Rebooting/Porn Use FAQs

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Porn addiction questions Welcome to our FAQ page. If you have a question, ask it below. (After registering, click on "Add new comment.") The answers are based on years of hard-won wisdom shared by recovering users, whose comments are sometimes included along with relevant research. Most questions have multiple links.

If you want to understand the underlying mechanisms and brain changes behind porn addiction and related symptoms watch Your Brain On Porn: How Internet Porn Affects the Brain and Adolescent Brain Meets Highspeed Internet Porn. 

For more details on the science, read Start here for an overview of key concepts and follow the links, or visit the Articles section. This 18 minute video addresses common myths and propaganda - PORN MYTHS - The Truth Behind Addiction And Sexual Dysfunctions, by Gabe Deem


Sexual Problems

Rebooting Basics (see rebooting basics page)

Rebooting Challenges

Rebooting With a Partner:

Internet Porn Addiction:

Masturbation, Ejaculation, Prostate:

Odds & Ends:



 

Comments

First, know that I am pretty much the only person answering posts on this site. Not much action occurs on this site. Check out the support tab for forums - it's helps to blog or talk to others who are going through this.

The answers to your questions are on this page - FAQ's - just above.
The simple answer is all will work just fine, in fact much better, after a rest, because your brain which controls sexual functions will be in much better shape. You can read the following links:

Don't I need to ejaculate frequently for prostate health? - http://yourbrainonporn.com/dont-i-need-to-ejaculate-frequently-for-prost...

Are there any guidelines for healthy masturbation? - http://yourbrainonporn.com/are-there-any-guidelines-for-healthy-masturba...

WEIRD Masturbation Habits - http://yourbrainonporn.com/weird-masturbation-habits

Congratulations on your progress so far.

Thanks! I'll check these out!

XPornHead30

Hello Gary,
First of all, thank you for the website. I think if anyone I would be at least one of many characterized by "dedicated". I've read almost every article. You provide brilliant insights.

I have two questions that has been bothering me for quite some time.

1) Any sort of dopamine stimulation results in a decrease of dopamine receptors (the brain's attempt to maintain homeostasis), also as per
http://www.utexas.edu/research/asrec/dopamine.html, the brain develops tolerance.

I ask, does small dopamine stimulation result in tolerance? Let's say I take a walk in nature--which I love doing--since that stimulates dopaminergenic neurons, will that result in a decrease of my dopamine receptors? (Even though I acknowledge that this stimulation is far less than pornography, fatty foods, or something we evolved to crave.)

If this is the case, would living in seclusion without any sort of pleasure at all, even small pleasure like taking a walk in nature, or general contentedness/happiness facilitate an increase of dopamine receptors?

See, my interpretation of this set of phenomena is the following:

Following 1) any sort of dopamine inducing "want" (remember, dopamine deals with salience and wanting), 2) the number of dopamine receptors decreases.

Consequently, do small pleasures, i.e. and a general sense of well being apply to this?

A. Let's say that I maintain a positive attitude towards life in general for some timespan. Will this, due to what discussed above cause a decrease in the dopamine receptors?

B. We'll now consider the opposite. If I maintain a negative attitude towards life in general, and not expose myself to any pleasure, and live with a depressed attitude, will this cause an increase in dopamine receptors? This is paradoxical, but I want to maximize my creativity ( a function of dopamine itself ).

This is definitely a narrow-minded way of viewing it and probably an oversimplification, but using the models you have provided on tolerance, this seems like at least a semi-reasonable conclusion. This manifests in making the whole thing seem really futile.

Creativity is characterized by low latent inhibition (you can wikipedia this), and high dopamine levels in general. Consequently, I want to maximize the dopamine receptor density to achieve this creativity, correct?

Also, an interesting thing I didn't understand:
Why does exercise cause increased dopamine receptor density (D2 in particular)? I read many publications on this, and it seems to have been replicated at least a few times. Exercise causes "highs" and consequently wouldn't the body low the amount of D2 in order to compensate for this? Why does exercise raise the amount of dopamine receptors, but pornography lowers the amount?

