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The New Addictions

I'm a recovering porn addict - ADELAIDE BROWN, 28, SEATTLE

I had very few friends in college, and guys were completely uninterested in me. It was a lonely period in my life, so I'd log on to the Internet and look at porn now and again. It addressed a lot of the curiosities I had about the human body, and also got me really excited. I'd never had a serious boyfriend, so I pretended the men on-screen wanted me. It gave me an identity — that I was somebody's girlfriend.

I didn't become seriously addicted to porn until last summer. I'm a middle-school teacher, and my boss at the time used to rip me to shreds. He was horrible, always calling me worthless. One night I came home, saw an online ad, and spent the next six hours looking at porn. The next night it was eight hours. Pretty soon I was spending every night watching porn online and experimenting with masturbation. It was the perfect distraction, especially since it's so cheap and easy to find. I'd race home at about 4 in the afternoon, close the blinds, turn off the lights, lie on the couch with my laptop in front of me, and basically go into hiding until the next day.

But I couldn't function at work because I was so exhausted, and I couldn't even look at a man without imagining him naked. I lived in fear that the people at the Christian school where I worked would find out (obviously, this addiction is just completely inappropriate if you're teaching kids). I walked around in a constant state of shame and panic. What kind of woman gets addicted to porn?

Eventually, I worked up the courage to tell the pastor of my church, who connected me with a woman in the congregation who was also dealing with a porn addiction. I never imagined there were other women out there like me. She's my accountability partner — we installed a filter on my computer that only she knows the password to. I'd gone almost a month without porn when I relapsed last November. My grandmother passed away, and I was overcome with grief and desperate for some relief, so I ordered pay-per-view. But I'm learning to be brutally honest with my accountability partner. Now, I'm approaching 40 days since I last looked at porn, and my close friends are planning to celebrate with me. My goal is to go another 100 days, then treat myself to a vacation. That's what keeps me motivated.
as told to Lea Goldman

Overexposure
9.4 million women view adult-entertainment sites each month.

How to tell if your naughty bookmarks signal a bigger problem:

  • You bail out on social events to stay home and watch racy videos.
  • You can't get sexually aroused unless there's porn involved.
  • You've promised yourself you'll never access a triple-X site again.

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