What it's like to give up porn (I'm now four months sober).

Submitted by Celeste on
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I've been completely porn-sober since March. March was my second slip-up after a four to six month period of success.

Porn takes you outside the norm of what you think sex should be. It takes you to "everything goes" land where it's okay to abuse and hurt women and it doesn't matter if love exists in the couple. In fact, the less love, the more depravity, the better! When you're fully addicted you can see nearly ANYTHING happen on screen...hell...I was happily watching urination, vomit, people hitting and abusing each other, people with disabilities being humiliated and mistreated, even people having trash dumped on them without even thinking about it. It was disgusting but I didn't care. When my mind was in "the porn space" anything went.

So in March when I had my last slip-up I clicked on some of the stuff I knew I had always liked and just got this horrid feeling of, "WHAT THE HELL AM I WATCHING?" The addict was gone and I was seeing porn as myself, with my rational and sane eyes and it was completely disgusting.

Have you ever clicked the "x" in the corner of the page the SECOND the orgasm was over? Have you ever had that feeling of "ugh what the hell IS this shit" once the sexual desire is exhausted, where it stops being hot and is suddenly completely filthy and disgusting? Once you stop watching porn and you go a while without it, that "what the hell is this shit" feeling will kick in the second you see it. I can't promise it works that way for everyone but it has for me so far.

I should specify I'm female and gay so I'm not completely in the same boat as most straight male users on this site but I've watched pretty much the same porn as most of you describe watching. Porn wasn't about what kind of sex I liked, it was about seeing intense and violent and exciting stuff.

So true

The further the addiction went, the less sex itself matter, instead it became more violence and appeal to the extreme. So many people I know feel this way, and once they finish they do have that moment of disgust and don't want to go back. Time passes, and the feelings of "no not again" become, "this is just who I am I guess". Expose a person new to porn to what they may be turned onto several years from the time they start. See how they change along the way, and one will truly understand how morphed they become without realizing it.

We cannot stop pornographers, we cannot stop those who want fast money to be in the films and be used. We can control ourselves, and help those around us though. That is the best we can hope for.

I truly fear my my generation and generations to come, for they believe they can replace love with porn, real relationships with images. They believe it will satisfy their urge because "they have such a huge sex drive". They are blind, if their sex drive was what it claimed to be, they could get off multiple times to a sears catalog without problem or by watching paint dry if it really is "that high". Instead they hide behind that to fuel their idea that there is nothing wrong with escalation.

For what we can label mental illness today, I wonder why strange sexual kinks are somehow immune. Once sometimes becomes a fetish, or arousing it somehow becomes "different strokes for different fokes." If a bulimic is a normal bulimic, it is an illness. If a bulimic gets sexual pleasure and it becomes their kink, many will view it in a different light. There comes to a point that if we all take that step back and realize how far we have deviated, we realize it isn't a moral battle we fight, but one for the good of our minds and happiness.

I try not to dwell on what used to turn me on, for one it disgusts me and two I do not want to reintroduce myself to the old pathways. The sad part is, to many this is just their form of watching gladiators kill each other. They want the most powerful legal escape they can, to some legal = safe, but naive people realize life is not porn once they experience the issues of trying stuff they see. Too many are into violent sex, whether is because they hate themselves or hate others and channel that energy to the exact wrong person, the person they are becoming one with.

In a world that expects humans to act like robots most of the time, love is one of the few things people have left that can be a real escape and experience something magical. To everyone else, you are just a nameless face in a crowd, but to a lover you are the world. To have that, versus pixels that draw you in and make you sick to be in your own skin, the choice is clear. Hopefully as people hit their own wall, they will too take a step back and realize- what have I become? A person who gets off to someone getting vomit in their eyes and crying in pain as a scene keeps rolling? It is pretty eye opening, and can even hit people harder than a strong mushroom trip into their mind. A sober reality check is one that seems to stick a bit harder.

I wish all the might in the world upon anyone willing to resist the darkness once one's mind is entrenched in it.

to a lover you are the world

Trumpet, that's a beautiful post.

