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TW: Scared I was porn addicted.

 Hello, this post may have some talk about porn so I’m sorry if I seem crude. I will try and convey this in the least crude way as possible. I am feeling awful at the moment. I am 16. When I was 12 I started masturbating and I started to watch porn. I understood that porn does not depict real sex and that it is fake, but I had no idea of some of the ramifications of porn. I had a very high sex drive and I masturbated a lot. And I mean a lot. And I watched porn nearly every time I did that. It never really affected my life as I didn’t go out much, as I am a school refuser, but it never really interfered. I remember that I would get aroused very easily even at a very mild sexual image. When I was around 14 I saw that you could get addicted to porn and it can change the way your brain works and I stopped. But I remember it wasn’t entirely easy to stop. I still had urges to do it and I’m scared that was because I was addicted. I’m here today because I’m so terrified that I was previously addicted. And I hate myself. I analyse everything about this phase in my life. I saw this article about a porn addicted woman who seriously thought she was gay because she watched mostly female oriented porn. She felt almost attracted to women. Like the porn tricked her. And I remember that I went through a period where I was very confused about my sexuality because I thought that I was a lesbian. At this time I was watching the porn. Now I’m scared I was addicted like her.

Sometimes back then I would want to stop masturbating, but I felt like I couldn’t because I had that urge. Even now whenever I see a mildly sexual image I feel the same arousal and feeling like I want to masturbate. I’m scared that I was addicted to porn and that it will affect me forever. That it has “ruined” or damaged my brain. I hate myself so much. I never masturbate now because I’m scared I was addicted and that I’ll go off the rails. I hate myself at the moment with such fervour I can’t explain. I feel like a disgusting human being. I feel I deserve no sympathy because I did this to myself and it is my fault. As apposed to someone with depression, where they can’t help it. I feel that I have ruined myself. I feel like I don’t want to live anymore. I am safe, but I have this feeling of such despair and guilt. Even though I may not be addicted now I’m scared that I was. Or that it may come back. I’m terrified. I feel I don’t deserve any happiness.

Re: Scared I was porn addicted.

Hey @ILikeCake, thanks for taking the time to write about your experiences. I totally understand how it feels to be concerned over the consequences of your past behaviour and to struggle with feelings of regret. It's not a great feeling and I think it's such an awesome step that you've chose to reach out and talk about how it's making you feel. That's a super brave step for you to take :-)

 

You mentioned that you started watching porn from about 12 and then stopped when you were 14 because you heard of porn addiction. Is that correct? Something that stuck out to me when reading your story was that you are concerned that you might have had a porn addiction, but aren't sure (though either way, it's stopping you from exploring your sexuality currently) - does that sound about right?

 

I did some research on porn addiction and here's what I could find in the way of definitions:

 

Pornography addiction is an addiction model of compulsive sexual activity or use of pornographic material, despite negative consequences to one's physical, mental, social, or financial well-being.

 

^ does this sound like something similar to what you experienced? I feel like one of the defining characteristics was that it had a negative impact on other areas of your life (such as mental, social, etc.). Was this something that you were noticing when you were watching it?

 

I think it's also important to bear in mind that arousal, watching porn and masturbation are also very normal experiences for teenagers to go through (and even 12 year olds!) Growing into sexual maturity often involves a lot of hormones that can really peak your interest in content like porn, and in most cases, this is totally normal and okay! You might find that it settles down in time, but some people also just have super high sex drives. I think exploring how you feel about sex is totally okay, but still today there's a lot of stigma around people (particularly women's) freedom to do so, which can lead to feelings of self-disgust and shame. Which I don't think is particularly fair, because it's also a normal experience for women to have as well as boys!

 

So while I think you should definitely have a look at whether or not you feel like you fit the description for 'porn addiction', it's worth bearing in mind that developing a sex drive is nothing to be ashamed of. There's nothing wrong with wanting to explore your sexuality, and getting aroused is a completely normal part of development. 

 

Do you feel like you have people in your social circle who you can talk to about these things (such as sex?). They may also be able to answer some of the questions you might have around it.

 

Let me know if you think I'm on the right (or wrong) track with anything Smiley Happy

 

Re: TW: Scared I was porn addicted.

Hey @ILikeCake

I can hear how guilt and shame you're feeling about your previous experience of porn.. it is a huge step to open up and talk about it. I'm really glad that these thoughts that have no doubt been swimming around in your head for a long time, have had a chance to be expressed here. How do you feel having them out? Have you ever spoken to any one else about this? 

 

A few things I want to say.. masturbation is 100% normal and natural. We have an article over here about it  - it has some statistics that show that most people admit to masturbating (and probably even more actually do it...).  There is nothing to be ashamed of for experimenting with your sexuality and body. Being a young teen is often the time in life when hormones are most active, and sex drives are highest. There is no "normal", but whatever was happening with your body at the time was totally natural and ok! 

