I was exposed to pornography in my early teens, and it quickly became a habit for me to escape from the difficulties of teenage and then young adult life (with emotionally distanced/challenging parents). I didn’t know any differently and couldn’t understand how other people could get through life without such an escape.

I was in a relationship from the age of 16 and kept my porn use hidden due to my intense shame and compartmentalisation of it. It was a barrier in our relationship for many years obstructing intimacy – and inevitably with high negative impacts on my partner.

Eventually my porn use escalated as it inevitably does, to include webcams, dating sites, paid sex, and same-sex encounters (opposite to my sexuality). It became an unbearable and uncontrollable hidden life that I couldn’t escape from.

I have worked with therapists and 12 step programmes since 2014, and in 2018 was able to reach long-term sobriety which has lasted until now. With a full disclosure to my partner along the way and subsequent rebuilding, I was able to start building up intimacy and honesty into life and escape from shame.

Now, four years later, I have been de-centred in life and felt the familiar urges of my addiction return, as if nothing had happened in the last four years. I found this site while looking for recovery resources to get back on track rather than take a step I would deeply regret down to me very core.

I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to share my story. Porn and sex is an insidious addiction that will separate you from a full life and intimacy and hold you back in shame. There is a way out which requires a lot of effort, soul searching, humility, and probably even some desperation. But if you can take those steps then you will open up a life you only dreamed of before.

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.