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Hannah last won the day on March 9 2018

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  1. Hannah

    HELP and Support required

    MSusieQ, your experience appears very much like my own. I also found myself in a sexless marriage with a husband who wanted to use porn in preference to a sexual relationship with me. It was a very lonely existence and it just about annihilated my self esteem. I lived with the shame of knowing that my husband didn’t have any desire for me. Although he quit, I’m still aware of the cracks in my soul where the damage took place. Also, as with your situation, after I discovered porn in his internet history, he didn’t stop. He just got better at hiding or deleting the evidence. After several discoveries and feeling ignored and defeated, I gave up trying. At that time, there was nothing I could do or say that could make any difference. This situation carried on for another 15 years. As PJ says, there was a kind of ‘collusion’ going on. I didn’t like the situation but I eventually accepted it because I thought the alternative would be worse. I still loved my husband and I believed that our relationship was otherwise OK. I felt that I had to accept that my husband was not choosing me as a sexual partner so that I could have the ‘good’ parts of the relationship. In the long term, the price of this acceptance was too high. I had to live in a state of permanent denial. I had to live with the secret shame of my husband not wanting me sexually. I believed that the reason my husband didn’t want me was because I was unattractive and undesirable. Living with all this crap in my head eventually took its toll. I developed an eating disorder, late-onset anorexia. I was depressed and clinically underweight. People were shocked at my appearance. My husband had hardly noticed. I had given up getting undressed in front of him anyway because he didn’t bat an eyelid if I was stark naked and I didn’t want his lack of interest in me confirmed in that way on a daily basis. So I guess I shrank myself, physically and metaphorically. I didn’t feel that I was allowed to take up space in my own home, or in my marriage I say all this because this is what happens when you ‘do nothing’. It’s not possible to be in a relationship like this without it taking its toll. The damage isn’t always obvious or immediate. It’s gradual over time and you just don’t realise it because it becomes your ‘normal’. That’s why I urge you to take action sooner rather than later. My husband’s addiction eventually made him miserable and lonely. When he finally woke up to the damage it had created, that’s when he quit. I guess I feel hurt and I admit I am sometimes resentful because it had to go as far as damaging my physical as well as my emotional health to get my husband to see the harm. That’s why I urge you to act now. Whether your husband quits and stays that way is beyond your control. Ultimately it’s his choice. You need to think of yourself right now. You need support because you cannot rely on your husband right now. Even if it’s online support it’s better than nothing. If you can afford a specialist counsellor, then I advise you to see her/him on your own. Couples counselling isn’t appropriate at this stage. I recommend Paula’s book for partners, it’s my go-to book. Be assured you are not alone. Many of us have been there and we have survived. Recovery is slow and imperfect. Be kind to yourself.
  2. MLulu18, by all means yes, you need to give yourself a break. In the early months practically everything was triggering me — people standing at bus stops, people in the supermarket, TV programmes, adverts, newspapers — it was as if I was seeing the world through SA goggles and threats and reminders were coming at me from right and left. Things that were once enjoyed innocently and at face value became triggering. It really feels horrible, but again, it gradually becomes easier. I’m still recalibrating. I tell myself that I’m not going to be controlled by my husband’s dysfunction, and I do my best not to fall into the cycle of reaction (as described in Paula’s book). I can remember expecting my husband to open up and show more understanding and empathy after I went to great lengths to educate myself on sex and porn addiction, and that I understood his vulnerabilities at particular times in our relationship, and communicated all of this to him. I wrote it all out and read it aloud. For me it was a major shift in how I saw his (and our) situation. I really expected some kind of reciprocal