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LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: Pornography Effect 101

By Marilisa Walker

Following a heart wrenching break up of our nearly 11-year marriage, and after he ran our Chamber of Commerce award-winning businesses into the ground, stole all my money and drove off in our only car on a sizzling hot summer afternoon in August while I was taking a nap, I experienced “an overwhelming and overpowering feeling of not being able to make sense of it”—which is what I logged in my journal four months later.

Throwing myself on the kitchen floor and sobbing uncontrollably, while these antics provided some emotional relief but horrified my dog—yet was I still left with an irreconcilable quandary.

If I could only make sense of what happened between my husband and I, then I could understand it.

If I could understand it, then I could deal with it.

In the same way a patient sees a doctor for a distressing physical symptom, the doctor is rendered powerless to treat that disease unless a DIAGNOSIS is first given.

What are we dealing with, exactly?

My dilemma seemed to be rooted in, why, why, why when we seemingly had so much going for us, could our relationship and life end up in such shambles?

True, I can never go back in time insomuch as to restructure a nanosecond and change even one singular event for the better—or force a different outcome—yet it is my conviction that if I understand the dynamics of what happened: I can have an insurance policy shored up AGAINST that future time in which the same scenario will likely repeat itself—”I just met this wonderful man”—leaving me devastated and heartbroken with the proverbial rug pulled out from under me yet again!

I, justifiably, have a real fear and concern I might inadvertently find myself years from now, in the same unpleasant situation. After all, I have racked up two husbands now—both addicts.

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”
Albert Einstein

Einstein was certainly one of the sharper knives in the drawer and his take on a situation is fairly reliable.

“Many women do not evaluate themselves or their relationships,” says Dr. Joyce Hamilton Berry, a clinical psychologist in the Washington, D.C., area. “Consequently, they do not recognize the similarities that attract them to certain types of men.”

Dr. Berry explains that when a woman repeatedly chooses the wrong man, those bad choices attempt to fulfill “needs” that sometimes go back to the woman’s childhood.”

Furthermore she asserts that “People seemingly are drawn to a specific character type; until you learn what it is that keeps you boxed in, you are never going to be able to extricate yourself.”

So this examination—diagnosis—on my part is born out of judiciousness, rather than sentimentality.

It is not out of longing for the relationship to be restored, for to restore such a twisted relationship would mean that I have no self respect at all—thinking I am no better than to be lied to, stolen from, and psychologically abused—this is emphatically not the case!

Our relationship was like an endless game of “go fish;” in vain did I try to match the other cards up to the face card that was showing—an impossible task.

The face card that was showing was “what he said,” the other cards that never matched were “what he did.”

What he SAID and WHAT HE DID were not congruent.

It was as if you looked outside to determine the weather, finding a snowstorm of unprecedented magnitude, you opted for sandals and shorts!

So, doctor, what then, based on your stringent findings, would you say is the diagnosis?

Pornographic Projected Objectification

This is a term I have coined myself, to the end that other women might get a handle on what, exactly, went down—because my situation is by no means unique and there are countless woman, girlfriends, wives, children, and employers left scratching their heads as to what in the world is wrong with this guy?!

It is my contention that Pornographic Projected Objectification is so prolific as to be staggeringly common. You know, similar to air—everybody pretty much breathes it.

If you expect me to escalate my theory of PPO to the tenor of a puritanically snubbed wife, with nothing but theological arguments against the wrongness of porn and a few dog-eared Bible passages (although I certainly could, having graduated from Moody Bible Institute School of External Studies—“The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9) consider these facts from SafeFamilies.org.

  • As of 2003, there were 1.3 million pornographic websites; 260 million pages (N2H2, 2003).
  • The total porn industry revenue for 2006: $13.3 billion in the United States; $97 billion worldwide (Internet Filter Review).
  • U.S. adult DVD/video rentals in 2005: almost 1 billion (Adult Video News).
  • Hotel viewership for adult films: 55% (cbsnews.com).
  • Unique worldwide users visiting adult web sites monthly: 72 million (Internet Filter Review).
  • Number of hardcore pornography titles released in 2005 (U.S.): 13,588 (Internet Filter Review).
  • Adults admitting to Internet sexual addiction: 10%; 28% of those are women (Internet Filter Review).
  • More than 70% of men from 18 to 34 visit a pornographic site in a typical month (comScore Media Metrix).
  • More than 20,000 images of child pornography posted online every week (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, 10/8/03).
  • Approximately 20% of all Internet pornography involves children (National Center for Mission & Exploited Children).
  • 100,000 websites offer illegal child pornography (U.S. Customs Service estimate).
  • As of December 2005, child pornography was a $3 billion annual industry (Internet Filter Review).
  • “At a 2003 meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, two-thirds of the 350 divorce lawyers who attended said the Internet played a significant role in the divorces in the past year, with excessive interest in online porn contributing to more than half such cases. Pornography had an almost non-existent role in divorce just seven or eight years ago.” (Divorcewizards.com)

I am, at my very core an entrepreneur; a business person.

Two very obvious things jump out.

  1. There is a DEMAND for pornography.
  2. There is a SUPPLY of pornography.

Yet it is neither demand nor supply that is of any consequence.

Instead, I am interested in the effect of its use.

When one is a heroin addict, no one delves deeply into the molecular structure of what heroin is comprised.

We are merely concerned with heroin’s effect on a life—and not the heroin itself.

Effects of pornography’s use

In a well balanced, thoughtfully written piece for the United Kingdom’s The Guardian, writer Edward Marriott investigates,  Men and porn.

First Marriott lays the traditional groundwork of proliferation:

In the US, with the pornography industry bringing in up to $15bn (£8.9bn) annually, people spend more on porn every year than they do on movie tickets and all the performing arts combined. Each year, in Los Angeles alone, more than 10,000 hardcore pornographic films are made, against an annual Hollywood average of just 400 movies.

