Listen to interview (from 5:05 to 9:05) Daniel Simmons is a 23-year-old recovering porn addict. He says he couldn’t have sex or concentrate on everyday things and yet, he says, he couldn’t stop.
“I was 15 when I started watching porn after my parents bought me a laptop. I did what pretty much any teenage boy does and look up porn websites,” he tells Newsbeat.
“It became an everyday thing very quickly. I was watching porn for two hours a day.”
He then moved onto watching pornographic content that disturbed him.
“I found a website dedicated to porn addiction and I felt like I had an epiphany. I felt like I wasn’t alone any more.
“I did 100 days of porn abstinence and masturbation abstinence.
“It’s exactly like going cold turkey. The first two weeks were pretty awful with lots of mood swings.
“It was rough, it was really rough. There were sleepless nights. There were nights where I’d wake up in cold sweats.
“There would be days where I’d just start shaking for no reason.
“My whole body was just shaking and I didn’t know why.
“I’d have really bad social anxiety and then other days I’d feel on top of the world and be able to do anything.
“I’ve been able to get back to my routines and I’ve been OK but it has affected my erections.
“When I’m with a woman I’ve noticed it’s softer down there and I’m not as excited.
“I started meditating regularly every day and I’ve not watched porn now for about a year and a half.
“I’d say I had a porn addiction, but perhaps masturbation addiction was a part of it.
“I couldn’t get erections any more with real women when I tried because I’d watched so much porn.
“It wasn’t exciting any more to be with a real woman.
“It felt terrible. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I just thought I was this complete weirdo.
“I wasn’t able to feel anything for anyone sexually. I had no libido. My libido felt like a fake libido.
“I’d have a libido for porn, but not for real human beings.
“You watch things you really wouldn’t ever watch. Everything is available at your fingertips.
“I was watching things that disturbed me that weren’t in keeping with what I knew my sexuality was, things like transsexual porn and gay porn.
“I had decreased concentration. I simply couldn’t focus on normal, everyday activities.
“I had no idea I had a problem with porn. I was completely in denial but I was addicted for six years.”
Daniel says he has not watched porn now for a year and a half.
“A lot of things changed when I started recovering,” he says.
“I started realising what was important.
“I know that there are a lot of guys and girls out there who are suffering from this.
“There are certainly many out there who are hiding and have a problem and talking about it something I want to do because I feel it’s necessary.”
What the expert says
Robert Hudson is a sex addiction therapist. He says Daniel clearly shows signs of having sex-related addictions.
“Using porn isn’t a real problem. It’s a bit like drinking. Most people can have a drink safely.
“When it starts having severe consequences is when [porn] starts taking over your life.
“It’s a problem when you start cancelling family events or meetings with friends because you want to go home and look at pornography.”
Robert says there are steps to help people who self-identify as porn addicts.
“The first thing we ask them to do is stop masturbating for 90 days. They allow their system to slow down and stop looking at porn.
“You’re not cured then but what it helps you to do is notify you’re not using the porn because you’re aroused or excited.
“You probably use porn because you’re bored, stressed or lonely.”