So my good friend Rebecca Lemke knows that I’m a recovered Porn addict. Because, well, I’ve written about it elsewhere. Also I’m an open book to most people. If I don’t directly say anything, you’ll be sure to find it on my blog. She, herself is recovering from Purity culture, and me, having a wayward youth, we’ve lived a bit on opposite poles. She wants to learn more about Porn addiction, so she’s thrown me 15 questions to answer.
I’m only happy to oblige,
How did you get introduced to porn?
Growing up in the 80’s it was fairly easy. There weren’t the restrictions that there are now, albeit I’m not saying it’s any harder to get your hands on it today. I was a young boy that liked to play about in the local field close to where I lived. My first brush with a naked woman was discarded porn mags in the bushes at the edge of the park. My friends and I used to laugh hysterically at them. I was too young back then to understand what it all meant.
My second brush was swapping late night VHS’ with high school friends that their parents had recorded from TV. Also, when I had sky I would always try and stay up late to watch the late screenings on SKY Movies. All of this though was mainstream and easily accessible.
My first brush with actual porn, as in a video with people really having sex was in college. My friend had leant me his porn VHS’ to watch. He was a good five years older than me and led me quite a bit astray. As a note, being a virgin at the time I was properly shocked at how messy it all was down below.
What made it appealing compared to real women?
To be fair, real sex has always topped the list for me, as it is for most, if not all men. If I hadn’t had the dry spells as I experienced in the 2000’s like I did, I probably would have never let it get as bad as it did (I experienced at least 3 years without real sex). I’m not sure if this is a common misconception, or just yours Rebecca. But real sex is always better than fake sex and masturbation.
How did your usage progress?
I was sort of lucky I guess. It never progressed into anything scary or illegal. I expect the only thing I delved into that was minorly worth of note was roleplay sex, and knowing that the characters were above age and all was legal was a must. As a man, you couldn’t be too sure who was watching. I’m sure that’s even more relevant today as it was back then. I do know that I have talked to people in the past, through the support groups I’ve been in, of various types, they’ve told me of people openly admitting to watching snuff porn and worse, and that those people themselves started off as just watching general porn – not condoning their behaviour, but it’s worth that to note.
Do you feel like it changed your sexual preferences?
None whatsoever. I’ve always liked what I’ve liked. I will admit that I did pick up a few fetishes from porn, things I wanted to try out, or roleplay – but I’ve done them all with my wife now, so they’ve all been done and dusted.
What were some of the negative consequences?
Well, when I began to watch it heavily there would be times I’d be doing it just before I went to work, sometimes I’d be late, or I’d have a late night watching it and feeling overtired the next morning. Sometimes I’d even wake up in the middle of the night and get on with it. For me it was a destressor, I looked as it as an outlet to get all those negative emotions away, any time I felt bad. Sometimes it could really fuck with my life, you know? I also experienced premature ejaculation and lots of flaccid penis! Not now, though 😀
What made you rethink it?
My wife, she fucking hates it with a vengeance. I couldn’t carry on in a relationship with her if I kept feverously masturbating to porn. She made that abundantly clear and I totally respect her for that.
How did you stop??
Over the space of a few years if I’m honest. I educated myself on the whole system, the way models are treated and the terrible lives they have. Also, realising that I just wasn’t respecting myself by doing so. So, I stopped. I also think reconnecting with my imaginative side helped greatly
Do you ever have the temptation to relapse?
Now? No. But I have a few times, and well, I think when trying to get the hang of not doing something you’ve done since you were young, I expect it’s not going to be a simple cut and dry case.
What is the culture expectation for men and porn?
Men masturbate. It’s a sad fact of reality. I occasionally hate that if I haven’t had sex in a few days I need to masturbate – time between depending on how good I’m feeling at the time, and that’s the reality of it. Porn is so easily accessible, and as I remember as a kid we were always swapping videos and mags and getting up to no good. A lot of people would be completely shocked. Even my Mum. Most men watch it, I rarely come across a man that doesn’t. Why should anyone say otherwise to us when it’s been readily accessible since our teens?
What do you wish women knew about it?
To understand that most men are getting up to it. As we get older our imagination declines, especially now, we’re thrown so much information our way we’ve had to learn to filter rather than expand. Don’t get mad, or chuck us. Educate us. Tell us why it’s wrong.
How do you recommend a woman handle it if their SO confesses a porn addiction?
My wife was unlucky, I had an addiction, and our sex life was incredibly good. Best I’ve ever had but I was still porn obsessed. After all the shouting and the craziness, she opened up and educated me as to why it was wrong, and the things I was actively supporting because I was getting up to it. Quite sickening if you ask me. You’ll be surprised, education is the key. Just don’t let him take you for a fool.
Also, the first thing my wife did when she found out, which was beautiful, as I look back, was analyse what she was doing wrong, but in retrospect this time it was all me. If your partner is chugging away at his manhood and you just blame him – perhaps ask why? Too many sore heads when he’s desperate? I’m not saying let him have all access to you, but reconnect with yourself as to why you’re turned off and he’s not? Need to spice something up? I dunno – perhaps that’s a discussion you need to have! No sense binning something you’ve worked on for years, right?
What do you think of accountability software?
Shite. Don’t use them. If a man wants to watch porn he will find a way to do it. It’ll just make that forbidden fruit seem more forbidden.
Can you tell me about the pushback you’ve received as a result of being an advocate against porn usage?
God, all the time. I’ve stopped advocating for it because I get told I’m sexually frustrated, I just need a good fuck, all sorts. It’s what happens when you challenge the grain of society. Straying from the social norm makes other people question their own behaviour, and they don’t like that. They just don’t. I’m more of a come to me if you want more information kind of guy now.
What would you say to a woman who felt unsafe around men who use porn?
I’ve never met one of these people, but I bet they exist. Um, judge the man himself, because you have no idea some of the absurdities men (and women) get up to behind closed doors. I was a fervent porn watcher for years, yet anyone will tell you that I wouldn’t hurt a fly. The last time I was in a fight was in school, and I’d rather make love than war. I have also never physically hurt any of my previous partners and current partner before, ever. Judging a man by watching porn is like judging a woman for reading 50 Shades of Grey. So many personalities.
What did you know about the industry when you started and what do you know about it now?
Literally, tons. I didn’t know anything up until I met my wife. In my mind both men and women in the movies enjoyed it. The idea was also smoothed over by the documentaries I’d watch hosted by the porn channels that provided them.
I know now that at least 75% of the sex industry is part of human trafficking, sometimes (female) models are under the influence in scenes, or drugged, or worse. Yes, there are ones who are paid well and love what they do, and there’s also ethical porn, but they’re few and far between, and in general their videos aren’t the ones streamed by the majority of ignorant males. Like the sex industry off-camera, high-end is very different from what you’re exposed to in reality.
It’s not my choice anymore, just like I wouldn’t drink even the finest wine as a recovering alcoholic, but if you’re going to enjoy porn then always check the source, and know what you’re supporting.
Hope that’s acceptable and thanks for reading 🙂