6 minute read

3 Stories of Guys Who Struggled (and Recovered) From Porn-Induced ED

Last Updated: June 3, 2020

Chris McKenna

Chris McKenna is a guy with never-ending energy when it comes to fighting for the safety and protection of children. He is the founder of Protect Young Eyes, a leading digital safety organization. Chris practices his internet safety tips on his four amazing children and is regularly featured on news, radio, podcasts, and most recently on Capitol Hill for his research. His 2019 US Senate Judiciary Committee testimony was the catalyst for draft legislation that could radically change online child protection laws. With expertise in social media usage, parental controls, and pornography use in young people, Chris is highly sought after as a speaker at schools and churches. Since 2016, Chris has worked with Covenant Eyes creating educational resources to help individuals and families overcome porn. Other loves include running, spreadsheets, and candy.

Erectile dysfunction. It’s kind of an awkward topic to talk about and an even more awkward problem to admit struggling with, especially if you’re a healthy, young guy.

But there’s actually an increasing number of teens and young men dealing with ED. While it’s due to performance anxiety or other health issues for some, many healthy, young men have found that their erectile dysfunction might actually be porn-induced (PIED).

We’ve covered the science behind porn-induced ED before, but below you’ll find the real stories of three guys who struggled with PIED, recovered, and are now helping others in PIED recovery–Noah Church, Gabe Deem, and Alexander Rhodes.

We hope their journeys help you see you aren’t alone if porn has negatively impacted your life. But most of all, we hope their stories encourage you that freedom and recovery from porn use is possible.

Story 1: Noah Church

Noah Church is the founder of www.adddictedtointernetporn.com. The following are excerpts from a Facebook Live session done with Noah in January 2017.

“I found myself as one of the first people to grow up in the age of the internet when it was common for homes to have a computer with internet access. Starting at around age nine or ten, I was using porn most every day, one or two times a day, sometimes more.

I started to escalate to types of pornographic content that really didn’t jive with my natural sexuality. They were extreme and shocking, but I found that as time went on, I needed those more extreme stimuli to get the same amount of arousal that I was getting before.

By the time I was 18 years old, I was with my first serious girlfriend. We decided we loved each other and wanted to experience sex together. This was something I had been looking forward to all my life. I was really attracted to her. But, when the time came [to have sex], she was naked in front of me, and I just didn’t have any physical response.

I was shocked. I thought of myself as a person with a high sex drive. I always thought about girls and was masturbating most every day, so I was really confused and shocked about what was going on in that moment. I thought it might just be nerves because it was my first time, so we tried many more times and it just never worked

I turned to Google for help, searching for phrases like “young man can’t get it up” or “erection problems,” and most sites indicated that it was either performance anxiety or some biological problem like blocked arteries. I pinned it on performance anxiety because I had no trouble getting an erection while looking at porn (which excluded the biological problem as an explanation).”

For Noah, this “want to have sex, but can’t have sex” cycle continued for over six years. He was confused. Girls were hot—that wasn’t the problem. He just couldn’t get aroused by real human women. This was devastating.

“I thought, ‘Maybe I masturbate too much.’ So I’d stop for a few weeks and quit looking at porn too, but that didn’t work either. Man, this wasn’t just a sex issue, because it was devastating on my self-esteem, my self-confidence, and my sexual identity. Because I couldn’t have sex, I was sexually broken.

My emotional health was a mess. Because I was feeding my brain so much dopamine through watching hours of porn, my brain craved more and more stimulation. And, unlike drugs–where there’s a rush of neurochemical activity giving that ‘high’ and then it’s gone–with porn, I was able to keep that dopamine level raised for hours clicking from video to video. We call it “edge:” delaying orgasm so that I could keep watching porn. Over years of doing this, my brain figured out that nothing in the real world could compete with the porn rush. Everyday things just became less stimulating. My friendships became less interesting. I didn’t want to do homework, because compared to porn, who wants to do homework?

I was numb to the world. From the age of 10 to 22 or maybe 23, I didn’t cry a single time.”

Story 2: Gabe Deem

Gabe Deem is the founder of www.rebootnation.org. The following are excerpts from a Facebook Live session done with Gabe in January 2017.

