Healthy lives for young people
Sex

Porn: Fiona’s story

Some people are happy with the amount of porn they watch and feel it’s a positive part of their life. Watching, or reading, porn can be a way to explore fantasies and to learn more about what you like or don’t like. But that’s not always the case. Some people may feel anxious or worried about watching porn, or the volume or type of porn they are watching. This can have a huge impact on other parts of their life and relationships.

Fiona started seeing her ex at the age of 22. He was 10 years older than her and they’d known each other since she was 14.

He was one of the older lads that had a car, he used to beep and wave at me, and made it clear on many occasions that he fancied me. He even came on to me in a local nightclub when I was 17, despite the fact that he was married.”

Fiona had a one year old daughter when they first got together. Her relationship with her daughter’s father broke down a few months before, and she says her new partner was very supportive during that difficult time. 

He began to introduce pornography early on in our relationship. He would run me a bath and bring wine and then initiate sex, during foreplay he would put on a DVD.”

She says that whilst she had felt like they had a normal sex life to start with, things soon changed: 

As time went on I realised more and more that the sex life we shared was very one sided and not in my favour as I had originally believed.  I do not believe now that it was a healthy relationship – either emotionally or sexually. 

“Pornography became a huge part of our lives. He would use the internet to masturbate in the morning before I was even awake, he would look at men’s magazines whilst at work and he would turn on the internet or use DVD’s during intercourse.”

Looking back she says:

I believe pornography affected our relationship right from the beginning but I did not realise at the time. As time went on he would introduce video recorders, anal sex, sex toys, vegetables and would ask me to drop my towel when his friends came over (I drew the line at this).”  

Porn can cause unrealistic expectations of sex, relationships, and body image as Fiona describes: 

I began to suffer from depression and told him on many occasions that I felt worthless and that I felt like I was not enough for him as he was always looking at other women. He would pretend to understand but things would go back to normal within 24 hours.”

As time passed, Fiona’s worries deepened and led to her eventually leaving her partner:

“He would never agree that pornography was an issue for our relationship despite the conversations that we had had and its obvious impact on our sex life. I tried to encourage him to have relationship counselling but he did not want to as he didn’t feel that there was a problem.” 

I found it very hard to admit to anyone what I had been through, I felt ashamed, I still felt it was my own failings as a woman and being unable to satisfy him that had led to this behaviour.”

Despite her experience Fiona says she is still open-minded about porn.

I have used it on occasion if masturbating alone and I feel each to their own.” 

Further help and support

According to a survey by The Mix UK 31% of young people watch porn regularly, and 32% watch it occasionally. If you feel like porn is becoming an issue in your relationship it can be really difficult to talk about, and you might feel worried about what will happen if you do – but that shouldn’t stop you getting help. 

The Mix website offers great advice on what to do if you find pornography on your partner’s computer and how to talk to your partner about it.

Relate offers dedicated counselling to the partners of pornography users through live-chat, online messaging, webcam and telephone support. 

If you’re not sure whether you should be worried about your partner’s behaviour, sometimes it can help to imagine that your friend’s partner is treating them in the same way and has told you about it. If you would be scared or worried about your friend if they had been treated the same way, it’s a strong sign that you need to think about getting help.

If your partner needs help and support in addressing their use of pornography Thinkuknow has some general advice, and Sexaholics Anonymous UK offers free, confidential workshops throughout the UK. 

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