San Antonio, Texas

Porn harms. I’ve heard that many times and I believe it too… Not because I think it, but because I know it and because I’m living in the aftermath of pornography addiction right now. 

After over twenty years of marriage, I discovered that my husband has been addicted to pornography (porn) for at least three and a half years. How could this husband, father and grandfather that had been by my side for almost half of my life go down this road? I was completely devastated. I found myself an emotional wreck that was barely able to function. I discovered the true meaning of depression. The pain was emotional, mental and physical as I discovered that my marriage was a lie and my husband a stranger. The overwhelming shock, humiliation, insult, what ifs and betrayal has given way to disgust and anger. My friends and family advised me that porn was no big deal, every man looks at porn, this is normal and just something that men do. The recurring theme was “Don’t make a big deal about porn.”

But, they are wrong. Pornography completely changed the way my husband viewed me, viewed our marriage and the way that he viewed and interacted with ALL women.

I researched the porn sites that my husband visited. Like most women I’ve spoken to, I had this idea about porn being regular sex, maybe anal sex but consensual nonetheless. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. What I found was a world filled with inhumane abuse and violence directed at mostly females.

I could not believe the level of brutality. I was nauseated and disgusted by the genres of porn that
included: incest, barely legal teens (that are made to look like pre-pubescent children complete with teddy bears and lollipops), humiliation, torture, facial abuse, gang bang and of course rape. The titles and descriptions were beyond disgusting, demeaning and clearly abusive. Captions of videos had titles such as, “torture this p***y” and “this a**hole is open 24/7”. The words slut, whore, bitch and c**t was in nearly every title or description.

My husband lived a secret life complete with multiple hours a week of porn viewing and at least daily masturbation. This explained a lot. His constant complaints about my appearance, his complete lack of intimacy, his impotence, his anger, his withdrawal from me and all family activities, his frequent sexual jokes and comments, his lusting of women in public and his increased drinking. Myths replaced his once rational thinking, such as, him claiming that he wasn’t a porn addict because “he never paid for porn” and stating that the women in porn “enjoyed what they’re doing and they were all making a lot of money” and “I am stupid for being jealous of videos”.

I discovered that: men that view porn are often dissatisfied with their partner’s appearance, after all, how can anyone measure up to professional lighting, photography, camera angles and in a lot of cases, multiple plastic surgeries? Many addicts also become impotent because normal sex can’t measure up to the novelty of multiple partners always willing and able to do whatever you want whenever you want it with a smile on their faces always begging for more. Porn viewing is usually done in secret so addicts withdraw from other activities to make time for porn. Addicts often objectify everyone they come in contact with and are constantly looking for sexual stimulation. People are valued based on the sexual stimulation they bring to the addict and not for who they are as a person. Addicts do not simply view pornography, but become part of the action often resulting in compulsive masturbation. Compelling data also shows that pornography rewires the brain decreasing impulse control. 90% of the top selling porn videos depict violence towards women. And, approx. 90% of porn sites are FREE. Porn addiction frequently goes hand in hand with other addictions such as alcohol, drugs and gambling.

Another tragic effect of porn is that many addicts will choose to play out their fantasies with real people when the pixels on their screens are no longer enough. My husband was one of those addicts. I discovered that he had created profiles on several sex sites seeking random partners and specific sexual acts within our zip code. He was one short step away from acting out on his secret fantasy life when his addictions were discovered.

So, here I am in my fifties, newly single after spending half of my life with someone that did not honor our marriage vows and instead allowed himself to be drawn into a world of filth, degradation and inhumanity. To say that I was blindsided is putting it mildly. Given all that I have learned and suffered through, it is my opinion that porn is not “harmless” or “empowering to women” as a lot of people in the porn industry claim. Unless their definition of empowerment is about humiliation, degradation, selfishness and abuse. I advocate for all persons to avoid porn. But, maybe women need to do a bit of research and educate themselves about what today’s
porn industry is all about. Then take that knowledge and start the conversation with your circle of family members and friends. I also believe that if more young men knew that pornography is a significant cause of impotence, they may be more likely to stay away from it. And more importantly, don’t remain silent.

I’m baffled by the complete silence on this topic from most people. Why? I know that it’s always harder to do the right thing.

Pornography has a huge impact on public health and like everything else that is negatively impacting our society, there needs to be some boundaries.

There is no question in my mind that PORN HARMS, unfortunately, I know from firsthand experience.