This is especially relevant to me, as I want to maximize my creativity (I am an incoming freshman student at Harvard this year) and maximize my learning potential. Dopamine plays a critical role in this, and I want to maximize its efficacy as well.

Here is the second question:
2) Have there been any studies or publications illustrating that people who go through this "rebooting" fully recover their dopamine sensitivity? Again this is a very anxiety inducing point for me, as I want to maximize my creativity.

Let's say dopamine receptor density is characterized by "x" in normal, healthy, creative individuals. Let's say that porn-addicts have a dopamine receptor density of "y", where x>y. After abstaining for some timespan, does y ever reach x?

I read the article about the brain being "permanently altered" by pornography, but does the brain recover fully (at least in terms of dopamine receptor density relevant to learning and creativity)?

I know the brain is very resilient and will likely compensate for this. There are people with hemispherectomy conducted (a removal of half the brain) and many of them are able to live normal, meaningful lives.

Will the resiliency of the brain allow for the regain of these dopamine receptors so critical for learning and creativity?

Thank you very very much for responding to my verbose questions... they have been bothering me terribly.

Yours truly,
FleurDeLis

Let's keep the 2 dopamine responses separate - habituation and desensitization.
Habituation is a decline in dopamine "spikes" in response to a stimulus, such as drinking water, eating, or looking at the same porn picture.
This is a normal response, for example, with hunger. When one is hungry, dopamine rises in anticipation of taking that first bite of a burger. As lunch continues, dopamine declines and we become habituated (satiety). This normal process, which measures the salience or value of stimuli, is quite different from the pathological change characterized by addiction. Habituation happens thousands of times a day, desensitization occurs after chronic, usually long-term, exposure.

Desensitization is a drop in dopamine (D2) receptors and a drop in baseline dopamine, at the very least. It is a chronic condition that takes time AND overstimulation to develop. Overstimulation would be any dopamine elevating chemical, or extreme version of a natural reward.

The examples of nature, listening to music, eating, etc. are habituation. No problem at all. (I should do a FAQ on this).
Our newest article examines the differences - http://yourbrainonporn.com/porn-then-and-now-welcome-to-brain-training

No research on maintaining an attitude affecting dopamine receptors. I'll venture to say that attitudes don't lead to addiction-like changes in the brain. However, such positive or negative thoughts may lead to deeply ingrained repetitive thought patterns that have their correlates in deeply ingrained neural pathways. Remember, nerves that fire together, wire together.

Positive thoughts activate the reward circuit, and negative ones depress it, so the result is lower or higher baseline dopamine. It's one reason our moods can fluctuate. People going through withdrawal have all sorts of neurotransmitter abnormalities including low dopamine, which affects mood.

I'm sure it is far more complex than this, as negative and positive thought patterns affect the stress systems of the brain and body, which over time can lead to lower dopamine levels, lower cortisol, and many other abnormalities.

I don't know anything about low latent inhibition, other than what I just read. I wouldn't put too much credence into this, as many creative people throughout history have had low dopamine signalling - as indicated by depression and addiction. Low dopamine in the reward circuit may not necessarily reflect low dopamine in other brain regions, associated with cognition. So relax.

Exercise:
I don't understand either. Nor does anyone else. More finely tuned technology will be needed to isolate smaller circuits within the reward circuit. Although all addictions activate the reward circuit, sub-populations of neurons, and other neurotransmitters are involved in each reward or aversion. It may have to do with other circuits such as stress being altered, affecting the reward circuit D2 levels. It's also known that exercise increases neurogenesis in the hippocampus, which affects the reward circuitry.

Second question is easier: No studies at all.

Here is a study showing brain recovery in alcoholics (so your brain can recover):
"Recovery of brain glucose metabolism in detoxified alcoholics"
http://yourbrainonporn.com/recovery-of-brain-glucose-metabolism-in-detox...

As to fully recovering - that depends how you define it. I suspect most porn addicts will have sensitized porn pathways that can be reactivated if they are not careful. Addicts need to avoid using. It's that simple.

However sensitization is not desensitization, and desensitization may have little or nothing to do with creativity. I think you are trying to connect too many dots.

