What is allowed during recovery?

It is one of the most obvious questions asked other than “ how long will it take for my erectile dysfunction to be fixed” during the reboot process. Moreover, there is no one set process that works for all. The  basic problem with porn addiction is getting hooked to artificial sexual stimuli and the need for change to return to your normal sexual responsiveness.

While it is important to understand that recovery is not just about porn elimination, it is about reversing unnatural dopamine secretion and Sensitisation. As the reward circuitry of our brain only knows squirts of dopamine, it has no idea as to what porn is. It all comes down to whether you are reactivating sensitised addiction pathways. But a finer question should be “ what type of training  does your brain require for changes and am I doing the right things to rewire my brain”?.

You are not advised to quit all dopamine producing activities, you can replace your addiction with fun activities like exercise, socialising, meditation, developing a new hobby etc. Research also shows that these activities actually help regulate dopamine levels and your mood. You might want to use an app that helps in quitting porn addiction and also a website blocker and help you stay on course.

What if I masturbate or watch porn without orgasm

Some persons undergoing the rebooting process believe that as long as they avoid ejaculation, they are successfully rebooting. This leads them to start an unhelpful practice called edging. It is masturbating up to the edge of orgasm, then revving up again.

Three common versions of edging:

  • Watching porn without masturbating
  • Masturbating with viewing of porn, no ejaculation
  • Masturbating without porn and no ejaculation.

Since a reboot by definition doesn’t involve porn or porn substitutes, 1 & 2 make no sense. For those trying to quit porn, edging while viewing porn is worse than having an orgasm.

If you are edging to porn : Edging can keep dopamine levels high for hours. These high dopamine levels push a reward circuit to repeat it again and again. It conditions your sexual arousal to everything related to porn use. dopamine increases when something is better than expected but drops when expectations are not met. When real sex doesn’t match porn, dopamine drops along with your excitement and erections.

If you are edging without porn: this is not similar to being with a partner. Sex means wiring your sexual response to another person. It is important to know that sexual stimulation is the highest level of naturally produced dopamine. It is at a peak while you edge. At orgasm, prolactin rises, which decreases the dopamine to lower levels and hampers its release.

Some urologists also suggest not to edge because it can cause pain in the testicles and cause many problems in the prostate. Conclusion: edging is not the correct way to recover. It just increases your dopamine and slows down the recovery. It is not a good practice and won’t help you to stop fapping . Installing a porn blocker app or a website blocker that will help in staying away from porn.

Studies linking the relationship between porn and less sexual satisfaction

According to a 2018 study, approximately 50% of couples face difficulties in keeping an intimate relationship. As of 2018, over 60 studies have linked porn use to poor sexual and relationship satisfaction.

Below are some studies conducted assessing sexual and relationship satisfaction:

  1. Pornography’s Impact on Sexual Satisfaction (1988): under this, various male and female students were exposed to common and nonviolent porn content. After the consumption of porn, they all reported less sexual satisfaction with their respective partners.
  2. Adolescents’ Exposure to Sexually Explicit Internet Material and Sexual Satisfaction: A Longitudinal Study (2009): between May 2006 and May 2007, a panel survey revealed that constant exposure to porn reduced adolescents’ (male and female) sexual satisfaction.
  3. Sexual media use and relational satisfaction in heterosexual couples (2010): results revealed that high use of porn resulted in negative satisfaction among men. However, shared porn media played a more dominant role than solo watching. They also concluded that men were reported more using porn content for masturbation than women.
  4. Exploring actor and partner correlates of sexual satisfaction among married couples (2010): this study suggested that porn consumption is not good for yourself as well as your partner’s satisfaction, especially when it is consumed by only one spouse.
  5. The Role of Internet Pornography Use and Cyber Infidelity in the Associations between Personality, Attachment, and Couple and Sexual Satisfaction (2017): this study reported that in men, porn use is associated with high sexual desire. However, his desire can lead to a less sexual desire for their partner and less sexual satisfaction.
  6. Is the Relationship Between Pornography Consumption Frequency and Lower Sexual Satisfaction Curvilinear? Results From England and Germany (2017): it concluded that with an increase in the frequency of porn consumption there is a decrease in sexual satisfaction.
  7. Personal Pornography Viewing and Sexual Satisfaction: A Quadratic Analysis (2017): it showed the concave downward curve, (negative association) of porn use and sexual satisfaction.
  8. Pornography use, marital status and sexual satisfaction in a non-clinical sample (2018): this study also revealed the negative association of porn use and sexual satisfaction and it has an adverse impact on married life too.

