My Addiction to Pornography
I’m 25 and I used to have a severe addiction to porn. I grew up in an Orthodox Catholic household where private parts weren’t even mentioned, let alone discussed. It wasn’t until my late teens that I stopped feeling like a criminal for saying words like “penis” or “vagina.”
The only thing I ever heard about sex was, “Don’t do it!” Sex simply was never discussed in my house, so I didn’t know the first thing about it. I discovered what sex was while reading Michael Crichton’s novel, ‘Jurassic World’ in the third grade, and even then it was talking about alligators. So, instead of developing a healthy sexual identity, I was taught to fear the very thing that drives our existence.
Rather than learning about responsible sexuality from the adults in my life, my first ideas about sex came from a horn-ball teenage cousin named Nick during a family vacation. He told me about how much fun porn was, how good it felt, and what I should do when I watched it. I was 12 years old, curious, and couldn’t wait to see more about the woman in my cousin’s magazines.
After that vacation I began a life of covert obsession with internet pornography. I started looking forward to my family leaving so that I could be alone on the computer. I came to care more about getting off to porn than playing with my friends or even reading, which was my first love. The feeling of pornography was so significant that I couldn’t imagine it not being important.
Within the first year I was devoting 5 hours a week to getting high off of porn. And when I didn’t have access to porn, I would focus my imagination on recreating the images in the movies. The eager and curious boy I was became less concerned about play and more about playboy. After my Dad found my porn stash, he quipped to my Mom, ” Is Dan preparing to be a gynecologist?”
After years of watching porn obsessively, my perception of women began to shift. I stopped caring about their innermost as my focus gravitated to their cup size and willingness to engage sexually. If a girl thought too much of herself to fool around with me, I didn’t have time for her. I thought if the women in the movies did everything I ever wanted them to without having to ask twice, what was the point of wasting time with real girls?
My subconscious thoughts began eating away my future. Every time I engaged in porn I was reinforcing thoughts like, “Take! Take! Look at the outside! She’s here to please you!”, which didn’t prepare me to respect women and to contribute. I didn’t realize that all of the energy I was putting into porn and casual sex was energy that I could have been investing in my future. I wasn’t even aware that I had a future because I was so focused on getting sexual fixes.
Needless to say, I didn’t have good relationships with women. I went from one relationship to the next, wondering why none of them had meaning. When I watched porn I had unlimited access to the most beautiful women you could imagine, but I trained myself to become bored with their beauty in a matter of minutes. Not shockingly that same behavior manifested in real life, but instead of throwing away pixels, I threw away women with futures and feelings.
I had beautiful girlfriends that I would cheat on because I was too bored and afraid to commit to deeper meaning, but I played like I practiced. It wasn’t pretty, but I was okay with it because it was normal for male culture. One frightening aspect is that because of habituating myself to pornography, I battled erectile dysfunction at the tender age of 17, which is becoming increasingly common as males become trained with porn.
Because I hadn’t learned how to channel sexual desire into my dream life, I continued to dump that energy into outlets like porn and casual sex. Instead of learning more about the innermost parts of myself and the people I was with, I completely focused on the external. I let all thoughts of growing as a person and building a career fade while I was content to float between dead end jobs and relationships. As long as I could keep the pleasure flowing, nothing really mattered to me.
By the time I was 21, and after another major relationship had crashed and burned, I decided to stop doing everything that was holding me back; I couldn’t take the pain I was experiencing any longer. I quit porn cold turkey after a decade of daily use when I learned that many of the actresses are graduates from child sex slavery. I even quit casual sex because I didn’t want a child until I could be a dad I’d be proud of.
I observed that when I had sex without commitment, honesty, faith and trust, (which was every time) my relationships dissolved for a lack of intimacy. If sex was where my future children were to come from, I wanted to make sure I associated it with qualities that supported my children’s need for security, happiness and love.
But even though I quit my unhealthy habits, I hadn’t filled my life with positivity from the inside. Because I still hadn’t taken control of my thoughts, I hadn’t yet learned how to channel my sexual desire. Think about how boring it would be to go to a party and meet someone who described himself by who he wasn’t and what he didn’t do. Well, that joker was me!
When I quit porn and casual sex without healthy outlets for sexual desire, my energy stagnated. I lost my health, and even had trouble controlling my thoughts about sex. Instead of being open and vulnerable to sexuality, I had come to despise it for the pain I experienced, so, I repressed it. At that point I didn’t know that sexual desire could be the inspiration for my greatest achievements, so I did what a lot of people do and labeled it a bad guy. My mistake.
After so many months of repression, I realize that we humans wouldn’t be alive without sex, and that sex was in fact a good thing. (Novel idea, huh?) Then I started to take full responsibility for how I responded to my sexual desire. By coming across a Zig Ziglar motivational cd, I learned about how our lives are mostly controlled by thoughts we don’t know we have. After only a few weeks of practicing affirmations and meditation, I became conscious of the limiting beliefs that had kept me from achieving my best. When I learned to control my thoughts I became empowered to channel my energy wherever I desired, like my personal development, my career, and my future. Instead of looking for the right woman, I focused on being the right man.
For the first time in my life I began to make plans for the life I actually wanted. I knew that empty relationships hadn’t brought me happiness, so I focused on creating a fulfilled and happy me to give towards a lasting relationship. That was the beginning of my plan, and from there I discovered so many secrets about relationships and intimacy that I couldn’t keep them for myself, so I began a writing career.
I endeavored to learn everything about my inner world so I could share deep intimacy with my future wife. I began a daily journal where I recorded my thoughts and feelings, and how my actions were contributing to my goals. When I established daily journaling, all of the patterns and habits that had evaded my awareness became as clear as the writing in front of me. Through consistent journaling I opened myself up to the most rapid growth I had ever known.
When I would see a pretty girl, I would think about how lucky I was to have the beautiful wife I had yet to meet. Instead of objectifying women, I was inspired to create value that would help her future husband get to know her innermost parts. Instead of thinking about what I couldn’t do with all of these gorgeous women, I thought about what I could do to bring out the man I wanted to give to my wife. I was so busy with the adventure of my life that I didn’t have a moment to think of what I wasn’t doing, like porn or casual sex. (** I kept valuable parts of my experiences in observing woman because men honestly don’t know that there is a respectful way to look at them)
I began writing articles and books on self-improvement. I achieved the highest level of fitness I ever had by stretching myself with new sports like rock climbing and beach volleyball. When I payed attention to my inner world, I discovered so many hopes, dreams and interests that I never knew I had. My whole life changed. After three years into my transformation I even built a coaching career to help others thrive in their relationships.
Suddenly my life had meaning. Everything I did had a purpose because my actions were connected to my dreams. Rather than hurting myself and others by blindly searching for pleasure, my holistic plans transformed the way I lived. I became a giver, and I took pride in the new ability I had to help others. I don’t take a single day for granted because having value to give is not easy; I had to struggle hard to make a man I was happy to share.
When I learned how to respond positively to my sexual desire, I began the adventure of a lifetime and haven’t regretted a day since. If you’ve struggled with sexual desire and have felt hopeless in relationships, think about how you can give back to the community through your talents and passions. Think about the type of person you’d like to be and the relationship you’d like to have. Take charge of your thoughts and put your desire towards the life of your dreams. Affirmations and daily journaling have been so invaluable to me that I recommend them to anybody.
What are some of the ways you have achieved personal fulfillment? How have you improved your relationships? I’m always learning, so I’d love to hear about your experience too– join the discussion in the comments section!