Thanks for the elaborate response.

I was referring, at least in part to a portion of the .pdf with benefits of quitting PMO and many seemed to have at least moderately indicated an increase in memory/creativity, etc.

Additionally, you said this, making me infer that low D2 interfered with the learning process.

(quote)
Many heavy porn users complain of ADD/ADHD like symptoms. Many see an improvement in their symptoms as they get off porn. Porn addiction probably leads to a temporary decline in dopamine (D2) receptors, as was found in those diagnosed with ADHD. Note: I am not saying that the majority of ADHD is caused by porn use.
(/quote)

Can you expound on the distinction between habituation and desensitization? If a positive "attitude" increases baseline dopamine levels, consequently the number of receptors would decrease, to maintain homeostasis, would it not?

Thank you,
FleurDeLis

All addicts (except caffeine and nicotine), see an improvement in concentration, focus and impulse control once they are through the worst part of recovery. As you point out correctly, this is probably related to:
1) Increase in dopamine
2) Increase in D2 receptors
3) Increase frontal cortex size or metabolism
4) a million other factors

This indicates that the brain is returning to its original baseline. That's why I say, "don't worry."

Also don't worry because - dopamine does not equal intelligence or creativity. It's known that a higher (than population) percentage of CEOs and entrepreneurs have ADD/ADHD, that is, have "addictive personalities". Please read this piece by David Linden:
Addictive Personality? You Might be a Leader
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/24/opinion/sunday/24addicts.html

Addictive personality means - 1) low D2 receptors, or 2) higher dopamine released for rewards. But understand that low dopamine signalling is just one of many brain alterations associated with an addiction process.

I can't expand on attitude or thoughts and attitudes and dopamine because it's just speculation. However, you are still confusing habituation - thoughts affecting dopamine and other neurochemicals, which is a moment to moment process - with desensitization which is one aspect of a disease process (addiction).

Thoughts change moment to moment, along with associated neurochemicals. If you get "bored" with any stimuli, that is habituation.

Stay off porn and you will be just fine. You have not permanently altered your innate mental abilities.

Hey Gary, first of all sorry for my bad english, but i´m not from an anglophone country.

I can´t describe how much I wanna thank you for this website!
You really changed my life with the facts presented here!
Thank you!

Furthermore I got a question:

I´m 20 years old and i´m now at day 32 of my rebooting process. There is no other option for me than to fully reboot after reading the facts about the damaging effects of internet porn. In other words failure is not an option.

My problem is that the type of porn that I was using escalated not only to more extreme, but I could only be turned on when I masturbated to the fantasy of me being in a submissive position.
I am ashamed of mentioning, but I have also a strong feet fetish.

Are both also related to porn use and would disappear after a reboot?

Because now at day 32 I experience already more hornyness (f. ex. i now get an erection when kissing a girl) and so on, but there are also still strong cravings for submissiveness and feet, sorry for naming it.

I am really looking forward to your answer, thank you so much already!!!

Did you have these fetishes prior to escalating your porn use? If not then porn is a part of the cause. Even if you did, fetishes can still recede or vanish as you restore brain balance. Your situation is a lot like the men who get hooked on gay or transexual porn. See - "I'm straight, but attracted to transexual or gay porn. What's up?" http://yourbrainonporn.com/ask-us-iam-attracted-to-gay-transsexual

I strongly suggest reading this excerpt, then buying the book. The brain is very malleable, and we can intentionally mold our nerve pathways. Avoid thinking about your fetishes. Don't give them more energy, so to speak.
Norman Doidge on Pornography and Neuroplasticity
http://yourbrainonporn.com/doidge-on-pornography-and-neuroplasticity

A recent thread by another who is hooked on domination and other things is here: http://www.reuniting.info/node/8008

Hey Gary :)

First of all thank you very much for your quick answer!

I´m now at week 7 of Reboot and i´m more or less still flatlining since week 2-3.
But today I had the first wet dream in my whole life (!!!)!
But what is annoying me is that even if the wet dream is an indicator for my returning sexual function I fantasized during that dream about being submissive and licking feet -.-

Does that mean that i haven´t made any progress yet?

