Xstar's Journal

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by xstar, Sep 9, 2013.

  1. xstar

    xstar New Member

    Day 93 no P, no M...day 71 no O.

    Thanks CP and Beowulf for your thoughts and encouragement.

    So I took 3/4 dose of Levitra on Sunday. I've said I wouldn't take ED meds during my reboot, but I've been so frustrated lately that I wanted a few things:
    [list type=decimal]
    [*]Feel the pleasure of PIV with a 100% erection...as we all know, it feels so much better than with a 60% erection
    [*]Have sex without monitoring or otherwise feeling frustrated
    [*]See how ED meds work on me in my current state (...prior to my original reboot last year, they did next to nothing. After I relapsed repeatedly prior to my current reboot, they helped but I needed to keep increasing the dose and the effectiveness was starting to decrease even with more medicine).
    [*]See if successful "strong-erection" sex would help my libido

    Overall....very successful but difficult because I'm still withholding orgasm. It was nice and very relaxing to be less concerned with my erection strength. Though I wasn't 100% the entire time as I was in my early twenties, we were able to change positions (and even change rooms). I would start to go soft during the transitions, but it came back quickly once I reinserted. During PIV, I'd say my erection varied from 80%-100%...but was mostly 90-100%. And, even though I don't have a sensitivity issue these days, things feel much better when I have a strong erection.

    I also found out that ED meds work like a charm even at less than full dose. I'm guessing if I took them regularly, the benefit would be somewhat variable...but effective overall.

    To the final point: it helped with my libido at least short term. I felt great after sex (as opposed to often feeling frustrated (especially of late) because my dick didn't work well)...the physical pleasure was nice and, frankly, my wife had a very hard orgasm which is likely related to my sustained erection. After, I wanted sex again later that night (I didn't pursue it because we'd already had sex 2x on Sunday and my wife is fairly low libido).

    The next morning, we had karezza-esque sex. My erection absolutely sucked pre-entry but then picked up some PIV. Nothing like while on Levitra, but workable. It was fun and I had strong desire to initiate. That's a big change from the prior morning when I was feeling "take it or leave it" with respect to sex.

    As of this morning (two days later), my libido is still higher and I still have a desire to initiate. For the last several weeks, I've found initiating to be an effort...my motivation has been low.

    Also, since our Levitra-enhanced sex, I've felt a very very strong desire to orgasm. I've written here that no-O has gotten a lot easier in the last month or so...perhaps my declining libido is what's made no-O fairly easy for the past +/-30 days?

    In any event, I need to decide how to proceed from here. I'll stick with no O at least until early December. Sex with ED meds....I don't know. There certainly is a lot of benefit but I don't know if there is harm as well (e.g. does it slow down my reboot?).

    Ultimately, one concern I have: Perhaps my ED problem is no longer PIED...it's either psychological or something else. It could simply be my erections are highly variable at my age. They didn't used to be...but I've dealt with PIED for about ten years, so I never experienced what might be the normal "sexual function" transition from age 40 to age 50.

    I hope my problem is still PIED. That means it can be fixed. But it could be I've got what I've got. I don't know.
  2. xstar

    xstar New Member

    Day 97 no P, no M...day 75 no O

    No meaningful temptation to watch P or to M, but otherwise feeling a bit down and frustrated with this process.

    My libido is a bit better than last weekend...which is good because it was in the basement.

    I've been debating all morning whether I should allow orgasm. When I last posted, I said I'd give it until the end of her next cycle...about 22 more days. I've been frustrated of late because my erection performance seems to be worse than it was a month or so ago even though I've been perfect about no P and no M...and almost perfect about no fantasy (some fantasy-type thoughts sometimes creep in, but never about old porn scenes, etc....just about real people I know. I'm usually able to ditch them fairly quickly).

    I've had some sex the last couple of days and experienced the same old thing: typically get 90-100% hard during early foreplay (kissing, etc), then lose most or all of it for PIV. It is very frustrating to be fully hard and then slowly lose my erection the closer I get to penetration. More specifically, I've noticed that I'm often hardest during kissing and then start to lose it when she starts to play with my penis (...at which time, I often find myself thinking something like, "I hope that little fucker doesn't go away again.").

