Last week, my friend Luke and I had the opportunity to speak to a group of young men about the dangers of pornography. As I prepared for our time with these men, I realized I have not yet shared on this site my story and struggle with pornography. I set out with no intentions of writing about pornography, but realized that if even one person read this and was encouraged to not ever look at porn or if someone decided to quit looking at porn, than the writing of this post has been well worth the time.
This is the story of how pornography nearly ruined my life.
I have the same story as many of you out there (mostly men, but increasingly women). I saw porn for the first time as a seven or eight year old. My friend found his dad’s secret porn stash in his attic, invited me over and my friend introduced me to the secret, fascinating, HORRIBLE, world of pornography. My life was forever changed.
My porn addiction started in my friend’s attic. I brought centerfolds home with me and learned about the physical differences between men and women. Even though I had no idea what I was looking at, I knew I liked it and I knew, deep down, something was wrong with my behaviors.
As an 11-year old, while delivering newspapers as a paperboy on my bike, I found a magazine someone threw out of their car. I have cussed this person so many times over the years. My pornography addiction changed as I saw images of men with women and women with women, not just pictures of women on their own.
A few years later I saw my first video. And then as a 16-year old, I managed a video store with a porn room. Now my addiction included actors/actresses, “plot lines” and different types of pornography. I believed I possessed the keys to the kingdom of pleasure.
The problem only grew worse as I started to live out what I saw in porn. As I grew older and lived on my own, the addiction included phone sex, chat rooms, and more online porn than I care to admit. The tears well up and my heart breaks even typing and re-reading the words I just typed on the screen.
In the process, I developed a distorted view of women, of sex, of intimacy, marriage and relationships and of what it meant to be a man.
- A desirable woman looks like and responds to sex like women in porn.
- My expectations of what sex really looked and sounded like were destroyed.
- Intimacy = sex. Simple as that.
- The end goal of relationships with women is sex.
- Manliness meant you conquered women, looked a certain way and performed a certain way.
- I was consumed by porn, wondering when I would get my next fix.
Pornography was ruining my life.
I still managed to convince the rest of the world I had my life all well put-together. I was in school full time, had some great friends, and even started attending church. But I was not about to let anyone into or allow anyone to mess with my porn addiction.
At the age of 24, I trusted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Everything in my life changed: my view of the world, my friendships, my purpose in life, my sin patterns, the way I spent my time and money, and so much more. Everything changed except for my pornography addiction. This was the one sin I was not willing to let go. No one knew and I pretended I had it all together as a Christian. I lived a double life and pretended to love the Lord with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength.
Finally, I could not hide my sin any longer. The tension between my outward appearance and inward sin struggle got too intense. One night in community group, I shared with the other five men in my group about my lifelong struggle with pornography. I gave them the gory details, apologized to them for lying to and hiding from them, and verbally vomited all over them. I expected them to laugh at me, tell the pastor on me and kick me out of church.
Instead, they thanked me for sharing, shared they had a similar struggle, and they prayed for me. In the process I experienced Proverbs 28:13 (“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”) and James 5:16 (“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”).
Sharing with this group of guys was a true turning point in my life. In Part 2 of this mini-series on my blog on pornography, I will share what and who the Lord used to help prevent porn from continuing to ruin my life (How to NOT Allow Porn to Ruin Your Life). If you struggle with porn, I believe you will be encouraged to hear how porn does not have to continue to ruin your life.
Is pornography a struggle in your life? If not, then what are you doing to keep porn from defeating you? If yes, then have you shared this struggle with anyone else?
How can you keep pornography from ruining your life?
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