Big Read: How my boyfriend's porn addiction ruined our life

A woman tells how her partner became selfish, untrustworthy and eventually violent through his addiction to pornography.
Discovering your partner prefers looking at nude strangers on a screen to being intimate with you can be humiliating. Image digitally altered. Photo / Getty Images
Discovering your partner prefers looking at nude strangers on a screen to being intimate with you can be humiliating. Image digitally altered. Photo / Getty Images

Belinda Nash from blogsite shares the story of a woman who spent 2½ years in a relationship with a man who was addicted to pornography.

"Not only did he typify the behaviour traits of a person with addiction - hiding his habit, lying, loss of appetite for life - he became violent towards her," says Nash.

"So despite loving the man behind the porn, this woman had to let her partner go before it destroyed her. And like many women who experience addiction and violence in a relationship, she now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder."

Website Pornhub released statistics last year showing New Zealanders have some of the highest viewing times of any country in the world, with the highest consumption in Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, the Chatham Islands, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Northland and Manawatu. The biggest age group is aged 18-24 (35 per cent of all users) and 77 per cent of users are aged 44 or under.

The beginning

We met online, funnily enough. It really wasn't my thing but we hit it off instantly. I liked your charm, you liked my sense of humour. I think it was our second date when you said "hey by the way, I watch a lot of porn". Being the open-minded sexually confident modern woman I am, I said "hey that's okay, that's healthy". I had enjoyed porn myself and I had no idea it was a drug.

We both had a healthy sex drive and I thought we could enjoy it together to enhance our relationship.

I admired how you had turned your life around and decided to stop losing yourself in pot and cigarettes. I thought nothing when I found out you watched porn a few times a day and tried to watch it with you a few times, but you weren't keen. I thought maybe that was because of your respect for me, but I think it's just because it was your thing, it was your relationship and you didn't want to share that with me. It was by watching your behaviour that I started to think that porn might be addictive.

I noticed when we were watching some sort of screen your pupils would dilate so rapidly, even at the hint of a breast. I found that pretty weird. Then there was the staring in the street. And when I say staring I mean intensely sizing up any woman you found vaguely attractive. I could feel your imagination go wild and how she was essentially hotter than me and what you would like to do to her. I dismissed this as I thought, hey, guys look don't they. I mentioned to you about the behaviour that concerned me then and that I thought that you might be addicted to porn, but this just made you angry.

I didn't watch very often but I decided to stop watching porn myself after an intense experience at the supermarket just after watching porn. Every curve of a woman, glimpse of buttock, thigh, breast, leg flashed before me, I was imagining them naked. I was objectifying my own sex and it didn't feel healthy. It also felt like I was ill and I haven't watched porn since.

Living together

We decided to live together, which I was excited about, because although the porn was hurting me, I could see it for what it was and I could see you for who you were and I thought you were amazing. I was however nervous about the fact that if you were used to watching porn a few times a day and you seemed to be addicted, how would that play out? Would you watch it every time I left the house? Would you watch it while I was in the house distracted? Would you be able to put me first?

I asked you how you felt about having some form of daily intimacy. We both had a high sex drive and you were used to watching porn a few time a day so why not? You said that having sex or similar with me every day would just be boring.

I found it hard to believe that a man would not want a very sexy woman to be very sexually attracted to him. Isn't that every man's dream? You told our counsellor later that you watched porn as you were sick of me being so horny and it was a refuge.

So I tried to keep it from being boring. Role playing, lap dances, you name it. I know now that the problem wasn't my sexiness, it was that I was the same woman.

Talking it over

There were many times I tried to talk to you about your porn use. I would try being gentle in my approach but every time you became very hostile and aggressive and would leave.

You would always come around and act apologetically. After, for a period of two weeks to two months you would punish me by not sleeping with me. You told me this was because you didn't trust me.