“There was a significant mental aspect of porn for me. I didn’t have any idea that my porn use growing up was affecting my mental clarity, my motivation, and my drive for other goals and pursuits I had in life. I didn’t know it was affecting my interpersonal relationships with my friends and family or my ability to just see people as humans and not objects.

To put it as simply as I can, I just had no drive to get out and do anything [while addicted to porn]. My brain was hijacked and rewired to the point where all of my pleasure, all of my pursuits in life were digital.

I was skipping class in college, and I’d rather just be at home a bum on the couch watching porn (and playing video games) all day.

My drive for life wasn’t there. I was just wired for pixels on a screen and online pursuits–not pursuing goals in real life. A lot of guys call it brain fog. It zapped my motivation for anything in real life, and I dropped out of college

I didn’t want to go to school anymore. I had no drive to get a good job and start a career or anything like that. I lost several relationships because my libido was for pixels on a screen, as well as my attention and my affection.

And it ended up hurting more than just my sex life. It hurt relationships all around to where I wouldn’t want to go hang out with my family over Thanksgiving. I’d rather stay home and watch porn.

It ended up affecting all areas of my life. Really it’s just you and a keyboard at the end of the day, with your pants around your ankles, and your loved ones are crying in the other room, and you’re not connecting with anyone, you’re not fulfilling what your heart really desires, which in my case was connection with a loved one.”

Story 3: Alexander Rhodes

Alexander Rhodes is the founder of www.nofap.com. The following are excerpts from a Facebook Live session done with Alexander in December 2016.

“So, I grew up among the first generation of people who went through puberty with the existence of high-speed Internet porn. And we didn’t really have the tools that Covenant Eyes is developing and currently publishes at our disposal. I was on a video game website and there was a pop-up ad featuring simulated rape pornography. It was really graphic stuff. And I wasn’t looking for it, it just came up.

I was around eleven when I got exposed and that just opened up a whole new world for me. It was like, oh wow, you can find this stuff online. As a hormone-fueled adolescent boy you’re going to be curious about seeing the naked human form. And I discovered it was online and did some Internet searches, and it escalated from there to a point where–I know this story holds true for a lot of people–I got addicted to it.

And, as a result, I started to notice changes in my body. It was more difficult to get an erection. I found myself wanting more and more degrading things. Something was wrong. I also didn’t know why I was so lethargic. I didn’t know why I wasn’t able to really have any self-discipline and my life was kind of a little bit of a mess in many ways.

And, as I dug into the issue, I started to uncover information about a connection between porn consumption and impacts on the body. One of the most obvious being porn-induced erectile dysfunction for men.

We need to look at the fact that there are thousands of people–this story isn’t just about me. The real story is behind the thousands of people who decided to remove one variable from their life, and that variable is porn, right?”

PIED Recovery Is Possible

All three of these guys experienced the negative effects of pornography, including PIED. They felt hopeless and alone in their struggles.

All three of these guys also found that recovery is possible. Not easy. But definitely possible. Their problems started to change as they gave up porn and began reboot their brain. Now they’re committed to helping other guys leave porn behind too, and they’ve helped thousands of guys on their PIED recovery journey.

For a lot of these guys, the path to recovery looks similar:

  • All eliminate porn use.
  • Most (but not all) temporarily eliminate, or drastically reduce, the frequency of orgasms.
  • Some decide to add other positive behaviors like exercise into their routines.

Most guys report a similar constellation of physical and psychological symptoms when they stop porn use/masturbation, a similar time-frame for the appearance of symptoms, such as agitation, cravings, complete loss of libido, gradual recovery, and need 2-6 months (or longer) to regain erectile function. This suggests a very specific set of physical brain changes, and not a psychological “issue.”

If you resonate with the stories above and want to begin your recovery from PIED, we’ve created an email series just for you called “RecoverED.” You’ll get daily emails filled with practical tips that will encourage you on your way to PIED recovery.

  • Comments on: 3 Stories of Guys Who Struggled (and Recovered) From Porn-Induced ED
    1. Dr. Harry Schaumburg on

      The mind is the most important sex organ (not the largest, the entire surface of your skin is the largest). Therefore, all sexual dysfunctions that are not medically caused require being transformed by a renewal of the mind.

      Reply
      • Don on

        FYI. It’s http://www.registration.org, not .com. Thanks for this article, as I have been in recovery for a number of years and believed by ED was induced by my years of masturbation, fantasy, and porn use.

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