The porn stash… that ubiquitous—or near-ubiquitous—pile of material where men’s darker desires are catalogued. It used to be magazines and VHS tapes. Later, the bulky, clunky VHS videos went out and slimmer DVDs came in. Then came the move to digital and, for many men, the porn stash ceased being physical. Yet the distorted desires buried in the stash remained.

The porn stash… whether physical or digital, one of the things wives and girlfriends most dread discovering while they search for missing socks or lost digital holiday snaps; perhaps second only to evidence of infidelity in terms of delivering shocks to a relationship.

The question is, “Why do men behave this way?” Why do they risk having a stash that can even be discovered? There is a vast amount of free porn available online. Why don’t they just surf when the urge hits?

Cryptically named folders

For the reality is that most porn only gets watched once. I know this from my own experience. When I used to watch porn, I had any number of digital stashes over the years, all hidden away in cryptically named folders. As I worked my way down through the layers of my addiction I deleted stashes only to create new ones. Yet rarely did I ever revisit these stashes. The allure lay in adding to them—the thrill of the chase; the lust of fresh discovery.

Porn stashes rapidly balloon beyond manageable—which is to say viewable—size. Look at the image at the top of this blog. That’s a close-up of a much larger DVD stash that a porn user posted online, a stash of perhaps 150 DVDs. There is no way one can regularly view all these DVDs. Most of them were most likely viewed once before the user raced on to the next acquisition.

So why do men collect porn they only watch once?

The stash creates the illusion, comforting to our unconscious desires, that we can access sex anytime by accessing the stash. The bigger the stash, the more sex we have available.

Because it acts as a perceived counterweight to a shortage of sex… the stash creates the illusion, comforting to our unconscious desires, that we can access sex anytime by accessing the stash. The bigger the stash, the more sex we have available: the more women, the more sex acts; more tits, more pussy.

Watered-down remains

Actually, the bigger the stash, the bigger the lie…

As I wrote in Sex in Patriarchy, Part I – married, monogamous, missionary, modern sexual beliefs—including all the beliefs underlying porn addiction—are the watered-down remains of ancient patriarchal values where men possessed women in every sense of the word: multiple wives, ‘levitirate marriages’, concubines, female slaves, war booty.

The porn stash is a modern echo of this belief, pinging out of our unconscious and registering as an urge to accumulate porn. A world where women could be bought at auction has morphed into a world where images of women can be bought on eBay. In Part IV of my series on Sex in Patriarchy, Porn, prostitutes and men’s clubs, I go into further detail about how modern male sexual dysfunctions such as porn addiction derive from our remote past.

We like to think we’ve moved on from these anachronistic practices. The reality is they’ve never been dealt with and in most men are simply repressed. These age-old impulses surface in the lives of more sensitive men but are largely misunderstood. See my Ancestral Toxic Masculinity toolkit for more information.

The more accurately we understand the unconscious programming underlying our distorted sexuality, the easier it is to access and release that programming through highly targeted personal development work. Achieve that, and the porn stash disappears.

Got problems with porn? Here are further resources for you: