I Remember That Day…

I got the phone call. She was understandably upset. A ton of thoughts were racing through my head:

Fuck, I can’t believe she found it.

I should have deleted my Browser History.

Why the hell was she using my computer!?

What I wasn’t thinking: I think I have a problem with porn.

The first time I discovered porn was a playboy magazine when I was twelve years old. I was instantly hooked. I mean, what pre-teenage boy wouldn’t be turned on by the image of a naked woman’s body? My addiction really took off when the Internet became a commonplace for porn sites. And this continued on through high school, college, and my adult life…including the entirety of my six-year relationship with my ex. I can’t even fathom the number of hours I’ve spent watching porn in my life. Sometimes I watched porn and masturbated out of boredom. Sometimes I was angry or sad, and I needed some form of stimulation; that hit of dopamine. But no matter the reason, after I “took care of business”, I never felt good about myself.

Back To The Day She Found It

I was so incapable of feeling empathy that I justified my viewing of porn to my ex. “I get to last longer when we’re having sex.” That was the reason. But I knew I was lying because it wasn’t the only reason. And it wasn’t even a good reason. We had a long conversation about how my porn habit made her feel inadequate. We didn’t frame it as addiction because, at the time, porn addiction wasn’t a thing people talked about, at least not as commonly as they do now.

But even after that episode I continued my habit. Regularly. And I kept it hidden from her. I honestly don’t know if she knew, if she didn’t care, or if it hurt her for the duration of the relationship. But that was the only time we ever discussed my porn issue. One time in SIX YEARS.

Looking back at that my addiction and this event, I realized that porn served the same purpose as drugs, alcohol, emotionless sex, and codependency – they temporarily made me feel good and covered up a deeper pain that I didn’t want to face. Once I removed porn from my life and focused on doing the scary work of facing my inner demons did I finally feel free. Free to love myself without relying on porn to make me feel good. The scary thing is porn is always just one click away from rearing its way back into my life. And I’ll be honest. Even now when I see a partially nude woman on my computer screen I get triggered and called to go back to my go-to sites. And I still fight to resist. Because I know it doesn’t serve me. And I know I won’t feel good about myself if I go there.

There’s an online community that’s supporting men and women from breaking their addiction to porn. It’s called NoFap. It helped me overcome my addictions. If porn has ever negatively impacted your relationship with yourself or loved ones, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help.