The dim blue light flickered in the room down the hall.
The sounds of applause, people cheering for more, and laughing, echoed as I entered the room to see what she was watching. She was under the blanket with her teeth sunk into the side of her lower lip and wetting them every now and again. Watching TV regularly had lost its luster for me since I put my television by the recycle bin all those years ago. I was curious what kind of show she was getting her so hot and bothered.
I rubbernecked towards the source of this light and sound to see that she was watching the cooking channel and the chef was driving his fingers into the tender muscle on the table in front of him. The chef applied different pressures and speeds to slather the oily-marinaded-spice-rub in a sensual way.
With my head cocked to the side and a quizzical tone, I laid on thick the sarcasm when I asked her, “Hun, why do you love watching those foodie shows so much? It’s not like you can cook.”
She took her gaze away from the TV and locked eyes with me as her chest rose to gather her thoughts. And when it fell with a sigh, she fogged the broken mirror of his illusions: “Well…you watch porn!”
That was the beginning of the end.
Not just the relationship, but also of my need to distract myself with porn. My distraction and inattention led her to seek what was missing in our relationship with another man. I had unconsciously pushed away a great woman.
I was confronted with a dirty little secret that very few of us will engage, let alone talk about, until some sex scandal gets splashed across the front page of the national headlines. I wasn’t sure if porn had affected my relationships but it definitely ruined my computer and how I used the Internet.
After the breakup, I also had a death in the family. This made reflection upon what kind of life I was really living extremely relevant. Around then, a buddy of mine introduced me to yoga. I immediately became hooked on yoga even though I still felt like something more was missing from my personal life.
One day in a mid-morning hot yoga class, I was caught in the act of ogling an attractive woman in the mirror when she kept fiddling with her yoga costume. I couldn’t remember the last time that I had felt that ashamed and guilty. I never did muster up the courage to start a conversation with the attractive woman in the studio in order to apologize for our mutual embarrassment.
There I was, in a world surrounded by amazingly dynamic women that I couldn’t fully appreciate because of simple, blatant subject-object separation. I suffered from a physical conditioned reaction to a physical conditioned attraction where normalcy included my porn-influenced tunnel vision which sexualized every woman and interaction I subsequently initiated.
I realized that porn was destroying more than just my keyboard and leaving my computer riddled with digital STDs. I chose to do a month NoFAP challenge. Cold turkey. Zero porn for one month. Good thing it was one of those shorter months.
At first, it was easy to keep myself occupied, but then my mind began to race about why I was really doing this and reflecting on how long pornographic images had plagued my life. Ultimately, the why was easy—I wanted to have better relations and interactions with women in general.
In a conversation about relationships with one of my Russian friends, she told me an old expression that translates as, “Women fall in love with their ears, and men fall in love with their eyes.” Her boyfriend blurted, “And hands, don’t forget the hands!”
With her matter-of-fact tone she responded, “Yes, that’s why women wear make-up, underwire bras and high-heels, and men tell lies.” Her comment shushed the group with a chuckle followed by the groan of truthfulness.
That little insight belly flopped from the high-dive in the ocean of my mind. I was substituting sex, love and intimacy with online pornography.
Truth be told, my porn habit had ruined my relationships and the one it wreaked havoc on the most was the relationship with myself. The amount of time, energy, and bandwidth used for auto-erotic procrast-urbation had reached a tipping point. So, ask yourself—what do procrastination and masturbation have in common? They both feel really good until you realize that you just f*cked yourself! Procrast-urbating.
This most intimate form of communication, that had been poisoned by the media I consumed, had overflowed into all of the other types of relationships I had. Both interpersonal: family, friends, casual, and intimate, and intrapersonal: my internal masculine, feminine, human and divine. As the expression in Spanish goes, this was the drop of water that broke the dam.
During that one month I began healing from my polluted visual and mental environment, and I can now choose to identify, observe and change my behavior regarding the media I consume, completely. In sharing my story with you, I have opened myself up and exposed a dirty little secret of my life, which is one that is also collectively shared amongst a significant proportion of society in general.
I, like everyone else, am a work in progress and the story of my life is just that. Another story. Another beautiful reflection of our inner and outer worlds. And my story, just like yours, is flexible. Very flexible. So, don’t get bent out of shape.
My decision to share this is part of my own growth as I continue to upgrade my mindware programming and improve my relationships with others is just one of the many steps I’ve taken to reclaim my body and my mental environment. It’s all about the intention and the feeling.
In the end, is pornography bad? The tools that can build us up also have the ability to tear us down. This only gives rise to the deeper questions of what we, as a collective, are taught about sex and love.
Ultimately, it’s up to the user to decide how much influence they want to let pornographic material to have in their life. These days I am opening up to learning how to more effectively communicate my own likes, dislikes, needs, fears and desires rather than simply re-enact scenes of semi-violent simulated sex that had been implanted in my sexual fantasy landscape.
Releasing myself from the bondage of online pornography was one of the best and most difficult things I’ve ever done. These days I am no longer procrasturbating my life away and am enjoying more fruitful relationships in both my inner world and outer world.
Author: Jamie Suss
Volunteer Editor: Keeley Milne / Editor: Travis May