The Harm of Pornography

by  S., Australia

Quite some years ago, when my second child was aged one, I came upon an intense period in my relationship with my partner. At this time, we shared a computer and had a room set up as an office. One day, when my daughter was at pre-school, my son asleep and my partner out, I was on our home computer; I had been looking something up several days before and so I visited the web history to go back to the page I was on. I stumbled onto something there that completely took me by surprise.

I was not suspecting anything and was certainly not looking for anything. As far as I was aware I had nothing to be concerned about, but I discovered that my partner had been looking at porn on the internet.

Up until this point, the only relationship I had had with porn was once as a teenager; I was with one of my friends and we went to visit her boyfriend at his friend’s house. There was a group of boys there, centred around a television, watching a porn movie. On this occasion, I found this quite interesting to observe… not the film, but the boys. I felt it was quite strange how here they were, all together, watching this for fun. But it was also like they were so far removed from it that it was like watching a game of football or a soap opera. They were just ‘numb’ and ‘blank’ in front of the TV. I caught a glimpse of the images on the TV, which I found bizarre to watch – it seemed from another world.

But here I was, sitting at my computer – faced with the shock of feeling what my partner had secretly been up to. I felt a myriad of feelings in a short space of time. I felt betrayed, like he had been with other women. I felt dirty and ashamed, as though I had been a part of this, even though I had not. Then there were feelings of wondering what was so wrong with me? I felt so deeply hurt that I didn’t even dare let myself completely feel what was there to feel – in full.

As I sat in front of the computer, I saw that he had looked at page after page over many days; as far as my computer history showed me, of various things, mainly pictures. I felt drawn to look at them, trying to see what he was seeing in them. Looking at the types of women he had been looking at, wondering, are these the types of women he finds attractive? It was a very confusing moment as I could feel my sense of self-worth suddenly start to plummet. I started questioning myself, who I was, what I looked like, was I boring, was I a ‘prude’? And at the same time sitting in front of a computer looking at these images, I could feel how intensely hooking these internet pages were.

I couldn’t wait to bring this up with my partner. I wanted to address it as soon as possible. But what was I going to say? How would I approach this when I still felt in such a spin about it? The spin was taking me on a descending spiral, focussing on what must be wrong with me – with our relationship.

When we had the time later that evening, alone, when the kids were asleep, I had my opportunity to bring it up. I realise now that I wasn’t ready to do this, because I hadn’t given myself the time to feel it for myself before speaking with him, and because of that – it didn’t go along the lines I had imagined. I had not yet stopped and honoured what I felt and the fact of how devastated I was, before I proceeded to the next step.

When I addressed what I had found with my partner, I could sense he felt exposed, but perhaps he didn’t know how to express what he was feeling. I was still very much in the hurt of it and didn’t dare show the depths of what I felt either – I was protecting the feelings of rejection that were there. He defended himself, saying things along the lines of our intimate relationship not being often enough, saying he needed more. The more he said, the more hurt I felt. In fact the hurt was cementing itself here. I wasn’t holding to what I felt, in fact truthfully – I hadn’t yet given myself the chance to really feel it.

The final clincher was, “well, you know, I’d much rather look at this – with you”. I felt this, even at that time, as the ‘throwing me a bone’ that it was. This was his way out of an awkward situation – offering a solution to a problem or issue that needed to be addressed in the relationship. But I could feel this wasn’t the way. Unfortunately at that time, the doubt I had in myself, the lack of confidence and low self-worth, all contributed to me agreeing with this temporary solution. I had a rush of past experiences flashing before me, voices echoing “You’re so boring”, “you’re so straight”, “you’re no fun”.

So from there, we agreed to look at some pictures online together at some point. I remember feeling his delight and my feeling so, so sad, but I didn’t choose to stay with the true feelings I was having – the feelings of sadness, that this was where we had come to. But instead I chose to go with the feelings that came from the lack of self-worth.

