Porn Addiction

Chad R.

Registrant
I was highly addicted to porn...I am str8 and married,but would watch gay porn a lot. I never really wanted to watch it all the way through, just liked the seduction part... enjoyed watch a guy get hit on and then give it up... it wasn’t until recently that I completely realize that that is tied to my abuse and lack of control. I read a lot about stopping and just stopped about 3 months ago. It is just not real and also distorted my perception of the world... I thought I could walk up to any guy and seduce him. We have to remember, our experiences imprinted our brains and that takes time to change and become healthy.
 
Hi Strangeways,
I'd like to point out that neither 12-step programs nor tantric practices (which is what Garth is describing) are necessary for healing pornography dependence. Some guys find them useful, but others do not. It's a very individual path and unfortunately there's no one thing that's going to work for everyone.
I just want to add a piece to this note of yours. I don't really think of Marnia Robinson's Approach to Karezza as Tantra even though it has strong connections that way. I've been most strongly attracted to the first phase (21 days) of her Exchanges which involve no sex at all. They seem to be helpful in healing from abuse. I haven't had much luck in finding a partner however. Many people think of Tantra and sex as the same thing. In a culture that is so strongly obsessed with the sexual/romantic couple it's difficult to escape that format. Although Marnia doesn't describe them that way, I'm sure that if a pair of heterosexual guys had the courage (and, like me, aren't triggered by men) to pursue the first phase together that it would be helpful in their healing process from abuse. I was specifically told by a therapist at a healing centre I attended many years ago not long after I first realized that I had been sexually abused in my youth by my mother, that if I could find a sleeping partner (no sex) that it would be good for me. That idea has been an endless source of frustration for me. I've had next to no luck at all in this department. Cuddle Party is better. It too, unfortunately, has been very difficult for me to get established around me.

It's a very individual path and unfortunately there's no one thing that's going to work for everyone.
I'm in total agreement with you in this. Healing at all levels seems to be a very personal thing. We can connect with others and something that was good for them might be of value to us too, and the final decision is always a personal one.

Best wishes to us all as we pursue our personal path of healing,

Garth
 

pinman

Registrant
I'm just going to keep adding to this thread i started a couple of months ago since this is such a huge issue for me. I feel like I CANT STOP. I have stopped drinking and smoking weed for a few months now. But porn soothes me so much but then makes me feel like shit. I have a wife of five years who I've only had an orgasm from sex with a few times. Two of those resulted in having our two children which we worked towards. I keep going back to porn even though it has felt amazing and empowering to sexually connect to her on those rare occasions. She understands my affliction and knows everything about my mom abusing me as a boy. I dont know how to control myself. I feel like I'm cursed for life. I have looked at porn pictures and videos since I started masturbating at 13. I'm 39 now. Its soothes me so much. It's a freakin drug. I just needed to share. Thx.
 
*** TRIGGERS ***

You tell the deep truth about porn when you say it "soothes me so much but then makes me feel like shit." I believe firmly that as abuse survivors we NEED to feel like shit and we find many ways to create that feeling. Practically all forms of sexual acting out will do the same. I've stolen pornographic books and masturbated. I've used Playboy and Penthouse to masturbate. I've stolen lingerie, cross-dressed and masturbated. I've had anonymous sex with men and ejaculated. I watched hours of online porn and masturbated. And I always felt like shit afterwards. I carry profound shame over the sexual trauma I experienced as an infant and young boy and acted it out for decades before I found a sliver of compassion for myself. Of course, that happened only after I actually began remembering the sexual abuse.

The work initially was trying to find compassion for myself around use of pornography. By that time I'd concluded that using pornography while sitting at a computer at home was much better than seeking anonymous sex with me at video arcades and risking AIDS, or stealing lingerie and risking arrest. I told myself rather than playing a game and resisting the attraction of pornography I'd go straight to the computer when the feeling struck and get off as quickly as I could. I held it as a form of treatment I needed and gave myself permission to use it. Gradually the shame diminished and the time between episodes grew. I knew, of course, that occupying my mind with sexual images, whether from porn or from walking down the street was not a healthy thing if I wanted healing and so I began working with that... averting my eyes rather than ogling attractive women. Not picking up on all the eye candy on offer on websites... the story about this or that beautiful woman with large breasts on display at the bottom of the page. And eventually I stopped looking for porn. The cycle really began to break when I stopped demeaning myself for using porn. I saw it as treating sexual abuse, then let it go because healing became easier without those reminders of old behaviors.

So be gentle with yourself and recognize what you're doing. This is a perpetuation of the sexual abuse and letting it go will ultimately come from the intention to allow the abuse to remain in the past rather than contaminating your present. But first you will want to find compassion for yourself for using the porn to soothe yourself. Eventually you will find healthier ways to do that.
 

Tom E.

