Growing up I had wonderful Christian parents. I watched my mom and dad pray and read their Bible. They had me hand out tracts as a kid. I got saved in kindergarten, called to the ministry in elementary school. My mom and dad trained me not to look at immodesty. When an immodest woman came on the tv I was taught to turn my head. I remember one time in particular when I was at my uncles house the movie “airplane” (a pg-13 rated movie) was on and there is a scene where naked lady pops up for less than a second and I did what I was trained to do I turned my head. My parents training me to turn my head was a wonderful defense against pornography, all through middle school I listened to guys talk about the porn they watched with their dads, but that was an alien concept to me.
When I was in 5th grade my dad was killed by a drunk driver. Up to this point in my life my dad had told me to wait until I was married to kiss a girl, and had taught me to look away from immodesty. I have no idea where I would be if he hadn’t taught me those wonderful principles. My mom had to take the reins and lead me without a dad. I remember one time she tried to talk with me about sex but the conversation was so uncomfortable thankfully she stopped. Unfortunately she decided the answer was to give me a book on adolescence.
The book I was given was entitled “Preparing for adolescence: how to survive the coming years of change” by Dr. James Dobson. This book opened the door to pornography for me. Please understand pornography for a virgin and pornography for a man who has been married for decades is just going to be a very different animal. Up to this point I had always looked away from immodesty and sex, but when he briefly described sex it was the first time I had not looked away, my reason, “He is Dr. James Dobson he must be saying the right thing.” My spirit told me to look away but Dr. James Dobson is a spiritual man so this cant be bad for me. I know what he said wasn’t much, and it certainly is not graphic by most standards, but by the standards of a virgin who had never looked at porn it was the most graphic thing I ever saw. And then I began to fantasize about what he wrote, I mean why not, it must be okay to think about sex because Dr. James Dobson said it.(I explain the reason why I mention Dobson by name here).
I am not calling James Dobson a bad man. He wrote what he wrote in response to the culture and at least he was discreet I can think of at least 2 christian books written to adolescents that are not discreet, and most have something similar to what James Dobson wrote. I suspect no matter what I would have ended up addicted to porn, I was just attacked from to many areas not to be.
At this point my parents had taught me to guard me eye’s and my purity, but no one had taught me to guard my heart. Even though the description on sexual intercourse in that book was very very mild, and probably as discreet as a description on sexual intercourse could be, I had no way to correctly process what was said. I was a Christian and knew that sex should be saved for marriage so I began fantasizing about my wedding night. I had no other way to process what was said about sexual intercourse.
I am getting ahead of myself here but I did not learn how to process what was said until I was 27 or 28 when I read the book “The Crooked Stick” by Marcie Aiken. I owe her a great debt for what she said in her book. In the book for an unknown reason she wrote that God made sex to bring two people closer together than anything else could. Up until that point the only thing I heard about sex was how pleasurable it was and how it was made to feel good. But yet the Bible first describes sex as Adam knowing his wife, and often describes sex as knowing someone. When I finally learned that I finally began to be able to guard my heart.
A few weeks or a few months later these titillating things Dr. James Dobson had said began to be less titillating so I began to wonder about some of the words he used so I went through the dictionary and began looking up every word I could find related to sex. One night I stayed up until 4 in the morning looking up words. Honestly this was not anywhere near as titillating as what Dr. James Dobson had said. Before long I was looking up things in biology text books, the high school text book was not that interesting, but I came across a college text book that described the sexual response cycle all the way through from the begging to after an orgasm. I read it over and over again, and eventually I figured I could do what the book described with my hand. Strangely enough up to this point I had never really thought about masturbation. I was 14 almost 15 when I did this.
Masturbation felt really good the first time but it also really grieved my soul. I was so bothered by what I could not describe at the time that I slept in my moms room. I did not want to be by myself and I did not find out the reason until after I began to overcome my addiction. When you masturbate or have sex the body releases a feel good chemical that is also designed to make you bound with a person, if you do not have someone to bond with then it makes you feel like crap. This is why someone who sleeps around is an alcoholic or addicted to drugs, the alcohol/drugs takes away the bad feeling from not bonding with the person they had sex with. This is why pornography can leave you feeling so isolated, God made sex to bring two people closer together but when you use pornography you feel depressed because masturbation will then only be able to highlight how alone you are.
Pretty soon reading the college text book on sex was not enough so I went to the computer (I did not have internet we lived in the country and could not get it) and loaded up the encyclopedia and began looking for things it said about sex, this was not as good as the college text book. Then I stumbled upon the nude paintings. I was hooked. But I was also grieved. Frankly up to this point I stayed well within the bounds of what most people find acceptable for telling kids about sex. Lets be honest someone who has been married for decades who works with kids who have been addicted to pornography since they found their dad’s stash or watched the porn channel with him, or there first taste of porn was a XXX website kind of have a very skewed view on how much is to much for those of us who had never looked at porn.
Note masturbation led me to porn, I masturbated before I ever looked at porn. For me masturbation and porn will always be linked.
At this time I began to feel immensely guilty and depressed for looking at nude paintings on the computer. So I told my mom what I had done. My mom could not recognize my addiction so she grounded me for a few weeks. As soon as I could I went back to looking at the paintings, always searching for more on the computer encyclopedia. I was in 9th grade then and I was going to a Christian high school. Strangly enough I was never tempted with porn until I went to a Christian school. Late in the school year, maybe feburary or march the history teacher brought in a video on the Sistine chapel which showed many of the nude paintings on the ceilings and walls. She made the comment “Guys your going to get your fill of boobs today.” And laughed at her own joke. Why was my pornography shown to me at a Christian school? The grief, the fear, the depression it brought to me was monumental and here this Christian school teacher is laughing about it.
Sometime during the summer I graduated from masturbating to nude paintings to masturbating to women in swimming suits that came on tv. At this point I still don’t think I could look at a naked woman but my childhood training was weakening when it came to women on the tv or computer screen. I even bought an encyclopedia set at the thrift store and my porn of drawn women really went up. Then I started looking for naked pictures at the library and the book store. We got satellite tv and for the first time I looked, not just saw, but looked at a naked woman on some movie. I had moved up. I started going to the library and figuring out which movies had nudity and borrowing them, and doing the same at the movie rental places.
At this time I heard my Christian school teachers talking about movies they watched that had nudity and sex in them, eyes wide shut was one of the movies they talked about openly in front of teenagers. I even had one teacher discuss orgasms with us. Why? I found out quickly that many Christians did not think what was breaking my heart was wrong, to the place the teacher had conversations with us about it. Frankly at the Christian school I went to I do not remember any of the students having conversations about porn, and only once did they discuss nudity in a movie (the mummy 2 because you could see through the womans shirt) but a couple of the teachers openly discussed this stuff in front of us. I had such mixed feelings. On one hand I am supposed to respect spiritual authority on the other hand I am addicted to porn and you are making it worse.
Honestly once I found rated R movie sex scenes I never really went further. I Saw some x rated stuff a couple of times but never cared for it. As soon as I saw those womens eyes I cringed. I rented or borrowed most of my porn because I did not want to keep any evidence around. Truthfully I never cared for watching it from the satellite or cable because then you had to wait until it got to the porn instead I was content with renting or borrowing (from the library) a movie with porn in it so that I could skip to the porn.
I remember thinking during this time that God would have to give me a wife when I graduated high school to take away the porn addiction. In some ways I thought looking at porn would force God to give me a wife. But God’s Word says “He that looketh upon a woman and lusteth after her in his heart comiteth adultery”. Why would God give a wife to an adulterer?
