Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Well: A Guest Post About Pornography Addiction

To say I've had an overwhelming response to my request for guest posters on pornography and sexual addictions would be an understatement. I took last week off to contemplate how I can use my blog to get these stories to those who would take comfort in reading them. I've decided to use the spaces left in February to post some of these narratives. 

For more information on natural addictions (including sex and food) and how they change the shape of our brains watch this, for information on how internet pornography is addiction watch this, for hope and healing consider this. For an LDS perspective try here, here (with forum) and here.

Thank you to our brave guests telling their stories.

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Well
by Anonymous


“Well, okay.  He’s already conquered that, so that’s one less thing we’ll have to deal with.” 

This is what I thought to myself when the man I was going to marry in a few short weeks told me about the addiction he had to pornography when he was a teenager.  He was honest with me about his past addiction and told me it hadn’t been a problem for years.  I was glad he was honest with me.  And I honestly thought it was something in the past, not needing to be dealt with again.  He’d conquered it.  It was done.    

That’s what I’d thought. And I was wrong. 

We got married and my husband’s addiction was something it the past.  I didn’t think about it very often.  It wasn’t a problem for many years.  Then one day, it was a problem. 

My husband had gone out of town on business for a few days and when he came home everything was great.  He played with the kids and we had dinner as a family.  We put the kids to be that night and we made love.  But it was different.  At least it seemed different.  I still to this day don’t know if anything was actually different, or if my intuition kicked in and told me something was off.  After we made love a voice said to me “check his computer.”  I knew exactly what I was going to find in the history of his internet use.  And I found exactly what I knew would be there.  The hotel he stayed at had slow internet connection, so he’d clicked around trying to find a pornographic video that would load faster.  There was quite a list of filth on his computer screen and my heart dropped into my lap.  I couldn’t believe this was happening.  I’m now grateful for that slow internet connection.  It made it obvious.  I couldn’t reason it away. 

I took his computer into our bedroom and showed him what I’d found.  I asked him what it was.   He just stared at me.  I asked him again.  Nothing.  He just kept looking from me to the computer and back again.  We sat there in silence for a while.  I asked him how long it had been going on and finally he answered me.

18 months.

I asked him why he hadn’t told me.  He said he was afraid I’d leave him.  He kept his relapse a secret tried to stop by himself.  He said he would stop for a while, but then he’d start again. Nearly 18 months this went on and I didn’t have a clue.  He was afraid, so he kept it a secret.  He was so sorry and ashamed, but he didn’t know how to stop.  He cried and told me how sorry he was.  At that point I was sad too.   I couldn’t believe he’d been going through this all alone for so long.   We stayed up talking most of the night and at that point all I felt was love for him. 

The next day I woke up devastated.  He was at work and I was home with the kids.  I couldn’t get out of bed.  I think I probably got up to feed them.  I don’t know, I can’t remember.  

I just stared at our bedroom lamp and didn’t move.  All I could do was puzzle over everything.  How did I not know?  Did he love me anymore?  Was I not enough for him?  Why would he do this to me?  How could he do this to our family?  What were people going to say?  Why did he want these women instead of me?

By the end of the day, I was angry.  I wanted to hurt him.  Hurt him a lot.  When it was almost time for him to come home from work, I put the kids in the car and left the house.  We drove around for hours.  I didn’t answer his calls or text messages.  I didn’t want to be anywhere he was.  He hurt me.  I was going to hurt him back.  I was going to leave him and take the kids too.  I was going to take everything he loved away from him.  That would be his punishment. 

Then the thought came:  “Are you going to give up just like that?  Are you going to let the pornography win?”

Luckily, I’m a very competitive person.  When I thought about all those fake women on the computer screen breaking my family apart a fire burned in my heart.  They were not going to win.  My family was worth fighting for.  My husband was worth fighting for.  I, and my life’s happiness, was worth fighting for.  There was no way in Hell, I was going to let Satan win without a fight. 

So fight we did.  We confided in our church leaders and our families.  My husband started going to a support group, which I wasn’t quite ready to attend.  

That seemed to work for a while, but then it didn’t.  We knew what we wanted our end result to be, but we didn’t know what to do next.  I still didn’t trust my husband.  I didn’t know how to trust him again.   Somehow, I didn’t want to let myself trust him again.

When we realized we were stuck, we finally went to see a counselor.  That’s when the healing really started.  With his help, we learned to communicate again and I learned to trust again.  

