Dating with PIED (porn-induced erectile dysfunction)

Oct 19, 2022

I've got a letter from a young guy who's a couple month into his recovery and navigating the challenges of dating and rewiring without a steady partner.
 
Anon's words are in italics. My comments and responses are in bold.
 
Greetings Coach Church,
 
Its odd that I'm finally working up the courage to reach out as I've been a daily viewer of your youtube videos, from the recent live Q&A reboot sessions all the way back to your earliest uploads, in a way I feel like I know you and all the other brave men in the community because we share a similar experience or struggle.
 
None of us are alone!
 
I started my porn addiction basically like every other naive preteen boy that gets featured in your videos, thinking because everyone's doing it that must make it normal. My use of porn was very far from normal in hindsight, while my friends were out building their healthy sex lives I was content with being a loner for years and years when it came to romantic partners. The added pressure of being considered an attractive and social person didn't make it easier and just exasperated thoughts of something is wrong with me and only me.
 
The social pressure, the perceived expectations you're trying to live up to, the awkwardness...I don't miss being a teenager. I have one big ol' slab of advice to any young guy out there going through this: Don't worry about deadlines or timelines or keeping up with anyone else. The sooner you stop trying to impress your peers, the more you're going to enjoy your life and relationships.
 
At 16 i had my first real sexual experience and thats when I realized something was really wrong, in the midst of having sex I lost my erection rather quickly and i began to think it was simply something wrong with me as my guy friends and i would huddle around and share our sexual experiences like any other teenage boy group, that really affected my self esteem, even to this day. I went years without knowing what was wrong with me.
 
Been there. 
 
Even though I did have other sexual experiences and did have "successful" sex it was through the use of pills or medications because at that time, being an ill-informed and naive teen, this was the cure in my head.  I know now, from your videos that this is simply the physiological bandaid and not the root of the problem. I've been porn free for 42 days at this point (possibly more but I started really keeping track at that point) and the last time I had an orgasm was 33 days ago with a partner. Since I've started this journey I've had a few sexual encounters that did not go to plan to say the least.
 
Yeah, Viagra or other ED drugs are a stop-gap, not a real solution. If you only have mild-moderate PIED or have already done some healing, the pills can certainly help in the short term. However, you can become reliant on them, which gets in the way of full recovery in the long term.
 
I know that I'm still in my reboot phase but in my personal situation I do get the chance to rewire as well. Being considered a social person inevitably leads to me being in sexual situations with women or at least being given the opportunity but I feel like it may be too early. This has me torn in a very deep way, I know from your videos you're a huge advocate for being honest and open with partners about pied but wouldn't that have to be serious partners that you intend on building a relationship with? I feel like dumping my many years of trauma on a new or fleeting partner just unfair and a bit daunting to say the least. In your experience do you recommend avoiding those fleeting one night stand type "relationships" at least during the first stages of rebooting? Because I feel like they just take a big dig at my self confidence at this early stage. I've already written a lot and I know I should be paying for your time and advice I just saw your email address in a comment you posted and thought I'd finally reach out.
 
 There's a lot of middle ground between lying/hiding and "dumping years of trauma" on someone. Even if it's a casual or short-term connection, you can still be honest. But there are confident and respectful ways of being honest. Here's what I might say in such a situation:
 
"Hey, before we go too much farther, I should tell you that it can take me some time to warm up with a new partner. I've actually had some negative and traumatic sexual experiences in the past, so I usually need some time to get comfortable with someone new before I can really get into it and stay aroused. I just wanted you to know so that you wouldn't think it was because I'm not into you, because I totally am."
 
Almost always, she'll be very appreciative that you shared this with her. You can also let her know that you're fine to talk about it more if she has questions. This gives her agency. She can decide how much she wants to know, so you're not "dumping" your emotions on her.
 
Thank you for all that you've done and continue to do for the thousands or even millions of us out in the world, you have no idea how far you've reached and the lives you've touched. I have no problem with you sharing this if you refer to me as an Anon like your other videos. Your work is touching and improving many lives. 
 
And despite the overall negative tone of this email I am definitely seeing progress at day 43, its really just the anxiety of the unknown and past failed attempts. Anyone thats at a similar stage as me should know there's definitely hope. Thank you!
 
A few days after (before I posted this video), Anon sent me another update: 
 
Hey coach,
 
Life had a way of forcing my hand recently and I'm beginning to think it was long overdue and a good thing in the end. I know you said you'd release a video response but in the past few days I took the leap of faith of finally opening up to someone special about my pied struggles (a slightly censored version at that), and like you've said time and time again the response was way better than I anticipated. She seemed very understanding and comforting.
 
Imagine that! Congratulations man, you didn't even need the extra encouragement that I was about to give you. Other rebooters, take note!
 
Of course the years of battling with this still brings doubts as I overthink whether she can or will really understand but It does feel good to finally stop hiding and finding excuses to never seek anything real after all this time.
 
 Success is not guaranteed even if you act courageously and try your best. But failure is guaranteed if you don't try.
 
This was a really big step for me even if she decides not having sex right now is a deal breaker for her, it felt right and a little strange being honest and vulnerable for the first time in almost 12 years! 11/12 years of avoiding those difficult conversations and feeling like I was living 2 separate lives. I know that 11/12 years is not going to be fixed in one night but I feel proud that I can say that I'm finally trying to change for the better and actually believe it!
 
For me, I don't regret taking a risk that I believe is worth it, no matter the outcome. What really gets me is the regret of opportunities missed. If this one doesn't work out, you'll still have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you gave it your all.
 
I hope I'm not bombarding you with these emails just wanted to send in a little update, day 47 going very strong with no intention of ever turning back and feeling more hopeful with each step. Thank you again for your guidance.

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