So I graduated from high school with a porn addiction and went into Bible college with a porn addiction. Most of the men I went to Bible college with were already married (like 95%) but it wasn’t a big deal. One day in the marriage and family class the teacher recognizing there were a few singles played a video of a man (I have no idea who he is) giving a message to singles from the Song of Solomon. He talked about sex in such a way I had an erection for 3 days. I was blushing a week later. A black single friend of mine was visibly blushing 3 days later. I did not stop thinking about sex for two weeks. I literally felt like my entire body was on fire, it physically hurt. This was the more pornographic thing I was ever around. A sermon.
As a guy I can really only think about one thing at a time but that really grieved my spirit. Here I am struggling with pornography and it felt more often than not that my greatest enemies were Christians. I feel that many Christian leaders/pastors feel that its wrong to be single so they preach sex to singles in order to drive them to marriage for legal sex. It drove me to more pornography.
Sometime during Bible college I finally got internet and starting looking at cartoon porn, and hentia (Japanese cartoon porn). I Preferred the cartoon because it was a lot easier to forget about what you saw than with real people even in rated R movies. Furthermore after I masturbated to the scene in the rated R movie I would watch the movie, and honest to God I don’t think I saw one movie with a sex scene that was happy. It was all about adultery, and fornication, and by the end of the movie everyone was miserable, furthermore every now and then I would find out about the real people who put the porn in the rated R movies, one woman who had sex in her movie had the scene choreographed by her HUSBAND. That’s insane. Another young woman did a sex scene and brought her parents to watch her movie on the opening night. I am sorry but how depraved do you have to be to watch, with hundreds of strangers at a theater, your 18/19 year old kid have sex for money? Why would you want to watch yourself having sex on screen with your parents? Honestly hentia was far easier to watch because it came with far less baggage.
Most of the way through Bible college I got alone with the vice president of the Bible college and confessed my addiction to him. He listened, we prayed about it, and then did nothing. I think 5 years later he asked me about it. I told him I had the victory then, I lied, I came to him for help, not a one off prayer said to get me to leave him alone. When I told him about my addiction it allowed me to overcome it for about 20 or so days but because he did not help me bare my burden I failed and went back into the vicious cycle I had been suffering with for years.
For the next 7 years I just suffered with a pornography addiction. I know the big names in Christianity say that once you have a pornography addiction you go to more and more hard core things, but I found myself staying with vanilla rated R movies, and vanilla hentia. I tried to get into full time ministry during this time and failed. What I found interesting about my addiction is that I always partook of it at home. When I would visit a church I could not imagine using their internet or their tv or even their room to sin. I would go to church camp for two or three weeks in a row and be able to overcome my addiction but once I was home I was back into it. Oh sure I would rent a movie somewhere or something but my sin was partaken at home. One time I bought a comic book with a sex scene in it and I felt so bad about it that I went outside and burned it. Unfortunately it left burnt marks in the yard and they must have used toxic ink because nothing ever grew back where I burned that comic. It was misery.
During my time trying to get into full time ministry it was well known that I enjoyed reading biographies and someone gave me Marcie Aikens biography “the Crooked Stick”. In that book there is a paragraph, only a paragraph, where she says that God made sex to bring two people closer together than anything else could. I was stunned. I have never heard anything close to that, and it really helped me. It was still two years away from when I finally confessed my sin to my pastor and overcame my addiction but without that view of sex I don’t think I would have ever had any victory. Up to this point I have heard that God made sex for marriage, to be great, to feel good, to make babies, to be hot. But in all honesty it was the first time I ever was faced with the idea that sex was to be intimate.
Before this every time someone mentioned sex my mind went back to the mechanics described by Dobson, or the porn I looked at, because to me sex was just mechanics. But because of what she said I could finally view sex as something other than porn.
Finally one day after realizing I had failed to enter full time ministry I switched churches. Drove 60 miles one way twice a week. I was still battling a porn addiction, and I would pray about it, read my Bible more, fast, but one day I finally swallowed my pride and went to my pastor privately and told him about my addiction and finally I found someone who would bare the addiction with me. Confessing my sin took away so much power from it. That is not to say it made the sin powerless, it simply made it possible for me to overcome it.
After confessing my sin the first three days were like most of the time with my addiction, I felt drawn to pornography because it would feel good for a few seconds but generally I could resist 3 or 4 days. This time though day 3-12 physically hurt. Perhaps day 3 always hurt and that is why I nearly always fell back into pornography after 3 days of being away from it. Day 12-15 I remembered everything I ever looked at. My flesh constantly brought it to my mind. Day 15-18 my flesh brought fantasy after fantasy into my mind, everything I ever wanted to look at but never did. After this I flatlined, flatline is when your libido goes dead, your penis shrivels up, and your flesh tells you that if you don’t look at porn you will never get another erection again and die a virgin. After I first masturbated I stopped pretty quickly because of how I felt, I stopped for a good month but this flatline, this death to libido is what got me to go back after my first time masturbating, and to be honest with you it feels like a very convincing reason to go back to pornography. Its like day 18-23 for me was my flesh pushing me, and day 13-18 was my flesh pulling me. For 5 days I flatlined.
After this every three days my flesh attacked me with something new for 3 days. A dirty movie came out, a tv show would have a sex scene, how many weeks of hentia would be archived on the sites I like to visit. One of the surprising difficulties I faced was wet dreams. Wet dreams are not failure, but I found it hard to get them out of my head once I woke up, so I would have this memory of a dream I had that was really dirty. I had one once a week three weeks in a row and each dream became more vivid. Once I accidently found porn on my computer. Note I never ever saved any porn on my computer because of the chance of someone picking it up and finding it, so I was shocked. But when I found it there, I saw it but I did not look, my childhood habit kicked in and I looked away, and then deleted it.
During this time every Sunday and Wednesday I would tell my Pastor what I was going through and he would help me bear the burden. It wasn’t enough to tell him one time because weekly, and usually 2 or even 3 times a week my addiction showed a new side of itself that needed to be carried. There were so many times I wanted to give in, but I said to myself, “I will see my pastor tomorrow, if I can just wait until then.” and then I waited, and overcame.
One of the things that surprised me is that on occasion there would come out some sort of porn that I was really looking forward to seeing, before I confessed my sin, and of course when it came out the news (I am talking yahoo news) would report on it, and my flesh would tell me about how long it longed to see that porn, and I would really struggle with it for 3 days and then the flesh would totally loose interest. It was the oddest thing because the flesh would be excited about it for years but after just three days it would lose interest in that particular thing. Of course talking to my pastor helped.
Battling my fantasy life during this period was interesting. Generally my mind would attack me with one fantasy for three days and once the three day period was over that particular fantasy stopped bothering me. I had 3 days where everything I had ever seen came across my mind non stop, and then I had another 3 days where everything I ever fantasized about looking at came across my mind. I remember thinking during those days that if I ever got back into pornography it would be a far worse addiction than I had ever faced before and that realization really helped me over come my thought life for those few days.
One of the biggest strengths I had in battling this addiction was the memory of how depressing it feels after you masturbate. I was sick and tired of that feeling and had been so for years, finally I was overcoming this addiction and although it was trying at times remembering the depression helped me overcome it. But sometime around week 12 I got some bad news that made me feel depressed, and I found myself drawn back to pornography. I realized that a lot of my motivation for overcoming this sin was depression because now that I got some bad news and felt depressed I wanted to go back to pornography to numb the depression. It’s a vicious cycle you look at pornography to feel good for a moment and then you feel depressed, so you go back to pornography which makes you feel depressed again. That’s just no way to live. How many times in the years I have been addicted to pornography had I gone to pornography when I was depressed about something? All of a sudden I found myself in a position of having to confront many issues in my life that should have and would have been dealt with years earlier if I had not drowned my sorrows in a dirty movie, or internet porn.
