What I learned from being an ex porn addict and how to recover

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The first thing I’ll say and it will probably shock you as much as it did me, but women can be porn addicts too. The rabbit hole goes deep let me tell you. The amount of women that have came forward to me and talked about their problems have been staggering, and yet I suspect it’s only because I’m open, honest and genuine about these things.

If you’re reading this and questioning yourself over a partner or a loved one that struggles with this, then I will say don’t take it too personally (although reading that can be hard at times). It’s an addiction, and like with all addictions it’s an entirely selfish act. We’re not taking into account how our significant other is feeling, or anyone for that matter. The need is to have our fix, and that alone.

Take me, I developed my porn addiction in my late teens. By then I had access to the internet, and even although modems were slow and videos were hard to come by, we would still make do with slow loading pictures and wait several days for a CD to download; to feel that all important rush. I didn’t care who I was with at the time. Single, partnered, married, I just had to have my daily fix. My problem was that I had been single for too long and had no guidance or boundaries on the issue. It was just a rush of excitement at the end of the day for me.

That’s what all addictions are primarily. We don’t get addicted to the act itself, the act is but a mere by product of what we feel inside. We get pleasure from the adrenaline that rushes through our body when we partake in the act. This is what’s addictive. If porn had no affect on us then we wouldn’t get addicted.

We often misinterpret addictions for the act itself. There are a wide array of addictions that go unnoticed because people are unaware of them, or their friends and loved ones either don’t see it as a problem, or they are unaware of their behaviours that are negatively impacting their lives. Take complaining and being negative for instance; if you’ve worked in Mental Health like I have for over ten years then you’ll understand that people can get addicted to complaining and being negative. I mean I don’t think anyone actively seeks out to exist like this, but those behaviours release certain hormones into the body, that the feeling of them can become addictive.

If you understand Porn addiction on this basis then you’re of a better understanding to either help yourself or help others that need it. I doubt Bob or Mary want to sneak out of the Married household bed to rub one out at the new nightly updates on their favourite sex channel, but the fact of the matter is addiction is a powerful drug. It is a drug that creates a very core selfishness in people. We understand addicts need to have their fix, right? How many hoops do you think they will jump through to feed their adrenaline? I bet many. And doing this regularly, for most of their adult lives creates a very, very self-centric attitude to life. Don’t worry if this is you, I’ve been there, and I’ve came out of it smiling at the other end.

Firstly you need to understand that you never really quit addiction. Right? You can’t make an addict just not an addict. It doesn’t work like that. I was an alcoholic too, but I just didn’t quit alcohol, I found something else to compensate. I found coffee and energy drinks. Whilst not a great swap, I certainly won’t be sending myself to an early grave anytime soon. So the aim of Porn addiction isn’t to squash them into submission which doesn’t do anyone good, it would be to shift their focus. I didn’t stop masturbating per se, but instead of late night dirty movie watching I ended up learning again how to use my imagination. I’m not too sure what it’s like for children now but certainly in my youth I had to use my imagination — the memory of the girl on the bus was enough for me at 13, or 14, why can’t it be now? There are many ways to compensate for this but this is for you to research! Researching is fun. I suggest ASMR as a good first stop. Sometimes your partner isn’t in the mood, and if your sex drive is high then you will want a release at some point.

I’d also suggest trying to understand the effects that porn addiction can have on a person’s life. For example, it could mean a lot of problems in the bedroom with your significant other; you may find that he, or she doesn’t excite you as much as they should, or that you’re unable to perform properly, or that you’re only ever excited by the act of watching it now. Sex can be amazing but you need to be wholly present in the bedroom with your partner, exploring every bump and curve on the way and if there’s too much porn on your mind then you can find yourself drifting away into your favourite scene, or act, when this isn’t proactive in the bedroom at all. Understanding is key, and also realise that armed with even the most knowledge some people aren’t ready to give up their addictions, so what you do next is up to you. As soon as I researched my behaviours and the effect it had on me the less likely I was incentivised to watch porn.

Also, try not to judge. Yourself, or whoever it is that’s struggling with Porn addiction. The first thing we do as addicts when we know and understand that what we have is problematic is that we judge ourselves harshly but don’t stop the act, creating a real downward spiral of shame and self-hatred. Also, if you’re watching a partner or loved one go through this then don’t attack or shame, because we go through enough of doing that to ourselves. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be angry about it, just telling us how bad we are isn’t doing anyone any good. We tend to blame in this age rather than look to solutions, and looking at solutions is a good and helpful option.

dont judge

Finally, I’m not saying you should stop watching porn, and I’m also not saying that you should stay with a significant other that is addicted to porn. The great thing about the world is that we all have choices, and you are in control of every one of those choices. I only provide the necessary information to help you in the ever quest for knowledge through my own experience.

Godspeed!

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