Confessions of a Porn Addict

‘The warning signs were there… I realised I could bring myself literally to the brink of orgasm solely with visual stimulation – without using my hands at all.’

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Porn is not taboo any more.

The posters, adverts, music videos of today are more explicit than they have ever been. But this is really just a tiny and insignificant symptom of a much darker truth lurking beneath this sexed up front. More porn than you could ever imagine is available at just a few clicks of a mouse. Extreme, violent and degrading porn is worryingly just as accessible.

Let me just say that this article is not an attack on the porn industry, nor on the people who consume porn: I, as an (albeit anonymously) self-confessed porn addict, want to raise awareness of the deep psychological damage it can inflict on its users, which of course, are, like me, predominantly young men.

My first experience of porn was fairly typical – aged 13 at a public boys’ school, it was practically currency, and I was interested and desperate enough to pay £10 for a CD. By today’s standards, it was pretty soft stuff. Over time I bored of the CD, and started finding new material on the internet, being ever careful about deleting the evidence, lest my parents discovered my browsing history. What started off as a few pictures of naked women turned into more hardcore, graphic sex scenes.

You name a genre, and I was probably into it at some point. Things that would have disgusted me one month I relied on the next to get me excited.

Arriving at Cambridge with a fresh injection of independence only increased the temptations. I started to feel ashamed, guilty of what I was watching; it started to affect my life. Unfortunately, I fear my story may be only too familiar to thousands of young people across the country.

The process I’ve described above is well-known to addiction psychologists and therapists and is called desensitisation. Addictions to drugs, alcohol, gambling are widely known by most, since they are often taught at school and awareness is raised by the government’s advertising campaigns. But there is worryingly little education on the dangers of internet porn. Excessive abuse over extended periods of time can lead to decreased libido, erectile dysfunction and impotence.

In my case, the warning signs were there. I felt terrible after a session browsing the dark side of the net – a mixture of shame, disgust, dissatisfaction, depression. I realised I could bring myself literally to the brink of orgasm solely with visual stimulation – without using my hands at all. My mind was rewired into relying on the extreme images fed to it by my eyes to produce sexual arousal.

The encounters I had with women felt somehow disappointing. Sexually I felt a bit dead, occasionally I failed to maintain an erection.

Desensitisation is an apt word, because years of beating my meat to porn left my penis less sensitive to touch. I blamed it on condoms, on performance anxiety, on alcohol, on being out of shape, but finally, I realised the truth: porn. How was a real-life girl ever going to compete with a never-ending succession of 2D fitties doing literally anything?

Sure, I was pretty stupid and mindless to allow my habits to get so out of hand, but given just how accessible the porn is and how slippery the slope is, I’m betting it isn’t just me for whom the temptation has been too much.

I’m glad and lucky I realised what was going on before it was too late. Thankfully, recovery is possible, with a bit of willpower. Years of porn fucks with your brain chemistry, but you can get back to normal. Simply stop the porn. Quit watching it. You’ll probably find it much harder than it sounds, even if you don’t consider yourself addicted, but that’s a testament to how powerful it really is.

I’m currently going through the process, and it has been difficult, as dealing with any addiction is. You might feel dead at first, like nothing turns you on. You might get cravings, or mood swings. But the body is fantastic at recovering, and your sex drive will recover. You will notice the effects not only in your sex life, but also in the rest of your life – what once felt mundane compared to the intense thrill of porn will suddenly seem fresh and exciting.

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Look at the Sexual Recovery Institute for more information of porn addiction.

If you still don’t believe me, have a look at yourbrainonporn.com. It’s a fantastic site, and I hope it gives you both the motivation to quit and the hope of recovery.

If you want to contact the writer, email pornatcambridge@gmail.com.