I tried to avoid thinking about those fetishes as much as i could during that time!

Thanks for your answer already!

Everyone has dreams of what they are trying to clear. It's just part of the process. Rebooting will retrun your brains sensitvity, but rewirng will continue long after your libido returns. Ultimately you will need to introduce "normal" sex in order to form new neural pathways for sex. Out with the old, in with the new.

Hello Gary, thank you for taking the time to respond to my earlier long message.

A question:
On many sites, I tend to find that ejaculation depletes the body of many nutrients. How true is this claim? Of course presumably some nutrients are depleted, but is it substantial enough to have significant impact on anything?

-FleurDeLis

one could deplete zinc since some sources say about 2.5 mg per ejaculate. I can't locate the original research on the amounts.

However, I can't find any info describing levels of zinc when someone ejaculates multiple times per day. Since volume and number of sperm decrease, I would expect the amount of zinc to decrease. In zinc depletion experiments (low zinc diets), the amount of zinc in semen significantly declined. I would also expect mechanisms in place to retain zinc for normal bodily functions, if ejaculations began depleting zinc stores.

Other than zinc, there are no other constituents I can find that one can deplete through ejaculation. Those long lists of organic molecules found in semen are not a concern.

I am a christian 24 year old. I used to watch porn before I met my girlfriend. She is now my wife as of a week ago. She is the first girl I have ever been intimate with. Problems started after about a month of being sexual with her. I lost an erection and attributed it to anxiety and have never performed sexually the same since. I have been searching for answers. I stumbled upon this site and it answered most of my questions. I figured the newness of sex wore off and I couldnt perform due to me watching porn alot before we dated. I had no clue what was going on.
She is very understanding and will work on it with me. I feel bad because I cannot perform and have lost my libido.
I find at times we can have sex, but not that often. I am going with no porn, no masturbation. I was wondering if orgasms were fine and having sex sometimes is fine with completeing this process?

The following FAQ's and rebooting account address this question. A pattern we are seeing is that men who sart porn about the same time they start masturbating need to be more cautious than men who had years of masturbation/sex prior to starting porn.
Orgasms will slow the process down.

Rebooting with a partner - http://yourbrainonporn.com/rebooting-with-a-partner

"What do I tell my girlfriend?" - http://yourbrainonporn.com/what-do-i-tell-my-new-girlfriend

Age 21 - Sex with girlfriend may have slowed reboot (ED) - http://yourbrainonporn.com/age-21-sex-with-girlfriend-may-have-slowed-re...

It has been about a month with no PM. For the past week, I have had absolutely no libido. I feel depressed, becvause we just got married. We have sex maybe 2 or 3 times a week, and usually always O with those 2-3 times. No porn or masturbation. I cannot wait til im normal again. I started masturbating right when starting to watch porn, so does that mean it will take longer for me?

Evidence is mounting that guys who start young with porn take longer. On the other hand, guys who have partners tend to do better, as long as they take it easy.

Some guys have had good luck with this gentle approach to sex during rebooting: http://www.reuniting.info/node/7220

Hello, I was writing before and I have to tell you that this web site help'd me a lot.
I am now almost 4 weeks without porn and I feel my energy is really high, I feel better in every way.
But sadly today I had an craving and I masturbate and had an orgasm.
Everything happend so fast, in a minute or two.
This is first MO since I started recovery 4 weeks ago.
Now I feel a little bit frustrated because I know that recovery process should be without PMO and today I did MO.
Only thing that makes me happy now is that I didn't watch a minute of porn.
I wan't to ask you Mr. Gary, how this effect on my recovery? Is this a big relapse as I watched porn or is it just a slip?
I really hope this didn't remove this 4 weeks of recovery.
I wan't to thank you again, I learned so many things about my self and what is the right path, thank you....

You can see this question above - "I relapsed or am in danger of relapse."
http://yourbrainonporn.com/i-relapsed-what-now

Nearly everyone relapses. No, it's not as big as watching porn. In fact, if your goal is to end your porn addiction, then 'no problem.' You still haven't used porn.

