I've posted some of this before on the Psychology Today: As porn goes up, performance goes down" blog but wanted to share it here too for a wider audience.
I'm a 38 year old male. I've NEVER had a relationship with a woman before or had sex in my life, not for lack of trying, but because no-one has ever wanted to be anything more than friends. Women seem to almost freak at the thought of being romantic or that I could even have a romantic interest in them. I have never even kissed a girl or even known a girl to be interested in me or even say that they find me attractive (so it's not a case of that there are people but I have rejected them). People have flippantly said to me in the past that they're sure that someone must've been atracted to me but I probably never knew it, but I am quite sure that has never been the case. You can tell certain things about women and their general openness or receptiveness to you. Some women are naturally friendly, and when people have erroneously suggested that these women are interested in me, they have been totally off the mark. No-one has EVER expressed an interest, directly or indirectly.
I do mix a lot with girls but at the end of the day, women don't want anything more with me than just a friend. I would say though that I've never been on anything that is unambiguously a romantic date in my life. Yes, I've been on one-on-one social encounters or appointments with women which people might classify as a kind of casual date. However, it has never been that these women know that I am asking them on a date but simply meeting up for a drink (or very rarely, dinner) as friends and nothing more. If I were to even suggest something more, alarm bells start going off for them and they tend to flee.
I've worked on lots of qualities to make myself more attractive, but the sad thing is that women seem to have a certain image of what they would like, and I don't fit that image. I can be more outgoing, fun and personable, and people do openly acknowledge that I'm super talented in many areas (I'm not boasting here but just stating what others have remarked). Many women say that they would like men with certain qualities (eg character, kind heartedness etc - all the things based less on appearance), but ultimately the women I know are still very much influenced by appearance. I do have many of these qualities they seek, but how would they ever know I have these if they are always judging me by my appearance and never taking the time to get to know me? People have remarked (usually either male friends or female ones who are already married/in a relationship) that I really do have a lot to offer and are baffled as to how I am still alone after all this time.
I do mix with many people and have made a number of friends of both sexes over the years, but eventually people move on or get married etc, and I end up the odd one out eventually in that I'm always the only single one left and don't fit in with my former friends after a while who are all paired up sooner or later.
It has been a hard, lonely time, and while I try to be very social and go to lots of parties, it just becomes an endless string of social activities that feels empty at the end of the day because there's nothing ever meaningful that comes out of it. As I am extremely lonely (and understandably have lost confidence and self esteem), naturally I have turned to porn to take away some of the pain and loneliness. I don't think it's a viable solution, but because I have nothing else at the moment, and there is no future on the horizon with any woman, this is what I've used to dull the pain. I know this is probably also a topic for the porn addiction section, but I wanted to discuss it here too. I wouldn't say that my lonely condition justifies my addiction to porn at all, but at 38, living a life without anyone and never having experienced any kind of romantic love or affection, or never having known someone to even be attracted to me can be too much for me sometimes.
I know that I don't have ridiculously high standards for women based on unrealistic ideals from these porn stars. I never have. I don't seek women who would look like porn stars at all. I really don't like women with fake boobs who cheapen themselves and have no sense of dignity or self respect. I would be happy for just a normal, girl-next-door type who isn't all dolled up. Of course, I would still need to be attracted to her, but I'm not asking for someone who looks like a supermodel at all. On the other hand, I do know a lot of attractive women and am friends with them, and since many of them are in my every day circle of friends it's not like my standard is going to be too high. These are the girls who are around me and happen to attractive too. I have even lowered my standards before to such a degree that I once tried to date a woman who (at first glance) looked like a man. I'm not exaggerating here. I thought that she looked ugly but figured that if I'm not exactly considered attractive by women, then this is the best I'm going to get and that beggars can't be choosers. I thought that I should try to look beyond the physical appearance and get to know her as a person. However, even she wasn't interested in me even though I really tried to see the beauty in her and was genuinely prepared to give her a chance. I've since realised that I can't go to the opposite extreme and lower my standards that much that I go for someone whom I'm completely unattracted to.
I wouldn't ever want to visit a hooker just to satisfy that need for sex, as I'm not after empty sex with just any hot girl, or with any girl at all for that matter. It's not sex that I want but intimacy. I want a close, meaningful relationship with a normal girl and someone I love who would love me in return. Sex would be the expression of that love at the right time.
Another thing people have said to me flippantly in the past is that they're sure I'll eventually find someone. However, I remember them saying that 20 years ago, and even 10 years ago or 5 years ago. Time however has continued to pass and nothing has ever emerged on the romantic front. The thought of me actually being with a girl feels as imaginary as unicorns. It does not even seem within the realms of reality.
Apart from no romantic prospects on the horizon, I have had extreme trouble finding any kind of work. I am very well qualified, intelligent, have good interpersonal skills and can work well as part of a team and have a lot to offer, but have been unemployed for a long period of time. This too is taking its toll on me and driving me into a state of despair. I have made so many hundreds of job applications but it hasn't led to anything. I've tried to capitalise on different skills I have to offer and tried to do things differently (rather than trying in the same old way) but no-one seems interested to give me a chance. I've even applied for voluntary positions but even with that, I can't seem to make any headway. I'm offering my services for free and still people don't want me. I am sure that my unemployed state is having an effect on my social life, but then, even when I have been employed in the past, I haven't been any more attractive or eligible to women.
I know that if I had some kind of meaningful work - well, even any kind of work - that I would feel I have more purpose in life and more self esteem, and also more to say to women (at the moment I feel I have nothing to talk about as I don't want to keep talking about my struggle to find work). It would also mean that I would have less time on my hands and less time to view porn. Whenever I've felt that I'm doing something productive and creative with my time, I've somehow felt less of a need for porn. But right now, because I have no direction to my life, even the creative outlets I do have (as pastimes etc) I feel no motivation to engage in.
At the moment I feel in such despair both work wise and on the romantic front that I feel like giving up on life sometimes. I literally cannot see any hope for a future of any sort right now.