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Drew’s Story: How My Fiancée Inspired Me to Quit Porn Permanently

“That moment changed me. Rebecca’s compassion didn’t make me complacent; it motivated me more than anyone or anything else ever could.”

By October 15, 2021No Comments

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Decades of studies from respected institutions have demonstrated significant impacts of porn consumption on individuals, relationships, and society. #NoPornovember is all about giving visibility to these facts and empowering individuals to choose to be porn-free. Learn more by clicking here.

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.

Rebecca waited for me to speak. We sat on the old white couch in her apartment, where I was staring at the carpet because I couldn’t look my fiancée in the eyes.

My stomach was tight. I knew what I had to say but I didn’t want to say it. So she just sat there, waiting.

It was October 2015. We had just finished our second premarital counseling session, where they gave us a little homework assignment I’ll never forget:

  1. Share what you appreciate most about the other person (how fun and encouraging).
  2. Share any weaknesses or flaws you see in yourself…anything that needs “chiseling” (yikes).

That’s when I froze. Because although Rebecca knew I had a history with porn, she didn’t know the details. And she didn’t know how recently I had been slipping up. So there I was, sitting on the couch, unable to avoid this topic, but terrified to speak.

RelatedHow Our Struggles With Porn Turned Into Strength To Fight For Love

Store - Love

The moment of disclosure

Eventually, I managed to get the words out: “I’m not as free from porn as you might think. And there are certain sexual desires and fantasies that I haven’t told you about.”

What would she think? How would she feel? What would happen to our relationship? I held my breath and looked up from the carpet.

Her soft eyes met me with compassion and tenderness. It took a moment for me to register this. As the truth sank in, my whole body relaxed. The knots in my stomach slowly untwisted.

Rebecca didn’t reject me. She still wanted me! A moment ago, I was afraid to lock eyes with her. Now I couldn’t look away.

Related: How It Feels To Finally Be In A Relationship With Someone Who Doesn’t Watch Porn

Of course, she had every right to react differently. Fear, anger, confusion, or numbness would have been completely valid. But when Rebecca heard about my continued struggle with porn, and the existence of my secret sexual fantasies, her most immediate impulse was to extend love, and seek understanding.

That moment changed me. Rebecca’s compassion didn’t make me complacent; it motivated me more than anyone or anything else ever could.

On the old white couch, I resolved to permanently remove porn from my life. This was a commitment to do research and pursue healing until I could say with 100% confidence that porn is in the past and it’s never coming back. Anything less would be unfair to Rebecca, and unfair to me.

Untangling the knots of my past

My quest to outgrow porn took me to unexpected places. I had no support, so I started a group. I had no training, so I devoured books and videos. My sex education was warped by porn and a sheltered upbringing, so I took a class with sex therapists. As you can imagine, the sex class held my attention for hours on end!

RelatedWhen You Watch Porn, Who Is It Actually Hurting?

In the end, this journey brought me back to my childhood. I discovered that porn functioned as a pacifier for my childhood wounds—an “alleviator,” of sorts. The specific sexual fantasies that drew me back to porn again and again started to make sense. Shame and self-contempt diminished. For the first time, I was able to offer myself the same acceptance and compassion Rebecca had already offered, and it didn’t drive me back to porn. It drove me away from it.

Pornographic fantasies began to lose their power. The pacifier no longer appealed to me because I was finally growing up into a sexual and emotional adult, away from the pain in my childhood that fueled my interest in porn in the first place. I felt confident enough to marry Rebecca. And in light of my vulnerability and growth, she felt confident enough to marry me.

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How my life drastically improved without porn

On the day of our wedding, we took our vows with no hesitation. By then, I had gained over a year of freedom from porn and all unwanted sexual behavior. We still had plenty of issues to work through as a couple, but porn was never one of them.