I tried setting boundaries around porn use but I still felt uncomfortable. I finally built up the courage to ask you to stop watching it. I wasn't prepared for the biggest violent rage I had ever seen from you. Screaming at me, smashing your fists with full strength on walls, bench tops. When you calmed down I calmly asked you if you could concentrate on our sex life instead of porn. You said "give up porn to focus on you, yeah right".

It was then I knew you were broken.

We went to counselling and I thought that the counsellor would be trained in porn addiction and would see the signs but she wasn't and she didn't. She did suggest that you stop watching porn as it doesn't generally help relationships.

I believe you may have tried to stop. The thing is that it was like a crack addiction. Even though you hadn't watched it for a while, one session was enough to set you off. I guess it brought out an abusive misogynistic side of you who kind of hated me. Hated my femaleness.

I found it so ironic that you seemed to hate me because of an obsession over watching images of my own female species. I could never try hard enough or do enough for you when it was affecting you. Despite trying everyday to make life for us better, and trying to see the person not the addiction and loving you fiercely, I was not ever quite good enough.

I went to several counselling sessions on my own where I described your behaviour. I went t a male - a psychologist that specialises in addictions and he told me that your behaviour was very typical of a strong addiction to alcohol or drugs and that it was definitely not okay. I even broke down to two female friends of yours because you kept telling me that all your mates watch porn and that it is normal.

I just asked if they would be okay if their partner did this or that (your behaviour). One of them said "I think he has a porn addiction".

The last straw

After one of our blow-ups when I mentioned the out of bounds subject again, you as usual retreated to the spare room so we could "build up trust again". You were very offended that I didn't trust you (even though your behaviour was completely untrustworthy). You said that I needed help myself and that me going on about your porn use made you feel like a victim. So you stayed in the spare room so we could build up trust and you watched porn.

We had a family holiday and I could see that you had started watching porn again. I could see the withdrawals all weekend. When we had sex you had to pretend that I was someone else to get excited. You left early to go home on your own and convinced me to stay behind. You argued with me in front of my parents to get me to stay. I was in pain and I hadn't slept for three nights but you didn't care. I knew you were going to go straight home and watch porn. I had given up checking your phone but after you were so hideously abusive after coming home from the pub one night I did. Sure enough as soon as you got in the house from the trip you had watched porn.

I calmly asked you what you got up to when you got home on Sunday night. You pretended to not understand and then said "not this f****** s*** again". Then you proceeded to abuse me so badly I knew it was the end. You were yelling full noise telling me I was an absolute f****** nutcase bitch and that I didn't know anything about the internet and that you hadn't actually watched it, they were just tabs open.

You left as usual and I mentioned that you have a hot woman (your admission) at home who you are attracted to, but you prefer a screen and that I think that is sad. You came at me with speed. Both your fists came towards my face and stopped, 5cm away. You left.

That was the end. I told you to pack your things and get out of my house.

Porn as a drug

So to my partner, who I had to remove from my life and the porn that was involved in that - you destroyed my life and you destroyed our life. I feel violated for some reason and I if you had actually cheated on me with a person at least I would have someone to be angry at. In the end a smartphone screen won over me and I have no place inside of me to deal with that.

It was the most dehumanising, defeminising, devaluing and traumatically confusing experience I have ever had and you don't care.

Until you actually stop watching porn, stop taking your drug, you will not start to understand what has happened and feel things properly. You will not start to see anything wrong with your abusive and violent behaviour towards me.

It is becoming clear to society that porn is a drug with the same strength of effect as meth or heroin. If more people knew that what we have at the end of our hands and can access in five seconds is the same as P for your brain, I think they would be able to make an informed choice about porn. We need to talk about this.

This article was first published on and is republished with permission of the author.

Where to get help

Addiction to pornography can endanger relationships, mental health and employment.
Those addicted to PPV websites can also be left with huge bills.

• A list of counsellors who specialise in the area can be found at:

• Sex Therapy New Zealand offers help for pornography addicts, see:

- NZ Herald

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