I’m having a hard time writing today. I just can’t seem to focus enough to sit down and write a post from start to finish as I usually do. So instead I’m posting my answer to a question on the Q and A post. I feel a bit lazy doing it, but it’s easily long enough to stand alone as a post and I think it’s important.
Q: What part do you think your porn addiction played in having an affair?
A: Good question.
For starters, I think the porn addiction was a sign of deeper problems. Porn is a form of false intimacy – it is a way to avoid real intimacy. In my case, I didn’t really trust my wife so I had a hard time being vulnerable with her in bed. Whenever we did have sex it was great, but because I had been looking at porn since puberty, I had unrealistic expectations for what sex should be like. I didn’t feel like I was living up to my expectations and I was filled with self-doubt, so I didn’t trust my wife when she said she was happy, all of which put me in vicious cycle of doubt, avoidance, and escape.
As for the porn, when I first started viewing porn as a young teenager, it wasn’t even really porn. It was pictures of women in bikinis or lingerie. Then it was topless women. Then it was full frontal. Then it was actual sex. Then it was kink. And so it went. There was a natural progression where each step made the next easier. The same was true of the affair and since I had walked similar steps before with porn, I think it allowed me to progress faster into the affair. In particular, I was used to suppressing my natural reactions to sexual stimulation that was wrong.
Another way in which porn facilitated the affair is it had long fostered secrecy in our marriage. I knew my wife didn’t want me looking at porn, so I became very good at hiding it and compartmentalizing it in my own mind. It became okay, at least in practice, to hide things – sexual things – from my wife. The affair played right into that. Just as with the hidden porn addiction, I thought if I could keep it secret and hidden, then no one would be hurt. It never worked out that way for porn or the affair, obviously.
I also think the long-term porn addiction has skewed my perception of sex and women. When you have viewed as much porn as I have, and have obsessively searched for the next great pic or vid the way I have, you start to view women in a very base way. That’s not to say I was incapable of loving and appreciating a woman, but when I saw a woman, one of my first thoughts was “Would I fuck her?” I was rating women in real life the way I was rating porn stars online. This made it easier to see myself having an affair with Scarlet because I had already done it in my fantasies.
As far as the addiction goes, I’m not normally an addictive type of person. I’ve tried smoking and drinking, but I’ve had no problem picking both up and dropping them at will. Porn, and the affair, have proved to be very hard to quit. I can’t really explain it other than to say that both are just always there, ready to pull me down. Whenever I’m having a bad day, whenever I’m bored, or whenever I’m feeling bad about myself, it’s always there looking so good. I know I could indulge in that addiction and I’d feel good for a couple of hours or maybe longer. There’s that siren’s song of, “Nobody has to know. It’s just a little harmless fun.” Right now I know it’s not true, but it’s easy to lose my head when I’m already weak.
So you see when I say I’m a broken person, it’s not mere hyperbole. I know I’m pretty messed up and porn has played a big part in that. That’s why I take it more seriously now and have tried very hard to stay clean and sober since the affair.