Again in this my pastor really helped me out, I could not hide my hearts sorrows behind pornography because that was out of my life. Didn’t matter that I got bad news and felt depressed I was not going back to pornography. Pastor helped me deal with many issues that should have been handled years before, again taking away more power from the addiction. Addiction has power in your depression, you deal with the issues causing depression and the addiction has less power.
I know everyman’s battle says that after you reach 6 weeks it gets a lot easier, I found my hardest week was week 7. I literally had erections for 5 hours for three days straight, and my body was screaming for porn and masturbation. The first week I felt things ease up was week 14, Around this time of no porn no masturbation my view on sex radically changed. Much more so than when I read Marcie Aikens book. Apparently this is commonly reported on other sites as a reboot, and it’s a big blessing that comes when you endure. My addiction radically became easier to endure because I was able to view things so differently.
And then I screwed up during week 15, at day 101 I was reading a manga, and it was really interesting but it ended after a couple of chapters, I found out that they made the manga from a light novel, so I looked it up and started reading it. During the course of the reading it talked about how this character or that character had sex, that’s literally all it said, that they had sex, it didn’t describe it, it was probably even at the pg level as far as descriptions go, Dr. James Dobson was thousands of times more graphic than that, but that statement got my fantasy life going. I did not go out and look at porn, or masturbate, but for a day and night I had to fight my fantasy, my mind, my thought life because I read something like that.
For the difficulty level to drop off due to a radical change on how I viewed sex to me wanting to read something cranking that difficulty back up was a failure on my part. Note I do not view looking at porn or masturbation as the only two areas I fail at. If I look or listen to anything that draws me to porn I view that as a failure. It doesn’t mean I have to start everything over again it just means I have to get back up and do right.
140 days in, that’s 20 weeks, the devil really attacked my mind, or my flesh really attacked my mind. I go to my pastor and I don’t even really describe how the enemy attacked my mind just that I have been struggling with putting fantasy in the right place, and that confession really helped me. As I confessed my struggle, it was as if it dissolved in my mind (Note at a 160 days I do not even remember that battle but it sure does sound like it bothered me then).
At 175 days, 25 weeks I have been many weeks without hurting from not masterbating. I still find it interesting how the flesh is constantly attacking. The lie it tells now is that I need to check to see if I can still get an erection, so just test it out. My response is no. I will not go back to such a depressing state of mind. At this point instead of relying on lust to get me to sin the flesh resorts to fear. At this point the world and the devil have made sure I have seen nakedness pop up before me. One notable example is at my moms house where she was watching a PG movie (at least according to the info on satellite) and a naked lady ran by. Mom doesn’t even do the beach due to immodesty, so she was shocked she picked out a movie with nudity. I did what I have been trained to do since I was a child. I immediately looked away. Because I did not allow my thoughts to dwell there, and I didn’t get a good look I did not lust after the woman. Because I did not lust after the woman I did not get an erection. So now the flesh wants to use fear to say I will never get an erection and I need to hurry up to see if its telling the truth. My response no. My resolve says perfect love casteth out all fear.
At 180 days (3 days from half a year) I find one of the fleshes biggest weapons against me is wet dreams. Whether I have a vivid dream with it or not after I have a wet dream I generally feel very strongly pulled toward porn. Before I ever masterbated or looked at porn a wet dream was just part of life, no big deal. Now it’s a weapon my flesh uses to confuse me. I know that a wet dream is not me going back to porn and its not masturbation but because of my past it’s a difficulty I will have to face. But even in this God is giving me strength.
On day 186 I am again amazed by how varied the attack my flesh can come up with against me. I was attacked with an intense curiosity. Heck some how the flesh attacked me with curiosity to look at what I would consider pornography without including any lust in the matter. Just pure curiosity. It was strong enough that the next day (a Sunday) I fasted all day. And the day after I mentioned my struggle to my pastor. Certainly this attacked had no where near the power of attacks I was getting on day 50 or so, but it was still surprising to me.
Around day 200 or so I had a wet dream that hurt. It only hurt for a few seconds in the middle of the night but it got me worried. I looked it up, and apparently its uncommon but one of the withdrawl symptoms of pornography is painful wet dreams. So I have a choice mildly hurt for a few seconds every now and then due to wet dreams, or go back to pornography and be depressed for days on end and feel guilty for what I know is wrong. I will take the few seconds of mild pain. Happened again after day 217, and this time it involved mild blue ball pain for a few hours. It wasn’t even as bad as a mild headache. That’s 31 weeks, and I still feel withdrawal symptoms from this terrible addiction. At least they are mild. And again I am totally amazed at the variety of attacks the flesh can throw at me. But this addiction seems to be really loosing its grip. That said I know my flesh will never stop attacking me so I intened to stay vigelant.
My feelings about blue ball and painful wet dreams are this. I would rather have them than go back to the cycle of looking at porn feeling depressed for several days until I get desperate to look at porn again because my body hurts for it until I look at it again and feel depressed again. I am tired of the painful cycle of depression and desperation. Day 235 comes I have another wet dream and its not painful at all. The pain was just another tool my flesh used.
Around day 240 I came to a startling realization. Early on after I stopped looking at porn I became very aware of womens bodies around me, in a way I could not be aware of as long as I looked at porn. Women who were immodest I bounced my eyes away from them because I did not want to be drawn back to porn. But women who were not immodest I found myself checking them out. Because I was not looking at any nudity I could really appreciate just seeing regular women. But as time went on I allowed myself to stare at them to long and it isn’t right. So even though they are modest I found myself wrong for letting my eyes linger on them.
My startling realization is that even on modest women I have to get into the habit of bouncing my eyes, although with them it is to their faces. I am a tall guy so this strategy does not work on immodest women because even if I look them right in the eye I can see their immodesty most of the time, but on modest women I can bounce my eyes to their faces and because they are modest I will not be checking them out. I can practice this as I watch tv or a movie or play video games.
I do not know if checking them out crosses the line over to lust, at day 240 I don’t think it does but I think it is headed that way. The Bible says in matthew 5:28 “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” One of these days when I get married its not so much that I will finally be able to have sex, or finally be able to look on her nakedness, its that I will exclusively be with her and exclusively look at her because everything else is sin. And I will practice this as a single.
Furthermore it is a wise strategy to practice very high standards. One of the things I do to take time away from being tempted is karate. In karate some of the first things you learn are how to stand, block, and punch. When you first start sparring you really think its something to block, but as you are still getting your butt kicked and getting hit a whole bunch you understand you need to do better. Eventually you learn blocking in itself means you made a mistake. The best way to not get hit is to not be there. Blocking means you were there and if hit hard enough means you got a defensive wound. Never getting hit at all is the better defense.
When I see immodesty I bounce my eyes away from women. But as I practice only looking at womens faces, I will often never see that immodesty to begin with. This is very hard but it is the right thing to do and will go much further than eye bouncing in keeping me away from porn. But both tools are needed.
At day 251 I read a wonderful article on modesty that described immodesty is any dress that attracts peoples eyes to your body and modesty is any dress that attracts peoples eyes to your face. In overcoming my addiction I must train my eyes to look at womens faces. Some of my sisters in Christ genuinely dress modestly but to help them out I must keep my eyes on their face.
On day 267 an odd battle happened. My mind started bringing back the things I used to look at but its been long enough now that its as if the women are covered up. I find that I am forgetting much of the details. I am very grateful for that. When I prayed and asked for wisdom on why fantasy and memory where hitting me so hard then I realized that a couple of weeks ago I started training my eyes to only look at the faces of women, thus starving my libido more. I am grateful that the battle with my eyes and flesh are getting much easier as I continue to starve the flesh of porn.
