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How My Porn Obsession Fueled Self-Harming and Made Me Hate My Body

“I first looked at porn around 16 years old. I’ve always been interested in sex and I thought porn would teach me more about it.”

TRIGGER WARNING

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 what a real struggle pornography can turn into. Not everyone will have this same experience with porn, while it may be more common than we realize.

Hey FTND,

I wanted to write to you about my experience with pornography and how it affected me.

I first looked at porn around 16 years old. I’ve always been interested in sex and I thought porn would teach me more about it. I always wanted to wait for marriage to have sex but I was thinking I would be able to learn how to do things for my future husband. Well, I was wrong.

I would consume porn multiple times each week and each time the porn would become more graphic and disgusting. I felt ashamed but I would keep watching it, convincing myself it was okay, even though I was brought up in a conservative household. Things really took a turn when I eventually found myself looking at lesbian porn. I am a straight girl but I couldn’t stop watching two girls being together. What started as something “innocent” turned into something that took over my life.

I started to view myself as less because I didn’t look like the women I watched. Because of this, I started cutting myself about six months into watching porn. Everything just became dark in my world. I kept watching and kept feeling terrible about it, but couldn’t stop. After about a year of hurting myself, I was able to stop cutting, but I continued watching porn.

Related: Why Watching Porn With My Partner Was A Terrible Idea

BHW - General

This harmful habit continued until I met my husband. We dated for a while and I eventually found out he watched porn as well. The same thing that tore me down and broke me was doing the same to him. I tried to let it go for a couple months and pretend it wasn’t an issue, but then I had a sort of an epiphany. I knew if porn continued to be in our lives we would never make it as a couple. I knew we both needed to break free in order to succeed together.

We committed to each other that we would stop watching it and that has made all the difference. He has been clean for 7 months now and I’ve been clean for a full year. Life has gotten so much better! We love each other and it feels great to be working on the best version of ourselves. Of course, the devastating low self-esteem and the feeling of not being good enough still gets me time to time, but I fight against it and there isn’t any judgment between us.

Related: “No Harm In Looking, Right?” A Study Of Porn’s Impact On Self-Esteem

Pornography really messed up my brain, but stopping really reversed the effects. Every day is a battle, but it’s a battle we will win together. Sending out love to everyone who currently struggles or has struggled with porn. You’re not alone, and you can stop!

– C.

Why This Matters

Did you know that porn can distort people’s perceptions of sex, intimacy, body image, and sexual performance?

And not only that, research is shedding light on a previously little-known fact about porn: it’s harmful to consumers’ brains. Thanks to all the research that has been done in recent years, people are finally starting to realize that pornography is toxic.

The research on how porn affects how consumers view them self, their partner, and their relationships, in general, is becoming prevalent. When people consume porn, it not only warps their view of others, but it can also twist their view of themselves.

Related: Has Our Culture’s Obsession With Porn Changed Dating Expectations?

One thing we’ll end with: a 2012 study by Amanda Maddox and her team concluded that individuals who never viewed sexually-explicit material reported higher relationship quality (on every measure) compared with those who viewed the same explicit material on their own.

Porn is trash, and you deserve better.

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.

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