PORN – An Addiction Worth Talking About

by Adam Warburton, Pottsville, Australia

I have been inspired by the recent blog ‘Pornography, Internet & Sex – An Insight into a Distorted World’ and my thanks go to the author for having the courage to start up the conversation on this topic. Nearly all men that I know have been affected by pornography at some point in their life, but it is a topic that bears too much shame to talk about properly – shame that we have been part of it and shame that we have contributed to the abuse of women in this way. Yet the fact is that the author of the above blog is right when he says that porn is something that controls us. It is a drug, a form of addiction, and one that is more common than we care to admit. Like any person in denial, I never thought I had an issue with porn. I was not a serial or frequent user, more an occasional if not rare recreational user, as many people like to explain themselves when defending their use of addictive substances. Yet, when I started to really question my attraction to it, I realised that my occasional foray into porn was having a huge effect on my life…

It is time that we are able to openly talk about the effects of porn on men and women alike, because men too need to be able to talk openly about what is going on here if there is to be true healing, as we are just as affected. As men it affects our ability to experience true love and intimacy with women (and other men) in ways that we don’t even realise. It taints our perception of what is real and what is not, but that is only the beginning. In the end, it owns us. It affects our dreams, our ability to see women in truth, and our ability to connect as men to our own feminine essence (which I can attest does actually exist underneath the hard exterior that so many men think is them).

Why is porn so addictive? What is it that we seek from women when we do this – is it just sexual arousal, or is it intimacy? And if it is intimacy, is that sense of intimacy best described as the ability to be affectionate with another? Maybe, but is it deeper than that? If it is just that, then why do married men do it in such large numbers when they have so much opportunity to be affectionate with their wives? From work, I know that the most serial users of porn are nearly all married men.

As for myself, I began to realise a while ago that seeking porn enabled me to feel like I was being intimate without needing to feel ‘burdened’ by the so called responsibility of being in a relationship. I felt ‘free’ in my experiences with porn. So what did that say about my relationships in life, if that was the case?

In the end I came to realise that I found it difficult to be truly intimate in my relationships because of the perceived burden I associated with them – the burden of being the provider, the bread winner, the strong supportive man, the protector etc, etc. I subconsciously associated the stress of being the provider with my relationship and it took me a long time to dare to admit this, even to myself, because I knew it was not “right” to have such feelings. My refusal to look at this openly made me start to subconsciously resent my partner in the long term. It was after realising this that I began to understand that the temptation and addiction of porn was that it served as an outlet from this stress; a place where I could pretend to experience the intimacy I secretly craved, without the burden of a relationship.

Yet this realisation was not enough to stop me looking at pictures of women posing seductively and wishing I was with them. Although it helped me to understand my attraction to porn, it did not free me completely from its addictive clutches. In order to do that, I needed to go deeper. Eventually I started to question what it was that I was seeking in women in general – what was it that I wanted from them that I could not find in myself? It was then that I realised that I wanted that stillness, that gentle-ness, tenderness, open-ness and vulnerability that women tend to show more easily in the world – characteristics that are drummed out of men by society from a very young age. So, I started to look for those characteristics in myself, and when I did, I began to realise that they are actually there residing within me – EQUALLY SO.

When I discovered this, something curious happened. I began looking at women very differently, as though a veil had been lifted from my eyes. Interestingly, as I increasingly honoured this side of myself, I came to realise that in many respects I was more connected to my female side than many women I observed. I noticed how many women in the world ignored their own female-ness as well, and as a result had become hardened in body and mind, just like the men.

Maybe this is why women are also now turning to porn in increasingly large numbers on the internet – fact. Maybe they en-masse are also starting to miss a way of being that once upon a time was much easier to connect to for women than it was for men, and so now they too turn to porn to fill the hole. Maybe now, intimacy is an expression that is becoming equally suppressed in women.

But the real evil of porn is that it comes laced. True, it does bring relief from stress, and it does SEEM to deliver a feeling of intimacy with a woman, but when you really connect to TRUE intimacy (i.e. intimacy within self) you realise just how short of the truth you were being sold. You were being sold the cheap lookalike watch, but more than that, you were being sold something way more insidious, something that easily becomes very addictive over time. Because in the end, PORN OWNS YOU. It starts to affect the way you look at women in the street, your dreams, the way you look to have sex, the expectations you have from your partner. Eventually – if you do it for long enough – it even strangely starts to affect your libido in real life, as is talked about by a scientific researcher.

When I began to connect with myself more strongly, I went back to porn to see what it was that had dragged me in. I looked not at the bodies of the women, but their eyes, to see if they had what I was feeling deep within me, and it shocked me. Because, if you look deeply into their eyes, they all have the same look, and they all look at you the same way. Their eyes are empty, with a desperation for attention that screams out at you. But underneath that, you see something else. It is like something else is looking out from behind their eyes, as though they too are owned by something, something that leers at you, something that reaches out and says “I’ve got you now and I’m not letting go”. I am talking here about the energy of porn, and it affects both men and women equally.

Not sure what I am talking about? Society has other names for it – seedy, unclean, creepy, sticky – the kind of feeling that makes you want to have multiple showers to cleanse yourself when you have been exposed to it. I had always felt this energy from porn before, but not before I had been seduced by its addictive allure, and only after I had used porn for my own means, and the excitement it offered had subsided. Of course, it was always then accompanied by the guilt and shame that followed after having being fooled again. Now I was seeing it from the outset, and it repelled me.

