36, PIED, new plan

logicprox

Active Member
I'm 36, was raised religious and to not have sex before marriage. Started questioning my religion in my late 20s but wasn't quite willing to go against those rules. Started using PMO at 27. Wasn't having any real life sexual partners for several years. After a few years of this, when I actually did start having partners, started noticing reduced quality of erections compared to before I started using, which fed into social/performance anxiety that I have always had a problem with, and made me struggle to get any erection at all with real women (whereas pre-PMO I got erections extremely easily, even when I wasn't trying to have sex).

Discovered the concept of PIED maybe 3 years ago and have gone off and on in avoiding PMO since then. There is a very clear trend I have noticed that when I avoid PMO my erections recover. I have rarely ever stayed away more than 2 weeks and have not gotten back to where I was pre-PMO, but the trend is very clear. Unfortunately, I have either not had good plans for recovery or have failed to execute.

I believe that part of the reason I developed the problem is that since I had not been having real life sexual experiences, and was simultaneously only getting these digital experiences, I trained my brain to believe that PMO is sex.

I have one possibly controversial viewpoint based on my prior experience, and that is that it isn't actually about "streaks", it is about generally about (drastically) reducing the frequency, which obviously streaks are mathematically the most effective way to do. But I have found 1) that focusing on streaks can be demotivating when they break and 2) that even if I just manage to only, for instance, use PMO a few times in a month, it has a very noticeable impact on my erection quality, and the longer I keep that use low, the more that impact builds.

Based on the above, I have built myself a tracker that will show my average uses per month/quarter/YTD, and have set declining targets for each month/quarter of 2022, with the idea being that by the end of the year I will be using PMO less than monthly. Obviously if I can get myself to a nice 90 day streak, that would be awesome, but I don't think it's realistic for me right now. Sounds like a 2023 goal and fortunately my experience is that I can get at least a lot of the benefits without doing that.

In addition to tracking the above, I am doing the following using the Habitica app:

1. Verifying at bedtime that I did not use PMO from waking up to going to bed

2. Verifying when I wake up that I did not use PMO in the middle of the night (historically a problem for me, as I would wake up at night with lower inhibitions and slip up)

3. Checking the box to give myself credit when I hit the following streak lengths: 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 17, 21, 25, 30, 40, 45, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100. These are compounding, so for example when I hit 3 days, I would check that box, on day 4 I would get to check it again. On day 5 I would get to check the 3 day box, and the 5 day box. On day 6 both again, on day 7 I get to check all 3, and just keep getting to add on as I go. I am doing this because of my research on dopamine and motivation and believe each box I get to check each day will give me a little more dopamine and encourage me to keep going.

4. Giving myself credit at the end of each month and each quarter if my uses are below the targets for those respective periods.

5. Giving myself negative points in Habitica when I use PMO

6. Giving myself negative points in Habitica on any day when I use and that takes my average for the month/quarter above my target usage.

7. Later in the year, (Q2) will start having a target for going on dates, to start getting more real life experiences.

8. Limiting social media use to 20 minutes a day

9. Giving myself negative credit for fantasizing at night in bed

10. Posting here in this thread daily.

EDIT - 1/27/2022: I still conceptually believe what I said above about the gradual decrease working, in theory. However, I have now become convinced that the reason attaining a 90 day streak was not realistic for me when I wrote that, is only because I didn't believe it was. I believe it now. My mindset has shifted quite dramatically. I haven't abandoned my tracker yet, though I am doing some conceptual rethinking.
 
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logicprox

Active Member
One day no PMO complete.

Adding 11 and 12 to the above list.

11. Giving myself negative points if I watch a movie with nudity. That has triggered me in the past.

12. Giving myself negative points if I watch more than an hour of TV/movies by myself in a day. Sitting around doing that tends to trigger being tired and bored for me, which has triggered PMO in the past.
 

logicprox

Active Member
2 days.

Was accidentally triggered by some music videos at a bar with a couple of friends but did not use. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that part of the reason I didn't was that I would have to put in this journal that I slipped up after just one day...but hey, whatever keeps me on track.
 

Jswizzle

Active Member
2 days.

Was accidentally triggered by some music videos at a bar with a couple of friends but did not use. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that part of the reason I didn't was that I would have to put in this journal that I slipped up after just one day...but hey, whatever keeps me on track.

logiprox,

Glad you didn't use. Also, I'm glad you are using the journal. For me, posting in the journal adds accountability that I need.

