Pornography and Me: Why I Have it the Worst of All

Let’s just make a few things perfectly clear.  I believe that:

  • Sexual acts outside of marriage are sinful and destructive.
  • Pornography harms everyone involved, both directly and indirectly.
  • Further, participation in pornography degrades spirituality, relationships, and families.  I believe this whole-heartedly and without exception.

Pornography has been brought to the top of the list of concerns surrounding the health and stability of LDS individuals and families.  As somebody who is trying to create a family of my own in the relatively near future, I am full of fear over this issue.  I have basically resigned myself to the fact that my husband is going to have some kind of struggle with this.  If you’re my age, female, and agree that pornography is destructive, you are either full of fear as well, or you are out of touch with reality.

You may feel like my last statement implied that I think that pornography is a male problem.  I recently had a conversation with a teenage girl who scoffed at the idea of it being possible for women to become porn addicts.  Well, in case you didn’t know, girls get addicted to porn too.  Sometimes it’s romance novels or COSMO or 50 Shades of Sin (or whatever it’s called) and sometimes it’s the same stuff as the boys are watching.  My point is that it happens.  We do women who struggle with this a huge disservice by thinking of it as something only men deal with.  It can be extremely isolating to be a female and dealing with this.  Men are supposed to have this problem (because they get turned on), but women are supposed to be pure and virtuous and disinterested in sex until just the right moment (and they don’t get turned on…that’s a boy thing).  In all candidness, in case you are wondering, I don’t have a porn issue.  But that’s not because I’m full of goodness and purity, it’s because I work to be never allow myself to take even the very first step of indulgence.  If you are reading this and are a female who struggles with any kind of sex addiction issue, know that I have a world of compassion for you.

That being said, statistically, I have more cause to worry about my future spouse having this issue than my male counterparts do.  And more cause to worry than just about anyone else.

The title of this post is misleading.  When I say that “I” have it worst of all, what I mean is that those of us in my position have it worst of all.  So what’s my position?

Let’s take a look at why pornography has become such a major issue.  It starts with an “I” and ends with an “nternet”.

The internet has made pornography easily accessible to everybody.  If you want it, you’ll get it.  If your 10 year old son wants to know more about what ladies look like naked, he’s going to find out.  Sadly, he’s probably going to find out even if he doesn’t really want to know.

We have tools to try and minimize our families exposures to the indecent- filters, net-nannies, rating systems, etc.  These tools are useful and I’m glad they exist, but in my case they were too late.

I was 6 when we got a computer.  I was 10 when we got the internet.  I was 12 when I started using AIM and posting on message boards.  I was 16 when I started using MySpace.  The internet came through it’s adolescence right at the same time I came through mine.

There are three periods in the history of pornography.  The first- porn without the internet.  The last- a time of high awareness of internet pornography and it’s dangers.

The middle?  The middle was when porn was widely available, but nobody had started talking about it yet.  This was when I was about 13.  Everybody in my general age group (mid-twenties) was coming into the world of sexuality right as porn was most available to them.

And so when they were 10, or 12, or 14, they met porn for the first time.  They caught a glimpse on a computer at a friends house, or at school, or at home, or at the library, and it was enough to have them hooked.  Right as their bodies were introducing them to the wild world of hormones, the evil craftiness of men was introducing them the wild world of fantasy that would  always, always leave them wanting.

So now, a decade later, we have conference talks and support groups and specialists.  But I feel like my men, the men I’m supposed to fall in love with, the men I’m supposed to marry, the men who are supposed to one day want me and only me, have so deceitfully and sneakily been ravaged. I don’t know how anyone could have managed to escape it.

I know lots of good men who struggle a lot and I don’t know a single good man who doesn’t struggle at least a little bit.  If you are dealing with this, my heart really goes out to you.  I plead with you to seek after your Savior and allow him to build you up.  I know how hard it is but there is hope.  Even if you have made 100 failed attempts to change, there is hope.  You are loved and you and wonderful…and there is hope.

My tone may be a little bit pessimistic, but I write for change, and this is one thing that needs change.  And I have no idea how to bring that change about.  I just want to be less afraid.

Please, offer up your advice, your resolutions, your words of encouragement, because I feel absolutely helpless.


A few resources:

Fight The New Drug, a youth-focused, non-religious anti-pornography campaign

Overcoming Pornography, an LDS resource for trying to prevent and overcome addictions

/r/PornFree, a very candid message board full of people who are succeeding 

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9 thoughts on “Pornography and Me: Why I Have it the Worst of All

  1. Rachel VW says:

    Juliet, you make a lot of wonderful points here. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to discuss pornography in the context of dating. I sometimes think that Mormon culture has created a major fear of porn that drives addicts to an even deeper level of shame (which breeds further addiction). I try to make it clear to my husband that if there ever is an issue I will try not to shame him and run for the hills. Easier said than done, I’m sure. I hope to set up the same standard for my sons. I feel that if we can talk about it openly it is less likely to become a major problem.