"In a world that expects humans to act like robots most of the time, love is one of the few things people have left that can be a real escape and experience something magical. To everyone else, you are just a nameless face in a crowd, but to a lover you are the world. To have that, versus pixels that draw you in and make you sick to be in your own skin, the choice is clear. "

Jesse

Hi Celeste Your progress is

Hi Celeste

Your progress is remarkable. I have had the same experiences before I have started my sobering process. Living in a different world. Anyway your post is very inspiring and I think I can now achieve my initial target of 90 days.

Bravo

to Celeste for her success. My guess is that many other aspects of your life are "falling into place" as well. Your descriptions probably paint the picture that is so true for most of us here. Heck, how many of us HAVEN'T clicked on the X as soon as we orgasmed? In fact, your description might sort of be my metaphor for my current state: how likely or unlikely am I to be clicking the X after an orgasm instead of a satisfying bonding experience with a partner....... One might ask as a quick test......Are you clicking the X?

Trumpet, your assessment is spot on. Once sex is part of the label, it's all "OK".

David

Great post, Trumpet! As a

Great post, Trumpet! As a mental health social justice advocate one part really resonates with me.

"For what we can label mental illness today, I wonder why strange sexual kinks are somehow immune. Once sometimes becomes a fetish, or arousing it somehow becomes "different strokes for different fokes." If a bulimic is a normal bulimic, it is an illness. If a bulimic gets sexual pleasure and it becomes their kink, many will view it in a different light."

It is so true! If a friend of mine is being beaten and I tell him/her, "get out of this relationship, it's abusive," people will support me. Yet if someone is being beaten during SEX it's like, "oh that's just his/her kink and you have to respect that." I'm not inherently against BDSM and fetishes conceptually because I don't honesty know enough about them to condemn them but it seems ridiculous that a behavior that is blanketly unacceptable outside the bedroom can become acceptable as soon as it becomes veiled by sex.

I wish everyone luck who has posted about wanting to get off of it.

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Marina, that is a complicated question because I had been trying to quit for 2+ years before it finally happened the last time. Here is some of what I went through.

1.) I started feeling extremely angry and not having any release for that anger and usually just going back to it.
2.) I gave up porn initially because it is degrading and dehumanizing to the participants (not for my own sake) and so I started trying to do other things (watch hentai, hold up mirrors and watch myself, etc). It was all just reinforcing the same porn behavior and therefore not helping at all.
3.) I kept dreaming about porn, seeing it in my head to the point that I might as well still watch it. That has lessened over time although now that I'm trying not to masturbate it is coming back.

That's all I can think of right now.

Thanks, Celeste

I'm sure it's hard to think back to the earlier attempts. Congratulations on your progress by the way. You've inspired a very moving thread here. *sigh*

Kinks as mental illness...

What an interesting commentary on todays moores:

"For what we can label mental illness today, I wonder why strange sexual kinks are somehow immune. Once sometimes becomes a fetish, or arousing it somehow becomes "different strokes for different fokes." If a bulimic is a normal bulimic, it is an illness. If a bulimic gets sexual pleasure and it becomes their kink, many will view it in a different light."

Not so long ago kink was considered mental illness. I think the medical term was paraphelia (my spell-check doesn't recognize it as a word. Hmmmm...). I agree with Trumpet. If psychiatrists and psychologists etc. were to take a fair and sober look at that damage fettishes/kinks are causing, then people who suffer from them - and cause others to suffer - would get more attention.

I suppose our culture still feels as though it's still liberating itself sexually, and prohibition or censorship of anything sexual goes against the beliefs of the day.

It's strange that sexual liberation means getting off porn for me, but for my parents' generation it meant casting off the sexually repressive ideas of their parents.

Celeste, you are very

Celeste, you are very intelligent and perceptive. I am very happy for you that you have been able to pull yourself out of hurting yourself. That is the very sickest form of power, when cultural abuse becomes so deeply entrenched, that those that are being hurt or hurting reinforce their own pain, because they have identified with it so long.

