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How The Normalization of Pornography Impacted My Life

Episode 111

How The Normalization of Pornography Impacted My Life

This episode contains brief discussions of sexual abuse. Listener discretion is advised.

Bailey was first exposed to porn in high school by her boyfriend, whose own porn consumption fueled her abuse and led to her own porn addiction. Once Bailey started to realize the harmful effects of porn, she was able to understand the role porn played in her experience and now publicly shares her story to help others understand the negative impacts of porn. Bailey discusses the importance of having conversations in order to shift the conversation around porn and reject its normalization.


Intro (00:06):
Today’s episode is with Bailey. Bailey was first exposed to porn in high school by her boyfriend whose own porn use contributed to the abuse he perpetrated against her. The use of porn was so normalized in the relationship that she herself became addicted to it. Bailey shares with us how quitting porn has positively impacted her life, including the effect it had on her marriage. [00:00:30] She also offers advice to teenagers and parents encouraging them to seek help and have uncomfortable conversations if they find themselves in abusive relationships or struggle with porn addiction. Bailey highlights the need for society to shift the conversation around porn and reject its normalization. With that, let’s jump into the conversation. We hope you enjoy this episode of Consider Before Consuming.

Fight The New Drug (01:00):
[00:01:00] Well, Bailey, it’s so nice to have you here today to talk with us on the Consider Before Consuming podcast. For our listeners, can you tell us just a little bit about who you are?

Bailey (01:11):
Yes. I am a 25-year-old woman now, mother of one. She’s almost four. Me and my husband have been married five years now going on six. We got married really young and I full-time am on social media as well as being a homemaker. I make content [00:01:30] online and just do my best as a mother and around the home. So that’s what I do now.

Fight The New Drug (01:36):
Awesome. That’s so nice to have you here. Can you tell us a little bit about what was life like growing up for you, Bailey?

Bailey (01:44):
So growing up for me was, I would say fairly normal. I certainly can’t say my home was overly negative or toxic or abusive in any way, but I still recognize that it could have been [00:02:00] more positive. My parents are still married today. They have always been married, but my mother specifically dealt with a lot through my childhood for my other siblings. So there was addiction from other people, and then there was teen pregnancy from my sister and my mother had suffered loss previously before I came into the picture. So there was a lot going on. So I do recognize now that my childhood was fairly emotionally [00:02:30] neglectful, even though that they were physically in the home, there was no conversations and I kind of was just the middle child that got pushed to the side while the hard things were going on. And I do think that affected me growing up for sure.

Fight The New Drug (02:46):
And what we’re here to talk about today has a little bit to do with your relationships, including one that started, how did you meet your first boyfriend and how old were you as well?

Bailey (02:58):
So we started that relationship [00:03:00] at, I was 15 and he was about 16, but we met in middle school as friends and then that progressed into high school. He was a boy that was really open about being obsessive with me in the friendship. I always knew that it was a friendship that I kept around, but he wanted it to go further. And it wasn’t until I was 15 that I found myself feeling really isolated at home. And then I had already [00:03:30] experienced my first heartbreak with an older boy in high school. And so I found myself jumping to him knowing this person was in love with me and wanted to give me attention. And I found myself using him to fill that void and jumping into that relationship, knowing that it was probably toxic on some levels, but I just felt the desire to have attention and love in my life as a young child.

Fight The New Drug (03:59):
And I mean, [00:04:00] what was that relationship really like for the duration of that relationship?

Bailey (04:05):
I recognize now almost a decade later that there was no point in time, even at 15 where it was normal or healthy or even adolescent. I can recognize now that there was no point in time where our relationship wasn’t negatively impacted by his porn addiction that I can only assume [00:04:30] started many years prior to our relationship. And so very early on, as soon as it began, I was being pushed into doing well, asked first into doing very adult and even violent sexual things physically. And then that progressed into having me watch porn with him in physical form and then also when I wasn’t with him. And then gradually that progressed into [00:05:00] coercion on a daily basis, which then progressed into total force on several occasions. And then that bled into abuse in every other aspect of the word as well. So it lasted almost four years, a little less than four years before I was able to get out. And then it wasn’t until afterwards I recognized everything that I really had endured adored.

Fight The New Drug (05:27):
Yeah. Do you remember what your [00:05:30] processing of that was like during it? Were you aware at the time that it was abusive or how abusive it was?

