Roger recently made contact with us about his porn addiction. He is currently considering our request to write an article for PRUK but he has already given us permission to reveal a rather unnerving statistic drawn from his personal history with porn. Now in the early days of his retirement at 61 years of age, Roger has been reflecting on some of the ways he feels he wasted parts of his life. He told us how he had gone into therapy last year – ‘A little bit on the late side,’ he joked, ‘but you can’t rush these things’ – due to a dependency he has had on pornography and masturbation since he was 15 years old. ‘I was never that bothered with figures beyond my salary, but when I first started my therapy I got my calculator out and number-crunched,’ he said. ‘I added up all the time I’ve spent with porn, and my figures are an estimation,’ he says. Like people with drink issues who underestimate the units of alcohol they have consumed, Roger says: ‘I’ve probably been lenient on myself. I have to be honest: I can’t remember a day I haven’t used porn to masturbate since I was a teenager. I’ve even used it when I’ve felt ill. Until therapy helped me change, it was really normal for me to spend an hour and a half a day with porn, so the maths goes like this:1.5 hrs per day multiply by 365 days in a year equals 547.5 hours porn use per year. Multiply this by 45 (the number of years I used porn), which gives 24,637.5 porn-hours. If you divide the 24,637.5 porn-hours by 24 (the number of hours in a day) this equals 1,026.5 days of my life spent looking at porn. The really sobering thought came when I took the 1,026.5 days and divided it by 365 (the number of days in a year). I was stunned when I could see that porn has robbed me of 2.8 years of my life.
It always surprises us just how many media contacts we get here at Porn Recovery UK. Too often we have to turn down requests because the programme makers or writers are looking to sensationalise porn addiction and compulsive use – recovery being used as ‘titillation’ and vicarious thrill. However, there are also signs that things are improving and we recently gave an interview for an online article we thought was seeking to get the right message out. Duncan also received an interesting request from Blink Films, a BAFTA award-winning production company ‘noted for their intelligence, warmth and creativity’, that he wants to be passed on to readers of this blog:
ADDICTED TO ONLINE PORNOGRAPHY? ARE YOU AGED 18–24?
We would like to hear from you if you are aged 18–24 and feel that you watch too much online pornography and have done so for years. Do you feel that you might be/are addicted to pornography? We are making a television documentary about some of the issues and will be looking at a cutting edge new treatment to help with the addiction. Please get in touch at email@example.com
1. ‘Just over 80 per cent of men working on porn issues in therapy reported that they did not want to think of their relationship with porn as an addiction’.* Many reported that thinking of porn use as an addiction felt like ‘an excuse’ for their actions which they did not want to use, or that it was ‘more complex than that’ or that they felt the root lay in ‘relationship issues’ rather than an addiction.
2. Duncan E. Stafford, author of Turned On: Intimacy in a pornized society, reports that the average age of male clients seeking help for issues related to pornography at his private practice is 45 years 3 months.**
* therapy-space cambridge asked 20 men who were engaged in therapy if they regarded their issue as an addiction.
** Average figure from therapy-space cambridge, private practice, during the period Jan 2010 to Dec 2012.
I enjoyed porn from when I was a teenager. Using it was a twice-daily ritual. As I got older I did not seem to become less interested like my friends did, and when I started dating and even living with women I continued to use it just as regularly.
Looking back from my current position, I think it kept my sex drive artificially high but this is all justifiable as a man. But by my late 30s I found myself in trouble with my erections when I was with my partner. First sex failed, then it became infrequent. There was always an excuse to avoid it – I drank too much, I stayed up late watching a film, I was too tired and, yes, sometimes I had a headache!
I was worried and frustrated and didn’t really connect any of my sexual problems to porn. I went to my doctor, I had tests – psychosexual counselling was suggested. While the ‘investigations’ were going on, my relationship got worse and I found myself compensating for the lack of desire for Tracy by engaging in risky sexual behaviours in order to make myself ‘work’. Telephone sex lines worked for a while, then I migrated to being a Webcam user and that led me eventually to visiting a massage parlour for the ‘real thing’. I remember leaving the place feeling shameful and empty (I’d entered it bursting and excited). I had broken my own moral codes and beliefs but I knew I was still getting worse. I managed to split myself up into pieces. Good Alex and bad Alex. The bad Alex started to photograph his sleeping partner and when that became too ‘normal’ he started to share the photographs via an online forum. You couldn’t see Tracy’s face so I told myself it was okay, no one would know it was her so it was nothing! Then I started thinking about installing a secret camera somewhere in the house to take ‘more’ secret pictures. My online viewing became totally connected with voyeuristic porn and I felt myself sliding towards more and more risky behaviours – they would have landed me in legal trouble. I went back to my GP this time saying how really down I felt, and I was surprised that I also said to him that I felt quite suicidal. I was taken seriously and I started my talking treatment soon after that visit.