understanding. I expected a new level of openness and honest discussion. I was so disappointed when it didn’t happen. So I get what you’re saying about seeing no change in how your husband communicates. All I can say is that my husband’s ability to communicate has improved very, very slowly but I had to let go of the idea of openness, just as I had to let go of the idea of full disclosure. The difference between now and the past is that I know what I’m dealing with. I chose to stay because I believe his recovery has been sincere but during the first year I did consider ending the relationship. It’s also part of the recovery process, to know that you have that option. Staying then becomes a choice rather than drifting along with a situation that you didn’t consciously create. Of course, some women do end the relationship. Sometimes the acting out and the betrayal has gone too far, and again, it’s something I’ve had to consider — what might have happened in the past, especially something that wasn’t disclosed when I specifically asked — where do my boundaries lie? I accept that I cannot change the past, but I won’t accept certain behaviours after d day. Always remember, your boundaries exist to protect you. I have learned that my husband doesn’t respond to ‘rules’ or even agreements. So I establish my own boundaries and I don’t necessarily have to tell him. If I discover he is acting in ways that are detrimental to our relationship, I will respond appropriately. It’s always a choice. I can also choose not to respond. Some boundaries are internal and involve a shift in behaviour or attitude in myself, but still acting in my interests and not being passive. Good luck with the course. X
  3. Lulu18, I hope you’re feeling somewhat better now that you have some information about what you’re dealing with and that the course is going to help you. In answer to your question, I have stayed with my husband. His addiction was mostly pornography, but there were other behaviours like strippers that I’m aware of. I don’t believe I have ever had full disclosure but like all partners I have had to learn to live with the possibility (or probability) of the undisclosed, and that I may never know the whole story. My husband’s behaviour has been easier to forgive than if it had been escorts and massage parlours. What I found most difficult was the deception and the betrayal of our relationship. His behaviour resulted in a sexless marriage and gradually he became emotionally distant. Of course I believed it was all my fault, and I felt very rejected and alone for many years, and that had a disastrous impact on my emotional health resulting in a total loss of libido, an eating disorder that was like a late-onset anorexia and depression. I was so detached from my feelings that I couldn’t actually recognise that I was not in a good place. I became worse and worse and had some sort of breakdown, and that was when I told him his behaviour was hurting me. In fact, it was actually making him unhappy by that time and he wanted to quit. So that was another factor in my decision to stay, that he was motivated to do so. Coming to terms with the reality of his addiction was not easy. In fact, it was horrible. He lied to me over and over, he gaslighted me, he had angry rages, he would be angry at me for asking questions or discovering things about his addiction. Meanwhile I didn’t know how to tell the difference between when he was lying and when he wasn’t. But he stayed committed and he kept away from porn, and I guess we both knew that we had to think long term. I arranged counselling for myself and eventually for both of us. None of this was easy. It’s been devastating. Staying isn’t an easy decision. It involves accepting that the past happened, that my husband is a flawed individual who had a ‘secret’ self, and that in some ways I colluded with the addiction by not challenging it sooner — actually, I did in the past but nothing changed. I also have to accept that I may never know what really went on. I have had to take the risk that I may be living with a huge lie. I don’t know if that’s a consequence of what we’ve been through. One thing I can say is that trust never feels the same again. My husband remains committed to avoiding his past behaviours and he is committed to the relationship. He’s not perfect. He still lies about stupid things and that undermines my trust. Our communication, though better, remains difficult at times. Recovery is tough . I hope this helps. I know you are going through the worst of it now but I promise you will feel better eventually.
