In this video coaching newsletter I read a letter from a young man who is struggling with PIED and beginning his journey of healing.
The full text of Anon’s post is below in italics. My comments are in bold.
I am currently 14 years old and struggling with some form of sexual dysfunction. Although it might be medical I highly doubt it because of the sheer amount of pornography I have watched and jerked off to. I don’t see why it would be medical, I mean the only thing it could cause a medical dysfunction is my relatively poor diet. I have a pretty unbalanced diet but I guess most teens do. But anyway, I’m too scared to talk to a GP as I am deeply embarrassed about having PIED at the age of 14. And I certainly won’t talk to my family and friends about it. That’s why I am emailing you.
14 years old. I wish I could say that I was surprised a 14-year-old would be suffering with PIED, but I’m not. I am impressed that you have found me on your own and taken it upon yourself to seek a solution to your problem. It would be very rare indeed for a 14-year-old to have ED because of his diet, with a possible exception if you are diabetic.
A poor diet can and will have massive negative effects on your health, happiness, and potential in the long run, but it takes time for those effects to manifest. However, it is never too early to start taking care of yourself and seeing the benefits of doing so. Heavily limit your intake of highly processed items, soda, energy drinks, fried foods, etc.–preferring whole, natural foods: fruits, vegetables, greens, nuts, seeds, beans, grains. The preponderance of scientific evidence (and my personal experience) show that a plant-based diet without any animal products such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, or dairy is best for human health, but of course there are as many beliefs as people and as many theories as scientists, so conduct your own experiments and see what makes you feel best.
So, after that context I would like to share to you my story. It would be absolutely incredible if you could do a video response to this on your YouTube channel as I cannot afford a private video session. It might also help others who are going through a similar journey to me.
I started masturbating around the age of 11 to pictures of girls in bikinis on Instagram pages. Although I was unable to ejaculate at this point I was instantly hooked to the feeling of an orgasm. I continued to masturbate through the age of 11 to pictures of ladies in bikinis on Instagram.
But one day this all changed, and I believe this was the start of my PIED experience. I looked up a hashtag on Instagram called ‘naked lady’ and some video pornography appeared.
Pornography is everywhere online, even on social media platforms frequented by pre-adolescent kids. It’s a tragic failure on the part of the adults and institutions whose responsibility it is to look after the well-being of children. I apologize on behalf of adults everywhere that we haven’t yet done a better job of safeguarding children against the harms of pornography. The onus is now unfairly on you to look after yourself and recover from problems that you never should have had. But you can recover, and you can have a great life and wonderful relationships.
At first, I was shocked and scared of this porn. But then gradually I started to crave it. About a week after this incident, Instagram’s employees realised that video pornography was being released on their pages, so they started to take it down. At this point I wasn’t turned on any more by the pictures of the ladies in bikinis, and I started to crave the more hardcore video porn. So, I started to look at different Instagram hashtags. It was like a game I had to be on the right hashtag at the right time to seek the porn that I wanted to see. Now I realise that this was a very unhealthy habit.
Large amounts of dopamine are released in the brain in response to sexual cues. Most people think of dopamine as a “pleasure” chemical in the brain, but this isn’t really true. It would be more accurate to associate dopamine with desire, rather than pleasure. No amount of porn will ever bring someone lasting satisfaction or happiness. The more we consume, the more we want. We chase our impulses, feeling like satisfaction is always right around the corner. But like a dog chasing his own tail, we just find ourselves is a loop of need and dissatisfaction.
