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I Stopped Watching Porn When I Stopped Objectifying Women

“[Quitting porn] has helped me to see women as people, instead of objects. To see them as beautiful minds, not just as body parts.”

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 this true story from a Fighter whose experience shows the powerful effect that porn can have on the consumer’s mindset. Porn changes how the consumer sees their partner and the women/men around them. Some stories, like this one, show how porn isn't harmless entertainment and that when we view performers as people instead of objects, it changes how porn is perceived.

FTND,

I hope you all know that you are changing lives. I would like to tell you my story and an interesting thing that happened last night.

A few years back, I was in a relationship with the girl I thought I was going to marry, and we were sexually active. When she left me, I felt a void in my life and unfortunately, I turned to porn.

It didn’t take me long to realize I didn’t actually enjoy porn, I just watched it so I wouldn’t feel so lonely. I was sure, even back then before I had heard of Fight the New Drug, that real love was what I really wanted. But porn was still a daily thing for me.

Related: How Porn Can Normalize Sexual Objectification

I kept telling myself, “1 more time and that’s it.” Then, without fail, I was back at it the next day.

I tried numerous times to stop watching porn with varying degrees of success. I would tally the number of consecutive days I went without porn for accountability to myself. At one point, I was able to go a couple of months without using it before inevitably slipping up. Then, about a year ago, I was having real problems again.

So I was researching online about the negative effects of porn to try to scare myself away from it and that’s when I found your website and Facebook page.

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I started following FTND, and I noticed that, even though I still had troubles once in a while, I was improving. Not just my porn habits, but the way I looked at girls totally changed. One girl I had known for a while that I was never really attracted to, I suddenly really liked. I saw her for who she was instead of just what was on the outside. (It didn’t work out with her, but at least there was progress.)

The last few weeks, out of pure boredom, though, I started having more problems. But something changed.

Last night, something interesting happened. It had been a few nights since my last slip-up and I found myself, as I had many times before, fighting myself and my goals of being porn-free. It was so hard to fight, and I found myself watching porn again. But something happened that has never happened before.

Related: Past Partners’ Porn Habits Predict Women’s Body Shame and Objectification, Study Finds

The first video I pulled up, there were a couple of girls from the same small town a friend of mine is from. When they said where they were from, I shallowly thought, “Yep, they fit the stereotype of every girl I know from there.”

Except they did some things that I’d never imagined anyone doing from that small town. I was infuriated that they’d do those things on camera for money. So I backed out and exited the video.

The next video I came across was a revenge porn video of a girl who didn’t know she was being filmed. That infuriated me even more. This girl had no idea she was being filmed and exposed online to the whole world. What kind of person would do that to her? I couldn’t take anymore, so I turned it off and went to sleep.

This group has helped me to see women as people, instead of objects. To see them as beautiful minds, not just as body parts.

After last night, I’m hoping I will never feel the desire to watch again. I’m choosing that, and I’m fighting for that.

THANK YOU FOR THE HELP YOU’VE BEEN!

T.

Fast Facts

Porn and objectification

Sexual objectification occurs when people perceive others as sex objects, rather than complex human beings deserving of dignity and respect. In fact, in a review of research on sexual violence, two leading experts called sexual objectification the “common thread” that connects different forms of sexual violence.Gervais, S. J., & Eagan, S. (2017). Sexual objectification: The common thread connecting myriad forms of sexual violence against women. The American journal of orthopsychiatry, 87(3), 226–232. https://doi.org/10.1037/ort0000257COPY 

Research consistently shows that porn can play a big role in teaching viewers to consume people as products for their own personal sexual satisfaction, which can ultimately have unhealthy consequences for individuals, relationships, and for the cultures in which we live.Skorska, M.N., Hodson, G., & Hoffarth, M.R. (2018). Experimental effects of degrading versus erotic pornography exposure in men on reactions toward women (objectification, sexism, discrimination). The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 27, 261 - 276.COPY Seabrook, R. C., Ward, L. M., & Giaccardi, S. (2019). Less than human? Media use, objectification of women, and men’s acceptance of sexual aggression. Psychology of Violence, 9(5), 536-545. doi:10.1037/vio0000198COPY 

Related: How My Porn Habit Normalized Sexual Objectification

Not long ago, Princeton and Stanford psychologists performed a study showing a group of men two sets of pictures, some of fully-clothed women and others of women who had been sexualized and were barely clothed. The psychologists monitored their medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), which is the part of the brain involved in recognizing human faces and distinguishing one person from another. For the most part, the mPFC part of the brain was activated with each picture. However, when the subjects of the study were shown the pictures of sexualized women, this part of the brain was not activated. Basically, the automatic reaction in their brains suggested that they didn’t perceive the sexualized women as fully human, rather they saw them as objects, focusing on their bodies and body parts.

The researchers concluded, “sexualized women were perceived as having the least control over their own lives” and “this suggests that sexualized women are more closely associated with being the objects, not the agents, of action as compared to clothed women.Cikara, M., Eberhardt, J. L., & Fiske, S. T. (2011). From agents to objects: sexist attitudes and neural responses to sexualized targets. Journal of cognitive neuroscience, 23(3), 540–551. https://doi.org/10.1162/jocn.2010.21497COPY 

Fortify

Obviously, porn is not an accurate representation of how everyday people look or how sex and intimacy work in real-life relationships, yet the research shows that porn can, and does, shape the way that consumers think about others and about sex.

Real connection starts with seeing others as whole people with unique thoughts, feelings, dreams, struggles, and lives. Viewing people as products is harmful to individuals, relationships and ultimately society as a whole.

The collective private actions of millions affect the larger culture—objectifying others privately on our screens doesn’t inspire respect and dignity in public. The private impacts the public—that’s how culture works.

If we want a culture of true respect and equality, then we need to make sure we think about, talk about, and treat others as whole people—not as objects.

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.

Fortify

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