Marriott further writes:

There is a widespread sense that anyone who suggests pornography might have any kind of adverse effect is laughably out of touch. Coren and Skelton, former Erotic Review film critics, focus on their flip comic narrative, scarcely troubling themselves with any deeper issues. “In all our years of watching porn,” they write, in a rare moment of analysis that doesn’t get developed any further, “we have never properly resolved what we think about how, why and whether it is degrading to women. We suspect that it might be. We suspect that pornography might be degrading to everybody.

As for the extent of my own husband’s addiction, he once told me that he’s been evicted from his home choosing to spend his last money on pornography, a want, and not shelter, a need.

Obviously this thinking is not born out of sane logic, but of irrational logic, as addicts are not known, by their nature, to be bastions of rational thought.

Please bear in mind that I am not talking about a person who has a casual relationship with porn. I am talking about an ADDICT.

What is an addict’s most pressing obsession? SUPPLY.

Anything, and I do many anything, that stands between an addict and his supply, must be what?

Must be SACRIFICED.

So if I had money that could keep the supply coming, he stole it.

If I had assets that would boost consumption, he borrowed against them—secretly.

If I had employees that needed to be paid, he rather, paid himself first and wrote them hot checks.

If I had clients deserving a service, he instead, took their money but called on the date of the event to tell them, graciously, that he “could not be there,” but would be “by on Monday to refund their money. According to the Better Business Bureau’s complaint, Monday never came.

Wife, kids, job, business, reputation—does not matter. All will eventually be placed on the sacrificial altar of “supply.”

One third of the way through his article, Marriott drops the big bomb on every one’s mind:

Yet what about the millions who consume pornography, the men—for they are, despite pornographers’ claims about growing numbers of female fans, mostly men—who habitually use it? How are they affected? Is pornography, as most these days claim, a harmless masturbatory diversion?

In a moment of candidness, the writer provides us with a vulnerable glimpse of his own use of pornography:

For most men, at some point in their lives, pornography has held a strong appeal and, before any examination of its effects, this fact has to be addressed. Like many men, I first saw pornography during puberty. At boarding school, dog-eared copies of Mayfair and Knave were stowed behind toilet cisterns; this borrow-and-return library system was considered absolutely normal, seldom commented upon and either never discovered by the masters or tacitly permitted. Long before my first sexual relationship, porn was my sex education.

No doubt (though we’d never have admitted it then) my friends and I were driven to use porn through loneliness: being away from home, we longed for love, closeness, unquestioning acceptance. The women over whom we masturbated—the surrogate mothers, if you like—seemed to be offering this but, of course, they were never going to provide it. The untruths it taught me on top of this disappointment—that women are always available, that sex is about what a man can do to a woman—I am only now, more than two decades on, finally succeeding in unlearning.

It is safe to say that men who are addicted to porn find themselves vacillating between two lands—the reality of what a woman is—one who has hopes and dreams and parents and ate two pieces of toast with strawberry jam for breakfast that day, is worried about keeping the electricity on and earning enough money for her children’s daycare—and the antithesis porn—fantasy woman has no such affections, silly you, and is but hot n horny and ready to please.

Women then, in this fantasy world, must first be dehumanized before they can be used; and it only stands to reason, men who use them, must first be dehumanized as well.

It is clear to me that my husband was himself, first a victim—after which he then victimized me; a trickle down effect, if you will.

Victims are victimized themselves, the abused become the abusers; hurt people, hurt people.

In a most shocking interview, a male porn star, no longer in the industry, was asked to describe ways in which he was treated while on the set.

As he explained the humiliating regimen that he was subjected to go through to produce the all important climax shot at the end, a distinct and palpable change came over his countenance. This poor man was visibly reduced to holding back bitter tears.

“I was treated like an animal,” he said softly.

It’s all too easy to see the humiliating effects of pornography on women, to the exclusion of the suffering on the part of the men.

Everyone is dehumanized. Make no mistake. Everyone.

Embracing the lie

Marriott goes on to make a revealing point:

Pornography, in other words, is a lie. It peddles falsehoods about men, women and human relationships. In the name of titillation, it seduces vulnerable, lonely men—and a small number of women—with the promise of intimacy, and delivers only a transitory masturbatory fix. Increasingly, though, men are starting to be open about the effect pornography has had ”¦

Willful suppression of the truth only then leaves room in one’s life to then, predictably, embrace the false.

Is it really any great surprise that the rest of the addict’s life is merely the living and acting out of that requisite untruth?

This can explain how, as the cycle continued and became ever more central and necessary, lie upon lie had to be told.

First there is the lie—are you looking at porn again?

And then a lie had to be told about the lie, and so on and so on.

It’s as if the addict begins to see himself and those around him, in an endlessly distorted, maniacally cruel, fun house mirror. The horrible paradigm shift is complete.

False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.” Socrates

One of the most damaging aspects of our relationship, which I had told him in many a fight regarding his use of porn and the financial disaster that would surely follow was:

“How could you look in my face day after day and lie?!”

And I also stated, “For me to stay in this relationship with you means that you are asking me to believe lies!”

Looking at the world through the murky lens of porn

Marriott makes his conclusion:

Even when in a loving sexual relationship, men who have used porn say that, all too often, they see their partner through a kind of “pornographic filter.” This effect is summed up eloquently by US sociologist Harry Brod, in Segal’s essay Sweet Sorrows, Painful Pleasures: “There have been too many times when I have guiltily resorted to impersonal fantasy because the genuine love I felt for a woman wasn’t enough to convert feelings into performance. And in those sorry, secret moments, I have resented deeply my lifelong indoctrination into the aesthetic of the centrefold.”

This is my point exactly—Pornographic Projected Objectification

I view it—the pornography. I project it—the pornography.

I look at nothing, not cognitively, not even consciously, without donning my porn goggles first.