If you have porn-induced ED, then no masturbation is the best way to go, but you are not back at square one. You haven't undone your progress.

Hi, I am currently on day 3 of rebooting. My background is that I have been hooked on porn since puberty and have been a virgin until 25. I am 29 now and even while having girlfriends I have always had hard time reaching orgasm while having sex...I would have to fantasize about porn while having sex to reach orgasm. I dont think I ever went more than 4days in my life without O.

I have also noticed the lack of sensation during sex, and noticed how I am 90% stimulated visually and not by touch.

Here are my 2 questions:

#1) Rebooting, how long do I need to stay away from MPO before engaging in sex? how do I know I have rebooted successfully?
I do not have a girlfriend right now but I have a date next week...I am not sure how to go through it....and what if there is a chance of sex? is it ok to proceed or I must hold off for at least 30days?

#2) Dealing with triggers/urge to mastrubate
I know there will be triggers, be it on tv/or some girl outside...how do i stay out of my pants and deal with urges/triggers? Is there tips?

I suggest this FAQ:
How do I know when I'm back to normal? - http://yourbrainonporn.com/how-do-i-know-when-im-back-to-normal

Also read the many rebooting accounts under "Tools for Change" to get an idea on recovery times and signs. Look at the ED material and recovery accounts under the first question above, as it all aplies to you.

As for urges, I suggest reading about others "rebooting accounts" under tools for change. No magic bullets. Just keep refocusing on your long term goals. Lots of tips under "tools for change" tab.

Good luck

Hello again, I was writing here couple of times and thank you for all answers, thei help'd me a lot.
I wan't to tell you that everything is going really good for me and I'm really happy because of that.
I started this journey 50 days ago, on day 30 I relapsed with MO( no porn) and then I started counting again from day one just to be sure that my recovery goes perfect.
Now I'm 3 weeks with no PMO.
I have to say that last 18 days was great but this 3 days was with insane cravings but now I feel better than ever in my life.
I have so much energy that it is unbelievable.
My confidence is extremly high, flirting with girls all the time( I'm 23 years old).
So I wanna ask you when will be the best time to start new relationship with women? From my relapse with masturbation I set to my self 8 week with no PMO, now its 5 weeks here to go, is that enough time or should I wait more?
Thank you Gary for everything, you gave me a new life...

That's great news on all fronts. Congratulations.

Eight weeks from your last masturbation will be plenty, I am sure. At that point (or before), you will decide whether you want to reintroduce occasional masturbation or not, or better yet, a girl. We have no set time frame or method. Now that you have left porn behind and are more your true self, you can navigate the waters....so to speak.

Trust yourself and be open to a relationship - that's my only advice.

We created an FAQ that might help:
How do I know when I'm back to normal? - http://yourbrainonporn.com/how-do-i-know-when-im-back-to-normal

I had an intriguing idea.

Since we have an evolutionary propensity towards remembering emotionally attached things better, and since pornography has the highest emotional magnitude of any other stimulus possible,

1) could one utilize porn as the optimal mnemonic system? This would make associations far easier to remember.

2) Could one use porn as a training/learning tool?

Let's say:
"Learn 10 flashcards, get 100% on a test, and then display porn clip." We would make sure that porn is completely inaccessible from any other medium.

Would the brain learn the 10 flashcards quicker/deeper?

From the literature I've read, the brain assimilates emotionally charged information a few order of magnitudes more efficiently then not emotionally charged.

Could this improve learning speed by order of magnitudes?!

This is probably not the best place to post this, as this is a website for quitting porn, but, as you, Mr. Wilson, are extremely familiar with the neurological effects of porn, your expertise made you the ideal person to consult.

-FleurDeLis

is doing just fine. I taught anatomy and physiology for years, and my biggest contribution was teaching students how to learn, study and memorize. It all depends on what you are attempting to memorize.

Mnemonics link what is already in your brain to that which is unfamiliar. Don't really need emotions, only a good link. The best method for learning, real learning, is teaching. Teach you fellow classmates, as you receive real-time feed back, is best.

