Ben’s Journal Entry 1

Here we go, starting the new blog. I’m going to start from the beginning.

My first interactions with porn

I first stumbled on porn when I was in elementary school, when I was around 8 years old. One of the earliest times I saw porn was when a friend found his dad’s stash of dirty magazines and brought one to school. All of the guys huddled around and oogled. My mind was fixated on it for days.

Around the same age, maybe a couple years later, I began searching the internet for porn. I would wait until I had the house to myself and then rush to the computer. My google searches mostly consisted of terms like “boobs” or “butts” or “sex”.  At this age, I don’t remember if I was getting erections, but I certainly wasn’t masturbating. The thrill of it all is what had me so excited.

As time went on, my porn viewing grew more constant. We soon got better internet and I didn’t have to wait minutes for an image to load. As I got older (11-13), I was left alone more. I discovered masturbation and that became a recurring habit. I printed pages of pictures of naked women and hid them in my bathroom to use during “shower” time.

Escaping my feelings through porn

My mother and father divorced when I was 12. I didn’t comprehend it at the time, but I think this gave me a lot of negative emotions. Porn became my escape. I was able to feel good, and not feel any of my negative emotions. My porn use skyrocketed in my early teens.

By the time I was 15, I was using porn almost every day. I now know that this is when my porn addiction first took hold. I began to shut myself off from friends and family. My friends at school began referring to me as “the hermit” who stay in his “dungeon” all day. They wanted to hang out with me and I essentially refused.

At this point, video games also took ahold of my life. I started playing a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) and a first person shooter (FPS). Within months I was playing 4-12 hours a day. I used video games in the same way as porn, to hide from my emotions and feelings. Escapism seems to be a constant theme in my porn addiction and other parts of my life.

These two addictions continued until I went to college. In college, I had a Mac, and there were not the same addictive games available for the Mac operating system. I think I was very lucky this was the case.

My interactions with real women

Prior to college I had only kissed a couple girls. I attribute them to pure luck and alcohol. I had social anxiety during my teenage years, most likely brought on by avoiding real social situations and consistent porn use. I used alcohol in my later teenage years to overcome this social anxiety. This allowed the few brief encounters with women. These encounters felt cheap and meaningless to me, even then.

Around the start of college (age 18) my only female friend and I became romantic. Many months later, we had sex. The sex felt alien to me. My body had grown accustomed to a certain type of visual and physical stimulation, and real sex was nothing like that. It felt mundane. It felt wrong. These are not the feelings one should be having the first time they have sex.

I struggled to ejaculate the first 5 to 7 times having sex with my girlfriend. I was expecting close up shots. I was expecting her to be in instant ecstasy. I was expecting fantastic lighting. I was expecting the feeling to be like porn times 10. But it wasn’t. It was worse. I felt embarrassed that I couldn’t cum. It made her feel self conscious, especially because I was her first partner as well. I researched non stop and believed there was something wrong with my penis. I thought I had a medical problem.

Eventually I was able to ejaculate with relative consistency. It still took 20 or more minutes of intense stimulation, but I could do it. At this point, I was expecting my porn use to subside. I had been using porn because I didn’t have anyone to have sex with, right? Wrong. At this point, my porn use jumped. Once a day was an average, but often I was watch porn and masturbate two or three times a day.

My girlfriend at the time lived an hour away, so I had plenty of alone time to indulge in porn. But even when she would visit for a weekend, I would watch porn, masturbate, and hide it from her.

My interactions with the next couple women in my life were very similar stories. We meet, become friends, become romantic/sexual, I can not get hard or ejaculate for the first few sex sessions, eventually we work through it, and I continue to watch porn and hide it from them.

Realizing I am addicted to porn

At some point in my very early 20s, I stumbled upon a forum of guys quitting masturbation. I had just started using Reddit. Reddit is a website were users from all over the world gather and discuss everything ranging from funny cat videos to world news. It is broken down into subreddits, which are essentially categories that people wish to view and post relevant content to. The subreddit I stumbled upon was called NoFap. Fap being an internet term for masturbation.

At first I viewed the guys in NoFap as delusional. Masturbating is good for you. Yet every post was filled with guys discussing the numerous benefits of quitting masturbating. These guys were saying that their social anxiety was gone, they have more energy, they have more time, and even things like their hair was shinier. I was skeptical, but I had to see if it was true.

I didn’t masturbate for about a month, but I did continue to watch porn. I didn’t really see any of the benefits that I was promised. I continued reading and stumbled upon another, smaller subreddit called PornFree. These people claimed that porn was the problem and not necessarily masturbation. I tried their 90 day challenge and made it about 2 days. I tried again, not even 1 day.

After coming back to the forum disheartened, I found a checklist to determine if I was addicted to porn. The list included things like: Do you watch more than 4 hours of porn a week? Have you tried and failed to stop using porn? Do you lie to hide your porn use from friends and family? Nearly every single point described me. Am I addicted??

It took many months, even years, to grasp the idea that I was addicted to porn. I tried so many times, and failed so many times at quitting. I was struggling alone, too afraid and embarrassed to tell anyone. I assumed I would be stuck in this forever-quitting phase.

Then I met Cassie

My relationship with Cassie was much different from my previous girlfriends, but the same in regards to porn. The first time we made out I was flaccid as cooked spaghetti. Luckily, we were just making out. I figured my same porn induced erectile dysfunction was back.

I was lucky with Cassie because the second time we were intimate, I was able to get and maintain an erection. I did not cum until our third or fourth encounter, however. I thought that maybe things were looking up. I continued to watch porn nearly every day.

Cassie and I fell in love and eventually moved in together. Happy days! At this point, I am almost living a dual life. I am in love with this woman and am sexually attracted to her, but often I get a surge of excitement when I will have alone time so I can watch porn and masturbate. I even at times traded the opportunity to have sex with Cassie sometimes, to go into the bathroom, turn the shower on, and masturbate to porn.

Cassie discovers my addiction

One day, after work, Cassie went to yoga. In the clutches of my addiction, I saw this as the perfect time enjoy some porn. I lost track of time and Cassie came back to a locked bedroom door. I made excuse after excuse to cover up what I was doing. I could see the pain in her eyes. She knew that either she was crazy or that she couldn’t trust what I was saying.

Slowly, she pulled the truth out of me (she is really good at that), and eventually I said, “I should probably talk to someone about it.” I could tell that something changed in her when I said that. I wasn’t just watching porn, I had a problem. At this point, she had no idea how deep it went, but she knew there was more to it than just a one-off porn session.

I told her as much as I could bare in the moment. It was not everything, or even close. I had never told anyone and it scared the living crap out of me to do it. I was trembling, she was in shock. She felt lied to, like she didn’t know who I was at all.

Healing

One of Cassie’s requirements for even attempting to make our relationship work was to get counseling. We found a couple’s counselor and eventually our own individual counselors as well. This is where the healing began and where we are now.

We are devouring information and trying to move past this. The Fortify Program has been immensely helpful in learning and tracking my progress. It gives quick lessons and tasks to better understand what porn addiction is about and how you can start to control it. I am also reading Your Brain on Porn. It is teaching me what effects porn has on the brain, why it is so addictive, and what happens when you quit. Outside of counseling, which is the biggest help, these are my two main resources.

I honestly couldn’t have done any of this without Cassie. She is my most trusted ally in this fight. I will love her forever for it.

That is where I am at now.

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