I used the Internet positively and read articles on voyeurism and, difficult as it was, I began to talk to the therapist about my secret sexual life. Tracy, to my utter amazement and disbelief, didn’t leave me. We have also worked as a couple with a therapist on the issues of trust and more deeply on our joint sexual life. Things aren’t totally fixed, perhaps they never can be, but we regularly talk about things and it really helps. I feel myself to be exceptionally lucky to have a partner who wants to help me and stay with me rather than leave me or take legal action for my sharing her image online. Knowing that I have her support has made sticking to ‘no Internet’ look possible. The longer I stay away from it, the more my love and admiration for Tracy grows. We are hoping to set a date to get married next year and for that alone I am finished with Internet porn for good.
Here is a short thought from Simon who is changing his relationship with porn.
I feel I’m breaking my dependency on Internet porn – although I have chosen, so far, to continue to use magazines. In fact, I am learning how to use them again after being hooked on Internet porn for about 10 years. I used porn magazines and videos from when I was 13 years old. When Internet porn came about I quite quickly stopped buying and using mags and then I only used the Internet. It’s always felt too hard to give up using the Internet for porn if I don’t have something to take its place. I could go a few weeks but then, when I was desperate, I’d use online and then that would lead to me going back to webcams again and spending a whole lot of money on sex.
I’ve noticed that I use Internet porn differently to magazines. In mags you take in the whole picture. You have to really look around at the photo. I find I really look at the woman’s face and her figure – that’s not something you do with Internet or DVD porn. I have to really engage with the porn star to use a magazine picture. I don’t expect anyone to agree but, to me, it feels more respectful using a still image – perhaps I’m just deluding myself. I have a lot of doubts about my relationship with porn but I do figure that giving up the endless stream that is supplied by broadband can only help me. It’s a step towards breaking the control it has on my life.
COPYRIGHT Porn Recovery UK 2012
1. ‘One in three clients are women struggling with their own porn use’, says Quit Porn Addiction founder and counsellor Jason Dean (Source: guardian.co.uk Thursday 7 April 2011)
2. Duncan E. Stafford, psychotherapist and author of Turned On: Intimacy in a pornized society reports that nearly 25% of people contacting him with issues with porn use are women who feel they have a negative issue around looking at pornography. (Source: therapy-space cambridge)
3. ‘A compilation of various surveys in 2005-2007 show that 17% of women struggle with pornography addiction. That percentage translates to 1 in every 6 women – and remember, these were self-assessed surveys. It’s possible the figure is higher when you consider the number of women who watch porn but don’t consider their porn use to be problematic or compulsive. One in every six women, yet we almost never hear about women and porn.’ (Source: oneinsix)
Back in late spring this year we were preparing a conference workshop on the subject of pornography and a changing society. Looking for some ideas to kick off the session, we thought about the well-worn angle of innocent search words on the Internet. So, for a few minutes we played a little game. It’s not an original idea; indeed, if you key ‘what search terms return porn words’ into your browser, you’ll see others have already gone there. However, actually playing the game proved quite heartening.
It appears that while at one time ‘eat’, ‘sunny’, ‘small’, ‘big’ and ‘nuns’ might have brought hardcore sex pictures and links to your screen, these searches actually returned very little that was erotic, let alone pornographic. There is a difference between image and web word searches, but not of the order that ‘net nanny’ world would have you believe.
There are search terms you might be surprised by, though. PRUK wouldn’t advise you to search, for example, the term ‘mature’ on the web and certainly not in images mode unless you have safe search turned on ‘all the way’, otherwise you’ll be looking at ‘Mature Moms’, ‘Milf Housewives’, ‘Granny sex’ and way more …
Finding porn on the Internet is not difficult, but it might be just a little more difficult than some people would have you believe. Here at PRUK we know that innocent people come across porn on their home PC not so much because of innocent searches they undertake but because someone in the family has used the computer and left a download or unlocked file that could provide an unpleasant experience if discovered by someone else when and were they least expected it.
