Surviving Pornography: Getting Back on My Feet

It’s a tricky subject to which some women may feel they cannot be open, honest, or discuss with others. Pornography is, in my opinion, seen as a black and white topic to which people will be for or against. I’m sure there are some who do not have any real particular opinion of it; those who love pornography in its various forms will love it. Those who have been wounded by the media will probably dislike or hate it.

Pornography was probably one of the reasons my marriage failed. Pornography damaged my self-image and my self-confidence. Pornography replaced me.

I truly cannot be the only woman in the world who has a sour taste in her mouth over this media. For me it didn’t stick to just porn, but turned into socializing in adult chat rooms and signing up on a dating site. The desire for something besides me was so great, that there were multiple outlets being utilized at one time.

I feel that for some people, they can have a healthy relationship with pornography if it is a mutual decision between both partners. I was fairly young and inexperienced when I first started dating my ex-husband. I was not made aware of my comfort levels nor did I know how uncomfortable I would potentially be when I saw the extent of his collection.

I felt prickles of insecurity when he would look at emails that would send him to websites, and he would say out loud how frustrated he was because they always “make you pay.” Then the day I found five pictures of a woman he had tried to delete, somewhat unsuccessfully. He had been chatting with her and “didn’t know what she was sending.” Over the years the pressure for me to be the perfect, understanding girlfriend grew. I was also feeling the pressure to try and be someone or something that I wasn’t. How was I supposed to successfully accomplish being a sexpot when he wasn’t interested in me? I was accused, during his depressed times, of wanting sex too much.

I was shoved away, ignored, hardly touched. The dvd player and computer saw more of him than I did for several months. I felt like I was drowning. “What can I do to help? What can I do to interest you? I have needs too. It’s okay to ignore mine while I try to meet yours?” Years went by. The massive collection was redistributed, and I thought I finally had gotten my partner to see my point of view, to understand how the artificiality of what he sought solace in made me feel. I was wrong. Another year or two went by and when we lived in a different state, I was given a hint that he was up to his usual routines.

I felt misguided, lied to, and overall alone. I was stuck in a different state with a man suffering from depression and anxiety. I did not have access to my car. I had hardly any friends, no job, and nothing with which to comfort myself. All I could do was feel piteous over my situation and light up cigarettes. My anxiety and issues with depression were heightened, and I wasn’t sure what to do or where to turn. Back in Iowa, we eventually had what I call “the discussion.”

Things said by him: “You need to stop trying to make me change. This is who I am. Porn is part of what makes me, me. Stop trying to change that. I don’t ask you to change. This is unfair. You are overreacting. All men look at porn. It’s in their nature. Your expectations are too high. Deal with it. Live with it. Get over it. You’re a typical woman, stop being so prude.”

I said, “Why can’t we be intimate together? Why can’t we find ways to make sex more intriguing and fun?”

One night I came home from work with a feeling I couldn’t shrug. I looked at his credit card statement. My heart broke open, my jaw dropped, and I felt like I was going to vomit. Not only porn site charges, but a dating site too. I talked to one of my girlfriends, crying. Disbelief and shock penetrated my veins. I probably drank more than half a bottle of wine that night. Eventually, later in the week when he came home, I brought this all up to him. I said I believed him. My heart didn’t, and I ignored that.

A few years later, we divorced. I realized that besides our growing apart, my trust in him had been damaged for far too long. Pornography was always the white elephant in the room, looming over me, mocking me, and showing me everything I couldn’t be. I’d never actually be enough. There was more to this than what met the eye. If one cannot agree to disagree, or if the other partner can’t bother to listen to the wishes and hopes of the other, it’s pointless. It was always the same “say what will make her happy, then turn back on it when she is pacified long enough for it to not seem like it’s a threat.”

Having dealt with this, I’m surprised that I’m not affected more in my current relationship. I suppose it’s because it hasn’t been an issue nor a threat. In my current relationship I am made to feel that I come first. I’m not second to a laptop or DVD. I am not pushed to go outside of my boundaries and comfort levels. Everything is wrapped in consideration for me and my feelings. I’ve found I’m much more open with my current partner. I can make eye contact with him on a regular basis.

I still have old wounds, and they are slowly healing up. It’s not a process that takes two days to get over and then you are a shiny and new person. It takes years, especially if it happened regularly, over the course of years. So there you have it. These are the words spoken by someone who was replaced by pornography, and who is recovering from the damage. There is hope and proof that one can feel like a desirable woman again.

For those of you in a relationship where pornography is a comfortable topic or thing for you, wonderful. Remember not everyone feels the same way about it as you do.

I feel people shouldn’t be so harsh and quick to judge, being that some have no qualms with pornography and find it’s a non-issue. However, there are some who are deeply damaged by the destruction that pornography can cause. It can very well be a legitimate problem in some relationships, and not something to be laughed at. If it’s an issue for us, we should not be told that we are “overreacting” and that “all men do it.” Not everyone has positive experiences around it. We should be respectful of that, instead of judgmental or critical.

 

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

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1 Comment

  1. I really like it whenever people come together and share views.

    Great site, continue tthe good work!

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