With all of the posts I’ve been doing on pornography, I thought it’d be important for me to share my story with pornography so readers can relate to where I’m coming from. I share this so you know you’re not alone, to know Jesus forgives all who ask, and to know you can be free. There is hope.
My personal battle against pornography started innocently enough. I was hitting puberty in middle school and began sneaking away the department store bra ads from the newspaper. I honestly was not sure if what I was doing was wrong, and I certainly wasn’t about to ask anyone about it.
I then remember sitting at my computer, home alone, with my parents having just left for the evening and my brothers out as well. The bra ads weren’t getting it done for me anymore and I wondered what else was out there. My conscience had shifted a notch, from a place of innocence to a tug telling me that this was probably wrong. I justified it in my mind by figuring if I didn’t ask anyone if it was wrong, I could continue looking from a place of ignorance. I told myself I would never look at naked women, because I knew that would be wrong, and decided I would only look at women in swimsuits. My first stop was the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition website. From here, I was hooked. I would stop back at the swimsuit edition website and others like it whenever I had the opportunity.
As those with pornography addictions can attest to, you eventually need more stimulus to get the same level of high that you used to be able to get with less stimulus. In fact, science has shown that pornography does the same to our brain’s dopamine rush as drug addiction does, with the brain needing higher (more intense) quantities of the same stimulus to produce the same rush. This is why drug addicts need more and harder drugs in order to get the same high feeling they used to be able to get with less. It’s also why people need more and harder porn in order to continue to satisfy themselves.
The long story short is that the swimsuits quickly came off in the photos I sought out, as my flesh desired more and more stimulus. By this time I knew what I was doing was wrong and I wanted out, but it was too late to stop; my body was hooked.
What you have to understand about my pornography addiction is that once I was into it, I didn’t want it. I wasn’t talking openly to my friends about it, as many of my non-Christian friends were, and I certainly wasn’t proud of it. It was something I was ashamed of, something I had committed to God time and time again that I would stop, and something I was fighting furiously against to be rid of. The guilt that would overtake me after looking at it (always ending in masturbation) was overwhelming. I don’t know how many times I told God that this would be the last time, only to find myself back at it the next day, or even later the same day. Every time getting the rush, then feeling like garbage, then committing again to God that I’d stop. I made private commitments at Christian camps that I’d never do it again, only to be back at it within a day or two of arriving home. I’d memorize Bible verses, placing them on cards around my room. I even started marking days on my calendar to give myself a visual of how bad this was getting.
My parents found me out one time. They discovered the history records on the computer and interrogated me about what I had been looking at. I confessed and felt absolutely terrible. I honestly thought at this time that I would never look at it again.
This lasted a week.
I discovered I could easily delete the history on our computer’s browser. Without this accountability, I was back at it. I was living a double-life, but it truly was not intentional.
I wasn’t truly able to break the addictive cycle until my freshman year of college at Cornerstone University where I found other Christian guys who cared about sexual purity, were willing to talk about it, and who desired to be free. This accountability opened the door for me for the addictive chains of porn to fall off. If you are struggling with porn, you have to talk to trusted Christians about it.
This was a huge victory for me. It wasn’t the end of my journey toward sexual purity or my last bout with porn, as Satan found new ways to tempt me once I got married. But it was a break of the longstanding chain of addiction and its vicious cycle, a break that ended up only being sustainable with the computer program Covenant Eyes (use promo code BEYOND to get 2 months free) and the continued strengthening and conversation with fellow Christian men.
Jesus forgives. Confess your sins to him, be cleansed, then seek out Christians you can confide in who will help keep you on the path of freedom.