Sarah’s journey to hell and back (part 1)

The world of normal sexual awakening and pornography commonly collide, making difficult-to-understand situations and emotions complex for young people. Here, thanks to ForHerAddicts, we can read how sex, sexual abuse and pornography made Sarah’s journey through our pornized society like a visit to hell and back.

My journey with porn has been a long and complex one. It came to a head in my life during my last relationship. I really have two separate stories to tell: one as a porn user; and one as a partner of a porn addict. Both issues are intertwined and one wouldn’t exist without the other. I could write a whole separate piece on the experience and trauma of being the partner of a sex addict, but right now I’m going to focus on my own porn use. However, to do this I will have to discuss aspects of my co-dependent relationships with porn users.

The main crux of my personal issues has been co-dependency. I suffered insidious sexual abuse as a child at the hands of a trusted family friend, which I kept hidden for most of my childhood. I was groomed by this man and paid to keep my mouth shut. I felt overwhelming fear and guilt as a child and only later would I come to realise how much this experience had effected my unconscious behaviour in many aspects of my life. I also had an incredibly turbulent relationship with my father. He was emotionally and verbally abusive. My mother was co-dependent – a toxic pattern that extends throughout my whole family. Their behaviours constantly reinforced that love was fear and you had to ‘put up’ with things that didn’t make you happy. I rebelled against my father from a very young age. He didn’t know how to ‘handle’ me and this only made the environment worse. Even though I fought with him, his word was always law, even when he was wrong. There was nothing I could do about it and the seed was planted in my head that I may not like something but the man always gets his way, even if he is blatantly incorrect or at fault. This pattern was then continued throughout my adult relationships.

I started masturbating at around age 5 or 6. I can’t remember if this was a behaviour my abuser had taught me. Perhaps I have blocked this memory out of my consciousness. My parents used to tell me off if they caught me. I’d feel guilty and ashamed for doing something that felt natural. I used to do it a lot. I was lonely as a child, isolated in many ways. I used masturbation as a distraction and comfort. It wasn’t related to sex at this age, it was just something that felt good. However, as I got older and reached puberty this changed and my desires became sexual. I’d see sex scenes on TV or images in magazines or have fantasies about boys I liked.  Of course, masturbation was a secret and definitely not openly discussed.

My father died when I was 15, but my problems didn’t stop there; in fact, they only got worse and more complex. I ran from my abuser and my father’s ghost right into the arms of men that made me feel just as bad. By 16 I was already on my fifth sexual relationship and I moved out of my home and lived with a guy 10 years older than me. Like so many girls, I used sex to get attention. It wasn’t empowering, I wasn’t connected to it, but it gave me the attention which I thought validated me and that I needed. The attention was a drug in itself. Porn, in the traditional sense, hadn’t been any part of my life up to this point. But softcore pornified images were everywhere and easily available. I’d never discovered porn at home; the only real exposure to the industry was when I was propositioned at 17 by a photographer. He groomed me by getting me to do some modelling and then after gaining my confidence he tried to push me into porn.

In Part 2, Sarah writes about how most of the men she dated used porn and how this porn triggered her own sexual response.

COPYRIGHT ForHerAddicts and Porn Recovery UK 2012