Author Topic: The Modern Minefield  (Read 2018 times)

MarieCheri

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The Modern Minefield
« on: February 19, 2015, 08:49:39 PM »
Hello everyone.

The ins and outs that lead me to this forum and which inspired me to make a journal are perhaps a bit unusual compared to most people, but I suppose each one of us has a different tale to tell, and the idea of writing a journal like this really appeals to me so I guess I'll start right here and see where it takes me.

I have read the rules but I am still a little hazy as to what in particular count as triggers so I would like to put a WARNING! Though I don't intend to be at all explicit I am sorry if my discussion touches on uncomfortable areas or is not well formatted to prevent triggers. If anyone wants to offer advice on this please do!

To begin with the basics, I am a woman, 29, and I am in a loving relationship with a very lovely man. Since the start of this relationship, nearly three years ago, I have very seldom (if at all?) watched any internet pornography, although I have and do use other forms of erotic stimulus, and I used porn regularly for a couple of years before that. I will discuss this more in depth at a later point, this first post is hopefully just going to be an introduction of sorts.

My partner is a true gentleman who, I am happy to say, has a (generally) healthy attitude towards porn, although like all men he does use it occasionally. It is not at a level that I would describe as an addiction. I would generally not count porn as an 'issue' in our very loving and communicative relationship, or not a deep one, I should say.

However due to a situation arising recently (which, again, I will elaborate on soon) I was forced to confront my actual feelings regarding porn use, which were confusing and contradictory. At length, this started me on a course of google searches and article reading which eventually lead me here, which was so helpful I can't even begin to say. I had so many questions, especially concerning men's 'nature' and their compulsion to use porn, but even though my partner is very intelligent and open it is obviously difficult to discuss such things, especially without it seeming like an interrogation! I have found many answers here already, and look forward to reading more in time.

I suppose you could say that my main problem with porn is the mixed and confusing feelings that engulfed me when I really considered it. On the one hand I felt (and read a lot of people saying) that occasional use is fine, and I should 'deal with' the fact my significant other watches it occasionally, while on the other hand I have a tangible and very real sinking feeling of fear and dread - that this is perhaps all not as 'harmless' as people claim it is, and that there may be darker elements to it - aside from the morality aspect of it.

The reason for these feelings of dread have a clear source: I have had one other relationship, which ended a week short of 5 years together, with a man who undoubtedly suffered from an internet porn addiction.

In many ways it was a classic case, while it was the first substantial sexual relationship for both of us (I was 19, he 20 when we got together), he had been watching internet porn daily since he was a young teenager. He had a particular taboo preference, and the ongoing strains our relationship were under due to that fact were substantial (again, will go in to this further).

This created all sorts of baggage that I have unwittingly carried into my current relationship, not only about trust and porn use generally, but also in the form of my own insecurities and not knowing how to approach discussion on pornography, or the actions I should take, or we should take as a couple.

The other part that is involved in my whirling conflicted feelings surrounding internet pornography is my own use, which ties back to my first point of having other outlets if not online porn, and the guilt and confusion surround that as well (especially when you bring in moral questions).

It is these complex questions and pondering which brought me here to the Reboot Nation forum.

To summarise somewhat, internet pornography has had a very negative effect on me in the past, and though the immediate issues ended with the relationship, these negative effects have stayed with me over time and even now influence my current relationship and the decisions I make within it.

Personally I feel that internet pornography is a modern minefield (hence my journal title =), a new social situation which we are only beginning to understand, and which can have very real and negative consequences both for users and those who are in a relationship with them. I hope to spend my time here at Reboot Nation learning more around the science of addictions and to try and work out a healthy understanding and approach to internet porn and my relationship to it, both as an individual and a sexual partner, and also perhaps to try and help others if I can.

Thank you to anyone who takes the time to read this and, as I say, I will update soon to elaborate on particular parts of this post.

Looking forward to spending time here.