On day 275 I had what I would consider a major failure. I did not look at porn but I did something I should not have. I was going through the steam store and looking at the sales and noticed one of the games had nudity as one of its tags. If you dont know tags tell the content of the product, RPG, FPS, action, adventure whatever. Out of sheer curiosity I clicked on the game and looked under the comments and found out that steam does not sale the version of the game with the sex scenes but they are out there.
I have trained my eyes to bounce from immodesty, and modesty, but now I find I have a lot of work left to do. I should never have put myself in that position. One of the things I did when I was looking at porn was when I would go to the library, movie store, red box, or Netflix when I searched for stuff it was almost always for a rated R movie with a porn scene, and as soon as I saw that tag on steam my old habit kicked in and I looked for what kind of nudity did it have in the comments section.
Maybe you think because I didn’t download the game and check out the nudity I won a battle, but truth be told this is just a battle that I should not have fought. Furthermore its my fault for allowing myself over the last week or so not be as close to God as I should be. About 9 days before this incident I found a book I enjoyed reading, so I read all of it and then read every book in the series in 9 days. There were 21 books. Besides work and church I didn’t have time for much else. This left me vulnerable to old habits I let my addiction develop in me. Thankfully I did not look at porn or masturbate, but I do not consider this a victory, I consider this a great reason to be more vigilant.
Around day 284 my mind began stirring up memories from one of the things that I saw that hurt my soul when I watched it. Maybe you are wondering if it was a xxx movie that showed a rape scene or some other form of extreme porn. But no, it was a documentary on netflix that showed sex, and what that documentary showed grieved my soul. 280 something days in and now I find myself finally dealing with some of the things I watched that grieved me. When it first hit me I wondered if the pain on my soul would ever go away. But after a few days its as if that wound finally had a chance to heal. I am grateful for it.
On day 298 I had the worst attack since week 7. But in many ways I am grateful for this battle because this battle showed me so much.
So here I am minding my own business and a fantasy enters my mind on day 298. In some ways I am not surprised, since day 1 I have thought that this battle against porn would be a battle I fought my entire life. But the intensity of this battle and this fantasy did surprise me. I mean I am ten months into this thing where I have not looked at porn or masturbated. In a lot of areas this war against porn has become so much easier and then bam out of nowhere I am attacked so strongly.
I was actually able to overcome the first fantasy by focusing on intimacy and then my mind sent me another fantasy. This is where it gets different. Before when I first stopped looking at porn, it was very much everything in me wanting to look at porn and masturbate. But now it was like my heart was being pulled into two different directions. One part wanted me to focus on my fantasy, find something similar to it and masturbate, the other part just wanted intimacy. Its no longer the fear of the depression and desperation cycle that comes with porn addiction that is keeping me from porn. Somehow I have obtained a goal to work towards. Intimacy.
In this tug of war in my heart for the first time in my life I was grateful to be single.
This tug of war graphically showed me the difference between porn/masturbation and sex/intimacy. If you check out the testimonies of those who struggle with porn you will find a ton of Christians who struggle with it thought that getting married would end their porn addiction, but all of them say that within a month of getting married they were back to looking at porn and masturbating. This battle showed me why.
By its very nature porn and masturbation are very emotionally distant. You look at something in a book/magazine/video/internet, but its just an image. I had a hard time emotionally distancing myself from the pictures and videos of real women so I strongly preferred hentia. At the end of the day with porn you just want an object that makes you horny so that you can feel good for short time. Getting emotionally attached gets in the way of that.
By its very nature sex, especially sex in marriage is extremely emotionally close. So you got guys thinking that sex is just going to be a better form of masturbation getting married having sex and getting shocked by the huge difference. All this time orgasm has been followed by emotional distance, so after marriage that habit kicks back in, but goes against God’s design for marriage and sex. So they go back to porn. Biblical sex is not just about a biological release its all about knowing that one woman more intimately than you can know anybody else, and it has components of intellectual, emotional and spiritual intimacy. Its not what these men were expecting.
Furthermore porn is all about the novelty and variety. I have found in every fantasy my mind brings against me there is a huge amount of variety. So what if one image or porn video cant compete with real sex. One million can. Quantity is a quality of its own. If one porn item could hold your interest then the porn industry would not be a billion dollar industry. In the tug of war in my heart the porn side is throwing out dozens of items, and on the other side it simply says that I need to get into the place where I can love my future wife with all my heart.
In contrast to porn, in Biblical marriage and sex there is only one woman. With porn you shallowly look at their body and if they don’t match what you selfishly desire that minute you go to the next one, or if you have been looking for a while you settle on one and masturbate. With marriage she is it. Good days, bad days she is your one and only. A man who does not look at porn or sleep around is thrilled with his wife because she is his sexual freedom. A man who looks at porn or sleeps around is disappointed in his wife because she constrains him sexually. Your decision to step away from porn is a decision to make marriage your freedom.
I have never so graphically seen that porn/masturbation is not sex. No wonder guys go right back to porn after marriage. The nature of the two are so different porn addicts find it impossible to stop their habit because sex is as different from porn/masturbation as alcohol is to steak. Would you tell an alcoholic to stop drinking so he could enjoy a steak?
I have had this fear since day one that once I am married (perhaps that will be a thousand days from now or ten thousand) that the sex with my wife would draw me back to porn. But thanks to this battle I know that they are two very different things. Steak cant make you an alcoholic.
During this time period I felt compelled to look at Song of Solomon to figure out what was going on in my heart. Personally I don’t go there much because several preachers have graphically pointed out how several sections of that book are talking about sex, in a very misguided effort to encourage purity. But since I felt compelled I went there and found three verses that totally explained what was happening in my heart.
Song of Solomon 2:1-3
Girl said, “I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.”
Guy said, “As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.”
Girl Says, “As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.”
When this girl says she is the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valley, she is not bragging on herself. The rose of Sharon is not like the red rose most of us think of when we thinking of roses. The rose of Sharon is an extremely common flower found throughout Israel. The lily is the same way. Go to any valley in Israel and the most common flower you will find is the lily. She is saying she is common. She has enough self-esteem here to say she is pretty, but she is saying she is only as pretty as all the other girls.
When this guy hears this girl say she is nothing special he tells her she is the most special girl in the world. He tells her that if she is a lily then all the other women in the world are thorns by comparison.
Then it gets interesting and we get some real insight. This girl says that all men in the world are like trees in a forrest, you have pine, oak, and other hard wood trees, but this man she loves is like an apple tree. He feeds her, he refreshes her, no other tree in the forrest can do that. And I think this gives insight into why he felt she is this lily among thorns.
See women they need emotional and spiritual intimacy, and it’s a much easier thing for them to grab a hold of than men. And somehow she found in this guy a man willing to share his heart with her and she feeds off that. But for us men its very hard to be that vulnerable, but we have an innate need to be vulnerable and share our hearts, when he found that she was a safe place to share his heart, it was no longer just about her looks. Her physical beauty was multiplied by her intellectual, emotional and spiritual beauty. In that all other women became thorns by comparison.
You know what porn has taught us? That every woman is just another pretty flower. And that is not okay. On day 298 when I felt my heart struggling between two sides I recognized on one hand due to porn no matter who I married she would not be special, she would be just another pretty flower, but the longer I step away from porn, and learn this thing called intimacy the more my heart is getting ready for a woman to be a lily among thorns to me.
On day 298 I was so grateful to be single because I could sense how my heart and mind are transitioning to this place where I will be able to unconditionally love my future spouse. More and more I am getting ready for that physical beauty to be multiplied by intellectual, emotional and spiritual beauty and on that day all porn will become nauseous and boring to me.
