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How Porn Hurt the Sexual Intimacy in My Relationship

By July 23, 2020 No 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.

We received a story that shows how porn can drive a wedge between couples and weaken their intimacy and emotional connection. The myth that porn can spice up relationships is not only false, it's downright harmful.

You probably get thousands of these messages every day, but I really would like to share my story with you and support your work to raise awareness on the harmful effects of porn.

I am 27 years old and I am from Germany. When I was 23, I was in a relationship with a guy who was really into porn. Right from the beginning, I knew that he watched it on a very regular basis. I was shocked because I never met anyone before who was that into it, and when I tried to convince him that this was not a healthy thing, he made fun of me. “All guys do it,” “It’s a normal thing to do,” “It has nothing to do with you.” That’s what he always kept saying. He did not even try to hide it. For him, it was just a normal thing.

Related: Positive Side-Effects From Quitting Porn, As Told By 90 Real Humans

I was so confused by this whole situation that I did not know what to do. So I just started believing what he was telling me. I started telling myself that porn was not such a bad thing for us. That it could actually make our sex life better. I just wanted it to be true.

Give One For Love

I Couldn’t Say No

I realized very soon that I lied to myself and that my boyfriend’s porn obsession would actually affect our relationship and sex life in a very negative way. Sex was always a very mechanical and unloving act. He always treated me like one of these girls that he saw on his computer. He convinced me to do many things that really had nothing to do with love. I just let it happen. I could not say no. I always tried to persuade myself that this is what an exciting sex life must look like. I told myself that I just had to get used to it.

RelatedHow You Can Quit Watching Porn Today

“Normal” sex could never satisfy or even arouse him. Foreplay was so boring to him that once he almost fell asleep. He regularly had difficulties to get or maintain an erection during sex. One night, after we had sex, he disappeared to the bathroom. Later I found out that he went there to watch porn because the sex we had was not satisfying for him. I felt so worthless and betrayed… I was just not enough to him.

Sometimes, he told me that he preferred watching porn than having sex with me. It became so obvious that porn destroyed our sex life and that he even had erectile dysfunction because of this. But it did not seem to bother him at all. For him, this was just normal.

I Wanted To Be Enough

What disturbs me most today is that I just could not say no to him. It made me feel so bad to see that I did not satisfy him. So I tried to do all I could, and I said yes to a lot of things he wanted to try. Things I feel so ashamed of today. I wanted to satisfy him and make him happy. I just wanted to be enough. But it never worked out.

RelatedWhy Watching Porn Doesn’t Make You A Bad Person

Today, we are not a couple anymore. But even now, many years later, I still feel the effects of my ex-boyfriend’s porn habit. There is a constant fear inside of me that my next boyfriend might be someone who has the same problem. That I just can’t say no, again. I hope that my story will open other women’s and men’s eyes about the harmful effects of porn. I have seen how porn can destroy your sex life, and even hurt your self-esteem.

I just hope that other women and men will be stronger than me and stand up against it.

K.

Same Story, Different Relationships

The kind of intimacy porn offers is nothing more than sexual arousal, and that’s it. We see that from this Fighter’s story, and numerous other stories as well as the growing amount of research, all pointing to porn’s harmful effects.

Sometimes, porn consumers can really struggle with relationships because of the nature of porn itself. Porn portrays both men and women as little more than bodies with a single purpose—to give and receive sexual pleasure. [1] And whether porn consumers like it or not, those perceptions often start creeping into how they see themselves and even other people in real life. [2]

Related: 3 Reasons Why NOT Watching Porn Is Actually Really Sex-Positive

And when porn consumers see themselves and others as nothing more than sexual objects, it gets really difficult to develop and nurture real relationships. [3]

“There’s a certain way of experiencing sexual arousal that is the opposite of closeness,” says Dr. Gary Brooks, a psychologist who has worked with porn addicts for the last 30 years. “At best, it can be managed somewhat by some people, but most of the time it creates a barrier that poisons relationships.” [4] Relationship experts, Doctors John and Julie Gottman, explain, “when watching pornography the user is in total control of the sexual experience, in contrast to normal sex in which people are sharing control with the partner. Thus a porn user may form the unrealistic expectation that sex will be under only one person’s control… the relationship goal of intimate connection is confounded and ultimately lost.”

Real intimacy offers so much more than porn ever could. Real intimacy is a world of satisfaction and excitement that doesn’t disappear when the screen goes off, and that’s what we’re ultimately holding out for.

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] Paul, P. (2007). Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, And Our Families. New York: Henry Hold And Co., 80; Mosher, D. L., & MacIan, P. (1994). College Men And Women Respond To X-Rated Videos Intended For Male Or Female Audiences: Gender And Sexual Scripts. Journal Of Sex Research 31, 2: 99–112. Doi:10.1080/00224499409551736
[2] Interview With Dr. Gary Brooks, Oct. 23, 2013. Peter, J. & Valkenburg, P. M., (2016) Adolescents And Pornography: A Review Of 20 Years Of Research. Journal Of Sex Research, 53(4-5), 509-531. Doi:10.1080/00224499.2016.1143441; Rothman, E. F., Kaczmarsky, C., Burke, N., Jansen, E., & Baughman, A. (2015). “Without Porn…I Wouldn’t Know Half The Things I Know Now”: A Qualitative Study Of Pornography Use Among A Sample Of Urban, Low-Income, Black And Hispanic Youth. Journal Of Sex Research, 52(7), 736-746. Doi:10.1080/00224499.2014.960908
[3] Paul, P. (2007). Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, And Our Families. New York: Henry Hold And Co., 79; Lyons, J. S., Anderson, R. L., & Larsen, D. (1993). A Systematic Review Of The Effects Of Aggressive And Nonaggressive Pornography. In Zillmann, D., Bryant, J. & Huston, A. C. (Eds.) Media, Children And The Family: Social Scientific, Psychodynamic, And Clinical Perspectives (P. 305). Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum Associates.
[4] Interview With Dr. Gary Brooks, Oct. 23, 2013.
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