Porn Abuse: A Gay Guy’s Take

Hello men,

Today, I am sharing an email from one of the gay readers of QPGG.com.  While I receive lots of emails from gay men, this particular email sums up all the issues that are specific to gay men who are addicted to porn and to some extent, straight men as well.

 

Hello Chris

I just wanted to let you know that even though I am a gay man, what you write strikes a nerve with me.  As you are probably aware, however, though gay men and straight men are both similar, they are also different. Being that we gays are men, we have high sex drives, but also being that we are men, it’s not in our nature to say “no” to each other when we want sex. Seduction? Convincing? Persuasion? Huh? Just drop your pants, thank you.

And surprisingly, despite our easy access to each other, a lot of us are not satisfied with just casual sex and often resort to porn for additional thrill-making.

Thus, quantity of actual sex tends not to be a problem with us, but quality is. Certainly that how things were for me for, oh, a few decades, until recently.  In retrospect, I can now see clearly that I always had problems with intimacy due to my very low self-esteem, but blessed with being tall and handsome, and with a “straight-acting” (non-effeminate) personality, I could always coast on an ongoing series of ego-affirming and vanity-affirming encounters with guys who themselves were physically attractive, or if not, were charismatic.

Plus, I have always looked at least fifteen years younger than my actual age. Thus, even into my mid-forties, cute guys in their twenties would chase after ME.

Yet last year I turned 50, and though I could probably pass for 38, I recently experienced no less than six ego-deflating setbacks in a row in the last six weeks by being turned down for sex by guys ranging in age from 24 to 50. The last one was particularly stinging because 1) he was my age and 2) he was not particularly good-looking.

I wanted him anyway because he was very smart (he teaches medical physics at a U of California), but when he spent the weekend cruising local bars after saying no to me, supposedly because he “doesn’t move so fast with guys” he just met, I was reminded of Dan Savage’s telling his callers that when somebody claims they “don’t want a relationship”, that means in fact they don’t want a relationship…with you.

Especially after that last blow to my pride, I immediately gave up surfing porn because it hurt too much. And not because I was burnt-out or felt ashamed, but rather because after three decades plus of living as if I were in a porn movie, it stung too much too look at hot guys and realize that, due to time finally catching up with me, I was no longer being invited to the party.

Yet I found that giving up porn was not enough. I also gave up masturbation, and more importantly, I also gave up the pornographic mental fantasies I resorted to (which were legion) throughout my days and nights to cope with boredom and stress.

Doing so has made me feel better about myself, yet paradoxically it has also made me more aware of unresolved issues of deep shame I’ve had all my life, particularly shame regarding my sense of my own inadequate masculinity.

Which is to say that despite my lack of effeminacy, I have yet to get over the memories of an excruciatingly lonely and joyless childhood, where I was in fact, not only girlish in my voice, mannerism and interests (I was neither good at, nor interested in, competitive team sports), but thoroughly ridiculed by everybody, including girls, for it.  And I was overweight too (though I lost the fat during adolescence), so I had a lot of body-shame.

It would have been nice if my father could have intervened to build up my self-confidence, but he was consumed by an addiction to work, alcohol and drugs – a combination which eventually killed him. Perversely, one of the ways my father DID try to cultivate masculinity in me before he died was through encouraging me to look at porn mags, and not even Playboy, but truly sleazy, Hustler-style crap, and mind you, this was when I was EIGHT.

Perhaps it makes sense, then, why I spent most of my 20s and 30s craving straight guys, to the point of hitting on them and suffering much acute humiliation, sometimes publicly, in the process. At the same time I turned down many opportunities for long-term relationships largely because I could not stand the slightest bit of perceived effeminacy in other gay men, nor — curiously enough — a lack of self-discipline.

At this point, I am not being tempted by a return to surfing porn or even jerking off, but I could use some sort of a coach to help me heal my pain. Perhaps what you offer may not be the exact thing for me, but writing this letter has felt therapeutic.

Sincerely

Rick

What do you think men? Can any of you relate to some aspects of Ricks story? Feel free to comment below.

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