I continued to masturbate through Instagram pornography until I was about 12 and a half. Even though it was a very long process to get this porn I still didn’t go to the length of actually going onto porn websites as I thought my mother had blocked them. But one day I realised that she didn’t block pornography on my electronic devices. And this is where I believe the second stage of my PIED kicked in. at this point I was about 12 and a half and I was able to access video porn whenever I wanted. This was like a luxury for me I didn’t have to search for porn I could just access and binge watch porn whenever I wanted. I say at this point I was watching and ejaculating more and more. I think i was watching porn around 2-5 times a day. The porn that I was watching started getting progressively harder core. I started watching quite soft porn such as: Latina, ebony and POV. But then I got bored of this and started developing very hard-core fetishes such as piss and shit porn, incest, bestiality, animated and even gay porn. Even though I am 100% straight and didn’t like it underneath I still watched it and jerked off to it just for the dopamine rush. Although at this point no alarm bells were ringing in my head because I could still get strong erections.
Tolerance and escalation. We consume so much porn that our brain is overstimulated and naturally desensitizes itself to try to regain balance. Consciously, though, we want the same rush as before, so we keep chasing the excitement wherever it leads, always looking for something new and more intense, even if what we’re getting off to disgusts, shocks, or repulses us at the same time.
At this point I had never been in a relationship and never even kissed a girl. My idea of sex and girls was purely based off of pornography. Ironically, I even remember a specialist coming into my school talking about the dangers of porn such as creating unhealthy fantasy’s and even the dangers of PIED.
I am very happy to see that your school proactively invited this person to educate students. That’s a huge step in the right direction that most young people still aren’t exposed to, but obviously in your case you could have used that information much sooner.
At this point I was about 13 and was watching very hardcore porn for about 6 months. But at 13 onwards I started to realise the quality of my erections were getting worst and worst. I started to subconsciously masturbate with semi erections as I was just used to master baiting for the dopamine release. I soon wasn’t able to get erections at all and was still climaxing while I was flaccid. Even though I couldn’t get an erection to any sort of porn I was still in denial. I am realising how unhealthy that was.
Most of the time, we can easily tell if someone has PIED because he cannot have sex but can still get an erection to porn. However, having lost your ability to become erect with porn doesn’t mean that it’s not PIED. I’ve seen it happen many times that the PIED becomes severe enough that porn can’t stimulate a proper erection anymore. Given your frequency of use and the level of escalation you experienced, severe PIED is the most likely explanation.
But one day I had a serious psychological change. I was at a house party and I kissed a girl for the first time. It was very intimate, and I started to feel her up. But then she offered to give me a hand job. And I realised that I was unable to achieve an erection at this moment. I was so disheartened. Even though I was really into what was going on I just couldn’t get hard. The next week rumours started spreading about me not being able to get hard. Obviously, I denied them and pretty much shut them down. No one really challenged me about it because I’m a fairly popular guy. But I still felt awful underneath. I was starting to feel a lot of social anxiety that I had never experienced before.
This is when I realised how bad the situation was. I’m 14 and approaching the best years of my life and I can’t get erections. As I said I am quite a popular guy and I had a few girls knocking on the door for me. I think this just made the situation worst.
The good news is that you’re realizing what’s going on early. You can get help and guidance and address the problem now. You can recover and have many, many years of healthy relationships in your future.
I started researching my dysfunction when I came across no fap. I started immediately and didn’t feel any craving which was weird as I had tried no fap challenges before such as no nut November and failed almost immediately maybe on the first or second day. This is when I realised that when I had kissed the girl it was my brain clicked in some sort of deep psychological moment. I think my brain was rewiring before I had even started no fap in some degree.
About 2 and a half weeks after I was intimate with that girl another girl tried to come onto me at a party. Even though I really wanted to be with that girl and have a sexual experience with her I turned her down because I didn’t want to face the embarrassment of her trying to have sex with me and me not being able to achieve an erection. This is when the social anxiety really kicked in. I can’t stop thinking about not being able to get hard, its blocking me in real life situations and I just want it to stop. I think its leading me into depressive states.