The battle of 298 to 300 sucked and still sucks, but in a few days I will forget the difficulty of the battle (like I have so many times in the last 300 or so days) But I will remember how good God is in allowing me to have a heart that is ready to unconditionally love my wife, and see her as the most special person in the world when I finally get to meet and court her. This thought has honestly made me sad for all the married men who struggle with porn because their wives remember times when they were just another flower. I hope my wife never experiences that disappointment.
My progression has been interesting. First I stopped looking at immodesty, which opened the door for me to stop looking at porn, then after several months I so noticed the bodies of women who were clothed I made a point to only look at them in the face, and now I am actively preparing my heart to view the woman God will one day give me as a lily among thorns. Dont worry about have the same mindset on day one. Take these steps one day, week, month or year at a time. I suspect this newest test will take me half a year as this newest step has so much junk to battle in my heart.
So around day 315 I keep getting massive hits of curiosity. At this point I have stopped going to any news website because they will have some story about sex and I will click on it out of curiosity and it will make my mind go to places it ought not. I have stopped going to steam because I don’t want to contemplate what games have nudity. I have stopped a lot of things and yet I am still hit by curiosity. So in frustration over my thought life I started praying.
I know way back at day 186 I had an attack of curiosity and I endured it. I don’t know what I prayed about then because honestly I don’t remember much about it. I am very grateful that within a week or two of suffering a withdrawal symptom I seem to forget all the pain that went with it. But as I again suffered from an intense attack of curiosity it seemed so out of place I started asking God what this was all about.
God in his mercy reminded me about a verse in His Word. Ephesians 5 is comparing marriage to the relationship between Christ and the church and in verse 32 it calls it a great mystery. When God made men and women he made us a mystery to one another. God made us with a natural desire to want to solve the mystery of the opposite sex. When I am hit with a massive amount of curiosity it is very much how God made me.
The problem is that my habit has often (not always) been to try to answer my curiosity with porn. My problem is that I have allowed the world to teach me that the only questions I need to have answered have to do with sex. So as I recognize that this curiosity is a good thing that God put into me, but I have allowed it to be misused by my own lust, I find myself praying that God allow me to use this curiosity in a manner which honors Him.
I believe the Bible is the most important book for any Christian overcoming any addiction. I would not have recognized many of my problems without it. That said as these problems come to light there are many resources available to help with specific problems. In this case of curiosity I find that I need to read the book “men are like waffles and women are like spaghetti” simply because it deals with how women are different than men in how they think. My curiosity is a good thing, given by God, but I must direct it according to God's Word.
At 325 days God showed me how my heart has been healing. When I was in Bible college we were shown a video of a sermon that was said to be for singles. The man went through the Song of Solomon and pointed out many verses and how they were about sex. He was rather explicit. It was the most pornographic thing I have ever been around. I burned with lust so hot I physically hurt for several days. Ever since I have avoided the book of the Song of Solomon.
But at day 325 I found I had good reason to study Song of Solomon. For the first time ever I really began to study it out, and I found that I could not see the parts that were about sex. I Saw where Solomon was talking about the importance and specialness of an exclusive relationship. Where he dealt with intellectual, emotional, spiritual and physical intimacy. But I did not see where he dealt with explicit sex. Or sex really. It was nice to see where I had been hurt before is where God is healing me now. The wounds on my heart are healing. Its nice.
Maybe you've noticed that I mention a few verses from Song of Solomon. Those verses are mentioned not because of my Bible study, but because I have heard other men mention them in sermons and they helped me and stuck with me. This is the first time I have really looked through the book of Song of Solomon. The entire book and studied it. And it was such relief to know God is being discreet in his word when it comes to sex, and explicit in his word when it comes to intimacy.
It’s been 340 days (11 months) and this weekend I feel more liberty in prayer than I have ever felt as an adult. I think my prayer life has been like those signs telling you how to handle an emergency situation. In an airplane when the oxygen mask falls you put yours on first, then you help someone else put on theirs. If you are bleeding you stop your bleeding then help someone stop theirs.
I have never had more liberty in prayer as an adult. My entire adult life I have been addicted to porn and now I see how this wound has made it very difficult for me to pray for others.
When I was addicted to porn despite being in Bible College, despite serving in many ministries every week, despite my Bible reading and sermon preparation I was wounded and my prayer life needed to be focused on healing me. I was in this situation where I bounced from being depressed because I looked at porn to being desperate to look at porn because after 2 or 3 days it began to physically hurt that I hadn’t looked at porn or masturbated. I had a wound that I needed treated and such I sadly didn’t have time to pray for others.
But then I confessed my addiction to my pastor and he helped me bear my burden, but for the first 11 months of that I was figuring out where all my wounds were and trying to figure out how to heal. For the first 3 months I was practically facing a different withdrawal symptom everyday and the days I didn’t face a different withdrawal symptom I was facing a different face of the same withdrawal symptom. I didn’t feel the need to pray for others because I was in desperate need of prayer in my life. There is a song that says “Its not my father, not my mother, not my brother, not my sister, but me O Lord standing in the need of prayer.” as I faced my withdrawal symptoms I was the one in desperate need of prayer.
Then after the 100 day mark (a little more than 3 months) I began to write down my burden. Everything on this website was written after the 3 month mark. I wish I had started sooner but the stuff that was on my heart needed to be expressed clearly.
What happened was that I looked through everything the Christian community said about this addiction and none of it helped and a lot of it made the sexual temptation stronger. But then I went to non Christian websites about porn addiction and there were a lot of things that helped me on them that was never talked about on the Christian porn addiction websites.
So here I am going to non Christian websites and figuring out what I am going through but I have no idea what the Bible says on the matter except not to lust, fast, get an accountability partner. But as a single guy how am I supposed to deal with my thought life? So for 8 months my prayer life almost totally revolved around asking God to show me in His Word what He had to say to the unmarried about how to overcome sexual addiction and sexual temptation.
What do you tell the unmarried? What do you tell their accountability partner who is almost certainly married? We have over fifty years of playboy magazine and apparently I am the first person to notice that the unmarried are facing a significantly different battle with sexual temptation and addiction than the married. That thought drove me to prayer. The only reason why I can notice that is because of the burden I bear. I am no expert. Why would all the ministries who have been fighting porn for decades care what I have to say unless the Word of God explicitly backs it up?
And during all this writing God is healing me. Let me tell you how injured I was. I refused to read an entire book in the Bible because a preacher got up and made every part of that book about sex. I feared that book would be sexual temptation for me, and draw me back to sexual addiction. Yet God in his mercy healed me to the place where I was willing to read that book and instead of finding sexual temptation I found relief.
So during the weekend of 340 I found that I had nothing else to write about my addiction. I probably will sooner or later, but during that weekend I found that my wounds had been bandaged so I could bandage other people’s wounds. My oxygen mask was on so I could put one on someone else. My prayers about my addiction have been answered so now I can pray for the needs of others with great joy.
It took my 11 months to get to the place where the burden of my addiction was small enough to where I could focus on praying for others no matter what their need was. This is a great joy.
So here I am 362 days from porn and my mind continues its assault wherever it can. Believe me when I say it is far far weaker than it once was.
I am a fan of reading sci fi, fantasy, and super hero novels. Every now and then when I am reading this stuff my mind will tell me that if I had that power I would use it in a sexually inappropriate manner. So come day 362, and I am reading something and this thought comes across my mind again, but then another thought hits my mind immediately afterwards. My new thought was I have the power to look at porn anytime I want to and I havent in almost a year, if I wont do that why would I do whatever my libido says I would do if I had this power?
Why am I posting this? Because line by line brick by brick step by step I am overcoming my porn addiction. I am taking back my thought life from my flesh. Sure its taken 362 days to get this far, but everyday my flesh has less things to battle me with. Every weapon I take away from my flesh gives me so much more liberty, its amazing.
