July 28, 2014

My Story: How Porn Harmed MY Life

Reprinted with permission from KtBug.

I was ten when I lost my innocence. Ten. Over half my life ago. Now, I can’t remember what I ate for lunch yesterday, but I remember every little detail of how it happened. When I think about how I was still in a training bra and watching Arthur on Channel 9 when I was ten, my heart just breaks for my little ten year old self.

I look at kids now who are around that age- so eager to grow up and be a part of the “big kid” world. So badly I just want to hold them and tell them to slow down. “Don’t do it! It’s a trap!” screams in my head. I have to realize, though, that if someone had told me that when I was ten, I probably would have laughed at them and figured they just didn’t get it.

The buzz on the playground among my 4th grade peers was an internet chat room where you could be whoever and whatever you want and boys liked you. It took me quite a while to work up the guts to go to that chat room-long after the hype on the playground had died. I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I wanted to know what it was all about!

I fully believe that all the years of promiscuity and rebellion to follow were a direct stem from this. If only I knew when I was ten…

One day, when I was all alone in the house, I gave in to my curiosity. I can still remember how my heart pounded as I typed in the website address slowly. To say I was TERRIFIED of getting caught would be an understatement. I didn’t wan’t my parents to be disappointed in me or think there was something wrong with me.

After a couple days of visiting this chatroom and just simply watching the lewd conversations on the main page, I worked up the courage to type out “I am a 10 year old girl who wants to talk to a boy :)”. Enter. How naive and innocent I was.

I got SO many private conversation popups. I started chatting daily with a man in his 20’s who said he was in Texas. He seemed nice and really seemed to care about my life. One day, he asked me if I wanted to see something cool. Uh, YEAH SURE. That was the first pornographic image I had ever seen.

I remember feeling so dirty and ashamed. This man assured me though that it was a normal thing of life and there was nothing to be ashamed of. To make matters even worse, he taught me about masturbation. I’m going to repeat, again, that I was TEN.

Eventually, my parents found out about my internet problem; although, I don’t think they ever really knew the extent of it. Even though I was no longer going on the chatrooms, the damage had been done. One way or the other, I got my hands on pornographic images. I HAD to. I was DRAWN to them. ADDICTED.

I was ten.

And it never stopped.

It was a struggle every day of my life. Something I felt guilty for every…single…day.

Because of this, I had such unrealistic expectations of men and sex. My parents…they were such good role models for us kids. They showed us how a real, Christ-filled marriage was. They taught us about God’s plan for sex. Still though, I was confused because what they told us was SO different than what I was viewing every single day. In the midst of my viewing pornographic material, it felt so good how COULD it be wrong?

When I was 16, I got my first job and it was my first real exposure to pigs-I mean men. Coming from a Christian and primarily homeschooled background, the guys there were drawn to my innocent appearing self and I was drawn to the attention. I allowed myself to be used by them…even men years and years older than myself. I had a terribly low self esteem and thought that the only way a man was going to like me was if I presented myself in a way that the women in my precious porn did.

I was barely 17 when I lost my virginity. It was NOTHING like how it was in my precious porn. I cried and cried later because I thought there was something wrong with me. Even more than that, I felt dirty. It felt so wrong.

Despite my shame and disappointment, I went on with my promiscuity-desperately searching for an experience that could compare to those in my precious porn. Surely, it could happen for me. Time and time again, though, nothing could compare to what went on in my room by myself.

While I searched, my heart became more and more empty. My depression sky rocketed (I was cutting myself by the age of 13 and continued to do so on and off my entire teenage existence) and I distanced myself from my family.

I had many “come to Jesus” moments at youth groups and churches and I would vow to change my ways. I desperately WANTED to change my ways. And I would for a little while, but I always went back to my precious porn.

My 18th year was the worst year by far. I was in a toxic relationship with a man who used me daily for his wishes…and I let him because I thought that’s what I had to do. Every time we broke up, I had withdrawals and found myself in the arms of someone else-even women-because my entire self worth was based on how desired I felt. I turned to alcohol. There is one night that I STILL don’t know if I was raped or just sexually assaulted because I was so drunk.

The day we broke up for good was probably the best day of my life-although I didn’t see it then.

Not long after, my broken self met Joe.

The day after we started dating, I got shamefully intoxicated and threw myself at him. Obviously, I don’t remember this, but he recalls that I told him “If you want to have your way with me, have at it”. What a sweet gentleman he was. He tucked me into bed and took care of me and never took advantage of the situation.

That was when life started changing for me. He showed me what it was like to be truly loved and respected. At the beginning, it was hard for me to accept that. I broke up with him not long into our relationship and found myself with another guy. It was the cycle I was used to. Still, daily, I depended on my precious porn. For reasons I don’t understand still, he took me back. We started going to church again and incorporating Christ in our relationship.

Still, though, I struggled with my precious porn. I couldn’t give it up. I tried and failed so many times. He didn’t know the extent of my struggles because I was so ashamed and couldn’t tell him. I was so afraid that if he knew, he would leave. How silly of me. Even after everything, Satan shamed me so deeply that I thought I couldn’t talk about it with ANYONE.

