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a guest Jun 16th, 2019 79 Never
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  1. I’m no stranger to addiction, it’s killed some of my closest friends and it nearly killed me 5+ years ago in the form of opioids. Much of my 18-21 years were spent living out of my car or being in various treatment centers for detox. My life changed completely in 2014 when I got sober, but in some seemingly small ways, it stayed the same.
  2. The two serious relationships I had since that time, I thought I was a new person. I was living a spiritual life, serious about my behaviors and actions to fight the direct threat of drugs. Yet when I would try to perform in the bedroom with girlfriends, several nights it just didn’t happen. I was watching porn to get off every day but thought nothing of it. I thought it was normal and that I was just having performance anxiety. I wasn’t capable of waking up to what was going on at that time. My last breakup was a demoralizing failure and I had no idea that this particular behavior played a part in it. I just thought I must not be attracted to her. I resolved to take a break from dating while I focused on getting my career together.
  3. Two years ago, my life changed when I found out I was accepted into one of the most highly selective universities in the world. Previous to this, I had 2 failing years at another university and at a community college. After getting sober, I maintained a 4.0 GPA at my community college and transferred here. I continue to be driven to find solutions to the direct threat of the opioid crisis in my studies and in my lab research. Yet I still didn’t understand the subtle threat of porn-induced ED that was right under my nose until last year. I woke up to it when a friend and I had an intimate conversation about how it ruined his life and relationships. I did my research, found this subreddit, and looked through various websites. It was a rude awakening. I would try to abstain last summer but would find myself drawn back to it after as long as a week. I knew that this was something insidious.
  4. This year has been, in many ways, the most challenging year of my life. Moving to a massive city, and studying STEM at one of the most difficult universities in the world nearly ruined me in my first four months after moving in. I almost failed the hardest class in my major, but fought back after failures to finish out relatively unscathed. Porn would become a crutch. After 12 hours a day of studying, sometimes it would be my only enjoyable moment of the day.
  5. After my last final, I was determined to begin dating again. During the last 3 weeks I’ve been active in almost all facets of my life, coming back to my apartment only to sleep. I’m afraid to spend too much time in my apartment and go down another rabbit-hole of porn sites. In my city, the most common way to find relationships are through dating apps.  I met a girl through an app, and I began to fall for her over a series of dates, despite all of her insecurities and the signs everywhere that said it wasn’t right. She was extremely sheltered, had no friends, no job, and had a dark past of relationships. She wasn’t well mentally.
  6. Mistakenly, we hung out for 8 hours yesterday, kissed under the trees of a park, and held hands as we walked through the city. As I began to make my move for sex, she told me she had something called vaginismus, or involuntary contraction of her pelvic muscles that makes penetration impossible for her.  Her condition is likely caused by her anxiety/past trauma, all things I picked up on but ignored due to her attractiveness. She’s being treated for her condition now but it could months or years to cure. She was surprised when I said that porn might contribute to her inability to perform after she had spoken about watching porn regularly earlier in the day.
  7. I told her today that we can only be friends, and I feel sorrow over it. Sorrow for how she got to be where she is, and how I know it won’t work out due to our life circumstances and personalities being vastly different. Sorrow that I made such a personal connection with her only to end it, and that I maybe shouldn’t have extended it past the first date. Sorrow that she possibly suffers from the same thing I went through when I realized that porn was contributing to my failures with performance.
  8. I’m writing this because I don’t want to take this heartbreak and use it as an excuse to wallow in a self-pity laced porn binge. If you’re struggling right now, reach out to a friend or someone in this community. To have even had such a personal connection with someone even though it wasn’t meant to be was only because I haven’t been watching porn these past two weeks. It’s made me more socially active than anything else has. I’m talking to other prospects about dates, and failure just means you have to give it another shot. I’ve failed at a million things in my life, and in many ways my life has been built upon failure itself. Even if you fucked up today, know that you can start over and try again. And it is in that trying again that maybe a particular aspect of your life changes completely. It has so time and time again for me.
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