Why I Gave Up Porn

My whole life I believed I had a low sex drive. I rarely sought sex from Grindr or Tinder. In my past relationships I was always the one who required less sex. In my mind I had rationalised this as an unusually low libido. Yet despite this “low libido”, I still found the drive to masturbate to porn once or twice a day. Only now do I realise how effectively we can fool ourselves into ignorance.

Whenever I was with another guy, and despite wanting to, I found it difficult to engage and stay hard during sex. I was aways a bottom because I could never stay hard enough after putting on a condom and I was far from remaining hard enough to top. This inability to perform led to a performance anxiety which was hard to shake. It would often leave me embarrassed and leave my sexual partner feeling like a failure. Sex left me emotionally scarred and I would consequently rely on porn and masturbation to find satisfaction.

It wasn’t until I listened to the advice-giving podcast Dear Sugar Radio, and their episode on porn did I realise that porn use wasn’t a consequence of my problem, rather porn was the root cause of it. I had porn-induced erectile disfunction. Thirteen years of daily porn use, from the age 14 to 27, had re-wired my brain in such a way that I no longer responded to physical sex. My dopamine receptors would only respond to porn with the most attractive men, doing anything I could imagine, whenever I wanted. Whatever I asked for, the Internet would provide. Over years of porn use my brain had built up a such a tolerance that in order to orgasm the porn I viewed required an increasing intensity. Just as a crack user looks for a bigger hit to achieve the next high. The tolerance my brain had built up over thirteen years meant that engaging in physical sex could not compare to what I was used to online. Thus, porn-induced erectile disfunction.

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I started reading Wack: An Addiction to Internet Porn written by Chris Noah. In his book Noah recounts his all too familiar addiction to porn which started as a nine year old and resulted in erectile disfunction in his mid-twenties. Initially, the thought of being a porn-addict seemed rather extreme. I lived a fairly straight-edged existence without the use of drugs or alcohol. I had always defined addiction by frequency and I had friends who would masturbate at least five times a day. Compared to them I was certainly no addict. This ignorance however had enabled me to slip down a path of addiction.

In his book, Noah adapts the American Psychiatric Association criteria of addiction to that of porn addiction. Frighteningly, I ticked eight of these eleven criteria resulting in my disorder being classified as severe:

  1. You use more extreme pornographic material than you planned. 
    Yes
     
  2. You have several times expressed that you would like to quit and have unsuccessfully tried.
    I had downloaded and deleted Snapchat (loaded with porn star accounts) five times.
     
  3. You spend an inordinate or inconvenient amount of time acquiring or using porn.
    I remember setting three hours aside one afternoon.
     
  4. You experience strong cravings for porn.
    Yep.
     
  5. You have compromised obligations due to porn use.
    I have cancelled appointments before in order to prolong porn use. 
     
  6. You continue using porn despite knowing that it is consistently causing social or interpersonal problems.
    Yes.
     
  7. You use porn in ways or locations that are physically hazardous.
    Yes.
     
  8. You have acquired a tolerance and need more lengthy, varied or extreme porn to feel the same or similar pleasure as when you first started using.
    Yes.

Because of my addiction I have vowed to never view porn or masturbate again. It will take at least one-hundred days of abstinence before the dopamine receptors I had built up over years of porn use will retreat and new pathways in my brain will be established to make me more receptive to physical sex. Over which time I anticipate to have a wildly fluctuating sex drive from hyper sexuality and intense cravings to a complete lack of sexual drive. Throughout all of which I will resist the urge to view porn and masturbate.

Where our parents may have had to go to great lengths to access a limited and vanilla type of porn, we live in an age where all the porn we want can be accessed in seconds, like a heroin user surrounded by mountains of free crack. The Internet-age is a new era of pornography which evolution has not prepared us for. It brings with it unknown physical and phycological side effects.

I am submitting this for publication to hold myself accountable (I am five days clean) and to raise awareness to help other men who may be suffering from porn-induced erectile disfunction and addiction.

 

Helpful resources:
The Dear Sugar Podcast “Porn, Part 2: The Dark Side” can be downloaded from iTunes or any podcast app.

“Wack: Addicted to Internet Porn” by Chris Noah is available on iBooks and elsewhere online.

For more resources visit yourbrainonporn.com

Anonymous