Indeed, my creativity seems to be doing fine! Thanks, Gary.

Of course emotion is not necessary, but almost every neurological journal will assert that emotion increases speed of learning greatly.

For example, emotionally traumatic events are extremely easy to recall. This is evidence of an extremely enforced neural structure.

Thus assimilating knowledge would be made much faster, no?

Of course we remember emotionally important events. But such events are few and far between. If you have 500 bony land marks to remember for the next lab test, how do you make all 500 hundred emotionally salient. Not possible. This does not include all the other facts you must remember in your other classes.

That's why many mnemonic techniques exist.

Here's how my students learned muscles: Lecture, then cadaver video, then a story about each muscle (what makes it important or unique), then drawing the muscles on their bodies while looking at colored coded pictures, then stretching the muscle, then performing its actions, then doing an exercise to strengthen it, then placing an elastic band on the skeleton and pulling to simulate it's functions.

Learn by doing is always the most effective way. That's how schools should be teaching material. Useless facts come and go, mnemonics or not.

is to make certain things emotionally salient.

That is, because we visualize things that are absurd and crazy, we can remember things better. The crazier the better! Why? Because the more we invoke _emotion_, the better.

So consequently, should we not exploit this evolutionary propensity for good?

Consider World Memory Champion Dominic O'Brien.

His mnemonic system for numbers involved associating each number with a letter, and each group of two letters with a person. Every other two-group would be a person, and every other two-group would be an action.

For example, in his system,

1516 corresponds to "AEAS".

AE = Albert Einstein; AS = Arnold Schwarzenegger

So he would visualize Albert Einstein lifting weights.

(Contrarily 1615 would represent Arnold Schwarzenegger writing equations on a board).

Since we have 10 numbers, (0, 1, ... 9), he encoded 100 people (because 10 numbers * 2 letters for each person) this way.

So analogously, would not imagery from reproductive cues be assimilated far more efficiently?

our evolutionary propensity to remember things associated with people best.

See this MIT study: http://people.csail.mit.edu/torralba/publications/WhatMakesAnImageMemora...

My main question - it is possible to engineer a sexual imagery based mnemonic system so
1) I do not get distracted by the material
2) so that the memory consolidation mechanism (which, as you know, is extremely sensitive to high-dopamine stimuli) works not only on the sexual imagery, but also on the thing learned, ideally (which is essentially the goal)
3) so that the novelty of the chosen sexual imagery does not reduce with time

Definitely a huge challenge, but just imagine the benefits if one was able to pull this off. Think of the addictivity of pornography: the swiftness with which the brain assimilates the stimulus!

remembered...without a doubt. Years later my students still remember "the male masturbation muscle" brachiaoradialis. I don't disagree with emotionally salient mnemonics, as that's what I always suggested. On the other hand, if all 500 items to be remembered are tagged with a sexual mnemonic, then none stand out. If one out of the 500 is NOT sexual, it will be remembered because it is delineated from the rest.

In the end all real learning involves making material relevant to ones life or goals.

Just consider the novelty, the amount of "fetishes", pardon my departure from science, depicted in modern pornography. Although this could potentially become a distraction, this novelty would be sufficient variability to allow for 500 items to be remembered as such.

For example, pair 25 women with 20 fetishes, or some such thing (as an example).

consider the Coolidge effect. By virtue of this - the hallmark phenomenon that causes pornography to be hyperstimulating, each new partner would be emotionally salient, right?

Hi Gary and Marnia! First of all many thanks for your efforts... this site is very interesting, and proposes an interesting approach for overcoming my emotional ED. Today the second week of total abstinence has started, I'm feeling good and 100% committed and convinced of the efficiency of rebooting and rewiring, and surprisingly until now no mood swings or cravings. It's just going very well, without "sufferings" of any sort.
I'm slowly reading the users' reports, which are highly motivating (for instance, one of them talks about difficulties in using condoms... it's very rare to find info about that!), and i'd like submit you those two questions whose answer doesn't come clearly to me:

- right now I'm not in a relationship, but I'm going out with some girls. What should I do if the occasion for having sex comes up in those initial days of rebooting? Does one night stand "real sex" affect the rebooting process?