MarieCheri

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Re: The Modern Minefield
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2015, 10:26:17 PM »
Hopefully this is how I add a second post! =)

OK, so I mentioned in my intro that I would elaborate on a few points, and so this is the first of those.

Elaboration No. 1: The Ex

I am going to start off by going into my previous relationship and the history of it.

WARNING: I may be quite frank about internet porn use and the effects here.

I have never actually written this all down or even talked through it all with someone in detail, how it all was, from the beginning to the end. I'm a bit afraid actually, not only to be open about private things, but also because remembering can be painful.

But I am going to start with a disclaimer which I feel is needed: I was with the ex for nearly 5 years, and now that the relationship is over, it is very easy to cast him as a kind of villain. I don't intent to be mean, but in many way he hurt me a lot, so I can occasionally be very bitter about it all. But I must stress that it was, at the heart and overall, a loving relationship. I loved him and he loved me. He wrote me poems, supported me when I needed it, was involved with my various interests. Though at times I hated him for his struggle, I realise now there was a genuine problem with little help available to solve it. This bit's important.

Anyway, back to the tale.

At school I was an awkward girl who, despite having plenty of urges, made it to the age of 19 without ever having a boyfriend. The why's - a mix of low self confidence, limited social interactions and the general mawkishness of the teen years - don't really matter, it's not an uncommon scenario.

At 19 I made an online dating account. I first saw my ex - who I shall refer to as D - when instructed by the site to look through profile pictures of people to gauge their attractiveness. His picture popped up and I thought 'phwarr', tentatively clicked my way to his profile and (after a lengthy re-write of my own profile) messaged him. He replied.

There was an intense few months when we began to communicate, over time it grew in frequency and urgency, finally we decided to meet. He came to stay with me at my parents house, after talking all night we eventually kissed, and everything went full speed from there. Within a day we had progressed on to attempting sexual acts. The urgency was there on my side as well as his, after many years without such attention was amazing, and I was swooning at a moment's notice.

The signs of internet porn addiction where there very early on. One of the first indications was a blunt statement from him that rattles me even now to be honest: 'I don't do condoms'. He elaborated explaining it was hard to keep an erection and put them on, he had been unable to use them and retain feeling and such. I understood the issue and visited the sexual health clinic and found an alternative. However his issues, anxieties and the frank and finite way which he presented his stance was one of the first inklings of a deeper problem looking back.

The second was an inability to gain an erection and, once he did, a severe problem with delayed orgasm. In fact, he couldn't come at all for about 3 days, which included an absolute marathon of an oral sex session. The impact on me at the time was an obvious confusion, having never had a sexual relationship before I had understood that young men were supposedly 'gagging for it', and that the issue that he appeared to have must have something to do with me, or my body. I remember he expressed surprised upon seeing my chest for the first time, saying he'd never 'seen them that shape' before, leading to a body hang up that still occasionally, fleetingly, haunts me.

During this first week or so that he stayed with me he did confess, a fitting term for his approach, that he watched a lot of porn and had a particular way of stimulating himself and that he thought it may be the problem as to why he had issues, showing some good insight, I think. He said he would not watch porn until we saw each other again in a month or so. Predictably, he caved. This was the start of a give and take relationship that went on for many moons.

The next time I we met I stayed with him for about a month. During this time, due to time to relax and the honeymoon feeling, issues were not such a problem. Mostly it was OK. But during this time the other issue occurred as well.

He had discussed his particular taste in porn and his main satisfying taboo which was (Warning) 'the bottom'. I was pretty open to try things and basically, without being forced in to anything, we gave it a go. It was incredibly painful for me (there was no proper prep) and I disliked it. I said I was sorry and I didn't want to do it and he was accepting of this for a while.

Over the next few months that changed and the relationship changed, though this was 10 years ago now, and I don't recall all the details. But basically it became a destructive cycle in which, through his continued asking and my feeling pity, we would start doing it. I would then dislike it, dislike him for doing it, and called a stop to it. Then it would all start again. The problem was at large my lack of experience and any helpful information such as this site. I didn't know how to balance his addiction in our relationship. I ended up doing things I didn't want to do and often, which was obviously bad for me mentally in various ways.

