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.*
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?).
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.)