“How long will my reboot take?”

goal

“I have Porn induced ED. How long will my reboot take?”

This is maybe the most common question I get in emails and blog comments. And I understand why:  you want to know what to expect.

While some guys with mild cases of porn-induced ED can reboot within 3-6 weeks of no PMO (no porn, masturbation, or orgasm), for others it can take up to 4 months. And in some extreme cases, it may take up to a year or more to fully recover.

 

So how long will your reboot take?

While it’s a complex question and impossible to give exact timelines, what we can do is look at factors that influence the length of time a reboot will take.

I will do my best at a thorough answer, based on:

1. My own personal experience.

2. Reading many, many (too many to count) reboot accounts on various internet forums, in emails I’ve received, and in online surveys I’ve conducted.

 

From these sources, I was able to boil it down to 8 important factors.  How long your reboot will take depends on:

 

1. Your age and past sexual experience. 

In general, younger guys without much sexual experience outside of porn tend to take longer to recover than older guys. This is because younger guys usually discover internet porn before they have sexual experiences with a real partner.

On the other hand, older men who learned to masturbate with their imagination, images (say, a Playboy magazine) or soft-core porn, and had sexual partners before internet porn came around, may find they have a faster reboot.  Having had this past encoding in the brain with real sex seems to speed up the recovery process.

 

2. How many years you were into PMO.  

If you have been using internet porn heavily for 10 years it will be more difficult and take more time than if you just discovered porn last year (but really, who just discovered internet porn last year?)

 

3. How long your masturbation sessions were and how often.

Five-hour sessions vs. 30 minute sessions.  Three times per day vs. once every two days.  Longer and more frequent sessions equal a longer reboot time.

 

4. How extreme your tastes escalated to. 

If you escalated to more extreme genres, you will take longer to reboot.  More extreme = more time. Your brain will need time to rewire to the physical stimulation and “normal” sexual situations. And to answer the question: will I every be able to get off to “normal” sex again? Many guys have been there and recovered – but be prepared for it to take time.

 

5. How severe your ED is.

There are different levels of severity of ED.  For example, a guy who can regularly get 70% erections (without porn) will likely recover faster than a guy who (in the same situation) can’t get erections at all. Being honest with yourself about where you are now will help you prepare for the road ahead.

 
6. Whether or not you abstain from all three: porn, masturbation, and orgasm. 

From my own experience and many guys’ reports, recovery seems to happen quicker with abstention from not just porn, but masturbation and orgasm as well.  Some speculate this may be due to the “re-sensitizing” of a desensitized brain/penis, the fact remains that no-PMO provides the best results.

 

7. How CONSISTENT you are in your reboot.  

Relapsing after 20 days or 50 days — like I did when I started — will set you back.  If it happens, don’t beat yourself up about it.  But know that it will set you back and create a plan to make sure it doesn’t happen again.  Also, be warned — according to many rebooting reports, testing your erections before you’re ready may set you back.

 

8.  Other less tangible factors.  

There are other things that are less concrete that will affect how long your reboot will take.  For example, your attitude towards rebooting and your thought patterns.

Guys who worry more are going to take longer. Do you find yourself worrying a lot about things like “is this normal?”  “Will I ever be able to have sex again?”   This constant worry might make you more anxious about sex and even lead to performance anxiety – a common pairing with porn-induced erectile dysfunction. I was one of these worriers and it led to a lengthier reboot process.

How not to worry so much? For one, you have to have faith that the process will work.  Many guys have gone before you and overcome porn addiction and porn-induced ED. Trust that your recovery will happen too. Don’t beat yourself up for thinking these things, but they will set you back in your progress – especially if you’re dealing with performance anxiety, which is a common pairing.  To cut down on worry (and relax and clear your mind), I recommend a daily diet of meditation or progressive relaxation.  I’ve written about how I overcame this here.

My Story: How long did my reboot take?

I’m Brian, 31 years old. My reboot was four years ago.

In the end, I feel like it took about four months straight of no PMO to recover.

The first four times I tried to reboot ended in BIG porn relapses that set me back a lot.  Like, we’re talking more porn in a week than I would have normally watched in a month.  (I now see that this was because I didn’t have effective coping strategies in place, like a replacement habit for example).

 

My Timeline:

Reboot Attempt #1

5 days:  I wasn’t really committed.  Felt like shit when I watched porn again after 5 days of clarity. I vowed I would do better.

 

Reboot Attempt #2

18 days:  big relapse for one week. Watched more porn in one week than in an average month before my reboot. Felt like shit.   This is where I started reading about habit change, willpower, and the psychology of quitting.

 

Reboot Attempt #3

50 days:  another big relapse. Realized my strategies needed some tweaking.

 

Reboot Attempt #4

90 days:  started having sex again with the help of relaxation exercises to help with the heavy anxiety I had about being able to get an erection.

