I am DONE with porn.

And I mean, DONE.  39 days ago was the last time.  I had carried this secret addiction for a decade.  A fucking decade.  My porn compulsion was never super-intense, never all-consuming, never something that I viewed more than 2 or 3 times a week, at my worst.  But that’s not the point.  The point is, I couldn’t stop.  I knew it, and it was slowly destroying my heart.  Worst of all, it was driving a wedge between me and my wife.  I came clean to her 39 days ago, and characteristically, she graciously forgave me and offered her support in whatever way I needed it to heal from this.  More on that in a moment.*
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First, my thoughts on pornography itself.  Besides how simply undeniably ashamed I felt after viewing it, I have real ethical objections to porn.  And they’re not religious in nature, obviously (me being an atheist, and all).  The adult industry, despite what any insider is going to say, is rife with drug use and disease.  And ultimately deception, heartache, and regret.  Young women perform acts that they’re paid well for (who’s to say how willingly), but on the average their careers are short, and those films will remain in the public’s hands forever.  I cannot help but see that as exploitation.  Some consumers have countered that amateur pornography is not exploitative in that it is strictly voluntary and “home grown”, but there are even bigger problems with viewing amateur porn, in my opinion:

1.  You can’t be sure that what you’re watching is even legal (ie, age of the performers);
2.  You can’t be sure that what you’re watching wasn’t uploaded as “revenge porn”;
3.  You can’t be sure that what you’re watching doesn’t involve human trafficking.

Further: Porn keeps pushing you further, deeper, darker.  It takes more and more extreme imagery to titillate you, and the dopamine rush and orgasms those images provide are more intense than natural sex.  You want more and more.  It literally functions in the brain like a drug.  Actual brain research studies have shown this.

And porn is lazy.  It’s selfish.  It’s a form of satisfaction that says, “I don’t care about pleasing another partner; this is ALL about me.”  It’s no wonder it’s easy to get hooked.  Laziness is…well, easy.

Bottom line: I love porn.  And I hate it.  And I hate that I love it.  But I’ll never see it again.

Now, I know that there are always sexual-political shitstorms raging about feminist issues surrounding pornography (is it empowering? is it degrading? does it liberate women into new self-driven industries? does it perpetuate the patriarchy?).

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Frankly I don’t give much of a shit about any of that.  If a woman wants to be a porn actor, fine.  But for ME, consuming porn in any way is just wrong.

* My wife didn’t catch me to instantiate this turning over of a new leaf.  I just found myself getting pushed further and further towards lines I didn’t want to cross.  On my own–without ever being caught and without prompting from anyone–I looked up help resources online and contacted a Sexaholics Anonymous group in my city.  I chatted on the phone with a nice guy about my problems, and even went to a meeting.  That recovery method turned out not to be my thing, really, but I have several support resources in place that are working well for me, and I’m very optimistic.  (My wife, incidentally, did catch me about a week later, but by then I was SO happy to be able to tell her and SHOW her that I had already taken steps towards recovery.)

what will my wife think…

…when she finally finds and reads this blog?  (Or when I show it to her?)

Suicide, gay fantasies, gender identity issues…it’s all going to be a lot to process.  Some of it will no doubt hurtful.  Confusing.  Maybe devastating.  (Although in practical terms it shouldn’t be; nothing will ever change between me and her.)

But at some point–next month, next year, 10 years from now, maybe when I die–she’ll read all this.  I mean, there are those for whom writing is probably just a personal, therapeutic, or academic exercise, and this blog does serve those purposes for me.  But it’s also a record of who I am.  A crying out to the world of all the things that I dare not say, but which are also the things that I desperately MUST say, to someone, somewhere, at some point.  The things that I am embarrassed of, terrified of, and afraid would destroy me and my loved ones.

The thing is, in a lot of respects, I am alone in the world.  I’ve shared a LOT with my wife–burdens so deep and so heavy that others would never believe–and I’m sure she would weep to think that I’m keeping things from her out of fear, and she would implore me, “Baby!  You can tell me anything!”  But put yourself in my shoes.  How do you explain to your WIFE of 17 years and the mother of your daughter, for example, that there is such a thing as being a straight man who also wants to suck and fuck other men?  And how do you make her believe that you WON’T do it?  That you honestly HAVEN’T already done it?  Best to let that sleeping dog lie.  How do you even BEGIN a conversation about autogynephilia??

I have a shrink, but I can only afford to see her a half-hour per month.  No time to get into all this with her.

In a lot of important areas in my heart, I’m alone.  Hence this blog.

If and when the time ever comes for suicide, the URL here is going to be in the note.

What this is all for

Well, lessee…

So far on this blog I have relived the nightmares of addiction and withdrawal, recounted the tale of how I brought eternal shame upon myself by quitting the Army, expressed my occasional suicidal tendencies, fantasized about how much I love men’s cocks, and finally confessed that I am vaguely emotionally autogynephilic (inasmuch as that’s a thing).  Am I missing anything?

I suppose the reason that any writer ever writes is ultimately to be heard.  I’m no exception.  No one in my life knows about this blog–NO ONE–but one day I want them to.  One day I want them to have a complete, raw, uncensored portrait of who I am.  Because they most certainly don’t have it now, and that makes me feel terribly alone.

One day–maybe next year, maybe in 30 years–my loved ones will have hundreds and hundreds of posts to read through.