Let me be blatantly honest—if you were to ask a woman what it’s like to have sex with a porn addict, they would tell you that there is a “disconnect”‘ during sex. While their partner is present in body, they are simultaneously elsewhere, for in the porn addict’s mind, the retrieval of pornographic images is a must. They have literally chemically conditioned their sexual response to ultimately only obey that stimuli.

Pornography’s chemically altered brain

Donald L. Hilton Jr. wrote an article entitled, “Slavemaster—How Pornography Drugs and Changes Your Brain. Following are excerpts:

Pornography is a visual pheromone, a powerful, $100 billion per year brain drug that is changing human sexuality by “inhibiting orientation” and “disrupting pre-mating communication between the sexes by permeating the atmosphere,” especially through the internet. I believe we are currently struggling in the war against pornography because many continue to believe two key fallacies:

Fallacy No. 1: Pornography is not a drug.

Fallacy No. 2: Pornography is therefore not a real addiction.

In the center of the brain is the nucleus accumbens. This almond-sized area is a key pleasure reward center, and when activated by dopamine and other neurotransmitters, it causes us to value and desire pleasure rewards. Dopamine is essential for humans to desire and value appropriate pleasure in life. Without it, we would not be as incentivized to eat, procreate, or even to try to win a game.

It’s the overuse of the dopamine reward system that causes addiction. When the pathways are used compulsively, a downgrading occurs that actually decreases the amount of dopamine in the pleasure areas available for use, and the dopamine cells themselves start to atrophy, or shrink. The reward cells in the nucleus accumbens are now starved for dopamine and exist in a state of dopamine craving, as a downgrading of dopamine receptors on the pleasure cells occurs as well. This resetting of the “pleasure thermostat” produces a “new normal.” In this addictive state, the person must act out in addiction to boost the dopamine to levels sufficient just to feel normal.”

As the desensitization of the reward circuits continues, stronger and stronger stimuli are required to boost the dopamine. In the case of narcotic addiction, the addicted person must increase the amount of the drug to get the same high. In pornography addiction, progressively more shocking images are required to stimulate the person.”

These facts deeply wound the spouse. How can she even begin to compete with very real chemical changes in her partner’s brain, let alone ignore the intense level of betrayal and subsequent rejection? The answer is, she can not.

Towards the end of our relationship, my husband could not even bring himself to have sex with me because he had already gotten all his pleasure and chemical fix from porn. A real woman doesn’t “do it”‘ anymore.

According to one website dedicated to helping those effected by the partner’s use of pornography, a hallmark sign of addiction is this:

Your sexual life has dwindled, or is dead. You may find that your partner is no longer initiating sex.

“And, last we checked,” writes a woman regarding her husband’s porn use, “being committed to a relationship meant finding ways to exercise your independence in a way that didn’t make your partner weep.”

As for me, I am resolved to no longer cry on a kitchen floor.

Marilisa Walker is a strategic consultant and staff writer for House 61, a shelter that serves those who have experienced sexual abuse, domestic abuse or are human trafficked.


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68 Comments on "LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: Pornography Effect 101"

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Dear Marilisa,

WOW!!!! What a wonderful article! You are RIGHT ON!!! I totally 110% agree with everything you said above.

There is SO MUCH GOOD information in your article I would like to comment on each one, but there is just too much GREAT stuff there to even begin to comment on! THANK YOU!!!! THANK YOU!!!!! I am looking forward to more articles like this one!

THANK YOU MARILISA!!!

My ex husband was a porn addict. He had admitted that he had been a sex and porn addict in his past, but said he had overcome it. He said he was “a new creation!” What he had really done is learned how to hide it very very well! He was on the internet late at night for hours every day while I was asleep.

I experienced the “disconnect” in sex from the very beginning. It is very painful emotionally! It was just as you have stated in this article, you are objectified by a porn addict. I tried to explain to him how it felt and he looked at me as if I had just told him the sky was green…he had no clue what I was talking about. If you have ever experienced this you know exactly what Pornographic Projected Objectification is, it is excruciating! And when your partner denies their addiction and hides it from the world there is very little hope of overcoming the tremendous harm that it does to a relationship!! Even when I began to find evidence of his porn addiction he denied it and began to demonize me behind my back so people would not believe me when I asked for help with our relationship. The internet makes it easy for people to hide! Needless to say, the marriage was doomed on multiple levels!

Fascinating article, Marilisa.
you’ve added a new dimension to the word addiction for me.
It’s a promise that rarely delivers.

I was married to a sex addict. Everything in your post rings so true. He was not emotionally there, one time he even put a pillow over his face! After a while, he just complained that he had an injury and it hurt to have sex. I believed him at the time. Imagine my shock when I found the images and letters to escorts…..

Also, the few times we had sex, it was porn sex. There was no eye to eye communication. There was no bonding. It was just a performance…..

To me, sexual intimacy should be “a bonding ritual between two people who love each other.” I think you are right stillinshock porn is a “performance”! But when a person is unable to BOND to another person, unable to love, they are unable to experience that level of intimacy between lovers….only perform. I think that they somehow know we “get something” out of sex that they don’t, but they can’t figure out what “It” is, so keep seeking new partners hoping to find that elusive “thing” that we get that they don’t.

I agree Ox Drover. I think he thought I was going to be the one to cure it all…..but I am sure after a while he was disappointed when the old cravings came back. He will forever be searching for that deep emotional bond that can heal, but he will never find it. He is still in denial and according to his mom still acting out in totally disgusting and dysfunctional ways.

you know, Stillinshock, I think the “biggest sex organ” in the human is between the EARS and not between the legs. Our thinking and emotions are what turns us on, and since the psychopaths have difficulty bonding or loving, only the coarser aspects of “biological sex” excite them. They seek newer ways and different ways, each time hoping that they will find that elusive “spark” that excites them.

