Many people contact Fight the New Drug to share their personal stories about how porn has affected their life or the life of a loved one. We consider these personal accounts very valuable because, while the science and research is powerful within its own right, personal accounts from real people seem to really hit home about the damage that pornography does to real lives.
Alex* (name has been changed) sent us an email and shared his story about how porn affected his life. His story seems to be typical of what is happening to countless male teenagers who have been watching porn from a young age. Porn has a lot of negative effects but one that a lot of porn consumers may not know is a scary but very real side-effect: porn-induced erectile dysfunction. This is Alex's story.
Hey Fight the New Drug,
I want to share my story with you. Hopefully, it’s meaningful to some people. I don’t expect anyone to change his or her ways because of me, but I’m hoping they will AT LEAST consider reading my story and consider fighting this nasty drug/addiction. Why is it called a drug? Let’s just say it controlled my brain just like any addictive drug would.
The very beginning of my struggle
The first time I saw porn, I was around the age of 9. Flipping through the TV channels late at night with a friend of mine… and BAM… PORN. I can still even remember the channel it was on. Needless to stay, my young eyes were glued to the screen.
After that night I didn’t really think too much about it, honestly. Being so young, I wasn’t too sure what the feeling I got really meant. But a few years later I stumbled upon another porn clip on TV and I got that same excitement. Now being at the age of 12, I knew what the feeling meant.
That is when this terrible obsession took over most of my life. This was around the time when the Internet was getting very popular, so one day I thought to myself, “Lets try searching naked girls online.” This is when my compulsion got worse.
I felt like I couldn’t stop or control myself
At 12-years-old, I didn’t really know what female bodies looked like without clothes. And after seeing all the images of naked women, I couldn’t stop. Almost every day for about a year, I looked at pictures of naked women. Let’s just say the Internet didn’t help my addiction at all. It was always there and always available.
As I got older, around the age of 16 or so, I moved from pictures to videos of porn. Little did I know that this was going to mess with my brain and future relationships. You see, with porn you can watch any type of porn you want, whenever. THIS IS BAD. In real life, sex is not like porn. You can’t stop and rewind. The type of porn I really got hooked on at this time went beyond seeing just a man and a woman. This really elevated my brain and excitement for the wrong reason. I went on consuming this type of porn for years.
The moment I couldn’t get aroused by a real human
Now I’m going to tell you the final part of my story and how porn ruined my love life/sex life.
When I was 19, I had my first sexual encounter with a girl. Well here is when all my “fun and exciting” times with porn put a huge dent in my life. I’m sure you all know what I’m going to say…but, yes it’s true… I wasn’t able to get an erection.
Those 7 years of watching porn made my brain think that porn was all I needed to get that excitement. After that night, the girl thought it was her problem, not mine. She thought she wasn’t good looking enough, sexy enough, etc. It broke my heart. I was 19 years old and I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get aroused. I thought something was really wrong with me, when really it was because of the drug: porn.
I hoped that it was just a one-time thing and tried to convince myself that I was just nervous for my first time. I tried to not think about it.
Long story short, I went on to have this problem with every girl I had sexual interaction with from that point on. I had to stop them every time because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get aroused. It was so embarrassing for me. I felt as if I was never going to be able to have kids or to be able to have a healthy/loving relationship.
Finally realizing what I had to do to change
At the age of 20 years old, I finally came to the conclusion that I needed to stop watching porn. I joined a group on Reddit called “No Fap”. They challenge people not to watch porn, kind of like Fight The New Drug in a way. They even give you a badge which tells you how many days you have gone without watching porn, kind of like a sobriety chip. I felt the positive challenge and as I watched my number get higher each day, it made me even more motivated to stop watching the drug.
Today is exactly my one year mark being porn free. No porn for a full year. That’s why I decided to write you today. My life has changed. Not only has my love/sex life improved but also my attitude towards life. I am able to finally get my brain back on course and see that addictions can ruin you.
My mind was addicted to the fake women online. That isn’t reality. IT’S FAKE REALITY. PORN IS A DRUG AND IT WILL RUIN YOU.
I ask all you guys out there struggling, PLEASE give it a shot and stop with the porn. It will help you in the long run as it did for me.
PIED is more common than you’d expect
Alex’s story is sad but extremely common. We’re so stoked to see that his has a happy ending, and we want to emphasize that if you struggle with PIED like Alex, there is hope.
Pornography rewires the brain and in turn has a huge effect on the ability of young men to get aroused with a real sexual partner, especially when they’ve been watching hardcore porn since they were 12 years old. Previously, erectile dysfunction was unheard of in men younger than 40 years of age, but now due to the amount of porn being consumed by teens today, erectile dysfunction is being found in males as young as 15-16 years old.
Watch our video interview with Gabe Deem, founder of Reboot Nation and a guy who has made it his mission to speak out on his struggle with porn-induced ED.
Gary Wilson, author of Your Brain On Porn, recently said in an interview, “By the time they find real partners, perhaps as much as a decade later, some guys discover they have trained intensely… for the wrong sport. (These young men) had simply conditioned their sexual response to screens, isolation, constant novelty, shock/surprise, fetish porn and watching other people have sex. Their erection problems with real partners resolved only months after they quit porn.”
Bottom line: it’s just not worth it.
For those reading this who feel they are struggling with pornography, you are not alone. Check out our friends at Fortify, a science-based recovery platform dedicated to helping you find lasting freedom from pornography. Fortify now offers a free experience for both teens and adults. Connect with others, learn about your compulsive behavior, and track your recovery journey. There is hope—sign up today.