  4. “I am now beginning to feel that he would not have become a sex addict were it not for my depression. That I was not there for him when he needed my support and love and so, he took to looking for it elsewhere. He tells me all he ever wanted to do was make me happy and the stress of not being able to do so was just too much. I feel so much guilt and shame for this I don’t know what to do “ Lulu18, your husband’s sex addiction was not caused by you. The roots of this behaviour probably go back a very long way, and very probably before he knew you. The reasons are often complex and individual but there tends to be common elements that make someone vulnerable to developing a sexual addiction Your story is heartbreaking. If anything, I would say that your husband wasn’t there for you when you needed him You were isolated and living in countries where you didn’t know the language, you had a baby to care for, and meanwhile your husband was paying for sex and happy endings in massage parlours, watching women remove their clothes for money, and listening to women talk ‘dirty’ to him on the telephone He did not do all of that because you were depressed or not sexually available to him. At some point he made a deliberate decision to do those things and eventually he became hooked on his own brain chemistry — that is, he became a sex addict. I have no doubt that he loves you and your child. Nor do I doubt that he’s a decent man in every other respect. Sex addicts typically have a dual identity — the decent guy everyone knows and loves, and his addict self, cloaked in secrecy and shame Sex addiction is rarely about sex either. There is an excitement ‘high’ when acting out, or anticipating his next ‘fix’, but it’s often used as a way to self-medicate feelings of inadequacy, loneliness, depression or stress because he never developed the skills necessary to deal with these feelings. The irony is that these feelings become more acute because often the addict feels dreadful shame and self loathing after acting out, and eventually he will cycle round to the very feelings he was trying to escape from — where he once again finds himself acting out again. The effects on partners can be devastating, and you will definitely need to work on your own healing to come to terms with something so awful as this. Many partners have no clue and their world is turned upside down Your own healing is separate from healing your relationship and from your husband’s recovery. It’s great that you’ve signed up for the partner’ course. I hope it helps Paula’s book for partners was my lifeline. I recommend it, but I’d advise you to stay away from Paula’s book for addicts, at least for the first 6-12 months whilst you come to terms with this awful situation. You’re in the worse phase right now but I promise you that you will get through this with the right support and information.
  5. Hannah


    Hi Pippa Sorry to read about your discovery of your husband’s porn addiction. Unlike you, I discovered my husband’s porn viewing as soon as we were online at home, I made several more discoveries but he just found better ways of avoiding detection. So I knew it was going on, Our sex life became infrequent as soon as he could have free online porn at home and eventually the it stopped altogether, but by that time he had ED and couldn’t finish and the emotional connection was absent. I always had to initiate sex and I was almost always turned down. I knew he was using porn so I knew he had an interest in sex, but not with me. It was soul destroying. He quit three years ago but it’s been a tough journey. The first casualty in porn and sex addiction is the truth. That was probably the worst of it especially in the early months in recovery. You ask if your husband masturbated to porn I would say most definitely yes. The orgasm is the ‘reward’ that reinforces the addictive cycle, and it is the compulsive seeking for the ultimate video clip that ‘does it’ for him that drives the search for the reward. It would be highly unusual if your husband had a 20 year porn addiction that didn’t involve masturbation and orgasm . The first hard lesson I had to learn was that my husband was the least reliable source of the truth. If I asked hi am question he’d lie, and that would be it. Case closed. I couldn’t ask the question again. He also knew what my concerns were by what my questions were about, so I inadvertently gave him enough warning to prepare for any future questions. He became very clever and careful with his words. Before the internet I found porn magazines on just one occasion, and put it down as a one off. The only thing he would admit to after our big d day was that he had bought porn magazines from time to time and he’d visited strip bars. To find out a more accurate truth I had to dig around on his computer and hard drives, and I found some evidence. Not everything, because he was very good at covering his tracks. The strip bars were a shock because I had no idea. He admitted to visiting a couple in his youth which I could accept as youthful curiosity, but to go repeatedly in more recent years? I had no clue. But here’s the most difficult part for me — I know I don’t know everything. There came a time at maybe after the first year that I accepted that I may never know This isn’t easy because your pulled between believing that you have a reasonably truthful account of the behaviour and all the unknowns, the doubts, the fears. I have had to learn how to tolerate this ambiguity. Pippa, I also recognise this “hyper-religiosity” phenomenon whereby you husband speaks out about the very thing he’s looking at online. I’ve read that this pattern (the sexless relationship, taking an almost moralistic stance about what he’s actually excited by) is typical of some sex and porn addicts. My husband is not religious but as a young man he was idealistic and believed in equality especially women’s rights. Yet he couldn’t resist something so objectifying and that views women as no more than their orifices and body parts. I don’t think it’s just a case of creating a smoke screen, although it certainly works to deceive us. I think that these guys have less healthy attitudes to sex and sexualty. Anyway I’m almost falling asleep here, so I’m losing my thread, lol. I hope you’re getting through this crap. It’s toygh but you get there.... slowly.