We set up a plan that works for us.  I put security and passwords on all of our electronic devises.  My husband lets me know if he’s had some temptation and we deal with it together.  I still check his internet history all the time. We still see our counselor on a less frequent, but regular basis.  That’s the thing about addiction, you can’t be done with it.  Ever.

We finally won this battle, but the war is still going.  The war will always be going.  Addiction is a war that you fight the rest of your life.  But my husband is worth the fight, my children are worth the fight and I am definitely worth the fight.  





Yes, thank you Valentine!
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54 comments:

Laura said...

I love these posts! As a group leader for a Pornography Addiction Support Group, I KNOW that it is so important to get the word out that this is a real addiction, and there is help. One thing I would like to add to this guest post:
In my 6+ years of experience working with porn addicts and their families, the best success in overcoming the addiction requires 4 things:
1) regular meetings with your bishop. Weekly if necessary.

2) attendance at a 12 step recovery group, and a commitment to working the program faithfully.

3) getting professional therapy. Most addicts have underlying problems that contribute to the addiction.

4) the addict has to have a support person - NOT THE SPOUSE - who is available at all hours and is willing to provide a non-judgmental listening ear. In most 12 step groups, this is a "sponsor".

Have hope! This addiction is beatable!

Jaime Ashby said...

I put security and passwords on all of our electronic devises. My husband lets me know if he’s had some temptation and we deal with it together. I still check his internet history all the time.

This is not a marriage or a life anyone should want or deserve. That's just me. I think it's awesome you are posting these stories. But as a woman who was in TWO relationships where porn was an issue, for some reason, it angers me that these women stay. To each her own I guess. I couldn't and didn't do it. I do not believe it's an addiction. And if it is, these men shouldn't freaking marry and put the burden on the innocent.

LeenieGreenie said...

Love. Thanks for doing this.

experimentalcriticism.com said...

Jaime. I just wanted to make a quick comment about the reality of pornography addiction. Rather than just spout of some statistics on the how many men have viewed pornography and everything I thought I'd share this wonderful video that I saw that changed my life.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSF82AwSDiU

The atonement is powerful. It can beat any addiction.

kkerin said...

I completely agree with Jaime. I couldn't stay. A marriage shouldn't be about security and passwords. If you can't trust your husband, what do you have? That said, I do think these woman who share their stories are brave and these stories do need telling.

Jaime Ashby said...

@experimentalcriticism.com...

No disrespect. But I did all my research. Did all the counseling. The religious healing (Church of Christ here) and what it all boiled down to was that I DID NOT trust them. If you don't have trust and committment then you have NOTHING.

I'm not trying to be down on the women in these stories. I have a lot of empathy for them. I went through every single emotion they did. Had every thought they had.

But DAMN. Them staying is beyond me.

ASVB said...

Pornography "addiction" seems to be a subject that is blowing up in the blogosphere. And before I begin, I want to mention that I DO believe that pornography can/is addicting to SOME women and men. However, my question is how many women (I will use women as a general reference as most of the blogs I’ve seen on the subject are written by women) are using the term "addiction" loosely? Is their husband/boyfriend truly addicted to pornography? Or does he like to view it occasionally and the significant other has moral qualms about porn? Of all the studies I've seen on porn consumption here are basic statistics I've gathered:

-86% of adult men reported having used pornography at some level in the past year
-Approximately 1/5 of men reported daily or every-other-day use
-Nearly half (48.4%) reported pornography use weekly or more.

So are we dealing with a generation of sexed out/porn crazed men? Or is the lexicon “porn addiction” being thrown around too liberally? Not trying to belittle the situations of others, but I'm just curious as to how many of these spouses are actually 'addicted' rather than just being in a moral disagreement on the issue. Thoughts?

Jaime Ashby said...

@ ASVB...

Good point.

Morally I don't agree with it.

But it wasn't about that for me. It was about RESPECT. Plain and simple. You don't disrespect me by doing something that's going to hurt me.

The end.

Amy A. said...

I noticed the author used the term "fake women". Those aren't fake women. Those are real women. Maybe when we start to rescue our women, girls, daughters, sisters, moms, wives, then maybe we can rescue our men.

Stephanie Ross said...

Fake women? This author has some unresolved issues of her own, clearly. This is where the problem begins...and should end.

emilia. said...

@experimentalcriticism.com thank you so much for posting that ted talk.

We live in a pornographic generation. We are sex crazed. It's fed by the media, movies, and marketing before we even go looking for internet porn.