Bailey (05:39):
So it was really hard because like I said, to get to the root of it, I really didn’t have a relationship, a strong relationship with my parents, so to speak at that time combined with what they were dealing with with my other siblings and then emotionally, mentally, and then [00:06:00] everything else going on. And just being an angsty teen, I was so young. So that combined, we didn’t have conversations. They never had conversations with me about sex to any degree. There was never a level of trust or connection where they would even really ask me what was going on. It was just like, oh, this is a young teen relationship. I’m sure if we don’t talk about anything uncomfortable, then everything is fine and it just doesn’t exist. So there was that. [00:06:30] And then I feel like a part of me did recognize there was a level of this isn’t right going on. But then it was very confusing for me because this was really my first experience with sex and a major relationship. And I just felt like, well, we have fun other times, and it’s just when we’re alone physically, that things progressed to where I’m uncomfortable and he’s telling me that this is normal and natural and everything is okay. This is what you do when [00:07:00] you’re in love. And so I just let that suppress the inner monologue I had that this was not Okay.

Fight The New Drug (07:07):
So what was your perception of pornography up until that point?

Bailey (07:12):
I don’t remember having much. It’s funny what trauma does to your brain. I can’t remember much prior to that time, but I don’t remember ever seeking out pornography or really having much of a concept of what pornography was. [00:07:30] I mean, you hear about it here and there, even at that age from school and peers and whatever, but it was never something I would seek out. I do remember being curious about sex, especially not having any concept of it prior. There was never any conversation happening as to what it was. I just knew through your natural physical experience that is something young teens are curious about. But it was never something in video form or to any degree [00:08:00] I was seeking out. So that was really my first introduction.

Fight The New Drug (08:04):
And how did your relationship with pornography escalate over time?

Bailey (08:10):
Well, for me in that relationship, it progressed pretty severely. And there was never even a point with pornography where what I was being subjected to or pushed to watch or what he was subjecting me to physically [00:08:30] where it was even normal. It was always more severe because like I said, I think his addiction was going on several years prior. And so it had already escalated to an extreme point for him that he pushed onto me. And then it wasn’t until after the relationship, like I said, that I realized what was going on with me as far as the abuse and the assault, but also that pornography was wrong in any way because even after I understood that I had endured [00:09:00] assault, I hadn’t questioned that aspect of the pornography being wrong because largely our culture says it’s okay and it’s normal. So I still had that mindset for a long time afterwards.

And then it was something that affected me in the physical sense in our relationship together. He really, I became the victim of his addiction and so as the direct result and then that in turn gave [00:09:30] me not only the same addiction, but then really warped and perverted my sense of not just sex and love, but also my self-worth. And then those were all things that I brought into my marriage eventually. Not just the addiction in itself and normalizing it, but also the insecurity that comes along with after you break through the addiction. I struggled for so long with feeling like, okay, well now I’ve endured [00:10:00] the addiction, I’ve conquered it. But then I was so worrisome for a long time of if this thing is going to be brought into my life in any sense ever again from my partner and what have you. And then also just my self-worth, I thought for so long that what he had really ingrained in my brain was that my self-worth was based on my sexuality. So if I wasn’t being wanted in that way in my marriage, then I felt like I was worthless. So it affected [00:10:30] me in all sense of the word.

Fight The New Drug (10:33):
Was there a point at which you kind of started to identify that you had an addiction? If this was something that was so normalized before, was there kind of a point where you realized, oh wow, this is outside of my control?

Bailey (10:46):
Yeah, I can remember the exact day actually, because even after I escaped the relationship finally, and I was now in my new relationship with my now husband, but boyfriend at the time, I was getting involved [00:11:00] with the political scene and I thought that’s where I kind of wanted to go. So I was involved with some conferences and organizations and working for them. And there was one conference in particular where one speaker, his name is Yaku Bowens, he is like a forefront of this fight as well. And he was speaking at that conference about the harms of porn and what it does to your mental health and what you’re contributing to when you’re consuming. And that was like a switch went off with me because [00:11:30] I didn’t understand the harms of it yet or how it had impacted me at all. And that was the turning point where I recognized, okay, not only was the physical sense of the abuse, what I endured wrong, but the root of it, just the assault and the emotional abuse, verbal abuse, all of that was just branches off of a tree. But the root of everything that it stemmed from was the pornography addiction. So that’s when the wheels [00:12:00] started turning for me. And then I brought that into my relationship. I remember he picked me up from, my husband now picks me up from the airport. And we had that conversation driving an hour home where I was like, have you ever thought of this? I had never thought of it this way. This is something I don’t want to consume anymore. And that was really the turning point for me.

Fight The New Drug (12:20):
So even though you’d experienced the harms, you hadn’t identified them as harms until that point. How were you able to finally leave that relationship [00:12:30] with your boyfriend as a teenager and how old were you?