I struggled in silence for a long time. Once we got married, I still struggled and I still had unrealistic views of sex. I remember one night, not long after we were married, just crying because I didn’t know what was wrong. Still, I found myself finding more enjoyment alone with my precious porn than I did with my own husband. I knew exactly how I liked it and I was convinced that Joe could never compare. Our sex life was drowning because I just KNEW how it was supposed to be. I made him feel guilty for it-like it was HIS problem.

Not until this year was I able to open up and tell him exactly how bad it was-how much I depended on my precious porn. Christ had been working on my heart and I knew that if I was ever going to be able to move forward and heal from that part of my life, I had to confide in the partner He had given me. I sobbed as I poured my heart out to him-terrified of the consequences but I knew I couldn’t keep it to myself anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t stop watching porn in an instant. I STILL struggle with it. Daily. Daily, it is a temptation. I’m proud to say that my eyes have been porn free for a while now, but I still crave it. Now, though? Now I don’t feel so alone in my struggle. My husband has been unbelievably supportive in helping me overcome my addiction. He has never condemned me or judged me. He holds me when I cry and celebrates in my victories.

This has been a long post, and if you are still reading this, I think you are a rockstar. I have been wanting to write about my struggle for some time, but I have been hiding behind the shame that Satan wants me to have.

I’ve been posting a lot of articles about how porn harms and I’ve had a lot of backlash for it. So many people have told me that it’s not bad and that I’m just being judgmental. To you, I want you to reread this blog post.

My struggle is 12 years long-beginning as a ten year old little girl just being curious. I know firsthand how porn harms.

Because of porn, I was obsessed with things that no 10 year old should ever worry about.

Because of porn, I still bear the scars today from years of cutting.

Because of porn, I had an unrealistic expectation of how sex should be.

Because of porn, I gave the body that was meant for my husband away.

Because of porn, I searched for an experience that could compare to my precious porn.

Because of porn, I allowed myself to be used by many men.

Because of porn, I struggled to enjoy sex in my marriage because I thought only IT and myself could be satisfying.

Because of porn, my relationship with my family was deeply hurt.

Because of porn, I loathed God for allowing me to struggle.

Because of porn, I allowed Satan to control my self worth.

Because of porn, I was ruled by shame and disgust for myself.

I hope you understand the connection between all those things. It was a vicious and slippery slope that all began when I was ten years old having viewed my first pornographic image.

When people say that porn is harmless and that it doesn’t affect them negatively, the first thing I want to do is laugh because I know how untrue that is. I don’t believe there is a single person out there who has not been touched negatively by pornography. Even thru people who say it hasn’t, I can see where in their lives it has. It makes me sad thinking that they don’t see it.

What makes me even more sad, is thinking how many people are struggling alone. THAT is probably the biggest reason I wrote this post. Halfway thru, I stopped. I told my husband that I feel like I was standing in front of a crowd of people, naked. I feel so exposed and I am struggling with feeling ashamed. Satan still knows how to make me feel bad…and I’m working on not allowing him to have that control over me.

If you think that your porn addiction is not a problem, you are sadly mistaken. I encourage you to take a deeper look at your heart and your life and try to find what is being affected by porn-because I promise you it is there. Some people think it is normal to look at porn and may not have struggled the way I did. I KNEW in my heart it was wrong the whole time and THAT is what tormented me day in and day out.

To my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, read this verse:

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

I cannot say that a single pure, lovely, admirable, true, noble, or praiseworthy thing has ever come out of my porn addiction. You read the “Because of’s” a few paragraphs up. I attempted to destroy God’s plan for me-I certainly destroyed His plan for my future marriage. I will never be able to take that back and I wish more than anything I could have saved my entire self for Joe. It would have been worth it. But because of my struggle (stemming back to my porn exposure at the age of ten), I gave myself away. Searching for that thing.
Watching pornography is not admirable. It is not honorable. It is not respectful.
I know that now.
But guess what? We have a Heavenly Father who is unbelievably gracious and merciful. He loves us SO MUCH. He died for us. He died for my sins. He died for your sins. We do not have to be trapped in our sin and we don’t have to suffer alone.
We do not have to be ashamed. Shame is a feeling straight from Satan. Friends, please, do not let yourself be ruled by the shame that I was controlled by for so long. I promise you, there IS healing and there ARE people who can help you-myself included. I fully believe that God allows us to go thru trials in our lives so that we can be there for people who may go thru the same thing. That’s why I believe transparency is SO important. I don’t want anyone to feel alone the way I did. God allowed me to struggle. I did not struggle well for a long time, but I am incredibly thankful for this journey I have been on. I believe with all my heart that if you do not use your struggles and your journey in a way that builds up His kingdom, you are wasting your struggle.
To the one who’s opinion that porn isn’t harmful, I’d like for you to have been able to tell my ten year old self that.I’d say that I am living proof that it is.

Further Reading