Today’s post comes from a great question our brother brought to the group recently. He asked:
“I’ve been struggling with relapsing lately and notice that I get triggered in my day-to-day public life due to my fetishes. I’ve been mostly open with my accountability partners about where I am. A week ago, I broke out of relapse by being open and speaking about feeling overwhelmed with urges and negative thinking.
“So far I’ve not felt comfortable sharing details about my fetishes and what triggers me because it leaves me with deep feelings of shame. Is it important to be explicit about my fetishes or behaviors with my accountability partners? Is this the same as being vulnerable? What is your advice regarding details I should or shouldn’t share?”
This is a great question. I know that all of us are familiar with the feeling of shame. We spent months, years, or decades consumed by overwhelming amounts of shame. It’s difficult to end your out-of-control behavior and still feel some level of that shame about your normal, natural sexual behavior.
Personally, I don’t believe that fetishes are a bad thing. Unless it’s a porn-induced fetish that you aren’t truly aroused by, fetishes are a normal part of sexuality. In all my years of talking to men about their out-of-control behavior, I haven’t once heard of one that made me think a brother is weird or disturbed. Human sexuality is a fascinating thing and fetishes are a natural part of it.
However, I also don’t believe that you need to share your fetishes with everyone. They are a private part of your personal life that not everyone gets to know about. You must build trust first before sharing more intimate details about yourself and your life. You don’t have to tell everyone about everything; that’s not honesty or vulnerability, that’s oversharing caused by a lack of boundaries.
Vulnerability means courage. It involves doing or talking about something that you aren’t completely comfortable with. Not everyone deserves your vulnerability right off the bat, though. You want to strongly consider the people who you choose to share deeper things like this with.
I think this brother needs to share about his fetishes with his accountability partners especially if they put him at risk of relapsing. It’s good to have a few people you can turn to and talk with about these parts of your life. However, just like it takes time to develop trust with anyone in your life, it takes time to develop trust with your accountability partners.
Shame is a powerful feeling that keeps many of us living in mental or emotional isolation. Thinking on how to stop porn addiction and Breaking through that shame barrier takes time but I guarantee that your accountability partners have things they want to share, too. If you reach a place where you feel comfortable sharing, I bet your accountability partner will share a thing or two himself.
I think it’s important to have a small group of trusted men whom you can be vulnerable with. This includes sharing your fetishes with these brothers once you’ve built enough trust in one another. Having a primary group keeps you from feeling like you have to move through the world by yourself, or like you can’t relate to or connect with anyone.
If you don’t have any accountability partners yet, I invite you to join us in the free Porn Reboot Facebook group. The group is filled with hundreds of men who understand the struggles of living with an out-of-control sexual behavior as well as the feeling of finding freedom from it. Plenty of guys are willing to talk with you and step up as accountability partners.
One of the best things about the Porn Reboot program is that you never need to feel alone again. The moment you join us and get in the middle, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a brotherhood of incredible men. I look forward to seeing you in the group!