1 year and almost a month since I looked at porn, and I am realizing some of the stuff I looked at affected me far more than other things. There is one scene I watched that has greatly affected my fantasy life. In this scene there was no nudity, no sex, but it was extremely sensual. Technically most would not call it porn and although the scene was in an R rated movie it could have gotten into a pg-13 movie today.
I am not going to describe the scene. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I often struggle with my mind, but a ton of that struggle comes back to this movie that I watched years ago. It was by no means the first movie I watched that had sex in it, nor was it the most graphic. In a lot of ways it was pretty mild, but somehow this one scene pressed all my buttons and really affected my fantasy life. Probably 80 or 90% of the fantasies I struggle with have elements of this sensual scene in it.
So instead of taking the word of God to my fantasy life, I took the Word of God to this scene that is still effecting my heart. This scene is kind of like when you forgot to put a trash bag in the trash can and you threw away something sticky and until you scrub out the sticky mess it wont go away. The sticky mess effects everything you put in there until its gone. This scene is my sticky mess.
As I take the Word of God to this sensual scene I notice so many things that goes against my goals. My goals are to be a virgin when I get married, to have eyes only for the woman I get married to, to view my wife as a lily among thorns, to be exclusive. All of these goals have direct Bible verses attached to them. Simply put if I meet my goals over 90% (I don’t like to say 100% on anything) of that scene cannot come to pass. So I am scrubbing this scene out of my mind with the verses that my goals come from.
It’s been really something else since I started this. Over the months I have had less and less fantasies attack my mind, but when they do attack it usually involves some part of that particular scene. But knowing this brings me back to that scene and I (for lack of a better term) scrub it with the Bible.
This has made my struggle in my mind so much easier. Its like every few weeks I get a new fantasy to attack me, but instead of grappling with a totally new fantasy I can recognize parts of that fantasy comes directly from this scene that has latched onto my heart which allows me to focus on scrubbing that scene out of my heart with the Word of God instead of focusing on a new fantasy. Heck the reality is that since this realization hit, anything that obviously comes from that scene distracts me away from the fantasy and directs my mind back to the Word of God and the goals it gives me.
It has taken me over a year to realize that some things I watched affect me a whole lot more than other things, and how to use that information against my addiction. Perhaps you can do something sooner than I could. If there is anything that has really affected how your fantasies attack your mind attack that sticky trash with the Word of God.
Sunday was fathers day and I got to do something really neat. For the first time ever I bought a fathers day card and I gave it to my pastor. If it wasn't for my pastor I would never have been able to overcome my addiction, but in the process of overcoming my addiction I got so close to him that I think of him as a father. I lost my dad when I was little, so I never got to buy him a fathers day card. I am sure I hand made him a few but I am grateful for a man to finally take the role of someone to guide me.
My pastor has done so much more than council me out of an addiction, he has been the only man to guide me in the process of man hood. I am extremely grateful for what he has done for me in my life. I am grateful to God for allowing him in my life. Statistically 50% of people who turn 18 dont have a father in their life, and if you are one of those people, wouldn't it be something else if God allowed your porn addiction for force you into a relationship that you really really need?
My struggle against porn became much easier around a month before the one year mark. Without a doubt I am still struggling with this stuff, nearly a year and a half in, and I am still realizing how wrong certain mindsets are, but right now I am realizing something I can only describe as a sweet struggle in my walk with God.
I have been addicted to porn since I was 14 and I often read the Bible and prayed because I was feeling really guilty about looking at porn. Guilt often drove me to my Bible and prayer. Then a year and half ago I finally confessed my sin to my pastor and got the help I needed to overcome my addiction. Because of withdrawal symptoms I was driven to prayer and Bible reading and study.
My walk with God was built around guilt, or suffering. In some ways when that guilt and suffering moved away it really opened the door for me to pray for others in ways I had never done before, but in other ways a lot of my motivation in reading my Bible and praying was gone. I have to call this struggle a sweet struggle though. The pain and guilt that used to motivate my walk with God is gone, so now I get to learn how to have a walk with God outside of pain and guilt.
For a number of years I took karate, and for a number of years every time I did a side kick I would feel a twinge of pain in my lower back. It got to the place where I knew exactly how that twinge of pain should feel for me to do the side kick correctly. Eventually I went to the chiropractor and he took away the back pain I was feeling. Without that twinge of pain I could not do the side kick at all. I relied on that pain to guide my side kick. So after doing karate for 6 years, I had to totally relearn the side kick (which is a white belt kick) because the pain was gone.
When I relearned the side kick I could do it better than ever, and there was not that annoying pain making me wince every time I did the side kick. It was really nice.
I am looking forward to doing the same thing with my walk with God. I look forward to relearning to walk with God without the pain and guilt. I think this is going to be fun.
The Lord showed me something about my heart, and I am somewhat embarrassed about what he showed me. I grew up in a Christian home, and I have believed since I was small that I should be a virgin when I got married, and that sex is to be only between a husband and wife. But the Lord showed me where I have been double minded. On one hand I believe the Bible on the subject of purity but on the other hand The Lord showed me that on one level or another I had accepted the idea of having sex with multiple people.
It isn’t hard to fathom where I got this idea from. If you have a tv or radio having multiple sex partners is a message that is constantly broadcast. But it is a message that is directly contrary to the word of God, and an idea on a shallow level I believed I disagreed with. But as I continued to find I struggled with my thought life, and I recognized that I have had a lot of misconceptions that made my struggle with porn much harder, I began to pray that God would show me one more, and he showed this one to me.
I was totally double minded. I somehow accepted both purity and impurity.
In the last couple of days since I recognized this double mindedness my focus on my thought life is this. Sex is only between a husband and his wife, he is to only have one wife. Porn by its very nature has to have a variety of women to throw at you. Not allowing any thought but the exclusivity of marriage has been really helpful to my thought life the last few days.
I do not know if I can accurately describe my double mindedness, since James 1:6 says a double minded man is unstable in all his ways. I just want to make others aware of it since I bet others are struggling with double mindedness without even realizing it. I can say recognizing that its there allowed me to immediately deal with it and made a lot of aspects of my fantasy life much easier to deal with.
Over the last week or two every time I have had sexual thoughts I have been struck by how selfish my thoughts are. Recognizing the selfishness of those thoughts has brought those thoughts to an abrupt end. I am grateful for God just allowing me to see how selfish I am. It has weakened my flesh.
Posted 12/2/2016 (decided to put dates on to make updates easier to spot)
A few weeks ago I drastically changed my diet and then a couple of weeks ago I started doing the elliptical, in an effort to lose weight.
I have totally taken grains out of my diet, and except for ketchup I don’t eat anything with processed sugars in it (fruits and vegetables have sugars but they are not processed so they are nowhere near as bad for you, and in fact those sugars are probably good for you). I am eating more vegetables than I have ever eaten in my life, and I may have eaten more variety of vegetables than my entire life combined, and I figured out how to cook it where I enjoy it.
Along with that I decided to totally focus on building cardio through the elliptical, because I have never been a runner and feel that’s the weakest part of my physical attributes. The last time I went on the elliptical I did two miles in 18 minutes and 42 seconds. Best I have ever done. And my heart rate was in the 170’s.
But with this change in diet and exercise came something I totally did not expect. I started having wet dreams (or nocturnal emissions, personally I find the term nocturnal emissions more embarrassing than wet dreams), every other night. Well wet dreams without any dreams. For me when I have wet dreams it really gets the libido going, and makes me start thinking and fantasizing a whole lot about sex. After the one year mark I went from having wet dreams once a week to once a month, and now BAM every other night for a little more than a week.
