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Porn Addiction, Return to Normalcy
February 4, 2012 8:59 AM   Subscribe

How long with it take to return to "normal" after years of sexual dysfunction?

I've been addicted to pornography/masturbation for years (>10). I've always been able to function normally, sexually, until about 2 years ago. Gradually, my wife and I were decreasingly having sex, and when we did I had a difficult time reaching orgasm and/or maintaining an erection. Our frequency decreased to 3-4 times over the past 2 years, none with orgasm. With solo porn/masturbation I can achieve orgasm in very little time.

In an effort to rekindle, over the past 2 weeks we've been having a lot of sex (for us) 4 times a week, tho, still I cannot maintain an erection for more than 10-15 minutes and haven't reached orgasm.

I realize that porn has desensitized me to the stimulation of a real partner. I love my wife more than anything in the world, we have an amazing marriage (this aside) and want to, once again, regain the great sex life we once enjoyed years ago. To do this, I have resolved myself to give up porn/masturbation. I have a few questions, and am hoping there are other guys (ladies?) out there that have gone through this and seen a turn around, because at this point it seems rather helpless.

Let's assume, for argument's sake, that I will be successful with a full stop of all porn/masturbation.

How long will it take, after giving up porn/masturbation, for "normal" sex to return with my wife?

What are some things I can do, in addition to quitting porn, to start to re-build that sexual intimacy back with my wife? Is there a period we should abstain from sex with each other as well? She's in the loop on this, and very supportive to resolve.

Caveat: I don't think porn is altogether bad. IMM, it can be a part of a perfectly healthy sexual identity, but in moderation. And, it's not for me.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (7 answers total)
 
You should see a therapist specializing in sexual issues.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:09 AM on February 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yes, therapy is the answer here, maybe a MD that specializes in this sort of thing as well. The problem with watching a lot of porn, I think, is you get desensitized to your normal girl on guy stuff and it has to keep getting freakier and creepier that when you try to return to "normalcy" it just does not do it for you.
posted by holdkris99 at 9:21 AM on February 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


In purely technical terms three days maximally. But Ironmouth has a point.
posted by Namlit at 9:21 AM on February 4, 2012


15 minutes is pretty average for totally-hard erection time. I hope you're not basing your average on what you see in porn or what your buddies say happens to them. And most guys are only going to keep it up that long if they're constantly being stimulated--so if you're going down on your wife and stuff you won't stay excited. I wouldn't worry about that too much (not to mention the more you worry about it the more nervous you get and the higher the likelihood you'll lose an erection).

Regarding the orgasms, if you've been masturbating a lot you may have also desensitized your penis. A lot of guys grip harder during masturbation than 99% of vaginas are capable of holding up. It's just going to take time and no masturbation or masturbating with an impossibly light grip before your penis is going to become sensitive again. As it becomes more sensitive you'll also probably be able to stay erect longer since your threshold for stimulation won't be as high.

You guys have not been having sex--how would abstaining from sex longer improve your intimacy? Keep up having the sex, but don't feel like you gotta force yourself to keep up a certain rate otherwise it will backlash. Make sure you're having a lot of non-sex physical fun: showering together, making out, cuddling naked, massages.

A sex therapist will be a good idea if you feel the addiction is a problem (it would be quite a feat if you could quit 10 years of it in two weeks!) but the above stuff is good to do along with therapy.
posted by schroedinger at 9:34 AM on February 4, 2012


You know, worry more about the death grip than anything else. You've trained your body to climax only after a very specific set of stimuli. You've basically programmed in a bunch of physical triggers so you can make yourself come as quickly as you do under your own stimulation. The porn itself is only one part of the problem here. Just as much an issue is that no matter what your partner does, she is never going to have the same instant feedback loop you have with your own hand. Because you can feel immediately when something is good/bad/boring whatever when you're masturbating, it's easier to hit all the right buttons with a minimal amount of fuss.

It will take time for your body to learn that there are other ways to enjoy sex other than that specific set of cues. You're also going to have to learn how to communicate to your partner how you like to be touched. Whether something

This may take you a while. Months. You have to completely retrain yourself. The quickest way for men to do this is cold turkey. Just lay of masturbation full stop, no porn, the works. It sounds like you're pretty committed to this part already. The next bit is harder. Don't have sex at all for a week. Maybe two. Consider it resetting the system. Let your wife tend to herself during that time, and realistically a week or two isn't that long. It sounds to me like you are still trying for maximum orgasm with the 4 times a week thing, and it's way too much pressure for both of you if you're still working out performance issues. Just reboot. I strongly suspect that the longer you leave it, the more your body will be hungry for any sexual contact, and the easier it will be to overcome that barrier your addiction has built.

It's important to remember too that there is no such thing as "normal" sex. This could take you some time. There are other things you guys can do that don't involve penis-in-vag. Talk to her about other practices she may want to try. Brush up on your cunnilingus, learn to bring her to climax with your hands, or with a toy, hell, I've had girlfriends who could climax through judicious stimulation of the nipples. Your intimacy is not dependent on your erection. It's dependent on love and communication and a willingness to accomodate one another, and it sounds like you've basically got that covered. Don't worry too much about "normal". Concentrate on what works for her and what works for you.
posted by Jilder at 9:40 AM on February 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Eh. "Whenever something feels nice, tell her. When it feels terrible, tell her. When she's looking particularly hot, tell her. Talk to her about returning the favour. That sort of pure communication can turn into dirty talk that's often a good extra stimulant."
posted by Jilder at 9:42 AM on February 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have no experience with this problem, but someone responded to a similar question a while ago with a link to this website which I remember thinking at the time looked very helpful and had forums where you might find some useful info. Other than that everything Jilder said.
posted by wwax at 1:08 PM on February 4, 2012


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