So if you did not feel arousal, what were you getting off on? Were you getting off on your hurt and your anger at the hurt, and releasing it through orgasm? What percentage of people who are watching porn do you think do so because they are getting off on their resentments? On their grudges against the opposite sex?

I wonder if you can summarize the answer to the question you kept on asking yourself, "Ugh, what the hell IS this shit?"

What is this shit? What is this holy shit? Holy shit, what is this shit?

I want to know. Trying to understand an answer to that question is largely what's kept me in this forum. Because some of the people who manage to dredge themselves out of the deepest crap can share with us some idea of what is really going on here in the world right now, and what kind of strength is needed to be really human now. I know I have been blessed my whole life, have nothing to complain about, but at the end of the day, the question remains the same for me as it does for you: "Why did I not again and again choose love?" And I think that is the question behind the other question of "What is this holy shit?"

I'd love you to explain to me (along with anyone else in this forum) what you think is really going on with porn on an archetypal and cultural level.

I feel that because these power dynamics and forces of porn are happening on such a widespread level, there must be an archetypal (read: universal, intergalactic) level to it, an archetypal struggle going on, and I want to know who the players are.

I can't help but feel that at a certain saturation point and level of disgustingness we need to ask ourselves what the hell is going on not just on a personal or cultural level alone, because the forces of something this distorted can't be just personal or cultural. That basically comes down to the question of what the hell humans are here on earth to do. If some force or power has been convincing enough to persuade huge numbers of people that they came here as humans to feel as shitty as possible and pretend its fun, I want to know what the hell that force is. I want to know what these porn patterns ask us about where we are as humans in our (de)volution. Because obviously the stakes are quite high at this point in our history. Obviously the need to have meaning, to have purpose, is exremely important given the huge ecological and economic transition we are going through right now. And yet - so many people are just jacking off. Not only that, they are jacking off in ways that don't even REALLY make themselves feel good. There must be some huge correlation between the ecological devastation, the violence imposed on others with all of these wars, the greed and materialism and emptiness, and our own sorry asses getting off on such warped shit.

There are so many VERY clear choices to make in this time.

I feel like there is something more going on here than sexual frusteration, brain chemistry, loneliness, profit motive, boredom, anger, pain, and the typical power plays between men and women. This thing has gotten wholly out of hand as far as a broad-reaching phenomenon is concerned.

Is it that humans hate themselves? If so, why? Who is pulling these strings? How could this possibly have happened? What the fuck?

That is the response that your posts bring out in me, so please help me in trying to answer them.
I feel very, very disturbed.

Dopamine high

I think Anthony hit on it. It is the addictive dopamine high people get from these things, and then the subsequent "gotta have more to feel better" that keeps it coming back.

Personally, I have a hard time relating to anyone who likes to watch that kind of porn. Any sign that the woman was being forced, abused, hurt, pretty much anything other than each of them really enjoying it, immediately was a big turn off for me, and I would end the video. Maybe I'm just a sensitive soul, I don't know. But I don't care how much I was into wanting an orgasm, seeing anything violent would kill it for me.

Consequently, it is hard for me to relate to someone for whom that is exciting and a turn on. I know they're out there, and several on this forum have been involved in that. But I think the one thing I understand is that it is the "risk" and "danger" factor that play into a dopamine high. Sort of the same reason I think someone likes to jump out of airplanes. You're logical brain says your crazy to do so, this isn't right, it's too dangerous. But you enjoy that adrenaline rush, and become addicted to it, so you take all sorts of "unnecessary" risky behaviors to get that rush. I would imagine that's what's behind the desire for violent porn.

So, the subjects interesting to me from a "I wonder how a person thinks in order to arrive at that point" curiosity, but from personal experience, such porn has never appealed to me at all. I hate to watch it.

Thanks for the thread, some interesting and very valid points being raised.

What is porn and all that?

hotspring - I wasn't getting off on my grudges against the opposite sex. I was getting off on my hatred for the same sex. Other than that you're right in how you described it: "Were you getting off on your hurt and your anger at the hurt, and releasing it through orgasm?" YES.

