ELLEN’S first exposure

 PRUK has been lucky enough to make contact with Ellen through oneinsixwomen. Here she writes about her first experience of using porn.

Technically, I suppose, my first exposure to porn was when I was ten or eleven and I found some of my brother’s magazines whilst snooping in his room one afternoon. I remember being fascinated and horrified at the same time. These were photos of women who hid nothing, and their casual boldness scared me because it was so alien to everything I knew. I went back again and again to look at these magazines when there was no one at home. That was my first experience of porn but what I saw later was so different it made those magazines look like fashion mags.

When I was in my late 20s I spent a Saturday afternoon playing card games on my computer. The internet was only accessible via dial up so I wasn’t on there much, but this day I decided to search for more card games. I clicked on a link that said ‘free card games’ and suddenly I was at a porn site. It was that simple. I didn’t go searching for porn; I had never even imagined seeing it. There was no secret craving for porn and I was completely shocked that I’d landed on this site. In truth it was fairly tame. It was photographs only, and at this point I didn’t even know you could watch porn films online; I thought you had to buy videos at a sleazy shop for that. The pictures were rougher than what I’d seen in my brother’s magazines and the women looked … more demeaned, I guess. They seemed more humiliated, more like victims. I understand now that their humiliation was what attracted me. It resonated with my own experiences of being shamed, put down and emotionally abused. I didn’t go to porn because I wanted to see naked women or, later, because I wanted to see women have sex. I wasn’t aroused by the women; I simply identified with their powerlessness, with the way they were treated as worthless objects. It made sense to me.

That afternoon I forgot about the card games. For the first time, I typed the word ‘porn’ into a search engine. I can remember shaking, and my heart was pounding from fear. I felt like I’d crossed a line, taken a step that I couldn’t have imagined ever taking. Obviously I’d seen pornographic images before, in the magazines, but actually typing ‘porn’ into my computer was something very different. I wasn’t looking at something I’d stumbled across accidentally; I was deliberately choosing porn. And making that choice for the first time wasn’t exciting or liberating or fun. It was simply terrifying.

Within weeks, I knew all the search terms that would quickly find me the images I wanted to see. Within months, I’d discovered movies. A little while after that I found porn fiction, where I could read about impossibly degrading acts that couldn’t happen in real life. I had an entirely new language of code words, abbreviations and acronyms. I knew the names of acts that I hadn’t even known existed a few months before. I was an expert at finding what I wanted to see. Finding my chosen content got faster, easier, more streamlined … but it never stopped being terrifying, and I never stopped hating myself for it.

Copyright oneinsixwomen 2011

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