And that’s what this is all for.

craving again

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I’ve been clean off benzos and opioids for more than 6 years.

Until last spring, in fact–for almost 5 years exactly–that sobriety was easy…almost ecstatically easy.  Victorious and energetic.

Then something unknown happened last March that just devastated me and made me lose all that sense of independence and hope.  I still don’t know what it was.  Maybe it was turning 40 the summer before, and suddenly hitting some sort of midlife crisis, or something.  Or maybe it was just the end of a very long, 5-year rebound “honeymoon period” of feeling great without drugs.  Or maybe–and this is probably the case, if I had to put money on it–I just hit a big depressive trough.

One way or another, my desire to get high again has been steadily and strongly increasing.  I know what a bullshit hopeless life being a user is, and what a miserably false promise the drugs offer, but for those short hours…  For those short few hours when they’re in effect…  Oh, holy shit…
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One of the things that I used to tell myself in recovery that I found most helpful was the mantra, “…And then what?”  Meaning, you get high, it wears off, and then what?  What happens then?  You have to get high again to keep feeling good.  And soon you’re addicted and in the nightmarish high-withdrawal-high-withdrawal roller coaster ride. And everything else in your life suffers, no matter how precious.  And here’s the other mantra: There will never be enough drugs in the world.  Never.  Even if you were alone on a desert island, by yourself, and a shipping vessel full of millions of Vikes and Percs and Xannies ran aground, it wouldn’t be enough.  Because you’d kill yourself on them without ever feeling fully satisfied.

Those mantras–“…And then what?” and “There will never be enough drugs in the world”–are helpful to refocus me and help me remember the value in fighting.  They really are.  But I’m tired.  Over the past 14 months, I haven’t exercised worth a damn more than a handful of times.  I’m lazy and exhausted and unproductive at home.  I’ve sobbed and sobbed and SOBBED more times than I can count.  (“Crying spells” are what my therapist somewhat euphemistically calls them.)  I ruminate on suicide, even working out plan specifics in my head when I can’t sleep at night and the anxiety and pain gets to be too much.  I’ve spent spent so much time on porn–just as a way to up my dopamine pleasure release–that I’ve now found myself going to Sexaholics Anonymous meetings to try to deal with THAT addiction, too.  I’m dejected and humiliated.

And for fuck’s sake, it all finally got so bad I had to start this blog.  I want to be a good person again.  I want to be a happy person again, too.

I just want to get high.  But that runs counter to both of those goals.

my dad died in December, and now my mom has cancer

A 6mm invasive carcinoma tumor in her right breast, to be exact.  She goes in for a lumpectomy in a couple of weeks.  Radiation treatment to follow thereafter.  She tells us the prognosis is very good because it was caught so early and the tumor is so small.  I dunno.  She always hides her health issues from us or downplays their severity.  I don’t have the time or money to travel 1,000 miles to go care for her, post-op.  The future is uncertain.

I’ve had it with testosterone

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I’m done with testosterone supplementation.  Just can’t deal with it.  I began it about 3 months ago to try to address long-standing depression and lethargy, and to that end it’s been rather successful.

Too successful, however.  The needle is now tipping over into mixed-state manic territory, including some emotionally self-destructive sexual impulses and behaviors.

All this on top of how testosterone just makes me feel wrong.  It robs me of patience, tenderness, and a rather indescribable sense of “love” that stays in my chest, despite the anxiety and anger and fear and insomnia and self-doubt and depression.

 

to all porn performers, I’m sorry

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Let me begin by saying that I’m not here to judge anyone’s choices to view or purchase pornography. What follows are my viewpoints on my own behavior alone, and I do not extend them to anyone.

Thing is, I’ve had a mild porn addiction for about a decade now. (Is viewing 2 – 3x a week “mild”? I don’t know.)

But no matter how I try to rationalize it, no matter how normalized it becomes in society, in my heart, for me, I just know porn is wrong. Not in any religious “sinful” sense, but just in a way that sets off alarms in my own basic sense of human decency. And there are ethical problems within the industry, of course (which I won’t even go into at the moment) which make me very uncomfortable about watching porn.

Yet still I do it. It’s just so appealing at a physical level.

I’m especially sorry to all the women actors in porn. I’ve lusted after you and objectified you, and so many of you have been victimized in ways that so many of us will never know or understand. Yes yes, I know, there’s a long standing debate that rages over the sexual politics of pornography (“empowerment or objectification?”), and some might accuse me of “white knighting” or benevolent sexism, but the fact of the matter is, I know what’s right and wrong, and I know when I’m not viewing a woman in the appropriate context. I have a wife and a daughter, and I just can’t deal with the cognitive dissonance any longer of loving and respecting them while indulging the fantasy of a woman as a casual sex object. Some women porn performers might genuinely enjoy their work. If so, fantastic. More power to them. But for my part, I FEEL that I’ve done wrong by viewing it.

I don’t subscribe to r/nofap. I’m not a teetotaler about masturbation or erotica in general. That’s not what this is about. This is about me publicly declaring that I just don’t want this anymore, and to each and every performer in the industry–especially those who have been victimized in any way–I’m sorry. I’m sorry that men like me made it possible for the industry to exist in the first place. I should be better than this.

image credit: harrison.anthony25, flickr.com. (CC-BY SA 2.0)

Which sing the open truth of my heart