What i love about that ted talk is that highlights the danger, addiction or not, pornography numbs people to genuine, sincere relationships. i think that's a kind of immorality no matter what religion or non-religion (before we even get to the treatment of the women).

It's horrifying to think that young men's first sexual experiences are being shaped by porn directors and women who are often being exploited.

talking about it openly is the first step to helping re-shape our culture.

and, i think the decision to stay in a relationship affected by pornography is extremely personal. when i first started learning about pornography, i hated reading essays like this about women who stayed. i'm not married, but it didn't look like it was fair. it's not respectful. how can you trust?

for every woman, it is different, but i have since learned that there are good men who are trying very hard to delete this media from their life—because they don't want it.

That is the gorgeousness of the atonement. it can make something even better and whole of something that was dysfunctional and corrupt. but! you have to have two parties who believe and want this outcome.

experimentalcriticism.com said...

@Jaime

I'm sorry if I seemed incentive. This is a subject that carries a lot of pain and weight with it and just posting that video was incentive of me.

I understand the pain that is caused by pornography use on both ends, but what the husband in this story said was true.

Most men I know that don't confess a relaps into an old pornography problem do not confess it because they are afraid. They love their spouse very much and do not want to lose her. Most men in this situation are not succumbing because they want to spite their wife or even that she's inadequate for them, but rather because they don't know how to stop.

Thank you for sharing your story as well. It is just as real and just as valid.

Michelle said...

I am a woman who stayed with my husband through pornography addiction. The reason I call it addiction is because his behavior had become compulsive. He did not want to consume pornography anymore and felt like he was in a losing battle. He knows better, and he knows how devastating it is to me, and yet he would continue. This is the behavior of an addict, not just a casual user who is embarrassed by his behavior.

The truth is I don't trust him and it kills me. I hate that trust has been lost in my marriage, but the definition of trust has changed for me. Trusting my husband to not look at pornography or lust after other women is impossible. I can't put myself in that vulnerable place anymore...and many of you are right, I shouldn't have to live this way. My husband SHOULD be faithful to me. That is what he promised to do, and he broke his promise. But in my case, I see his desire and his intention to change.

He made a stupid decision to look at something years ago, when he was a little boy who in many ways didn't know better. It stuck with him and set him up for what we are dealing with now. That is what we need to bring attention to. People are being bombarded with sexually stimulating images at a very young age and then expected not to indulge EVER. We are living in a pornographic world. We need to help men and women work through this, and sometimes that means staying with them...even in our pain.

Vanessa Brown said...

First I want to say you brave strong woman. You bring tears to my eyes by your example of FIGHTING for your family.

I still...

We have this man in our lives who uses this pornography addiction thing as a crutch. He abuses women, he has had online sex with minors, looks at all kinds of pornography. We don't allow him around our children because of some of things he is addicted to and has done. But he will send us these stats and stories and talks and blog posts. And say, "SEE, its NATURAL, its an addiction just like food or drugs. Look at these stats, your husband is probably doing it too."

I just...I do appreciate and understand the importance of bringing more light to this.

I do believe that there are people addicted to this and GOOD MEN (and women) addicted to it.

But also feel like there is a flip side. I really hope that men don't see this addiction term as a scapegoat. That women look at this (not really this post mind you) and think oh...I guess it isn't that big of a deal, because so many other couples are having issues with it. That these men just need to stop choosing a filthy "high" over what they know is right.

Pornography is such a dangerous nasty thing. It breaks my heart to watch the families that have to deal with this. And sadly I don't have too much compassion for the one doing it. Which you know is probably very wrong of me, maybe this is what these posts will teach me.

Jaime Ashby said...

Let me clarify one thing please...

The boyfriend I was with, he had a PROBLEM. He was obsessed with porn. To the point of not being able to stop after I found his stash of porn for the second time, took it to his work and threw it all over the parking lot.
He also was unable to stop after I found his $600 phone bill where he had done phone sex so much his phone had been cut off.

That's a problem. In the process of dealing with his problem, it destroyed me, my self esteem, my self worth and my validation.

It was sickening.

My ex-husband, to my knowledge, did not have a problem. I only caught him twice (that I know of) in the 9 years we were married. HOWEVER, he KNEW what it had done to me. He also knew it was a deal breaker. Still I stayed after I found him out. It was until a couple years later, and a multitude of other problems, that our marriage ended.

