Porn and Masturbation for a religious woman

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Posted

I grew up in a very religious Catholic household. My parents had seven girls, so they never really felt the need to talk to us about sex , porn and masturbation.

They grew up in a time when porn wasn't widely available for young women, so they wrote it off.

The church taught us that those types of things were forbidden. I don't know about other churches, but I'm sure that some of them preach the same.
 
Now that I'm older and have been masturbating and watching porn for half of the years of my life, I don't see anything wrong with it. It's always spiced up my sex  life with my lovers, it's never made me antisocial, and it's actually taught me how to be one with my body and how to enjoy myself.
 
Although I agree that too much of anything is bad , I've started to wonder if masturbation and porn addiction are just myths made up by religion. (I'm not longer religious)
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Posted

Hi Sargam,

There's some really interesting questions and points there.

For me, a lot of it stems from what is your own personal definition of acceptable sexuality and sexual behaviour. Some people and couples obviously do use pornography and most people obviously encounter it at some point in their lives. It's something that can be seen as exciting or taboo and people can be drawn to out of natural curiosity too. For me, it started when I was young (a teenage) as I didn't have any sexual experience and it is a way of "learning" of a sort.

For me, the real problems came with it when I realised that it had actually turned from something that it was a "dirty little secret" that I couldn't or wouldn't discuss with my partners. And then further on, when really I became fully addicted to it and "needed" it regularly, often easily spending an hour or two every couple of days for many years on end. It became something that I felt I wasn't in control of and was very ashamed about. It helped drive a wedge between me and my wife as well. Particularly, I felt that whenever she was withdrawn or not wanting sex, I could instead go and masturbate to pornography to "make myself feel better" - it was a crutch and meant I didn't have to work harder at improving the relationship or really discussing our sexual needs fully. In turn over time, real sex with her became dull and monotonous because I couldn't spend hours with her edging to the multitude of wild crazy content and unlimited variety of online porn. Why try harder to enjoy sex with the same woman you've been with for 17 years, when instead you can have a unlimited supply of novelty - different women every night, limited only by your imagination? For me, this is the real problem at the root of online porn - it sets up extremely unrealistic expectations of what sex is and should be that no partner or human being can ever compete with. At the same time, I would also be secretly disgusted with myself at some of the content I was looking at and needing to view more and more extreme material to keep that hit going over the years. Then asking partners to do these acts that I wouldn't otherwise in a million years thought up myself. I felt really ashamed of that. It is a myth and fantasy world that I would run to whenever real life was a bit too tough or things didn't go my way. This created greater emotional distance between me and my wife and also a much bigger disconnect with the world in general. Nothing (except maybe serious drugs) competes with sex in the human brain reward system. So, when you have unlimited sex on tap 24 hours a day with unlimited fantasy, what happens? Well, I withdrew from the real world. Why bother going out to meet people and talk about real problems? Why bother having real hobbies or going out an doing things? Why bother sorting myself out and actually achieving my life goals? Instead, porn would always be there for that instant hit. But it's not real. Although I knew for a long time deep down things were badly wrong that I "needed" porn so much, I thought I was the only person in the world like it and was in deep denial about quite bad the effects of it were in my life. It's taken quite a bit of clean time and lot of help to really understand the depth and the impact my issue with porn actually was causing in my life. The good news is, now I am straightening things out and enjoy a lot more from life - my time goes elsewhere but mostly into myself in other ways. I do still masturbate but much less frequently and only in ways that I am comfortable with are a completely physical experience for me. That means staying away from any form of sexual contact having any form of computer or phone screen involved in any way. That's what's good and what works for me but it's taken me time to figure that out and everyone is different.

Maybe things aren't like this for you with porn and you don't have the problems I have with it. I really deeply hope not. Maybe you use porn responsibly or it doesn't affect you like it affects me. Only you can answer that because our sexuality is deeply personal thing and everyone has different needs and boundaries. My belief is that the only person who can define those is you. Clearly there are plenty of people who do look at and masturbate to pornography but don't feel it's a problem or impacts their lives. For those people, great. I'm not one of those people. The really interesting thing with a lot of those people who insist they can easily put it down is that when you ask them to stop to prove it, they come up with many excuses why they can't or won't. They enjoy it, so why stop something you enjoy? Why deny yourself? If these people feel so OK about it, why don't they go and tell their wives and friends and mothers all about what porn they watched last night? Probably because deep down they feel ashamed at some level of what they are doing and especially if they are doing it regularly. All these creeping rationalisations can often be because secretly they are hooked and cannot or do not want to let go of their "crutch." Again for me, the real reasons came down to wanted to escape and actually needing to radically change my life because my previous life sucked a lot. Sometimes people who use porn heavily can think that porn and masturbation causes all the problems in their life. I have found that what's really going on is that I had a lot of nasty problems already in my life, porn was just one more of those that was pretending to "make it better" or comfort me but actually just burying it all and making even more mess to sort out.

