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This is a moderated blog is a project of the Ruth Institute. Have a story to share? We're listening.
Posted on: Thursday, November 14, 2019
This post contains mature content. Read with caution.
I looked up and saw a man watching me. We made eye contact. He hurried away, as I frantically searched for my shirt and underwear. I was naked in the mountains, far from any trails. I was shaking so hard, I struggled to put my socks on. I grabbed my cell phone. It was still video recording. I stuffed it into my pocket and ran down the mountain, berating myself for being so stupid, but I knew when I uploaded the video, the man who requested it would love it.
I felt a thrill the first time I pressed the box that confirmed I was over eighteen. Small pictures of various sex acts filled the page. I left the site after a few seconds, worried I might get a computer virus.
The next day it was all I could think about.
As soon as I had time alone, I typed Pornhub into the search bar of my computer, my heart pounding. I’ve heard of people becoming alcoholics after one drink, or addicted to opioids after one oxycodone. The effect porn had on me was similar.
A few days after I visited Pornhub for the first time, I uploaded a video, partly out of curiosity, partly out of a sense of wanting to be a contributing member, part of the community. Within hours someone sent me a message telling me they liked it. By the end of the week, I’d gotten a number of messages thanking me for the video and asking me if I could make another. These messages filled an emptiness that gnawed inside me. I felt wanted. I felt loved.
Almost every video I made was inspired by a request. Slapping or hitting myself in specific places were common requests, as were hot candle wax and needles. They liked to see how much pain I would inflict upon myself. When I was making videos, I didn’t feel pain. Only afterwards would I realize how much I hurt. I tore myself many times trying to force something into my body that was too big in order to fulfill a request. The requesters would respond with effusive praise. I began to feel like I wasn’t a loser.
Most of those who sent me messages were in sexually unsatisfying marriages and felt rejected by their wife. They didn’t want to have an affair or hire a prostitute; they were just looking for connection or sexual release. Sometimes they were men who had an unusual sexual fantasy or fetish. Occasionally I’d get a creepy message that bothered me, but, for the most part, I developed a number of “friends” with whom I exchanged messages regularly. One sent a link showing that I’d been named one of Pornhub’s top twenty amateur performers. Within a few months, I had over a million views. Then two million, then five million. Making porn, I discovered what it feels like to be really good at something. For the first time in my life, I felt talented.
I told my therapist that porn gave me purpose in life, describing how I enjoyed going to thrift shops and garage sales looking for props. I’d get giddy as I planned out a video. He seemed happy that I’d found something that I was good at. We talked about how I was performing a community service of sorts, acting out fantasies for lonely guys. We talked about how “some people” don’t approve of porn, but he wasn’t one of them.He said there were all kinds of sexual fetishes that are not socially acceptable, but, as a therapist, he doesn’t judge.
It never occurred to me that making porn was bad. It gave people pleasure. It was far safer than prostitution. But then I noticed the requests I was getting were becoming more extreme. I started doing things I never thought I’d do, things that could cause permanent damage to my body. In my hunger for approval, I pushed past lines I’d promised myself I would not cross. For instance, after fulfilling a request to insert a mascara brush into my urethra, it burned to urinate; there was blood on the toilet paper. To have a bowel movement, I have to put on a glove and manually remove stool.
Yet, I convinced myself that Pornhub was liberating for women. There were women of all body types, skin colors, hairy or shaved, even women with amputations. I found it empowering that women like me, not considered attractive by mainstream culture, were validated. I was told I was beautiful, a goddess, the sexiest woman alive, the hottest babe on Pornhub. This, I thought, is a place where all women are beautiful.
There wasn’t one “ah ha” moment when I realized that I needed to stop making videos. It was just a sick feeling that wouldn’t go away. These men didn’t like me, they liked what I did for them, just like men who paid me to have sex when I was in high school. I no longer felt special and valued. I felt used. I felt scared. I felt ashamed. And most of all, I felt replaceable.
I finally came to realize that all my life I'd been searching for the love I missed so much from my father after my parents were divorced. My mother moved me away from him, and within a year, I was sexually assaulted. It seems like I have spent my life trying to heal from these two events.
Eventually I realized that God is there for me and have found great comfort learning that He can forgive me and love me despite all my mistakes. He is my Heavenly Father and will give me all the love I need and more. I knew that if I followed his guidance, my life would be healthier and happier.
I spent a tearful morning deleting all the 400+ videos I’d posted as I reflected on the dangerous things I’d done, all in an attempt to find what was missing in my life. I then uploaded one last video about how porn is like trying to fill a strainer with sand. No matter how many times it is filled, the sand pours out. I told them that God’s love can fill them to overflowing, but to feel that love, they need to open their hearts to Him. . . and stop watching porn.
A lot of people think that those who watch porn are bad, but I think most of them are just lost like I was. They are looking for acceptance and love and don't realize God will give them everything they need. All they have to do is ask.
Submitted by E. H.