So, I had just broken up with a girlfriend and I was feeling incredibly vulnerable. I waited a few days until I couldn’t bear it any longer; I broke down and called her. I was showing her that I was willing to be the one to resolve it, however in that particular situation, a resolution never came. So I felt empty and incomplete due to the fact that I was now alone after such an immediate halt of the relationship. So what I did to escape wallowing in my own self-pity was…I left home. I decided to join a band, which incidentally happened to be based out of the state ofAlabama. I arrived inBirmingham around 11 p.m. then arrived at my new drummer’s house around midnight. I remember going to bed and lying there for a while thinking about my ex. I thought about how we used to be so close, so happy and so intimate. I was afraid that I would never find that special intimacy with anyone every again.

         The next night, in an effort to keep me entertained in a nearly desolate town, my new drummer took me to a local concert. I remember it was cold and I didn’t have a coat that night because I only took this really ugly green army-style jacket from Hollister and I didn’t want to make a bad first impression on anyone new I would possibly meet. I thought to myself, since this would be the first social event I would attend in thenew city, I would possibly meet a girl there. I thought; maybe I could meet a girl, not because I was lonely, but because I felt maybe, a girl could fill the empty void I had recently obtained since my relationship. I was desperate for any sort of connection with any sort of girl. That night, I was standing there outside alone, watching people walk by and look at me; I knew that they were wondering, “Who is this new guy here, and why is he alone looking at everyone very creepily?”

         I stood there, but I couldn’t work up the courage to go talk to anyone, so I walked off alone and sat on a bench off to the side. I was sitting there for about five minutes when I noticed a girl walk by. She had black hair and was wearing a thin black jacket. I wanted to go talk to her, but I was too afraid, so I just sat there and watched her from a distance. I started to think about scenarios that could gateway my way to talk to her. I sat there and tried to think, but still, I was too chicken to go talk to her. So I sat there, and just thought about her. I initially thought about her physical appearance, then I started imagining what she could possibly do for a living, then my mind started to wander. The unfamiliar desperate side of me started thinking sexual thoughts about her. I began to imagine what she looks like naked, then I started thinking about if she would be interested in someone like myself in a sexual manner. Then I started thinking about having sex with her. I sat there, half staring at her, and half zoned out into space. I snapped out of it when the next band started playing. I gathered my thoughts and realized that I was examining this girl as if she was simply a piece of meat. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t help but think about her in a negative sexual manner. It never really was like me to imagine someone so lustfully, but I couldn’t help it. Possibly because I had been exclusive with a girl most of the time prior, which always filled that void in me.

         The band was sounding great, so I went and stood near the front to get a better show experience. About twenty minutes into their set, the band took a break between songs for the guitarists to tune their guitars, and for the drummer to drink some water, while the vocalist started to speak. Initially, he modestly thanked everyone who had attended the show, then he took an immediate sincere turn. This guy said that he had something on his mind and he needed to get it out, I was completely captivated by the mood of his voice, because it seemed as if he didn’t plan on talking about anything that night, but whatever it was that he wanted to talk about started to feel incredibly heavy on his heart, that he just had to get it out. After a few moments of silence to work up the courage and find the right words, he opened the speech with,

         “I have an addiction to porn.”

         I was stunned. I’ve never heard a person say that sentence before. By this time, the entire crowd got silent and gave the vocalist on stage their full attention. For some peculiar reason, it made me feel slightly embarrassed, because I felt that he was targeting me and that everyone around was looking at me. I was still a teenager and I was at the point in my life, where no matter how hard I tried, I simply could not get girls off my mind. Up until that point, it was always thoughts about my girlfriend, because I had never felt truly lonesome, nor the need to scrutinize girls before. I admit, I had gone through puberty and experienced the stage in which I experienced “changes” and got curious. However, I was never taught that lust is such a negative idea of such a high magnitude.

         This guy on stage kept talking, he said that he wasn’t ashamed of telling those hundreds of people of his problem because he felt that it was a sincere issue that a lot of other people were experiencing. I stood there with my jaw dropped because this was probably the strongest pivotal point in my life where I learned that even imagining girls in a carnal manner, is still harmful. Maybe not to that girl, but to your own self, because the more it occurs, the more it lowers your respect for women, whether you realize it or not.

         The entire audience was captive to this guy with the microphone. It was so inspiring because this guy had no shame and not even the slightest trace of reservation. I stood there and absorbed every word that was said about his struggle with his porn addiction. He finished his speech by concluding that he is not perfect and is going to work on it. The entire vibe of the show had changed for the worse, because it seemed as if that speech about porn was the buzz-kill that ruined the evening.

         On the ride home, I thought about why he felt the need to speak out about such an embarrassing topic. I thought, “What are all his mates going to think of him from now on?” Then I thought, maybe, he felt the need to speak that night, because something was telling him to speak… because truth be told, I needed to hear it.

         Before that I didn’t know lustful thoughts were such a bad thing. Due to the fact that I was recently single, I was vulnerable to such lustful thoughts, because the transition was too strange for me.

         I was starting to go down a slippery slope, and honestly, if I never heard that guy speak during his band’s set that night, I know I would have continued to cope with my loneliness with negative thoughts about girls.

         I’m a realist, so I know that most guys and girls that I know, and you know, are looking at porn when they go home at night. I admit, I struggle with it as well. Half of me wants to justify it by claiming that I’m a young guy and it’s normal. However, I know that as hard as it is, porn, and even lustful thoughts are so negative and so harmful. Everyday, I’m learning more and growing into a different person that tries to skew from that negative path.

         A friend of mine just had a little baby girl, and the thought of this little innocent clean baby girl, growing up and getting involved in a world similar to what I’ve been talking about here, makes me want to vomit. Imagine if it was your beautiful baby girl that grows up and people all over the world and internet are thinking nasty, disgusting, lustful thoughts about her. It’s horrifying how lascivious people can be.

         I’m not here condemning nor judging anyone who finds this story stimulating. As I mentioned, I struggle with the exact details I discussed here as well. Fundamentally, I want you to know what exactly you’re doing and how much harm you are causing to yourself. You are a growing human being that is learning and will know what’s best for yourself. I simply don’t want to see anyone go down that slippery slope.

 -Joe Lengson

Joe Lengson is the former bassist of Christian metal band MyChildren MyBride and is currently making music in Los Angeles as The Woodsman’s Babe