Bailey (12:33):
I was about 18. I had just turned 18, I believe. And it took about the last year of that relationship where I was trying to leave and understanding that I was tuned out. I totally, I remember the feeling of hatred. I hated this person entirely and I wanted out, but I would listen to the threats of violence towards himself [00:13:00] and taking his own life and then threats to myself as well. And then I can remember several times where I began to recognize you raped me, that I came out and said those words. And he even acknowledged it and said, on multiple occasions, I know, I’m sorry, it’ll never happen again. And so on all senses, I just for the longest time, longest listened to him saying he would change or it wouldn’t happen again. And [00:13:30] finally I think a shift started happening in me where I didn’t care what the repercussions were.

I didn’t care what he would do to me or himself. I just knew things were wrong and I had to get out. And so once I turned 18, I began working in law enforcement and that was a big wheel turner for me, so to speak, where I started to recognize because I was literally helping women get protection orders in the same situations. And I [00:14:00] began to threaten threats of law enforcement and just standing up for myself entirely threatening protection orders. And I think because of that, he totally began to back off and to not interject himself into my life anymore.

Fight The New Drug (14:16):
That’s so much to have gone through, especially as a teenager. And I’m so sorry that you had to experience that for anyone who might find themselves in a similar situation, especially as a teenager. I think sometimes [00:14:30] when someone’s a minor, they think, well, I don’t have access to resources or I can’t do something about this. I don’t want to tell my parents. What advice would you give to someone, especially as a teenager, but anyone who’s maybe finding themselves in an abusive relationship?

Bailey (14:45):
So specifically to teens, my case was feeling like, and I think why I stayed for so long and felt like I was trapped was I didn’t have that connection and relationship, so to speak with my parents. And [00:15:00] so they weren’t asking me what was going on. They didn’t recognize that anything was going on. And so I felt like we couldn’t have those conversations. I felt like he’s telling me things are normal, so they must be normal, and he cares about me of course, more than my parents do. So I would listen to that and his monologue in my head. But also I think what’s important and what I wish I could have told my younger self was it doesn’t matter the contention or the feelings [00:15:30] you have against your parents. No parents, no good parents. No matter what’s going on, no matter your relationship standing, they care about you.

They want to know what’s going on, even if you feel like you can’t turn to them or it’s uncomfortable, they care about you above all things. And so don’t be afraid to have those uncomfortable conversations that goes for kids and then the parents as well to don’t be afraid to have the uncomfortable conversations. And even if you feel like you can’t turn to your parents, there [00:16:00] is always someone, there is definitely people I could have I had in my life that I could have turned to just say, Hey, this is going on. I don’t think this is right. Can you help me? To any degree. And even as children, those adults in our life, we all have one. We can, even a teacher or a friend’s mother, they can all help you and point you in the right direction. So definitely don’t be afraid to have those conversations.

Fight The New Drug (16:28):
That’s great advice, thank you. [00:16:30] You’re a parent now, and as an adult looking back, do you think there were any signs or indicators of what you were going through that maybe adults in your life could have been more aware of and maybe would’ve or could or should have prompted some of those conversations on their end that some parents today could maybe look out for if they have concerns?

Bailey (16:51):
100%. I mean, what comes to mind initially is just the total consumption that in isolation, that relationship [00:17:00] made me have. He would totally consume my life. I mean, I was going to high school and he would pick me up in his car, take me to school, he’d be with me at school, he would take me home. And then when I began working, he would take me to work. Sometimes he would stay there with me, take me home. There was no point in my life at that time where he was not around me every single day. Even on the weekends, he would be over, even if my parents said, [00:17:30] Hey, I don’t want your boyfriend coming over today. He would find a way to come over all consumption and the phone, I mean, phones do not help this problem that’s going on with our younger generations.

And I think my parents were certainly victims to the same concept of like, okay, these phones are coming on the scene. Our wants one, we’re just going to be the cool parents and let them have it. But not monitoring that phone, I mean, just monitoring your kid’s phone could change so many lives in this [00:18:00] sense. I mean, a lot of the abuse happened on the phone and just the mean thousands of text messages. There was never a moment where we weren’t together and where we weren’t communicating. And that is a large indicator of what could be going on. Even pornography aside, just an abusive relationship. If someone is isolating you from every other person in your life, they don’t want you to have friends. They don’t want you around your family. That is a large indicator that there [00:18:30] is something very unhealthy going on, and that is definitely something that parents have to pay so much attention to.

Fight The New Drug (18:39):
Yeah. And because you brought up phones specifically with the issue of pornography in this relationship, do you think that having that technology with internet access fuels the problem that pornography was in this relationship for you both?

