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11 Years Too Long: My Overdue Breakup Letter To Porn

By April 22, 2020 No Comments
Photo by Brad Neathery. 6 minute read.

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.

It’s been 11 years.

I’m 25 years old and I started actively seeking out pornography when I was 14 years old. I’d seen porn before when my friends would call me over, show me a picture, and laugh as I quickly looked away. I had heard about porn and according to my limited understanding, I knew that it involved people being naked, so it wasn’t too difficult growing up and looking away whenever something of that nature was shown to me.

Related: The Problem With Saying “I Watch Porn Because I’m Single/Can’t Get A Relationship”

But that changed for me when my family got a new computer. There had never been a pornography problem in my family, at least that I was aware of, before getting this new addition to our home, so adding a security password wasn’t the highest on the list of priorities for my parents.

It’s not that I immediately thought I should look up naked pictures, but I slowly became more curious about what my friends had tried to show me.

Fortify

A natural curiosity that evolved

Was it really that interesting? I had never taken an anatomy or sex education class, so I was still confused about what the differences were between boys and girls. Now, with the addition of a new computer to our home, one with no security on it, I had unlimited access to anything I wanted to see.

I wasn’t interested in sex at this point, I simply wanted to see what was so interesting about “inappropriate” pictures. So I started looking at pictures of girls in swimsuits. Harmless, right? I could see the same thing by simply going down to the river, or going to the swimming pool.

But having the ability to control exactly what popped up on my screen gave me the power to change anything about what I was looking at. I could make the swimsuit smaller. I could make her body parts bigger. I could look for as long as I wanted with as many women as I wanted and not look away.

Related: 3 Reasons Why You Don’t Need To Be In A Relationship To Recognize The Harmful Effects Of Porn

It didn’t take long for me to realize that I didn’t even need the swimsuit to be there at all. And then why stop at pictures? Why not videos? I don’t remember exactly how long it took before I was looking up videos of people having sex. It couldn’t have been more than a few weeks.

That’s it.

Change Begins With One

My secret hobby had evolved

I had spent years looking away whenever somebody showed me anything I thought was inappropriate, but now, in a matter of weeks, I was watching videos of people having sex. And I was enjoying it. Nobody knew what I was doing. I was a pro at deleting search histories and making sure my family was out of the house. Having my own secret felt pretty exciting.

So I spent probably a year like this, and I never got caught. But one day I was upset about something else in my life and started venting to my dad. I started yelling about how I had nobody in my life who really cared about me, and finished it all up with, “And why should they when I can’t stop looking at pornography?” In my meltdown, my secret had come out.

Related: 10 Things To Avoid Saying To Someone Struggling To Give Up Porn

The computer had a password on it that night. I don’t know if I had ever really tried to stop looking at pornography before, but I did know that I wouldn’t have been able to stop if I had. I still didn’t understand that I was addicted to it, I just knew that I liked it. At least when I was 14 and 15 years old.

With this new security password, I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to look at porn anymore, so I accepted the fact, moved on with my life and lived happily ever after… said nobody ever.

It’s never that simple.

A hated habit that became a problem

I quickly realized I had a problem. I became a pro at breaking passwords. My parents couldn’t find a password that I wouldn’t figure out, and each time I would come back to them a few weeks later ashamed, saying that they would need to change the password again.

And that’s how it went throughout high school. I started hating porn, but I couldn’t stop. Even though I would actively do what I could to deny myself access to it, I would always find a way.

That’s also about the time I realized that pornography didn’t have to be random people on the internet. I had friends… I had a cell phone that sent and received pictures… Why not? My phone became a machine that I could use to put pornography in and get pornography out.

Conversation Blueprint

College became a game where I would try and find girls who would be willing to send nudes. And I got really good at it. I could start a conversation and within five minutes know if she would be willing to send any later on down the road. You’ve probably heard about pornography damaging relationships and changing how you view others. Well, that’s what it was doing to me. Girls became body parts, digital sex objects.

Related: 5 Ways Your Porn Habit May Be Harming Your Mental Health

Things changed when I met up with a girl who had sent me pictures and decided it was time to do some of the things I had been watching in pornography the past four years. It scared me. I finally saw the road I was going down and it freaked me out. I had hit rock bottom. I had gone from looking at pictures of women in swimsuits to actually using their bodies for my own selfish pleasure.

So I left pornography behind.

That is, I left pornography behind for about two and a half years.

Finally breaking up with porn

When I was 21, I got a smartphone. Something that fits in my pocket and gave me instant access to anything the world could think up. And I fell. I fell hard.