Another aspect I found hard was the obvious discrepancy between that act and our making love the 'original' way. The more I offered his preferred choice, the less we did mine, which was vaginal sex. The difference between his eagerness and results of the one and his difficult interaction with the other were hurtful. In another, slightly different, way my resentment grew.

This back and forth went on through various dips and troughs, including his promising and failing to abstain (both the act and related porn/any porn) several times, for well over a year.

Finally there was a sort of crisis point: one particular moment. If I recall correctly, we had not done it in a few days/weeks, and so he was coercing me into doing it in the various ways he did. I was reticent as always but be always made out that it was such a bitter disappointment that I didn't do it that eventually I gave in. He started, but it was extremely uncomfortable, and I found I couldn't keep going and started asking him to stop. I asked several times over a few moments, maybe half a minute, and then he did stop and was still. I instantly felt regretful (that old push-me pull-me curse, you love him and denying him hurts, but agreeing hurts - quite the confusing puzzle) and as he withdrew apologised and asked what I could do to help, when he said he didn't need it because he'd already finished. Which basically meant he had kept going til he finished despite me asking him to stop. This wound up being a very difficult situation for both of us.

We fought a lot and eventually I gave him the ultimatum: me or it, I wouldn't do it again, and in my opinion his watching it further wouldn't help that. He picked it, at length, and we split up for about a month and, truth be told, it should have ended there. At the time I was hurt and told him he had a problem, that he was a monster, he said he'd work on it and that he agreed.

But he invited me to stay with him which I did and we got back together and I was firm about my stance. We never did 'it' again and were together for another three years, but porn was definitely still an issue during that time. By this time my opinions/relationship with the whole thing was absolutely completely messed up, I of course demanded his abstinence, and wounds were vividly reopened whenever I discovered he had not kept it. Such as one time when I downloaded something and vids he'd downloaded showed up in the download history - I mean he didn't even bother to delete the history. That was on my PC (he didn't have one) and I put a lock on it after that.

We were living together in a sort of flat addition of my parents house at that point, he was unemployed to begin with, then got a job with shift patterns that meant he got up not long after I went to bed. We seldom went to bed together. By the end it was months since we had sex. I was desperate for us to find a place to move in together and rekindle things maybe, we found a flat, but in the end he called time on our relationship and moved in with a mutual male friend instead.

At the time I was heartbroken, and hated him for giving up on us.

After a little while I was extremely angry with him and the various ways that he'd used me.

Eventually after quite a while I stopped having daily flashbacks of the 'bad thing', moved on from him, and found myself again. At the end of the day I'm grateful for him having the courage to end something that made us both unhappy.

I don't think he ever really tried to reboot in any meaningful way when we were together, he found it easy to make promises when faced with my hurt and anguish, but the naughtiness added to his sessions by being clandestine would have only been more of a temptation in the end. I think even then he knew he had issues but whether they were normal, fixable and whether he should fix them were all areas he had no helpful information for at that time.

This has all had quite an effect on my emotions and my emotional attitudes towards sex, relationships and also pornography.

My own pornography use was influenced by this all as well, which is the next thing that I'll be elaborating on in my next post.

Please do ask any questions on any of this if you want to, it's hard to know which bits to expand on or not, but I am happy to discuss anything further if needed. I hope this has been interesting anyway, like I said the initial point is hopefully to build a clear-ish picture of my current stances due to my experiences.

Thanks for reading.

MarieCheri

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Re: The Modern Minefield
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2015, 10:27:11 PM »
Sorry for the long walls of text though folks :\

mateo

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Re: The Modern Minefield
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2015, 04:42:55 AM »
Hi MarieCheri

Its just so sad to see how a troubled guy can take to people who cares about him to the abyss...

I will just tell you about me, so you know where do I stand. And why your post drew my attention.