Bailey (18:56):
Oh, absolutely. I mean, I think both of us growing up, we [00:19:00] never really had much, we weren’t given any limits on our phones. So at all times of the night we could be communicating or just in general, children could be consuming anything on the internet. There was never any limits on my phone. There was never any limits to when I couldn’t have the phone. So it’s very easy to get sucked into, even if no one is subjecting you to it, teens are curious. And so if parents aren’t limiting that access to pornography and [00:19:30] even social media because that is largely what is on social media today and text messages, it’s everywhere. And if they’re not limiting those things or waiting until a reasonable age to give them an iPhone or just having those uncomfortable conversations, if we don’t have those conversations with our kids, it’s not a matter of when they will come in contact with pornography or be subjected to it or seek it out. It’s just when [00:20:00] it’s not if it’s when. And we have to have those conversations and the not limiting the devices definitely is a factor.

Fight The New Drug (20:10):
Going back to something you said earlier regarding your own porn conception as well as this partner’s in this relationship, you mentioned that it affected your self-esteem. You also mentioned that porn is so normalized in society, and I think because porn is so normalized, some people don’t really understand how it can affect. Can you speak about that a little bit?

Bailey (20:29):
Yeah. Well, I think [00:20:30] initially the biggest thing that I recognized or began to recognize was what happens in sexually abusive relationships is it really alters our sense of self-worth, and a lot of times victims hypersexualized themself and objectify themself, which is really easy to do in today’s culture where that is promoted and you can even get paid for it. And I think that is what initially happened with me even before [00:21:00] I recognized it, was I came into this new relationship with my now husband and I was very open with how sexual I was. Even having beliefs that this is not something we should do. I just felt like at least internally, this is what my self-worth is based on, and I have to do this for this person to love me. And then once we progressed in that relationship, if there was a day where he wasn’t trying to be intimate in that way, I just felt [00:21:30] like, okay, he doesn’t love me anymore.

This is the internal monologue that was going on. And then later on, once we had progressed in our relationship and we still hadn’t, we just normalized porn and it was my husband’s older. And so when I got in that relationship and I had been normalized to it, and I got in this relationship with an older man who to my knowledge had not been addicted, but I knew at certain times he normalized it as well. [00:22:00] And so just combined, there was no one to question it until the wheel started turning for me. And then eventually when they did, I began to recognize, okay, this actually, I’ve told ’em this is okay, but I recognize now that it actually doesn’t make me feel okay. It actually makes me feel like some other people are more important than me. And then only once I began to have those hard conversations and our relationship did [00:22:30] we come to a conclusion that this wasn’t something we want in our relationship entirely. But certainly it can infect you in all senses of the word of making you feel like your worth is based on sex and sexuality, but also lowering your self-esteem. And this goes for men and women. There is no person that can not be victimized by it.

Fight The New Drug (22:55):
I think that’s so important to note, especially something you mentioned how I think sometimes people [00:23:00] think, oh, well, when I get married or when I’m in my next relationship, then this just won’t be a problem anymore because I’ll have that next relationship. And this really speaks to how it’s something that can affect you on a level that can still affect your future relationships and even a marriage. How did you first bring up the conversation of pornography with your husband or how did that come up naturally as something, you mentioned it was normalized for both of you, but how did that conversation start?

Bailey (23:30):
[00:23:30] Well, I think it’s so tricky, especially when you have the conversations after. And I think this is what a lot of people find themselves in. They get in a relationship and you normalize it or you’ve been addicted to it even. And you come in this relationship and you mutually know it’s something you at least do from time to time when your person isn’t with you and you’ve normalized it, you’ve already consented to it with your partner, and then you change your mind really, and you say, okay, [00:24:00] this is something for whatever reason that’s impacting me. Or even you start to dive deeper and recognize the harmful effects of it, and you bring that up, it’s very hard. I would say I was lucky. I had a very open-minded partner, but I do recognize how hard that can be. So once I got introduced to the entire conversation of the harmful effects and what it does to your mental health and what you can contribute to when you are consuming it, everything started to [00:24:30] click for me and a switch went off.

And I’ve always been a very opinionated person. And so this was not something I could suppress. It was something that above all things, this is another person I care about and that I want to be with. And so this is not something I want in our relationship to impact either of us anymore. And initially I would say it wasn’t like me speaking on it. He was like, oh, okay, cool and accepting. But eventually when I [00:25:00] gave him all of the info, I fight the new drug. It is a great resource and other people that are on the forefront here, when you can maybe include your partner, man or woman to the resources that are out here for all of the impacts that it has, I think they become more open to it. And then of course, if you have a person that is utterly resistant and just refuses to acknowledge the resources and [00:25:30] the evidence that can’t be denied, you have to question if that person is addicted. And then if they want to make the change, that’s great. If they don’t, then you have to wonder, is this a relationship you even want to be in? So I was pretty lucky the wheels did start to turn for him. It wasn’t an immediate shift like it was for me so to speak, but it was something that he was open to and was able to hear other people out on. And then we made the shift, both of us together.

