On November 3rd, I saw a post with #NoPornNovember. Probably because I follow several awesome people and organizations. (Check out FTND if you haven’t before).
Seeing the post got me thinking:
- I hadn’t looked at porn in week, so I could still jump on the # and be supported by strangers also striving for a better/healthier life
- My relationship with porn is…. complicated
- But I kind of want to write about it, process it with others
- But how will people respond? It is a rather touchy / taboo subject to talk about openly
As you are reading this, I’ve clearly decided that I don’t much care how people respond. So here we go – the raw, unedited, jumbled thoughts.
We could go back to the early days when I first started looking at porn – what up puberty! – but I’m not sure that is what this post is about. Let’s just say I found it unexpectedly, it was confusing, but exciting, but also made me feel shame. There was something that made me know that I “shouldn’t” talk about it (maybe this had to with the church?) (not to mention that I was looking at guys rather than girls). So I just hid it the best I could – carrying my shame.
College was a mix of highs and lows. Eventually I told some guys about my story, my struggle with porn. Result – accountability, which was good and bad. Some unhealthy pressure at times, but self started programs to help myself (I went an entire semester with my laptop at a friend’s dorm so I wouldn’t have easy access).
Why does this matter?
I’m not sure. Adult life after college produced good and bad moments, revelations and confusions.
There have been times where myself and others have used/considered the word addiction for my relationship with porn. Maybe that is true. At times I find myself drawn to it for no reason. Usually I head to porn when I’m stressed, anxious, confused, tired – the triggering feelings most resources tell you to watch out for as you are more susceptible.
The counselor I’m seeing right now asked me if I go to porn to feel power, to be in control. My first response was no – I don’t feel powerful at all when I seek out porn. I feel weak and helpless. But maybe there is a control aspect. I can choose who/what I see. (even typing that makes me uncomfortable).
But part of me wants to reject the idea of addiction. Why? Because there are many time that I don’t need porn in my life. When porn is inaccessible, I don’t miss it. For weeks at a time when I worked at camp, or when I traveled overseas (3 months without porn). And even when I remain active and involved with my communities, there isn’t a sense of missing porn.
I’ve heard / read many times that the opposite of porn/addiction is connection. I can’t just get rid of porn – that leaves a void. I need something to take the place – both for time and whatever other “benefits” it was providing me.
This post was originally meant for November 3. Or 4. But I got busy. I got stressed. I got tired. I gave in and ran back to porn.
Maybe it’s because I do have an addiction.
Maybe I’ve just formed a habit.
Maybe I don’t deal well with stress.
Maybe I’m not letting myself connect well with others and engage with real issues.
Likely, it’s some combination of all of these things. Which makes it tough to write. I wanted to write a post about how I’ve stumbled before, but this time I am going strong. That’s not what my story looks like. I wanted to be the hope I was looking for.
I am me. The messiest version. Messy enough that I struggle to even let myself process with other people. (several friends had to encourage me to blog). So I move forward into the rest of #NoPornNovember. Clearly I didn’t make it the full month. But maybe success for me is being honest with where I’m at, and looking at porn just this once (or twice) during a month instead of any time that I feel like it.
Here’s to our feeble attempts, to brothers and sisters who call us to something more, to Holy Spirit renewing us each moment.