I put on a smile, but it got very dark inside for me

How often do we consider sex as a giving act? In the media, sex is about regularly portrayed as about satisfying our own needs and wants, which is why we live in society where using pornography is considered a normal part of sexual activity. With the perspective that sex is about me, why wouldn’t you use all things available to gratify your desires?

Familylife spoke to one person who described his own spiral of addiction to pornography. David says that with the ease of accessibility through the internet, porn became his go to thing for stress relief. But instead of being something that helped him cope with stress, porn created so much more. David became deeply ashamed of his use of porn, and unable to stop he felt burdened by the secret he kept from his wife. David says ‘It got very dark inside for me’ and his only let up was the high from his addiction. It seemed there was no way out.

So why did David feel that it was wrong? Surely if he could have a different, more open attitude to using porn he wouldn’t feel guilty and then it wouldn’t become a problem. Far from it, he says, David describes that one of the effects of being addicted to porn was ‘my desire for sex was higher, but I was desensitised both physically and emotionally. I wasn’t fully present when we made love, the pictures in my head were barriers to intimacy between Caroline and I.’ From Caroline’s point of view, she says that she knew something wasn’t right with their sex life. David seemed to want things that she didn’t and when she questioned herself about the issue, she felt the problem was hers.

We asked David what he felt was the best thing to do, if someone found themselves caught in this
situation? David’s reply was stark. ‘First, find one person you can trust, who won’t judge you and for whom this is not an issue. Second, tell your partner.’ With the humility of a man who has just shared a very difficult period in his life, David added ‘It’s hard. I wish I had easier things to say.’

David describes more of the trap he was caught in and what eventually got him free from his addiction to pornography in the bonus material in our app, Toucan.

Jo Arkell

May 2018

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