Fight The New Drug (26:00):
[00:26:00] I think that’s such a good reminder for people of this is so normalized in society. Most people just don’t know. Most people just don’t know the harmful effects that are there. And that’s part of why we work to educate and so many others because we really think that if people have access to the information to make an educated and informed decision, nobody wants to choose something that is deliberately going to hurt them, relationships and society just based on what information we have. So [00:26:30] I think that’s such a good reminder of the power of education and getting informed and good for you for taking that upon yourself and sharing that with your husband as well. So since you’ve both quit porn, yes,

Bailey (26:45):

Fight The New Drug (26:46):
And how has that impacted your marriage?

Bailey (26:52):
Well, I think there’s a common misconception. I get told on the internet all the time when I talk about this topic or I talk [00:27:00] about, because open relationships are something that is so normalized and other sites that people use to make money on in this day and age. And when you speak out against that, I get a lot of pushback from people that have normalized these things and they will say, well, monogamous, married sex must be so boring. But I think that is such a misconception because there is something so beautiful that can come out of being you guys’ only source of [00:27:30] intimacy and pleasure. So it’s like, yes, this is the only person that I want that I have, but there’s something so beautiful in that and that can be fruitful from that because this is all you have, so we’re going to make this experience good. And you get to learn each other on an intimate level that other people and strangers and strangers on the internet just don’t have the ability to give you. So it’s beautiful.

Fight The New Drug (27:56):
And going off of that, what is this speaking so publicly about [00:28:00] this, your own experience with this and speaking out online, what has that been like for you? What has it been like to read people’s responses to your posts, particularly people who’ve struggled similarly? What’s that experience been like?

Bailey (28:14):
It’s definitely been a positive and a negative and certainly more positive. It’s so incredible when you speak about this, how you become aware that literally everyone in our society is affected by this to whatever degree, if they’ve been a victim of it [00:28:30] to the addiction or a victim as a result of someone else’s addiction or they just had no idea, it is almost intense knowing that everyone in our world, whether they’re addicted themselves or become victims to it, everyone is impacted. You don’t know someone that isn’t impacted. So in a way, it’s been really positive. It’s crazy when you, of course there’s negative ramifications that come from being vocal on the internet, but it’s certainly more positive when you get [00:29:00] messages and comments from people saying, I had never considered X, Y, and Z, and now I’m bringing this to my partner as something I don’t want to do.

That is so incredible when to, on just a small level, you can say you help someone in this journey. So that’s certainly a positive. And then the only negative would be really understanding that everyone in our society is affected by this. And so it’s almost hard to go on [00:29:30] within your day and not even think about this subject and how it affects the world around us because everyone is affected. So it’s not negative in the sense that it’s hard dealing with negative comments, but it’s hard understanding that everyone is affected by this and we have to mold the conversations that are happening and reject our cultural norms going on right now.

Fight The New Drug (29:54):
Yeah, I think that’s so important to remember. There is a ripple effect of the impacts, [00:30:00] the negative impacts, but there is also a ripple effect of the positive impacts. So you speak out and share your story, the people who are seeing that and responding to that are saying they’re going to have a conversation in their relationships. It’s something that we can each and every one of us can make a positive impact on if we have the courage to speak out. You have, and we’re grateful that you are, and thank you for doing that.

Bailey (30:23):
Yeah, thank you guys.

Fight The New Drug (30:24):
So you have a young daughter now. Have you thought she’s still young enough, but [00:30:30] have you thought to this point how you’ll start talking to her about the harms of porn and when and what that will look like for you?

Bailey (30:38):
Yeah, I mean, she’s not even four yet, so I do give thought to it, but I try not to let it overwhelm me. We have so much time. But certainly it’s so funny when you become a parent, because I thought for so long as a teen, my parents were so strict and now I can look back and see while they were not strict at all, and they’re going to look at me like I’m crazy for how [00:31:00] strict I’m going to be. And certainly in this day and age, things I consider is social media and phones. I mean, my parents, when I was in elementary school, they gave me a phone that could only dial them in 9 1 1, and I’m like, she’s going to have that for a long time because there is no truly no reason that young children need access, unlimited access to the internet and unlimited access to communication with peers or who knows who.