I really hated pornography at this point. People often laugh at the idea of pornography addiction. But when you hate something…and you do it…and you can’t stop doing it…there’s a problem. I would spend hours each night looking up pictures and videos, sending pictures and videos to girls, trying to find more girls who would be willing to join in. And sometimes I would be able to stop for a month or two, but I’d always fall back into the same pattern.

Therapy? Did it. 12 step addiction recovery program? Did it.

Related: Why So Many Young Men Are Ditching Porn For Good

So, why am I writing this? I decided to share my story because the world needs to know what life is like for somebody going through pornography addiction. I see people talking about it who have never gone through it themselves. I see people talking about it who have seen others go through it. I’ve also seen people talking about it who have gone through it in the past. But what about those still struggling?

This is me. I’m 25 years old and I’ve spent the last 11 years chained to something I hate.

But I’m not giving up. I’m breaking up with porn, and it starts right now.

This post is republished with permission from a Fighter’s blog.

Brain Heart World

Why This Matters

This story is just one of millions who are hooked by the highly compulsive nature of pornography.

“The more one uses pornography, the more lonely one becomes,” says Dr. Gary Brooks, a psychologist who has worked with porn addicts for the last 30 years. [1] “Anytime [a person] spends much time with the usual pornography usage cycle, it can’t help but be a depressing, demeaning, self-loathing kind of experience.” [2]

The worse people feel about themselves, the more they seek comfort wherever they can get it. Normally, they would be able to rely on the people closest to them to help them through their hard times—for someone without a partner, that would be a friend or family member. But most porn consumers aren’t exactly excited to tell anyone about their porn habits. So they turn to the easiest source of “comfort” available: more porn.

Related: 6 Ways Ditching Porn Can Improve Your Dating Game

Studies have found that when people engage in an ongoing pattern of “self-concealment,”—which is when they do things they’re not proud of and keep them a secret—it not only hurts their relationships and leaves them feeling lonely, but also makes them more vulnerable to psychological issues. [3] For both male and female porn consumers, their habit is often accompanied by problems with anxiety, body-image issues, poor self-image, relationship problems, insecurity, and depression. [4]

With young people growing up with an unlimited access to porn at their fingertips, our society is witnessing a major epidemic with pornography negatively affecting physical, mental, and emotional health of viewers. It’s time we speak out and become part of the solution: refuse to click, and learn about the harmful effects of porn by watching our three-part documentary series right here.

Need help?

For those reading this who feel they are struggling with pornography, you are not alone. Check out our friends at Fortify, a science-based recovery platform dedicated to helping you find lasting freedom from pornography. Fortify now offers a free experience for both teens and adults. Connect with others, learn about your compulsive behavior, and track your recovery journey. There is hope—sign up today.

Citations

[1] Brooks, G. R., (1995). The centerfold syndrome: How men can overcome objectification and achieve intimacy with women. San Francisco: Bass. Cited in Yoder; V. C., Virden, T. B., & Amin, K. (2005). Internet Pornography and Loneliness: An Association? Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity, 12, 19-44. doi:10.1080/10720160590933653
[2] Interview with Dr. Gary Brooks, Oct. 23, 2013.
[3] Laird, R. D., Marrero, M. D., Melching, J. A., and Kuhn, E. S. (2013). Information Management Strategies in Early Adolescence: Developmental Change in Use and Transactional Associations with Psychological Adjustment. Developmental Psychology, 49(5), 928–937. doi:10.1037/a0028845; Luoma, J. B., et. al. (2013). Self-Stigma in Substance Abuse: Development of a New Measure. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 35, 223–234. doi:10.1007/s10862-012-9323-4; Rotenberg, K. J., Bharathi, C., Davies, H., and Finch, T. (2013). Bulimic Symptoms and the Social Withdrawal Syndrome. Eating Behaviors, 14, 281–284. doi:10.1016/j.eatbeh.2013.05.003; Frijns, T. and Finkenauer, C. (2009). Longitudinal Associations Between Keeping a Secret and Psychosocial Adjustment in Adolescence. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 33(2), 145–154. doi:10.1177/0165025408098020
[4] Flisher, C. (2010). Getting Plugged In: An Overview of Internet Addiction. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 46: 557–559. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1754.2010.01879.x; Layden, M. A. (2010). Pornography and Violence: A New look at the Research. In Stoner, J., & Hughes, D. (Eds.) The Social Costs of Pornography: A Collection of Papers (pp. 57–68). Princeton, NJ: Witherspoon Institute; Kafka, M. P. (2000). The Paraphilia-Related Disorders: Nonparaphilic Hypersexuality and Sexual Compulsivity/Addiction. In Leiblum, S. R., & Rosen, R. C. (Eds.) Principles and Practice of Sex Therapy, 3rd Ed. (pp. 471–503). New York: Guilford Press.
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