I am a Christian, now 44, married with three children and I still deal with the effects of pornography

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I am a Christian since the age of 6, baptized at 14, now 44, married with three
children and I still deal with the effects of pornography. I hope my experience
helps shed light on what may drive or lead boys/men back to pornography, and
how we might review how we admonish young people about the opposite sex. I
grew up in a strict Christian family with older brothers and an older sister, and
mostly Christian friends. Although us boys were always in underwear around the
house, I don’t remember ever having seen my sister in any less clothing than
shorts, not even a bathing suit as she was told to wear shorts over them. I
remember when my friends said girls have the cooties as they said the same
about us, but perhaps because my sister was so loving towards me, I never felt
that way and I always saw girls as God had made them extra special as He
made us special. I recall several occasions when our curiosities about the
opposite sex surfaced, such as pool parties or sleepovers, when an apparel
failure or keyhole peeks and giggles by the opposite group taking a collective
bath would expose any one or more of us. In several instances, I remember girls
asking to see that which they were curious about and I would concede, and
sometimes make a reciprocal request. My perception that this exchange of
curiosity was as common and natural as I had experience was ruptured when an
adult woman — who witnessed 3 girls of my age (6) opening my bathing suit and
touching me — scolded me (not them) and told their parents, who told my parents
that I was a dirty boy. I remember vividly that sequence of events and the open
humiliation in front of the girls’ families. I was told at that age, in different ways,
that this was dirty. Soon after I accepted Jesus as my savior. Unfortunately soon
after I was also shown a porn magazine by an older boy, then another, then by a
neighbor friend and so on. The first image is as vivid as if I had seen it today.
No one told me, not even my parents — until I was a teenager — that sex was
special. Over the following years I had contact with pornography at a friend’s
house and found refuge in it because I didn’t want to run the risk of having too
much contact with girls. Although I noticed girls’ curiosity and interest in me, I
shied away from it out of fear of them turning around and accusing me of their
curiorisity. I didn’t date until I was 19 and only a couple of times throughout
college, without any intimacy. A church leader in our church would often speak to
the youth and she would constantly refer to her experience of marriage and
divorce and the sexual abuse that sadly occurred. Her main point was “men are
the natural aggressors, and sex is their weapon.” By then I figured men were
damned and all girls need to be protected from us and remain single. Finally,
the girl I thought I was going to marry wanted to become intimate with me. We
didn’t go all the way, but apparently enough to satisfy her curiosity. When I
asked to marry her, she ended our relationship, claiming that she was on a
higher spiritual ground than me. So at age 26 I married my fiance of less than a
year, afraid that she’d change her mind, too as we had experienced some
intimacy, too. Soon after we married, she avoided intimacy and asked that only
she take the initiative, since she didn’t feel the same interest in sex as when we
were dating. So this only occured on the eve of her period, that is if it didn’t
surprise her. We’re still married 18 years later, many of which were with little or
no sex and the attempts at discussion, treatment were recused. That’s how
pornography became a refuge, lest I become perceived as an aggressor,
because somehow the perception that the only women who like sex are the ones
in the pictures (and the ones gossiped about) is what stuck in my mind. The
perception that girls only endure sex was perpetuated even in my marriage. I
refuse to believe that God designed men or women faulty. Somehow I missed
out on the blessing that sex is intended to be, so please tell this generation of
boys and girls, as I do my children that sex is something very special that God
created in each of us, for us to enjoy with our spouses. We need to find a way to
convey to young girls that they are special as they are and that they don’t need
to look like any model to be loved by boys, nor are boys or girls dirty for being
curious and interested in each other. And as the Bible verse says to not through
pearls to pigs, we are to save this special present for our future spouse. I
sometimes feel hypocritical since this has not happened in my life, but I still
believe it is God’s plan that sex is a treasure for a couple and that pornography
is a destructive distraction from God’s Plan for a full life. Since we don’t see
explicitly pornographic advertisements on TV or Home & Garden (thankfully), we
need to realize that the non-pornographic media is actually who promotes
pornography as they tread the fine line of insinuation and sexual simulations.
Pornography doesn’t begin with XXX, not even with one X; it ends up there.
Pornography begins with prime time ads for beauty products, TV series, whether
soap operas, comedies or dramas. Not to mention Sports Illustrated. I apologize
for using this upcoming word, but boys don’t begin to masturbate viewing
pornographic magazines, but as my friends and I did, it was with Sears Roebuck
Catalogs Intimate Apparel Section because demonstrating curiosity with girls
and vice versa is reprimanded and treated as dirty. I am not in favor of promoting
open curiosity, but when it is perceived, it should be treated as natural and
positive and the boy or girl should be surrounded with loving support and
education and instruction about their curiosity to shape their perception of the
opposite sex in the light of God’s divine purpose. The absence of light (a
positive message about sex) in the media leaves a void that is filled by darkness.
I work in Marketing and Communications and I am very strict with the creative
teams to shun any remote sign of appeal to sexual instincts. I am often
countered, but if I refuse to contribute to the propagation of the image that girls
should aspire to look like supermodels.

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NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.

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The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.

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