But the porn, the inability to trust, that was the catalyst.

I'm super bitter about it. That's obvious. I don't want to know or understand it. All I need to know is it destroyed the relationships I was in and ultimately destroyed me.

I'm sorry if I come across as mean because I don't mean to. Just a very touchy subject for me.

Hope Sparrow said...

Thank you for spreading the word!

I am an ADMIN over at the Hope and Healing LDS Forum for women. It's the best place I have found thus far to break the silence. My husband has been a pornography addict for 12 1/2 years and finally joined the LDS 12 Steps ARP Support group. For years the Bishop would tell us pray and read scriptures, but that was never enough. The addiction would sneak back in. I always felt it was my job to protect my husband from pornography and did everything I could, filters, monitoring, and when he would relapse, I felt like failure. My worth plummeted along with my health. I isolated myself from friends and family. I was too embarrassed to reach out, so I remained silent, never knowing I could find my own path to recovery.

The 6 1/2 months ago, my husband hit a low point and relapsed again. He agreed to participate in the 12 Steps program. I was a complete mess and hit my own rock bottom. I scoured the internet to find help. I found the Hope and Healing forum.

I created an anonymous name and email and registered. I got a quick response and was welcomed in to the community. Everyone there knows me as Sparrow. I shared my story and the women there have been a source of strength and upliftment ever since. Many of the resources shared have helped me begin my own path to hope and healing through Christ.

These women are wonderful and full of love and compassion. They are my sisters and my truest friends. We all have different stories, but we all share the same feelings of pain, discouragement, anger, confusion, betrayal, and loss. We understand each other and bare testimony of our recovery with each other. Through them I learned that I have no control over my husband's addiction. It is within his power to find his path of recovery. The sooner I detached from his addiction the sooner I could heal.

There is so much to learn about addiction. It's crucial for a wife or even a girlfriend of an addict to educate herself and find a 12 Steps support group.

If you are feeling hopeless, lost, confused, or in need a safe place to share come join us...

http://www.hopeandhealinglds.com/forum/index.php

We can help you get started on the path to recovery.

You can heal:)

Many of us women are blogging our journey's. This is mine...

http://diaryofasparrow.blogspot.com/p/about-me.html

emilia. said...

Jaime,

thank you for being so open and vulnerable about your story. the pain is real. which is why pornography is so devastating. it prevents real love.

Allison said...

I love these stories, I don't love all the negative comments in this part, but it's good to read all sides. Part of this debate feels a lot like the stay at home mom debates, damned if you do, damned if you don't. I'm a woman who stayed, my cousins wife didn't. There has never been judgement from either side because we both recognize how personal the decision is. There isn't a blanket choice that is right or wrong for every woman/family living through this. What I do know is that I and my cousins ex-wife have both found ourselves extremely happy and blessed in our choices, regardless of whether we chose to stay or to leave. I think it's very trite of a person to say things like "this isn't a marriage or a life anyone should want or deserve" because like many other things in life, sometimes you're handed situations that indeed you have never wanted or deserved, but somehow you learn and grow in whatever way you need to through the choices you make to handle these un-asked for blessings/curses. And for those of us dealing with this type of addiction/recovery on a regular basis, it's so much more constructive to have someone just state what they experienced than to comment in this "I experienced this and chose this, I can't believe women that choose to stay/go BUT to each their own", there needs to be a lot more respect for each other in the dialogue, it makes me sad that some people write like somehow because they made a certain choice, they must be better. Nothing in any of this is "better" it's all just DIFFERENT, different people/family/circumstance/personal revelation etc...

Just Jaime said...

Allison, loved your comment! Very well said.

Jaime Ashby said...

@Allison

I apologize to you and to the author and everyone else if that was offensive.

It wasn't meant to be. I understand all too well how each individual has to deal with their own problems.

I was ostrecized by my family and my church because I divorced. Short of him beating me or cheating on me was the only validation they would give me to leave.

It's a personal choice. I'm not trying to be disrespectful of the choice. I'm disrespectful of the situation that you, me, the author and all the other women (or men) that are forced into this situation by people they love and trust.

My apologies. Sincerely.

Jaime Ashby said...

I really am sincerely sorry. I'm not trying to pass judgment and I went back and re-read my comments and I know it came across that way.

This topic...it just devastated me so MUCH...that it sparks that hurt and anger in me and I guess maybe I haven't really processed it.

I don't think I'm better because I left. I have often felt like a failure for being divorced. The people around my small town and church SURE makes me feel that way.

