I made my second attempt to ‘clean up’ my porn and sexual behaviours at Christmas 2009. I booked some therapy and I knew I was going to be okay. The start of the new decade and the start of my new life. In a few sessions I was feeling I understood myself pretty well. I stopped making arrangements to see escorts; I stopped using webcams and I cut down my online porn time. In June that year I felt I was doing fine and I ended my sessions.
I made my third attempt to ‘clean up’ my porn and sexual behaviours at Christmas 2010. I had learned where I went wrong and I was ready to get it right this time. I joined a group for sexual addictions I had seen online that was held in the next county to mine. I was able to talk about the process I’d gone through trying to break free and, after a few sessions, I was feeling much better again. I stayed with the programme even though, by the end of 2010, I wasn’t even using online porn. However, coming up to the end of the year I was spending $40 a week on telephone sex lines.
I made my fourth attempt to ‘clean up’ again during the Christmas holiday. It was 2011. I realized that porn was like a bar of slippery soap. You think you’ve got hold of it and then it flies off in a different direction. It was the symptom of things I didn’t want to talk about, so it just turned into a different sort of craving. It wasn’t really the porn that I had to deal with but some of the issues that my therapy was pointing out. I was down and depressed and anxious. I felt that it was only in sex that I was a capable man. I used sex and porn as a drug; it was my ‘pick-me-up’. When I realized that, I really started to fix myself up. It’s difficult to admit to even yourself that you have low self-esteem and that you haven’t felt wanted for your whole life. Being back in therapy had been the right New Year’s resolution for me. I made a commitment to fix myself and stay in therapy to do the whole job.
I haven’t used an escort, online porn, cam sites or telephone chatline since 2011. I do still use erotic images as a way to masturbate sometimes. I like to see beautiful bodies and I don’t think that’s wrong, but I only use the images I have at home in hard copy format. I don’t have anything stored on electronic devices. Using these images this way doesn’t trigger me to go online. I have a new partner who lives with me. She knows all about my struggles. If you are thinking about quitting porn as a New Year’s resolution, then make it – but get some help so that you can understand that you also need to get past the porn stuff to your real issues.
Happy New Year – Craig.