- porn flashbacks must be instantly rejected, that's right and it's not a problem (I'm also into NLP, so I know how to handle images in my mind ;)) . What about flashbacks of real sexual experiences (e.g. with one of my ex girlfriends), or fantasies about "real" girls (of course with me on an active role!)?

Best regards!

What do you mean by "emotional ED"? Is this the same as porn-induced? Do you mean performance anxiety? The reboot is meant for those with desensitized brains.

Have you explored the links on this page? http://yourbrainonporn.com/erectile-dysfunction-question These questions are addressed there.

Orgasm seems to slow down the rebooting process and initiate cravings. But physical contact, smooching, etc. can be quit helpful. So you must see what works for you.

Some men have suggested no fantasizing at all. But I'm of the opinion that fantasizing about real girls may assist in rewiring the brain to the real deal. Just don't get into kinky fantasy, as in your favorite porn scenarios.

Good luck

By "emotional ED" I meant "not-physiological ED" :) In other words, no problems at all during porn-based masturbation, while with real girls generally low libido, difficulty to reach orgasm (and the entire act not so pleasurable at all), condoms always causing the loss of erection, ability to penetrate my partner only in different contexts than the "usual" bed.

The reasons of my ED are by now unknown. Tried two different psychologists/sex therapists with no results, to be honest I don't confide in the "classic" approach of digging in the past... fortunately in the last months I've discovered NLP and personal improvement in general, and changed radically my attitude towards life (the book that has literally made me resurrect was Glover's No More Mr. Nice Guy - http://www.nomoremrniceguy.com/). That is, now I'm a really confident and relaxed person, and that will surely solve anxiety issues... but the role of porn in my scenario has never been taken into account by anyone, and luckily reading this site mad me reflect on several things:

- I've had my first full sexual experience in my late twenties, after several years of getting used to masturbation with porn pictures or movies. In other words, i believe my brain associates the idea of sex only with a particular kind of stimulation
- During years I've slowly moved towards extreme porn
- I've realized that lots of time, when thinking on the fact that I don't have a girlfriend, my internal dialogue contains sentences like "well, ok, you are single... but what's the problem? You can still satisfy yourself with masturbation!"

Thus, according to this, rebooting seems to be a solution really worth trying in my opinion. And I believe it won't take so long, because I've got a porn addiction that seems "lighter" than the average guy that's posted his reports here, and I've started interpolating usual masturbations in front of the pc screen with healthy masturbation sessions (thus a reconnection process of my mind to my body has already started in some way).

Thanks for your answers, I'll find out what works for me and post it here... the approach that sounds appropriate to me is to second the "real thing", both with fantasy and the real life experiences.

EDIT: just stumbled into http://yourbrainonporn.com/how-long-will-it-take page, with lots of interesting info for my case. Wow!

is to masturbate with no porn, no fantasy, at the speed and pressures that mimic sexual intercourse. This is described under the very first porn & ED FAQ.

can you repost it, please?

It comes from this FAQ. It's where to start.
START HERE: Porn-Induced Sexual Dysfunction
http://yourbrainonporn.com/porn-induced-ed-start-here

If you can achieve an erection masturbating to only sensation, using sped and pressure that mimics intercourse, then your ED is likely anxiety related.

Yes Gary, I've already read that FAQ before starting the rebooting process. I'm able to achieve an erection only on sensation and masturbate, finding it enjoyable and reaching orgasms too, although in a long time. The first times I've tried this healthy masturbation I gave up for the frustration of not getting to the point of ejaculation, but after few attempts i was successful and feeling good.

I'm pretty sure that anxiety has had a key part in my ED (and unfortunately I haven't yet had the opportunity to have sex and "test" my new mindset I've talked about in the previous posts)... and from the FAQ above there are other key elements that can make me think (only NOW, damn! ;)) of a porn induced ED too:

- Experiencing greater sexual excitement with porn than with a partner
- Difficulty reaching orgasm with a partner (delayed ejaculation)
- Declining sexual arousal with a sexual partner(s)
- Losing erection while attempting penetration
- Can't maintain erection or ejaculate with oral sex

developed a certain level of porn-induced desensitization. However, from your description, your difficulties may be more anxiety related at this point. The longer you stay away from porn, the more sexually exciting the real thing will be when the time arrives.

