Good Alex, Bad Alex …

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI 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.