I was first exposed to pornography at age 15. It was weird because I had a girlfriend at the time and I was curious more than anything. My buddies had told me that it was “awesome”, I wanted to find out about it. My parents had done a very good job of keeping my eyes pure of anything that had to do with porn. But, I found a loophole on one of the apps on my iPod touch, and I went wild. Almost immediately I was addicted, and I really enjoyed watching the videos. I looked forward to it, even. I craved the time of day—9 am—when I would put in my headphones and indulge in my destructive habit. This was back in 2010 before “fight the new drug” was popular and celebrities had come out with videos telling people that porn was “bad”. My Mom and Dad had told me that porn would and will destroy marriages, relationships and friendships, but I didn’t really care about what they said. I was the kid who would touch the stove even after your parent told you that it was hot. I was and still am an “all or nothing” kind of guy. I plunged into my porn addiction head-first. For twelve months, I would watch porn, go to church, Bible camp, and youth rallies, and try to white-knuckle my way out of my addiction. After failing time after time, I finally worked up the guts to tell my Dad. He responded in love, didn’t freak out, and told me “Well, I think you know what needs to change.” And he hugged me. We set up restrictions on my iPod and I went for a long while without viewing porn. I did research on the effects of porn, and even wrote a blog post about the porn industry. I did pretty well, dated a few more girls, and got closer to God.
Flashback: I started liking girls when I was about seven years old. I got the “birds and the bees” talk when I was between the age of 6-8 years old—I saw some farm dogs doing it, and asked my parents about it and they told me without flinching. They also explained that sex was a beautiful thing between a husband and wife and that you should only take part in it when you’re married. My first “date” was at age 11 with a girl at Bible camp. I was ALWAYS in contact with one or more girls. Looking back, I realized the reason I was always talking to a girl, was because I loved the affirmation they would give me. I discovered masturbation at age 12, totally innocently, experimenting in the shower. I knew it was wrong, but I didn’t even know what “it” was called so I didn’t talk about it. When I started watching porn, I would always masturbate to whatever scene was being acted out. Masturbation would always take place when I was watching porn.
There was one girl who I had a “thing” with, but when I found out that she was dating another guy, while still talking to me, I watched porn again. Not as frequently as I used to, but I still watched some, acting out because of my disappointment in her, and in myself. Also during this time, I began talking to a girl online who was a Christian, but our conversation quickly went south after a few months. Soon, we would sext each other nightly, and have very sexually explicit conversations with each other. We both tried to cut off communication with each other, but always ended up talking to each other again, and sexting, again.
By this time, I had graduated from high school and had decided to enter a program that trained missionaries. So, in August 2014, I moved away from home to a place where I was around Christians almost 24/7, and I read the Bible more than I didn’t. Kinda like bible camp on steroids. I cut ties with the girl I had been sexting with that summer. I got into a relationship almost immediately, and decided that because I was in the relationship, I would quit watching porn. I didn’t stop watching porn because I was convicted by what God said in his word, I stopped because I didn’t want a girlfriend breathing down my neck about my addiction. I went porn free for about one full year. However, my girlfriend and I were very physically involved after only about a month and a half of dating. Because we were in the same program, we were around each other all the time, so we knew each other really well. I had zero accountability in my relationship with my girlfriend, and we both had sex drives. I stayed at her house while her parents and sister were gone one weekend, and we were on break from school. The plan was that “I sleep on the couch”. Yeah, right. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep on the couch. That night was the first of many where we would go off and do things that unmarried people shouldn’t do together. Neither of us are virgins anymore. We have both repented of our sin, and have moved on without each other, but that relationship scarred both of us. I didn’t lead her to Christ. In fact, I led her away from Christ because I liked the feeling of our skin on each other’s skin, more than the truth of God. “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator…” (Romans 1:18).
The reason I’m telling you all of this is because I know that just about everyone else out there has a similar story. Since I wasn’t watching porn while I was dating her—since my heart wasn’t truly changed—physical intimacy with my girlfriend became the outlet that porn was no longer filling. When we broke up, I started watching porn again. Not as frequently, and not enjoying it as much as I used to, but still watching it, trying to fill a God-shaped crack in my heart. During our relationship, my knowledge of what porn actors were doing fueled my desire to do things that I saw on screen with my girlfriend in bed. Bottom line, porn messes you up—spiritually, and mentally. And contrary to the popular saying “this is only hurting me”, porn hurts you, and people you interact with. Male and female.
For the past few months, I have been clean from porn and have an accountability partner. I plan on staying clean for the rest of my life, because I want to glorify God, not because I want to please a girlfriend. Because I’ve been able to stay clean, I have begun to take an objective look at what porn has done to my thoughts:
- I struggle to look at a woman’s face when she is talking to me—my eyes tend to drift downward– and while she speaks I struggle against the temptation of imagining what she would be like in bed.
- I have considered watching gay porn to see how my body would react.
- I have considered watching bestiality to see how my body would react.
- It has become harder to look at young women with pure thoughts.
I am not a doctor, and I don’t even have a college degree, these are just observations I have made from my own thoughts. I have not acted on any of these thoughts, and through living in God’s word, God’s grace, and surrounding myself with people who will keep me accountable, I don’t have these kinds of thoughts as often.
Porn is destroying lives day by day. It is one of Satan’s most powerful tools, and he will use it, until he can’t anymore. Let’s make it so he can’t anymore. Through my research, I’ve come to the conclusion that porn is essentially sex slavery. The girls feel trapped, and they are forced to do things they don’t want to do on screen. If we think of porn like that, it loses a lot of its appeal. If you think the girls like what is being done to them on screen, you’re wrong. I know this because that’s what I used to think.
If I have learned one thing from my battle with pornography, I have learned that God is the ONLY thing that can satisfy every desire that I have. You are never too far away from God that He can’t save you. James 5:16. I love you, and I’m fighting this battle along side of you.