Wish you well my friend. One day at a time 🙂
 

logicprox

Active Member
5 days. Historically this is about where I usually slip up when I am casually trying not to use PMO. It helps a little that it is January 1, gives me some extra motivation to keep going. I don't want to start the year with a use.

Since it's 2022 now, I am officially starting my monthly and quarterly targets. My target for January isn't particularly ambitious. I want to start with something realistic but that is still substantially better than what I usually do. Having something achievable is a lot more motivating for me. For January, the target is 6 or fewer uses, so slightly less than once every 5 days.Typically I use probably every other day, though I have weeks where I use every day, so this will be a fair bit better. The monthly target will be lower each month this year until I get to not using at all.

I got a little triggered by something on Instagram this morning but walked away. I unfollowed the account. It wasn't like an insta model/soft porn account or anything like that, it's a musician I like but she does post some risque things sometimes. Better to just not deal with it.
 

logicprox

Active Member
I sort of worried this might happen and here we are. On New Year's Eve I had quite a bit to drink, which left me with an all day hangover yesterday. Wasn't a huge problem in terms of PMO until I tried to go to bed. Not sure if this happens to anyone else, but sometimes when I have a hangover, even though I am super tired I can't fall asleep or keep waking up. That happened last night, and while initially I refrained from fantasizing, eventually I caved which then led to using.

I am not happy about it, but I also still feel really motivated and like the year is going to be amazing. It does feel right now a bit like a one off related to my hangover (though obviously can't let my guard down). I don't usually drink that much, and there is only one New Year's Eve so that shouldn't repeat.

Technically this is January 2, but I am thinking of today as the beginning of the year for my PMO goals as well as for all my other goals for the year.
 

logicprox

Active Member
1 day. Honestly feeling pretty great despite the prior slip-up. Feeling very motivated. I've decided to start the year (from the 2nd) with a 7 day dopamine detox. No porn, no alcohol, no movies/tv, no youtube (unless to inform some projects I am working on), no junk food.

Also started a 6:45 daily calisthenics routine with a friend this morning. I've been working out, but it's been weightlifting, which I don't enjoy as much, and I have just been going whenever I feel like instead of having a solid routine.
 

logicprox

Active Member
2 days. Had a few urges but nothing too intense.

Started doing Headspace meditating again, making it part of my morning routine.

Became aware later in the day yesterday that I had a mild sore throat and some mild nose issues. Got a negative at-home antigen test but probably going to try to get a PCR today so I can feel good going back to the gym. My friend and I are just doing leg day from home today. I hate leg day.

Last night, in order to avoid fantasy, I tried something new to fall asleep. I tried making up a sci-fi/fantasy story. Actually had some fun with it and also fell asleep pretty quickly. Might try to build on it over time. My back-up plan is to do some additional Headspace meditation.
 

logicprox

Active Member
3 days. Since I am doing the 7 day dopamine detox, I found myself bored. So I finally got around to doing a bunch of home organizing I have been putting off for a year. Actually felt amazing. Starting to wonder why I ever used social media and watched tv/movies/porn at all. I feel like my productivity is the highest it has been in years. I am going back to work next week so won't be able to escape screens so much, but will not be going back to using social media or watching tv/movies (unless with friends). Obviously won't be going back to porn either.

Still sick and waiting on PCR test results.

Last night out of nowhere I had a wet dream. Seems bizarre to me. In my last serious reboot attempt I did have a couple, but I was way further in to the process when I did. Probably doesn't mean anything, but found it interesting.
 

logicprox

Active Member
4 days.

Started reading https://easypeasymethod.org/. I agree with most of what it is saying, and it's really helpful to frame it the way it does. You aren't giving anything up, you're going back to how it used to be as a non-user. not having the withdrawals that make you feel like you need it.

While my ultimate goal is to never use again from 4 days ago into forever, I do struggle to accept that hard of a line only because, as I've mentioned before, when I take that attitude every slip up feels like the end of the world. But I'm thinking about it.

PCR test result came back positive, so I have COVID. I'm vaccinated + booster, symptoms have remained mild and actually already seem to be getting better. I suspect it's omicron since research is showing antigen tests are nearly useless for detecting omicron and saliva PCR (what I took) is nearly perfect at detecting it. Fortunately I haven't been hit by any significant fatigue or malaise, which I think would be potential triggers.
 

logicprox

Active Member
5 days.

