I vividly remember the first time I was inadvertently exposed to the world of Internet pornography. I was a kid innocently searching the Internet when a pop-up advertisement appeared featuring hardcore rape simulation porn. [Listen to Alexander describe his process in this podcast (middle segment).]
It was pornography at its worst; the ad actually showed a girl being savagely raped. Being an adolescent boy with raging hormones, I became instantly curious.
From that point forward I was hooked on looking at pictures of naked women on the Internet. Every day I would perform laughably ignorant Google Image searches for topics like “breasts” and “pretty girls naked.” I would print out dozens of tiny grainy images to show to my friends at school. It wasn’t long before I was printing out larger images with ever-increasing resolution. From there it escalated; by the time I was nineteen years old and in my first relationship, my addiction had escalated to the point that I was watching the highest-resolution, most hardcore videos I could find for hours every day.
From early puberty, a critical time in neurological development, my brain was being programmed to associate sexual activity with my computer screen without my conscious realization. By the time I became sexually active, I had no idea how to connect to the beautiful human being in bed with me. Pornography had become my sex education and there was nothing about porn that taught me to respect my partner or how to share mutually fulfilling sexual experiences. I found that I was unable to maintain an erection, let alone ejaculate, without fantasizing about pornography.
My mind had completely separated all feelings of love, affection, intimacy, and empathy from the act of having sex. The result was that my obsession with porn and all the porn-infused expectations left my partners feeling used and objectified. The caring, sensitive, and emotional boyfriend I once was became replaced with a hypersexual & objectifying shell of myself. Although I would consider myself a good boyfriend outside of the bedroom, I simply detached and depersonalized my partners as tools used to achieve orgasm. This not-so-subtly gave my partners the message that they were just “not enough” in comparison to porn actresses.
Sometimes for an addict these symptoms are not easy to spot. It wasn’t until I went through a bad breakup that I realized I actually had a problem. This happened well after I created NoFap. I was absolutely delusional – so busy helping others with their porn-related problems that I subconsciously ignored my own. It boggles my mind to this day that it took me so long to recognize my symptoms. Just being a member of Reboot Camp is a huge victory in your battle against porn because it means you realize you have a problem and are ready to make a change.
After being involved with NoFap for such a long period of time, I know that my story isn’t unique. The average modern-day boy is exposed to Internet porn for the first time between the ages of eleven and twelve. Now that the first generation of people who grew up on high-speed Internet porn have begun reaching adulthood, the negative repercussions have started to emerge at an alarming rate.
Once I realized the magnitude of my own problem, I tried to quit. I tried many times, but found that I wasn’t able to make any real progress through sheer willpower alone. I kept returning to porn as an escape and a coping mechanism to avoid dealing with my emotions. Then I was introduced to Mark Queppet. Although we had completely different backgrounds, it was clear that we had very compatible morals, ideologies, long-term goals, and synced together on many levels. Mark actually became my personal coach during a part of my recovery process. I give him a lot of credit for providing me with some guidance and tools that helped enable me to finally quit porn for good.
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FURTHER INFO [Via private correspondence]
I’m porn-free! Yeah, I can still be impulsive sometimes but I think that my mood has improved very significantly which has correlated with quitting porn. I’ve been on life’s biggest upswing – exercising, eating well, reading a ton, learning, etc, although I’m not sure I can attribute ALL of that to quitting porn.