How watching porn affected me—Kali’s story

1) What effect did porn use have on your ideas about sexuality and your sexual behaviour?

As a 51 year old woman, my ideas about sex and porn generally lined up with what is now called “second wave feminism.” In other words, porn degrades women, has very negative effects on our self-concept, and influences men to treat us with disrespect, if not actual violence. I never watched porn when I was younger, even the ads for it in the back of newspapers made me feel bad; ashamed, ugly, scared, degraded.  But a few years ago, I started watching it due to the sequence of events described below.

It all started about 2-3 years ago. I was entering menopause and found myself feeling spontaneously horny in a way that I had not felt since being a teenager. Fluctuating hormones? Don’t know, but it hit me out of the blue. My libido had been pretty low for years. I’d been married for 15 years and after the first few lustful years, things died down to a dull roar. But now it was back. One day I was watching a TV show that I had watched for years when I suddenly noticed how very appealing the male lead was. Never noticed him before. If anything, I actually  found him somewhat strange looking in the past, but now he seemed like the hottest man ever. I started reading some erotic fan fiction featuring him after exhausting all the TV episodes with multiple viewings.

Somehow the fanfic eventually led me to a site called Lady Cheeky, which was supposed to be a pro sex site for women. Basically the site put up very short clips of sexual scenes, people fucking, blow jobs, extreme close-ups of genitalia. It was the first time I had ever seen a shaved vulva, and at first I didn’t even know what I was looking at! And to think, here I was lamenting the age-related loss of my formerly thick bush and trying to find products that would make it full again, while young women were actively shaving theirs off. This might be the first revelation for me of how out of touch I was with the current state of sexual habits.

So, I found the Lady Cheeky site and instead of immediately clicking out of it, I thought, ‘why not, give it a try?’ After all, the sex positive feminists had been telling us for years that porn was good for women. Women were even writing and directing it, it was liberating and empowering!

There was lots of cunnilingus on Lady Cheeky, so that must be why it was “female friendly,” but there were lots of blow jobs too (boring), and things that looked really painful like face fucking and various scenes of men dominating women. I tried to adopt the sex positive mindset that this was all good, anything that helped arouse me was good and I should just go with it. Following links from Lady Cheeky, I found Tumblr porn ( and the overwhelming number of “submissives”) and eventually found my way to the streaming sites like pornhub.

What I liked about porn was how quickly I could get off when using it — at least initially. When masturbating to my own fantasies, it took 10-20 minutes to orgasm, but with porn, because it was so new and exciting and explicit, I could get off in just a few minutes! This effect diminished amazingly rapidly however, and within a month or so I found myself doing the porn surfing that people talk about, going through dozens of images really quickly, trying to find just that right image to get me off fast.

2) Did you notice how misogynist it was and how did you react to the misogyny?

Yes, right away. Whatever negative thoughts I had about it prior to actually using it, they could not compare to the reality of how disgustingly violent and abusive the current state of porn is. It made 70s porn seem downright quaint. I did not like anything degrading at all and I would try to avoid that kind of porn, but it was always there on any front page of any site, and the pop up ads were worse. I hated the ads featuring very young girls grimacing and crying while being anally raped, but they were everywhere. My strategy to deal with the ugliness of it all was to go to a site and quickly enter “female friendly” and get off the front page as fast as possible. Generally, I was looking for scenes of intercourse where the woman seemed to really enjoy it, where the man seemed to be genuinely interested in her pleasure. These were hard to find, and nothing I watched ever really fit the bill. The lack of ANY affection was a huge disappointment. In porn lingo, female-friendly seemed to mean anything where the woman was not actually being violently abused, for example a long blow job where the man would brush her hair back and smile at her. Oh right, real great for women, yes? What bullshit.

3) What made you stop watching it?

The effect of needing more and more stimulation to get off came on astonishingly rapidly. I was worried about escalation. I shudder to think what sort of place people who have watched it for years are in. I shudder to think about what is happening to people who start watching this stuff when they are only children. I was a grown woman who knew her own mind and was well-versed in the mechanisms of propaganda, and I was pretty helpless in the face of all the porn imagery. I can’t imagine what a child would experience with all this stimulation.

Another reason I stopped involved a specific incident. In an attempt to find something enjoyable, I started trying the amateur stuff (soon found out that most of it wasn’t amateur, of course). I came across one video where a camera was moving around filming a woman who appeared to be sleeping or unconscious. At that moment I was so filled with disgust. The reality that we just can’t know the circumstances of production hit me hard. What the hell was I watching? I turned that video off and vowed to stop watching.