They become jaded and it takes more and more to excite them I think.

oh OX

You rang, Hens? Yes, I’m here!

I hope you wear a big hat Our Ox….~!

Remember my donkey-riding hat that I got at the auction with the huge pheasant tail on the back? LOL Yea, I wear a big hat, but my head isn’t big—just my thoughts are BIG! LOL Ah, being an old woman is such fun, I can get away with so much stuff and just pretend to be everyone’s cute old grandma, and NO one suspects what goes on inside my head!

that went right over your head ox

Actually it did NOT go over my head, I just pretended it did! I GOT IT!!!!! I was just pretending I didn’t get it. LOL

Great article Marilisa.

I don’t have time to comment at length, but this is pretty much what I was saying last week: as far as I’m concerned porn is in many ways THE biggest problem we are facing today. But I also think there is a “lag time” effect at work here, where it’s truly devastating nature will take perhaps twenty more years to fully realize.

As Oxy said, it does leave people jaded – why do you think that every other TV commercial today is for Viagara? (I believe the relevant teenage expression here is “DUH!!!!”) I think, though, that this is a relatively mild issue compared to the other stuff – the most worrying of which for me is its undeniable influence on the coarsening of our culture.

As Chris Hedges (who has studied this in depth) points out, this is becoming increasingly apparent in every aspect of our lives. Just one example of this are the images from Abu Graib, which come directly from the new variety of sadistic porn. Here it’s not even a matter of a “loose correlation” because the things they depict directly copy what is apparently on virtually every Internet porn site.

In short, it’s already a low enough of an activity to sit around all day watching other people having sex. It’s quite another thing, however, to watch sadism and dehumanization – which is almost universal in today’s porn industry (I could barely get through Hedges’ chapter on this in “Empire of Illusion,” but I can assure you: not only is it bad – it’s worse than bad!)

In fairness, this is affecting women too. Just last month I came into work, and the woman in my office froze up the computer next to mine with a porn site! (She got fired the next day!) And ninety percent of the smut of popular culture like Jersey Shore, the New Housewives shows, etc. – all of that is completely saturated by a “pornified” world-view that would have been unthinkable thirty years ago.

Again, I say that a lot of what we’re seeing here at LF has it’s origin there. Like any other intense addiction, porn numbs up all that is potentially fine and noble in human nature (its effects on love and empathy, for example, must be profound), and pretty much turns people into Gollums looking for their next fix.

I’ve actually been reading Wilhelm Reich, who basically said that all our drives stem from defenses against the main one, sex. We repress our sexuality in some way, and it may be a major denial or just a minor one. The main theme was how to follow the therapeutic trail back to that freeing place — how not to repress.

So, according to our definitions nowadays, you’d think porn would be a good thing for that. It isn’t. Reich was emphatic that porn is not sex. It’s a derailing of sex into other drives (such as violence or pain), and another form of sexual repression.

The fascists pretty much marginalized Reich’s work, and even later, the U.S. government pulped as many of his books and papers as it could get its hands on. And this person was *against* pornography.

And here we are in the 21st century, with no meaningful voice against porn except picky little feminist tirades. Nothing that goes back to the roots of our sexuality and how porn represses that.

We live in a pornographic age. Pornography is considered normal. It’s even defined as sex.

Instead of dealing with the repression as Reich wanted, the definitions of the repressed people in power became “normal.”

So your ex has this problem in his wiring, a serious short-circuit somewhere. It’s probably very deep-seated, going back to infancy maybe. Don’t blame yourself or your sex life, even if you seem to have to note that you’re a Bible Studies graduate. A lot of people use the Bible to repress their sexuality — their choice not the Bible’s — but this guy can’t even get a grip on what a sex life is.

He’s repressed, not liberated. I guarantee it. Porn is an addiction to repression and punishment and pain. Not pleasure. The only pleasure it brings is like that momentary relief the cigarette smoker gets from their pain.

If you come from this Bible Studies background, does your ex also? (And is his name David? Just kidding.)

Addiction to porn is fairly widespread in fundamentalist circles. People with an obsession with holding it in, and need an outlet, and it can be glory-hallelujah or dirty-sexy. I can tell you stories . . . an obsession with sado-masochism in a popular New York City cult that asked not to be identified as Tim Keller’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church . . . but never mind.

The point is, your Biblical worldview isn’t the problem here. The early abuses that often bring certain kinds of people to that worldview, twisting it around, is the problem. I’d be very, very careful around those types of people, Christian imposters just validating their repression. . . . Personally, I had to make legal threats against such people to make myself clear: I am not abnormal, and I am not in need of their twisted “help” for my healthy, “self-regulating” sexuality without pornographic fantasies of bondage and shame.

And have you seen “Higher Ground,” Vera Farmiga’s self-directed, self-acted film? Amazing, cathartic, revelatory, funny, and deeply spiritual. And guess what? Erotic.

Much love.

Constantine,

Very good points, and I am glad to hear them from a male voice. Too many times men seem to think that porn is “harmless” and women who voice “anti-porn” views are viewed as “up tight” or just “prudes.”

Sister-sister’s comments about the Biblical view of sex is also interesting as many “Christian imposters,” as she very rightly calls them, pretend that sexual intimacy is “dirty” when in fact they are engaging in SHAME-BASED PEDOPHILIA themselves, while preaching against loving sexual intimacy.

The book of the Song of Solomon to me shows that the Bible’s teachings are not against loving intimacy, but against the sale of sex as a commodity and the “dirty-fying” of physical loving. (excuse me for making up a word!)

Oxy, Sistersister,

And that just shows how far we’ve traveled in the wrong direction: i.e, when we see as “normal” something which is so utterly degrading and soul-destroying. But isn’t this just a kind of “cultural gaslighting”: i.e., telling us that the most dehumanizing and vile thing imaginable is simply “what everyone does” – and that to think otherwise is to be a “prude”?