    Once PIV, it will get harder with stimulation but it goes down immediately if I stop thrusting.

    I keep wondering if my main problem these days is performance anxiety. My wife, though better than she's been over the past many years, is often not very enthusiastic. I initiate +95% of the time and I feel like I'm the one responsible for moving things forward...responsible for her pleasure and my pleasure. This can build a combination of resentment and anxiety (related to not being comfortable if she's not comfortable). And I think years of star fishy sex and feelings of rejection play into that equation. There are still times when I think to myself, "jacking off would be easier and maybe more fun." I used to think that all the time.

    I've also noticed (...though my sample size is pretty small...) that my erection performance is quite a bit better when she initiates or is otherwise enthusiastic about sex. So, if she is enthusiastically rocking her hips, making sounds, etc., my erection often gets quite a bit stronger during that period of time. For instance, if we're doing karezza-esque sex, I can be inside her completely flacid....if she begins rocking her hips, that alone will take me up to +80-90% fairly quickly.

    The actual sensation on my penis is no different than if she's just laying there and I'm doing all the work...but if she gets involved at a greater-than-minimum level, I definitely get harder. It could be that's because it triggers a stronger response in me just because it's almost novel...or it could be that it helps alleviate ED caused by resentment and anxiety associated with her lack of enthusiasm.

    One last point: I think avoiding orgasm has reduced my libido...I sometimes just don't feel up for the the effort. (Last year when I cut out PMO but not sex+orgasm, I flat lined for a bit but things came back fairly quickly.) In addition to feeling less motivation, avoiding orgasm takes effort and concentration (...though that is usually well after I've started to lose my erection as we move from foreplay to PIV). If I allow an orgasm, it's possible that would release more dopamine and give a better sexual response in anticipation (assuming my understanding of dopamine is correct in that its release is largely a function of anticipation). The important part here and why I'm thinking about this so much: my erection performance was much better at 60 days last year and this year than it is at +90 days currently.

    Though my wife hasn't taken the time to understand how damaging PMO can be (e.g. by reading YBOP), she outwardly supports me and is understanding/non-judgmental. Her words are basically to quit focusing on performance issues and just accept that sex w/o ED meds will be with a low-to-medium erection and sex with ED meds will be with a harder erection. Without drugs, I'm generally weak but adequate for penetration, so that allows for somewhat spontaneous sex that we had not had for 7 or 8 years until I originally rebooted summer 2012.

    Based on that paragraph, you would think I couldn't ask for more...but there are still three issues: 1. an underlying lack of enthusiasm; 2. a long history of pretty crappy sex and other selfishness on her part; 3. Ongoing monitoring of my erection and the associated fear that it's going to go down.

    Honestly, I have no idea if my current problem is an anxiety issue. I do know that I am acutely aware of often feeling both resentment and anxiety during sex...both about my wife and about my erection performance.

    So back to the orgasm deal: many rebooters report better success withholding orgasm. But some also indicate that they find orgasm after months of rebooting can help kick start things.

    And I'm wondering if that's where I am.

    Well, if you made it through that long ramble...congratulations! Just writing it out has helped me think about these things. I could probably delete it now, but I'll go ahead and post. Perhaps someone will have some advice based on all these details...or perhaps how I'm processing this will help others in a similar situation.
  3. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    Hey X, you are at least having some kind of sexual contact with your wife. I have nothing to go on as to if, and how things will improve with regards to erections, but I am currently near the end of five years without sex. When things went limp that last time we tried, she was understanding, she was encouraging, and she was hopeful.

    As with your description of your experience, she has not tried once subsequently to get things going. Over time this began eating away at me; feeling that perhaps she wasn't that much into it in the first place. I know that is probably not the case, and may have been brought on by my having a Get Out Of Jail Free card, in the form of PMO. I am also convinced that it was the moment that things stopped working naturally, that I tried to experiment with arousal, in hopes that I could reset my system for us. We all know how that worked out, because I am here.

