Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Why Giving up Porn is Risky



Did you see the cover of TIME magazine recently? Did you hear what the state of Utah declared as a public health crisis? Or maybe you attend a church that isn’t afraid to address this same issue from a scriptural viewpoint?

What are all these people talking about? Porn.

And right now, you might want to look away from this post. Maybe you’re afraid of being judged. Maybe you assume, because I’m a woman, I’m going to be preachy and that I won’t understand. Maybe you just don’t get what the big deal about it is. You think, I’m a man. This is what men do.

If you are one that repeats that last sentence over and over again, you’re right. A lot of men look at porn. One survey revealed that 77% of Christian men between 18-30 years of age look at porn monthly. 36% look daily. 44% admit, or think they might be, addicted to it.

Men are definitely looking. Maybe you’re one of them?

But here’s what I want you to know: I am not here to judge you. My husband is a porn addict. 

Through our journey through his addiction, I have been hurt much, but I have also learned much. And much of what I have learned is that his addiction was born out of his hurt. What started out as a lustful adventure with magazines in the woods of Louisiana in junior high turned out to be a full-blown addiction that followed him for decades, hurting his marriage, his fatherhood, and his relationship with Jesus.

For so long, he convinced himself that his addiction wasn’t hurting anyone. Back then, there wasn’t much research showing how porn consumption rewires the brain. He didn’t know it had the power to decrease his sex drive or that it could profoundly impact how he viewed women. In fact, he thought that once he got married, he’d be able to kick the porn habit for good because he could have sex whenever he wanted.

What he didn’t know then is that porn isn’t about sex. It’s about fantasy and escape. Watching Craig’s addiction cycles and understanding that his porn use not because I was carrying around extra baby weight or because my breast size was inadequate, enabled me to help him identify the real reason behind his addiction: fear.

Fear of failure.
Fear of rejection.
Fear of not measuring up.
Fear of depending on someone who might let him down.

There was a very real part of him that wanted a way out. But there was also a part of him that was afraid to let it go. Porn was his escape into a world where he would not be rejected, where he did not have to deal with the problems that come in real life, where he could remain self-sufficient and self-soothing. Porn was his security blanket and a hole-filler for that emptiness he first experienced as a kid.

In order to give it up, he had to replace it with something else, something that was actually designed to fill in a way that is truly satisfying.

What is it? Intimacy.

And of course, this was terrifying because it felt risky. He didn’t know how to do it, with me or with God.

Emotional and spiritual intimacy is risky.

You have to give something of yourself. It might be rejected.  
You have allow people and Jesus to see the real you. YOU might be rejected. You have to let down walls. You might experience pain.

You’ll have to experience emotions you wish you didn’t have, perhaps confront some pain you’d rather ignore, and depend on people and Jesus in a way you’d never before considered as meaningful or helpful.

My husband eventually took the risk, giving up his security blanket of pornography and learning how to pursue emotional and spiritual intimacy with God and me.

Did he have to confront some painful parts of his past? Yes.
Did God reject him as he came before Him as he was? No.
Did his wife reject him as he shared more with her? No.
Did he experience a sense of fullness and satisfaction that he had never experienced before? Yes.

Was it worth the risk? Yes.

There’s no easy fix, but with God, all things are possible. You are not required to figure out all of this by yourself. He is with you and He will provide support for you – trusted friends, counselors, and support groups. Just ask Him. This question just might be the first step in starting an emotionally and spiritually intimate relationship with the One who created you, who knows you by name, who died so that you might have eternal life.





About Jen: Jen Ferguson is passionate about living life authentically and encouraging others to do the same. She loves cultivating Christ-centered community and is passionate about helping married couples sustain their relationship in healthy and Christ-centered ways. She is the author of Pure Eyes, Clean Heart: A Couple’s Journey to Freedom from Pornographywhich she co-wrote with her husband and the Marriage Matters devotional card set (coming soon). She’s a mama to two tween girls and two high-maintenance dogs, which is probably why she runs. A lot. Even in the Texas heat.

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Thank you so much, Jen, for sharing your story here. What are YOUR thoughts on porn? Leave a comment for Jen and I will randomly choose one comment to win a copy of Jen's book, Pure Eyes, Clean Heart.

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The winner of last week's giveaway of the Eternal Salvation DVD is...Valerie Sisco!! Congrats, Valerie!

Linking with: CoffeeForYourHeart, #TellHisStory, ThreeWordWed, Thought-Provoking Thurs

To read last week's intro post Calling All Men, click here. Next week I welcome, Linda Stoll. She is a board certified pastoral counselor and life coach, and you can bet she has some words of wisdom to share with us!

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