Registrant
I was addicted to porn, also. I've been attending a 12-step meeting for sex addicts the last 4 years, which has been helping me tremendously.
 

pinman

Registrant
*** TRIGGERS ***

You tell the deep truth about porn when you say it "soothes me so much but then makes me feel like shit." I believe firmly that as abuse survivors we NEED to feel like shit and we find many ways to create that feeling. Practically all forms of sexual acting out will do the same. I've stolen pornographic books and masturbated. I've used Playboy and Penthouse to masturbate. I've stolen lingerie, cross-dressed and masturbated. I've had anonymous sex with men and ejaculated. I watched hours of online porn and masturbated. And I always felt like shit afterwards. I carry profound shame over the sexual trauma I experienced as an infant and young boy and acted it out for decades before I found a sliver of compassion for myself. Of course, that happened only after I actually began remembering the sexual abuse.

The work initially was trying to find compassion for myself around use of pornography. By that time I'd concluded that using pornography while sitting at a computer at home was much better than seeking anonymous sex with me at video arcades and risking AIDS, or stealing lingerie and risking arrest. I told myself rather than playing a game and resisting the attraction of pornography I'd go straight to the computer when the feeling struck and get off as quickly as I could. I held it as a form of treatment I needed and gave myself permission to use it. Gradually the shame diminished and the time between episodes grew. I knew, of course, that occupying my mind with sexual images, whether from porn or from walking down the street was not a healthy thing if I wanted healing and so I began working with that... averting my eyes rather than ogling attractive women. Not picking up on all the eye candy on offer on websites... the story about this or that beautiful woman with large breasts on display at the bottom of the page. And eventually I stopped looking for porn. The cycle really began to break when I stopped demeaning myself for using porn. I saw it as treating sexual abuse, then let it go because healing became easier without those reminders of old behaviors.

So be gentle with yourself and recognize what you're doing. This is a perpetuation of the sexual abuse and letting it go will ultimately come from the intention to allow the abuse to remain in the past rather than contaminating your present. But first you will want to find compassion for yourself for using the porn to soothe yourself. Eventually you will find healthier ways to do that.
I remembered my abuse thru hypnotherapy 3 yrs ago. Even though it wasnt known to me, do you think I loved masturbating so much since I was a teenager due to the abuse? Alot of men are addicted to porn but I have this gut feeling my mom rubbing me at night soothed me and that has been imprinted in me since then. I have done EMDR though and terror and intense anxiety came up. I never wanted my mom to bathe or put me to bed bc that's where she molested me. How could it have soothed but at the same terrify me? I blocked all this out till I was 35.
 
I broke down this afternoon talking with my former wife, visiting terror I've not experienced before. It is all tied to what happened with my mother. I'd touched into it as an idea in the past and after some exploring concluded that the terror I experienced was NOT my own, but rather my mother's as she did things sexually with me that no mother could ever believe was the right way to treat her son... massaging my genitals with a piece of silk, placing her mouth over my penis. Our bodies will always respond when touched like that, but nothing could prepare us for our mother's terror over what she was doing. As I've unpacked my sexual acting out behavior I can point directly back to incidents in the abuse, first at the hands of my mother, then at the hands of perpetrators living next door. We don't make this stuff up... we act it out... as my therapist said, to take control of what was completely beyond our control. It seems your experience pinman with your mother was exactly like mine. It is horrifying!
 

pinman

Registrant
I cant remember my life until age 9. Before that its blank so I dont know if I was truly horrified or not. I'm smiling in pics but that doesnt mean anything. I do know everything I remember emotionally happened. I confronted my mom 3 years ago about being inappropriately touched until age 7 or 8 and neither admitted nor denied it. She just cried then got off the phone. Shell never admit wrong doing. At this point, I just want to learn how to control my anger towards my wife and 5 yr old son, my addictions and learn to move on.
 
Even though it wasnt known to me, do you think I loved masturbating so much since I was a teenager due to the abuse?
Absolutely! Body memories and muscle memories run very deep in our subconscious. Someone recently here on MS also mentioned shame. We repeat "shame" behaviors (masturbation, etc.) because we still feel shame and self blame for the abuse.
 
I didn't remember what happened to me in the first years of my life until I was in my forties and then only caught snippets of what happened with my mother. I didn't remember the sexual abuse by neighbors until I was in my fifties. I know it was horrific because my life has been a hell realm with damaged relationships and sexual acting out for decades. I also know through my reading about early development and what the child needs to develop a sense of safety in the world. I KNOW I didn't receive that. The tears i experienced this afternoon weren't for grief over what happened, but was a direct visit to the terror I felt in the face of my mother's disturbing behavior when I was an infant. I would be inclined to interpret your anger towards your wife and young son as rooted in your own pain... directly a product of the abuse you experienced at the hands of your mother.

