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A Christian’s Experience of Porn Addiction

by Anonymous

Hi. I’m a male Christian uni student, and I have struggled with an addiction to pornography since I was 12. Amidst increased calls for PornHub to be taken down, and for its executives to be punished, I feel that now is a good time to share an honest look in to my experience with pornography, and talk about its negative impacts on my life, as well as the porn industry’s horrific role in exploitation. I’ve chosen to write this anonymously because porn addiction is obviously a very personal thing, and it’s something I’m still dealing with. But I still want to speak about this part of life which seems to be a very common experience among my peers, yet one which is never talked about.

To those reading this who frequently watch porn but wouldn’t say that they are addicted, I urge you to genuinely attempt to not watch porn for just one week, and see how you fare. The road to recovery starts with the acknowledgment that you are addicted.

 

Porn & Me

I probably first experienced porn online by accident aged 11 or 12, and I soon became addicted. Some people may find this shocking, but for many people my age – especially men – this is a totally “normal” experience. The urge to watch pornography soon became an overpowering force in my life, and as a young teenager I had no idea of the effect that porn was having on either myself or the wider world, so I just continued to become more and more hooked. I grew up obsessing over what I saw, and it has really damaged me.

Over the years it has cultivated a frankly vile way in which I sometimes view women; the countless hours of pornography taken in by my developing brain left me with an invasive “objectification filter” which I struggle to turn off. Most of the time I don’t even notice when I’m thinking in that way, but sometimes I catch myself, and I’m rightfully shocked by the things that go through my head. Growing up, porn was practically my sex education, so I internalised an extremely unhealthy ideal of how sexual relationships look, so I partly put my self-worth in some vague notion of achieving “sexual success” (which, when paired with my then-nominal Christian faith, was a real tug of war – but we’ll get to that later).

Watching porn has the symptoms of any other addiction – I couldn’t focus, my thoughts would dwell on it all the time, and often I’d watch it even when every ounce in my body didn’t want to. My teenage years were spent addicted to the short, ultimately unsatisfying high that pornography gives. But of course, the high got less and less effective, so I moved on to more and more graphic material, if that were even possible. After watching something, I’d find it – and myself – absolutely repulsive, but I couldn’t stop. This was my experience for 7 years, and aspects of it still remain in my life now.

 

Porn & The World

There are a lot of good resources on how porn affects the wider world (e.g. https://fightthenewdrug.org/how-porn-fuels-sex-trafficking/) but essentially, the porn industry is a huge contributor to human trafficking, sex slavery, abuse, rape, exploitation, violent crime, and the list goes on. The primary victims of these awful things are young, vulnerable women and girls, often refugees. The global scale of these crimes is truly shocking: there are estimated to be about 27 million human trafficking victims, roughly 22% of whom (~6 million) are trafficked for sex acts. Let that sink in – the number of sex trafficking victims right now is more than the entire population of Denmark, each one of them a real individual who is living in a nightmare. The money made from sex trafficking alone is estimated to be around $100 billion each year, a figure which is similar to the annual revenue of Google. It is so easy to detach ourselves from these effects when watching porn, but when we view material on websites such as PornHub, the hard truth is that we are indirectly providing funding for people who will carry out these disgusting acts, and are giving them a way to profit from them. And yet, this is so seldom talked about. My explanation for this silence is that porn addiction is so widespread, and websites like PornHub are such readily available resources by which to feed the addiction, that the sheer convenience of them “outweighs” the human cost paid by some girls that you or I will never meet. It’s a heartbreaking and vulgar truth.

My porn addiction so controlled me that I knew the brutal side effects of what I was viewing, and yet I still chose to look at it, and contribute to this industry which utterly destroys so many lives.

 

Porn & My Faith

As I mentioned, I am a Christian, so I call my porn addiction “sin”, which basically means to not meet God’s perfect standard of goodness. I take great joy in the fact that my identity as a child of God is not achieved by being the best person I possibly can be, and that I absolutely don’t have to be “sinless” in order to gain it – that’s the reason Jesus is so great! However, in my late teens, as I grew to have a genuine faith I started to realise that I can’t serve two gods. I can’t live my life in submission to both God, and the “god” of pornography. They want different things from me, they have different plans for me; one has a tight death grip, the other a warm embrace. That moment was the start of an internal battle which continues to this day.

I’d love to end this by telling you that I fully recovered from my porn addiction and that the psychological scars are all gone, but that is not yet the case. I am doing much, much better than I was at the height of my addiction in my mid-teenage years, but addiction to porn is so difficult to shake off permanently. It grows back and chokes like a weed. Moreover, as I mentioned before, the side effects of being exposed to so much pornography at such a young age are far from gone. My thoughts are still plagued with lust and objectification. What I can say for sure is that little by little, God is changing me and slowly giving me the strength to overcome this addiction. Christians call this process “sanctification”. Healing the brokenness of my nature is a lifetime’s work, let alone healing the brokenness of a world which allows and even promotes so much evil.

I hope these reflections were helpful, and for some people reading this, maybe even made you recognise something in yourself.

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Opinions expressed are those of the author, not of Just Love Oxford. Just Love Oxford is not responsible for the content of external links.

1 thought on “A Christian’s Experience of Porn Addiction

  1. This was amazing to read. Thank you for speaking out about this!! I pray God continues to keep you and guide you through it.

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