughts. Therefore, I think, it is of utmost importance if you have these type of anxious thoughts that you adopt a strong mindset, develop enough courage, and battle your fears so that they won’t put a halt to your recovery (anymore)! Taking day by day and staying in the present is extremely important. The more time you spend dealing with problems in the present and finding solutions for them, the better your future will turn out to be. You can't change the past, so try not to waste any energy (I know, it’s super tough…). Same goes for future occurrences that will possibly never arise. Try to solely focus on the tasks at hand and to fulfill your basic needs. Having a (rough) long term plan for your recovery is also very advisable because it gives your reboot and daily life structure. After about 60 clean days, I encountered a new source of porn which was like a siren calling me. It was so hard for me to resist that I decided to buy myself a blocker to block this and all other porn sites. While the porn blocker was and is not failproof, it put my mind so much to rest, that I never really had an urge to go back to this site. If one is using a blocker, I think it is crucial not to test it too much and just trying to accept the fact that porn is now blocked can be very helpful in order to break the habit of looking for porn and peaking. Peaking is bad, MMHHKAY? Seriously, if you do not manage to stop peaking, most likely, you will never manage to fully get the addiction under control. Your addiction will just shift from indulging in porn right away to dancing around porn before finally indulging in it. In conclusion, I want to state that starting the journey to regain my sexual health, even though it was an Herculean task, was the best decision I've ever made and a battle worth fighting even so it took me more than four years. Life is so much better now. It's not that it's taking place in the land of Cockaigne but being free of the burden of Porn and PIED made life so much easier and worth living. Seldomly, do I feel hopeless now. Even harder tasks are manageable. My baseline of my well-being and resilience are way higher. If you are about to start your journey, I'm congratulating you. And if you are already on your way, I'm telling you to stick to your guns. In the end, it will all be worth it. Lastly, I want to thank a few members from the bottom of my heart because I benefited so much from getting presented new ideas and perspectives, exchanging messages, and simply just being able to connect with people who deal with the same or similar problems. You being you helped me a ton in regaining and sustaining my sexual health and for that I'm truly grateful: @Thelongwayhome27 @Doper @DoneAtLast @NewStart19 @Bilbo Baggins @Gil79 @Professor Chaos @Living @-Luke- @dark red drifter vessel Recovery is a myth, cause you will never really return, you just become a new version of the person you were. And those of us that make it out a little wiser, instead of more bitter get to shine a little brighter.