I don't recall who posted it but someone on MS who'd been sexually abused by his mother observed his mother doing the SAME THING to his child and he confronted her. Imagine that. She still thought playing with a little boys genitals was a fine thing to be doing. I fully expect as I unpack all of this in therapy in the coming weeks I'll encounter not only terror but rage... since I've definitely acted out rage in my life. How could there not be rage with such violation and abandonment. Mothers fixated on us sexually have abandoned their role as protectors. It doesn't matter what their reason was, it was sexual abuse of the highest order... betraying their responsibilities as a mother. I hope you're getting help with all of this. It is very painful material and your family deserves your love and care, not the residue of your trauma. I'm glad you brought these questions to this board. Take exquisite care of yourself.
 

pinman

Registrant
I didn't remember what happened to me in the first years of my life until I was in my forties and then only caught snippets of what happened with my mother. I didn't remember the sexual abuse by neighbors until I was in my fifties. I know it was horrific because my life has been a hell realm with damaged relationships and sexual acting out for decades. I also know through my reading about early development and what the child needs to develop a sense of safety in the world. I KNOW I didn't receive that. The tears i experienced this afternoon weren't for grief over what happened, but was a direct visit to the terror I felt in the face of my mother's disturbing behavior when I was an infant. I would be inclined to interpret your anger towards your wife and young son as rooted in your own pain... directly a product of the abuse you experienced at the hands of your mother.

I don't recall who posted it but someone on MS who'd been sexually abused by his mother observed his mother doing the SAME THING to his child and he confronted her. Imagine that. She still thought playing with a little boys genitals was a fine thing to be doing. I fully expect as I unpack all of this in therapy in the coming weeks I'll encounter not only terror but rage... since I've definitely acted out rage in my life. How could there not be rage with such violation and abandonment. Mothers fixated on us sexually have abandoned their role as protectors. It doesn't matter what their reason was, it was sexual abuse of the highest order... betraying their responsibilities as a mother. I hope you're getting help with all of this. It is very painful material and your family deserves your love and care, not the residue of your trauma. I'm glad you brought these questions to this board. Take exquisite care of yourself.
Hi thank you for your posts today Visitor. They are meaning alot to me. I have been getting help with this since it came to me 3 years ago. I have done a mens group whose facilitator could have been better ...EMDR and now a new therapist. Now that I've had a few months of sobriety under my belt I'm taking my hobby of acting more seriously. I will be performing in a play in a month so that has been helping me feel free. I work full time as well but I always enjoyed acting in high school. The person whose mother touched his sons genitals could have been me. I wrote about in MS a couple of months ago. I caught her doing that twice when my son was an infant. Seeing that helped bring these abuse memories of mine to the surface. ...My wife tells me I need to move on. Therapists have told me i will not get what i need from my damaged mother. I realized unfortunately that incest abuse happens so frequently in the world. I know I need to let go of this anger. I'm chipping away at it a little at a time. This is the hardest work ever. We truly are survivors. We have to teach ourselves how to live happily because our parents stole that from us.
 
Be gentle with yourself. I agree that we will want to move beyond the trauma but we can don't that by ignoring its repercussions in our lives. What we will want to do is find compassion for ourselves for the pain we've had to carry and then care for ourselves. Setting limits as you did with your mother around your son is healthy. Engaging in activities that give you satisfaction is healthy. Sharing your feelings with your wife and with a counselor are all good things. And, of course, sharing your feelings here and getting support from other men is invaluable. We seem to be following similar paths in our healing in part because at least one element of our trauma is similar. I imagine with two conversations behind me I'll more easily remember who it was who told me that story. I found it inspiring. You did a fine thing for your boy, protecting him from what could have harmed him. Loving your little boy is one way your can love the little boy in you who wasn't protected when he was young. You can do that now for both of you.

This is completely an aside, but I watched a video on cultivating a healthier relationship with ideal parents. I'm using this work in my new therapy and found listening to this video quite wonderful. Below is a link. This is Daniel P. Brown, a clinical psychologist on the faculty at Harvard who wrote an important book on healing from trauma titled Attachment Disturbances in Adults: Treatment for Comprehensive Repair. He developed this way of healing attachment disturbances... such as happened for both of us because of the damage our mother's created by their distorted needs. This guided meditation may speak to you.

 

MACH123

Registrant
I use porn at the same level I always have and not addicted. I never felt bad about it or masturbation, which when I started there was this book, I think it was "everything you wanted to know about sex" and it said you would feel bad after masturbation or men felt bad about it. I didn't know why I didn't feel bad.

But sex had been going on since my earliest memories. Even before but my body remembers according to my therapist. I masturbate a lot now and I do it over and over but I don't allow myself to orgasm because I save it to do it with my wife which is about twice a week. I'm older and I don't want to do it alone? I always told my wife I can do it alone but it's a team sport lol.

I feel compelled to add "in my opinion" I was severely hurt by 12 step programs and I recommend anything about it be avoided. It took me half a lifetime to deprograme myself from them. I've been helped by therapy and journaling and this site and others like it.
 
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