Click to read our tips for porn recovery
We thought about this post for a while before putting it on the blog. Searching through the stats of our first eight weeks of the Porn Recovery UK blog raised an important point. Two sorts of people find our blog: there are the people we write it for who are looking for help, information and support about porn usage and addiction; and then the people who are searching for porn itself but land up on the site because of the number of times we use a particular search term. We got to thinking about how useful it might be to use the search terms in a post so that more people searching for porn might come across our site. Why? Because we know that there are many people unhappy with the way they use the Internet for porn, and coming across our site might allow them to pause, stop and consider for a moment. They might even come back at a later point and read the site if they are distressed by their engagement with porn and discover something useful about it or themselves. So, here are some selected search terms and phrases people have used to find us in the last eight weeks:
life outside porn
porn statistics 2011
turned on: intimacy in a pornized society
virtual sex and the internal world
past kays catalogue underwear pictures
my porn blogs
extreme porn counselling uk
17 year porn picture
girl cute sex video
poems on porn
statistics and information on pornography in 2010
motion picture of a man’s penis entering a woman’s vagina
hard sex vagina penis photo
porn statistics uk
benny hill private porn
home pussy porn
problems giving up porn
Porn, wounded, girls, helpless, fucks, usage, young, female, recovery, pornography, stats, 2010, 2011, porno, recovery, uk, blog, hardcore, extreme, sex, vagina, penis, photo
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EVAN has agreed to collaborate from time to time with Porn Recovery UK about his process of working with a 30-year porn habit. Here’s his seventh blog.
I’ve just come back from a therapy session and I’m still thinking about why, when I’ve been doing so well, I should choose to sabotage myself. I’ve just been talking about how I can see that self-sabotage is a pattern in my life – both at work and at home. I can see how I’ve been using porn to smooth out pretty much all my emotional ups and downs – just like taking a tablet. It really closes down my horizons, closes down my thinking and then my feelings. It’s really interesting to be faced with how vulnerable I am to porn. Clearly not all people who use it are like me. I long for the idea of being able to just go ‘porn-lite’.
My therapist talks about my choices, how I have to decide where to set the bar of what I can view and what I can’t. I thought I was doing okay with that idea, and then I binged on the stuff. I took myself to a really dark place with it yesterday. I looked for the destructive stuff to me. Talking about it in therapy just now, I can see how I am using it to punish myself. I’m not going to write about those details here (at least not yet – if ever) but I can see how I’m trying to work through my past messed-up stuff. My therapist made an analogy to the way people sometimes use sexual fantasies to work out past sexual trauma – like when people have been abused. Although nothing like that happened to me, there is relationship stuff that I can see I’m trying to fix – or is it destroy? – when I look at the heavy, nasty porn.
I’m not going to beat myself up here but I do wish I could have the beautiful sexy images without it triggering me to the dark stuff. I’m not one of the lucky people who can use porn without consequences – even though my therapists says they really do exist.
CLICK FOR TO READ ALL OF EVAN’S BLOGS
If you are feeling unhappy with the way you use Internet pornography and are finding it difficult to gain control of your usage, here is the fifth of Porn Recovery UK’s tips to help.
Being in touch with your body and your feeling mechanisms is really important. As an addiction to pornography increases, some people become aware that they feel less sensitive in their body. ‘Feelings’ can become minimised and centred on genital satisfaction alone. For other people the process has happened so gradually that it is almost unnoticed until pointed out to them. As you are working on resensitising your mind to its own internal conversations about sex, why not also start to work on your body as well?
When working on the physical body, different people find very different things pleasurable. Thankfully, though, this part of the process is really quite easy to work out for yourself. Allowing yourself to feel things can be done many times a day and in many different ways – for example, allowing yourself to focus on the warmth in your hands from holding a cup of hot tea can feel great, as can having a warm bath or allowing the shower water to stimulate your chin or back often feel comforting. Then there might be the pleasure of allowing yourself to feel the sensation of stroking a pet, or hugging a friend or partner. If that feels difficult, then stroking some nice material would do. People also like the sensation of cool and cold things on their body, in their hands or mouth. You can experiment in so many ways with touch and feeling sensations. Slowly dropping a chain or necklace on your arm; feeling clean sheets; nice warm socks or cool flip flops after your feet have become hot in shoes all day … Go on, experiment and know what good you are doing yourself.
Click to read all our tips for porn recovery