Much of this book has been focused on the difficulties and pain that a life consumed with porn can create. What starts off for many as an exciting and highly sexually arousing habit can ultimately compromise everything—self-respect, sexuality, intimate relationships, family, friend­ships, livelihood, freedom. And the journey away from porn and out of the trap can be long and tumultuous, filled with denial, rationalizations, and relapses.

But as we’ve seen from the stories of former porn users who made it through the struggle, leaving porn behind leads to something far better than even the false promises of porn—Freedom. We don’t mean free­dom in the adolescent definition of being able to do whatever, whenever. True freedom is being able to make choices regarding your behavior that enable you to live your healthiest, happiest life. It is a freedom that only someone who has known what it is like to be completely under the con­trol of a powerful substance like porn can fully understand.

True freedom allows you to be open and honest about the life you are living. It gives you the opportunity to live in a way that is consistent with your life goals, your mission, your values, and your dreams. It is the freedom to form meaningful relationships with others, to experience love, respect, and a sense of dignity. And it is the freedom to heal your sexuality and be needed, accepted, and affirmed as a sexual being.

Former porn user Brad understands true freedom. He told us, “Before I had no choice. I was a slave to my addiction. I was such a slave that I didn’t even understand that freedom existed. Now because I’m able to say no to porn, I am free to choose the course of my life.” Mitch also knows what both slavery and freedom feel like. “I feel a lot better about myself. Night and day. I’m so blessed. I’m so much better. When I was using porn I was in bondage. Now if I’m tempted by porn, I have free will to make a choice. I’m free and able to express who I am deep down in my soul.”

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inding a way out of the porn trap is never easy. But we hope that by breaking the silence that has surrounded this huge problem so many men and women face today—either as porn users or their loved ones—you’ve begun to address vital issues and see that change is pos – sible. We are confident that with the tools we’ve offered in this book, you can move forward into successfully healing your sexuality, your emo­tional wounds, your relationships, and your life. And that once you’ve traveled far enough down the road of recovery, you’ll realize the rewards are immensely gratifying and truly worth the effort.

The journey out of the porn trap is one from ignorance to knowl­edge, from avoidance to taking action, from deception to honesty, from shame to integrity, and from self-centeredness to loving and being loved by others. As the people whose stories we’ve told throughout this book have shown us, if you’ve been harmed by porn, you can reclaim your life, heal from the wounds, and free yourself from porn’s influence forever.

[1] Many of the exercises presented in this chapter are adaptations of exercises originally devel­oped by Wendy Maltz and described in her book, The Sexual Healing Journey: A Guide for Sur­vivors of Sexual Abuse. Sensitive demonstrations of the exercises are provided in Wendy’s video, “Relearning Touch: Healing Techniques for Couples.” For more information on the book and video, see the Resources section or visit our Web site at www. HealthySex. com.