Also, I think that this self-indulgent era makes a gross mistake in confusing “repression” with healthy moderation and restraint. Indeed, without a reasonable “damming up” of the passions from time to time, all you get are “erectile dysfunctions,” and insipid, depressed men who masturbate fifteen times a day! So remind me again what is so ‘erotic” about all that?

Reich wrote that healthy people needed no “damming up” of passions. They were “self-regulating.” Their passions were always appropriate. In fact, passion itself, which he called “aggression” but really meant passion, is a good thing. It allows us to live fully. (But Constantine, I think I get your point, in all goodwill. Yes, we dam up our passions sometimes just to function in this world, and that’s a necessary skill.)

People staring at butts and boobs in computer monitors are not living fully.

I don’t pretend to know where the dividing line is between erotica and porn, but it seems to me it’s somewhere between pleasure and pain, rather than a certain degree of explicitness. That’s why I’m reluctant to call for draconian laws against porn. Like the Supreme Court, I “know it when I see it.” Censorship doesn’t solve the problem of damaged human beings. Stop damaging our kids with repressive ideas about their bodies, and porn will die out.

I found myself feeling sorry for this porn addict Marilisa describes. He honestly can’t help himself. (The availability of porn might actually keep him from sodomizing kids or something.) She hints that she thought she could change him through spirituality and Biblical perspectives. People really do change through these things, but not sexually. Sexual disorders are intertwined physical and pychological conditions. That’s bad news for Christian approaches but good news for scientific therapies.

Reich developed that therapy. (See his book, “The Function of the Orgasm.”) That the U.S. government thought it needed to ban this is quite telling. But I believe you can get this therapy if you ask around. There’s kind of an underground movement.

I know someone in the New York area who practices a form of bodywork (no, it’s not sex) that has unwound my own psychological blocks. (I can give his phone number if Donna contacts me through my listed e-mail.) It involves a lot of talking, but that seems to arise naturally from the bodywork. He did wonders for a friend of mine with a back injury, and I feel lighter. I don’t even have any big sexual kinks that I know of, but it speaks to how all our psychological knots originate in traumas in a nervous system that’s sexually wired.

This is the real deal, where psychoanalysis should have gone but didn’t. The consequences are around you.

Men are always going to seek a certain “objectification” of women, even if only as an outlet beyond their wives’ knowledge. Civilization got way ahead of male evolution. I don’t think that every man who looks at a centerfold once in a while is damaged. But that necessary acceptance of a small bad habit blurs the distinction between that and a serious porn problem. It’s best to stay on the lookout for that.

Skylar, I love that: “It’s a promise that rarely delivers.” I’ve never heard a better definition of addictions in my entire life.

To me, the difference between erotica and porn is the difference between objectifying your partner as a series of body parts or deeply bonding with your partner. Erotic is staring into each other’s eyes, pleasuring each other, and using the connection between the two of you to get that high. Porn is getting the high off of dismissing your partner, just viewing the body part needed, and perhaps “picturing” some other fantasy you saw on the internet. There is nothing deeply satisfying about porn. It is a quick fix for a quick feel-good.

Erotica leaves you wanting more and feeling deeply satisfied.

There is a huge difference to me between the two. And I know which one I prefer.

Also, I have seen some of the studies on how porn changes the way the brain is wired. It is really scary. I have tried to warn my boys against porn, and I hope they listen to me a little bit, because I hope they find a deeply satisfying relationship at some point, instead of being forever doomed to keep looking and searching for something that is impossible to find in the porn world.

Sistersister,
this might interest you.
http://www.reichandlowentherapy.org/Content/Sexuality/capacity_for_feeling.html

I’ve also been reading up a bit on Reich and Lowen.

Wow…what an article. Marissa has an amazing way with words.

I hate porn. I can tell a porn addict before I sleep with him, and even more so after. I can tell porn addicts just from talking to men sometimes. It’s blatantly obvious. Sometimes it’s so bad that I notice men behaving as though every beautiful woman wants them, which is just ridiculous. When ever in history did numerous 40 year old men think that every 18 year old blonde is just dying to go to bed with him? Cause in porn, gorgeous women are having sex with anyone and everyone. In fact, if you’re attractive, porn would seem to imply that you’re therefore more sexual and promiscuous.

I worked at a clothing store in the mall when I was 18. Once I had to bring a new size of jeans for a man in a dressing room. He poked his erection past the door and then smiled at me. I nearly fainted from shock and hid in the supply room until he left. My manager had to finish helping all the guests, cause I was mortified. I really got the impression that he thought this would all play out like some film he saw where some random guy walks into a department store and the woman helping him jumps into the stall with him and they have sex. That’s how a porno would play out. When I was younger and first saw some pornos, I immediately wanted to know where those people met and what their names were. I thought it was awkward, not sexy, that seemingly random strangers were having sex with each other.

I hate porn. Did I mention that? I hate it.

As if that’s not bad enough, porn in Turkey is even MORE degrading to women. I haven’t seen it, but my friend has, and she told me about it. She said women are commonly tortured in them. For example, while giving a man a blow job, he will plug her nose so that she cannot breathe until her face turns red. That turns those men on. Imagine dating THAT kind of guy (I did). Oh, joy.

Okay I got in a rant. I hate porn. A lot.

Gosh, @Panther. What a trip. Dating a guy like that? Oh my God, I’d run so fast . . .

I don’t think I can tell right away if a man is a porn addict. But I suspect that’s what one of my boyfriends, who is still a friend actually, suffered from. Just now I thought of that. Because we were doing fine until suddenly one night at his mom’s house, he wouldn’t get away from the computer. I had waited up for him to get in late after working on a personal project, missing him so sweetly, only to find him goofing around on the computer when he came home. It wasn’t my computer, and I didn’t even think of looking up his viewing history. But I do remember he was kind of catatonic in dealing with me that night. He just wouldn’t come to bed until I was extremely tired.

