Struggling with Porn Addiction
The Tone Up

Struggling with Porn Addiction: The Road to Recovery (Part 1)

The Tone-Up” amplifies the voices of Muslim women who have something exclusive about Muslim women to talk or rant about. In this instalment, our anonymous contributor talks about her journey towards recovery from porn addiction.

I was nine years old when I first stumbled on a playboy magazine. It was my first encounter with porn. I remember the shame, the sense of taboo that I felt as my eyes fell upon that glossy zine. But most surprisingly, a rush of excitement coursed through me as I gathered around with a few of my classmates, crowding around the table and flipping through the pages.

It was all happenstance. I had come back to the classroom after school to pick up something I left behind. I was about to leave when I saw a few of my classmates excitedly looking through what I assumed to be a comic book. Stumbling on that magazine led me down a rabbit hole that I’m still (desperately) trying to climb out of.

In the years that followed since that singular event, I’ve learnt that everything has consequences. What I thought was harmless fun would eventually become a desperate attempt for me to ground myself in the helpless need for connection and love. Somehow, I conflated porn, and inadvertently sex as the emotional and physical intimacy I hopelessly sought. Over the years, the more I got lost in the maze that was porn, the lonelier I became.

As a young girl, I was familiar with self-hatred. I knew I didn’t like myself in a way I faintly suspected wasn’t normal. I was bullied a lot, and I didn’t really have a refuge. I didn’t feel like I was safe in most places, so stumbling upon porn was a welcome change. Something, for once made me feel good. In my teenage years, I developed a crippling hatred for my body. I was too dark, too fat, too big-boned, my face too wide. Nothing about me was small and dainty as I had hoped. Porn was that escape for me; fair (white), shapely women with long straight hair (as opposed to kinky afro), with boobs that were pert and up and a butt that didn’t have cellulite. Every time I needed reassurance about my body, I would turn to porn to feel good. Seeing those botox-enhanced images strangely soothed me.

At university, what had started out as something I occasionally dabbled in turned into a wildfire that I couldn’t put out. I tried, but it felt like as soon as I put it out, I would grow cold and then light a bigger fire. I always needed to watch porn. And from the side, I watched helplessly as I retreated into myself in a way I had never experienced. I grew more insecure, more anxious, more on the edge, and more traumatized. The more addicted I got, the lonelier I became and the more I hated my body in ways I didn’t think was possible. I directed so much hurt and vitriol to my body for not looking like what I watched.

In retrospect, the trajectory my life was headed towards was always going to make me dependent on people or something to fulfil my emotional needs. Because I lacked security growing up, it only makes sense that I would fall into an addictive cycle to help ease the pain.

In any case, I’ve learned somethings on this journey and I would explore all that in the next part of this essay, including the tools and resources I’ve been using to heal, as well as how far in I am in my recovery journey (which isn’t very far at all), and my fears and hopes for the future.


TMWT Anonymous

  • TMWT Anonymous are faceless writers from our community who choose to tell their truth behind a screen.

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