Hi,

Great job with the site. I'm wondering if starting a new medication, specifically Lamictal, while a reboot is in progress will affect it at all? Thanks

the progression of rebooting. I see no problem as guys have rebooted while taking a wide variety of prescription and illegal drugs.

Hello Gary,

Congratulations again for maintaining such responsive comment feedback on your fantastic website.

I had a quick question though:
I read http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070302115232.htm, first.

We know (I think? Please correct me if I am wrong.) that dopamine is the chemical that drives such "wanting". The article is a bit inaccurate as it says that the opioid release causes this, which is slightly inaccurate.

However, if dopamine receptors are that which are depleted in porn-addicts, why are cravings high, but tolerance evident? This would actually mean a depletion in opioid receptors, on the contrary, correct?

My mistake; that should read:

The article is a bit inaccurate as it says that the opioid rlease causes this: a contradiction.

Assuming I don't have a misconception, the explanation of the depletion in dopamine receptors is consistent with the fact that addicts _want_ stronger and stronger things, to get the same dopamine rush.

However, there must be a corresponding decline in opioid receptors too, right, because of a diminished pleasure?

Question 2) I sincerely apologize for asking you all these questions; thank you very much for your time.

How does one strengthen other pathways, outside of addiction context? That is, outside of the addiction context, how does neuroplasticity work?

For example, if I do a task that isn't fundamentally motivating by much (little reward), like, say, taking out the trash, if I decide to take out the trash against my emotional brain, will I find it easier to take out the trash the next time?

I would think not, because there is no evolutionary benefit to doing activity X when there is comparatively little reward.

In order to strengthen the pathway for activity X,

I would either have to

1) reward myself with some rewarding activityfor doing it (e.g. watch a movie, eat a fatty food)

or 2) focus hard on all my positive intrinsic motivations for completing the task, (like say, a clean trash pile),

for the strengthening of the pathway to happen, right? Can you help me understand this mechanism?

First Berridge, the researcher, is the guy who delineated wanting and liking circuits. The article is correct in that opioids can evidently be both liking and wanting. Dopamine seems more for wanting. However, these separations can only occur in experiments, not in life. Also, neurotransmitters do not have functions, such as wanting, they simply increase the probability for neurons firing. In addition, neurons have multiple types of receptors, some say go, some say stop, some say fast, others say slow.

This link is another one of his articles:
http://yourbrainonporn.com/liking-vs-wanting-kent-berridge-2004-2

At this point we can't use simplistic models. If you remember from the videos I said dopamine D2 receptors declined in the reward circuit, and said no more. D2 loss is highly correlated with addiction and needing/craving more stimulation.

There's a reason I said no more. Because sometimes the D2 low receptors, switch to D2 high receptors, while D1 receptors increase, and D3 are all over the place. Some types of opioid receptors decline with cocaine addiction, other types increase, but it all depends on where you look in the brain.

We stick with broader definitions, such as desensitization sensitization and hypofrontality, that have multiple neurotransmitters and receptors involved.

It's important to remember- You can't correlate a neurotransmitter or receptor to a behavior or emotion.

review by the Head of NIDA, Nora Volkow - http://yourbrainonporn.com/garys-research-addiction-general-3-dysfunctio...

Some opioid receptors increase other types of opioid receptors decline. Liking vs wanting can only be experimentally induced.

As for my second question, perhaps I'll rephrase it as:

How does one use neuroplasticity to learn a new habit? For example, how does neuroplasticity work to make, say, exercising daily, a habit?

Is a reward necessary? (PMO is the ultimate example of neuroplastic habit formation)

think there's an answer to "how" neuroplasticity creates a habit, because we have free will to ignore a habit. LTP is behind strengthening synapses, which is behind memories, associations, and addictions, and probably habits:
http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/L/LTP.html

Reward is not necessary as one can have negative reinforcement.

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