Over the last year I have posted several video and text updates on Facebook detailing the harms that 15 years of porn addiction caused in my own life. I did this to inform others of these dangers, because back in 2008 when I first experienced PIED with my first real girlfriend, there was no one to tell me that I wasn’t alone, no one to tell me how I could fix myself. But now I can be that person for others.
Comments mostly expressed admiration that I would talk openly about this. A couple of folks interjected to defend porn and masturbation as healthy and normal. A lot more people “liked” it than commented. No one stopped being my friend. I didn’t get fired. My family didn’t disown me. And most importantly, about a dozen people from my past have thanked me profusely for going public with this and telling my story. They said that they had struggled with compulsive porn use for a long time, and it had caused varied problems in their own lives. Inspired, they now had the resources, knowledge, and motivation to embark on their own journeys away from porn—and that’s just what they committed to doing. They said that they felt hope in this area of their lives for the first time in a long time. And I can only hope that for each person who contacted me, there were a few more who were helped but who chose not to expose themselves by reaching out.
For years, I thought that I would one day find a way past my ED, shove all that pain into the past, and never have to talk about it to anyone. But that’s not good enough.
That’s not good enough.
This year I have spoken with hundreds of people whose lives have been altered for the worse by easy access to Internet porn. Porn addiction can end marriages, break relationships, poison the parent-child dynamic, cause sexual and emotional dysfunction, and desensitize and demotivate scores of promising people. I’m not saying that porn is evil or that it should be banned, but it does have massive potential for harm, and people need to know this.
People need us to share our stories, because there are plenty of men and women out there who are suffering without knowing why—people who don’t know how to climb out of the holes they have dug for themselves and many who don’t even realize that the hole exists until something opens their eyes.
I’m not saying that you all should post embarrassing details of your life to Facebook. I know that not everyone follows a career path that allows them not to give a damn. But you can post information about porn addiction that just might reach the right people. Post Gary WIlson’s TED Talk, Gabe Deem’s videos, or my own. Simply say that you found them interesting, or don’t say anything at all. You never know who it will help.
And you can share your own story in some capacity. You can speak to your trusted friends, your siblings, your sons and daughters. You can speak to people you think may be struggling with the same addiction. You can speak, because there are people who need us to speak.
And when you do, please tell us how it goes.