Our phase of looking at this was very short lived, a matter of weeks. My partner was very into it, he found it very much a ‘turn on’ and very exciting – he even felt like we were breaking new ground. I, on the other hand, had difficulties with it. For me, it felt like we were going backwards or really just getting further away from having a lovely, intimate connection. We were searching online for different images / videos, but nothing ever felt right, I wasn’t finding it a turn on – but a turn off. It was awful to feel the way the people were with each other, particularly how the men were with the women, but also how the women were with themselves. I found I wanted to avoid all of the images of men, and found that the images of women alone or women with women were more bearable, even though I had no interest in women in an intimate or sexual way. I found my breathing would change, it would feel erratic and not the normal gentleness of breath I was used to. I would also feel anxious and stimulated, as though I had drunk coffee (which I hadn’t done for many years, as I didn’t like that racy feeling).

I found that I couldn’t look my children in the eye anymore. I felt so ashamed. I had no judgement of anyone else taking part in this, but my insides felt like they were screaming how wrong it felt for me.

Over these weeks, as I had the time to feel clearly that I did not enjoy this, and honoured the fact that this was normal for me, I again broached the subject with my partner. I realised that seeking this type of intimacy was not the solution for me. For me it felt far more natural for us to connect to one another, as the man and woman we were, in a raw and open way.

So, I confronted him and I said I can no longer take part in this. I told him all about how it had affected me, how I even felt uncomfortable around our children when they were naked. I felt like somehow I must be imposing that onto them; I didn’t know how or why I knew this but it was a very strong feeling. It was like I could feel the energy of what we had been part of – around me, around us. I expressed my feelings so clearly, that he really got it then – how devastating it was for us to take our potential to make love to an expression that was all about sex, stimulation, body parts, and relief. There was no heart-felt connection in it.

This experience was a big learning for me. I got to feel what happens when I take an issue that is going on outside of me and bring it inside of me. This is what I did when I chose to react to what I found, to take it personally by making it about me and the fact that something must be wrong with me – rather than accepting it as it was, and dealing with it from there.

Even at that time, I did not have the awareness I have now – my approach to that situation in hindsight, would have been completely different. I would have been more honest about what I was feeling and why I wasn’t always interested in sex / intimacy and would have allowed him the opportunity to express what he was feeling and why. With that type of dialogue we could have grown so much; in fact this took a few years more to really begin.

What I always knew deep inside, was that being intimate in this way was about making love, but at that time, we had to feel just how far away from love-making we had gone. The lack of true connection and love-making was the key to why we were both discontented in our intimacy with one another.

326 thoughts on “The Harm of Pornography

  1. When looking at those eyes and movements that porn actors show when perform, we can see how far they have moved away from the pure, tender and beautiful beings they are in truth. No wonder that looking at those images may take people far from themselves too.

  2. In the future the harmful effects of porn will be known by all until then we are in a society that keeps burying its head in the sand.

  3. So sad that pornography is so prevalent in our society, whether we use porn or not we are all beautiful sensitive beings who on the inside must realise that porn is deeply harming to all involved.

  4. Porn like many other things that are bad for us and ultimately harm us and those around us is very hooking, so like a drug it can quickly become a ‘normal’ part of life, all the while deep down we know what we are doing is completely not in tune with who we are.

  5. Recently I watched a British spy comedy I’d say aimed at a more teenage, family audience. Its end scene was meant to be a nod to the 70’s British spy who just seduced woman on his travels. In this ‘modern’ version the woman gave herself to this man she’d never met before and because he saved the world strongly intonated she’d give him anal sex. The film ended pretty much with a close up of her bottom and I was like really? I was deeply disturbed: a mainstream, pretty much family, film portrays women as giving their bodies up to whatever is asked from them and passed as comedy and only a bit of fun.

  6. The choices we make when our self worth plummets can be quite shocking but at the same time revealing. It can be through the revealing and getting a sense of how far we have let ourselves go that we find truth to support us back to love and the essence of who we truly are.

  7. Porn has become so main stream that children are now watching it on their phones, how can this be that we as a society have allowed a world where a child can so easily access porn?