  6. Hannah

    How to Discuss

    What you’re saying about parental controls, I blocked porn on my ISP account. It didn’t take my husband very long to get around it, but even then he still was able to access porn. He some videos stored on his computer/hard drive back up. He was able to access other materials not blocked by the parental controls that involved partially clothed/topless/near nudity and full frontal nudity. He certainly considered buying DVDs although I’m not sure if he did. Unlike your husband, there was no apparent charge in his behaviour towards me. If anything, it was around about this time that the distance between us was getting bigger and something didn’t feel quite right. But nothing changed. I had a false sense of security from the parental controls for a little while but my intuition told me otherwise. He’s very tech savvy so I figured it was only a matter of time, and I was right. I recognise all those fakey “I love you’s”. If I had interrupted his porn time which I sometimes did because I so wanted to catch him in the act, he’d jump out of his chair after closing the lid on his laptop and be all hugs and kisses and I love you, and offering me cups of tea. Of course I knew what he’d been doing but he had it all set up to avoid detection. I had this idea in my mind that unless I had any evidence there was no way to confront him, and nothing had ever changed early on when I did find evidence. To him, getting caught out was a learning s opportunity. I felt completely powerless. I wish I’d actually just come out and said it, but I was scared of the aggravation I might cause. I ‘ll come back with the rest of my story because I paid the price of “put up and shut up” and it’s not good for any woman to do that. Just as their porn addiction is progressive, so is our distress.
  7. Hannah

    How to Discuss

    Feelbroken, thank you for sharing your story. It appears a very familiar one as many women on this forum will testify. Like you and Cowslip, I was also aware of my husband’s porn use. I knew he’d been using internet porn regularly for at least 15 years before I couldn’t take the isolation any more. Before that he’d bought magazines and DVDs, and VHS movies before there were DVDs. It was always something that he kept hidden but as soon as we had the internet at home he was straight on the porn sites, which I found in his browsing history. He soon learned how to clean up all traces of what he’d been doing, so I couldn’t prove anything. As with Cowslip, it was my intuition that told me he was using porn, not his internet history. I noticed an immediate effect on our sex life. His interest in sex decreased almost straight away and even physically his responses and reactions seemed less intense. Our sex life dwindled to maybe 3 or 4 times a year. I’d always have to initiate, and I mean ALWAYS. Every time. I’d be getting turned down more often than not, and in the end he was losing his erection and couldn’t finish. It was soul destroying for me, to know he was masturbating to that garbage and making all that effort to make the time for it and then make sure there was no evidence that I might accidentally stumble across. I never touched his computer or his phone but he was still very meticulous about leaving no trace. The reason why I’m saying this is that porn addiction is progressive. I had no clue at the time. I had reached a sort of a truce with him where as long as there was no physical infidelity I would ‘accept’ his porn habit and turn a blind eye. This turned out to be a big mistake on my part but the way I saw it at the time was that he didn’t want me sexually, he wanted porn, and not me. I felt that the rest of our relationship was good. So what else could I do? Every time I confronted him about the porn he’d say he’d stop using it but within the week he’d go back to it. He wasn’t interested in having sex with me, so I ‘tolerated’ it as the only option. I thought our relationship would carry on working well in every other respect but some years later I realised that the porn had a very damaging effect on other aspects of our relationship. That’s why I believe it’s never a good idea to put up and shut up. I’ll have to continue this post later on, but please remember you’re not alone