So for more than a week I had to put up with constant thinking about sex. And to make matters worse the things that are coming across my mind are really things I am ashamed of. My mind was constantly thinking about rape. Maybe you know this or maybe you don’t, but rape is more than just violently taking a woman by force and making her have sex with you. Rape can be getting a woman drunk and she is too drunk to give consent and you take advantage of her. Rape is anytime someone has sex without the other persons consent. And my mind was just focused on this subject.
Well after a few days of dealing with these constant thoughts, I finally had enough and did what I should have done on day one, and really started to pray and ask God what was going on in my mind. And God in His mercy showed me some things that I watched in my past.
In my past there were two (maybe more but only two come to mind) rated R movies that I saw where a woman was totally incapacitated and a man did very sensual things to her and then stopped before he had sex with her. I hate to admit it but I was disappointed when the men in those movies stopped and I imagined what he should have done.
Honestly my pastor and I have had conversations about this before when discussing other things I watched in my past. A lot of times in these movies they want to sell the sizzle and not the steak. If they show the sexual act then you can move on, but without showing the sexual act you are more likely to go back to it and imagine what it should be. Lots of movies do this. They get extremely sensual but won’t show the sex act. It is more addicting this way.
Heck even hallmark does it. In hallmark movies a girl and a guy like each other but they are not in a relationship until they very end of the movie. And then as soon as the relationship starts the movie ends. And what happens is that you imagine what the relationship would be like. And whatever you imagine is your definition of the perfect relationship. Because hallmark does this it is technically showing everyone a perfect relationship with every movie, and that is very addicting for a certain gender. If hallmark showed the reality of relationships it would not be anywhere near as addicting.
Porn and Hollywood often do the same thing with sex. Show you the sensual part and then let you fill in the details, and whatever you imagine is perfect sex for you.
The problem is that they often show some really wicked stuff, like men taking advantage of incapacitated women, and then when they don’t show the sex act you imagine what you would most like to see done in that instance. You imagine the perfect sex with an incapacitated female, which is you imagining the perfect rape. Now it’s not porn showing you a wicked thing, it’s a wicked thing you created in your mind. And at the end of the day because I watched those two movies I fantasized about rape and now over a year and a half since I confessed my sin to my pastor and overcame my addiction I am dealing with something I watched years and years ago that was terribly wicked.
To make matters even worse, I cannot even totally blame Hollywood for this. I can remember when I was in fourth or fifth grade and I was talking to a kid on the bus and I told him that when I got married my wife wouldn’t wear any underwear so I could have sex anytime I wanted it. My view on sex in elementary school was that it was to be in marriage but it was to be about my pleasure whenever I wanted it. I had no concept of what about my wife. What she would think. Or even if she would give consent.
I think this is one more sign that it was inevitable that I got addicted to porn. I have no idea where I got that idea from, but nearly 20 years later I am finally dealing with it.
Personally I now believe that God made sex so that a man and wife can know each other better than they can possibly know anyone else in the world. Forcing a wife to have sex just to please yourself without any thought of her needs, thoughts, desires, will, person, etc. is anti-anything God ever said about sex.
But you see I am still double minded. On one hand I now know about and desire intimacy, but on the other hand I spent years and years thinking the wrong way about sex and marriage, and I am still in the process of learning how God would have me look at stuff, and tracking down thoughts that go contrary to what God would have for me.
Psalm 51:7 says “Purge me with hyssop”. I spent years and years looking at the world contrary to how God would have me look at it. And I spent years seeking things that went contrary to how God would have me look at the world. God is purging me of those things but it is taking time. My mind is a big place with lots of things stored everywhere, and although I have cleaned out most of my mind I am still searching for the rooms that are still nasty with this sin.
At the end of the day, having wet dreams every other day and just not being able to get sex out of your mind sucks, but God used the situation to really show me some very bad things that I had yet to deal with in my heart and mind. For that I am grateful.
I have delayed writing this too long as I have been busy preparing to enter ministry. It has only taken me a month longer than expected to do what I needed and thus I am finally writing something I should have posted back in December, and something more recent.
Back in December I spent the week leading up to Christmas all by myself. All my family was several states away, and all my friends spent Christmas with their family. I could almost physically touch the isolation. Every temptation possible was thrown my way. As soon as I get by myself for a week facebook post have nudity in it. I click on an article to a news story and there is nudity in one of the pictures depicting another story. Opportunity after opportunity jumps out grabs hold of my legs and hangs on for dear life. And in all honesty it wasn’t lust that was tempting me, but depression from isolation.
I am grateful for wonderful habits I have made in the last year and a half. If I see nudity turn my head, and don’t look. I shut down websites, unfriend people, or otherwise leave that stuff alone. One of the things I have concluded is that porn for me is not an access issue, it’s a heart issue. At all times I have access to porn. Lets say I get rid of my smart phone and internet, I can still rent movies with nudity and sex in them. Lets say I get rid of all my dvd players, I can still go to a book store or library and look at stuff I ought not look at. Lets say I am in the house all by myself without access to the outside world, I can still allow myself to focus on wicked imaginations. My problem is my heart.
My heart problem during Christmas was depression due to isolation. As a single Isolation is just going to happen at times. I called some people talked about how isolated I was feeling, and it helped me understand my problem. During this time I started praying that God would give me a girlfriend just so I wouldn’t feel so isolated, which was a nice switch from what I normally pray. I normally pray for a wife, but at this time I felt so isolated I just wanted someone to talk to.
Before I dealt with porn I would have felt bad about being isolated, looked at porn, masturbated, felt bad about it and then concluded that I felt bad because of porn addiction. I would have totally missed the fact that I felt bad because of isolation. It is really just nice to realize that I feel lonely, because I wasn’t around anyone for 3 or four days because I didn’t want to bother them as they were spending time with their families, and my solution to the problem was to talk to other people tell them how I felt, and also to pray about it.
Then about a month after the isolation incident, I realized I was mad at God for my singleness. Which is an odd thing since I bounce back and forth from being grateful to God for me being single and dealing with this addiction and being mad that I am single.
Then as things developed ministry wise (I have been very busy, In the last 3 months I have put in a couple of hundred hours trying to get ready ministry wise, along with work), I saw someone who I used to go to church with, and realized I really resented them.
My dad died when I was 11 and I went to a very large church, and everyone in leadership in that church pretty much ignored me. Even when I asked for any sort of guidance they just told me they would pray for me, and once one of the leaders told me that the leadership of the church was dealing with important matters like married people committing adultery and not to bother them. I feel angry because I went to church faithfully, served faithfully and in the midst of that, the church I grew up in abandoned me.
Turns out I am mad at them for not taking me a fatherless guy under their wings, and mad at God because I feel if I was married then I would be important enough for them to help. Oddly enough I have never been mad at God for taking my dad, since I feel there were plenty of men who should have stepped in and do some of the things he would have done. They never did so I am still somewhat mad at them.
I think I have been angry about the whole situation for years and years, but I self medicated myself with porn and masturbation. Feel bad about how others treat you so you fap to feel better, then once the high wears off you feel bad so you just assume it was porn making you feel bad. If it hadn’t been for porn I would have recognized my problem over a decade ago and already dealt with it, but my problem was hid by porn.
So now I am in the process of figuring out how to deal with anger toward people who wronged me in a godly and upright manner. Since confessing my porn addiction to my pastor this is the most uncomfortable thing I have ever done, and I am still in the prep stage.
Posted June 9, 2017
Over the last week or so I have noticed a wonderful change in my thought life. When porn thoughts come my way its like when you are looking for a place to eat, pull up somewhere and from the parking lot decide this place doesn’t look right and you go looking for something better.
I certainly don’t view the thoughts as disgusting, but I am also not looking at them as tempting.