    Performance anxiety; now that's a term that hits home with me. I've had it in my work, my hobbies, even my educational experience, and most often, I get past it through a combination of increased effort, and distraction techniques (it took a lot of distracting to get me to put my face back in the water after freaking out 20 metres into my first triathlon swim). In the bedroom though, I am scared to death that it will never work for us again. I wake up next to her, sporting a raging hard-on, that fades to nothing the moment I begin to think "hmmm, maybe we could...." To make matters worse, that nagging feeling that she is happy without the contact, just won't go away.

    You set a number for when you hoped your libido would return. I have done the same, only mine is also the date that I will try, just try, to start a bit of sexy time. But I will not be fully satisfied until it happens naturally, equally, and most of all, without having to resort to distractions.

    I'm interested to read what you, and your post readers have to say about the performance anxiety issue. It is a part of my personality, that I'd so love to change.
  4. xstar

    xstar New Member

    Thanks for writing here, SOJ.

    I generally don't have performance anxiety issues...but I definitely have issues in the bedroom as I described in my last post. Even so, I can't pin my current issues on anxiety since PIED also seems to cause similar issues (...specifically, the magically disappearing erection...a vanishing act of which I am tired).

    No-PMO is a forever thing for me and I recognize that ED might not go away for months and months...maybe a year or more. That's fine. But moving backwards has been demotivating and has me questioning my problem and strategy.

    It sounds like you've had a frustrating time wrt sex...five years is a long time. I'm fortunate that my wife is a willing partner even if often unenthusiastic. My problem is one of quality, not quantity. And, to be fair to her, quality has improved in all aspects of our marriage over the past couple of years...including sex. But, old wounds heal slowly...and I'm guessing she'd be happy with sex once per month so it's an effort for her to have sex multiple times per week. (Unfortunately, a source of irritation for me since I've always been high libido and she was enthusiastic about that pre-marriage.)
  5. xstar

    xstar New Member

    Today marks 100 days no P, no M...and 2 days no O.

    So I never thought I'd spend so much time deciding whether or not to orgasm. Seriously. I googled and googled to see if I could determine whether or not allowing orgasm will help or hurt me in my reboot. I've spent hours on this one issue. The reality: it's anybody's guess. The consensus seems to be withholding O helps with a reboot...but at some point allowing O can get you running again especially if you've been rebooting for months and not coming out of flatline.

    My take: probably the best reboot method is to completely avoid all arousal including sex for some extended period of time (3-6 months?), deal with a multiple month flatline if necessary, no sex means you don't know if your erections are better or worse so erection performance isn't an issue, and then get back at it with a real girl after you've held out as long as you think possible....which is probably longer than you think is necessary. I took an in between path by allowing sex but not orgasm.

    In any event, I decided to allow orgasm beginning last Saturday. I let my wife know my thinking on it, I took a Levitra to make sure I'd enjoy it as much as possible and that I wouldn't be over thinking / over monitoring, and we had at it. I have to say it was a lot of fun and my wife, knowing it would be my first O in 2.5 months, was very enthusiastic.

    With Levitra, erection performance was very good to excellent (85-100%) though there was one glitch: I moved a little fast at the beginning (honestly, I was rock hard and afraid I'd start to lose my erection before insertion). My wife was wet, but not wet enough internally and it was a little uncomfortable for her as I entered. As soon as she said "slower", boom...my erection died an almost instantaneous death. And, of course, I felt bad. We regrouped...more foreplay, etc., and things came back after a few minutes and stayed back after that.

    Round two the next morning was also good and my erection was still very good-to-excellent though a little more variable (70-100%). My wife was again an active participant which helped in every aspect.

    I was most interested in my erection performance the next morning. I looked up the plasma concentration data of Levitra and it's at about 12% of its maximum after 10 hours (the the standard deviation is very small beginning around 5 hours...so +/-12% is accurate for the vast majority of the population). Given the fact that my erection was almost as good in the morning as it was the night before, that means either 1. I'm very sensitive to low doses of Levitra (and probably Viagra and Cialis), and/or 2. I have a psychological/performance-anxiety component at play that is inhibiting my erections, and/or 3. having an orgasm the night before somehow helped my performance the next morning...perhaps the chaser effect after a long period of orgasm abstinence increased my libido and ability to perform(?).