Still feeling really motivated, and emotionally great. Have decided to keep some form of this dopamine detox going when I hit 7 days because it feels so good. Working out exactly what that will look like but I bought some more books to read, a rubik's cube, and a book on learning how to draw. Instead of using TV and movies to relax after work, going to fill my time with reading and learning new skills.

COVD symptoms have gotten substantially better already, almost feeling back to normal so I think I am out of the woods in terms of that being a potential trigger.

Had a few light urges laying in bed last night and when I woke up this morning but I found them relatively easy to ignore. Been reminding myself of what easy peasy talks about. PMO is only relieving symptoms that PMO creates. I am giving up nothing, I am gaining freedom from those symptoms (over time).
 
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Blondie

Well-Known Member
Hey logicprox, nice job going 5 days clean! Nothing, and I mean nothing, is better than freedom from this crap. You and I share a similar story in as far as having a very religious background and not starting with heavy porn use until our late 20s. I also didn't have my first sexual experience until I was 30 (for religious reasons), and that first encounter was very embarrassing to the say the least. Programing my mind to porn all those years before is what did me in.

Keep up the good work, even if you have to use drastic measures, because it will be worth it in the end! I know blowing a long streak can be devastating to your morale, but I would be cautious not to go to far the other way. Either way, you're on the right track! Keep it up
 

logicprox

Active Member
6 days. Urges remaining about the same, and really only happening when I am laying in bed waiting to fall asleep. I've just been staying too engaged in other things during the day for urges to have a chance to come up. I even dusted the window blinds lol. I don't know if that will last forever, but so far days have been quiet during my detox.

Trying to work on my sleep hygiene a bit to make sure I fall asleep faster and wake up less, since this seems to be the primary possible point of relapse right now.

@Blondie appreciate it! Nice to know I'm not the only one with that background. Read through your journal too, congrats on breaking the 100 day mark!
 

logicprox

Active Member
7 days. still feeling really good. Technically yesterday was the last day of the dopamine detox. Today I am going to work out my going forward plan because I definitely do not want to go back to using media like I did, not just because I want to avoid triggers, but also because I honestly have felt happier and more motivated staying off. I do want to make a LITTLE room for structured social media use, researching things on youtube, and movies/video games in a social setting, so just need to structure how to do that without it taking over my life again.
 

logicprox

Active Member
8 days. Came off of the "dopamine detox" yesterday. I'm planning to keep media consumption pretty low still, but did relax a little yesterday and watched a movie before bed. There wasn't anything remotely sexual in it but it actually still caused a slight increase in urges both during and after. I cleaned my kitchen for part of it to distract myself, repeated some mantras, hopped on the forum to read some journals, and then played a little guitar to chill before bed and the urges left me, but it was interesting.

I had been planning to let myself watch one movie every sunday as a sort of dopamine cheat day but given that experience I have decided to stay off movies and TV for at least a couple more weeks.

Overall still feeling good and really motivated. I had time off work last week but am going back in hard this week. My work is busiest in January and February and can be pretty stressful so will see what reintroducing that doe. Historically it can go either way. Sometimes I am just too busy for PMO lol, but other times it's just busy enough to stress me out and be sort of triggering.

Either way I'm not going back. PMO relieves only the symptoms it creates.
 
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logicprox

Active Member
9 days. First day back to work was busy but not overly stressful. Feeling very refreshed my focus is the best it has been in a long time. It feels like my brain has calmed down a lot. I'm sure partially just due to the time off but it really felt like my brain started to chill out during my dopamine detox.

I've historically watched youtube or part of a movie during meal breaks to relax but am sticking to the reading and learning to draw I did during my detox and I think that actually works much better at calming and relaxing my thoughts.

Minimal urges yesterday. I think I have been using media for a similar mental pathway as PMO, to avoid certain feelings or things I need to do, but not using media has started to make me realize it's ok to just go ahead and feel those things. It's ok to not feel perfect all the time and it's generally not even that bad. But that sort of emotional realization I think has made the urge to PMO feel sort of irrelevant recently.

I am sure the hard urges will come at some point, maybe even today, but so far my brain actually hasn't had much interest in it over the last few days.
 
Good going at 9 days!

Urges and flatlines will keep coming and alternating. It's highly unpredictable and varies form person to person.

There will be a time when you will get strong urges. There will be a period of extended flatline. But tiding over all of these is really going to strengthen your will power and actually make it easier for you to remain clean.
 
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