I was first exposed to pornography around age twelve or thirteen by a girl I had a crush on. She laughed at me for never having seen any, and showed me a woman being tricked into sex and visibly uncomfortable and in pain. Many boys in my class at the time also watched porn, and would show it to us and laugh at our reactions, especially if we were uncomfortable. It left me terrified of sex for years and led to behaviours of sexual self-harm during my early adulthood. I let men do things to me I didn’t want because it seemed normal and expected. It also crept into my first relationship with a woman and made our sex life very stilted and uncomfortable, she liked porn and I was still in a bad mindset towards sex, and neither of us had an idea how to connect to our own and each other’s body.
I am doing and feeling better now. For anyone else who has been harmed by exposure to porn, I want you to know that healing is possible, even if it’s difficult, and that you aren’t alone.

TRIGGER WARNING: “Please be mindful when deciding on whether to read these stories that they are emotionally impactful and may be triggering. Within people’s accounts, there is mention of rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, child sexual abuse, other forms of abuse and violence, self-harm and suicide. There are various helplines available for support.