    I don't seem to have any immediate negative side effects: no brain fog, no depression, no immediate drop deeper into flatline, etc. If anything, I have a bit of a "chaser" effect which makes me want to have another orgasm. But I'm not hugely tempted by porn nor masturbation. I want another orgasm with my wife. However, I'm not craving it...which is also interesting. For instance, we had karezza sex this morning and I was not tempted to get even close to orgasm. I just enjoyed lying mostly still.

    Now the question is what to do moving forward. I don't want to over stimulate to where I'm having an orgasm every day or every other day. So I'm thinking once or maybe twice per week. Perhaps karezza / karezza-esque sex once or twice during the week and an orgasm-oriented round on the weekend.

    Hopefully this will help my ED. That's my main goal in making these changes. As others with ED know, it's a hugely demotivating problem when months into a reboot...especially if you've had no relapses/slips/etc. When combined with an extended flatline, it's pretty depressing. But, if things don't improve over the next month or two, I might go back to no-orgasm.

    I still believe that the bulk of my problem is caused by PMO...and that fixing it requires no PMO. No problems there. I won't be looking at porn (or pictures of pretty women...or anything of the sort). I also still believe no-masturbation is a big issue. Masturbation provides a release not associated with my spouse and my goal is to improve my relationship, including sex and intimacy, with my spouse. Thus, my only satisfaction sexually will be with her.

    Words of Wisdom from YBOP: Desensitization can take place rather quickly (as in rats offered unlimited cafeteria food) or it may take years. The intensity of stimulation likely plays a role in what percentage of users become addicted to particular stimuli.
  6. LOGOS

    LOGOS Personal Best - 233 Days PMO-free

    Not to disregard all the other thoughtful and carefully-presented information in this post but ... congrats on 100 days. Sounds like you celebrated right.

  7. nofapado

    nofapado Guest

    Xstar. Congratulations on 100 days. It is a major accomplishment particularly the way that you achieved it. I also want to thank you for all your postings on other journals and for all your supportive words of wisdom. I wish you the best in your explorations to find the right balance of health and fulfillment in your marriage.
  8. markp

    markp New Member

    First off, let me offer a hardy congrats on 100. That's fantastic and an inspiration.

    This would seem to indicate to me that there is a psychological/performance anxiety component. Physically you were doing just fine until she said something.
  9. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    XStar, two things: 1) congratulations on the milestone, and 2) thanks for your thoughtful post on my journal, you speak with wisdom.

  10. xstar

    xstar New Member

    Day 101 no P, no M

    BSM, nofapado, Markp, SoJ...thank you for stopping by and providing encouragement through your kind words.

    Markp...yes, I agree there is a psychological component. My erection deflations are highly correlated to psychological/anxiety/negative-emotion triggers. In addition, I think there's a cycle of me losing my erection (or never getting it) that went on for close to ten years of unmitigated PIED...so I just expect to fail at a subconscious level. Perhaps I've trained myself for erection failure.

    I'm concerned there might be other components because time seems to be an issue, too. I've joked with my wife that I often feel like my erections are on a five-to-fifteen minute timer. So, even if I'm hard during foreplay for 5-15 minutes, I typically get softer after that. That problem could be:
    • psychological (e.g. afraid I'll lose my erection for PIV...I'm guilty of monitoring my erection during foreplay)
    • PIED-related (e.g. Gary describes one of the symptoms of PIED as "losing erection while attempting penetration." I'm thinking even now, after months of reboot, it could be the initial foreplay activities provide enough of a dopamine hit, but that the levels don't stay high enough over a longer foreplay period--my erection goes down as dopamine tapers off)
    • Physical and/or the typical ED related to aging (worse case scenario--but I can't expect to have the erections I had when I was in college).