I wasn't looking to make anyone feel bad for their decisions.

I was just trying to state my POV.

Sorry. :)

Carol-Anne said...

Jaime, Really appreciate that you've thought about this and come back and offered an apology. It can't be easy, and it's clear you didn't mean to be offensive.

Less judgment, more compassion, people.

SuiGeNeRiS Speaks said...

I really liked this post...

I hate pornography ....my ex-husband had an issue and used to tell me as an artist he liked "draw" the women in the magazines - which he did as well - but.... really?

I am grateful that we had way scarier marriage problems than that that resulted in me leaving with the children.

What a terrible challenge to have to overcome in your marriage. I admire all the women that can stick with their husbands and come out on the other side of the addiction. It has all the symptoms of cheating but no 'real' person (yes, the women are real - you know what I mean) - yet can break a marriage up just the same...its heart breaking!

T said...

Thanks Jamie. You are kind and good. I appreciate your story and willingness to hear and try to understand others.

Thank you to the guest blogger for sharing her story. I know what you've shared is just a minuscule part of all that has happened in your life surrounding pornography, and it's likely hard to see all your heartache summed up in a few paragraphs because it just doesn't do the experience justice. That said, I am grateful that you are willing to share despite the limitations of this forum because you have touched other people in a meaningful ways through your words. Many thanks!

And a final thank you to CJane for encouraging these kind of important conversations.

T said...

Sorry I spelled your name incorrectly Jaime. Hugs.

Delfina von U. said...

Wow, your "Anonymous" is one seriously messed-up individual. Passwords, online history... what mature intelligent person does that? (and what mature, intelligent person leaves traces for wifey to find? Haven't they heard of CCleaner?)Honestly, if I were this woman's spouse, I'd be more concerned about her mental health than my "addiction".

anna said...

In regard to the previous comment stating that it might be dangerous to label pornography use as an addiction: I think labeling pornography use in this way makes it more serious. I think the most common mentality is a "boys will be boys" attitude which makes it more acceptable especially for teenage boys.I think truly understanding the addictive nature of pornography use helps the user, and those affected by it realize that their needs to be some patience and compassion as they work through some very serious challenges. For an addict, it's not something you can choose to quit and never think about again. It's a lot more complicated than say, "I really love this blue shirt but my wife hates it so out of respect for her, I won't wear it anymore".

Bri!!! said...

Delfina von U.

I know a few women who hold the passwords to their devices. My sister is one of them. My brother in law has NEVER had an issue with porn, but he has asked my sister to do this so that it is not accessible if he were ever tempted. I don't think it's psycho at all. Most often it is the husband who asks this of his wife. I find it a great solution. Your judgment is thick.

Creole Wisdom said...

This story struck me differently than your last. I'm not sure this woman is in as self-actualized as a place the other. I believe anything like this is a journey, but some of what she wrote troubled me.

Agreeing with Jaime. I'm deeply concerned about two adults in a marriage where one person is policing the other. I think that probably works for a while, but eventually it won't. Where there's a will there's a way-- if he wants to view pornography he will, he can get another computer or purchase pornography at a store with cash. People find a way.

"When I thought about all those fake women on the computer screen breaking my family apart a fire burned in my heart."

These are not fake women. They are also daughters of God. I am not sure why the focus is constantly on the "other woman," in situations like these because it's not about the women. The pornography industry would never exist if it weren't for a market. It's about customers.

It's also not these women who are tearing your family apart. These women have had their entire lives destroyed most likely, you don't enter the adult industry unless you are dealing with either a troubled past or serious emotional issues (that is my opinion).

It's the husband/spouse that views pornography that "broke the family apart."

phylly3 said...

Addiction to alcohol runs deep in my family, both sides. Before my parent found recovery our family was just as sick having lived through the constant upheaval in our home. I am sure it is the same with pornography. I know that the addict deserves support while they are learning to navigate their life without the substance they are addicted to. But I do not believe that the non-addicted spouse should assume the role of parent or disciplinarian toward the other. That is not what marriage is about. If trust cannot be found then the addict should be removed from the home until they reach recovery and can't do further harm to their spouse or their children.

Julie said...

I thought this part was really touching...

"I couldn’t believe he’d been going through this all alone for so long. We stayed up talking most of the night and at that point all I felt was love for him."

I'm treading lightly here because I don't want to offend anyone...

