We all have triggers; things about this world that make our hearts race with anger and hatred but also things that ignite a passion inside of us to make truth known. Both of those elements combine within my heart and soul when it comes to one specific issue. Until I met my husband, I knew hardly anything about it, because it is one of the most hidden yet vastly accepted and commonly committed sins in our culture. It is pornography.
So that we’re all on the same page here, lets define pornography. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as, “Printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulateerotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings,” (Definition of Pornography in English). Pornography, as described here, is everywhere. It floods our magazines, pop up ads, search bars, schools, buses, universities, the offices of top business executives and the slums of third world countries. There are hundreds of thousands of men and women who are addicted to it, and hundreds of thousands of other men and women who’s significant others are intoxicated by this drug and they are living in a silent hell.
Passions are often ignited by personal experiences, and that is true of this in my life. My sweet husband was addicted to pornography for almost two decades. Having been exposed to it by an older cousin before he even reached puberty, his innocent curiosity as a child led to a dark, secret and shame-filled addiction as an adolescent and young adult. Before diving into this story, I need to say that through the power of the Holy Spirit, Andrew has been released from the bondage of pornography completely for over fives years. Having now been removed from it for quite a while, we both believe it is time to start speaking out for the sake of others marriages, spiritual lives and emotional health; especially after watching the freedom and joy both in Andrew and our marriage. It has been said that it takes two years completely withdrawn from pornography to chemically re-set your brain. We have personally experienced the beauty of healing in this area but watch with tremendous sadness as others continue to be ripped apart by pornography. May this blog serve as a start on some’s journey for personal healing or a jump start on their journey to help someone they love.
Our journey began about four years ago and I want to thank my husband for being so bold and brave as to let me share this publicly. Proverbs 4:23 says, “above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Andrew and I knew as we started dating seriously that in order to truly know each other, we needed to know everything; for the deepest secrets that lie within our hearts and souls are where everything else in our lives will flow from. So, when we began to date, the time soon came to dig deep. While on a walk about a month into our relationship, I asked Andrew, my then boyfriend, if he had ever struggled with pornography. He graciously answered yes; saying broadly that it used to be a problem he struggled with but was just about freed of it in his life after battling for years to rid himself of it. I was relieved, thinking that this wouldn’t be an issue we would have to struggle with! I was so wrong; for the effects of pornography addiction are much deeper than Andrew or I knew. The struggle with contentment in monogamy is intensely difficult for anyone who has regularly viewed pornography.
October 3, 2012 was the last time Andrew ever viewed pornography, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. He called me to confess that he had looked at pornography. That night, as I cried, shared with him how painful it was for me to hear, and we talked for hours, reality hit him hard. It doesn’t matter who or what he looked at; it. wasn’t. me. If we were going to be getting married, any woman he looked at; any body part; any anything would make him less content, less satisfied, less desirous of who God made me to be as a physical being. Every time he looked, he cheated us of the intensity of genuine deep emotion and the vulnerable, safe physical connection that we could have. He knew that ultimately I did not desire and would not move forward with that type of relationship or potential marriage if this continued to be an issue. I refused to have that knowingly be part of my life long term. On October 3, 2012, he made that decision as well.
As I have researched and read, these are a few facts I have discovered about pornography. Popular to contrary belief, pornography doesn’t create in a man an “ideal image” of a perfect spouse (as if that existed). They may think it does, but when push comes to shove, no matter who they wind up with, it doesn’t matter if it’s Miss America or a Victorias Secret Angel; who she is physically will never be enough because pornography creates an insatiable craving for “more” and for “different”. You have huge boobs? He likes them? Wonderful! That will ware off quickly when his addiction to always having choices kicks in. You have no curves and work hard at it? Fantastic! That will gratify him now and then; in between him satisfying his lust for “different” through the non-ending buffet of services and women on the internet. Pornographic options are limitless; even drawing the viewer to end up looking at things that they would never normally be attracted to, but it’s different and they are bored. After years of the same ‘ol, they need something more thrilling, something more exciting. That is what many people don’t understand about this addiction. Even if it is broken, the desire for something different can plague the mind of a man or woman who is unwilling to fight it.
Men who view pornography often will be empowered to feel like they are the all knowing and satisfying sex-God of the universe who women will do anything for. This is ingrained deep into their soul from the very beginning. Men dominate and women submit in porn. Women seemingly enjoy every sick thing a man wants to do to them and men who view pornography actually begin believing that women like this stuff in real life; that women enjoy being slapped around, forced to harm themselves through various acts, and that they all get turned on by the exact same things. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Women ask where the chivalrous men are now a days? They have been lost to a world of sick, twisted evil. Pornography creates a complete false world; one that does not set a man up in any way shape or form for the beauty, safety, fun and selfless world that God created sex to be. Women, on the other hand, who view pornography often have an extremely low view of themselves; think they are cheap, unattractive, and that no good men really exist. Women are presented as whipping dolls that cater to every whim of a man and always look amazing. Viewing this continually cannot help but make a woman feel absolutely worthless.
I have been so blessed in our marriage. I have a man who realized that he was leading us down a path that would destroy us and fought with everything within him against it. THAT. That is the definition of a man. A man who fights even when culture says “it’s normal” and “it makes you a man.” A man who fights for his family and for the honor of the Lord. He fought hard, and still does. Andrew has both me and another man keeping him accountable through various ways as he fights the pull of pornography and I am so thankful for his humility to continue in this.
(Now I need to caveat and say that IT IS NOT WISE for every woman to know the details of the sins of her husbands past, and it is never wise to get into the nitty gritty specifics. Some women cannot emotionally handle it. Both of you will know if you are able to carry this together as a unit or if someone else needs to be brought in as the one addicted makes restitution and finds freedom through confession, honesty and accountability.)
The sad and often forgotten reality is that pornography use supports an industry of abuse, trafficking, slavery, and rape. There is so much focus on those using it that it is completely forgotten that in order for them to have something to look at, there had to be someone’s body exploited and misused. “Yeah, well most of them chose that profession and probably enjoy it and make lots of money off of it!,” you may say? While there are some, assuredly, who do choose this and enjoy a long career. Many, I would say most, are forced into pornographic prostitution through sex trafficking, and even more sign up for it, having no idea what the industry is really like and quit within months. The typical burnout rate for underage girls is three months. The abuse they face, the dehumanization…it is not enjoyable like it is presented in film and photos. For someone to stay in the industry one year is considered extremely rare. But because new, naive girls are always interested, it doesn’t matter that hundreds of thousands of girls are used, abused and tossed to the curb every year. There will always be more.
I write all of this to bring to light something so hidden; a struggle of both men and women that can seem absolutely hopeless. A struggle that is rarely brought up in churches, but should be discussed regularly. May we all help those addicted as well as raise awareness to protect those victimized by pornography. Research; know the facts. I would encourage everyone to listen to Josh McDowell’s sermon at Moody Church for Founders Week 2015 on this topic. That is one of the most eye-opening sermons I have ever listened to. Here is the link: ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOSbUjmupWE )
Remember the words of Ephesians 6:12; “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Pray for those struggling with this sin and if you are struggling, seek help from someone you know to love you and who is trustworthy or go to a good Christian counselor. The freedom to be freed from any addiction can only be found in Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” With God’s help, it is possible to defeat addiction. Commit yourself to the words of Psalm 101:3, “I will not look with approval on anything that is vile.” Cry out to God and be patient; for He is faithful.
“Definition of Pornography in English:.” Pornography: Definition of Pornography in Oxford Dictionary (American English) (US). Web. 29 May 2016.