[00:31:30] So those are certainly things I’ve considered. And just down to, I mean, little things or big things of how you look at it. I mean, I was raised in public school and we are homeschooling our daughter and will be, and not necessarily for the ramifications of pornography and peers, but that is certainly a factor and a benefit to homeschooling. I mean, I can remember in just elementary school kids talking about sex and their bodies [00:32:00] and pornography, and those are not conversations that young children need to be had or subjected to. So I think about it in all senses of the word, and I’m certainly going to be a very strict parent, but I think that is necessary in today’s world.

Fight The New Drug (32:17):
Do you think that if you would’ve learned about the harms of porn as a middle schooler or high schooler, that it would’ve changed the way you were able to respond in that relationship you were in?

Bailey (32:29):
Yeah, I [00:32:30] mean, I think certainly we have to have the hard conversations and that comes about sex and what that looks like and what its purposes, and then even just what is healthy as far as a sexual relationship. And also, yes, the pornography use, all of that could have largely shaped my mindset because I would’ve been able to recognize, okay, my parents said this is wrong. What he’s doing is wrong, and so I can’t suppress it. And if I had a [00:33:00] larger voice or larger influences in my life to speak and push back against that, I certainly would’ve questioned it and would not have been able to stay for as long as I did.

Fight The New Drug (33:12):
And we talked a little bit about not necessarily feeling safe to approach adults about this topic, but did you have friends who you felt like you could have said, Hey, this is going on? Or in your mind, was it something that was so normalized that you just thought, well, everyone else is doing the same thing?

Bailey (33:29):
Yeah, [00:33:30] I mean yes and no. So I think a large tactic that abusers use is isolating you from everyone. So initially for the first couple years, I definitely didn’t really have friends I could have those conversations with. And then the few that I can remember still having through that relationship, we didn’t have those conversations. I mean, I think we had conversations about sex and boys and all of [00:34:00] those things, but I don’t feel like pornography was everything any time that was discussed. But it was certainly once I was able to, at the end, I began to branch out and have my own friendships and relationships as an adult and those people, because they were so positive and actually not saying that these things are normal, whether it be in the physical sense of what was happening to me or pornography, they were so open about what they viewed was right.

And [00:34:30] they were definitely not culturally normative kids, but I was able to have those friendships with them and they were speaking life into me in a way that I began to question that relationship and everything that I was being subjected to. So yes, friendships can certainly have a large impact, positive and negative. If they are telling you that these things are normal, that pornography is fine and normal, you’ll continue to do that. And then if you have kids that are pushing back against that, [00:35:00] those will at least make you question what you’re doing. So friendships can have a large impact. For sure.

Fight The New Drug (35:06):
You mentioned also when you got out of that relationship, you began working in law enforcement and were helping other women get out of these same situations. What was that experience like seeing your own set of circumstances in other women?

Bailey (35:21):
I think it was really transformative because I hadn’t considered that anything. I mean, I recognized lightly [00:35:30] what was going on with me, but I think I just largely when I got out of the relationship initially was just that I was so fueled with the hatred of this person. And I did recognize to some degree that I was being abused, but I think I just suppressed that because he would tell me it was normal, and we have this image of rape in our culture that it’s something that happens to strangers and a back alley with a gun pointed to your head. And so I think I just suppressed that. And I thought, certainly me and my normal life [00:36:00] have not been victims of this terrible thing. And then I began working in law enforcement and a big part of my job there was women and men would come in and they want to get a protection order, and you have to get that approved by personnel before you can get it approved by a judge.

That’s how you do that process. And so I would sit down with women and they have to lay out for you in detail and pages. This could take hours as far as what happened to them, why they need the protection order [00:36:30] and nitty gritty details. And so those were transformative moments for me where I began to recognize, okay, but there’s so much overlap here. Things might’ve been more worse or even less severe for them, but they’re saying the same things that I endorse, so how can I be able to help other women and to tell them that there’s no stigma with this to get the help that you need, and then I can’t do the same thing for myself. And then also, my husband was a big factor at that time, was just [00:37:00] a boyfriend, but he was also in law enforcement. And I would speak to him about my previous relationship, and he was definitely someone that was, again, in my life that was not normal.

And a large portion of that was also we began to have a sexual relationship, which I wish we didn’t, but that is our story. And so in doing that, I recognized in those moments, okay, sex doesn’t have to [00:37:30] look like non-consensual. I say, stop. And he stops, right? This was not anything that was my life before. And so all of that combined in this new season of life I was in began to help me understand that I had endured something pretty severe and I did need to get help for that. And yeah, those women definitely helped me for sure.

