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How My Porn Obsession Trained Me To Prefer Fantasy Over Reality

By March 2, 2018February 20th, 2020No Comments

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 true story shows how porn can affect individuals from any background or sexuality, twisting expectations for healthy relationships.


My first interaction with porn was when I was six years old.

I walked into the front room, late at night, and saw my father watching a graphic video on the television. Although he quickly turned it off and covered my eyes, I still vividly remember the scenes on the screen. I don’t know what effect that incident had on my adolescent mind, since I didn’t see porn again until I was a young teenager, but for me, porn has always been a way for me to escape my feelings of loneliness and confusion.

Growing up in a strict household and also knowing I was gay was the most conflicting situation. My family did not know about my sexuality, and although my family was not “homophobic,” I still felt unwanted, dirty, and undeserving of love. These feelings led me to isolation and food, and those two coping strategies just compounded on themselves as I became reclusive and gained weight, making me feel even worse.

Finally Feeling In Control

I don’t remember what exactly led me to porn as a teenager. Likely, it was seeing a risqué image of a male model on a page and changing my Google searches to increasingly salacious material. Either way, I do remember that when I found porn, I felt like all my troubles were gone. I didn’t have to worry about looking a certain way (at the time I was overweight and had no self-esteem) to feel an emotional and sexual response from the men on the screen. I felt wanted from the chat rooms I visited. I felt in control—powerful, even, because here I could lie to myself and others about my sexuality and not feel pressured to come out and date guys, because I was getting all the satisfaction I needed from the computer.

Related: What Years Of Gay Porn Never Taught Me About Healthy Sexuality

In retrospect, all of these feelings were just me wanting an escape from how low I felt every day of the week, but porn allowed a fantasy in which I could escape to and feel everything I wanted to feel. Thus, it is unsurprising that an adolescent mind would soon become hooked to this type of bliss. This cycle of self-gratification only deepened as the years went on. I made some truly amazing friends throughout middle and high school, some of whom I still visit almost a decade later, but by and large, my most intimate relationship throughout the years has always been with whatever device I used to watch porn on.

Coming Out And Getting Help

I came out when I was eighteen after a very deep depression and brush with suicide, and even though my family and friends have been wonderfully supportive, even though I have lost over 50 pounds, and even though I graduated magna cum laude from my undergrad, I still am struggling with porn.

I have had a handful of relationships with men throughout my adult years, and some of them have been with some truly amazing men. Though my porn use decreases in the beginning of a new relationship, its presence is always in the back of my mind when I am with someone. That sentiment is true even with sexual situations with my significant other…though I take great pleasure being physical with someone I care about, I always know that no man has ever pleased me the way porn does, and continues to.

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

I have attended several different Sex Anonymous-type groups throughout this past year when I realized how much of a problem my porn use has become. Realizing that it’s not only a problem, but a full-blown addiction has been more humbling and difficult to accept than even me accepting being gay.

My heavy struggle with porn makes it difficult for me to connect meaningfully with others, and the continual cycle of stop-relapse-stop-relapse is something I truly despise in myself. Thanks to eleven months of recovery work, I have a greater understanding of myself and my addiction than ever before, and I am truly hopeful that I will be able to overcome this painful struggle in time.

As the wise mantra goes: “Progress, not perfection.”

R.

Why This Matters

Science and research are continually showing that pornography deeply affects perceptions about love and intimacy.

In real life, real love requires a real person, and it can take a lot of energy, dedication, work, patience and commitment. Porn, however, is a fantastical world with no boundaries and no limit to what can be shown, and it takes much less energy that a relationship does. It sets consumers up to have unrealistic expectations for intimacy, and it can hinder them from finding deep intimacy in a real relationship.

For example, research has found that after men are exposed to pornography, they rate themselves as less in love with their partner than men who didn’t see any porn. [1] On top of that, another study found that after being exposed to pornographic images, people were more critical of their partner’s appearance, sexual curiosity, sexual performance, and displays of affection. [2] This is the case in any type of relationship – straight, gay, lesbian, or otherwise.

Porn can affect all relationships, regardless of sexual orientation. Building a relationship that’s based on trust and love can be challenging, but it’s worth fighting for.

What YOU Can Do

Bottom line—porn corrupts love, regardless of orientation. SHARE this article and spread the word on the harmful effects of pornography.

Spark Conversations

This movement is all about changing the conversation about pornography and stopping the demand for sexual exploitation. When you rep a tee, you can spark meaningful conversation on porn’s harms and inspire lasting change in individuals’ lives, and our world. Are you in? Check out all our styles in our online store, or click below to shop:

Citations

[1] Bridges, A. J. (2010). Pornography’s Effect On Interpersonal Relationships. In J. Stoner And D. Hughes (Eds.) The Social Costs Of Pornography: A Collection Of Papers (Pp. 89-110). Princeton, NJ: Witherspoon Institute.
[2] Zillmann, D. And Bryant, J. (1988). Pornography’s Impact On Sexual Satisfaction. Journal Of Applied Social Psychology 18, 5: 438–53.
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