 

The porn viewing is something that sounds like you thought was unhelpful for you  at the time, and you managed to stop watching it - it's amazing to hear you were able to take steps for your well being in this area.

Porn can be a confusing/ complex medium,  but being addicted to it does not in any way make you ruined, damaged, or any less of a person. In fact, most people watch porn (up to 70% of Australians according to a study at Sydney Uni!). 

Whether or not you were addicted does not in any way have to effect who you are now. It sounds like you're worried that if you were addicted to porn, that it has damaged your brain in some way.  Brains are INCREDIBLY flexible, and able to heal and change. Sexuality is also something that can change and heal. We had a chat (a while ago) on the forums about porn that you might find interesting. 

 

If you're wanting to work through some of these thoughts about porn, sexuality and identity, I think it's important to do it with a professional like a counsellor or psychologist - have you done this before? 

 

It must be awful to feel so much hate towards yourself, and that you don't want to live anymore. Thank you for letting us know that you are safe - but the thoughts must be pretty hard .

What do you do to stay safe? 

 

We're here to support you on this one - no judgement at all. We certainly do not think you're a bad person for watching porn, or having a porn addiction - I think you're brave for opening up and seeking support! 

 

Re: Scared I was porn addicted.

Thanks for responding. I don’t really think porn affected me socially or
with school or anything, after I did it I did feel depressed though. But it
didn’t affect school or social stuff because I wasn’t really at school or
going out heaps in the first place. So now I feel worried and confused.
Although there are some times where I was with the family or something and
I would go to the toilet to masturbate. Basically I’m just really scared
that this may have been an addiction. I feel ashamed and guilty. It’s just
the fact that it is an “addiction” that makes me so worried. There are so
many bad connotations in my head and I feel ashamed. I can’t really talk to
anyone about this. I feel disgusting and stupid. I wish someone could say
“oh you’re not addicted,” but I just think “what if, what if...?’ I feel
like I shouldn’t be loved or anything. I feel horrendous about myself.

Re: Scared I was porn addicted.

@ILikeCake it sounds like the big worry you have, is whether or not the way you were engaging with porn and masturbation would classify as an addiction? 

Something that might be helpful, is to remember that diagnoses or classifications of any kind are only really necessary in as much as they help people to get the support that they need. 

So if you think that using the word 'addiction' to describe your previous experience, is only making you feel awful - and not helping you in anyway - then scrap it. It doesn't apply to you because it's not helping you. It sounds like you're much happier with the way you engage in porn and masturbation now and that the behaviours haven't had any big negative impacts on your life - so it really does not sound like an addiction at all. It sounds like very normal and natural sexuality. 

 

I'm sad to hear that you feel horrible about yourself, and that you don't deserve love - that is not at all true. Everyone deserves to be supported and loved, no matter what they have done in the past. What did you think of the idea to speak to a counsellor about some of these thoughts about yourself? 

It could be really helpful to work through this and build back up your self- esteem and your sexuality.  What do you think? 

 

Re: Scared I was porn addicted.

@ILikeCake Hi teenage years and sexual development are super hard to go through but as others have said masturbation and high sex drive is NORMAL you are not gross or disgusting or a bad or horrible person. women are socialized to feel shame when it comes to having and wanting sex more than is considered "normal" but normal doesnt exist and it is more about what is right for each person. also the notion that girls dont or shouldnt masturbate comes from basically men wanting to control women both socially and as property and although that is a long debate i shouldnt get into my point is as long as you are being safe and doing things because they make you feel good then everything is fine. as for addiction that label is only needed if it gets you help with a problem it is more of a descriptor for a set of behaviors but the negative association with the word and social stigma that applies to it really shouldnt because addicts are just people too. (not saying you are one but there is nothing inherently wrong with being an addict in and of itself) if however you found that the porn behavior was negatively impacting your functioning and stopping you doing things you love then perhaps it is worth talking to someone to explore what is going on. good luck and sorry for the rambling post.  

Re: Scared I was porn addicted.

Hey there!

I read in one of your other posts that you have OCD, and from my personal experience I think this might have a lot to do with what you are feeling. Before I saw treatment for my OCD I quite severely repressed my sexuality due to awful intrusive thoughts about me making unwanted sexual advances on people or doing things that are sexually inappropriate (these thoughts sometimes caused me to stay home from school in fear of hurting anyone -- even though I never would). What you're feeling is a normal symptom of OCD, and if your seeing a counsellor or some other health professional, I would recommend bringing this up to them: I know it can feel embarrassing but they're there to help! 

It's not you, it's your OCD! I promise! I felt alone and 'dirty' for a very long time before I managed to seek help, so I know how it feels. Stay strong! Smiley Happy