  8. Thank you for sharing your various perspectives. I can understand why some people would want to spare their partner the pain of learning the truth. I can understand the distress caused by hearing the truth too. I have asked myself what I would want to know and why. Like Florrie, I too have felt that if I ask for information I would expect a truthful answer. At the same time, I accept the reality that my husband could lie. What is best for the long term health of our relationship? What is the best for my own recovery and well-being? My husband didn’t need to tell me anything. His behaviour had already isolated me with the relationship. By d day I was severely depressed and clinically underweight. I was a mess. My self esteem was non existent. That’s what *not telling* can do. My husband has admitted to having a problem with porn. So we dealt with it. As for my other suspicions, I had gut feelings which prompted me to ask him questions that he denied. This was some time before d day. After asking I felt I’d blown it, that I’d actually minimised my chances of ever knowing the real truth because I alerted him to be on his guard. Nothing has changed in that regard I have gone forward with the acceptance that I may never know the truth about my husband’s behaviour. The more time passes the less likely I feel I will ever know. I asked again after d day, and he lied just about everything anyway. Unless I had proof. Some things can never be proven so unless he is honest I’m never going to know. I don’t especially want details. I know that details can be upsetting and triggering but that’s not the same as having a true overall picture. The next question is, Would it help me to know? How would it help me? Does “not knowing” help me? Bear in mind that I have asked already, so how do i feel about living the rest of my life under a delusion? Or the possibility of a delusion? I will come back once I’ve thought more about this one Thanks everyone
  9. Hannah

    Struggling to trust again

    “What worries me is that, how can he ever really be happy with me. How will I ever be enough? How do I really work through this? Will it ever go away? The boundaries are set and he knows that another serious issue would be the end for us” Oh, Judith, I understand that feeling so well. It’s taken me a long time to come to terms with it I’m over 2 years into recovery but what I can pass on to you is that you are competing with a ‘thing’, a substance, an object. No one person can ‘compete’ with that thing, that entity that is at the core of the addiction. Not that lady in the picture No individual woman can. Not even that lady can compete with the chemical soup in the brain of a porn/sex addict. They are chasing the high. Judith, you ARE enough It took me a lot of time to get past this mindset but I did. Learning about porn addiction was an enormous help. There is a website called YourBrainOnPorn.com where there is a video that explains what’s going on in the brain of a porn addict. It’s about seeking and novelty, dopamine, creating pathways in the brain, the hijacking of the brain’s reward system and sensitisation to the ‘thing’ they’ve become addicted to. They appear to be people that the addict is seeking out, but it’s not really. They’re just the ‘substance’ that’s needed to get the high. Obviously, the way to feel OK about yourself takes a lot more than understanding what goes on in men’s brains when they look at porn or similar, but it explains what people mean when they say it’s not about the us, that we weren’t the cause of it or that we weren’t good enough. A bit about me. My husband was an internet porn addict for 15 years and before that he was buying magazines and videos from seedy sex shops although I only ever found two magazines on one occasion. He also went to strip bars, which I was never supposed to find out about. In truth, I don’t really know how far it goes back, but as soon as he was online at home I lost him to porn addiction. Eventually we had no sex life whatsover. Zero. Nothing. No interest in me. Never looked at me. Never complimented me. I could have been stark naked and he’d just keep his nose in his book. Eventually I got dressed and undressed in the bathroom. I knew full well about the porn but after if caught him in the first days and weeks of getting online he had all these cleanup apps installed. It really hurt. Deep down I felt rejected because I was over 30 (oh, hahaha, seems so young now) and then I was over 40... and so on. So I thought it was all over. I only managed because I was in denial. I ended up feeling totally rejected and lonely and depressed. Nobody ever touched me or kissed me. I had to ask for a goodnight peck, otherwise he would just turn over and go to sleep. So, did I feel not good enough? In my mind I BELIEVED I was not good enough, never would be, never could be. I didn’t see the depression coming. I developed a sort of adult onset midlife anorexia. I didn’t know it could happen. But it did and it happened to me. I developed body dysmorphia. I was shrinking away to nothing because I believed I had no right to take up