We can conclude that if porn is causing ill effects on relationships, quitting porn usage might be a helpful remedy. If you’re wondering how to stop watching pornography, BlockerX app , which is a web blocker might be helpful to you.

User Stories – recovery from porn induced erectile dysfunction (part-1)

Here are some excerpts of recovery stories from users:

  • “Just after 5 days, my PIED (porn-induced erectile dysfunction) has been cured. I’m now enjoying sexual life with my partner and I do not have any urge to fap or to watch porn. Now, I’m more confident and find women attractive.”
  • “I consulted a doctor for my erectile dysfunction. But later I found that the reason was not just psychological, it was porn-induced ED. I’m now a few days away from the 90 day mark and seeing remarkable progress.”
  • “Two years back it was difficult for me to get an erection during one night. I managed to avoid porn for 6-8 weeks and now over the last year, I have noticed an increase in my sexual responsiveness. It was definitely been a slow recovery but the best one.”
  • “After quitting porn, my relationship with my wife has improved a lot. Earlier due to my erectile dysfunction, my wife had lost interest in sex and this made me frustrated. But after rebooting successfully, on the 18th day we enjoyed intimacy like never before.”
  • “My reason to be a part of the journey of quitting porn was breakup from my previous relationship. I always had performance anxiety when it comes to sex. Porn definitely played its role in my erectile dysfunction. Then, I decided to quit fapping forever. For the first few days it was too difficult. This was when I installed a porn blocker app on my Android device. After a few days of staying away, I still did not see any improvement in erections. But, later on it was magical. Now just imagining girls makes me excited. Stopping jerking off to porn has definitely made a positive impact on my sexual desires.”
  • “I noticed erectile dysfunction for the first time when I was 17 years old. I then started my journey towards complete abstinence from porn. My problems with erection have now been resolved and I’m feel amazing!”

Does Porn Impact Social Anxiety?

Yes, recovering porn users reported a decline in social anxiety as one of the common improvements they experienced after quitting porn. However, it is not necessary that porn is the main cause of social anxiety or depression in young men.

Here are some comments made by some of the users:

  • “After trying to quit porn for 2 years, now I no more have social anxiety. But there were also some moments during my reboot when I felt worst socially. But it may be worth it to keep patience.”
  • “Earlier, I  felt awkward and uncomfortable while communicating. After successful rebooting, I found it very easy to connect with everyone around me.”
  • “I found it too difficult to speak to my lecturer that I was referred to the school counsellor. But now I’m easily able to make eye contact with everyone I meet.”
  • “I used to watch porn at least twice daily but was socially anxious at social events and meetings at work. But after being porn free my social anxiety is no more. I’m now more confident and better at speaking and interacting in public.”
  • “I started to travel a lot to get rid of this addiction. I suffered from social anxiety and could not involve in any kind of normal communication with people, especially girls. But, I’m continuing this process of quitting porn forever and will get success one day for sure.”
  • “I had a very bad social anxiety for the past 20 years! I had always faced difficulty in facing new people and exploring new places. I had a constant fear in public. But with God’s grace, I recovered gradually and now I’m more confident and productive.”
  • “I’ve been jerking off since I was 12 and was awkward with people especially, girls. It was to quit porn. That’s when this website blocker app helped me. After 6 months of quitting porn, I became calmer in social interactions.”

Users on emotional changes after quitting porn

People who quit porn frequently report one very important change: they feel more emotions. Here are experiences shared by a few users who are quitting porn for good in regard to emotions:

  • “Like any other addiction, porn numbs your pain. It also numbs the positive range of emotions like happiness, hope, joy and love.”
  • “you will experience emotions you haven’t felt for years. Girls became attractive again and you will not see them as a sexual object. But sometimes you will feel sad, depressed. But don’t fall into that trap. This phase will pass soon and you will grow stronger. It might not be easy but it is worth doing”
  • “I had never thought about things like grief until I started the process of quitting porn and stopping fapping. I suddenly witnessed strongly, my emotional side. It was very important to me at that point in life to feel those feelings. What helped me in this process was having a website blocker called BlockerX”
  • “For me, this change did not happen overnight. I used to be a very emotional and affectionate person before I started porn. But, after I started watching porn, it made me insensitive to love and emotions. Now, I have gone for 20 days without porn and masturbation. And few girls are already approaching me.
  • “Masturbation to porn had numbed the extreme feelings, I now experience these emotions like never before.”