I’ve thought a lot about that incident, but never suspected it was porn.

Perhaps it was his anger at me that I had revealed something about myself that his mom wasn’t happy with, or that she was unhappy that he had left me at home when I was sick. (I didn’t mind, really. I just rested. And to this day I have a fine relationship with his mom.)

But I thought it strange that when he got to bed, he wanted to “do it.” I was barely alive at that point. After that, he always wanted to do it when I was too tired to move, and seemed turned off when I was turned on.

He may have had a sense of shame about sleeping with me at his mom’s house, but she never seemed to think anything of it. Geez, we’re both in our 40s.

Or his Catholic upbringing, I don’t know.

Finally, a few months later we broke up without a whole lot of explanation. We had been driving each other crazy in some other ways, control issues, for a few weeks at that point. We have remained friends. Really good friends.

Porn addictions don’t seem like spath behaviors to me. I believe a lot of people with these addictions are genuinely ashamed of themselves. It’s a physical/psychological problem they don’t have much of a choice about.

My first year in New York, I took a walk in a secluded part of a park. Dumb, I know, but it was on a hill right above a playground, so I figured I wasn’t totally alone. A man walked toward me on the path, playing with his penis. I tried to scream, yell, but it seemed that no sound would travel in that space. He looked at me with a truly pained look on his face, saying “Im sorry,” and walked right past me. Probably the sounds of children were what turned him on. I still remember the sensation of utter helplessness, like he was some kind of bulldozer that was going to run right over me.

Most of these guys in the city are pretty arrogant about it, though. They’ll jack off right next to a woman on the subway and deny that it happened. One even followed me into another car when I tried to get away from him. The biggest problem used to be getting the police to take this seriously. (Really! Tells you something about the kind of people who become cops.) Then came the cameraphone, and a Web site to upload the photos. Things changed pretty fast after that!

I’m not the kind of woman who gets spooked at any man checking out my body. But I know for sure when it’s gone too far. THAT I can feel.

And the fact that some men I have dated who have this problem are really amazing in other ways is just, well, sad. I wish I could do something. I wish I could help. I don’t feel like the victim; except for some awkward sexual encounters, I don’t feel raped. (Except for the religious guy. That was emotional rape, if there is such a thing. I was very definitely violated, though.) I feel like they are the victims. To feel any love for them is just heartbreaking.

Thank you so much, you guys, for your thoughtful comments and dialogue here. I have learned a lot from reading you!

Actually, as I was telling Donna Anderson, originally this article simply came about as a note to my therapist but morphed into more. (Ya think?! lol)

What I didn’t mention is that I can not tell whether the porn came first and afterwards, the sociopath behavior OR the behavior and then the porn. Sort of like the chicken and the egg, you know?

Also, I didn’t mention that I was his fourth wife.

And after I wrote this, last spring, a private detective found me and was looking for my ex, as he stole from someone else and they were trying to recover “my client’s property”, so by no means did he single only me out, my ex, as a target. It goes on and on and on….

I can tell you that I’ve healed tremendously from all this.
The goal of any breakup is indifference.

Truly I can tell you, as for as this dude is concerned, I could care LESS.

(I will be back to answer each of you more specifically~ again, thank you for all your kind words!)

Marilisa

Dear Marilisa,

The number of “marriages” over 2 is usually a good indicator that they either have a BAD PICKER or they are a BAD PICK….

What an article, and I also detest porn – it does not portray, in any form, what I personally consider to be normal, healthy physical contact between a committed couple.

My recent discovery that my Sickpath spouse had been addicted to violent BDSM porn and engaging in only-god-knows-what during our entire marriage ended in disaster with my assault against him in a fit of rage.

At this moment, the rage is gone and only replaced with this grief for all that I had believed to be true.

Porn ruins perceptions. Porn reiterates objectification of women (typically), and there is a vast ocean of difference between eroticism and what porn portrays.

At one time, if someone wanted to obtain pornography, they had to travel to a questionable part of town under cover of night, park in the back, and so forth. Today, even our teenagers and young adults believe that porn is “normal.”

I’ve been destroyed by what I discovered, and I am in a space of loss, despair, and fear.

Dear Truthspeak,

The above post I think is the SCRIPT for what you need to tell the judge in court (ask your attorney first of course). The discovery of such filth I think is sufficient to provoke anyone to a rage. Of course even being that enraged doesn’t give you a “pass” for your behavior in “beating him Up” but it does make it more understandable.

I also believe that he deliberately provoked this so that you WOULD beat him up and then he could “play the victim” role which as you have posted seems to be his fantasy.

My Daughter in law (a psychopath I believe) also was into S&M and though she preferred the being bound role with her BF, she also was willing to strike out and planned to murder my son, her husband. Thank God she and her BF were caught in the attempt before they had actually killed him.

My spath was heavily into porn and I’m pretty sure made porn videos. He told me he had a friend, who liked to make porn.

All those tells, and red flags and I missed them all.

One thanksgiving, spath said, “some friends of mine are getting together to eat turkey and they invited us.” So I thought, Ok, why not?

We arrived at the apartment and everyone was sitting around in the living room eating turkey from paper plates. The TV was on and they were watching PORN!!!!

I was shocked. Not so much because of the porn, but because all these people could sit around watching porn in front of other people they barely knew (or so I thought). The porn itself must’ve been boring because I couldn’t really watch it. I wonder if I was drugged or something because the whole episode (about 25 years ago) is quite blurry. We were only there for maybe about 30 minutes and we left. I guess the spath figured that I wasn’t having the “correct” reaction? Later I told the spath how weird it seemed and (of course) he agreed. I never saw or heard from those “friends” again.

It just goes to show how utterly superficial relationshits with spaths are. The guests at the “tgiving dinner” must have felt nothing at all. No shame for themselves or each other and no need to bond with family or friends on such an important day as Thanksgiving. It was like being in a room with zombies.