space. Hiding my ‘hideous’ body from my husband was so easy because it would never occur to him to look. Privately I could see I was emaciated. And then one day I saw myself in the mirror and had a depressive breakdown. My only thought at the time was “he’ll never want me now. Everything I once was has gone forevermore”. That was how far it had to go before he quit porn, and even then it was only the beginning of all the pain of discovering the extent of this habit and all the lying. I wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone. I wasn’t his porn type. I soon discovered that. I had gone through my early adult life with this enviable physique and I’d pretty much stayed the same shape but I wasn’t some 36GG painted Barbie. I didn’t have a negative body image at all. But somehow, in midlife I ended up painfully thin and frail with body dysmorphia disorder, and that was before I had any idea about what he sought out in porn. I stopped neglecting my appearance. I treated myself to some new clothes. I coloured my hair. I bought some nail varnish. I started eating more. I was clinically underweight and it took some time to gain weight. I didn’t want to eat junk either. I bought some self help books. Gael Lindenfield does some good ones on building self esteem. I tried to get back to my previous interests and hobbies though this was hard because I was so distressed and preoccupied as the reality of my husband’s addiction behaviours slowly tricked out, and I was traumatised over and over with new discoveries followed by lying and denial. It was hell. I bought myself some cheap exercise books and biros and I wrote and wrote and wrote to get it all out of my system. My anger, my hatred for porn, and the industries that make money from this misery, the difficult emotions about my husband. I journalled a lot. I saw my GP who arranged counsellor. Not brilliant but it was support for me. Not for us as a couple but just for me. I couldn’t deal with it along. My husband began to appreciate me physically after d day but to be honest this was more of a honeymoon period. As soon as I raised an awkward issue or when I discovered more evidence of his acting out which he would deny, this would create rifts which he did not have the skills and maturity to deal with. So I noticed the compliments were not so forthcoming. And then one day something lit up in my mind — I don’t need his compliments to feel worthwhile. If he doesn’t notice, then so what? I notice! I can see who’s looking back at me in the mirror, and she’s an impressive lady. He’s a man with a problem, he’s a porn addict, and I’m not going to let his behaviour that caused so many problems for me decide whether or not I’m going to feel good about myself. So so that’s how it began. That was my turning point. Of course it’s not that easy. There are many difficult and upsetting moments, but the important thing is to uncouple yourself from his ‘approval’. It’s late and I’ve been writing for ages so i’ll stop. I hope this helps. I still get upset about it all. I still feel like an ugly nobody at times. I still feel wretched when I have my doubts and suspicions. Our ‘recovery’ is far from ideal. But I know that where he is lacking, I must continue to work on my own personal healing.
  10. I’ve read in Paula’s book for addicts and also read Esther Perel and sometimes it seems the advice to the addict/betraying partner is that disclosure is not always necessarily the right thing to do. On the other hand, we read a lot about the importance of honesty and transparency during the disclosure ‘stage’, assuming that disclosure actually happens. What I want to ask is this: What if the partner asks? What if the partner wants a full and honest disclosure? Should the addict/betraying partner answer honestly and completely? And what if, after some time to allow the addict some time to come to terms with the reality of having damaged his relationship through to his previous behaviours and quitting, what then if the partner asks him to disclose anything not yet made known? Is lying or non disclosure still justifiable when the partner asks? Is it still OK to uphold any previous lies and denials just because the addict has quit and doesn’t want to experience conflict or ‘upset’ his spouse? In other words, is it OK to keep secrets because it’s not a good idea to rock the boat again? If relationship experts warn about purging the soul to feel better, or to think long and hard about upsetting the relationship by revealing the truth, what if it’s the partner who is actually proactive in seeking the truth? Is it ‘right’ to lie? Is it fair on the partner to expect her to believe lies, even if she asks for honesty?
