Today it seems as if pornography has completely inundated our society. The ready access to porn at any time is not just a problem for adults, but also for children as well. As Gregor Schmidinger can attest, getting ahold of pornography at an early age it isn’t just a problem in the US, but rather it goes across the entire world.
Schmidinger was at the tender age of eight years old when he first laid eyes on a porn magazine. It had been found discarded in a rubbish bin in his village in Austria. With internet access at home, by age 11 he began to explore his attraction to members of his own sex. The more Schmidinger watched, the more and more hardcore the porn became – some of it violent – and the Internet served it to him all-too-easily.
By the time Schmidinger reached his 20’s, his addiction to pornography was making it difficult for him to have sexual relations with a real person. He became unable to maintain an erection or reach orgasm in the way that he could when he was alone with porn. “Porn was always my sanctuary. That was the space where ‘it’ worked,” he said in a recent interview with UK-based publication, The Guardian.
A doctor confirmed that Schmidinger had no physical condition that could have been causing his sexual dysfunction. Still searching for an answer to his problem, during a Google search, he discovered the website Your Brain On Porn. There he read about a condition known as porn-induced erectile dysfunction (PIED). This condition seemed to perfectly describe what it was that Schmidinger was suffering from.
For six weeks, Gregor Schmidinger quit pornography. Oddly, after that amount of time Schmidinger was noticing an improvement in his energy levels. Instead of spending his time online viewing porn, he was spending it at the gym instead. After a total of 6 months of being porn free, he has said that all signs of his erectile dysfunction have now disappeared.
What Schmidinger went through is not unique. At any given time, there are thousands of people – both men and women – who acknowledge that their addiction to pornography has had a negative effect on their personal relationships. Whether it is the inability to function sexually without the stimuli of pornography, desensitization and apathy toward sex with a spouse or partner, or even losing one’s job to porn addiction, the cost has been much higher than spending private time looking at porn.
For some, viewing online pornography becomes an addiction where like alcohol, or any other drug or compulsion. The pleasure centers of the brain get used to seeing such stimuli and it will demand an ever-increasing new ‘high’ that comes through fetishized pornographic material of every variety imaginable. Because of this ever-increasing need for the new and ever-increased visual and sometimes physical stimuli, real life sex no longer holds as much appeal and causes further dysfunction and disinterest. All of that can exact a real toll on intimate relationships.
Just as surely as there is an almost overwhelming proliferation of pornography on the Internet, there are now also online communities to help those who find themselves addicted to pornography. Some of these groups are quite large, such as the NoFap forum on Reddit that has nearly 180,000 registered users. Others include the forum at Your Brain on Porn and Reboot Nation. Each of these venues offers support for those who want to overcome their porn addiction.
When people abstain from porn, according to the members of these forums, benefits quickly come such as a willingness to meet real-life partners, an increased libido, less social anxiety, feeling less spacey, suffering less from brain fog, an ability to empathize with other people, and an overall increase in energy and motivation.
Schmidinger doesn’t shy away from the word “addiction” when he talks about his past problems involving pornography. He knows that his choice to overcome his addiction with determination and the help of friends has made a difference in his life. For him, giving up his porn addiction has helped with his relationships and intimacy and all signs of his former erectile dysfunction have disappeared.
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