Weirdly, although I have never been a religious person, since starting my journey I have started to see more of its merits in attitudes towards sex. Previously, I would regard most religions as prudish and discouraging of enjoyment or pleasure in their attitude towards sex, porn and masturbation. But I can now appreciate more keenly some of the moderating views they cultivate because of the damage I feel using porn has done to me. Because sex is such a powerful and potentially destructive (as well as creative) thing, the message to treat it with more care and respect is something I had not fully given it credit for. Western society also has specific social attitudes and perhaps a more relaxed approach which makes this harder still for people to figure out for themselves. Yet at the same time, putting in hard boundaries that people don't fully understand or make porn and masturbation taboo also can cause a lot of harm and push people away from trying to work out their own ideas - it can easily feed shame and the feeling you are bad for having sexual desire and that it must be repressed at all costs. It can easily blanket all forms of sexual activity as destructive, apart from procreation, if taken to the extreme. Personally, I find this attitude too restrictive but again, different things work for different people.

One last thing also I have found is that while it mostly men who have serious issues with porn addiction (in its many different forms, images, "soft" sites, chat/sexting etc.) or even escalation to sex workers, sex addition, serial affairs etc. this problem most definitely can and does affect women too - the forum at rebootnation.org has a specific women's section, for example.

There are a lot of links here if you want to explore and understand further:

http://paulahall.co.uk/forum/index.php?/topic/505-online-resources-for-addicts-wanting-help/

Most notably if you only have 5 minutes:

http://paulahall.co.uk/resources/am-i-an-addict/

Thanks for taking the time to read my very long reply here. I hope it's helped in some way and if you want to discuss further, it would be great to hear your thoughts back.

Peace.

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Posted (edited)

Hi Sargam,

There's some really interesting questions and points there.

May be things aren't like this for you with porn and you don't have the problems I have with it. I really deeply hope not. Maybe you use porn responsibly or it doesn't affect you like it affects me. Only you can answer that because our sexuality is deeply personal thing and everyone has different needs and boundaries. My belief is that the only person who can define those is you. 

There are a lot of links here if you want to explore and understand further:

http://paulahall.co.uk/forum/index.php?/topic/505-online-resources-for-addicts-wanting-help/

Most notably if you only have 5 minutes:

http://paulahall.co.uk/resources/am-i-an-addict/

Thanks for taking the time to read my very long reply here. I hope it's helped in some way and if you want to discuss further, it would be great to hear your thoughts back.

Peace.

First of all thanks for that detailed answer which helped me a lot ,also thanks for material provided (which kept me busy as i researched almost all the links provided by you and also  one link led me to another).

I have to admit some of the facts were really an eye opener and I could relate to it.

I was introduced to porn by one of my cousin brother who is really "kool" guy and we would watch it along with my other two cousins as we were of same age group.

"This is what our prude parents do in their bedrooms and ask us to be chaste" he said one day after he was sharing his experience about how he accidentally walked on his parents. 

'Well I believe its OK to do it within marriage' I said.  

To which my cousin sister said "What makes you think our parents were pure and pious before their marriage "

Soon my cousins started dating and I too had a boyfriend . We (cousins and myself) became sexually active around the same time and we never hesitated to share any information as we never felt guilt or shy.

Its very surprising that Sex had a different perspective for each of my cousins. Some viewed it as a right he deserved for being in a relationship, while one of my cousin sister saw it as "icing on the cake" after she spent working with her boyfriend who was a good listener . 

Personally Sex for me is a stress buster and I believe it has helped me a lot during my college days to cope up with studies and work schedule.

The only thing common with me and my cousins was that no one had the guts to spill the beans and be bold to reveal to their parents that they were sexually active. I feel that the parents are making fool of themselves and are acting ignorant and refuse to admit that their children could get sexually active.

I am sure that even if I ever muster courage to tell my parents that I have had safe consensual sex with many of my boyfriends over the past decade. They will refuse to acknowledge the fact and act Ignorant and try to emotionally blackmail me by saying "What did we do wrong in raising you that you have brought disgrace by doing such things outside marriage?" 

