This is Your Brain on Porn: My Thoughts on the Matter
by Anonymous, 3/8/2010
I'm a little unresolved when it comes to my thoughts on the matter of porn addiction.......or at least I was before I read a bit about it from different sources on the internet. I'm a woman in my early 20's & I've been watching porn ever since my pre-teen years....maybe even earlier, but I only remember doing it for sure in the pre-teen years. I decided to write a comment here to add a woman's perspective on the issue, as I've noticed that the majority of people who've posted here are men, other than the few women who spoke about their husbands' addictions. I often wonder if it really is that women just don't watch or get addicted to porn or they just don't openly admit it for fear of facing much tougher criticism for it than men. I intend to break that trend a bit today with this comment.
I have been intrigued and fascinated by sex for most of my life, even since my early childhood. Because this is an area that, as a woman, I don't speak very openly about with other women, I have never known whether this was normal or abnormal. However, I feel that it may be more normal than we tend to think. Children are naturally curious about the world around them - they want to know and learn everything. As a young child in the late 80's - early 90's there were quite a few shows on regular daytime or primetime tv that exposed me to perhaps my first images or ideas of sex. They were indeed what we would today consider quite tame, but for a child they were certainly enough to spark interest. You are probably all familiar with scenes in movies/tv shows where there's a man and woman kissing and caressing each other passionately in a bedroom or other secluded area then the scene fades out with them making moaning/groaning noises. A seemingly harmless and common occurrence. Occasionally some scenes might include some undressing or romping about under the sheets before fade out, but still nothing too graphic. Yet to a child, who has never seen anything like this before, and is intrigued by new things, this sparks curiosity and a whole bunch of questions; What were those people doing? Why were they making those noises? Why did it fade out before I could see what happened next?
And of course, if such a child seeks to ask a parent or other responsible adult about it, they would be met with a sharp, negative answer, possibly even a scolding and warning not to watch things like that. This was particularly common in my era - I don't know how parents handle those things nowadays. Nevertheless, such a reaction from parents and other adults, at least in my case, only served to fuel my intrigue and curiosity. I wanted to know more about this new genre the adults seemed intent on hiding from me. So, as i believe most children do, I turned to friends and other schoolmates, books (there were lots of medical books in my house which even though I didn't understand much, at least they had labeled pictures), magazines (cosmopolitan in particular had a dedicated sex advice section, & even a sex ad section at the back!) and even personal observation (peeking through the keyhole of my parents' bedroom door whenever they went missing for too long to see if they were 'doing it').
These are the sources from which I first began to learn about sex, but since much of the basics were omitted, my intrigue only grew and grew(for example a medical book will show you the anatomy - mainly internal, and explain in scientific terms how conception occurs, but not actually what sex is. Or a magazine article might show some experiences of real people but, because it's not a porn magazine it would spare the graphic details).
When we got cable tv at my house I was about 7 or 8. Cable tv introduced channels like HBO and cinemax which at the time had late night sex shows. When we just got cable I was too young to be allowed to stay up late anyway so I never watched them. But as I got older, closer to pre-teens, I was now allowed to stay up later on weekends and watch tv with my older sister. But she often went to bed earlier than me so I had the chance to sneak brief peeks at the late night shows. Needless to say, this showed sex in a whole new light to me, making it even more intriguing, and even stimulating, as by this time I was beginning to hit puberty. It wasn't long before I began experimenting with touching myself (yes, even at that young pre-teen age! It's a common misconception I think that children - and only boys - only begin to experiment sexually at 16 yrs or beyond, when some theories state that even babies sometimes play with their genitals because it feels nice - something that sounds really weird but makes you think).
So that went on for a little while, but of course well hidden from everyone because I knew it would have been met with disapproval from my parents and probably ridicule from my peers. Then when I was a young teen - 13 or 14 yrs, my mother bought a computer mainly for the purpose of helping me with my schoolwork. This now exposed me to the internet & all its positives, negatives and sometimes just plain weirdness! At the time most of my friends' parents did pretty much the same thing & got them computers for school too, so we all had newfound access to the worldwide web - with its icq chats, email forwards, chain letters, games, funny websites, weird websites, and of course lots and lots of porn websites. Surely, many were first introduced to pornographic images via spam emails. These strange occurrences & all the other oddities we found on the 'net were frequently discussed in a joking manner as we all learned all sorts of things about the world & the many different types of people and interests out there. But no one, at least in my circles, ever mentioned really watching porn - it was always a matter of some weird thing they stumbled across accidentally that they just had to tell somebody about, but that was it, no one was a habitual watcher, or at least, like me, no one admitted it.
