FTND note: The aim of this post is to challenge the shaming narrative that can happen in this fight against porn, and offer up an alternative narrative via exploring actual, real-life experiences. It is not our http://www.bbc.co.uk/search?q=naked cam intention to imply that anyone is obligated to date/marry someone with a porn struggle, if they do not want to. This person has a story that may look differently from many other former partners of porn consumers, and that’s okay. In the end, it is up to every individual to decide what is best for them—even if that means staying with a significant other who is working through a porn issue.
We get thousands of emails from people all over the world sharing their stories with us. Most of the time they do so anonymously and ask us to take out their names, which we completely understand. There is still some taboo surrounding the issue of pornography and many don’t want their private struggles made public.
However, sometimes there are Fighters that are so passionate about this cause and sharing their experience that they want the whole world to hear their story in its entirety.
Related: This Study Shows Feeling Shame Fuels Hypersexual Behavior While Feeling Guilt Fuels Change
This story was sent to us by Dallin, a real-life guy with a real-life story about the harmful effects of pornography. Dallin gave us permission to share his story that he originally posted on his personal blog. He wrote his story not only to share the reality of the harms of porn, but to tell how much better his life and relationships have been without it.
Not unlike many others, my story begins when I was very young.
I was about nine years old the first time I saw a naked woman. My childhood friend, who lived two doors down and is a few years older than me, told me we had to watch Titanic because the girl in it gets naked. I didn’t know why, but this intrigued me and I agreed to watch. When it got to the nude scene I honestly thought it was fake. I just figured no one would get naked for real in a movie that lots of people would see. Little did I know that this nude scene had blasted a crater in my young mind that I am still working on fixing.
Fast forward a year or so after that, and I am at another friends house after school. He lived on the way home from school so I often walked home with him and hung out for a few hours. It wasn’t uncommon that his parents weren’t home, but we would usually just play outside or play video games. This time he had something else on his mind.
He called me over to his families dining room desktop computer and I saw him type Playboy.com into the web browser. Back then you had to be at least 18 years old and enter in credit card information to get full access to porn sites, but the landing pages were still usually full of pornographic pictures. That was good enough for two 10-year-old boys.
This was the first time I had seen porn. Another crater had been blasted into my young brain.
Life moved forward, and so did my obsession
Fast forward another year. Around 11-years-old I started noticing changes in my body. I also started to notice my attraction to girls getting much stronger. I started to notice girls’ bodies changing at school and that I would wonder more and more about sex.
I remember getting strange feelings in my body when I would see certain things on T.V. or in movies. These feelings led to me sneaking Sears catalogs into the bathroom with me or watching T.V. and movies in private in the basement so that I could be alone with my new favorite, secret pastime. This was the beginning of my spiral downwards into a deep, dark pornography obsession.
Up until I was 13, porn to me was mostly images ingrained in my memory of girls from school. Occasionally, it would also be the catalogs with women’s underwear, T.V. shows, and movies, but those sources were more risky to get caught. I mainly used my imagination.
This all changed when I got a “girlfriend” and my first personal computer in a little secluded bedroom in the basement.
Bringing objectification and fantasy into my early relationships
In my house growing up, there was never supposed to be any dating before 16 years old, and definitely no sex before marriage. I would talk with my cyber-“girlfriend” on the phone every day for hours. The more this girl and I talked, the more intimate we became with each other. We got into a habit of describing sexual fantasies to each other over the phone, only if I knew for sure that no one was listening in on another phone.
We also talked about our fantasies over MSN messenger. This became my new porn. Then it became commonplace for people to have digital cameras, so obviously, the next step of evolution in our relationship was to take digital pictures of each other and send them over MSN. Over our “relationship” we must have sent thousands of pictures to each other.
This became my new porn.
I should probably interrupt here and mention that I knew what I was doing was not okay. I knew this wasn’t healthy. After every session, I would feel an awful amount of disgust with myself and my body felt hollow and dark. Yet, I couldn’t stop.
Then came the invention of the webcam. My “girlfriend” had one and she allowed me to sit there and watch her and do basically anything I asked her. That became my new favorite, secret past-time, all within the safety of my secluded bedroom in the basement with my own personal computer. We would be on webcam with each other for hours almost daily. If we weren’t on webcam, we were sending pictures. If we weren’t sending pictures, we were talking about our sexual fantasies on MSN or the phone.
This became my new porn. It is interesting to correlate how my obsession got worse and worse as technology got better and better.
As technology escalated, so did my obsession
Eventually, we moved out of the woods and into town, and with this move came high-speed internet.
Since I no longer had that “girlfriend” to rely on for a constant stream of porn, I had to go elsewhere. But really I didn’t go too far. Everyone my age was on MSN constantly and nearly everyone had webcams by this time, so why not use something I already know how to use.
It became a game for me to try and get girls I know to go on webcam with me. Once they were on webcam with me it was a game to get them to have cyber-sex. I enjoyed the challenge and difficulty in trying to persuade girls to go on with me. (FTND note: coercive sexual encounters are never acceptable or safe. We strong discourage Fighters from trying any of this themselves.)