What is porn? Hmm...for me...it started off being a learning tool. A curiosity aid. My friends kept telling me they were doing this kind of sex and that kind of sex and blah blah blah and I wanted to know what it all looked like without having to go out and have sex. Understand that a.) I didn't really want a sexual experience of my own, I just wanted to understand what sex WAS and b.) most available partners at the time were pretty abusive.

What I saw in porn was (usually) men having tremendous power over (usually women). It's not just about sex, it's about the idea that your will and your body can't be denied at all. It's like...all the anger you feel, all the hurt you might have felt over having been abused or traumatized yourself at some point, all the pathetic worthlessness you feel over not being able to get anyone to love you, all of that can be channeled into punishing someone else. For me it's like...I had fucked up and dark desires (and wasn't comfortable with sexual desires, still am not) and it's like...if all you want is just to get off (not to fall in love or experience something sacred) you just want it to be fast and easy. And then in these videos they show you that the girl doesn't want or need love, isn't a loving being, is just a trashy person who LIKES being used and then your guilt dissolves a little. You stop feeling so bad about using her. The fact that she is portrayed as so slutty and worthless makes it easier to let her be a commodity and therefore not to care that what you're doing is artificial and loveless.

That's a simpler version. I'd have to get a lot more emotionally invested to tell you all that I feel about porn but I can't right now.

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jake - It is hard to know why a woman enjoys the hard sex though. Is it because it feels good for her or is it because she's self-abusive, wants to make you happy, or wants to seem tough. Tread carefully when being okay with that because a lot of perky happy girls can be actually very self-abusive or think that they need to like it rough in order to one-up other girls. I agree that choking has no place in consensual sex. Also I never know how people define "hard." Do they mean ramming it in so hard that blood comes out without much arousal or do they mean doing it fast when the woman is really aroused and ready? There's a difference and I never know what people mean by "hard" or "rough."

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Cole, I do agree with you. I don't think it's good to watch things that look non-consensual. Basically as I kept watching worse and worse stuff my conscience stopped stepping in I guess. It wasn't really about a dopamine high, it was about having power for once and a way of dealing with my self-hatred as well as my feelings of anger towards people who have seriously hurt me. I don't want to get into it because I don't want anyone (well-intentioned as they may be) to try to analyze stuff I'm not comfortable discussing here yet.

A lot of the anti-porn links will tell you though that a lot of stuff that *looks* consensual and nice really isn't.

I can see this

"And then in these videos they show you that the girl doesn't want or need love, isn't a loving being, is just a trashy person who LIKES being used and then your guilt dissolves a little. You stop feeling so bad about using her. The fact that she is portrayed as so slutty and worthless makes it easier to let her be a commodity and therefore not to care that what you're doing is artificial and loveless."

At one point or another I could really identify with this, especially with the more extreme porn.

Reminds me of Andrea Dworkin's definition of porn

Porn: "Fascist propaganda celebrating violence against women."

This quote is taken from "Letters From a War Zone" a book of essays. The essay's title:

Pornography: The New Terrorism

WARNING there is a graphic photo depicting a woman in bondage on this page, with the caption "A Free Speech Message Brought to you by the American Civil Liberties Union." Sounds kind of right wing, but when Dworkin and other feminists fought back against porn in the public space porn's main defenders were always "free speech" liberals.

http://womensspace.wordpress.com/2007/04/12/ponography-the-new-terrorism/

In all fairness I don't always agree with Dworkin but that's fine. I agree with her more often than not and I have great admiration for her willingness to roll up her sleeves and fight for women who are often silenced and she made it her life's work to speak on their behalf.

Sorry celesete, I don't mean

Sorry celesete, I don't mean to psychoanalyze you or try to make you share anything you aren't ready to delve into. I guess I am still confused by your identification with being lesbian when you say that you were getting off on your hatred for the same sex. Anyhow, thanks for sharing your view into all this. I agree with you completely that women who say they like rough sex are probably self-abusive.