    The answer is probably some combination of all three--hopefully biased toward anxiety and PIED. Long time rebooters say they often see benefits and improvements in their sex life, including stronger erections, for many months and sometimes years after the actual reboot. I'm staying focused on those accounts because they provide me motivation to stick with the plan. It makes sense that the reboot of our brains is not like the reboot of a computer...it's not binary in the sense that we're in one state (PIED, etc) one day and another state (normal functioning) the next day. It has to be a process that provides for change incrementally over time.

    I've been reading about how to get over psychological anxiety. Honestly, most of the advice doesn't appear helpful. Much of what is written on the internet is geared toward the young guy who is nervous about getting with some hot girl he's been chasing (...and, IMHO, much is likely a misdiagnosis of PIED...a 25 year old virgin who's been fapping to porn for 15 years then consistently has problems when he finally gets some opportunities).

    Two bits of advice I found that might be helpful to me and to others here:
    [list type=decimal]
    [*]Ask your significant other to attack you without warning once or twice per week. Have her "take one for the team" as the author wrote. Then, when she does, don't hold back...orgasm as soon as you feel you can. The idea is to take all the performance pressure off of you...she's the one initiating and in the driver's seat...you get to just enjoy
    [*]Do not hold back orgasm during any sex for a while...if you get an erection, move to PIV immediately (even if skipping/shortening foreplay) and do what feels good to reach orgasm (or, if you're not allowing orgasm, just move to PIV for a few minutes and then be done with it). The idea is to practice having successful sex to completion before your erection has a chance to go down. Again, your SO has to be willing to take one for the team.

    I haven't talked with my wife about these two strategies, but I know she'll be up for at least #2. I'll still take care of her digitally. If I do these exercises, it goes without saying I'll be sure to use plenty of lube...the last thing I need to hear during something like this is "oh...uh...slower."

    I'd love to hear other strategies for dealing with psychological anxiety.

    Words of Wisdom from YBOP: ...you need to restore the sensitivity of your reward circuit, weaken sensitized addiction pathways, and strengthen executive control. We call this process "rebooting." The best way to reboot is to give your brain a rest from all intense artificial sexual stimulation—including porn, fantasizing about porn, chat rooms, erotic stories, surfing for pictures—until it bounces back to normal responsiveness.
  11. markp

    markp New Member

    Have you looked at the Joy of Sex? I read it a long time ago, but some of its advice seemed quite useful. One of the techniques went something along the lines where you would lay back and would not be allowed to say or do anything while your wife does this, that, and the other for your pleasure. I think that's how it went. Or perhaps you tell her before hand what you'd like her to do. Anyway, the thrust of it is that all responsibility is taken away from you since you're not allowed to say or do anything.
  12. xstar

    xstar New Member

    Thanks for the pointer to Joy of Sex...I'll order a copy.
  13. xstar

    xstar New Member

    I wanted to share this video about why we don't do the right thing when we know the right thing to do:

    The Pleasure Trap -- TedX

    It isn't about porn and masturbation per se, but I think it goes a long way toward explaining why it's so hard to stop PMO...or if we stop PMO, it's still hard to stop MO. And it has great things to say about why we have withdrawal symptoms when we do stop.
  14. xstar

    xstar New Member

    Day 102 no P, no M

    Last night was an interesting one. My long goodnight kiss turned into more. I thought we were finished and I said "goodnight..." She responded with "really?"

    In any event, I was 100% hard while kissing. In the few weeks before allowing orgasm starting last Saturday, I'd been more like 0-50% erect during these long good night kisses...down from 100% in the 30-60 day portion of my reboot. (This was one of my "metrics" that showed my erection performance had declined.) That part was nice and I'm wondering if moving back to orgasm really has kick-started things. Whether psychological or physiological is beside the point to me.

    As the foreplay went on and I started thinking we'd move toward PIV, my erection got weaker...which is a typical pattern. At this point, there was no direct penile stimulation--just the bump and grind. She then started playing with me, I got +/-90-95% erect, and I came from fairly quickly.

    In the past, I would not have done that...I would have waited for PIV because I knew she wasn't even close to orgasm at that point and she historically enjoys PIV and PIV orgasms more than digital. But I'm moving down the path I mentioned a couple of posts ago: orgasm when it feels good to orgasm...regardless of where she is in the process. I can always pleasure her after. This is my plan moving forward.