I am not a Mormon (currently Agnostic) but I have to wonder... doesn't a religion (any religion) that teaches young people that sex is "dirty", that natural desires are "sinful lust" and just natural curiosity about well, how people look naked having sex=sick, disturbed.. well doesn't that make sexual desires SUCH a tabboo it makes it that much more difficult to resist?

How is an internet porn addiction worse or different from food or shopping addictions (ever "lusted" over stuff on Pinterest...I have)?

A food addiction can lead to morbid obesity which can lead to a shortened life span, death. Or at least a myriad of health problems that have a negative impact on the family (medical bills, depression, inability to work, older children who lose part of their childhood taking care of their younger siblings b/c the parent is unable).

And a shopping addiction can ruin a family financially, break all the trust, damage the future of the children.

But I think because food and shopping addictions are so much more common with women we tend to be more forgiving of ourselves. And yet the damage is as bad (if not worse!) than the husband having a pornography addiction.

Kath said...

Trust should not be expected immediately after it has been threatened. Boundaries are essential as trust is given time to build. It takes time, sometimes a lot of time. But as the author points out, her marriage, her life and the lives of her children: all worth the wait. It WILL come.

Tracee said...

I want to find this woman and giver her a hug. Wow. Courage.

Creole Wisdom said...

Stepping in again to respond to what Julie said. I agree, in part.

I believe there are unhealthy views about human sexuality within the LDS church.

While almost all Christian faiths advocate for no premarital sex the LDS church takes it one step further. Having sex outside of marriage is "the second worst thing next to murder" and you can't go on a mission if you've had sex with more than one person- even if you have repented (I know of a case where this happened.)

I personally believe God created us to be in part, sexual beings, and that ideally sex is saved for marriage. However, I think it's unrealistic in today's world in some part, but I really don't judge people for waiting or not waiting.

What I have a problem with is the lack of grace. I cannot imagine the immense pressure to remain "chaste" with object lessons about a licked cupcake, connecting sex to being almost as bad as murder and having a mission on the line. It can be very challenging for young men to feel respected if they don't go on a mission. I can't speak for everyone, but it's an issue.

All of that said (this is an interesting topic to me,) I think the issue with pornography addiction in the LDS church lies with the perception of normal sexual behavior: the desire to have sex (not the action), perhaps mastrubation, being equated with being "unworthy" or "bad." I believe sex is extremely complicated and I don't have all the answers, but I do think there is immense pressure put on LDS young adults-- go on a mission, get married young (sexual frustration), it's no wonder some people slip into having "double lives" (passing the sacrament on Sunday, hardcore porn viewer on Monday.)

When I joined the church at 20 I had a much easier time figuring out the intention of my frat boy friends than the guys in my singles ward. Because the frat boys had nothing to lose, it was all out there and I felt like there was more honesty.

There needs to be more grace.

christina77 said...

This must be an LDS-World Problem. Guys like to watch porn. Some women like to watch porn. Big deal. How does this wreck a marriage, if anything it may improve their sex life. Having passwords so husbands can't access certain things online is a marriage without trust. Husbands asking their wives for passwords so they aren't tempted is even more ridiculous. The LDS community just needs to embrace human sexuality, instead of using it as a means to only produce as many kids as possible and that's it.

T said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
T said...

While a lot of people who frequent this blog are Mormon, not all of us are, and many of us happen to agree with the idea that pornography does not build strong, healthy, fulfilling relationships.

I do believe that many people are too guarded about human sexuality, and we could certainly learn to view sex as a more natural, beautiful, enjoyable, part of life when shared in a respectful, loving, committed manner. But I am confused why the go-to answer for so many people regarding a need to be more open about sexuality is to embrace pornography.

I have to point out that nothing about pornography is organic or natural. It is produced! Pornography is a man made business, not a naturally occurring phenomenon like real human sexuality. If you want people to loosen up and be more accepting of our sexual nature as human beings, suggesting that pornography is a good way to do that is absurd.

Now if the actual argument is that porn enhances sexual experiences, I am left wondering if it is actually being used as a band-aid for some other kind of sexual dysfunction...why use porn if your sex life is fantastic? Why is a sexual boost necessary for a good experience? People argue that other people are sexually unhealthy and rigid if they reject porn, but what makes the case that using porn is more healthy? It seems to me, when we become reliant on manufactured sexual stimulants to help us achieve a process that our bodies are made to do naturally, something has gone wrong. I assure you, most men and women know how to do this just fine (and enjoyably) without the help of a third party.

