They say that the average first exposure to pornography is somewhere around your early teens, I was eight. My friends and I stood around, as we always did at recess, and talked. A boy in our class walked up and asked us if we wanted to see something cool, and before the words “sure” even left our mouths our classmate pulled out a magazine clip of a naked woman from his father’s Playboy.
A couple years later I attended a sleepover birthday party with several guy friends of mine. His parents were home, but they didn’t care what we did. This led to us watching several hours’ worth of porn together on Cinemax. I was in fifth grade.
As a sixth grade another classmate of mine who lived just up the street from me invited me over to play army with him. As we compiled our toy guns together in his room he decided he wanted to show me one of his prized possessions. Opening up a lock-box he had, he pulled out a picture of a naked woman he had gotten from another friend of his.
None of these events in and of themselves led me to pornography use. There was something I liked about seeing these images, but even from the age of eight I knew there was something wrong about what I was looking at. That feeling of wrongness was, for a while, good enough to keep me from seeking out pornography. That is, until the day my parents divorced.
As a kid all I really remember about my parents’ divorce is that it crushed my family, and my dad especially. He didn’t really eat while the whole thing was happening. Depression had taken quite a toll on him. With him suffering the way he was I felt that it was up to me, the next oldest in the house, to take care of what needed to be done. I took care of the house and my siblings, but I didn’t really have anyone taking care of me.
Not long after the divorce was finalized we attended counseling sessions at a church, only there wasn’t really a session for my age group. I was too old for the kids group and too young for the adult group. I really could have used that counseling. Instead of talking out what had happened, I kept it inside. It’s true what they say about emotions, the more you bottle up what you feel, the more it eats away at you. This was quite true for me. Instead of trying to find someone to talk to, I looked for other ways to deal with my pain. It was at this point in my life that I turned to pornography.
For a long time pornography was my escape. When I was stressed, or sad I could turn to pornography, tune out and let the rush of endorphins wash out the painful memories of reality I had stored away. Eventually, I came to accept what had happened. I was done feeling sorry for myself, and I was ready to grow from my life’s experiences, so I did, but I couldn’t break my porn viewing habit.
It was ironic. Instead of finding freedom in pornography, I became a slave to it. Tried as I might I just couldn’t break free of it. I watched, felt guilty, decided I would finally stop, and then watch it again. This cycle continued on all throughout high school. When I finally graduated and moved states for college I decided that once and for all I would put a stop to pornography. It took a lot of work, and a lot of passwords, but I was able to almost completely shut off the habit.
Is it still a fight? Yes, with pornography you must always stay vigilant. The moment you don’t could be the moment you fall back into the cycle of addiction. That being said, pornography addiction is conquerable. Make no mistake, pornography is not an escape. Yes, it may help you forget about the troubles of your life for a moment, but the guilt and baggage porn traps you is in no way freeing. The reality is, it’s better to deal with the bad in your life than it is to turn to porn and make an attempted escape. Stay way, and choose to be free of it before it ever enslaves you.
It Gets Better