If my pen name sounds a bit bitter, I suppose part of that is still some deep seated anger within my situation, while the other half is a true desire to nail it, so to speak, in its coffin. I’m an ordinary gal who stumbled on the reality of why she had been “put away,” as the bible puts it, by her husband. This 40-year-old woman has been put away since she was 29. I’m still put away. Go figure.
My first encounter with pornography of any kind, admittedly, was in high school if you can believe it. Not because I was curious – quite the contrary. Any mention of sex would have scared me out of my boots. I had been allowed to go to a party; a bunch of buddies of mine were dancing our toes blue at a friend’s house whose parents were conveniently gone. Someone in the group, a male, whips out this VHS video he thought was “funny” (turns out it was probably all the sex education he got) and put it on the television for us to make fun of. I was shocked. I found another place to be in the house. So did eighty-percent of the rest of us gals, and a few of the boys. I thought that would be the end of my exposure to that junk. End of story, or so I thought.
Fast forward to what I think is my second attempt at happiness (second marriage) to find OVERNIGHT that my fiance’ had become cold, distant and unapproachable. He had literally turned in to Jekyll and Hyde. His mood was sober, his kiss was gone and he wanted nothing to do with me. I was attending night school once a week to finish my college degree. Little did I know he was using that evening as his opportunity to do as he preferred. It wasn’t enhancing our intimacy, it was robbing us of it. Something had been taken from me and I couldn’t put my finger on it.
He of course, when caught, became exceedingly angry. I had found his little secret, and instead of being sorrowful he felt invaded. On pain of losing the relationship, he felt “sorry” but I use that term loosely because a person who is truly sorry or truly convicted that they have done something wrong will not repeat it. Of course it got repeated. Our entire marriage. That was clue #1 that I should have returned the ring and run the opposite direction.
Gentlemen (and ladies so inclined) bend an ear: You all may feel that because you are not physically sleeping with anyone (but yourself) while entertaining pornography use, explain why I (as well as countless others I’m certain) come away as beaten as if I had caught him in bed with another woman. It had no less effect. I was devastated. You can convince yourselves all you wish that it isn’t harming anyone else, and because you aren’t physically doing anything with anyone else that the injured party is just “over reacting” or “possessive.” Newsflash: If you choose not to conquer this demon, you will live happily ever after very alone and very isolated. Pornography separates you, it divides you and leaves your partner with no other feeling short of glaring inadequacy and bitterness. The users attempt to label us as unreasonable, jealous, possessive, etc. is YOUR way of convincing yourself you are not hurting anyone with your addiction. Then why hide it? Why go to such pains to keep it in the closet? Years down the road, I was told in no uncertain terms that “you will ever find a man who doesn’t use pornography – it’s a globally accepted norm) and that my expectations were out of line. Excuse me? It may be the global norm in the pornography world, but for the rest of us it’s a tool for isolation and pain. And I’m supposed to accept this as the global norm?
In an effort to figure out why porn and not me, what do they have that I don’t… I took a peek. Lucky for me, I had a “list” of his favorite websites (he had tucked so delicately in his wallet). Once I took that peek, I couldn’t stop. Not because it aroused me (in fact, it made me want to take an oath of abstinence forever, quite frankly) but because I could not for the life of me find what was so much better. I thought if I just dug deeper Id find that one porn scenario where I had failed to please. It wasn’t there, short of the extreme or the shocking. The bottom line was, in my case, I had most likely met and courted a man who felt there was nothing wrong with it. Then why hide it? I had stated more than once in our courtship that it was unacceptable to me and felt like cheating. I live with the fact that he decided the porn was worth the risk. Another devaluation notch on my bedpost.
As a wife, and now a mother, I struggle with the battle of severe loneliness. Debilitating loneliness. I haven’t had a husband these 13 years. I no longer know what a “normal” sex life is, much less a loving, protected sex life. Years of being beaten down fighting for a place in his bed has taken its toll, and now I don’t really care. We live as two separate entities, attached only by children and their needs. I have made myself available for warmth, year after year, time and time again in that age-old effort to re-create a marriage, but his side of the marital bed remains very cold, and full of cobwebs. I do not satisfy. I dare say I never have. Whether he is continuing in this addiction, I do not know. He claims he is not, but I neither trust him in this regard, nor does our intimacy change.
So, are you still convinced pornography doesn’t hurt anyone?