The Porn Cycle

This lengthy piece in the Atlantic hits on some really great points as the writer realizes important things about himself and his relationship with porn.

i don’t endorse all of his conclusions, but there are some very good observations in this piece.

For example, he realizes his intense anger at his girlfriend when they decide to watch porn together and the part he likes most she calls “repulsive.” When she says that he goes into a death spiral of selfish anger:

I watched myself get mad. I was confused about where the hurt and anger came from, but I knew where they were targeted — at her. At women like her. I grew so angry I couldn’t speak.

We watched a scene of a pig-tailed girl having sex with her older neighbor and the juvenile logic streamed in my head along with the video: She wouldn’t say porn is disgusting. She wouldn’t argue with me. She wouldn’t say no. I was a pissed off teenager again, smoldering.

He goes on to discuss how certain forms of porn are acceptable, but then the niche market orientation of the internet makes it possible to find all sorts of specific things that he would be ashamed to tell others.

Porn sites had promoted my pornographic behavior and attitudes over and over again, and I had rapidly descended into darker, dirtier porn, which was all the more gripping because it was so taboo. At the same time, these behaviors were increasingly reviled and denounced by society, so I felt progressively unable to utter my tastes aloud, driving me to depend more and more on porn for sexual acceptance.

I looked at a soft-core Maxim magazine and I could still talk about it with my dad. I watch hard-core POV porn and I could still share it on a CD with close friends. I watched superhero cartoon porn and I’d rather just go to my computer. And once I was only with my computer, why stop there?

The idea that he would rather just be with his computer is something every addict knows all too well. Real people? What a bother. Actually engaging in a conversation with my wife? Too much work.

And the writer then says the obvious truth that society is desperately seeking to avoid:

Of course, my encounters with real women were stained with dejection, which made it even easier to turn to those sites that were sanitized of real life’s complications. I didn’t even have to think — it just worked. Like a pill.

These intersecting forces pushed me further into isolation. This is why — at least for me, and some others who have described it on forums around the web — talking about porn has been so freeing.

We are, as a culture, in absolute denial about this.  Porn use will lead to increasing isolation and dejection in actual relationships.  It cannot NOT affect us.  i often wonder when i am interacting with a person _ especially a man _ or watching people interact in public if the reactions and behaviors i am seeing or experiencing are influenced by that person’s porn use.

Porn is the pill people are taking all the time, just like the writer mentioned.  The more you use it, the more you want it and the less you can deal with the realities of life without that pill.  Life’s disappointments send you right back to the pill and the cycle continues.

It’s time to break that cycle.

3 Responses to “The Porn Cycle”

  1. Castimonia

    Great write-up. However, if I may speak honestly, the last line comes across as a “sales pitch” which can be misconstrued by many men who need help but are still in denial as “oh, he just wants to sell his book…” I think your article (and your ministry) would be more powerful if you let go of the sales pitch.

    • james tarring cordrey

      Castimonia, thanks for your honesty. i will take a look at the post and consider editing it. i think, to be fair, it should be clear to visitors that i am not simply trying to sell my book. rather, there is hardly any mention of the book on my site.

  2. cb

    I know someone who WANTS to break the cycle and for years and can’t find his freedom from temptation. So – yes – it’s time to break the cycle but how?
    Does anyone have the answer for those who’ve been seeking for years? It’s always time – but HOW?


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