  8. I loved your explanation S. in how you could of dealt with it “I got to feel what happens when I take an issue that is going on outside of me and bring it inside of me. This is what I did when I chose to react to what I found, to take it personally by making it about me and the fact that something must be wrong with me – rather than accepting it as it was, and dealing with it from there.” Beautiful to look at things like this.

  9. I very much appreciate the sharing S and I agree how it is like watching another world. I was never really interested in it but got hooked by the imagery because deep down I knew how precious it was to be intimate and have that relationship with yourself in how that felt for you. I’m still in development of this. I had shut my intimacy down and my relief was now in the imagery. I was super-sensitive and the world did not really allow me to bring it out. Thank God for Universal Medicine who provided me the space too ..

  10. As soon as we allow any compromise of what we feel in the relationship to enter we are settling for an arrangement based on need and pleasing instead of truth, honouring, understanding and love.

  11. Great example of how we allow ourselves to comprise what we know is true to maintain our ideas of holding relationships together, rather than going with the truth and love of them and holding on to that. So much to learn and also appreciate in your sharing how you turned to truth, love and responsibility.

  12. There isn’t enough pornography in the world to make up for the absence of true inner connection. Porn may give a short term thrill of some kind, but the permanent nature of the love within us renders it empty and meaningless.

  13. Great sharing S.
    This can mean a lot to many as I think many of us was involved in porn in some way or the other. A way fro a woman to still get attention from the man even in their heart they feel miserable.
    Like we do all to get some attention. A important message that it is much more true and loving to start to honor and love ourselves and our bodies.

  14. I am told that 80% of what is found on the web is porn related – we go about our lives not knowing the full extent the internet is used to sell sex and to sell people- sex trafficking is horrendous and happening far more then any of us care to admit, porn soft or what ever you like to call it – all contributes to the buying and selling of humans for the purpose of sex.

    1. The content of the internet offers humanity a stark reflection of what we are demanding from life. Porn is a substitute for true intimacy so the demand for it reflects how little true intimacy we have…or allow.

    2. It is great to be honest about this and look at what is going on with the internet, it does say a lot about us as a society and there are huge questions to ask about why this would be the case, for if it did not sell it would not be there…

  15. In a world where stimulation and escapism is championed, porn is another flavour offering us what looks like intimacy and excitement but empty of the love that we are.

    1. I agree Jennym, and when we discern the energy of porn, it is very hooking and completely void of love and intimacy.

  16. Porn – One of the most devastating hobbies of our time – as a human society we carry on as if we have no idea about how harmful porn is – yet deep inside when we feel our real love we know how utterly abusive porn -even so called soft porn is.

  17. The harm of porn and the depth of separation and connection we have with ourselves is exposed here vey clearly and with an honest understanding of how it feels underneath and the effects it causes everyone and the belittling of the beauty and love we all are. The lack of true intimacy we have with ourselves and others is where we have got to in society for this to be accepted in our lives and a sad state of being . Bringing back true intimacy with ourselves with a treasuring and love of in our every connection is a way to make changes in society and our lives.

  18. There is a significant piece of great writing in this article, when you describe how you both felt hurt and unable to express this depths of sadness. This is a familiar place, for myself and for many people too, as it is super-scary to let another person see just how devastated we are or can be, it opens up a whole new level of vulnerability and intimacy that perhaps we do not regularly function at on a day to day level. So when the time comes for open and deeply honest communication, perhaps we are simply just not prepared.

  19. We think what we do at home, without others seeing it, is harmless, but it is not. Everything we do in or outside our house has a ripple effect on everyone around us, whether they are our kids or perfect strangers. Watching porn does not only effect yourself and your body but the whole world gets it and the lesser version of you.

  20. How scared are we of actual intimacy, of actually expressing what is going on inside ourselves and from there opening up more to another and deepening the relationship? My guess: it is avoided by a lot of people at a great expense.

  21. Reading articles like these really bring it home the harm that porn causes. People are longing for connection and intimacy but our society does not encourage this – it often encourages the opposite so not so shocking that porn has become so normalised.
    In a world that has become numb to the effects of porn its important we speak out and articles like this do just that.

