Psyche messed up by bad experience, feel helpless as to how to address low libido

Sorry this post is very long and not too well organized as there is a lot to unpack here.

Last October I had a hurtful experience. I had been dating a girl for just over a month where every date went insanely well and I felt a strong emotional connection that I’ve only experienced once in my life before. When the conversation came about sex she said she wanted to make me wait song she thought I was really special, and hinted at being ashamed about her promiscuous past, which I didn’t care about. I also expressed that I was nervous since I was inexperienced for my age - I was 25 and had only had sex once during a one night stand. There was another girl I dated when I was 19 that I did sexual things with but never penetration. I told this to the girl I was dating and trusted her, as I was slightly insecure about my
lack of experience at my age.

After once again putting off sex until “next time” on a date, to which I was patient and respectful, she said she would stop putting it off and have sex with me the next day. I felt a strong emotional and physical chemistry with her, as at that point I had done everything physical with her apart from penetration. I was not particularly nervous as I trusted her a lot, but she abruptly told me “we can do it another time” literally right as I was about to penetrate. She then told me nobody had gone that soft on her before, shortly asked me to leave her apartment, and then texted me saying she was done with me in a distant and unapologetic tone.

This definitely messed me up (I had night sweats for weeks after this experience) and turned my mild insecurities into severe insecurities, but it did have me introspect. I realized I stopped getting morning wood and spontaneous errections for the past several years, and my erections were notably weaker than they used to be, and I couldn’t maintain them without constant stimulation.

I naturally started thinking about my masturbatory habits. I used to masturbate A LOT (multiple times a day) as a teenager and young adult, and had a really strong sex drive. At the time of the incident, I would masturbate out of habit a few times a week, but had not really enjoyed it much. I realized my sex drive was actually abysmal compared to what it used to be. I attributed this to aging, but after the incident I talked to friends and family and realized it’s not normal.

I also attributed my issues to being a smoker (both tobacco and weed), but I recently quit those substances (45 days clean) and my issues still persist. So now I am ready to tackle the issue head on instead of waiting for my libido to return. I will summarize my current situation.

I masturbate once or twice a week. I kind of force these sessions “just to see if it still works”, or out of habit when I have sexual thoughts but no physical arousal. While I am starting to enjoy it again, I can’t remain at full firmness without constant stimulation. I almost never get spontaneous erections or morning wood, which I used to get both of daily. If I go a week without masturbating, I might get a very weak morning erection but nothing more. If I masturbate again I’ll go back to having 0 libido for multiple days and a 0% chance of morning or spontaneous erection. This makes me think I should quit masturbating for an indefinite amount of time. But this doesn’t make sense to me, why would I need to abstain from masturbating for a long time to restore my sex drive? I used to have a super song sex drive despite masturbating a lot. For what it’s worth I don’t really use porn.

I exercise 1-2 times a day for 6 days out of the week, and have a great diet. I am in great shape, have gotten bloodwork done and have high testosterone and normal levels of everything else. I would describe myself as highly motivated and ambitious in life with a high self-esteem. I’ve been told my issues are psychological, but this also doesn’t make sense to me as my lack of libido goes back to before my hurtful experience in October, and I wasn’t in my head about anything back then.

I am bothered by this as I am not physically attracted to girls anymore. I can acknowledge when I think a girl is attractive, but my body doesn’t feel a sensation. I used to get hard simply thinking about girls, and now I could see a gorgeous, naked woman and get no arousal. This makes me not want to pursue women and dating until I solve my problems. I definitely do not want to go through the same experience I went through in October, as I still am disturbed by the experience a bit.

For what it’s worth, last week I was flirting with a girl in an elevator and felt some sensation in my penis. I know if I start getting physical with a girl I’ll feel some blood flow, but not a full erection, and definitely nothing that can stand on its own. I also got my first spontaneous erection in years the week before just thinking about a girl. So it looks like my issues have some hope to go away. But the only thing that seems to help is 4+ days of no masturbation, and even then, the effect is very small in magnitude.

It feels like I’d have to go many months without masturbation for the hope of my libido restoring, and even then, just one orgasm would send it back to zero. Honestly, I don’t even mind doing this, but it feels like my brain is misguided and I shouldn’t get attached to this solution. I wonder if I should even worry about how often I masturbate. I don’t even do it often now, and don’t have too strong of an urge to do it. Note that my brain still has a lot of sexual thoughts, just no physical response or lust attached to these thoughts.

I’m basically wondering what I should do? I will probably get a sex therapist on top of using this app. I have no clue what to do about my masturbation habits though, and would like some feedback. Orgasming shouldn’t annihilate my libido to 0 for multiple days on an end, and simply abstaining from masturbating doesn’t seem like it’d address the issue. But maybe it will? Thanks for reading.


I can’t really help but I want you to know your not alone, I had a similar experience and having the exact same issue. I struggle to get hard even to masturbate now and my girlfriend is so hot but I feel I can’t make her happy


Very well put, I can relate to a ton of what you’re saying here. I’m very lucky to have an understanding partner who is willing to work on and help me through navigating my ED issues, however there was a week where we decided we should just be friends, as it is incredibly invalidating for a woman to open herself up to you and be completely vulnerable and have you get soft and not want it. (We have been going out for 14 months now, she has stated sex is a need for her, I have tried many times to no avail to penetrate and remain hard and I have yet to succeed) I had to explain that it wasn’t a matter of me not wanting it, it was a matter of me being in my head too much and stressing about if I’m going to maintain an erection, I was not focused on simply enjoying the sexual experience and the closeness and vulnerability with my partner.
We see each other maybe once a week so we will be trying again tonight, ultimately you will find more success the more you push your inner critic to the side and focus on enjoying the sensations you are experiencing with your partner rather than being in your own head worrying about the future of what your erection will do. Get your head in the game and your other head will follow.

However I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said about a lack of libido, I have been experiencing a lack of drive for a long time as well, however I remember the days where i used to be rock hard several times a day with no problem so I wonder where the shift went! Perhaps it has to do with sleep quality, sleep is so important for every bodily function and I feel as though I’ve been neglecting proper consistent sleep for years, so we’re in this together we just need to keep trying and working on ourselves until we solve this problem, because we will.

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I can relate to so much of what you’ve said here. I’m new, and definitely don’t have any solutions for you. But you’ve even helped my by letting me know I’m not alone I’m this scenario. I’ve told no one, only my girlfriend knows, for obvious reasons. She deserves so much more. I hope we can all figure this one out.

I feel exactly the same, Im 41 and for the past two or three years I got almost no morning or spontaneous erections. I do not have any sex drive anymore, mor willing to masturbate or have sex.
When I try to masturbate I just cant get it hard enough except for a few times when I had sex during the day (with premature ejaculation) and those very nights masturbated with full erections. I USED to masturbate a LOT during the past.

In my case might be related to low testosterone (despite i regularly exercise, have a balanced diet) and a negative thinking, maybe my inner critic observing and giving me thoughts of “you wont get hard, you wont get aroused anymore, i, it will happen again”

It helped me to kmow Im mot alone, i hope, and I belive we can overcome this, not sure how yet, but we will…