Porn Addict.

Via on Nov 2, 2012

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He thrust into the back of me, his breath heavy with grunting as he pulled my long blonde hair.

I couldn’t decide whether being flipped over into doggie style was for the better or the heinous, since losing any chance of eye contact or affection at least meant I could shut my eyes and face the wall, to force out the world—trying to forget the rawness of my scalp and vagina.

The pain was mine alone to bear. Like so many other times, I tried to remember if there was an exact moment that I had transitioned from lover to experimental play toy.

It was a relationship of all-consuming, selfless love. I had involuntarily but happily let myself become malleable and vulnerable in order to satiate my hunger for this intoxicating relationship. I was “madly and truly.”

I thought he was too.

Intuitive and expressive from years of dance, I had made sensual and slow love-making my personal mantra prior to him. But eager for my boyfriend to understand my fervent adoration, I adapted to his communication style and became pliant to his demands.

Playful for just a hot minute, sex in our relationship perniciously morphed into a mental battlefield. Suggestions of positions and costumes became firm requests to hold my facial expression “this way” and watch for “how she looks in that video… I already sent you the link.” My liberal mind and open heart tried to sail forward amidst the tempest arising within me. But while I clung to the thought of it gets better, I just need to learn, I was oblivious to his deleterious addiction to porn.

He was an emotionally astute and articulate guy. He had an abundantly loving upbringing and an uncommon sense of innocent curiosity and genuine kindness.

I mention this because I am self-respecting and—despite being enticed and blind-sided by love—had been pulled into a vicious cycle.

I mention this because despite the traits and connections that should have made us work (flourish even) the fall of our relationship was solely attributed to the effects of porn.

I mention this because for all the esteem and tenderness that surrounded this lover of mine, he was representative of a good guy ensnared by the erotic lure and abundance of porn. “Porn addict” is just another label to toss amongst the other “shopaholics” whose mouths were pried open by the invisible fist to guzzle down more and more like a proper consumer.

He is emblematic of many other men—too many good men—that have made themselves malleable and susceptible to sexual conditioning instead of vulnerable to the breathing admirers next to them.

We ended the relationship because I could not fulfill his desires. After years of hashing out world problems and spinning our life dreams in the sky with the silver lining of clouds, he stated simply that he was still in love with my mind, but that didn’t compensate for the interest he’d lost in my body.

At 5’7”, 125 lbs. and a set of teeth that once won “Best Smile,” my body had remained consistent throughout our time together. My size and image are not necessarily relevant to understanding. The only other factors that had changed in the relationship were his gaping habit of high-definition women. His acceptance and appreciation of me, normal elements of real life love, were now characterized by a detachment derived from his buy-in to the growing cult of virtual sex, hopelessly devoted to the idea of the unattainable.

I unconsciously allowed myself to be objectified by the person who knew best the unshielded parts of my heart to dagger.

Like many other women, smart women, who start chasing that society-stamped idea of beauty, I was controlled by the same mental rhythm numbing the minds of anorexics, make-up caked women, and self-declared fragile damsels,  a mindset that caters to decrees men add to their “Bill of Rights for Men: Entitled to a Good Woman.” Devastatingly, these are subconscious expectations exhaled by even the most unsuspecting of men simply because America was our overriding caretaker.

The cinematography and casting of pornography is catered toward hyperbolic desires of men. It solidifies the idea over innumerable pornography films and erotic photographs that sexiness is contained within a 34” 24” 34” body that can limbo into 8 different positions and juggle moans in the air in perfect pitch. As a result, it erodes the forgiving lens of authenticity that used to craft so many relationships into a one-of-a-kind expression.

Relationships now come with a side order of virtual women chosen from a plethora of categories conveniently menu packaged to select from the best “Boobs” “Blondes” “Asses” and “Asians.”  The supplemental sexual learning tool cuts right to the chase: never mind the idea of sex in a relationship once wrapped up in respect, familiarity, affection and even love—that was tossed out with our crappier PCs years ago.