At around 120 days in my reboot, I started masturbating again.  (I believe this is important to train your body how to react to touch.  Also, correct masturbation habits train your body to last longer by mimicking the simulation of sex.  Caution: make sure you’re ready (morning wood is back; turned on by ‘real’ girls; and you think you are strong enough to withstand the draw of porn).

Currently I’ve lost count at over 1000 days, without a relapse.  In the year before I started this website, other than helping a few friends (and friends of friends), it was fairly rare that I thought about porn.  I believe this is because I had structured my life in a way that it just didn’t come up.  I built an active social life (including an active dating life), cut out unnecessary computer use, and had essentially used strategies to replace those old destructive habits.

On a side note: the interesting thing is, now that I started this blog about my recovery from Porn-induced ED – reading and answering questions in the comments and writing about what I went through, I actually find myself thinking about and craving porn more often.  The difference is now I have the strategies to help me overcome the urge. This highlights why I went mostly offline for a while during my reboot and why I recommend it as a starter strategy.

 

So, to answer the question: How long will my reboot take?

In conclusion, it depends on many different factors and it’s difficult to say before you start.  From my own experience, I think it’s best not to focus too much on the outcome, but instead focus on the process and on stacking the cards in your favor. And there are plenty of articles on my site that can help teach you strategies for change!

Was this article helpful? Please let me know in the comments! I try to respond whenever I can.

 

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    About Brian

    Brian overcame a long-standing addiction to Internet porn and fully recovered from serious porn-induced erectile dysfunction and performance anxiety. For more about Brian, see my story.

    Comments

    1. Thank you says:

      Thank you for writing this! This is exactly what I was looking for!

      • You’re welcome!

      • wow..i had an epiphany after reading that.I stopped looking at porn 2 months ago.It was a life long addiction.In the meantime I would go on the internet and especially facebook from time to time and just look at pictures not realizing it’s the stimulus of the computer.I look forward to my recovery now that it is clear to me.I have finally hit bottom

    2. Thank u so much brian. U have helped alot of us. Thanx for ur dedication. The confidence through which u write ur posts sends positive enegry in us. Thanxx alot for being there.

    3. Thank you for helping me.Hope I find a good change in life soon… :)

    4. Thanks for your program but how do I manage weeks or months of “nothing” when I am married? I don’t want to confess to my wife!

      • Hi Joe,

        The end goal of a *reboot* is usually to get back to real sex. If you’re able to have real sex successfully with your wife, and just want to quit porn, that’s a different story.

        Can you please clarify your situation?

        • Hi Brian,
          I am a married man near the end of my sexual life who has been viewing porn for many, many years. For the past couple of years sex has been difficult with my wife but I have always blamed my diabetes , blood pressure etc. With the little blue pill I can get a semi hard erection but as soon as I penetrate my wife it goes soft.
          However, I can get and keep an erection on my own while watching porn.

          • Hi Joe,
            During your reboot, you can still have sex with your wife. While it may not be ideal for the healing process (most guys find that completely abstaining from PMO and sex “resets” things faster), it still gets you closer to the goal of quitting porn and getting back to real sex
            Cheers,
            Brian

      • Joe, I am in the same boat that you are exactly. I am not sure how I am going to pull off a reboot. Would like to share ideas or just touch base with you. Your story is mine exactly. Have turned to the blue pill over the last 5 years. Tired of using it.

    5. jason Brown says:

      Hie Brian I’m a 27 year old who always masterbate to porn and fantasy and can’t maintain and erection what should I do

    6. Thanks for helping all of us out, got past the first dreadfull 3 days and so far seems to be getting less difficult as the days go on. What helps me most of all is keeping in mind all the pleasure I’m passing up now is accumulating lol. Thx again

    7. Hi,
      I started watching porn when I was around 17. I did that for around 10 years on and off. Because of this I developed porn induced ED. I have been abstaining from porn for the past two years.I am able to have intercourse with a woman if I fantasize. Is that normal.? Obviously I haven’t had sex before I developed porn induced ED. So I don’t have a benchmark to compare against. Can people have sexual intercourse without any fantasy in their head. By any fantasy I don’t mean something exotic.Just some regular foreplay.

