One of the greatest lies that porn teaches us is that we are in control and that we don’t need anyone else to find satisfaction in life. We reason with ourselves: “I can find instantaneous comfort and relief from the click of a mouse or a swipe on my phone.” Sex addiction teaches us that we don’t need to do the work of investing in deep meaningful relationships when we can have the false shallow ones for free. We are entrapped into thinking that we can’t live without connecting to something or someone who doesn’t even know our names.
This was the lie I believed for 12 years of my life. As an adolescent, I had few friends. And thinking back, some of the best friends I had also struggled with the same stuff I stayed up late at night watching. My “real” friends were the websites and videos I watched when no one else was around. This was (what I thought) would really bring me calm and peace from loneliness, insecurity, anxiety, and fear. Porn caused me to turn not to people who really cared about me but to images and scenarios of what I “thought” was love and intimacy.
For someone stuck in a sexual addiction, maintaining shallow relationships is the only option.
Why? Because pornography causes a person to treat people only as objects, not as real flesh and blood human beings with feelings, emotions, and most importantly: a purpose in life. This sense of objectifying carries over into the relationships in our own lives. It causes us to view people through the lens of what we can TAKE from them, not what we can GIVE to them. The bi-product: Shallow relationships with people where we cannot be honest and come out of the dark places.
I’m thankful that for the last 4 years I no longer live that kind of life. I was tired of living a meaningless life that was full of lies and one where I was afraid of letting people get too close. Because once upon a time, I believed if they knew the real me, they would be disgusted.
Being open has helped me to develop deeper relationships because I was able to find safe people and safe places to be honest about my addiction. I was able to begin to understand that real life is lived in the light. Real relationships with people – while not always perfect – are possible to have and cherish in life. When you take the plunge to share your dirty laundry with people who also have their own dirty laundry, then no one can point fingers.
Do you long for deeper relationships with flesh and blood people, not just the artificial ones on your computer screen? Then you must be willing not just to share your story with people, but to open your life to people. As long as we stay closed off and unwilling to allow the light to shine on our lives (no matter what people might see) we will truly be alone.
I want to encourage you to get a hold Craig Gross’ new book, called Open. It details the incredible importance of having accountability in our own lives and the transformation that really takes places when we open our lives to people.