Q: I laid here crying as I typed up my entire story in detail of how porn
and its deadly addiction has been trying to ruin my life, yet as I
write I just feel like I am rehearsing the issue, causing me to dwell
even more on it.  What I need to know is what is the root of this issue
and how do I kill it from the root, because this is not just affecting
this area of my life it’s affecting me, period. I do not like porn, I
hate everything about it, I have used it as a way of relieving my body
all in the name of trying to remain a virgin until marriage.  Well I
just got married and now that my husband is away the same spirit is
attacking me. I need to know what the root is. I know part the root or
most of it is selfishness but how do I get rid of it? Please help! In
the meantime, I will just continue to seek God about it. And thank you
for creating this website. It has helped me so much. I do not hate
myself like I used to now that I know I’m not alone..not that I like
to see anyone else struggle with this. God bless you all.—Beloved

A:  Hey Beloved.  Thanks for sharing this.  In the midst of your struggles, whether you realize it or not, there were some things in here that were quite profound:

1) That you acknowledge that porn is not something that can be compartmentalized.  If it gets into one area of your life, it bleeds over into so many others.

2) That you used it as a way to remain “physically untouched” until marriage and yet it’s a spirit that is attacking you even now that you are having sex (which means sex ain’t just about what is being done to you physically).

3) That you are concerned with what’s causing the “illness” just as much (if not more) than the symptoms themselves.  I, too, am a firm believer that what we see as the result of sin, is symptomatic and treating that doesn’t really address the “illness” itself (which is why so many people never get fully free from their vices).

All of that said, I don’t really have a blanket answer for you, especially since I don’t know your history, but because I hear the desperation in your voice, I am going to do what I can to ease some of the stress.

Just today, I read an article (“Pornography in Marriage 101”) on pornography as it relates to marriage.  One of the things that it said was that “porn not only puts a damper on one’s marital sex life, but also makes sex in general less exciting.  As evidence of this, consider that typical commercial pornography, in order to sell, has to be spiked with bizzare additives.  It can’t just be a normal, attractive couple having sex.  These additives commonly include activities that, in real life, would be impossible, painful or very uncomfortable (and not very sexual or exciting to those who have not acquired a taste for them)…The reason why the pornographer has to include these artificial additives is that his customers are no longer interested in REAL, natural sex due to unnatural effects of pornography on their tastes and preferences.  These customers are no longer able to fully enjoy a real sexual relationship, so they are forced to retreat further into a world of fantasy in order to feel the thrill they crave.”

You know, I’m not (yet) married, but I have battled with porn and like you, while we may be at different stages, I am also on the road to sexual wholeness.  I am going to be honest with you, I don’t think you hate porn…not yet, anyway.  I think you want to hate it.  Just by the very defintion of hate, if you had an “extreme aversion” to it, then it wouldn’t be something that you partook in.

Now, like I said in the previous blog post, I think after you get the physical release from it, you probably do hate it, but I am bringing up the differences, just because I think that by getting really honest with where you are, it will be the first step into really getting to the root of this stronghold and your attraction to it.

Recently, I read an article—actually a book review—on a book entitled, “Sex in Crisis: The New Sexual Revolution and the Future of American Politics”.  The subtitle to the review was “How evangelicals took the fun out of sex”.  A girlfriend of mine sent it to me irritated by what it had to say, and while there were many points that indeed didn’t sit well with me, the subtitle I agreed with.  I also think the Church has been so focused on the “wrong” and the “bad” of sexuality that they have lost sight of the good.  SEX IS A GOOD THING…and so was your virginity.

But because we are so “natural-minded”…so “physically-consequenced”…so “tangible”, unfortunately it seems that we are still far too preoccupied with sex from a physical place and not nearly concerned enough about the importance of it spiritually and emotionally.  I love how the Message Version of I Corinthians 6:16-17 addresses this issue:

“There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, ‘The two become one’. Since we want to become spiritually
one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids
commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of
sex that can never ‘become one’.”

The Enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy, right? (John 10:10)  It is obvious that he is threatened by the purity of anything.  He saw your commitment to abstinence until marriage and since he couldn’t get you to “break” physically, he decided to attack your mind/spirit instead.  Rather than having physical sex with someone else, you had mental sex with others instead.  And now, it’s coming to haunt you…but it doesn’t have to be that way forever.

My recommendation(s)?

1) Tell your husband about your struggle with porn (if you haven’t already).  I know it’s probably easier said than done, but look again at what the Word says about sex…we MUST pursue the kind that solidifies commitment and intimacy.  In a marital union, you should be able to feel close, accepted, wanted and loved, whether it’s in or outside of the bedroom.  One thing about porn is that it shows that you can be sexually aroused by people you don’t even know.  Sex with your husband is supposed to be about SO MUCH MORE than that.  Sharing your physical self is only one part…and on many levels, just a small part of what marital sex is all about.  For him to really and truly enjoy having sex with you, let him get to know you—the good, bad and the ugly.  That’s what develops trust and when you can trust someone, you can really give yourself to them…you can truly become one.

2) Get some accountability when he’s out of town/away.  Most experts will tell you that one of the biggest strongholds of pornography is that it encourages you to isolate yourself.  I love that so many people love coming to this site, but the truth is, we can only reach out when you do.  You need some people who are committed to your sobriety and who will check in on you, even and especially when you “drop off”.  REAL FRIENDS are not going to be caught up in judging you, but supporting you.

3) For every time you are tempted to think about or look at porn, as a married woman, I encourage you to spend some time in the Song of Solomon. Oh, there are a ton of books, tapes, films, sermons, etc. that I think would help as well (everyone in the free world knows that I am a fan of “Sacred Sex” by Tim Alan Gardner), but I think nothing has the power like the Word and Song of Solomon shows us just what committed intimacy is supposed to be like—physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

4) Invest in “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers.  IT IS EXCELLENT and it helps show how childhood/abuse/past habits really do make up a lot of who we are now, but at the same time, how godly love can totally redeem us.  You said that you are concerned with the “root”.  This book helped expose a lot of those issues for me.

5) BE ANXIOUS FOR NOTHING. (Philippians 4:6)  Girl, I got freed up this year on a whole ‘nother level when the Holy Spirit revealed to me that when the Word says “NOTHING”, God meant it…that “nothing” also included my healing, even from sexual issues.  The truth (John 8:32) is that you didn’t get into this all by yourself…the Enemy had a hand in it.  You can’t pull yourself out alone, either.  You most certainly need your Heavenly Father…and the priest of your home…they both love you and I believe are committed to loving you THROUGH this.  What does the rest of Philippians 4:6 say about treating our anxiety?  That we should take it to prayer and with THANKSGIVING make our requests known.  Instead of focusing so much on porn, thank God for giving you a heart of conviction, a husband who loves you, a website to even talk about these issues with and a desire to change.  You actually have more in your favor than you might think.

Like I said, I know this can’t “change it all overnight”, but I do hope that something in this blog was able to calm your spirit.  You want to change and that’s always what’s most important.

Keep us posted.