In September of 2016, I met someone here in Los Angeles. She was a few years older than me and from Australia. I picked her up in a grocery store in Santa Monica and we proceeded to date.
These details aren’t the most important part of this particular story though. What is most important is that I had started to use pornography again—and lots of it—after I broke up with my girlfriend in April of that year. From April to September, I began to use regularly—sometimes two or three times per day of masturbating to porn—as a way to both numb the pain of losing her and gain that false sense of intimacy and acceptance that comes with viewing it at the addictive level.
But back to the woman I met. What followed was us getting to know each other over a couple of weeks, like most people who are attracted to each other. We went out and made out. She was someone I liked on multiple levels and that’s what made her easy to pursue.
Then, one Saturday evening after a beach outing, she took me back to her apartment and it became clear very quickly that she wanted to have sex.
Only, after a solid hour so of struggling, of starting and stopping, it also became clear that there would be no penetration as part of the act.
I couldn’t get an erection, not even half of one. We fooled around for a bit and went to sleep. In the morning, the same thing happened until eventually we got dressed and made breakfast.
This is the point in the story where, on other days, I would say that I learned my lesson and that this kind of thing never happened again.
Only it didn’t not happen again. It was only just beginning.
It happened the following month with a woman I tried to have a one night stand with in L.A.
It happened later that month when I went to Dallas for a job interview.
It also happened with a woman I met on Tinder and dated in the fall and after she ended things, it happened with another woman I dated right before Christmas.
After we stopped seeing each other in January, I thought I was in the clear. Then it happened again with a woman who in her own words, was so turned on by me she was driving herself insane not being able to fuck me.
Imagine being in one these scenarios and despite being a key player, being unable to fully perform.
Imagine wanting to take part in sex with someone you enjoy and within that space, being unable to go the deepest physical distance that penetration allows.
It’s a devastating thing for a man to go through. The only thing worse is knowing that you’re the one who caused it.
This piece isn’t about my sex life, or picking up women, or even the erectile dysfunction (ED). It’s about recognizing that sometimes you don’t know you’re addicted to something until you see what’s happening—or not happening—right in front of your own two eyes.
To all the men out there struggling with porn, don’t wait until it’s spelled out in black and white.
Don’t wait until you’re naked in front of someone to figure out if you have a problem.
Don’t wait until what makes you feel good are images on a computer screen and absolutely don’t wait until the only thing that makes you erect is the dopamine rush from those same images.
By the time I realized porn-induced ED was part of my life, it was also a part of the lives of at least eight different women in the same amount of months.
I’m sorry I couldn’t get hard for them. More than that, I’m sorry that the reason we know each other to this day is because of my own selfishness.
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