Allison said...

@Jaime I really appreciate your follow up and I don't hold your comments against you at all, I really think it's constructive to hear all sides, and it hopefully there are some powerful posts in the future from women who have chosen to leave, so all sides of the discussion are represented. I think Courtney is providing a huge service to her readers by having people share their experiences, and I love that you're so readily willing to share yours too. Like I said, it's all just different and hopefully we can all be more respectful in the dialogue, me included. Now is this the part of the session where we hug it out? :)

pantiespenniesprideprince said...

Before we 'hug' it out, Jane, thanx for the guest post and everyone's comments.
I am no stranger to the addiction, (yes, there is one, and yes I also stayed in the marriage...)
BUT I simply have to go with Julie and Creole.
There needs to be more grace, which Christ provides.
I was not able to forgive my husband, but happily excused my own soapie extramarital affairs in my mind,or in ex. sexual fantasies with a colleague, because I justified it thinking " My 'sins' are not as bad as his!" As women we fantasize as much as our male counterparts, but get away with it, because ours are supposedly more innocent,or it doesn't hurt anybody, it's private etc.( The exact same excuses porn addicts use!)
So, I had fallen into pride, and could only come to terms with it when my marriage was at rock bottom, because of BOTH of our faults. I had to realize I am not without fault, and seeing as we were both willing to receive grace for ourselves, we were able to give it to each other!
I DID FOR MANY YEARS... BUT ...NOT one person can say " Here, let me cast the first stone"

pantiespenniesprideprince said...

Before we 'hug' it out, Jane, thanx for the guest post and everyone's comments.
I am no stranger to the addiction, (yes, there is one, and yes I also stayed in the marriage...)
BUT I simply have to go with Julie and Creole.
There needs to be more grace, which Christ provides.
I was not able to forgive my husband, but happily excused my own soapie extramarital affairs in my mind,or in ex. sexual fantasies with a colleague, because I justified it thinking " My 'sins' are not as bad as his!" As women we fantasize as much as our male counterparts, but get away with it, because ours are supposedly more innocent,or it doesn't hurt anybody, it's private etc.( The exact same excuses porn addicts use!)
So, I had fallen into pride, and could only come to terms with it when my marriage was at rock bottom, because of BOTH of our faults. I had to realize I am not without fault, and seeing as we were both willing to receive grace for ourselves, we were able to give it to each other!
I DID FOR MANY YEARS... BUT ...NOT one person can say " Here, let me cast the first stone"

Rachel said...

Does the Mormon faith draw a distinction between porn addiction and occasionally looking at porn?

To my mind, porn is like gambling. Not everyone who participates is actually addicted. Yes, I get that your faith condemns both. But I don't think it's helpful to confuse "my husband does thing I don't approve of" with "my husband is addicted."

delfinavonu said...

Rachel,
obviously they don't. Just as they don't make a distinction between having a glass of wine and alcohol addiction. It's all or nothing. Sad, really. When normal things are "sinful", it's only natural people will turn to secret little pleasures.
Where I come from porn is for teens. Adults have enough spice in their lives usually not to need it. No stigma attached either way. Makes us a lot healthier (and saner!).

But I must admit, this stuff makes fascinating reading for us outside the LDS culture. It's like trying to communicate with aliens. Fun! Will be following the discussion religiously;)

C. Jane said...

From the author:

First, I felt like I needed to add that my husband and I were very happily married for nearly a decade before his relapse and we are happy again. We are not just drudging through every day because we want to keep our family together. We love each other and we are happy! Do we have bad days? Yes. Was this time period in our marriage horrendous? Yes. Was I happy when we were going through all of this? No, absolutely not. We've worked, struggled and fought to get back to happy. I want people to know that there is hope for happiness, love and trust again. If that's what you both want.

Next, my husband wanted to add the passwords and have me check his internet history because he knew that would help him stay away from the temptation. When you are dealing with an addiction like this, you have to trust, but you have to set yourself up to succeed also. That's how we chose to do it. I'm not obsessed with checking up on him, I only do it every couple of weeks, but he knows I'm doing it. It's helpful for us.

The reason I used the term "fake women" is because nothing about pornography is real. Yes, these people are actual people, but they are on a screen or page. The bodies and scenarios in pornography are not real. We do ourselves, other women and especially our daughters a disservice by not acknowledging their being fake. What we see in magazines, on television and on the internet is not real. Photoshop, fantastic lighting, plastic surgery...it's not real!