I saw the internet as a new, somewhat easier way to look at porn (of course I also saw it as many other things too; a research tool, a communication tool where you could talk to your friends all you want without running up the phone bill, an entertainment centre with games, music, videos - but since this site is about porn I'll focus on that aspect). I enjoyed a certain amount of freedom on the internet to look at porn since (a) it was soooo abundant, and (b) whenever I was at the computer, which was in a separate room from the rest of the house - my study room - everyone assumed I was doing schoolwork and would therefore leave me to my own devices so as not to bother me.
Now, my initial encounters with internet porn left me with mixed feelings about it - I was of course partly intrigued because it was there that I first understood that sex involved penetration into the female (all the time before I thought it was just rubbing), but this same fact on the other hand scared me because I couldn't imagine how something so invasive could possibly be fun. Yet somehow, even though I didn't really understand where the pleasure in sex really came from, the porn aroused me as well as peaked my interest in learning more about sex. So I kept watching, not daily but maybe 2-3 times a week, whenever I was alone & sure I couldn't get caught unexpectedly. This continued right through my teenage years, and continues to date, and I have never suffered any negative effects due to it. I have always been a good student, and though I watched internet porn I never let it take precedence over my schoolwork or anything else important or interesting I might be doing at any point in time. I only watched it when I had free time, was alone and had access to a private computer. I had one steady boyfriend in high school, and we did not have sex. I had many reasons for not wanting to have sex at that stage in my life, the most important being the risks of stds and pregnancy(frequently reinforced into my head by my school teachers), as well as possible labeling, bad reputation, and of course 'eternal damnation' (again, all these were reinforced constantly by my teachers - I went to an all-girl religious school - enough said! lol). To this day I think delaying sex until I was past my teen years was a great choice that I'm really glad I made, and that watching porn did not make the slightest bit harder. In fact, I felt sometimes that porn and masturbation gave me an outlet for any teenage sexual tension that built up, though I know many people argue for and against that. Porn also hasn't affected my relationships with family and friends, as I have never neglected any of their needs to watch porn or to masturbate. It's just something I do in my own private time to please myself, and until I read many articles on the matter, I felt it was completely harmless. But seeing that there are so many articles and groups of people out there who are so against it, and with sound reasons, and even those whose lives it has destroyed, I'm now beginning to wonder about its possible dangers. I am currently abstaining from it because I am worried about becoming addicted, not because I feel increasing or uncontrollable urges towards it, but because I see that so many others do and are addicted, and I just don't want to take that risk! It's been about 3 weeks or so since I last watched porn, maybe more, I wasn't really counting at first. I still masturbate occasionally however, but without porn. I masturbate to achieve orgasm because, even though I am now sexually active, I find it difficult to achieve a full orgasm during sex. I know in the case of men, many people would attribute that to years of being over stimulated by porn but I think it's different in a woman's case - women achieve orgasms mostly through clitoral stimulation rather than internal stimulation. During sex the clitoris may be stimulated to the point of orgasm depending on the position, if the partner's body rubs against it for instance.But for many women this does not happen long enough to bring about a true orgasm. Sex still feels fantastic and very satisfying mainly because I love my partner and it brings me very close to him. But to get that full-blown orgasm I need direct clitoral stimulation, which is why I masturbate from time to time. Sometimes I wonder if you can be addicted to masturbation too and therefore if I should abstain from that as well. I like to know that I'm always in control of myself so addiction is something that really scares me. Anything I ever find myself becoming to attached to (from lip gloss to make-up, to meat!) I abstain from for at least a while to build my will power against it. So that's what I'm doing with porn, but I must admit this one has been so far the hardest of all the others, as now that I've approached this 3-week mark I'm beginning to crave it! This worries me, and makes me really glad I decided to do this now before it possibly became too late! I don't know if I'll totally never watch porn again, but I certainly hope this period of abstinence will bring it down to a rare occurrence.
On closing though, I pose this question: If sex and sexual desire are a natural part of the human experience, why then is so much taboo, controversy and negativity attached to something that is so fundamental even to the survival of the human race (i.e. procreation)?