Many people contact Fight the New Drug to share their personal stories about how porn has affected their life or the life of a loved one. We consider these personal accounts very valuable because, while the science and research is powerful within its own right, personal accounts from real people seem to really hit home about the damage that pornography does to real lives.

This story comes to us from a person who emphasizes just how easy it can be to get wrapped up into porn culture at a young age. While her experience doesn't speak to everyone, it can be insightful to many who may find themselves overcoming similar experiences.


Dear FTND,

I apologize in advance for the length of this message, as well as the shocking imagery I may invoke with it. What I write are decades of memories that I have kept to myself, and it is the first time I have written them down. Hopefully, after reading this, some of you will avoid damage to yourselves, your friends, or your family, even though it’s posted without a face or name attached. Porn has been an ever-present element in my life and its consequences are still felt as I write this email.

The Moment It All Began

The first time I came face to face with pornography I was eight years old. Yes, you read it right – I was an eight year old child. I did not experience it alone; an older cousin sat next to me and made jokes about the naked muscled men on the TV. At eight years old, my first exposure to sex was established through a living room television screen, followed by a couple of jokes. This experience never left me. The first time I masturbated I was also eight years old, and I did it by imitating the porn stars I had seen. I had unleashed a terrible habit. My childhood and teenage years were spent watching porn (increasingly violent porn) and masturbating time after time until my body hurt. I would literally fall exhausted and in pain after feeding on those images with little break in between.

The fact that my mother (my father wasn’t in the picture) never spoke to me of anything related to relationships or intimacy made things that much worse. I was left to think and do whatever my mind commanded without any kind of opinion or advice to base it on.

My Self-Esteem Was At An All Time High, Or So I Thought

Things got so much worse when I got into high school. I met an incredibly “open-minded” (what I know now is translation for ‘desperate for attention’) friend who thought everyone needed to know about her sex life. She was 16 and had tried literally everything you can think of in her sex life. I was fascinated. She became my very best friend and I admired her for being a modern, liberated girl who had no restrictions or limits.

She gave me advice on some “awesome” porn websites and so the following couple of years I hit rock bottom. I cannot think of one thing I have not seen: teen sex, animal sex, transgender sex, bondage, rape (ranging from two people to dozens), lesbian and gay sex, you name it. I would then gladly brag about how cool I was for being so open-minded and boys would often be amazed and tell me they wished their girlfriends were like me. My self-esteem was at an all-time high and my circle of friends started having the same habits as me: porn, open sex talk, porn, and more porn, each one of them with their own personal explicit tastes.

Related: True Story: I Am A Straight Girl Addicted to Lesbian Porn

How depressing is it that my first boyfriend actually sat next to me and made me watch porn with him? How unromantic is that? It is so disheartening to think that my first sexual experiences involved name-calling, handcuffs and uncomfortable lingerie which would hardly allow me to breathe. And my first boyfriend was not the only one. My next two boyfriends all loved my attitude and did not hesitate to take advantage of it. I cannot begin to list the names I have been called, the amount of times I was spit on, slapped, and the things I would accept because I had simply seen them on my computer screen over and over again. It wasn’t long until I was only able to be aroused this way.

The Regret Of Hitting “Record”

The very worst thing I did in this stage in my life was allowing myself to be filmed. I was extremely uncomfortable with it but my boyfriend insisted again and again and again. I eventually gave in because I was in urgent need of his acceptance. I tried to act exactly as I had seen the girls in the videos. Today, I can only wonder if that homemade video still exists and where it can be. I can only hope it has been deleted, but it will always be the worst of my ghosts of the past.

Years have gone by with this pattern until I found the boy who is now my fiancee. I remember our first conversation, I did not hesitate to make sexual jokes. In the same week we met, I sent him a text message saying I was dreaming of having sex with him in all ways possible and imaginary. I repeat: one week. I had lost all my common sense, all my sensibility, sensitivity, and humanity. There he was, a boy attempting to actually discover my personality and I had nothing to say back but the thoughts of my filthy mind. Back then, I found his nice talk ridiculous. I figured, why make the process longer if I knew exactly what he wanted from me? It was way easier to skip the casual conversation and offer him sex.

He Didn’t Want Me In That Way

However, something was different – he did not want me in that way. In fact, he was shocked and even disgusted. The first time we were intimate, I remember I started dirty-talking and he was again speechless. I had seen it in all the porn videos and it had been a “hit” with other boys. Needless to say, it was a wake up call. At first, I found him too conservative, too romantic, and even told myself he was controlling. Who was he to tell me my habit was harmful? Who was he to tell me what I could and could not watch? All my friends knew it was okay. It was normal. He was the one who was wrong. So why wasn’t I walking away?

Related: How Porn Twisted My Sexuality

Two years later we are still together and I have stopped watching porn. We are living happily together and I have finally learned to appreciate the little things – our moments with each other’s families, our intelligent conversations, and even just sharing a common bed. The clouds are slowly abandoning my brain and allowing me to appreciate true, genuine love; one made of real feelings, not acting. However, my recovery is far from over – I have frequent nightmares and I constantly feel disturbed with the memories I still carry. I have a ways to go, but I am optimistic and know I am in good company.

To all readers out there: I am rather embarrassed and hesitant as I release this story, even anonymously. But I want you to think things through. First, do not underestimate the effects that pornography can have on your brain, regardless of your gender. Our brains change – they are plastic, malleable. You can try to rationalize, justify or make jokes about it or look cool in front of your friends. In the end, what you see cannot be unseen and as much as we like to believe it, there is no way your subconscious will can completely forget what we’ve seen.

Friends Change, Explicit Memories Last

You will eventually move on from your friends but you will be stuck with those images for years, if not forever. Secondly, keep an eye on those you love and try to notice changes in their habits, such as the amount of time they try to spend alone and their behavior in their relationships. Do this especially with your kids. I repeatedly wish my mother had somehow introduced the topic of sex to me or asked how my relationships were going, but I isolated myself so much I had no idea what was normal anymore.

Thirdly, do not be afraid to erase toxic people from your life. Do not destroy your future for the sake of past memories. I have abandoned all my porn-obsessed friends and must say, I have never felt so free. I can now have clean conversations about way more interesting topics and have finally started to surround myself with people who inspire me to invest in my brain and body in healthy ways.

Last of all, remember: you are so much better than a video.

-B. 

Why This Matters

Science and research are proving that pornography is harmful and personal accounts like these attest to the facts. Pornography harms the brain, damages relationships, and deeply affects intimacy. And as countless women across the world already know, society’s stereotype is all wrong when it comes to the perception of porn being only a “guy issue”.

A recent German sex study shows more of what we already know: women are just as easily at risk of becoming dependent upon porn as men. The study showed that as many as 17% of women consider themselves addicted to porn, and that half of the women surveyed were internet porn users. Another study found that about half of young adult women agree that viewing pornography is acceptable and 1/3 of young women reported using porn.

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What YOU Can Do

SHARE this article to show support for the brave woman who shared her story. Spread the word on the harms of pornography and take a stand for real love.

Need Help?

For those reading this who feel they are struggling with an obsession or addiction to pornography, you are not alone. Check out our friends at Fortify, a recovery program that will allow you take a step toward freedom. Anyone 20 years and younger can apply for a free scholarship to the program, and it is an inexpensive fee for anyone 21 and older. There is hope—sign up today and start getting the help you need at your own pace.

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