Disgusting… I know. I was addicted, and I’d do anything for the high. It was a pretty rare occasion to get someone to go all the way with me on MSN, but luckily I had high-speed internet now, and online porn had exploded. You no longer needed to create accounts and pay with credit card to get as much as you wanted.
The worldwide spread of Facebook was the next biggest jump for my addiction. I no longer had to try to get girls to send me pictures or show me their bras on webcam because they were all posting pictures of themselves in bikinis or other clothing I found attractive on their Facebook pages. The only work I had to do was scroll through photo albums of all the girls I knew and pick out my favorite pictures. There was an endless sea of pictures of girls I’d always wanted to see, or even friends of friends whom I had never met.
Getting girls to go on webcam to have cyber-sex was still the ultimate goal in my eyes, but Facebook had become my new pornography.
Webcam sites, porn tube sites, and my increasing addiction
Not soon after that, websites started to pop up that resembled YouTube but were specifically for pornography. You no longer had to prove you were 18, anyone in the world could upload porn to it, and you could search for anything you wanted.
These websites became my new porn.
I should reiterate here again, that I wanted to stop. I knew I needed to stop. I had tried hundreds of times to stop, often lasting only a few days before I had relapsed. Almost every time I would look at porn I would tell myself that this is the last time. I couldn’t do it, and I hated myself because of it.
Then, entire webcam sites started popping up. These websites have hundreds of girls performing on webcam with hundreds if not thousands of people watching them live. These girls will tease viewers in order to receive money from them, and once they’ve reached their goal they will put on a show for all to watch. They will also get paid a lot to put on a private webcam show for the big spenders.
Another type of webcam site randomly pairs you with another person somewhere in the world who also has a webcam where you could then chat with them until someone hit the “next” button. If you didn’t like what you saw, hit next and the internet would pair you with someone else. As you can imagine, these types of websites are mostly full of men looking for what I was looking for, so it was a lot of hitting “next.”
These websites served my appetite of trying to get a girl to have cyber-sex with me, and this game took up a lot of time. It was like every time I hit next my brain would get a shot of dopamine in anticipation of who would show up in the other cam window.
I would do this for hours upon hours every night, often from evening until early morning. I might not have chatted with a single girl during that time, so I would often have to call it quits and just watch regular, boring porn then go to sleep. But when I did find someone, it was like hitting the jackpot (probably just as likely and just as addictive as gambling), the rush was so intense and anticipation so great that my body would shake and my heart felt like it would beat out of my chest.
This became my new porn.
Just after my discovery of these webcam sites I began dating the girl I would eventually marry. She is the love of my life, but I also tried as hard as I could to hide the side of me that was addicted to pornography. It was pretty easy to do.
She worked a lot and I would often be up before her. In the morning before she woke up was usually my time to look at porn. I could also carry porn with me wherever I was with my smartphone. My trips to the bathroom would take longer and longer and when my wife would ask why I was taking so long I would just say I was playing a game on my phone, or reading an article, or checking Facebook—meanwhile I was usually looking at porn or porn-like content on Facebook or Instagram.
As most addictions do, my addiction surfaced. My wife had caught me talking with girls on Tinder when I forgot my phone at home while I was working. As soon as I realized I forgot my phone, I knew my secrets were done. This was an extremely hard time in our marriage because not only was I looking at porn, but I was also interacting with other women. My wife is amazing, and eventually forgave me and realized that I needed help. I promised her I would never interact with other girls in that way again, and that I would quit my porn addiction.
Keep in mind, I had tried hundreds of times before to quit without success, but I kept telling myself that this time was different because it was a more extreme situation with my marriage on the line. Well, I thought wrong.
Within weeks of getting caught, I was back at it. Looking at porn just as much as before. I was far too scared about how my wife would react if I told her I had fallen again, so I continued to lie to her whenever she would ask how it was going.
As addictions often do, mine got worse. I found myself Snapchatting with someone Brittany and I actually know, whereas before, all of my online encounters had been with random women that I didn’t know. This time was different. This time there was an actual person on the other end who has a friendship and history with us. A lot of things were on the line here.
I’m not going to give any more detail about this situation other than the guilt ate me alive until I had to see a therapist to try and fix things. I confessed to Brittany and as amazing as she is, she wanted to help me fix this more than anything. Of course, she was devastated and heartbroken because I had betrayed her and broken a promise, but she at least gave me an opportunity to try and fix things for the second time.
Fixing things for good
Brittany is my life, and we are together for a reason. A reason much larger than I understand. If it wasn’t for her, quitting this addiction might be impossible. After this incident, we have been seeing a therapist together once a week and it helps immeasurably. We couldn’t ask for a more loving, caring, helping therapist. It makes dealing with this addiction a lot easier.
I am proud to say that since confessing my last mistake to Brittany almost two months ago, I have been clean. There have been many times where the urge has been almost unbearable to look, but I have put up the fight. I am sure this will be a fight for a lifetime, but I don’t plan on ever giving up.