Lastly, my husband's pornography addiction is not about me. It has nothing to do with me. Once I wrapped my brain around this, it freed my soul. I was comparing myself to these women thinking that this is what my husband wanted in my physical appearance. I thought that was why he relapsed. I thought he'd had me and I wasn't enough, so he went searching these women out. That was not the case. When he told me how he started again, he said it was a slippery slope. It started when he came across an inappropriate image while working on his computer one day. He got curious again. He knew what happened that last time he was curious, but it had been so long, he'd forgotten what curiosity led to. Before he knew it he was trapped and didn't know how to stop on his own. That is why I called it a war, because it's always there and we always have to fight it and keep our guard up.

Shauna said...

@T LOVED your thoughts- thanks for adding them to the conversation!

Xteena said...

I may need to re-read the post, but I will say it was tough to see how his behavior could be labeled "addiction." Was he spending inordinate amounts of time looking at porn? Was he neglecting other responsibilities? Was he withdrawing? I'm not LDS, so I don't know what the taboos on porn are as far as religion is concerned. I suppose you can call it addiction if they are unable to stop a behavior that falls outside their particular moral tenets. But ... sorry. Someone here said it right when they said "guys like to look at porn." If it leads to him neglecting or demeaning his wife, that's one thing. But it is a normal behavior, like masturbating. The more repressed and ashamed he feels, the more compelled he'll feel to watch. C. Jane herself has posted frequently about eating disorders and body acceptance - it's a similar trigger. I'm sorry this caused the poster and her family suffering, but it mostly does come across as prudishness to an outside perspective, and some of the suffering may be mitigated by a more healthy acceptance of human sexuality. For the record, I'm not some depraved, insecure girl with a neanderthal boyfriend. I have a very loving, respectful and attentive (and successful) boyfriend of 2 years. I know he's looked at porn before we dated, and I'm sure he'll look again. It doesn't make me think any differently about him or feel at all threatened. I just think this discussion could be improved with a better understanding of "addiction," as well as of sexuality and relationships.

Julie said...

I appreciate the author of this post responding to the comments.

Anon I would argue you are not waging a war against pornography addiction but against lying, deceit.

Pornography in and of itself is not the "enemy" although it's much easier to see it that way.

The underlying reasons behind your husband's addiction are much more complex. The severity of your pain and feelings of betrayal are much more complex. I feel the best chance you both have at rebuilding trust is getting to the root of the matter. This can only lead to more honest and open dialogues which I believe will strengthen your marriage.

Recognize that you are not helping by "policing" his addiction, it's being codependent and diminishes his responsibility. It's his addiction, let him own it.

I would suggest stop viewing pornography as something so bizarre and "other". Some all powerful outside force that threatens to ruin your marriage..take away it's power by facing it head on.

It's just people having sex. It can be weird and gross and even scary to watch but it's just sex. Sit down with him one time and watch it, ask what he likes about it, express your opinions... have an intelligent conversation about it but get to the root of the problem, the emotions on both sides.

flowtops said...

I like that there are strong voices in this discussion, uttering pros and cons and questioning the badness of porn, the trust issues and so forth.

I truly hope the discussion stays open, and our hearts will too.

In my opinion, porn has a function in society and this will be the case as long as humanity is not open about sexuality, does not want to see it in a broader context.

It's a cramped place we live in, sometimes.

Sage said...

Mormons aren't taught that sex is dirty. Mormons are taught that sex is sacred and should be kept between a husband and wife. We are taught it is important and beautiful. Attitudes of embarrassment might contribute to that idea, but I you read Mormon lessons, never are we taught sex itself is a bad thing, only having it outside marriage is wrong.

Sage said...

Excellent comment!

Sage said...

"Obviously they don't" is such an ignorant comment. You can't answer this as you are not Mormon. Yes, we do make distinctions. Not everyone who looks at porn is an addict. Addiction is well defined. We consider drinking a glass of wine only a sin to those who have covenanted not to drink it. And we know the differece between an alcoholic and someone who drinks wine normally. We don't drink alcohol as a promise to God, not because we think wine is evil. Christ drank wine.

Please don't make ignorant comments that make assumptions about others' beliefs.

Taryn said...

Thanks for the comment Sage. It's really tricky business making sweeping generalizations, isn't it? I enjoyed reading your point of view. I feel like you cleared some things up quite nicely. What you said made a whole lot of sense.

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