Porn Kills Love
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Porn Kills Love

A shameful addiction.

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Porn Kills Love
Behavioral Health of Palm Beach

Pornography. I never really thought too much about this word until I was 12 years old. When my body was growing and maturing, I started to like girls and my unintelligent imagination led me to the Internet when my parents left home. Growing up in a Catholic household, and at age 12, I never knew any of the terms referring to pornography. I didn’t know what “jacking/jerking off” or "finishing" meant. As embarrassed as I am to speak about it, when I was looking at pornography at a young age, I literally just sat and watched it. I didn’t act upon how I was feeling. At this age, I also had no idea how to clear Internet search history or how to see what I was searching, and unfortunately, my parents did. It was a very embarrassing moment and I felt like my whole life had been revealed. My dad gave me a lecture that’s still blurry in my mind, but I just remember that it was wrong to look at that. I’m assuming that they believed I was masturbating to it as well. Since that wasn’t the case, I just believed it wasn’t something to look at and that was the end of it for me. That is, until not too long ago.

During my freshmen year of college, I had a wonderful girlfriend and we were very happy together. It never crossed my mind to look up pornography; I just had no desire. Halfway through my freshmen semester, everything changed. While in the shower one morning, it happened. Through my very own thoughts, I masturbated for the first time. Now note that I was very strong in my faith as a Christian and had never experienced this before. After it happened, I sat on the floor of the shower and began to cry. I felt like I just committed the worst sin of my life. I felt like everyone knew what I had just done and it was so painful. I didn’t really speak about it and just prayed a lot that day. I went to bed that night begging for forgiveness from God and I was still in so much fear. Unfortunately, that fear would stay and progress to something even worse -- an addiction.

The very next day, I woke up to find my roommate out at brunch leaving me to myself in my room. I felt a pain in my chest, then overcome with fear, but also curiosity. Since yesterday was to my thoughts, why not try it with actual videos? Why not something "more real"? Now my whole outlook on pornography changed forever. I took my phone into the shower with me and let it happen. There was an awful mix of pain physically and spiritually, and a sick type of happiness. While no one knew what I was doing, it felt good. It wasn’t until a week went by when I noticed there was a problem: I did this every day when I was in the shower. An addiction formed and I was trapped in it. I thought about my girlfriend at the time and wondered if I should be honest and tell her but feared she would break up with me because, in my mind, this was cheating. I was using another woman as an object of self-arousal. I decided that instead of looking up pornography, I would just use my own thoughts of my girlfriend. After all, as long as you’re thinking of her, it’s okay, right?

The struggle continued each day. If it wasn’t porn, it was my thoughts, which I believed justified my reasoning and took away some of the guilt. But this wasn’t just an on-and-off kind of addiction. This was part of my daily routine. Wake up, shower, masturbate, and start the day. I didn’t realize that the sensation of self-pleasure as a whole was destroying my love and appreciation for women. It turned them into objects and it seemed like no matter how hard I tried to fight my addiction, I could never prevail. I turned to my brothers in Christ to help take away some of the pain, which helped. I realized that while this was all new to me, it wasn’t to them. I wasn’t the only man in the world struggling with this sin. Through the help of my brothers in Christ, I felt forgiven and learned that it’s good to be a God-fearing man of faith, and it’s also incredibly relieving to know how forgiving He is. I kept this with me and it calmed me down when I fell into this sin.

Now it didn’t stop being part of my daily routine. As much I wanted it to so much, I just couldn’t fight it. As time went on, my girlfriend and I broke up (not due to my addiction), and I felt it was right to confess that for over half of the relationship, I was addicted to self-pleasure through my thoughts of her as well as pornography. She understood and forgave me, which was a great relief. However, the breakup only stirred my desire for self-pleasure and lustful thoughts even more. I fell into an incredible amount of pain and internal suffering through sexual desires. I looked at women for their physical beauty and how sexually thrilling they could be when, in my heart, I knew that was wrong. For years, I looked at women by their faith and how much they loved Christ. That was what attracted me the most to them. Physical beauty comes and goes, but to me, a woman had everlasting beauty in her faith. My addiction clouded that perspective and it was extremely difficult to return to it.

Today, my addiction still exists. Is it still part of my daily routine? No. Does it define who I am? No. Through sharing my sins with others, I’ve learned how to fight against it. My longest time period without masturbating has been eight days. To me, it felt like an improvement but sometimes I don’t feel like it really mattered. Eight days in a row out of a whole year doesn’t really seem like an improvement. However, I’ve been reminded over and over again that my sin isn’t new to this world. I’m not the only one who struggles with this sin. I’m a part of millions of men who are dating, engaged, and even married to wonderful women and fall sin to pornography and masturbation. Through scripture, I’m reminded that I’m not alone. When I fight, I have Jesus Christ fighting with me. When I fall sin to it, Jesus picks me back up, forgives me, and continues to walk with me along my journey of daily snares. Through faith, I was able to return my mindset of women’s true beauty back to their faith. My girlfriend today is a wonderful woman of faith and since we share Christ’s love, I thought it was best to share my struggle with this sin before we started dating. She understood and thanked me for being open about it. She knows I struggle with it, but encourages me to be the best man I can be for myself, for her, and as a man of faith. Not only her, but my brothers and sisters in Christ know about my struggle and push me to keep fighting it.

From what began as a simple curiosity, transformed into an addiction that still affects me today. This is my struggle. This is my sin that constantly whispers in my ear daily. This is my shameful addiction. I can attest that pornography literally destroys true love. But this is a conquerable sin and I know God doesn't give me anything I can't handle. Will I still fall to this sin? Yes. Will I feel the pain, guilt, and shame of it? Yes. Will I be forgiven when I seek forgiveness? Yes! As proclaimed by Jesus Christ, I am set free from my sins when I call out to him.

Through my struggles, I’ve found scripture that leads me to forgiveness and provides strength to fight against the temptation. I know this is an awkward topic, but to those who share the struggles, it’s comforting to know there’s hope, love, and forgiveness from the Father through Christ. I may not see victory through the battles all the time, but I will never stop fighting for it.

1 Corinthians 10:13, 1 Peter 4:13, Psalms 32:1-2

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