Anonymous Confession #048: “I was hooked on child porn”

[CW: child pornography, child sexual abuse]
Published as shared with Stephanie Pakrul, November 2018

I don't feel this way today.

I cannot write this without prefacing it with that sentence. The shame still grips my throat.

I used to look at child pornography. I fantasized about your daughters and nieces and their friends in hotel hot tubs, while we made polite conversation about the wedding you were in town for. I made up stories in my head about what I would do to the young actresses I saw in movies if I only could. I read stories online of child rape, bestiality, and humiliation.

That was a test for myself, too. Like a personal rule. When I was particularly aroused by a fantasy, I often thought to myself, if I knew I wouldn't get caught, if I knew it wouldn't do harm, and I had the opportunity, would I really do it?

Like an addict, I used the rigidity of this dented moral compass to justify my desires and actions.

Except I didn’t yet really understand “harm”. I still thought my own childhood sexual abuse was “fine”, because I was a semi-willing participant. He was someone I called Uncle. He was the grown up, and I was the child. I could not consent even through my preteen mouth found the words to comply.

Incidentally, I preferred fantasizing about children who were around the same age as I was during the period of abuse. It’s like I saw their beautiful innocence that I felt I never had and wanted to devour it in the most awful way possible. At least that’s a story I tell myself.


It's taken me years of therapy, the support of a loving partner, losing some of my family (hopefully not permanently), and a lot of pain to get here.

I will say that it's not like I set out specifically to stop masturbating to kiddie porn. I sought help because I was depressed and anxious, destroying my marriage, and basically unable to function in society, despite outward appearances of a fairly accomplished career in IT. But as I dealt with my own past, I found that I simply don't feel those attractions anymore.

Sure, I can still put myself in that mental space of remembering what it was like to imagine these traumatic acts I secretly wanted to commit. And no, I never acted on any of these fantasies. But it’s in the past and they aren’t intrusive in my mind anymore, which I realized was in and of itself doing harm to myself and those around me.

I eventually told my spouse my story (happily divorced now) and I think I am able to share now because I've already taken steps to be honest and vulnerable, which did not come naturally to me.

I know there are so many others like me out there and it eats at me inside knowing probably how few of us will get help. Please don’t torture yourself. Find the right therapist or safe person who you can share with and I promise there’s a different way than the noise in your brain. Don’t give up!