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Hello. I think I really need help.


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I have registered here after a "slip up", which may yet have disastrous consequences, has led me to consider whether I have a sex addiction I have lost control of. This is my deepest and darkest secret, and I'm terrified it's gone too far.

I am mid-life, married, with two young kids. I was first exposed to pornography in my earliest years. My father kept a stash of soft core mags in a corner of his wardrobe and some of my earliest memories are of going to have a look whenever I was left alone upstairs. This was pre-adolescent and I must have been around 6 or 7. I just remember getting nice feelings from looking.

I think I may have been caught as the stash was reduced to one or two, presumably my father's favourites, which I discovered after an intensive rummage. These, plus one or two additions, got me through school, puberty and adolescence. Then when I went to college I switched to mental fantasy, for fear of a stash being found by room mates.

I met my future wife at college and, for a time, that craving was dealt with by actual physical contact. But even that wasn't enough so, with the internet in it's infancy, I discovered dial up stills. Exposure to free, secret, porn imagery became much easier as the web developed.

All the time I've managed to keep a lid on this, waiting until my wife had gone to work or was in bed for a quick fix. After the kids came along it became harder to find time, but then smart phones and bathroom locks helped.

I'm now in a terrible situation. I work in alone in a private office, and whenever I get lonely, bored or want a distraction the porn option is always there for comfort. This has become far more frequent as my work has grown more remote. A drastic change in financial security and increased job insecurity has made it worse. Porn is my release. My happy place.

I've tried all sorts of moral rationalising -visualising the subject as my wife, trying to limit to soft stills rather than films, but as sex has inevitably become less frequent (kids ever present, wife ever tired, never the right time etc etc) I find myself relying on it more and more, to the point it is almost my default happy place.

I pride myself on having no physical and limited digital traces. No files or images, nothing twisted or sordid, just the internet and incognito searches for models with my wife's characteristics. It was a quick Google search whilst inadvertently connected to my work Wi-Fi network that has led me to here. Whilst it was a single instance and quickly spotted without anything being accessed, I'm terrified it's going to be reported, identified and of any consequences that may come.

I really don't know what to do. Whilst I have started to acknowledge I may have a serious issue, I have no real desire to suddenly cease the habit of a lifetime, especially when it is one of my few sources of pleasure in my increasingly desperate world.

Any advice gratefully received.

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Hi Tantalus,

my name's Ian and I am a Paula Hall Associate. reading through your honest sharing, may I share this: we use an assessment to help you and others address what s out of control and causing harm to you and to others. This isnt just a questionnaire. it allows what is troubling you to be explored and for a therapist to work with you, to your needs and goal. Sometimes, this can be about how to begin and working more psycho educationally to help address what you wish to stop of finding yourself needing to stop. As resources go there are books , specifically I would highlight Paula's book ( and whilst that may sound obvious, people  I have and work  with have found it immensely beneficial ) . there are also 12 step recovery groups ie SA SAA SLAA. We run groups too that address of weeks how to overcome something that has been a part of someones life. And we do individual work too. . Your last sentence strikes a cord with me in that a habit of safety behaviour , needs to be understood first for what is provides and does , before any individual would wish to change it. thats why none of this is ever prescriptive. finding other pleasures is all part of this, that are not causing you harm, relationship harm, impacting on work etc. addressing the risks involved in this is also central to therapy.

here's a great video to help  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BHAREf9zmU

there are more on http://paulahall.co.uk/resources/videos/


any questions, please do ask

best wishes


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  • 2 months later...

Maybe out of order of me to say, Tantalus, but until you do have a serious desire to change, you won't.

Your story struck a lot of chords with me. Echoed a lot of my own history. I wasted many of the most fertile years of my career in a porn-addicted haze, and it was only after I kicked the behaviors that my home life and career got back on the rails, to the extent that my earnings doubled within 3 years. I found a really fulfilling life outside of porn and you can too.

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  • 5 months later...


I'm sorry it's been a while and thanks for the comments. I've been trying to forget and trying to ignore, but I've come back as I acknowledge this as a problem now.

Some months on and whilst no negative consequences seem to have come from the slip up I mention, I find myself in the darkest place I have ever been in my life. Whilst I am content in my family life and should be satisfied by this I still use porn far too frequently. I'm full of self loathing and disgust about it but I seem to lack any self discipline.

I am desperately unhappy. I feel extremely lonely and don't socialise. I am struggling at work and have no confidence in myself. I have put on weight and have little exercise and I find myself angry and irritable. I have also had suicidal thoughts as my psychological problem and feelings of despair have reached an all time low. Reaching for the porn has, all too often, been a release from these thoughts.

When the suicidal thoughts happened I realised I needed some kind of rapid external help so I turned to my GP and, fortunately, I am now benefiting from frequent conversations with a psychologist. I talk about all sorts of things though never my use of pornography. Despite this talk, my reliance on porn for comfort and the countering feelings of despair and self loathing I get after climax have really grown to be too much and I've come to realise that they are a huge driver of my issues rather than a symptom and treatment. I've come to see my use of porn as a vicious cycle and I fear I won't make any real progress in my linked issues unless I face up and admit to this. I don't feel I can do this to anyone and feel alone, helpless and scared. For the moment (fortunately), the only person being really harmed by all of this seems to be me.

Aside from the artificial joy I get from visualising my wife I am really getting nothing else from porn and I really, really want to stop. I am trying to increase the amount of time I spend in open plan offices, and I'm limiting the opportunities I have to be alone.

I am, however, finding the psychological pull of pornography difficult to manage when I do have opportune moments and tackling this secret alone is tiring and difficult.

I'm hoping that posting here will help.



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