The psychological trauma of PIED can last a lot longer than the physical effects. It’s emotionally scarring to lose your sexuality. It can sap your confidence and warp your sense of identity. It’s certainly not insurmountable, but it takes time, effort, and often the help of others (therapist, counselor, coach, friends, mentors, etc.). I don’t know what your family is like or what access to such help you might have, but I don’t advise going through this alone. If you can talk to your parents about this, it will probably be uncomfortable but can help a lot. Especially if you think you need help staying pornfree, you can ask them to install software like Covenant Eyes on your devices and keep you accountable.
You can also seek the guidance of a counselor to help with your anxiety and depression around this issue. Keep in mind, however, that whomever you talk to may not be educated yet about PIED. Don’t let them convince you that it’s not a thing, because it very much is.
And here is where I am now. I’m writing to you on the 24th day of my no fap challenge. I’m still not able to achieve a strong erection even though I am getting spontaneous semi erections. This worry’s me as I believe that because my erections aren’t that hard this could be a medical dysfunction but again I highly doubt it.
Given how severe your PIED became, I’m actually impressed that you’re seeing progress at all by 24 days. It’s probably because of your young age that you’re recovering as quickly as you are. Full recovery from PIED can take many months of upwards of a year, so don’t get discouraged if you aren’t seeing huge progress right away. Be patient.
I’m really worried Noah. I have a long summer ahead of me filled with partying and festivals and most importantly girls.
So, In light of this I have a few questions to ask you:
- Can the quality of my erection be due to PIED
- How do I stop the social anxiety
- How long will it take
- How do I rewire my brain
- How do I know when I am ready for the rewiring stage
There’s no reason to delay simple rewiring, like flirting, cuddling, kissing, etc. I recommend to most of my clients that they wait for signs of naturally returning libido before trying sex, however. Things like strong morning wood, spontaneous erections, good arousal while kissing, etc.
- If smoking and doing drugs affect PIED
- If weed and nitres oxide affect PIED
Nicotine and some other recreational drugs can have a negative impact on erections, but none of them are likely to stop recovery from PIED. That said, let me be an old man here and preach to you for a bit.
I know that recovering from PIED is probably your only concern right now, so that you can enjoy partying, hooking up, and just letting loose and being an irresponsible teenager. But I can tell you from experience that much like with porn, looking for satisfaction in drugs and casual sex doesn’t work out. Some people are lucky enough to grow out of that lifestyle without any new addictions, STDs, unwanted pregnancies, criminal records, life-altering mistakes, etc. and can find meaning, purpose, love, and contentment in their future. Many people, however, are not so lucky.
I know that you don’t want to miss out on the good times that you see many of your peers enjoying, but I encourage to think long term. Your porn use has trained you to be impulsive and pleasure-seeking instead of smart. Even if you never use porn again, it’s easy to stay in that mindset and replace one mistake with more. Many of your peers are going to do things when they’re young that they are going to regret for the rest of their lives. You can think for yourself and be smarter than that. You can focus on developing yourself, learning, growing, making friends, joining teams/clubs, thinking about the future. You can find a girl you respect and admire, get to know each other, and build a real relationship to be proud of.
I’m not going to tell you that trying recreational drugs like weed or nitrous oxide will ruin your life. Some drugs can hurt you right away, especially because people often think they have one thing when it’s really something else entirely. But the danger of most drugs comes from habitual use. Regular use of marijuana and alcohol can have a big impact on the developing brain. There’s good reason that even in recreational marijuana states you have to be 21 to buy or use.
You’re 14. There’s no reason for you to be in a big rush. Even once you’re recovered, just because you have a working dick doesn’t mean you should use it all the time. Don’t buy into the race to hook up with as many girls as you can or get involved with toxic people just because you’re desperate for sex. Take the right kinds of risks, where even if it doesn’t work out you’ll be proud you tried. Not the kinds of risks you’d be ashamed of people knowing about.
OK, that’s my elderly moralizing for the day.
I also cant get a hard on while watching any type of porn does that mean it is a medical problem
This is fairly common with severe, PIED, so no.
Thank you, Noah,
You really are helping people’s lives. And for that I simply can’t thank you enough.