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