  22. It is super awesome that you share this and that other people can be inspired and supported by your story. Just like it is disturburbing that they say about Fifty Shades of Grey that it is totally revolutionising relationships, it is also not true to say sexual stimulation through porn or extremeties is revolutionising a relationship. The only thing that can do that is opening up and talking with each other about what is truly going for you both and getting to feel the true beauty of each other again.

  23. Pornography is like a 3rd person in a relationship, it brings another factor and another energy in that changes the dynamics of both the relationship and the house. Amazing how you turned it around to be an opportunity to deepen your intimacy and love, rather than keep it as a chasm or a breaking point in the relationship.

    1. This makes sense Meg, I can imagine it could feel like a 3rd person in the relationship when porn is involved. It is an energy that is very hooking and draining of our own energy if we allow it into our life.

      1. Yeh and there are many other ways we can bring a 3rd person into a relationship: pornography, gambling, alcohol etc etc. When we bring in another energy that is not the same quality as the love between us, to me that is the same as cheating.

  24. ‘The lack of true connection and love-making was the key to why we were both discontented in our intimacy with one another.’ Rather than berate myself for how I feel I have come to understand that if I am to make love the connection with my body and how I feel is paramount as it’s from here I can feel whether I am connected with my partner or not. It’s very easy to go through the motions but there came a point where I couldn’t accept this in my body and for a while there was a stage where I was like yes and then no, pause, and so on. Honouring myself and not listening to the voices I once did that said ‘you’re weird, you’re a frigid, you’re unlovable, you’re a crap partner’ all that yuck stuff I don’t call on anymore. I’m realising that I don’t have to drop any standards to be with someone and if a partner doesn’t want to make love -referring to everything we do in our day- being single is far more loving.

  25. Thank you for sharing so honestly your experience of the harm of pornography and how its tentacles reach into every aspect of life. Being willing to be honest about the devastation you felt is crucial as so many pretend that they are not affected because of being scared of being labelled a prude etc.
    It is only when we are willing to call out the extreme emptiness and degradation of porn that things will start to change. There appears to be more recognition of the damaging effects of porn and I was reading only yesterday that there are online support groups for people who want to give up but it would be so much better if they had never felt the need to get involved in the first place.

  26. I too have always felt uncomfortable with it, I have never had the experience of a partner sharing that they were into it but if I had been in that situation I too would feel it a dishonouring and uncomfortable.

  27. What if people are seeking and missing intimacy when they watch porn, I suspect if true intimacy is brought into their life then there would be no need to seek this on the outside, ‘The lack of true connection and love-making was the key to why we were both discontented in our intimacy with one another, ‘ which brings it back to the importance of truly connecting and deepening our relationships, allowing ourselves to be intimate with another.

  28. This really exposes the energy behind porn – how it is totally a substitute for a lack of self-worth and love. It seems like a lot was learnt – that you were able to share how you truly felt and heal what was there – honouring what you know in your body to be true.

  29. Thankyou for sharing your experience S. We deal with life the best we can at the time with what we have available. “The lack of true connection and love-making was the key to why we were both discontented in our intimacy with one another.” When we are honest about what we are feeling true connection becomes possible.

  30. It is an interesting pattern of behaviour for our human race that we so often internalise an issue and let it fester inside of us until we can take it no more and then we have it spit it out. This causes our body so much dis-ease and dis-harmony.

  31. This is a massive issue and you have shared with us a gem about how and why it matters. Using porn as stimulation for sex, or relief is more honest than saying it is about connection or intimacy because there cannot be an ounce of intimacy or connection when we need an outside source to inspire us to adore and treasure the person we are with.

  32. It is so incredibly important not to judge a person for looking at pornography, but to see that there is hurt or a confusion somewhere that is being manipulated by the hooking energy of the pornographic images which is simply an energetic force at play. And so, someone who is hooked by pornography simply needs to be reminded of who they are, so they can, if willing, come back and begin to feel whole again simply for being who they are. In addition, it is unwise to judge because there would not be anyone in this life who can say that they have not engaged with something that is not a part of this same emptiness in one way or another – be it over eating, over shopping, indulging in emotional drama, zoning-out on the tv etc. – we all have our hurts and confusions, it simply is a matter of how these get manipulated by the energetic forces that are at play all of the time throughout life and how willing you are to remain steady in your commitment to yourself.