Exactly how does porn numb our emotions? Our brains evolved to strive for homeostasis. If we’re bombarded with intense stimulation, they adjust. Chronic overstimulation can thus lead to numbness. Removing the overstimulation feels dull and meaningless, but gradually the numbness reverses itself and enthusiasm increases.

Doug Lisle explains this excellently in his TEDx talk: The Pleasure Trap. He explained how overeaters can reverse food cravings with periods of fasting. The same principle of increasing sensitivity by avoiding overstimulation applies to masturbation and porn.  

If you’re wondering how to stop masturbation, NoPo might be a good app to help you.

User Story – how quitting porn changed my life

You always hear that masturbation is healthy and they are right, but the word ‘moderation’ does not usually follow. I grew up in the world of free porn and my life was good.

For every sort of problem, I had only one solution – PORN!! After a while of watching porn and masturbating to it 2-5 times a day, it becomes a part of your daily routine, you just don’t realise about it as something that could be harmful. I usually believed that I had the worst luck in the world. I had a few girlfriends and I used to look at them as sexual objects and nothing more. I used to look at a beautiful woman and become excited while noticing her beauty, her smile, her voice. But that was all gone, all I wonder if I could find a pornstar that looks like her?

One day, on the internet I somehow came across a video, a Ted Talk named “ the great porn experiment”,  which was nothing but a discussion on the effects that internet porn has on your brain and how quitting porn can have a huge impact on your life. So based on the video, I browsed the internet and came across NoPo – quit porn app. After going through the app, I thought to give it a try. The first 2 days were very difficult to resist the urge. I finally realised it is a serious addiction and I have to stop it immediately. Not just masturbating or not just watching porn, it is the combination of these two that work as escapism in your life.

By the 4th day, I believed I could change my life.  Well, after 10 days, I started admiring the beauty again and women became important to me.  My brain functioning speed increased. Conversation with people became smooth. Self-confidence boosted up, energy levels and creativity increased. I became a caring and affectionate person again. My sexual performance also improved and it became very easy to connect with my partner.

It is very normal, thousands of people are doing it and the benefits I mentioned is just a start. I have stopped counting the days, I’m well over 90 days now and the benefits are tenfold. It’s up to you so, get up and stop masturbation and porn. To do this, you might want a strong website filter for your phone.

Is it okay to fantasize during the reboot process?

Fantasizing activates sensitized addiction pathways, causes an increase in dopamine, which further increases restlessness. It increases the chances of relapsing and keeps addiction pathways active. Some lab studies show that fantasizing about sex de-motivates individuals to engage in romantic relationships.

  • A lot of guys report that fantasizing during reboot has the opposite of the desired effect. It is rather better to rewire your brain to the real deal.
  • Fantasizing is healthy and normal but the problem arises when you change your focus to constant masturbation only with wrong, non-real scenarios and women.
  • Some people prefer avoiding all the fantasy even looking at women or everything related to sex while rebooting. Fantasizing slows down the process tremendously.  So first decide to quit porn and stop masturbation as well. That’s a great start.

Fantasies should be avoided once you start rebooting because, in the beginning, our fantasies are the modified versions of the porn scenes that are saved in our brain. It numbs brain activities. A healthy person will not be harmed with his fantasies, while a porn addict who keeps fantasizing will only make things worse.

Porn fantasies can lead to relapsing in future and they can enforce the neural circuitry to crave for it more. However, there are some fantasies that might not cause, provided:

  1. It does not involve sexual acts.
  2. It does not involve any Porn stars.
  3. It does not  focus on specific body parts
  4. It does not strictly involve visuals, it can include other senses such as touch, smell and sound

Getting out of fantasies is a hard task but it becomes easier after a while. You start noticing your sexual desire completely depart from you. And this can make some people panic. But this was just a beginning in the process of quitting porn forever with no fantasies. After a few days, he said that he started to arouse naturally. It was incredible.

Therefore, to conclude, It is not okay to fantasize about porn, it makes your recovery difficult and maybe longer. Will power is not always dependable. It will help to have a web filter on your phone to effectively quit porn.

If you’re wondering for ways to avoid watching pornography, NoPo Gold might be a helpful app for you.