Outgrowing porn before getting married has prevented so much pain, and brought so much happiness. More specifically, here are a few of the wonderful gifts I get to enjoy as a result:

    1. My partner. Rebecca can trust me. We can be emotionally and sexually intimate without secrets or insecurities getting in the way. Our relationship is strong. I can appreciate her without objectifying her. And her soft eyes continue to see me, know me, and treasure me in ways that pornography never could.
    2. My kids. My daughter and son are growing up with a porn-free dad. I’m so excited to give them the support and guidance I wish my parents had given me. In fact, we’ve already begun! It’s never too early for age-appropriate conversations about sexuality. As the kids get older, we’ll explore what it means to be healthy, and why porn is so harmful. I’ll tell them my story. Because it’s their story, too. And as a family, we’ll pass on a legacy of freedom and a healthy understanding of sex to future generations.
    3. My career. When I was a kid, I dreamed of becoming a teacher. Now I get paid to teach others how to change their brains, heal their hearts, and save their relationships by achieving lasting freedom from porn. I love my job of mentoring men and helping them become porn-free. And it wouldn’t be possible without my own journey to freedom. At a practical level, becoming healthy has also helped me defeat distractions and build my business. Pornography kills creativity, fuels procrastination, and fans the flames of toxic shame. It stifles success. On the other hand, freedom from porn strengthens my self-confidence and allows me to focus on pursuing bigger dreams.
    4. Myself. For years, pornography controlled my brain and body. Because of this, I hated myself. Not anymore. I love the person I am becoming. I’m free to pursue the life I really want as an adult without harming myself or others in the process. Porn was a pacifier that kept me immobilized and immature. Without it, I’ve grown up into a principled partner, a faithful father, and a healthy human being.
Shame-free, and porn-free

Freedom from porn is such a beautiful gift: to ourselves, to those who love us, and to the world. But we can’t force it. Increased pressure to change often produces the opposite effect. Encouragement to “try harder” never helped me. I needed a softer approach, one without shame as the primary motivator.

Related: So You’ve Struggled With Porn? That’s Okay, Here’s Why

My inspiration to permanently quit porn arrived when I shared my deepest, darkest secret with the woman I wanted to marry… and she didn’t blink. Rebecca sat there on the old white couch, welcoming me with soft eyes as if to say: “I see you. I know you. And I still want you.”

-Drew Boa

BHW - The Heart

Hope for healing

Sometimes, a struggle with porn can bring a couple closer together when they decide to mutually fight for their love. And sometimes, the relationship won’t outlast the porn struggle, or porn enhances already-existing issues in a relationship.

For couples, the moment of disclosure about a pornography habit can be incredibly challenging, and the following days, months, and sometimes years can feel overwhelming. But for couples who are in this fight side-by-side, the pain doesn’t have to overwhelm the hope.

Drew and Rebecca’s story is unique to them and their relationship, but their experience is an example of why shame and shaming have no place where there’s hope for healing—for both partners.

Related: How Avoiding Shame Can Help With Healing From Betrayal Trauma

To learn more about why porn is hurtful in relationships, watch episode two, “The Heart,” of our three-part documentary series, Brain, Heart, World. You’ll hear Travis and Emily’s story (watch part of it below), dive into the science and personal stories that explain why porn drives a serious wedge in between partners in a relationship, and learn what you can do to fight for your love and heal from the hurt.

Above all, remember there is hope for the future. Healing for both those who struggle with porn and their partners is more than possible. Remember that both partners are more valuable than the lies and fake fantasies pornography portrays. Healthy relationships and real love are worth fighting for.

As porn becomes more normalized, we want to be a source of information pointing out that porn is not harmless. This isn’t a moral argument. This comes down to you and your personal relationships, and the opportunity to make an informed decision about what will make them indefinitely thrive.

But for anyone who is struggling and wants help and wants to change for themself, there is hope.

Need help?

For those reading this who feel they are struggling with pornography, you are not alone. Check out 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 unwanted porn habit, and track your recovery journey. There is hope—sign up today.

Fight the New Drug may receive financial support from purchases made using affiliate links.
About the Author

Drew Boa is an author, podcaster, and online coach from Santa Barbara, CA. He is the author of Redeemed Sexuality and host of the Husband Material Podcast, where he helps men outgrow pornography. To connect with Drew, visit his website: drewboa.com.

Fight the New Drug collaborates with a variety of qualified organizations and individuals with varying personal beliefs, affiliations, and political persuasions. As FTND is a non-religious and non-legislative organization, the personal beliefs, affiliations, and persuasions of any of our team members or of those we collaborate with do not reflect or impact the mission of Fight the New Drug.

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