      • Hi LIV2HAK,
        Thanks for sharing your story.
        With sex, it’s difficult to say what is “normal”, because everyone is different. There are certainly many people who have sex without fantasizing (myself included), while others need it.
        I think that there is something to be said for being in the moment and focusing on the current sensations and your partner, however “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” — if you’re happy with the sex you’re having, why change it.
        Cheers
        Brian

    8. TODD bedusek says:

      Dude I’m freaking out , he’s wrong about older guys, I’m 43 in 4 days and still recovering.it’s been over a year, still nothing , I’m thinking about asking for a dopamine script, like uprima, I remember telling my dad about this at christmas time 2013 aNd the dells in 2013 when I was drew ling over this brunette girl from chicago. Older guys don’t recover faster, 6 more weeks then off to doctor unless my paxil is screwing things up. , I’ve tried dopamine supplemnts they don’t work for crap

      • Hi Todd,
        I’m sorry to hear that it’s taking you longer. From reading your story, it sounds like there may be other factors in your recovery. Have you talked to your doctor about this?
        Cheers
        Brian

    9. Hi Brian, so I’m in day 3 of my reboot, i have performance anxiety. I’m just 18 years old and I’ve never been able to have sex because of this. (I’ve failed to get an erection with girls) I’ve been reading your stuff about it all. The main question is, when would I know when to try having sex again with a girl? (During reboot ofcourse)

    10. Hi Brian,

      Thanks for a well-written article once again! :)

      I’ve started my reboot about a week ago and haven’t had any relapses thankfully. However, even though 7 days is not much, there has been a rapid increase in sex(y) dreams, and morning wood has returned. Now here’s my question: Having in mind that my main problem is a desentisized penis (and it caused problems in my previous sex experiences, although no inter-course), is abstinence from masturbation (and the death grip) optimal for restoring my sensitivity? I’m 18 btw

      Thanks again for everything you’re doing.

      • Hi Nikola,
        Thanks for the kind words :)
        If lack of sensitivity is your issue (although it’s sometimes a combination of things), then abstaining from masturbation for a few months might be your best bet.
        Don’t forget to come back and let us know about your progress!
        Cheers
        Brian

    11. Hi Brian,

      I am 23 years old and I have been trying to reboot for about 2 months now. I recently got married about three months ago and had my first sexual experience with my now wife about one month before. I was a virgin before and was incredibly surprised that I was not able to maintain an erection on what was supposed to be the most exciting moment of my life. We tried three separate times in a week to no avail. Extremely embarrassed to not be able to maintain an erection with one of the most beautiful girls I had ever seen, I decided to see a doctor and get some external help, namely Viagra. After several hits or misses even with the pills, I realised my problem was the internet porn that I relied on for so many years in my single days. My question for you, is whether having sex with my wife now with the aid of pills is ok in my reboot process, or should I stop that as well for a period of time along with the masturbation and porn? I know without the pills, I still would not be able to maintain an erection long enough past the initial foreplay for intercourse.

    12. Dean lister says:

      thanks man. didnt know i had a problem until the gf said so. read this article. gonna start my reboot now.

    13. Hi Brian,

      Regarding Porn reboot process, I have read something that the dopamine level will get even lower than normal for those who are in the process of recovery. Is that period is short enough or long enough? Whether the dopamine level will be back to normal? How we can increase dopamine level naturally, I have read that pomegranate juice and banana will help. Is it normal to face below normal level during the recovery process? They also used to call it as ‘Flat Line’. I believe getting this flat line or below normal level is also a reality check that the process is actually working.

    14. toddbedusek says:

      did this make you gain weight

    15. Hey Brian,
      I am 17 and have watched porn since I was about 12, my tastes got more and more extreme and escalated to about 6 times a day when I was 14, when I was 16 I was watching about 10-30 women and masturbating 2/3 times a day, I now have a girlfriend and have had sex 3 times with forcing and erection, I am now on my 3rd day of no pmo, how long do you figure it will take to be normal? 3 months – 1 year? I have no libido and PIED and I have ups and downs throughout the day

      • Forgot to mention I can still get fully erect around my girlfriend through touch, but after intercourse or masturbation I feel very drained and my penis stays lifeless for the next couple days.

      • Been expierencing this problem since the end of grade 11 (16 years old), just now decided to take action. Hope its not too late.

    16. they do make medication for this you know, requip, dostinex , zyprima are all d2 dopamine aganists or scripts, as a matter of fact zyprima advertises that this can help off label for some, but hey cant hurt to try, right now im on wellbutrin xl and paxil, paxil to delay ejaculation, wellbutrin for dopamine, and zyprima for dopamine zyprima probably will be the best bet

    17. I might ask my half brother to look online for something t o increase dopamine and ill pay him back or merry Christmas, im taking this into my own hands because doctors suck, my doctor could have put me on something but refused because I was taking paxil, there are off label drugs to beat this addction, look online, ive had enough, I want my life back, older guys don’t recover faster, been rebooting since july 2013, my back is killing me, my shrink whom is female thinks wellbutrin will do the trick uh uh need something better and stronger parkinsons drugs off label. zyprima swears by it, doctors wont prescribe the right shit ill take matters into own hands and pray 4 the best and pay a arm and a leg if I have 2. I want my social axtiety to go away, better yet I wanna be able to talk to girls and get laid on new years lol my friends wifes ex half sister is hot and she was flirty hard core with me a few years back on ny eve before I had this problem, its on hopefully, she can be my guiniuea pig so to speak, My shrink thinks I need a sex therapist, no just the right meds, I believe they are out there, if ssri med help with serotonin then dopamine meds d2 will help as well, of course u don’t want to be on them 4 ever, I lost 14 pounds on wellbutrin by the way, and it helped me to stop smoking.

