Safe Sex or Dangerous Distraction?

One student explains how his addiction to Internet pornography has had a serious impact on his sex life.

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This is not meant as a sermon. I am not looking to take my own problems and claim that this habit is the same for other people. I might be an entirely unique individual in this regard; but I highly doubt there isn’t at least one other person out there that feels as I do.

I’m not trying to tell you that porn is evil. What I am saying is that porn became a problem for me. I was, and still am, in some senses at least, ‘addicted’ to it.

The word ‘addiction’ has almost become meaningless through overuse. When I say addiction I do not mean a biological dependency. I have never suffered trainspotting-esque withdrawal hallucinations in which an effigy of Stoya crawls across my ceiling, eventually turning her head a full one-hundred-and-eighty degrees to stare into the depths of my soul. What I mean is that I was addicted to porn like you can be addicted to cannabis. Sure, I’m feeling hunky-dory right now, but at the same time I really want to be watching porn.

Is that problematic? You might disagree, but it is for me. It’s not just using RedTube as a midday procrastination tool. Granted, I’ve never felt quite as pathetic as on those occasions when there’s a knock on my door (which you’re 90% sure is locked, but who can really say) that I’m not able to answer. Remembering these occasions is humiliating, but isn’t the reason I call my habit a problem.

No, the moment I realised I was addicted to porn was when I found myself thinking about it whilst having sex. What was in front of me simply wasn’t stimulating enough, it wasn’t bringing me closer to climax, it wasn’t even giving me enough of an erection. I blame porn.

We underestimate the effect having immediate access to literally thousands of hours of pornographic material has. You have ultimate choice, ultimate control. Pick the most attractive girl you’ve ever met in the flesh; now imagine her made-up to unrealistic levels of beauty. Now imagine two of her, both in the same film, both doing things you could have never even imagined before. Except finding and watching that film is too easy, you’ve seen that one a hundred times. You need something better than that today, and you’ve got the entirety of the Internet to find it in. That’s how I became desensitised.

I wasn’t ever in the moment. I wasn’t ever thinking about the then-and-there, the beautiful event that I’d somehow gotten lucky enough to experience. Instead, my mind was wandering my memories of low-budget internet porn, of three girls going down on one guy, of orgies and of full-grown women dressed as schoolgirls. Here is the moment where many people feel at their most alive, and I was off missing it with my mind’s eye turned toward some fake studio in a basement somewhere.

That’s when I knew I had to quit. Not because I was wasting countless hours on mindless titillation, but because I was no longer enjoying sex as it should be enjoyed. I found an add-on for Chrome meant for the use of parents in order to hide the worst the Internet has to offer from their vulnerable offspring. I set a password, and typed in gibberish that I had no hope of ever remembering. It’s not a perfect solution; if I wanted to, I could quite easily uninstall it, but over the past month it’s stopped me from going back to my old habits.

I’m still addicted. I still sit for minutes at a time trying to will myself back to work instead of taking a ten-minute internet break. Memories of videos I used to watch still fill my mind when I masturbate and, occasionally, during sex. In the process of writing this article, when I was trying to remember Stoya’s name, I ended up turning to Google for answers and immediately regretted it when pages of PornHub and XVideos links filled my search results. It’s never far from my mind, but at least I’m not having to explain away a tissue addiction on a regular basis.

If you watch pornography occasionally, hell, if you watch porn regularly, don’t think that I’m trying to tell you that you’re addicted and that you should go cold-turkey too. All I’m trying to do is tell you my own experiences. If that prompts you to think about your own in any capacity, positive or negative, then that’s something, I guess.