I just hope that I am not caught by my parents while I am in the act or they come across any of my videos, as this would be a really awkward situation for the whole family.

 

Edited by sargam
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Posted

Hello Sargam,

I'm glad that the links were useful for you - there is a lot of content out there and growing and many good sites with a lot of educational material. All of those links I have found personally useful.

I can related to being introduced to porn at quite an early age through a friend and I think it's quite common that this thing goes on as teenagers grow up and become curious about sex. Unlike you, my experience with my parents wasn't one of hypocrisy - although my mother was (and is) an ardent feminist which meant that porn particularly was something quite taboo, being abusive and exploitative particularly towards women. So for me, it was also partly perhaps rebellion too. I think it's very interesting though that you could talk about it with your cousins at the time because I couldn't and I think for me particularly, the secrecy (and feeling the behaviour must stay hidden or made me a bad person to have such thoughts) meant I suppressed it and tried to bottle things up, which you didn't. It seems like you had a more positive experience in being able to talk about and it and share that regard overall. For me, keeping it all hidden contributed to a sense of shame - that I couldn't or shouldn't have sexual feelings (they were "bad" or it was "wrong" to lust after women) and therefore needed to be shut down at all costs within myself.

One very interesting thing you touch on is one of your (male) cousins feeling that sex is "a right he deserves" in a relationship. Personally, I find that to be quite an entitled attitude and I found within myself that I would get much more entitled like that when I was a heavy porn user. It was part of the path of objectification of women. A woman is there to serve my sexual needs as and when I want, on tap. That's nasty and quite messed up really but would be the n'th degree ending of that thought process for me when it went too far. The flip side is of course that for people in a monogamous relationship, their partner is the only person who can meet their sexual needs. And most people have/want such a relationship. That is what makes that relationship special above all things. As soon as one partner starts getting their needs met outside (in whatever form, porn, masturbation, affairs etc.) then big problems are occurring. I find a sense of entitlement dangerous in this regard because it can easily become "I am going to get my sex whatever way I want" i.e. is selfish and selfishness kills kindness in a relationship and leads to such behaviours as porn/affairs etc. if unchecked. Now, I want sex at different times when I feel physically and emotionally present as a means primarily of connection and acceptance above all. It's difficult because while I don't feel entitled to it, I do feel that my wife is the only person who can meet that and I do feel rejected when I don't get what I want. But that is part of life and doesn't give me the right to then go and get my needs met elsewhere with something else (a computer screen) instead. Personally, I feel a lot more grown up and happier in myself with that attitude but it's taken me a long long long time to get there and isn't always nice.

Regarding your parents - I appreciate there is likely a cultural aspect involved too - perhaps they don't expect you to do anything before getting married to someone (that they approve of). It sounds like you think your parents are in denial of the realities of what their children get up to. But above all, I would ask then why you would want to tell them or what you would expect to gain from telling them? It seems like your biggest fear is they will try and shame you into thinking you have done something wrong or a bad person but actually you seem OK with your past/present sex life/boyfriends in yourself. Again, personally I've found that the it's my own opinion and judgement of my actions that matters - that's not to say other people are not important to me, far from it, but that ultimately if I am satisfied with how I've conducted myself then at the end of the day that is what counts. You cannot control other people nor their feelings. I presume you're an adult and even if you still live with them, you are old enough to make your own mind up and live your own life in whatever way you see fit and take responsibility for yourself accordingly. If you change your mind and conclude you're not happy with having sex outside marriage anymore and want to now wait, you're perfectly entitled to do so and that's up to you and you alone. But you can't change the past either, whether other people like it or not. Ultimately, it would be your parents having a problem with it, not you. Yet at the same time, they are obviously trying to raise you up in the best way they know how. It is a difficult situation.

If you're not happy being caught with porn (which I think is common for a lot of people who use it) then I also think that indicates some shame about it too - that maybe you are not entirely comfortable within yourself, particularly if you are using it regularly or find it hard to stop. If this is the case, then having a clean period and stopping using it entirely and being free of it in your life would be one way of solving that problem and is entirely independent of what physical sex life you have with your boyfriend or a partner.

Peace.

 

 

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Posted

I totally agree with you that I am responsible for all my actions however as I mentioned in my previous post I want to confront my parents , just  with a hope that I am not caught by them while I am in the act or they come across any of my videos, as this would be a really awkward situation for the whole family.

 

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