I don’t know if this naturally happens after not looking at porn for 2 years, or if this is a gift from God or if this is because I consistently try to figure out what is right in my thoughts and not right. But I am grateful that at least for this week that pornographic thoughts automatically seem unappealing somehow.
Posted September 5, 2017
This weekend was labor day weekend, and I had two meetings at two churches where I preached and told the congregation about the call of God on my life (nothing to do with pornography, my porn addiction and recovery is still a very private matter). For whatever reason my mind was filled with fantasy, and I really struggled to get my mind right. There is a particular book I looked at several times before (and its been probably 5 or more years) that made its way into the fantasy (and I sure hope I forget what the book was when I look back and read this), and the whole matter troubled me.
So I figure today is as good a day as any to fast and see what the Lord will show me. So far the Lord has shown me that my mind is far too focused on the physical act of intimacy, and I need to focus on the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual. I can and should practice intellectual, emotional, and spiritual intimacy and I should actively fight thoughts of sexual intimacy with thoughts of the first three types of intimacy. At this point in my life all thoughts of sexual fantasy are fantasy, as unreal as fantasizing about going to the moon. These thoughts are dangerous because they only contain my voice and my will. One day if I marry physical intimacy will have the will and voice of two people. I can not possibly have a realistic fantasy until after marriage, when I know the voice and will of the person I marry. But in intellectual, emotional, and spiritual intimacy I learn to find the voice and will of the people around me. I can and should practice that today.
Posted November 22, 2017
Right now my life is incredibly busy. I am working a full time job and I am trying to get into full time ministry. Part of what I am doing in ministry is being at a different church every week. I stay connected to my church through phone calls, and Facebook but it’s not the same as actually being there. Honestly this has left me isolated in many ways. But I am doing what God has called me to do.
Well for the last few weeks I have been struggling with fantasies that I know are wrong. Then I got to go to a meeting that lasted a few days and meet up with some friends, and just be with people for a few days, and during the fellowship I found my fantasies left me. I already knew isolation and fantasies tend to go hand in hand with me, but I was surprised how clearly fellowship just overcame those fantasies.
As I go out and continue in this ministry God has called me to for this time in my life I have got to figure out fellowship. God has designed humans to walk with God and to fellowship with other humans. This will be an interesting puzzle to figure out as a single.
Posted February 8
Ever since I stopped looking at porn, fantasy has always been a struggle for me. Sometimes more sometimes less. Clearly there are many reasons for this. You don’t look at porn for 14 years and have it direct you thinking for 14 years and just walk away without any problems.
One of the issues that keeps coming back is wildly different fantasies about a haram. Porn, especially internet porn wires our brain to view sex as a novelty, and have a need for constant change. Even though I haven’t looked at porn in nearly 3 years the actions I took looking at porn still affect how I look at sex.
I woke up this morning and this thought must have come from God, I thought “If I had a haram like my fantasies keep telling me I want then I would be so depressed I would be suicidal.”
I have written before about how the Bible teaches over and over again that harams are a bad idea, that if you marry a bunch of women, or have sex with a bunch of women the Bible always shows you being miserable. Its one thing to logically understand that, but I think this is the first time I internalized it.
There are a lot of reasons, that for me, having a haram in real life would be utterly depressing.
First of all I have never been able to dehumanize women. Personally I have watched very few x rated anything because I would look at the eyes of the women in those movies and something about their eyes told me that they were miserable, I could not handle that. Most of what I watched was R rated movies, but many times I would see what the entire movie was about and after I saw the entire movie I could no longer stomach the sex scene. Worse yet every R rated movie I saw with a sex scene ended up showing how sex made their regular lives miserable. Sometimes I would stop watching a particular R rated movie when I saw what an actress had to say about the movie. For me hentia was where I got most of my porn fix because they were not real. I did not have to worry about what their eyes said about them, or what the story was about, or what they would say in real life. I did not have to dehumanize hentia because it was not human.
For me to have a real haram would mean that I would have to dehumanize the women I have sex with. That is not an option for me. Just think about it, if you are in a real relationship with someone they need to know that you love them and are attracted to them. In a haram every time you go with someone else you are telling everyone else there that they are unworthy of you. If you think women are less than men and their feelings don’t matter then maybe you could pull a haram off. I can not. I absolutely hate hurting people. A haram would not be me getting lots of sex from lots of women. A haram would be me hurting lots of women every time I picked one of them. It would not take long for this to depress me so much I would be suicidal.
Second the way I view sex would lead me to depression in a haram. The way I view sex is like this. Once you have sex you should spend the rest of your life with that person, so in my idea of a haram I am spending the rest of my life with these women. I could not do a million one night stands like James Bond, I just don’t view sex that way. Furthermore my understanding of sex is that sex always has consequences one of those consequences is children. One of the reason why I view sex as a part of a life long commitment is because after a one night stand you may have created a child and if that child is yours you have a responsibility to it. The idea of getting a woman pregnant and never taking care of your child is utterly appalling to me. That said in a haram how would my kids turn out? Obviously it would not take long for their moms to be hurt and bitter by my actions, but that bitterness would not be pointed at me, it would be pointed at the other women in my haram. How long would it take for that to affect my kids? How will my kids turn out once they hate each other and are full of bitterness towards one another?
A haram always produces bitter hurt children. This would leave me depressed and feeling suicidal.
The final reason why a haram would leave me depressed and feeling suicidal is because the women in my haram would not be Christian. Christian women have better sense than to willingly get into a haram. Well once I have my haram how would I give them the gospel? Honestly I would likely love every one of the women in my haram but they would likely all go to hell because of how poor an example I would be. My kids would likely follow in their mothers footsteps.
Lets be honest, you marry or have sex with (however you view a haram in your mind) 30, 40, a hundred women, and then they all have a bunch of children. You know Christ as your savior so you are going to heaven, but in your family out of all your wives and kids you are the only one to go to heaven and the rest go to hell. How would you feel? You would feel depressed enough to contemplate suicide.
This is the fantasy that porn has taught my flesh to give me, and at the end of the day if this fantasy was ever fulfilled I would be depressed to the point of contemplating suicide.
I realized while writing this that for married people to commit adultery it must be utterly depressing for them. Their flesh promises fulfillment and yet adultery always promotes depression. Same way for fornication (Premarital sex). The flesh promises that it will be fulfilling but once the relationship is over everyone on both sides are hurt and depressed. I see it over and over and over again. Men and women look at porn because their flesh tells them that porn will satisfy them, but once they are done all they filled with is depression.
The Lord woke me up this morning with this thought “if my sexual fantasy of a haram was fulfilled I would be depressed to the point of contemplating suicide.” Sexual sin is tantalizing, until you take part, then it is depressing. Praise the Lord for internalizing that thought in me now.
March 30, 2018
The Lord has been really good to show me some things this week. Time after time God has shown me some of the root issues of my porn addiction. God has shown me how my flesh uses lust, fear, envy, covetousness, shallow relationships, secrets, pain and other issues to keep me addicted to porn, and in God’s grace God has allowed me to find those root issues and dig them out, and deal with them.
For over a year, maybe even two years I have suspected that there is a pride issue in my life that my flesh was using to keep tempting me with porn. Well the Lord has finally shown me where that pride issue was hiding, and why it was so hard to find in my life. You can read about it here
I am grateful to God for helping me find this root and I look forward to spending the next few weeks pulling it up.
My story is not a story of a battle with pornography but a war with many battles. A war with pornography is a war with your flesh, the devil, the world, and far too many Christians. A war with pornography will involve your enemies using the weapons of lust, fear, confusion, pride, shame, and many other things against you. But greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. But you must make war God’s way if you want to win.