  11. Thank you for your reply. I really appreciate that you have taken the time to do so To my knowledge, my partner didn't watch violent porn, but he certainly developed a compulsion to use porn to the exclusion of our sex life. People would consider it strange that a couple didn't have sex for years but that's what really happened. It was a gradual process that happened over time, years not months. Initially I thought his internet porn use was just from the novelty and curiosity of being able to access it online for the first time but it became a regular habit very quickly and had an almost immediate effect on our sexual relationship, although it was subtle at first. What killed it off was his perennial loss of interest in having sex with me. I actually believe that the roots of his porn addiction go further back Without going into too much detail, he was primed for it to happen as soon as he had access to an unlimited supply. I sought counselling for myself as well as a course of CBT on the NHS, but it's really difficult because my recovery encompasses so many aspects. There's ageing, poor body image, low self esteem, loss of identity, a collapse in the trust I had for my partner - especially when I discovered how easily he could lie about it, loss of the ability to communicate openly with each other and the shame of being rejected for porn. Something else I want to say about porn: The normalisation of porn makes it very difficult for women to speak out about their partner's porn use. The most common reaction is "all men watch porn" and the reaction is either to get over it and don't be a prude, or alternatively or that we should pornifying ourselves to please our men, or watching it with him. It's almost always about accommodating what the man wants. But what about the man accommodating what the woman wants? I didn't one porn as the third-party in my relationship, because that's effectively what it was, but my husband didn't respect that. My objection to porn isn't necessarily on moral grounds, although I find the extent of objectification of women in modern-day porn absolutely abhorrent. Nor is my objection of porn because of my what happened in the past. It's because of the very negative impact of porn on my relationship.
  12. My partner quit porn last year after many years of porn addiction. I just couldn't deal with it any longer. I was at the point of emotional breakdown and self harm. My husband was shocked to discover me in such a state. He quit as much for his own reasons as he was suffering in secret and had tried to quit but found that he couldn't. He has been successful so far but I've had a lot of trouble coming to terms with how we ended up in such a negative rut. Reading through Paula's book for partners I have had to face my own sexual history which began with a very traumatic sexual assault at the age of 12 by a group of youths aged about 14-17 years old. The grabbed me, stripped me, and intended to rape me one by one, telling me they'd kill me if I told anyone. Someone must have tipped off the police or witnessed it because two policeman came running past and the boys ran, with the police in pursuit. The two policemen ignored me, which at the time I was glad about because I feared my parents finding out and my school too. I thought I'd get into trouble. This was in the 1970s and I know from campaigns in the 80s that rape was not taken seriously and victims were not treated with respect in those days. I was not raped. There was no penetrative sex but I was sexually assaulted. Most of all I remember being in a state of shock. I went to my friends house and told her what happened, although I didn't quite remember that clearly because I was numb with shock. The following day I didn't go to school. I stayed at home whilst my parents were at work. I never told them. All I remember was that I was still in shock that day. I was just 12 years old. I grew up with this shameful secret. I've never told anyone in my adult life. My husband doesn't know. I have never liked porn. I have always considered it abusive, the gratuitous objectification is disturbing to me. I was really upset when I learned of porn categories like "teen porn" and "gang bang" and "rape" for obvious reasons. Even in social media, the abuse directed at women in the public eye, with threats to rape and murder is disturbing. My husband says he didn't watch "abusive" genres of porn, but to me, that whole realm of watching and objectifying and consuming women as commercial products is horrible anyway. Not only do I dislike porn for its objectification of women, I dislike the male attitudes to viewing consuming porn, and the normalisation of this porn culture. As a 12 year old, although this was before Internet and hardcore videos, I felt that I was reduced to the level of entertainment when I was sexually assaulted by that gang, a lot like being the subject of a "teen rape" genre of porn video. I watched a documentary on sexism and "lad culture" which included references to online rape threats directed at women on social media. I found myself crying by the time the programme ended. I couldn't believe how violent sexual threats towards women were just like "hey, it's ironic" and complaints about sexism were dismissed as just humourless feminists who should "get over it". How what happened to me at the age of 12 ties in with my difficulties in overcoming the effects of my partner's porn habit on my self esteem and self image, I don't know. My reaction to his porn videos was visceral, like a physical blow to the stomach, and I felt traumatised by it too. I don't know what to do now. I just want to cry. I can't make sense of my experience as a 12 year old and my experience as the partner of a recovering porn addict.