  2. Kevin Carpenter says:

    Because you and I talk a lot, I understand why you feel you have it “worst of all.” However, you cut your post short before fully explaining why you have it worse than the men who have been “so deceitfully and sneakily been ravaged.” I think it would do your readers good if you elaborated more about why you have it so bad. Otherwise, fantastic post! I especially loved the connection between the adolescence of the internet and the adolescence of our generation.

  3. Marc B says:

    Juliet, I am not totally on board with the idea that our generation has had it worst than the current in this regard. I feel like I was warned, and those conference talks and support groups existed to a large extent then as they do now. Perhaps the extent of the warnings and support is greater now, but it feels like they became more prevalent at the same rate the problem became more prevalent. I remember being 12 and President Hinkley making a permanent impact on me when he said:

    “I plead with you boys tonight to keep yourselves free from the stains of the world. You must not indulge in sleazy talk at school. You must not tell sultry jokes. You must not fool around with the Internet to find pornographic material. You must not dial a long-distance telephone number to listen to filth. You must not rent videos with pornography of any kind. This salacious stuff simply is not for you. Stay away from pornography as you would avoid a serious disease. It is as destructive. It can become habitual, and those who indulge in it get so they cannot leave it alone. It is addictive.

    “It is a five-billion-dollar business for those who produce it. They make it as titillating and attractive as they know how. It seduces and destroys its victims. It is everywhere. It is all about us. I plead with you young men not to get involved in its use. You simply cannot afford to.

    “The girl you marry is worthy of a husband whose life has not been tainted by this ugly and corrosive material.”

    I don’t know that he could have been more plain spoken (part of the reason I miss him)

    That is my experience, I am just one data point of opinion.

  4. Feminist Rag says:

    Hi there, great post. I would say change comes with education and honest conversation. That is what will change hearts and minds, this stuff needs to be talked about openly. I would love to see anti-pornography material taught in sex education courses in junior and senior high schools. When I was in school, my sex “education” consisted of fear-mongering us students about STD’s, and we had to pick one STD and do a report about it. That is an education fail. I would love to have learned about Gail Dines’ work (made teen-accessible in language and presentation) in these classes.

  5. Snakes says:

    Hi there,
    I don’t know if the author reads through all the comments but I absolutely have to respond to a few things, and I’m signing up just to do so. The very first portion where the author mentions any woman who is not terrified their husband is going to be a massive porn addict is disconnected with reality. I’m really taken aback by that. You plead for men to be strong but have absolutely no hope in any of them. Perhaps you don’t actually feel this way but your wording indefinitely says otherwise. Also, your reflection on how women get addicted…women don’t get turned on? I’m a dude, I understand that, but that’s still not true. Not to the same extent for sure, but if you don’t think during intercourse women orgasm then there’s not much waiting for you there at least. Of course women get ‘turned on’, it definitely takes more effort however, but pornography is capable of that. If you don’t, I have to exclaim you are not representative of the whole or majority woman populace. Lastly, out of pure curiosity, you have more fear of your future spouse becoming addicted than your male counterparts. Does that mean you’re like… shooting to marry people older or younger than you? I’m definitely missing the point here.

    • First, thanks for your thoughts. I write about things that I am trying to work through and sort out mentally and emotionally. I need help in doing this! I need people to call to my attention the flaws in my thinking, or at least the flaws in the way I express that thinking. This is a very emotionally charged issue for me, so my disposition has never been the most logical or analytical. Also, I have always tended to err on the side of extremes in my thinking, and I think that you are really calling me out on that here. (Bravo.).

      Let me address a few things: “You plead for men to be strong but have absolutely no hope in any of them.” As a whole, I have less hope than I would like. But I have a world of hope in individuals. I guess maybe I have objectified men a little bit as a whole? It takes me getting to know them as an actual human to have faith in them? I don’t know.

      About women not getting turned on, I think you may have misunderstood my tone. I was being sarcastic, because women obviously do get turned on. I was mocking the attitude in the LDS culture that sort of suggests that women aren’t sexual beings. Does that clear anything up? Maybe I am still off base?

      No, I’m not shooting to marry someone older or younger than me. (Okay, I am a bit of a cradle robber but that’s a whole different post).

      Again, thanks for your response. I hope you check back and see this.

  6. JL says:

    I am encouraged by your thoughts, and wish that more people your age were so in touch with the dangers. I understand your concern too! It doesn’t matter whether or not you ACTUALLY have it worst of all, because if you don’t you are pretty close to. On the up side, there is more awareness and help these days and a little less stigma. I am dealing with this in my 40 and those of us in the same boat are dealing with it after 20, 30, 40 years of marriage and we are shattered! Our SA men are from a generation where you don’t speak up, you stay strong, and on top of that the damage has been there so long that it is mind blowingly difficult to “fix”. They grew up in an era where porn was still images in a magazine that came out once a month and you had to know one to steal a peek once in a while. It may not have affected their young brains as much, but when internet porn came on the scene this generation were already grown up but did not have the warnings that you have today, so they too are in a bad space 😦 … basically any young male who ha access to internet porn now and then is in trouble if they are living a life that protects them from it….

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