Strange story, Sky. Even stranger that they appeared once in your life, and then never again. How did he find them? Who were they?

I despise pornography and porn addicts. My ex was constantly on the computer and any time the kids or I approached him all we saw was a screensaver. Of course I suspected porn but couldn’t prove it. Eventually I found hundreds of pornographic disks with thousands of images, including his genitals which I presume he was sending over the internet. Pornography objectifies and dehumanizes people to robots.

I totally agree with Truthspeak’s statement, “it does not portray, in any form, what I personally consider to be normal, healthy physical contact between a committed couple.”

Oh My! The ex-wretch was sooo into ‘erotica’. Really just pornographic images. But he couched it being about how loved the female form, was into goddess worship.

It is hilarious now, looking back, how he used new age spiritual mumbo-jumbo to cover his addictions:

to pot/mushrooms/XTC (ceremony, dude!)
porn (erotica, love of The Goddess)
infidelity (poly-amory, finding God through sexuality)
partying/out all night dancing (he is finding God through movement)

It all sounded SO deep and groovy he almost had me. But I FELT such a dreadful disconnect the closer I got to him I had to get away. Ewwwwww……………… Blech!!!!!!

Seems like most spaths have a number of addictions. Some ‘seem’ healthy (like running, or working hard….), but to my way of thinking they use these behaviors as a valve of release. Kind of like the steam valve on a pressure cooker, to keep it from blowing.

I think the pressure cooker nature of their mental illness comes first, the rest is all release and self-medication to deal with the CONSTANT sense of internal pressure.

Slim

Yes – I think you’re on to something with that, it’s self-medicating the anxiety.

I guess.

I do some of those things, too, like running. And despite running for an hour today, and getting the adrenalin life, I am having a bad day. I know I need to stay NC, but it is so hard. I am at work. I am just trying to breathe through the pain.
If anybody knows a good reciepe for getting through the day I sure want to hear it.

Athena

Athena

Unfortunately I don’t have a recipe or a magic wand to get through the day. I’m only in early stages of NC so maybe I’m being a bit too confident that he won’t get his hooks in to me again. But I’m so relieved that I have finally woken up, that I spend less time thinking of him and missing him and much more time thanking whoever that I am free. It also helps to know that he is disordered. I didn’t know that…..for sure, until I came to LF. This sounds crap and a bit like stating the obvious but it’s working for me. And it’s the first time that I have
made a clean break. He is stil trying to intrude into my life but there has been a
shift. I no longer pine, no longer miss him. Why would I miss a man that wanted
to destroy me and everything that is dear to me. And it’s that small grain of
KNOWING that keeps me strong keeps me on the path forward. One day, one
step at a time. Immerse yourself in your job if you can. God knows I neglected
mine for long enough for a man I thought loved and wanted me. No he did not.
Sad but true and facing that truth bloody hurts. But I think f**k that, no thanks you loser…..you are someone elses problem.

Just to add……my ex Liked his porn. He used to watch it and even tried to get me to perform favours WHILE he viewed it ….uuurgh. He was obsessed by threesomes……something he watched regularly on porn. The upshot was I became a thing …..something to f**k. He didn’t care. It was brutal and rough. That’s what he saw …..women being abused and hurt. It turned him on. And all the while convincing me it was fine. Normal and healthy and I was being boring!

Strongawoman

So you have benefit of a clear vision to say this “why would I miss a man who wanted to destroy me”? That is a clear focus. No wonder you are doing well. Good for you.

My vision still isn’t as clear as yours. My spath:
said he was evil
said I was perfect
said he loved me
said every song he heard made him think of me
said everybody loved me
said I was one of the most important ppl in the world to him
said I knew him better than anybody else

and what he did?
he lied to me constantly
lied to others constantly
he cheated on me
he lied to me about cheating on me
pulled me into the lies he made to other people
he did a constant push/pull (pull me in/push me away)
ran away from intimate conversations
was extraordinarily selfish
paid for everything
said he wanted to talk backwards
said he wanted to be isolated
asked me to forgive him
married somebody else

No wonder I’m dizzy? Confused?

Athena-

Your description sounds very familiar. I ,like you, am in the early stages and struggle on bad days. Having found this site has been a light bulb moment for me and a great source of comfort- knowing i am not alone and others have been where I am.

You say he cheated and lied about cheating- just imagine him in bed with one of the others, imagine him telling the other woman all the nice things he told you, imagine him ‘grooming’ another woman and making her feel the centre of his world like he did to you. Remember he is a duplicitous sh*t and a liar. You are worth more than that- be happy , you have seen the light!

Mine never answers questions- a normal person would!

I also try to be thankful for things, however small. The autumn colours, the dawn, a small kindness from someone.It works for me. Wish him well and move on! Live in the moment.

Chin up and be strong!

PK

You’re right, of course.

And good point on that – mine never answered questions either – always vague, dodgy answers. I forgot about that.

Thanks PK. Hugs.

Strongawoman, yes, I am grateful for the job I have. It’s a good distraction. In my previous job, I spent wayyyy too much time being distracted by my spath.

PK:
The pain of thinking of him with someone else will pass, I promise. It’s like one of those horrid ‘imfomercials’ that keep popping up on TV and we can’t find the remote to turn it off. Shalom

PK: CONSCIOUSLY FORCE YOURSELF TO LIVE IN THE “NOW”.
PUT ASIDE EVERYTHING ELSE BUT YOURSELF. FORSAKE THOSE UGLY FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS AND MOVE ON. IT IS THE ONLY WAY. BLESSINGS AND LIGHT TO YOU.

