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 deep and wide the lasting impact of porn can be on the consumer's mind and life. Regardless of who someone is, or where they've come from, it's possible to develop an unhealthy obsession with porn.
Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier to confess a hundred crimes in a court of law than it is to confess something we are addicted to.
We hold onto those addictions so tightly and secretively, as if there was a chance it could never, ever be discovered by anyone else. There’s a secret hope in our heart that for a moment, even for just a moment, we can find a way to have peace with the things that constantly weigh us down and trap us in a toxic cycle. But…trying to tame a destructive pattern without getting to the root cause is like trying to restrain a lion with a dog collar.
Looking back on my story, and seeing how much I have grown and have changed over the years, I recognize one particular thing that had a tremendous impact on me. This thing used to relentlessly break me, over and over again.
It was during a season of my life when things were going really well. Life wasn’t perfect by any means, but things were running smoothly and I felt very confident in my education, my job, and my friends and family. Yet even in this great season, I was still susceptible to falling prey to pornography.
During the day, everything was great. Every night, everything was awful. I tried relentlessly to stop my growing obsession with porn and focus on other things, but I couldn’t.
Until that particular season of my life, I never had an ounce of desire to watch pornography until the moment I first watched it.
You never forget the first time
I remember being disgusted by the thought of porn my entire life. Every time it was mentioned, whether in school or on some form of media, I specifically remember thinking how awful it is and how I was so glad that was something that I would never, ever watch.
Yet… I did it—and it happened in one moment.
Literally, just one.
My heart and mind, in that one instant, became flooded with this new thing that immediately began destroying who I was, how I lived, and what I would choose to do. Hooked.
Every day, I had to continually try to convince myself of these following things so that this dirty secret would not slowly eat me alive throughout the day. “No one knows, and no one will ever know. This won’t last long. I will never do that again. I hate porn. Porn means nothing to me. I am not addicted. This is not an issue. I’m just struggling. I will never do it again. I will never do it again.”
Yet every night brought a different story. I was inexpressibly miserable. To say that I thought I was dying would be an understatement. I was. My obsession was killing me.
Never, ever satisfied
Love became an object that I wasn’t sure if I wanted or not. Joy began to leave me. Peace was nonexistent. Self-control was a joke. Porn was stealing from me and destroying me. I was convinced that I was the only woman on the planet struggling with something like this. My entire life, porn was portrayed as a “man’s issue.” Men struggled with porn while women struggled with jealousy (or something else, like laziness). In my mind, based on conclusions I made from what I was taught, it wasn’t normal for women to get hooked on porn—it shouldn’t even be appealing to them in the first place.
So… why wasn’t that true for me?
No one ever really told me that porn was possibly addictive—I heard a lot about how it was bad, but no one told me that I could be addicted. That’s why I began absolutely hating myself. How could you get to this point?! Are you normal? Are you a freak? How could you even get hooked on something like this?
I never knew that sexual struggles would be something I should have prepared myself to fight against. I was in a full-on war against porn and against incredibly negative and hateful opinions of myself.
There was one specific day I remember when I really saw what porn actually was. It was like new glasses were put on me which showed me how pornography was impacting literally every area of my life. It affected the way I viewed love. Porn killed love, for me. It changed the way I viewed relationships and sex and fidelity.
It made me scared of relationships. It made me scared of many, many things. It affected the way I viewed people. It affected my morals. It affected my behavior. It affected my priorities. My life had become something I never dreamed it would—and in the worst way possible.
No one anticipates being endlessly hooked to something. No one prepares them self to fall prey. The truth is that I was not completely healed from my addiction to porn in that moment of realization. It was a process that had just been initiated.
The healing process
I have to be honest—healing has taken years. At the very root of it, I’m still healing. It has been a process that has been incredibly wonderful and consistently painful. I am healing from the views that I developed because of pornography, and healing from guilt and shame. I am healing from my fears that pornography gave me. I am healing from insecurities. I am healing from the damaging effects that porn had on my heart and my mind.
I hate pornography not only because of what it did to my life, but because of what it does to the lives of millions and millions of people.
Porn is dehumanizing, disgusting, and degrading. It causes an incredible amount of shame, guilt, and self-hatred. It destroys relationships, friendships, marriages, and families. It creates division. It creates unrealistic ideas and expectations of every sort. It enables destructive behavior. It encourages violence. It glorifies rape.
I truly realized the magnitude of this issue when a close friend shared with me that she too had struggled with pornography. Just like me, she felt like she was the only person who was struggling with this. No one would understand, so why talk about it? But she told me, and I was able to say that I had fought the same battle.
It turns out we weren’t alone. And if you’re struggling too, you’re not alone.
Let’s talk about porn. Let’s talk about addiction.
I’m not going to shut up about this, no matter how uncomfortable it may make people around me—because if one person needs to hear this so that they can overcome their attachment to pornography, so be it.
Porn is a human issue, not a guy issue
Even though porn focuses on selling a synthetic connection to someone on the other side of the screen, it’s one of the most isolating habits out there. And it’s something both men and women have to face.
One major porn site’s total porn consumer demographics are comprised of 29% women and 71% men, with some regions like the Phillippines having a majority of the site’s visitors from their country being female. And even though the numbers aren’t split evenly, women are spending much longer watching porn, and looking up a lot of violent genres.
The numbers are in. We as a society can no longer look at girls and assume they can’t fall into obsessive porn habits. Regardless of age, gender, or sexual orientation, porn is harmful. Pornography harms the brain and fuels unrealistic expectations in relationships.
Basically, it is completely false to think that porn is only stimulating to the male brain. In fact, new research shows that porn can be just as visually stimulating to women as it is to men. Porn can be so easy to get hooked on, regardless of who is consuming it. Society’s idea that girls don’t watch porn and can’t get hooked on it is a huge lie.
Porn isn’t just a guy problem, it’s a human problem.
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.