    Now that sounds selfish, but it's part of trying to get over performance anxiety and all of my erection-monitoring and "failure" thoughts during sex. In addition, she told me the other night (unsolicited by me) that she enjoys finger orgasms as much as PIV orgasms these days. And she's also told me at other times that I should orgasm whenever I want and not wait for her.

    She's turned on by me "losing control" and not being able to hold back...so her response to my handjob ejaculation was that it was super sexy and she got very turned on very quickly. She didn't even grumble about the mess on the sheets...something she's done in the past.

    Another point of reference: since I allowed orgasm on Saturday, my morning wood has come back. It's been missing or half-assed for about a month now. But I've been waking up with 100% erections I think every morning since Saturday. Even this morning, after ejaculating last night, I woke up with 100% wood.

    So, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I made the right decision to allow orgasms again. So far, I haven't seen any ill effect...though that's not saying much since the ill-effect that concerns me (slowing or impeding my reboot) would be impossible to notice or measure.

    Over-shared again. But it's helpful to me to track my progress in this journal...and hopefully it's helpful to others who want to get another point of reference.
  15. Libertad

    Libertad Well-Known Member

    Many thanks XStar for posting this video.
    These are really great insides.
    I´m begining to think that ones we know why we do what we do, it´s much more easier to change.
    After I saw the 6 videos of YBOP I was able now to come so far with no PMO. Before, no matter how hard I tried, I never made it to one month.
    All the best and congratulation on your progress. Well done.
  16. Caoimhín

    Caoimhín Winter's coming...

    Not only insightful on PMO but also on why it is so difficult to eat healthy. Thanks for sharing the video
  17. xstar

    xstar New Member

    Today marks day 115 no P, no M

    I've been away for a bit...a nice vacation with my family followed by a lot of work getting caught up around the house and at my desk.

    It's been almost two weeks since I posted. Things are moving along well: no meaningful urges for P or M except for yesterday. I'm not sure I'd call it a direct desire for PMO...more like I felt horny / high libido all day. My wife is on her menses and my thoughts turned to PMO. It was irritating and took some focus to avoid things.

    On the bright side, I have had morning wood every morning (I think...perhaps there was a morning or two that it didn't visit me. I haven't logged it). MW returned after I began allowing orgasm on 11/16 after 2.5 months without. My libido started increasing at the same time. It makes me wonder if our brains/bodies automatically decrease libido and sexual energy the longer we go without. That's the opposite of what I've thought in the past...I thought that the longer I went without, the more "pent up" I would become. But I never went more than a short period of time without orgasm (maybe a week except for during my 2012 reboot when I went 2.5 weeks).

    But perhaps no-orgasm is like dieting: after an initial "adjustment" period of 2-4 weeks, the longer you diet, the easier it becomes because your body adjusts to new content and portion sizes and it stops sending signals to eat the way you used to eat. Could sex/orgasm be the same?

    And that sounds similar to quitting addictions. So, though we wouldn't classify sex and orgasm several times a week as an addiction, if we stop that behavior maybe we have similar responses as our brain adjusts. It seems like so many of these things are on a continuum. The method and side effects of changing habits--whether they are addictions, compulsions, regular activities--are similar in many ways.

    I don't know if cutting out orgasm helped me other than allowing me to avoid the chaser effect. Since allowing orgasm, though, I certainly have a higher libido and my morning wood is back in force. Could be coincidence, but I doubt it.

    I need to get caught up on journals...that'll take some time.

    Words of Wisdom from YBOP: Masturbation and porn use are tightly wired together. Like Pavlov's dog that salivated when it heard the bell, you will start drooling for porn when masturbating. Time is needed to weaken the neural connections intertwining wanking and watching.
  18. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    Things sound to be moving in the right direction X!
  19. Apuleius

    Apuleius Guest

    Nice report, xstar.. Let's keep working at constructing happier, better adjusted lives.
  20. nofapado

    nofapado Guest

    Xstar. I'm glad to see you back on the forum. Missed you while you were gone. And glad to see you are doing very well.

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