The first pornographic video I ever saw was 3 minutes and 23 seconds long. Less than five minutes earlier, I was a typical thirteen year old girl, just looking for information for school. That search led me right into hardcore pornography. I had never searched for inappropriate terms. I didn’t even know pornography existed. By the end of that video, my entire world turned on its head.
I clicked on the video and it led me to the website, and right to a streaming video feed. No warnings. No age verification. Just porn– free, uncensored, violent, and in abundance.
So began four years of an escalating problem with pornography. At first, it was fun- just a hobby. By my senior year of high school, I was spending nearly five hours a day on the computer specifically for sexual purposes, and between 8-10 hours indulging in lust of some sort. It was ruining my life.
Try as I did, I could never seem to get a handle on my problem. No matter how much I tried to stop, no matter how much my grades suffered, or how much sleep I lost, I kept going back to it. I knew I needed help, but wasn’t sure where to go. My church and family only talked about sex enough to tell me that I shouldn’t have it or talk about it until I’m married. The resources online were all geared toward men. My story is unique, in that I’m a woman.
So, I began to pray that I would get caught. I knew I needed help, but I didn’t know who to ask and didn’t know how to start that conversation. If I get caught, I thought, then someone else has to start the conversation.
That moment came in college. Just weeks into my first semester, I was summoned to the dean’s office. The dean of women stood across from me, with my internet history report between us and said, “We know this wasn’t you. Women just don’t have this problem.” Confused and hopeless, I went back to my dorm room, and gave up. I thought there had to be something very wrong with me.
I felt that the only way to live with this was to become an adult entertainer. Within days, I sent my pictures to a complete stranger. A seventeen-year-old Christian girl, grew up in church, at a Christian college, becoming someone else’s pornography. Those pictures are the biggest regret of my life.
I’ve often thought about that day in the dean’s office, and the road that led me there. On that road, I lost who I was. The joy of childhood had been replaced by emptiness. Lying and manipulating became a way of life- a way to protect my secret. I drifted so far from my family and so far from the Truth I had known growing up.
Less than four years after I first saw pornography, I was someone’s pornography. It’s not that my family didn’t try. I pushed them away. I had pushed God away too. I convinced myself that I could break free on my own, and with every failure, I got more and more frustrated. I was embarrassed, ashamed, and angry. I thought pornography was harmless. I was wrong.
It was a merciless hunter, and had robbed me of my identity as a woman, my ability to love, and my ability to choose. Later in this series, I’ll finish my story and share how God used women in my life to lead me out.
Changing My Life…Again
The life of a porn addict is one of guilt, shame, and darkness. In my struggle I not only felt the shame of addiction, but the shame of being a Christian addicted to pornography. Beyond that, I was a woman addicted to pornography. As much as I thought I was alone, I wasn’t. About one in every five Christian women watches pornography.
No one is exempt. I receive e-mails from young women, exposed as young as 5. They’re pastor’s kids, missionary kids, worship leaders- “good Christian girls” with a deep dark secret. That secret reveals this one truth- pornography addiction is no respecter of persons.
I am so grateful for Jessica’s willingness to join the Gatekeepers series and share with us. Her testimony shows us the closeness of this danger – regardless of who we are. But with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can become wise protectors of our families. Not fearful…wise.