The following blog is from a parent friend who asked that I post her story anonymously.
When I was just a little girl—maybe five or six years old—I was spending the night at my friend Jenny’s house. Jenny had a brother that was a few years older than we were, and after we all went to bed, her brother, Jake, came in and woke us up. We went into one of the rooms in the house with him, and he closed and locked the door and then showed us the magazines. It seemed like there were mountains and mountains of them, and they were filled with page after page of naked women. Some of them were just posing alone, but others were touching themselves and some were with naked men. From then on, when I went to Jenny’s house, we looked at the magazines—often there were new or different ones that we could find. One time, we watched while Jake masturbated to a magazine. I remember being frightened and curious about all of it.
A few years later, when I was ten or eleven, I was flipping through the channels at my grandparents’ home, when I discovered a channel that had people having sex on it. When my grandparents went to bed, I would sneak out of my bedroom and watch pornography on their TV.
When I was a teenager, I learned that my stepfather was watching pornography. I woke up in the middle of the night and saw a glow coming from the family room; I watched, confused and upset, for about fifteen minutes in the background before hiding in my room. Later I uncovered his stash, and when my parents were gone, I would watch his videos.
By the time I went to college, I had my own secret addiction. Back then, no one would have thought that a woman could want to look at pornography, but I did, and I also tended to date guys who looked at pornography too. Porn use had become my norm, and it wasn’t until pornography ripped apart my first marriage that I started to seek help. By then, I had a one-year-old, and when she was napping, in my loneliness, I would watch pornography. The Internet was taking off, along with online pornography. The amount of free porn online was creating a real problem: I lost interest in my daughter, my job, my friendships… everything.
That’s when it dawned on me. It was as if I saw myself for the first time, and what a depressing picture it was. I was alone in almost every sense of the word; my only “friend” was pornography, and it was taking over my life and preventing me from being the mom I really wanted to be to my daughter. I thought about all of that early exposure I had to pornography, and I knew I didn’t want that for my daughter. I didn’t want her to be a twenty-seven-year-old divorced porn addict. I started seeing a counselor and talking about all of the interactions I had with pornography. I also ended up going to church—something I hadn’t done since I was a little girl. Mainly, I realized that on my own efforts, I would never be able to overcome my addiction without a Greater Power.
It’s been eight years, and I am now remarried and have two more little ones. With God’s help, and for the sake of my children, I am staying clean and sober. I never want to be responsible for exposing my children to pornography; I don’t want to be the one that opens the door to a sex addiction because of my use of pornography. What I discovered as a child is that what grownups do will undoubtedly spill over to impact children. If I continued using pornography, then my kids would certainly, at some point, be exposed, and I want a better life for my own kids than I had as a child.