I was also noticing a negative side effect seeping into my life in the real world. You see, it used to be that I saw people as just people. They had bodies, sure, but I was not in the habit of checking them out, I was not always wondering what their ass looked like or scanning them up and down. However in only a few months of porn watching, I found myself overly preoccupied with asses, boobs etc, and I’d be checking everyone out. I hated this, and even after giving up porn, I still do it. I feel like I’ve lost something, some essential thing about the way I used to relate to other human beings and I fear I can’t get it back. I used to see people as unique human beings, each with value, but now I slip into just seeing their sex characteristics, random body parts walking by being evaluated as to how they rate in that regard (MRA bullshit, ranking people in various metrics, hotness, alphas and betas, Etc.)

4) What observations have you made in your acquaintances who watch porn and how it affects them?

In my circle of friends, there are several sex positive activist types, some my age who would have been radical second wave lesbians back in the day, and they too seem to have been taken in by the third wave nonsense. There is just no talking to them about any of this. If you try to discuss it at all, you are called sex negative, prude, kink-shamer etc. So the new reality is anything that gets you off is fine because it is just a fantasy, sex work is empowering, and being submissive is just a fun choice and not a consequence of a damaged sense of self due to growing up in patriarchy. I really feel that many young women these days are kind of shell shocked, and a lot of what passes for sex is actually a kind of self harm. We live in a deeply misogynistic world, that of course has an effect on how women think of themselves.

5) Anything else you want to add.

Thanks for doing this. It is hard to speak out against the tide. We live in a time when even mental health professionals are telling people to watch porn. Dan Savage tells women to just suck it up (literally) and basically do anything a man wants, BDSM forums don’t even blink when women come in asking about 24/7 submission or how to talk to the doctor about throat bruises from being “face fucked,” there are so many people out there grooming women for lives of submission and so-called consensual abuse.

I have been really struggling with myself these past few years. I wish I’d never embarked down the path of porn. It has changed me forever, it has taken something from me, and I wish I’d never seen it. I wish I never knew what tentacle porn was, or Bukkake or gang bang videos. I would be much happier not knowing about these things. I was relatively content before, preoccupied with various non sexual things. But now I find myself rather obsessed with these sexual things, not out of enjoyment, but more out of a compulsive need. I’ve spent far too much time on various message boards trying to find others like me, but I am generally alone there while everyone else is hypnotized with sex positivity. Critical views are not allowed.

I have great concern about where we are going with this and how it will affect all human relationships, not just romantic ones. It seems to me that people are downright mean these days, popular culture is full of mean, sniggering people, people who hate different races, or the poor or women. Empathy and sensitivity are in decline, selfishness and narcissism are on the rise. People will argue that porn has nothing to do with that, is merely a reflection of it, but I disagree. When we have a whole generation being conditioned to violence against women via the use of orgasmic reinforcement, this is not a good thing and it surely does have an effect on people. Fascism is on the rise everywhere, in politics, economics, and in porn. Acclimating ourselves to authoritarianism and violence in the name of entertainment or sexual fantasy is not leading us to a happy place. It is destroying us, slowly.

This post is a part of an ongoing series of interviews from women who have watched porn. If you would like to share your story of how porn affected you, please email psage681@gmail.com.

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4 thoughts on “How watching porn affected me—Kali’s story

  1. Huh? No replies? Pretty unfortunate since I find your story very important to listen to. Pornography affects all of us, but not in all too different ways. I started consuming porn when I was a child. First, I stumbled upon a hentai porn manga at the bookstore, then I dived into the gross pit that is drawn child pornography aka loli and shota. Then I found tentacle porn, bdsm and the like….it changed me forever and like you I feel that I tend to sexualize people’s bodies all the time. I’ve never had sex that was a mutual exchange of pleasure. Healthy sexuality is extremely absent in this day and time. Thank you so much for sharing. I hope you find healing every day.

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    • Marie, you’ve never had sex that was a mutual exchange of pleasure! Okay, looking at your blog I see you are quite young. I hope there are happy, healthy experiences coming up in your future.

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  2. I’ve never had sex that was a mutual exchange of pleasure either. I’m 42, bisexual, hates PiV. I will not have sex with other women anymore since they all want me to dominate, penetrate, and/or tie them up and hit them because I am GNC and seem “tough”. I do not want to hurt women ever, even if they want me to! However, I will take my anger out on men and patriarchy by tying up, dominating, and penetrating men with strap ons. Still doesn’t give me an orgasm, but at least gets out my rage. At least I don’t hurt women or get hurt by men. I hate sex. I masturbate alone because it’s a need, just like taking a shit, unpleasant but necessary. I’ve done it from my earliest memories as a child. I also have severe sex (not gender, I don’t believe in gender) dysphoria. I hate having a part that can be raped and impregnated. I don’t like kids and don’t like my body invaded.

    I want a world where everyone keeps their sexuality to themselves, where straight men aren’t happy predators and gay men aren’t happy misogynists and girls aren’t groomed to be prey so that, as women, they think they love being rammed by penis/penis like objects and hurt. Until that happens, I want to see pretty boys being hurt by angry older women in porn. Yeah, like that would ever be shown.

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