Dupey Doo

Shalom: there was a remote for that the whole time??!!
NOW you tell me! 🙂 xxoo

Athena
Hope I didn’t come across as smug and full of the right answers. Didn’t mean to. My spath lied but hated liars. Told me I didn’t love him enough or properly ….whatever that meant. Projection? I became a shadow of my former self and yes he cheated with two OW …that i know of. He created such a spin cycle that I nearly lost everything…..including my life. Being on LF has enabled me to have a clearer vision. There is still debris though. A lot of debris. Sending you positive vibes Athena

My ex also liked porn and tried to get me to have a threesome during the first year of our marriage. He cheated with women, men and I would imagine he got involved in 3somes. I always felt like there was something wrong with me because I was interested in raising our children, going to church, doing family things. I think he married me just to fit in. The sad thing is that my dad always cheated on my mom, and she was a beautiful woman. He also physically and emotionally abused her (and the five of us chidren), kept his entire paycheck and was often out of work. Now my mom is in a nursing home (altzheimer’s) and he passed away last Thursday. I really feel nothing about his passing. Now my ex is calling our daughters and asking to come to my dad’s funeral (my ex is currently a crack addict) and my youngest daughter wants her dad there. When are you allowed to stop being victimized by these people. It is hard enough to go to my dad’s funeral because my youngest brother is just like him and I had to fight him and my dad in court to get a guardianship for my mom because my dad was hitting her when she was so sick with the altzheimer’s. It’s all just too much.

Cathyann so sorry to hear youre having a horrible time. Personally I think it’s your decision to allow your ex to go or not. You are the adult and you know what’s best and having him there is not. Wishing you strength

Cathyann,
I completely agree with strongawoman, it’s your prerogative to decide. Remember though, that the spaths have no limits and it would not be unexpected to have him crash the funeral. Be prepared whatever you decide.

Strongawoman

Thank you for the good vibes.

I had a few moments over the weekend when I really visualized him as a piece of shit slimeball rather than this guy I kept idealizing.

I think if I keep my thinking straight and clear, then my behavior will fall in line, and I will stay true to NC.

It’s 8 weeks today.

Athena

Athena,
Congrats on 8 weeks. It should really start to get easier and easier now. Remember, he is just a liar. Nothing but a liar. It was never real. That kind of lie is repugnant.

I was researching the book you mentioned: the happiness hypothesis. The website has an intro and 3 chapters online.

I loved the 1st chapter but was not so happy with the second chapter. The third was pretty good.

The reason I didn’t like the second chapter is because he quotes another author, who has written that narcissists (and by extension, spaths) have high self esteem. This is patently wrong, in my viewpoint. The reason they treat others so badly is not because they feel they are superior, but because they are trying to bring us down to a lower level. They lie to make us think more highly of them. That is not the behavior of someone who already thinks highly of themselves.

It amazes me that people who have studied psychology, PD’s and N’s and P’s, could believe that Eddie Haskell really thinks highly of himself. People with high self-esteem do not feel the need to kiss ass, or kick the dog.

What I loved about the first chapter is the description of the experiments on people who had the corpus callosum cut. When the left eye was flashed a message to stand up, the person would stand up. When asked why they were getting up, the left brain would come up with a story: I’m getting a coke. And the subject would BELIEVE that it was true. This indicates that we make up stories all the time to make sense of our own behavior and we BELIEVE our own stories! Fascinating!

Cathyann,

You say “it is hard enough to go to my dad’s funeral”

My suggestion is DON’T GO.

You are an adult and you are NOT REQUIRED to go to anything you don’t want to….

My suggestion is that you wait until the last minute and then say “I am just too upset to go” and then STAY HOME….you don’t have to tell them you are upset by the bad memories of a bad father, just say “I AM TOO EMOTIONAL I CAN’T GO.” Then stay home, I have finally in my old age gotten to where I no longer let people DICTATE to me what I should do or how I interact with others. If your daughters want their crack addict father there then YOU WON’T BE THERE for it to bother you. TAKE CARE OF YOU FIRST!!!!! You deserve it! (((hugs))) and God bless.

Cathyann,
agreed with Oxy. When you set boundaries and put your needs first, you are setting a good example for your kids. They will learn that we don’t have to be door mats.

Skylar, am totally in agreement with spaths have low self esteem. Although they proclaim to be superior it is just another lie. They know they are not. Mine hated the fact I was confident and bubbly as I’ve been described. He soon reduced me to a shadow of my former self when I lived with him. He wanted a shy quiet girl. Yeh sure! What an evil man. He once asked me if I thought he was evil so maybe he had insight or was it just more spin. Anyway he wanted to make me like him…..I really think that now. He was and is Insecure and lacking normal human feelings, incapable of empathy of maintaining ANY relationship. And that’s being kind!

Athena…..go girl. 8 weeks NC! Wish I’d done it sooner. NC that is. Only 4weeks for me but the longest have ever done …..and feel different this time. Skylar is right…….he is nothing but a liar. Mine was too. It was all a lie from hello to goodbye…..great statement

Just wanted to add……my relationship lasted four years in total. I lived with him for 2 years and left him nearly 2 years ago to come back to my home and peace. Like an idiot i have been backwards and forwards to him over the past 2 years allowing him to rule my life. I loved him. I was blind. Sorry sounds very cliched.

My point is …..in the early stages I kept a diary. Not every day but when I needed to I wrote my feelings down. It really helped. To see it in black and White. I wrote it to myself ……for myself. I also wrote down how we met and the whole history of the three phases of a relationship with a spath. Idealise, devalue and discard. It’s only now since discovering LF that I know it is a recognised pattern of behaviour. That has strengthened my resolve. It only took him 6 months to reduce me to a wreck. I went from fun loving loud confident warm to incapable of functioning. 8 weeks off work and I thought my life was over. Done.

Why then did I go back some may and do ask. You know ….you have had the push and pull effect inflicted upon you. Fight it with all your might. I am inspired now and determined and we have it in us to be strong. We are strong people. I am strongawoman. Towanda!!!!!!

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