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Friday, September 8, 2017

Behind the Veil - Porn Addiction (Guest Post)

Guest post by Savannah Esposito of Millennial Mrs. and Mom  To read Savannah's previous guest post visit this article.
From Me:  Addiction is real and many suffer in silence.  Their families also suffer.  Most people have come to understand drug addiction and alcoholism, but refuse to believe that other issues are real addictions, such as food or porn.  They tend to either negate it or make fun of it.  (See You Can't Change...) Savannah's post below discusses how other addictions are real and hurtful to everyone involved. 
DISCLAIMER - THIS POST IS A GUEST POST AND IS NOT ABOUT ME OR ANYONE I KNOW.  THERE SEEMS TO BE SOME CONFUSION.  The post below is written by Savannah Esposito.  
Behind the Veil
            Everyone you meet has a persona. They put on a face, make themselves appealing. None of us know each other’s realities unless that person is willing to let us in. When I met my husband, he was not ready to let me see him. I wrote many posts on anorexia, and I told my husband when we first met about my struggles. I didn’t want him to get into a relationship and learn about big things later on and decide this wasn’t the relationship for him. I believe in honesty and trust first and foremost and let him know. Of course, he wasn’t ready to admit he had an addiction and needed help. I saw some signs along the way and asked if he thought he had a problem, once the lying got to the point where I was losing my trust in him. He shrugged it off. Months later I found everything and had my “D-Day” as we call it. D-Day is discovery day. Most partners of porn addicts discover their partners addiction, rather than the addict admitting their addiction.


            I ended up relapsing into my anorexia after D-day, and my grades suffered that semester. My mental health and self-esteem plummeted. My depression and anxiety were horrible. I had never really had panic attacks before, but suddenly was having panic attacks. I had lost all trust in him due to the excessive lying and gas lighting while he was in his addiction. After D-day, I set boundaries. I said he needed to be in therapy, there had to be 100% honesty, and I had to have access to devices and there had to be blockers or filters on devices for if he got an urge. Those were the things I needed to feel safe. He stepped up and did those things. Most partners are not as lucky as I am. Most addicts don’t step up, and will continue to fight their partner. My husband was still half in denial but did the things I asked. Around maybe two months off of porn, he came out about his addiction on Facebook. I was so shocked, surprised, and proud. That was a huge step in his recovery. My husband not being the most eloquent writer, mentioned me, and people hated me after that post. His family thought I hacked his Facebook and posted that. Some of his friends said I brain washed him into thinking porn was a problem. Some of his friends thought I was a horrible person. In his post, he stated that I said prior to the relationship I knew porn was a trigger for relapse for my anorexia, hence why I asked for it not to be in the relationship. I also viewed it as cheating. His friends thought I was manipulative for having needs. As if his “need” to get off to abused and drugged women trumped my need to stay in my own recovery from restricting my eating. I eventually had brunch with my husband and his father, and confronted the father. I wrote him a letter explaining everything my husband did to me during his addiction. Once I mentioned that he used at work, his father saw that the problem was real, and immediately apologized after realizing how hard I tried to help my husband through this, while I was in pain. I still to this day am scared to be around some of the people who were so mean to me and to my husband.
          Being the partner of a porn addict has been the most isolating experience of my life. People in society see porn as harmless. Porn is not harmless. It’s linked to sex trafficking. There are underage girls that get scammed into it. Most of the girls take hard drugs to cope with the sexual abuse they go through on camera. There are stories of producers holding guns to the girl’s heads telling them that if they don’t do the scene they will die. Those are extreme cases but they are out there, and you never know if the video you are watching is consensual and legal. Most people want to not think about the horrors of the industry but they are there. Not only do people in the industry suffer, with suicide having a high rate in that industry, but the people watching porn are affected.


            My husband wasn’t himself when he was addicted. He was aloof, distant, numb, unable to sometimes perform in the bedroom (It’s called PIED- Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction). Those are just minor things. Once he quit and got serious about recovery he was no longer failing school but getting straight A’s. He was happier and not depressed. His anxiety got so much better. I was so glad to see him striving once out of the addiction. But as a partner I was left with this huge shock that most of the relationship had been tainted by lies. I looked for support, and there aren’t many resources out there for partners of porn addicts. Some online forums, where I’ve made amazing friends, have been helpful. Both my husband and I are in individual therapy, to deal with how this impacted us as individuals, and in couple’s therapy, to address how the addiction impacted the relationship.
            Porn addiction is devastating in that it can lead to the escalation of Sex addiction, and these addictions hurt partners in a way no other addiction can hurt. Other addictions can hurt and destroy relationships, but with porn and sex addiction, the partner not only has to come to terms with their spouse having an addiction, but they have to come to terms with the fact that their spouse cheated. The betrayal that partners feel is immense. Lying destroys relationships.
            Porn and Sex addicts like other addicts lie and get caught up in their addiction. Society seems to not want to talk about porn and sex addiction because it’s taboo. Just because an individual is a porn or sex addict instead of an alcoholic doesn’t mean they are less of a person or more deviant or bad. It means they are a person that struggles with an addiction and needs help. The stigma for porn and sex addiction makes the addict feel alone, and the partner also is alone because no one believes in porn addiction. My long-term friend that I’ve known since the age of two, told me, “It’s just porn get over it. Deal with your anorexia, you can’t let that affect you.” Her ignorance was astounding. Not only do I as a partner get laughed at and dismissed because they say, “You’re too sensitive,” “You’re just jealous,” “Do you have enough sex with him?” but my needs and boundaries aren’t as important as the addicts apparently. Partners often get blamed for their spouse’s porn or sex addiction. Porn and sex addiction have nothing to do with libido or sex. Porn and sex addiction, like other addictions, are escapes. This is the first time I’ve publically written about what has happened, and it’s scary, but this addiction needs to be addressed. There are so many people suffering from porn addiction, and so many partners that are silenced by society. It’s time to lift the veil and face reality that porn and sex addiction happen, and there needs to be less of a stigma surrounding it so addicts and partners can get help without feeling shamed.
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