Instead, porn—the introduction and guide to sex for a majority of men coming of age in recent generations in North America—literally angles sex as an act that stands independent of any other factors. “Truly sexy” women are those willing to be fucked. And women coming of age regard this as a paradigm where filling the role of sexy means a limited amount of terms.

The perpetuation of images projecting women as idealized instruments has enormously destructive potential for both genders and the latent factors of relationships that shape intimacy.

A healthy appetite for sex, playfulness and carnality are important for both genders in a relationship. And public forums for sexual expression and exploration are incredible markers for our democratic and open society. However, the complacent silence from the public regarding men’s sexual education acts as affirmation that these ideas are the norm.

Lack of discussion of alternative learning forms for young men along with porn’s heavy power-bias and intimacy-devoid nature makes its proliferation and growing consumption a force with tremendous collateral that will eventually end up fucking with us.


(This is the fifth in a seven-part series over seven days, in colloboration with the Good Men Project, addressing the question: Is Porn a Good Thing? For one of GMP’s most recent in the series, check out The History of Porn and Fear the Towel.)


Jennifer Umberg is a student at University of California Berkeley preparing to graduate after studying Peace and Conflict. She is eager to continue her education while recognizing it’s truly a lifelong, research-intensive degree to unlatch the innumerable vaults of life lessons. So far, Jennifer has worked to overcome clumsiness by throwing passion into dance—a necessity that has also become a rhythmic sense of stability and meditation. She is inflicted with chronic Catholic guilt, which is addressed by composting daily and flossing regularly (i.e. once a month). As far as technical skills go, Jennifer can saddle up curiosity and ride love. While she left her heart in East Africa and feels a tug towards Eastern Philosophy, Jenn is really just a kid whose whimsical wonders aid her in stumbling into the most unsuspecting places for answers.   She wants you as her friend:


Editor: Anne Clendening

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9 Responses to “Porn Addict.”

  1. a. says:

    We have shared a nearly identical experience, and as you have put it to words so honestly and articulately, I have gained an amazing perspective to aid in understanding.
    Thank you, thank you.

  2. Carol Horton carolhortonbooks says:

    I have been dismayed by the sudden proliferation of porn posts on EJ but decided to give this one a try anyway, and am glad I did. You speak to what's obviously become a hugely important problem in a way that's real and intelligent. I wish that the women writing about how liberating it is to be a stripper or whatever would open up to consider the bigger picture, and what their supposedly self-empowering actions are contributing to.

  3. MatBoy says:

    I'm not sure men were ever 'better' towards their lovers than they are today. Access to porn is easier than when I grew up: I saw my first porn film in college and magazines were not as explicit as they are now. Still, I have wonderfully vivid fantasies about women: the Raquel Welsh poster used to drive me crazy! The cyber world has taken over many parts of people's lives, and much more of their waking hours,. It provides us with more information and more intense video of all aspects of work and life. The author makes the case that consuming more on-line porn made her boyfriend less emotionally available to her and made it more difficult for her to have a nurturing and mutually supportive relationship with him. That his consumption of porn created an unreachable image in his mind of the perfect, or at least acceptable, lover and that this poisoned their relationship.

    Looking back at my parents generation as well as all of the affects of the 1960s on our culture I do not believed that US society ever prepared men to work with women to build strong relationships. Divorce rates soared starting in the 1950 and I have not seem any surveys that concluded that couples (or Americans in general) are happier in their relationships today than they were previously.

    This is a long-winded way of saying that working out relationships has never been easy and finding a compatible person is initially very hit-or-miss because we all see other people through our own, often deluded, eyes. Education, family background, appearance, wealth all color our perception and expectations. We have to work through our projections and expectations when we confront unpleasant experiences – also referred to as reality, such as you had with your boyfriend. If we are LUCKY, we run into people who are aware enough to work together on these issues or even to work through their own issues at the same time. Sadly, most people I have known have not been so lucky.