    18. I’m 41 and have been suffering from ED for most of my adult life. Now I’ve also been trying to reboot for quite some time, finally on a good path out of the tunnel. I find your advise and the cases here very helpful and in a way I’m happy there are others who I can share my experiences with.

    19. Aditya mandge says:

      I am suffering from porn induced ED. I am 18.This is the 2nd day of my reboot. Thanks for the information. This was exactly what I was looking for!

    20. really inspirational bro

    21. Hi Brian,
      I’m 36 years old. I am going on my 42nd day straight without PMO. I had relapses before and the longest period was 18 days. I have not tested my erection, and I am not getting any support from my wife (she wants to separate or divorce). I only get weak morning erections once a week or something. it is getting really important for me to save my marriage to end this case. any advice ?

    22. Some guy says:

      Hey im 19, and been sexualy active since 13, about 3 months ago i stoped having sex with girls,(have watched porn during the years) but had a daily masterbation use for 3 months. 2-3 times a day. Recently i had was about to have sex with an ex i care about and had a hard time being erect and ended up not having sex , now my penis feels numb and cant flex or feel movement as i usto or get erect now, worried and stoped watching porn but idk if i should use the bluepill or any other sex supplements when im about to have sex with a real female ( not porn) since i can only get 70% hard but dont feel anyting. Help. I dont wana depend on pills but also dont know what else to do.

    23. hi, I thank you for your article and it has helped me a tonne. What i wanted to ask you is this. i quit pron and started experiencing better erections and morning wood. however i did not stop masturbating. this has continued for 2 weeks with masturbation on a daily basis without porn. since 2 days however i have realized that i am again unable to get hard or maintain an erection. This has upset me a great deal. how do i remedy my situation?

    24. Hey Brian.

      I’m into an stable relantionship for almost a year now, but in the year before I had 12 partners and I could barely get it done in some cases, or even have no erection at all. And the situation was pretty much the same the years before, except the ones I spent in stables relationships.

      With this girl I am now the begginig was quite difficult for me. Today, we have an amazing sex life, with good orgasms for both of us. But I’m always afraid of meeting new girls since I really don’t want to get back to that situation I was in.

      I’m pretty sure that pornography has played a fundamental role in my ED situation outside my relationships.

      I am still an avid pornography consumer and want to stop it, and get my life and confidence back and be able to engage into other relantionships.

      If I wish to start the reboot, should I also stop having sex with my girl?

    25. Titus tanner says:

      So I need a little advice. I have master baited to porn very very little in the past three months maybe at least once a month if not once every 2 months I am In good physical condition and I’m 16 I have a girlfriend and we’ve been fooling around and playing with each other at least once or twice a week for the duration of our relationship which is 2 and a half months so far I have a great connection to her and I think my porn addiction isn’t even close to severe for example I don’t have cravings for porn but instead for the real thing I get 70% erections just but kissing alone my sex drive is high and saying she turns me on is an understatement I don’t find myself fantasizing about porn but instead fantasizing about her 2 days ago we were fooling around and after 25 minutes or so of role play (kissing touching grinding talking dirty etc) my erection kept going up and down from 100% to 20% and from that back up to 50% and growing to 70% like I said it was up and down over and over eventually we took our clothes off and she gave me oral for maybe a minute or two just to get me up and I was rock solid just from the way it felt in less that 20 seconds I put a condom on and went for penatration and bam I was almost completely flaccid just like that I can’t describe how frustrating that was last night we tried again and it was the same thing we didn’t even get as far as we did the first time because it wasn’t even worth it I couldn’t maintain an erection I really like this girl and I’m not trying to waste her time and At this point she’s starting to blame herself and I hate that I’m curious if this is even due to porn induced ed I have a history with porn induced ed but I have made leaps and bounds in recovery and Its like I’m fully back to normal but I’m still having problems maintaining a erection with her sometimes it’s easier than other times but my erection seems to change on a dime I don’t know what to blame it on I have high testosterone I try to eat right I work out once or twice a day and I’m very social I fantasize frequently about girls (not porn) like a normal young man should (the only thing that i can logically blame this on is that i smoke tabacoo but im not a heavy smoker and i only started a couple weeks ago) i have trouble finding advice on websites like this because it seems like other cases i read about are more severe than my own anyways I apologize for the long comment but I’m really in need of advice if you could please reply to this comment or email me with your response please help me out! its well appreciated thank you!!

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