Let me briefly share my experience with porn. I know what it’s like to be addicted. I know what it’s like to abstain. I know what it’s like to be free.
My first memory of porn was when I was probably 6 or 7 when the neighborhood kids found a stash. I already knew that my parents considered it forbidden, and it was fascinating. By the time I was a teenager, my religious upbringing and my church leaders convinced me that I was addicted to porn.
I spent many painful, sometimes suicidal, years of the ups and downs of acting in and acting out. I pled with God to forgive me for my perversion and to deliver me from it. I would get my hopes up only to have them dashed. Over and over the cycle continued.
I eventually learned to manage my behavior and had several years of sobriety, but deep down I was ashamed to be an addict. I couldn’t publicly admit that I was an addict, and my shame isolated me.
I had learned to manage my behavior with the help of books like Out of the Shadows by Patrick Carnes which taught me to recognize the root of my sexual addiction: shame and fear.
As I patiently uprooted the causes of self-shaming and fear, I came to realize that all those years I had believed that I was defective for being attracted to porn, but the truth was that my shame for being defective made my attraction to porn unmanageable and pathological. Let me repeat that. My shame for being attracted to porn made my attraction to porn a problem.
That was a revelation and a deliverance.
Once I accepted that I had never been defective, that my addiction was only a vicious cycle caused by my shame for being addicted, I began to notice all the messages I was getting from every direction that caused my shame. I refused to accept the shame the world wanted to put on me, and I was healed.
I hope this will shed light on some of the reasons that I try to calm the moral panic that surrounds porn. In my experience, panic and fear is a large part of the problem.
Spreading fear hurts people.