Fight The New Drug (37:56):
Thank you for sharing that. How did your work in law enforcement in addition [00:38:00] to that, did you see pornography come up in these stories? When you would talk with these women, did it change your perspective saying, oh, I wonder if pornography is influencing that set of circumstances? Did anything in your work in law enforcement shift your perspective on pornography as well?

Bailey (38:15):
Yeah, I think, not necessarily from the women that I can remember, but I do remember I worked in records and there was a long list of duties on that job, but I can remember I loved just reading [00:38:30] reports. I’ve always been into true crime. And so you get to read the reports and decipher them, and there were so many instances of child abuse in particular where there was child pornography involved. And so that was definitely something that helped me recognize, because our culture today, when you speak about it, the pushback is like, yeah, of course child pornography is wrong or more severe, abusive violent genres are wrong. But [00:39:00] if it’s just normal monogamous sex, then that is fine. But it started to click for me where it was that pornography was the root of the issue, and every other problem on it was just a branch. And so yeah, everything started to turn for me. And just seeing the issue of sexual abuse in its entirety, child abuse and how everyone, nearly everyone that does these things at first starts with a pornography addiction and then progresses [00:39:30] over time. Yeah.

Fight The New Drug (39:31):
Thank you for sharing that. Well, first, is there anything else you want to share that’s kind of an important part of the role pornography played in either your past or present relationship that we haven’t talked about yet that you’d like to share?

Bailey (39:45):
I would just say that it is funny when you mature because now I can recognize for so long I just had hatred of this person, and then that began hatred of what he had done to me [00:40:00] and then what he had given me with this addiction and just hate. And now I just recognize that while I was a victim of a result of his addiction and he hurt me in so many different ways, he was also the victim of the pornography epidemic in this country that plagues young people. And so he was once a young child that may have gotten subjected to this thing himself, and then that just eventually turned out to be my [00:40:30] abuser. But it’s hard. I think children are so susceptible to this thing, and so we have to get ahead of it. We have to get in front of it, and we can’t be unwilling to have those conversations.

Fight The New Drug (40:47):
The last thing I wanted to ask you is just for anyone who maybe has found themselves in an abusive relationship or in a relationship with a partner who has an addiction or compulsion [00:41:00] to pornography or they themselves have an addiction or compulsion to pornography, all of which you’ve experienced at different times, could you offer any words of hope to someone who maybe feels like there’s no way out of those circumstances?

Bailey (41:14):
Yeah, I would just say there’s so much help out there and just the people that I don’t even consider myself, someone that is on the forefront of this mission, but so many people online. I have so many friends now who have overcame [00:41:30] in their marriage discovering their husband’s porn addiction and they thought they wanted to divorce, and the person did. They still are an act of help for that problem. I think we have to recognize first that this is a true addiction that truly just plagues the mind like anything else, it releases the dopamine like any other drug. And so there is help for that and don’t necessarily give up on your person that’s struggling with an addiction. There is help out there. There is help [00:42:00] if you have endured an abusive relationship or you’ve been a victim of pornography addiction. There’s so much help out there, there’s so many resources and just don’t think that you’re a lost cause or that you have to, because for me, I was like, I didn’t want to recognize that this thing that I was doing was wrong.

I didn’t want to push back against our culture that was telling me that I was weird to question it, or this is just something that everyone does. And so [00:42:30] don’t be afraid to stand out in our culture. We have to shift the conversations. We have to shift the norm, and eventually we will get there. I mean, there is a large movement that is happening in our country of our young generation pushing back against this thing. So don’t be afraid to be different and recognize that there is help on all fronts of whoever is hurt by this thing. So previously porn was normalized, but it was normalized in the sense of it was on [00:43:00] paper and even it was something that was done in secret. There was still a stigma around it. And now we live in a culture where it’s promoted and celebrated, and you’re weird if you don’t do this thing.

And so our younger generation is susceptible to this thing overwhelmingly, but also it’s something that can change the course of their life forever. And so it’s not just something that we can give them a phone and not have these hard conversations with them because it’s not a right [00:43:30] or wrong choice that they can just choose from in the middle of the night or surrounded by their peers. It’s a disease that literally will infect them for the rest of their life and warp how they see women and their partners and their sense of self-worth. And so it’s something we have to get ahead of and not trust other people or our technologies to raise our kids. We have to have the conversations and ideally to get in front of it before it does mold their life because it’s so much harder to break free from this addiction [00:44:00] once you’re in it as opposed to getting in front of it. So that’s certainly what I would say to parents.