  33. Thanks for this sharing. You clearly show us the effect porn had on you as a woman. Porn is the world living through our eyes not our hearts. Once we start feeling what porn does on an energetic level and be honest on that, it not a path to be easily followed. The path of pictures which stimulate you until they are gone.

  34. I was not ever interested in watching Porn. When I have seen anything like it in movies etc. where women were allowing themselves to be exploited in the name of entertainment of self gratification for men, it has disgusted me! To think that human beings can treat each other as almost inhuman! Thank you for sharing your experience S.

  35. We know instantly whether something is true for us or not but isn’t fascinating how we can override the truth for something that is the complete opposite. We have all done this in whatever situation we have found ourselves to be in but it never lasts. It may not be long before we begin to listen and take heed or it may take some time but all along we know that what we are choosing to align to is not it. We may think on the surface and at the time there is no way out of it but this is not true also for there is always a way out from that which we created in the first place if we are willing to consistently commit to that which is being asked of us.

  36. We do not allow ourselves to feel hd depth of intimacy available the we seek something outside of ourselves to fulfil or turn us on. We have a connection of intimacy with others when we allow ourselves to be open…are we prepared for this or do we find lots of ways, such as porn to run away from this?

  37. What a story and thanks for sharing. Communication is the bridge to connection. When we stop communicating and expressing how we feel, we can get taken for a ride and even further away from ourselves and each other. Allowing ourselves to feel what is there, honour that and share it with a partner, brings back connection.

  38. The lack of true connection you speak to here is the root and this affects all of us in so many ways, and we often go out into things to address this (porn being one) rather than actually looking at that root, the connection. And it’s devastating and even more so when we go into something like porn which takes us further away … I’ve never been a huge fan and reading here today I can feel how devastating it can be and how it’s not the answer but something that takes us further away from what we truly want connection and intimacy.

  39. I would love to hear how your relationship is now and how you worked through this. And it makes complete sense that you felt you could not look your children in their eyes as everything is energy meaning it does not just stay in one room, so with you and your partner looking at porn in one room your children would feel this energetically in the other and porn is a pretty yucky energy that even though you didn’t want to you were connecting with. Great you honoured you in the end and said this to your partner.

  40. You get to feel the devastation of the people both in the porn industry and of those who feel compelled to view it in this blog. Pornography is often justified as a bit of harmless fun but it really is not.

    1. Yes and I really saw how addictive it is to look, to see the next picture and the next. Yet what you see you cannot unsee and it can lace how you look at things from then on. We have an opportunity to learn so much from understanding more about the way we view and deal with porn.

  41. Thank you for openly sharing your feelings S and being aware and honest just how much pornography energetically effects your relationship with intimacy and how you are with yourself and others.
    I remember when I first experienced porn at my friends house and was put off how this was needed by his dad disconnecting him from the real beauty of his wife. It shocked me how it was allowed when their was an opportunity for a lot of love and intimacy to be expressed.

  42. Pornography is evil. The energy is extremely dense and heavy and there is no hiding the fact when another is doing porn as it is felt in and around them and beyond. To expose pornography even though there may be a defending, justifying and arrogance is extremely healing and liberating and although we may get attacked for calling it out, it offers an opportunity to another to make a different choice if they so wish.

  43. While reading this I squirmed as I know I have been affected by porn, it doesn’t stay on the screen and I feel that within relationships there can be (if we are not aware of it) an element of driving towards a goal of sex being ‘it’. I’ve avoided being close to another because of a fear of either myself or another getting hooked and wanting more. As I write now I can see that this isn’t necessarily going to happen but until now that has been the running background perception which I feel pornography does play a part in.

  44. It is fascinating what we can do to ourselves in a relationship so that we can keep a picture that we are invested in. We need to have a solid foundation in ourselves to be able to fully express and hold steady in who we are.

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