Still, on an archetypal level, I don't think all of these problems of vioence have to do just with low dopamine. On a basic level, this kind of sex is about pure self-interest, ie, greed, and getting off on power OVER. I personally believe that human behaviors that get reinforced a certain number of times eventually start to create actual entities, on an energetic level, that need the reinforcement of the behaviors to live (the behaviors are their food, as they are a representation of behaviors and will actually begin to have a relationship with the person who feeds them, encouraging them to do greedy and violent things). An entity or archetype of abuse and greed and self-interest can actually possess people. I bring the conversation to this level only because I have travelled a lot with ayahuasca and it can be quite sobering to see how beings and entities are tied in with very personal behavior, and that many of us have relationships with entities without being aware of this.

What I am saying is that I think this is a much much more serious situation than mere dopamine depletion. I think that on a cultural level we are actually pretty much obsessed (read: posessed) by greed and power, and ultimately, exorcisms are needed. A very definite stance must be taken with these entities, because they have grown so powerful. This is a crisis on a soul level. It is not just neurochemistry.

*sigh*

I'm sorry for what you went through, Celeste. Whatever it was. And I wish you a healthy future, even if it takes some time for you to bring yourself into alignment with your goal of healing.

*big hug*

Explanation.

@ hotspring, it's similar to how a straight woman who has been abused by a man or even just hurt by one too many men can get off on hurting men or being angry at men. She still is attracted to men and wants love from a man but instead of loving and feeling devoted to a man she has passionate, obsessive, powerful anger and hatred for him. Those things aren't too far from obsessive sexual love - the feelings of hatred still involve that obsession and need and bodily arousal. So hatred is pretty similar to sexual lust.

I used to hate/feel angry at women despite being attracted to them. I wanted one to love me and I wanted to be with one but I saw it as such an impossibility that I could ever be loved (still do) that I wanted to be close to them (hence the sexual fantasies) but I didn't want the risk of being hurt by them, hence the need to have power. Does that make sense?

I like this thread...My two cents.

We are living through the decline of one of the most powerful empires the world has ever known. As it goes down...lots of "shit" is let out in order to keep the people from seeing the truth that they are being terribly exploited and horrible things are being done in their name all throughout the world...and has been for decades.

Porn is a remarkably effective tool of social control.

Celeste I identify so much with your feelings about porn and the reasons you watched it. There are differences between us but I feel those are superficial...on a deeper level we are all striving to be more human, no matter how we identify racially, sexually, culturally. Every one here is trying to live in a more sane way, hopefully a more just way. A similar conclusion was reached in the book Getting Off: Porn and the End of Masculinity by Robert Jensen. That book really helped me see the social justice side of porn and what feminists are doing about it.

I agree that porn can be

I agree that porn can be dangerous. But I don't support the way the feminists see it. They use porn as an argument to support rape culture.

Concerning rape culture. I simply don't believe in rape cultue. The Dworking argument, is quite a big generalization. Here's the point, a rapist will always rape you. Whether or not he's a porn addict, won't matter to him. Frankly, most porn addicts become passive creatures with zero life force and zero libido, who arn't even interested in real life women anymore. Rape culture is where we believe sexual violence against women to be normal. But I've never endorsed this, and so do many porn addicts that I've spoken to. Like I said, we were just a bunch of guys who had no idea that this could be potentially harmfull.

Also if the feminist movement really wants to gain credibility with their attacks against porn, they should also start attacking sex toys. These are just as much objectifyng to men as porn is to women.

Yup I know

Yup I know

that's also the reason I like what you're doing it here. You look at it from a perspective how both sexes can benefit from it. Which is going to be the only sain solution.

I'm a male and this gives me soo much hope

At my worst times. I'm one month clean and was addicted to alcohol and started off with fetish bdsm porn and have had a hard time being intimate with people since then. Today it's been hard for me at work and everything feels hopeless. I don't even know where I am in the process. Oh well hopefully things get better. But I never even want to see that stuff much less become aroused by it again. I hope one day I can be happy with bonding sex. Well bravo on your achievements.

.

Now I realise why I didn't want to leave here for pastures new. We get so much more than just 'no PMO'. Philosophy, science, psychology, and personally, so many different ways of looking at the world/events and perceptions that are just incredible to me.

I appreicate you all.