I'm 38, married twice, a daughter from my first marriage, a son from the second. I would not say I've just been addicted to porn, but addicted to sex chat... which sometimes includes porn. I would also say I am human enough to build friendships with the people I chat and it is not just about sex but also about "real" "virtual" care. Which is tricky for me... is one of those puzzles you talk about... what is worst to my married-guy-with-children-should-behave-like? being friends with other women (and just friends, that's a rule) and occasionally have online sex or sexting? or "just" watching porn...?

Certainly my wife doesn't like none of the options.. although we've done some explorations together...  I'll get back to this at some point.

My sex life has changed a little bit, but maybe because I had real sex and real relationships before started chatting I don't have any sex-should-look-like-this fixations. So when I'm having sex I would say I am actually a sensitive guy. Playful and sensitive. Not a hard-core guy at all. I never had ED, but recent years I've had some sort of premature ejaculation. Maybe this is because when CH or PMOing I tried not to ejaculate and keep like that for hours. This hasn't been a problem with my wife, however. Maybe because I just like so much watching her O, I usually combine with a lot of foreplay or manage to combine keeping still and moving until she Os. We know each other and know how to please ourselves.       
 
However the chat-porn combination has drilled my mind in different ways. First has to do with chat itself and real friendship. With humanity.  Something just has gone inside, compelling me to behave like some kind of predator waiting for any chat to become sex-like chat. Which is a problem because I live abroad and work a lot with online teams. With several weeks away from home working from hotel rooms. I've also done some trainings including online sessions... so guess what. This is the first time I feel I can say this: I've behaved like some kind of abuser. I have abused my role, my status, my colleagues, my friends. Of course I've bumped into girls with kind of the same taste, or at least sporadic urges for it. Or I have somehow helped them to feed those urges. So there's this kind of "being two guys" for me.

When mixed with porn this goes to another level, of course. The porn-chat guy gets turned on with porn-like stuff. Not so much the pose, but the mindset. While I am actually an open-minded humanist, some of my chat games are more about lurking in the dark alleys of people. Starts like some form of curiosity, like "tell me what do you like, I will do some search, I'll show you some videos, it'll be fun" and ends up like "now our egos are leading us to insanity", we O, that´s it. And then again. Its always about pushing boundaries a little bit more. Which in my case might mean pushing the boundaries of friendship and healthy humanity. 

I am not concerned so much about the morale. Of course there are big questions behind. Sex and sexual energy are powerful drivers, and are related to everything that is human. Sex is psyche and relations and memories and meaning. Not black and white at all, not so easily distinguishable from other aspects of our experience as social beings ...certainly your minefield metaphor is a powerful metaphor. I am more concerned about this behaviour being so extremely consuming. I am more concerned about my (self? mind? identity?) being twisted... about my struggles trying to draw the lines.

Which explains why your post intrigued me.

I think you are not afraid of porn, but of the addiction. I think my wife has gone through similar thoughts. We have discussed about it many times. In a healthy way, I would say. She uses this image of "the daemon". She says "you are not you when the daemon takes you" (She does not mean it like in religion, we have other spiritual paths). She is speaking about the addicted me who won't let go, or who is all confused about what is real and what is not and locks himself. She knows I struggle with it, and somehow she accepts that is a burden, my burden. She accepts that I've been trying to find some sort of equilibria.... So she tries to be sure that when she is talking to me it is me and not the daemon who is around. Its kind of her strategy. 

There is more to tell about our experiences together, but I'll let that for another post.

Thanks for inspiring me to write.

   


 

 

 

     
Mateo

Nessie

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Re: The Modern Minefield
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2015, 04:53:19 AM »
Hi MarieCherie,

welcome to Reboot Nation! I want to thank you for your valuable posts, I think they can help other couples that are struggling with these issues. In particular, I think that, thanks to your journal, a lot of men (as well as myself) can better understand how much damage their are doing to their SO and their relationships. Usually, due to the addiction, it's difficult to clearly see how much these behaviours are destructive.

Thanks! :)

Nessie

P.s.: sorry for my bad english, it's not my first language!