    You expect too much from men yet, at the same time, it is important that you keep your expectations and high standards! I believe time will provide you with the relationships you are looking for but you must start by sifting through experiences with people until you become more aware of what they really are like. Men are, generally speaking, dirtbags: I was a dirtbag. Men must be convinced that there is a better existence and lifestyle available within a wholesome and supportive relationship but this comes slowly and only when we give up our childish ideals about what women are and our idealized place in society. Please, keep looking for your Mr. Right and knock guys over the head when they drift out of line!! Unhealthy consumption of porn is just a symptom of a much deeper problem: addressing the root problem leads to liberation and you can help us men by pointing out how porn, or anything else, interferes with establishing a healthy relationship. If the message doesn't get through quickly enough, it is probable best for you to move on.

  4. Marian says:

    MatBoy, what happened to change you from a dirtbag to a wholesome man? Interested in your reply – thank you.

  5. cindygallop says:

    This is why I launched 6 years ago with this talk at TED 2009:

    and why it sparked a huge global response that led me and my team to take MakeLoveNotPorn forwards in the form of – a crowdsourced, user-generated videosharing platform that celebrates #realworldsex. Our tagline is 'Pro-sex. Pro-porn. Pro-knowing the difference.'

    You can read more about what we are building on our blog:

    We hear from our community every day, including, recently, the young woman who had experienced the same thing this post highlights:

    "I have been through a horrible relationship for the pat 3 years where my ex had a strong porn addiction and it completely ruined my whole life… Not just in the bedroom where we would have "no hands" sex.. No intimate moments, no kissing, no passion or connection. But also outside the way he viewed women, the way he saw the world.. His aggression his morals and my trust.
    I grew so sad and miserable and HATING anything to do with porn, I completely despised what it did to him and in-turn our relationship ended. Stumbling onto a talk about this website recently today I was blown away by the concept and had to check it out for myself, and it's beautiful what you people are doing. A truly mind-blowing concept which brings back the life and excitement that was lacking in the way people view sex the same as my ex did.
    I was actually so emotional when I found out about it because I felt that all mankind was doomed from the way porn is consuming the minds of amazing people and changing their whole psyche towards sex and love making.. And I feel you have given me faith that I might be able to "make love" again…"

    and the young man of 23 who wrote to us a few weeks ago:

    "great site. It’s what I was looking for for a long time. I find the website awesome, It shows real women and it celebrate sex and intimacy. your site makes me want to have sex in a grown up honest and respectful way."

  6. Natalie says:

    I’m not entirely sure that porn is to blame here and not just a case of sexual incompatibility. It happens. It sounds like the author needs to have connected sex, and her ex needed to have rougher, more raw sex. That’s not necessarily the fault of porn, but maybe just what turns him on. However, the way he went about discussing it with her – like sending her porn links and telling her what faces to make – just makes him an asshole. If he expressed that he liked sex a certain way, but then also made space in their sexual relationship for her to explore the things she liked, like slower, more passionate sex, this could have been successful. Instead, it sounds like, plain and simple, he was a selfish loved and too immature to handle a difference in erotic desires.

  7. Natalie says:

    I'm not entirely sure that porn is to blame here and not just a case of sexual incompatibility. It happens. It sounds like the author needs to have connected sex, and her ex needed to have rougher, more raw sex. That's not necessarily the fault of porn, but maybe just what turns him on. However, the way he went about discussing it with her – like sending her porn links and telling her what faces to make – just makes him an asshole. If he expressed that he liked sex a certain way, but then also made space in their sexual relationship for her to explore the things she liked, like slower, more passionate sex, this could have been successful. Instead, it sounds like, plain and simple, he was a selfish loved and too immature to handle a difference in erotic desires.

  8. cindygallop says:

    Carol – actually, the women you reference are not the cause of this issue. This is:

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