When I stayed connected to those “feminine” qualities that I could now feel so strongly within me, I could no longer get aroused by the images I saw – I only felt saddened. I saw then not naked women promising to fulfill my fantasies, but young daughters and mothers and sisters, slaves to an energy that now owned them, who were desperate for the attention of men – conversely, falsely hoping that men could bring them what they were missing in themselves.

So there it is. Having said all of that, Porn itself is not the problem, nor the real evil here. The real evil is that as a society we do not foster these “female” qualities that are naturally inherent in small boys in the same way we do with girls. We drum it out of them, tell them to harden up, don’t cry, grow up, be strong, don’t complain when it hurts. Yet deep down those qualities of fragility, tenderness, and vulnerability remain in every man, no matter how hard they have tried to bury them. And when they do try to reconnect to them, society tells them that they are being sissy, gay, soft, pathetic, a whinger.

In a peculiar sort of way there is a perverted honesty about the man who turns to porn as relief from the world around him, as an escape and a refuge from the hardened man he has become. For if he is willing to be reflective for a second, it tells him that something is missing in his life. For me, it was safe, and allowed me to experience the intimacy I so craved without having to open up to the world, or challenge the protective layer I held as a man. And it asked nothing of me in return – or so I thought. Yet when I did challenge who I was, and connected to the beauty that was within me, I was able to finally see the true nature of porn – an addictive, ugly lure that falsely offers to replace something that we deeply miss within ourselves. For me, I realised that what I was missing was that feeling of loveliness that I knew so naturally as a child. Once I connected to that, the addictive allure of porn had no hold.

Related reading
Pornography, Internet & Sex, An Insight into a Distorted World
The Harm of Pornography

300 thoughts on “PORN – An Addiction Worth Talking About

  1. Great topic to open up and explore. The effect of porn is devastating to relationships yet many may not realise the effect it has. Opening up the conversation is a very supportive way to delve into this mucky area and uncover many of the layers around it.

  2. There is so much to discuss here I agree. We are now in a time where pornography is rife, young men and women are being so influenced by imagery that just isn’t natural or normal. They are influenced then in their behaviours and how they treat one another. Then you overlay social media, how prolific it also now is for people to share such pornographic pictures there also. When are we going to say this is not loving and fosters behaviours that are damaging relationships, not only with ourselves, but with everyone.

  3. A brilliant expose of the underlying reasons for porn. We can look at it on the surface and see it’s seediness, the abuse inherent in the industry, the exploitation of the people who work in front of the cameras, the attention-seeking and need of approval and we can react to this, demanding it be shut down, outraged that it is going on at all. But in reality are we not all responsible for the pornography industry in the way we perpetuate the absolute lie that we have to toughen up to make it in this world? In doing so we abandon our natural ways of being that Adam has so beautifully discussed, and in doing so, further cement the foundations of pornography.

  4. Goodness there are so many points I would love to pick up here – the energy of porn, what comes through the women and the men, but I was struck by what causes that separation in so many to valuing intimacy with the person actually in their life. “I found it difficult to be truly intimate in my relationships because of the perceived burden I associated with them” This makes absolute sense and I see it in so many relationships. Yes with the partner, but also relationships and connections between parents and children, teachers and students – the connection is sometimes complicated and messy because of the perceived burden of responsibility to be a particular way or fulfill a particular need.

  5. I have known men who simply do not believe that there are men who don’t do porn and who are not interested in it. They would say that the men are lying to me, to me this shows how ingrained this choice is and often multigenerational.

  6. I have known men who simply do not believe that there are men who don’t do porn and who are not interested in it. They would say that the men are lying to me, to me this shows how ingrained this choice is and often multigenerational. So it makes articles such as this one so important and for men who are making other choices it is so important to speak up and share why you have made your choices, not form dogma but loving and respectful choices for yourself and women.

  7. It has been my experience that as I took more time to take for myself in the choices I made, things unrelated to the act of watching porn or even considering sex, the desire to watch porn disappeared from my life. So for me porn had that energetic hold when I was seeking something to fill an empty feeling, what is an energetic hold it could be asked, I would say it is when you do something to fill up a part of you that feels unsetttled and unhappy with your lot, there is a hole for that creepy seedy feeling to take hold. The more we care for ourselves the less room there is for such a desire to arise as it can never match what it feels to create intimacy with yourself in how we live. And as men and women, I guess it is how open and free of fear we are to create intimacy in all aspects of our lives, not just in the bedroom, but in how we relate to ourselves and other people.

  8. Brilliantly and so openly stated and shared Adam Warburton, thank-you.
    Our willingness to see beyond the surface of porn and into the deeper layers you have described is key here – for it reveals how much we truly miss connection with ourselves and the power of real love and intimacy in our lives.

  9. If we are willing to truly see the energy of porn as you’ve described here Adam, and how “…in the end, PORN OWNS YOU.” we can unravel so very much, and not only about porn itself. For how much are we bombarded in our everyday lives with images, products and more that are designed to ‘hook’, designed to allure and tempt us with something that promises us something – a moment of ecstasy, a getting off on something, a reward, a promise of a better life…?
    We are wise to look beyond the ‘surface offering’ and what then may ‘own us’ – and be willing to learn about the energetic consequences of saying ‘yes’ to something that at times, equates to (metaphorically) inviting the vampire over your threshold and into your home… Once that’s occurred, you are no longer in control. Until that is, you decide to reclaim yourself from why you said ‘yes’ in the first place.

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