Blog

True Story: I Feel Like a Prisoner in My Own Porn Obsession

By March 16, 2019 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.

If you've ever wondered how we can be an anti-shame and pro-love cause as much as we're an anti-porn movement, stories like these show why. Struggles with shame often overlap with a porn struggle.

First of all, I just want to thank the person or persons that started this movement. As a porn addict of going on thirteen years now, it pains me to verify that everything I’ve seen on Fight The New Drug so far, is true. The numbness, the shame, the deceit, the double life, the sexual dysfunction, I’ve experienced it all for myself.

However, while it has been my worst shame, it has also been my best friend.

These are the words of an addict, which I am, and I’m sure you’ve heard enough stories by now that we all sound the same. I don’t feel comfortable discussing this with my family, and my friends all agree with the narrative of society which you all are trying to combat—that people who look at porn are all “bad.”

Related: True Story: My Struggle With Shame Fueled My Struggle With Porn

My goal here is to not only show my support, but also to provide another personal account from someone who currently experiences porn’s negative effects in their life. I’m a 24-year-old bachelor with a very demanding and stressful job that leaves little to no room for a social life. Before this section of my life, I served an enlistment in the Marine Corps, and before that, I was trapped in the awkward, cringey, no-mans land known as high school.

That was where my struggle really made itself at home.

Like most people, I was exposed to porn at an early age, about twelve years old. My family, though loving, was verbally and emotionally abusive. I was bullied and got into fights all the time at school, and needless to say, girls wanted nothing to do with me. As I’m sure you’ve predicted by now, porn became my substitute, and my coping mechanism. It has remained that way from then all the way to now.

RelatedSo You’ve Struggled With Porn? That’s Okay, Here’s Why

I want to stop looking at it altogether, the truth is though, I don’t feel as though I can. My addiction has become a part of me that I’ve learned to accept it despite how much self-loathing it has wrought. As ridiculous and immature as this may sound, porn was there for me when no one else was.

My parents hated me for my low grades and ineptitude, and women hated me for being a scrawny “nice guy.” How do you kill the thing you hate when it loves you while no one else does? Why pursue “true love” when it’s nothing but a lie and doesn’t pay the bills? Why does a place as arduous and agony-inducing eventually get comfortable once you’ve settled in? I hope that no one has to accept this sickening fate of self-destruction that I’ve resigned myself to.

You guys are right, porn does indeed kill love. For me, there is no love; only self-serving, animalistic urges that no partner could ever satisfy. As you can see, I am too cynical and selfish to quit at this point. On the few unfortunate occasions I allow myself to feel any emotion, it’s mostly self-hatred. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve felt genuine happiness about anything in the past four years.

Related: The Links Between Anxiety, Depression, and Porn Consumption

Most of my time is spent in pursuit of distraction and false validation for my meaningless life, while excessively using porn to keep me numb through it all. None of my friends and family could ever know or truly understand how I feel, but I’ll continue to fake it for their sake.

I suppose I’m rambling at this point, so I’ll end it here. Thank you so much for taking a stand against the murderer of my love, and the love of so many others. Keep up your fight in our stead, and the body count of love low.

Thanks again so much for reading all of this.

T.

Fortify

Shame fuels porn’s negative effects

We were able to connect this Fighter to the resources he’ll need to find recovery, though his experiences and perspectives about himself shine a bright light on the fact that shame is a huge and intermingled issue with porn.

Shame can make an already problematic porn habit even more so. But how does shame specifically affect pornography consumers? Is feeling guilt any different?

Dr. June Tangney, a leading researcher on the differences between shame and guilt, has found that both shame and guilt are emotions involved in negative self-evaluation. The difference between the two is that, during a shame experience, the entire self is seen negatively, whereas during a guilt experience the specific behavior which brought on those feelings receives the negative evaluation. Guilt says “this behavior is bad” while shame says “I am a bad person.”

Related: This Study Shows Feeling Shame Fuels Hypersexual Behavior While Feeling Guilt Fuels Change

A recent study looked at how porn consumers are affected by these different feelings and found some interesting things. The researchers found that feeling shame about yourself is associated with higher compulsive consumption of pornography; as well as higher levels of depression and emotional distress related to unwanted levels of porn consumption (sound like our friend above?). This study also found that people feeling shame about themselves, related to their porn consumption, were less motivated to change their behaviors and made fewer efforts to actually change.

However, they found the exact opposite when it came to feelings of guilt related to their porn consumption behavior (versus shame about themselves). The researchers found that feelings of guilt related to porn consumption behaviors were associated with less compulsive consumption, higher levels of motivation for change, and more efforts to make positive changes. [3]  This helps us see that unhealthy shame likely plays a role in people getting started and continuing in unwanted patterns of porn consumption. While guilt, on the other hand, helps increase motivation to change and the efforts people make to change.

RelatedWhy Being Anti-Porn & Anti-Shame Go Hand In Hand

Although this study was the first to document these differences between shame and guilt in research specifically on compulsive porn consumption, similar findings appear in previous studies on individuals affected by compulsive and addictive behaviors more generally. [4]

So what’s the bottom line?

So many who watch porn feel an enormous amount of shame brought on by others or themselves which makes the issue worse. Many feel like they’re a “bad” person, worthless, or permanently broken. Not only is this untrue, but these feelings of shame can also cripple people’s self-esteem and stunt their progress. And we realize this is a complex issue, since remorse can be a healthy part of finding freedom and healing wounds, but don’t forget that remorse and guilt are different from shame. Too often, shame is used as a beating stick that weakens and demoralizes.

This is why we are an anti-shame and anti-porn movement. Porn does not diminish your value as a person, and there is hope for healing no matter who you are.

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.

Send this to a friend

Like all websites, we use cookies. By continuing on this site, you agree to our use of cookies. More

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close