I’m coming out.
Yes, again. I’ve done this a few times already, probably the most momentous being that time in like 2007 when I wrote a blog post about my pornography addiction and depression and shared it with my parents for the first time. Yeah, that was pretty scary.
I’ve been considering the matter of this particular post for some time now as I’ve watched the issue of pornography being raised to a new level across the internet recently–or maybe it’s just who I follow, but either way, it’s been made a little more prevalent in my corner of the internet, and I’ve decided it’s time to share my struggle. Again.
I grew up in a good–albeit as humanly messy as any other–Christian home. I know, that’s the stereotypical way to start this out, but it’s true, and I was happy. And then one day something switched in my brain. It was like I just woke up one morning and it dawned on me; I didn’t really have any friends. That was the beginning of my descent into a dark depression. Not long after that I had an equally memorable introduction to pornography, and it quickly became the drug I could not get nearly enough of to fill my recently devoid existence.
I was either 10 or 11 and to be honest I’d only heard the word ‘pornography’ once before from a ‘joke’ of sorts between two of my older siblings. Upon asking for an explanation of the word, I got an answer that totally perplexed me, but I passed it off. “After all,” said my innocent pre-teen mind to itself, “Who’d want to look at pictures of people naked, anyway? That’s gross.” And I still thought so upon seeing those first few images–but I couldn’t look away.
And that was just the beginning; those first years were so innocent compared to later years as I entrenched myself deeper and deeper. I had questioned at first whether what I was doing was even wrong; no one had ever bothered to tell me anything about my sexuality, and certainly nobody talked about it in church! But my guilt and the discomfort I felt convicted me without influence from anyone else.
After the initial depression which lasted no more than a couple years thanks alone to the providence of God, I sought help. I had already come out to my parents as well as to trusted friends, and I began to look for practical measures. I wanted to be able to just stop and never go back, and many resources took that approach with grace, but I knew behind it all that wasn’t a realistic goal, and when I began actively trying to stop, the struggle became a hundred times more real.
The truth is, the struggle is still real, and has been all throughout my teen years. And to those who would say that pornography and masturbation are completely healthy and have no negative affects–many of who are ‘professionals’–You’re wrong. For me, you’re wrong. I’ve been damaged beyond human repair by this addiction, and without the grace of Jesus I can only imagine how many more problems I could have right now because of it. I once confronted someone who did indeed identify as a mental health professional and who claimed pornography was completely fine – by her response (yes, a woman with a ‘professional’ opinion on a man’s experience) I realized she–and possibly a majority of the professional world–are totally oblivious to the struggles of men in an over-sexualized culture that insists porn is okay despite every person, relationship, marriage and family that ever faced down pornography and lost.
I have a very deeply grounded opinion and belief on this issue, and I feel totally justified.
The truth is, I’ve seen the affects of pornography first-hand, albeit very subtly. My mind has been conditioned to only see one thing, and at some points this conditioning became so strong that I couldn’t even look at women without immediate images flashing into my mind. It was at those points I felt the most monstrous and disgusting. I had a nearly constant fear at one point that one day I might act on my impulses and do something regrettable. But the most prevalent effect, now that I’ve been married for nearly two years, is that the struggle is still real to choose the real thing over a synthetic copy. The funny thing is, I thought my sexuality was out of control and that my drive would come out strongly in marriage. But I recently came to realize thanks to a brilliant teaching from Mark Gungor, I never really knew what sex was, and I can’t make myself desire the real thing with my own wife because I’ve been on a counterfeit supplement for too long.
I don’t really know where to go from here without encroaching on my idea for the next post, but I’ll leave you with this: pornography is absolutely a relevant issue. People need to talk about it. Families need to talk about it. The Church needs to talk about it. Young men, and young women, need to hear us talk about it, and know it as the entrapping deception it is. Porn is the new drug.
P.S.: What do you think of my blog’s new look? Let me know in the comments below!