Fight The New Drug (44:06):
That’s very well said. And I think a good reminder, we wouldn’t give a kid a driver’s license without teaching them how to drive first. We wouldn’t just stick them behind a wheel and say, have at it without teaching them how to safely drive a vehicle in a way that’s safe for them and for others around them. And we have to do the same thing. We have a responsibility as adults and parents to do the same thing with the internet and especially around [00:44:30] the topic of pornography. Thank you first for reminding parents of that

Bailey (44:35):
On top of changing the course of my life and my view of love and sex and my self-worth, my innocence was stolen from me, solely from a pornography addiction that didn’t stem from me but was given to me. And it’s such a heavy thing. People think it’s just like any other right and wrong, but they don’t yet understand [00:45:00] the ramifications and especially when we’re not having those conversations with our children. And that is part of a child’s first view of sex and their first experience with sex, I mean, especially with men, it warps their mind into thinking that women are just there for their pleasure and consumption, and it justifies the objectification of them at a minimum. And then at an extreme, [00:45:30] it normalizes the severity of the genres that they end up consuming because one high ceases to be enough. So they end up going into extreme and violent genres, and then they begin to normalize that without knowing or with knowing. And that does contribute to the proliferation of violence against women in our country, largely, of course, men as well. And I was a victim of that.

Fight The New Drug (45:58):
And I think that’s really important [00:46:00] to note with average age of exposure to pornography becoming increasingly younger. I mean, kids are being exposed much younger than many parents think. We hear stories from people all the time who say, I first saw porn when I was six, when I was seven. It’s often at an age that is much, much younger than parents expect. And so to be aware of that and to be aware that pornography isn’t today what it was decades ago, it’s [00:46:30] not something that often parents will say, well, I turned out fine. That was around when I was a kid, and I turned out fine. And I think it’s so important to remind parents that the content today that as you’ve mentioned, is violent, is extreme, does often perpetuate a narrative that women are objects to be used and men as well, but primarily women. That version of pornography is a different level of harmful, and [00:47:00] there are endless videos online and endless images someone can click through in a matter of moments. And the harmful effects are not small. The impacts of those are not small. To your point, you said your innocence was taken from you. And I think that’s such a powerful reminder to parents of why this matters, to safeguard kids from and help raise empowered kids who know how to navigate these topics in the world,

Bailey (47:28):
Right? Because if you’re at [00:47:30] least willing to have those conversations and be their first introduction to this thing to say, Hey, this might be something that is brought into your life, but here’s the ramifications of it. If you have conversations you want to have on sex, I am in open ear that we can have those open conversations about, even if it’s uncomfortable. And so if we’re able to be their first introduction of it, we will always be at least an internal monologue that they have to when they get subjected [00:48:00] to it. If they do, ideally, never, they can have that in their ear saying, Hey, I know this is something that I shouldn’t be looking at or engaging in. So for sure.

Fight The New Drug (48:10):
That’s very well said. Bailey, thank you so, so much for your time today. It was such a gift being able to speak with you, and I’m so excited for our audience to get to hear this conversation.

Bailey (48:21):
Thank you for having me.

Promo (48:27):
For decades, joining a group meant going to [00:48:30] a live meeting. Now with Relay, finding connection and accountability to help you quit porn is more accessible and effective than ever before. Relay is just like group therapy, but cheaper and easier. When you join Relay, you’ll be matched into an accountability group and unlock digital recovery tools to help you quit porn. Join Relay for free today at That’s F-T-N-D.O.R.G/relay [00:49:00] and get the support you need to quit porn today. Fight The New Drug is an affiliate of Relay and may receive financial support from purchases made using affiliate links.

Outro (49:12):
Thanks for joining us on this episode of Consider Before Consuming. Consider Before Consuming is brought to you by Fight the New Drug. Fight The new Drug is a non-religious and a non-legislative organization that exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography [00:49:30] by raising awareness on its harmful effects, using only science, facts and personal accounts. Check out the episode notes for resources mentioned in this episode. If you find this podcast helpful, consider subscribing and leaving a review. Consider Before Consuming is made possible by listeners like you. If you’d like to support consider Before Consuming, you can make a one-time or recurring donation of any amount at [00:50:00] That’s F-T-N-D.O-R-G/support. Thanks again for listening. We invite you to increase your self-awareness, look both ways, check your blind spots, and consider before consuming.

Fight the New Drug collaborates with a variety of qualified organizations and individuals with varying personal beliefs, affiliations, and political persuasions. As FTND is a non-religious and non-legislative organization, the personal beliefs, affiliations, and persuasions of any of our team members or of those we collaborate with do not reflect or impact the mission of Fight the New Drug.


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A database of the ever-growing body of research on the harmful effects of porn.

An interactive site with short videos highlighting porn’s proven negative effects.