...currently writing from: Chester, Virginia
It’s amazing how much sexuality has pervaded our world.
Everywhere you go, you see advertisements of barely clothed men and women, showing off their bodies to attract viewers. TV shows such as Game of Thrones and True Blood are famously known for having huge amounts of nudity, mostly female. Even movies such as The Wolf of Wall Street are excessive in the amount of sex and nudity they show on screen, and when they are not showing either one they still tend to promote sex through their dialogue and jokes, often encouraging characters to have as much sex as possible.
However, nowhere is sexuality more exploited than through pornographic films and images found on the Internet. I know this because I was once a slave to it.
I remember when I was twelve years old, I was sitting in my living room on the computer looking at YouTube videos. As I browsed through, I stumbled upon a video of two young women kissing. My parents were out of the room at the moment, so in my curiosity I seized a chance to view it. I must admit that the sight of it aroused me. Even at that young age, I enjoyed seeing it.
Little did I know that this was only a first step towards years of addiction to pornography.
From there I begun to look up more videos like that and began viewing pictures of naked women, eventually leading me to different pornographic websites. I would stay at home by myself while my parents went out somewhere. I remember my mom being worried that I wasn’t being sociable, but I didn’t care. All I wanted to do was stay at home and watch porn all day. Even when I was fifteen years old I would stay home on days when I wasn’t volunteering at my YMCA and do nothing but view pornography. I wouldn’t stay with my dad on the weekends - I would stay at my home alone and stay up late doing nothing but watching it. If I sound excessive in driving my point, it’s because the life I was living was filled with nothing but excess of pornography.
Things got worse when I got my own laptop. I remember thinking, “I can watch porn without having any risks of getting caught!” But once I moved to Virginia when I was sixteen, I started to grow bored of “normal” pornography. It didn’t do anything for me anymore. And that was when I began to delve into more graphic content - content I wish I could go back in time and keep myself from watching. While I won’t go into graphic detail about what I watched, I will say that it made me feel like a monster.
I felt so evil, so guilty, so wrong. But I didn’t want to stop. I wanted more and more of that high that I got when I watched pornography.
Eventually, though, I realized that I couldn’t live like that anymore.
About seven months after we first moved to Virginia, I finally started going to church again. As I went, I became more committed to following Jesus Christ. I started reading my Bible more, praying a lot, and attending more church oriented events.
But that didn’t stop my pornography addiction. I still struggled with it, still viewed it often. I couldn’t go more than a week without it. Eventually I just decided to give up, hoping that one day God would eventually lift the curse from me. It wasn’t until I met my wife and began dating her that I began to force myself from viewing pornography. Even then, it still took a long time, and I made bad decisions about how I handled it.
I lied to her, kept the truth from her. However, it finally got to a point where, if I didn’t stop, I would have lost her. So I put all my effort into it, not backing down, praying that I could beat it.
Eventually I was delivered from viewing pornography once and for all. I was 19. After seven years, I was free of my addiction.
The problem doesn’t end once you stop viewing pornography. After two years free from the chains of lust and porn, I still struggle with the after effects of both.
The worst thing was that: because I began viewing it from an early age, it warped my understanding of what sex is. Pornography doesn’t teach that sex is an intimate, loving action between a husband and wife, nor does it teach that sex is a sign of commitment and love for one another. It teaches you that it is loud, rough, and self-satisfying; that it is meant to bring you satisfaction, only you and no one else. Not only that, but it also teaches you that you have to do it as much as you can with as many people as you can in order to be happy. While I don’t believe this, when you grow up viewing pornography on a regular basis, you’re not going to know anything different. I didn’t know the difference until I got married.
Another thing that porn does is that it teaches you that in order to be sexy or to “get laid,” you have to look a certain way or do certain things. If you’re a man, you have to be ripped and be “big enough.” This was a struggle for me, as I never felt like I was, which lowered my self-esteem and my image of myself for years.
HOWEVER, THE WORST WAY PORN DECEIVES YOU IS BY THE WAY IT PORTRAYS WOMEN.
Women in porn are only meant to be seen as objects that should look perfect. Their body parts should look a certain way and they should do certain things in order to please a man. Not only does this make women feel more self-conscious than they already do, but it also warps men’s perspectives on what a woman should look like or act like. I struggled with this for years, only wanting women that looked like the women I saw in pornography. Thank God I don’t feel that way anymore.
However, the biggest thing that one struggles with after viewing pornography for so long is the temptation to fall back into your old ways - to lust after women. I can’t tell you how many times since I met my wife that I have been tempted to look at other women with lust. This is a struggle I deal with on a daily basis.
But THANK GOD for his power and his might! Without him, I wouldn’t have the power to say no to my temptations. It is because of Him that I am able to stay away from my old ways and not let lust take over me.
The truth is that I still bear the scars of pornography. I still struggle with lust and temptation on a regular basis. I am trying to live a life that is pleasing to God, and in a society that tells you to chase after your desires and plasters sex on every billboard and movie screen, that is not something that is easy to accomplish.
However, I’m glad that I am no longer where I was. I no longer think of sex as something that is meant for only satisfying myself or to get that “high” that I used to long for. Now I see it as something that is a sign of intimacy and love between a husband and wife, and have moved away from the selfish, lustful actions of my youth.
I have decided to remain faithful to one woman - my beautiful wife, who has always been by my side, even when I’ve made the wrong decisions, and has always encouraged me to do the right thing.
I may have those scars from my past, but the good news is that I no longer have to worry about them affecting my future.
- Shane Beacham.
FOR MORE INFO ON PORNOGRAPHY AND HOW IT EFFECTS THE BRAIN, RELATIONSHIPS, AND SOCIETY, CHECK OUT: FIGHT THE NEW DRUG.