Fighting against the Mental Repercussions of being Addicted to Pornograhy for 16 years with My Wife’s support
When you are raised in a single parent household in the hood there are rules and regulations that are unspoken rules to live by:
- find a way to teach yourself
- fight (with your hands) for respect or you get none
- don’t leave any food on your plate
- run if you see an unknown dog
- check or be checked — the art of criticizing someone to make peers laugh
These rules were ingrained in me to the degree that they became second nature. For instance, I still remember vividly when I was 9 years old, coming across porn. I use to watch all the hood classic movies on BET each night. Most of these movies had sexual scenes in them that would make any kid wonder — my favorite movie was The Players Club. My curiosity was awaken! I needed to know what it truly meant to have an intimate relationship with a girl. I didn’t attempt to have a birds and the bees conversation with my mother because she was at work until late hours of the night, trying to provide for my sister and me. So rule #1 came into play and I taught myself what it meant to be intimate with a woman by following the example of individuals who get paid to be intimate — porn stars. I found my way to the playboy channel in my mother’s room because her room was the only place it wasn’t blocked — let’s just say she used her belt in ways that are illegal now when she seen a $9.99 charge from playboy on her next bill. I didn’t do that again! But that year I became addicted to porn and it wasn’t until many years later that I realized I would have to pay a price for my exploration. At that time I didn’t care about consequences because I didn’t know that my perception of women, love, and fidelity would be forever tainted — that part I’ll talk about later.
Time to take the training wheels off
For most of my younger days (age 16 and under)I never practiced sexual intercourse with a woman because I was afraid, ashamed, and unpopular — I wasn’t the type of guy a women wanted anything to do with unlike guys who I hung around. I was a lame! So I continued on with my obsession with porn because it gave me satisfaction without rejection. This all changed when I turned 17. Women started to catch feelings for me based on my ability to play basketball. At this point I let porn go; the need for it diminished because I knew real sexual encounters would happen soon enough. But I couldn’t take it upon myself to have sexual relations with many women — I heard rummers and watched movies about people who died from their sexual relations with many women. That wasn’t going to be my story! Eventually I met a girl who I felt would only be with me and I with her. We dated for six months before actually having sex. After the first time it happen, I went to the restroom and felt sorry for myself. My conscious was telling me I wasn’t doing the right thing by having sex but society was saying I was lame if I wasn’t having sex yet. I listened to society because I felt society knew best. I continued to only be with one woman until I found out she cheated on me. Loyalty was out the window at that point — I was hurt and I wanted to hurt women by playing with their heart. High school ended and I was off to college with the motivation to be a ladies man.
The trill faded into emptiness
I went to a college where I knew most of my homies from Memphis would go. We all had to same goals of: 1. get as lit as possible 2. get as many phone numbers as possible 3. stay fresh 4. do just enough to get by in class 5. and have sex as much as you want. We partied 3 to 4 times a week our first year. I was getting to know so many girls at the time but I didn’t have sex with none of them. The guys around me were confused.. I just couldn’t taken it upon myself to act on my desires. My conscious was eating away at me and I couldn’t shake it. Eventually I had sex twice with two different women and both situations made me feel so empty inside. I didn’t know what to do with the gaping hole but I knew I couldn’t continue down the road I was on. I abandoned those friends who continued down that path and in search of a better way.
Side note: I found out later that majority of these guys dropped out, had multiple children by different women, or caught a sexual transmuted disease.
Finding Myself through the Darkness
Earlier in my freshmen year, while I was still turning up, a mentor of mine introduced me to a guy name Stephen. He wasn’t the type of guy to party at all — those days were behind him. Even when I was actively about that life, he wasn’t judgmental but I knew he wanted me to stop. I just couldn’t at the time.. But when I was ready to change my life and become a better person, he was right by side to point me in the right direction. He kept telling me about Jesus and how I was forgiven for all my past sins. I gave in and completely surrendered to Jesus. But simply believing in Jesus didn’t heal the mental wounds of being addicted to porn for years and change my unhealthy views of women. That takes time, prayer, and perseverance!
I battled with hard withdraws from sex. Some nights I would cry because I just wanted to ease my cravings. I would literally have headaches and sweats like a drug addict. Eventually I started back using porn when the cravings felt like they were too much to handle. Then I felt horrible after the fact. Each time I went backwards I felt like my view of women got darker. Women were only seen as sexual tools in my eyes when I watched porn and that was my perception in reality — even though I would never tell anybody that at the time. I knew this wasn’t the right way for me to think about or view women which was a good start to seeking change. College was ending soon at this point…
Made my presence know — she dissed me plenty of times afterwards
I completed college at the age of 23 and joined the army afterward. It took me a while to find a solid church my first year but eventually I came across one. At this time in my life, I made a vow to myself, to treat every woman like a woman made in the image of god — even though I was still struggled through breaking my addiction to porn. I decided to take myself off of all social media outlets so I could truly focus on allowing God to change my heart and not focus on the women I could have had relations with. This went on for a year — I still don’t have social media though. I started to see some success: one week turned into a month, a month into three months. At that point I realized that change was possible but I just didn’t believe I could keep clean. After having a conversation with a pastor who said he was clean for ten years and never turned back, I realized that I must have faith that I am truly changed and that I could be victorious: I just had to be strong and trust God. On that second year I found that my desire for porn withdrew from me. I just didn’t want anything else to do with it! At the age of 26, I met a woman by the name of Karen at church one Sunday.. Well, I didn’t just meet her, I kinda made sure I sat in front of her, so I knew I could easily talk to her after church. I had already been slick watching her and knew she was the kind of godly and warm hearted woman I knew I needed. After church, I pretended like my agenda wasn’t to talk to her and casually made a conversation. She was in nursing school and I was working on my masters, so I took it upon myself to ask if we could study together — she agreed.
After a few times of studying together, I decided to ask her out on a date after church on a random Sunday. I thought the date went great! I text her in a joyous manner afterward and said:
me: I had a very good time with you today.
her:**no reply for two hours**
She finally called me. My heart dropped in my chest because I felt my heart was about to get crushed. She asked me my attentions and I told her I just wanted to get to know her better. To which she replied, “I don’t want to get to know you better but you’re cool though.” I was hurt but I moved on. That Wednesday she text me to say she didn’t mean to be so harsh and I forgave her but I didn’t talk to her again after that for two months. Eventually we started hanging out again. Then stop. We did that like two more times until she actually gave me the chance to show her that I was a good man.
I earned her trust over time
We dated for 6 months and the first 3 months, I didn’t know if our relationship would last, because she wanted to leave without giving me a fair shake. I knew that if it was meant to be; God would make it happen. She had to know that I wasn’t putting on a front with her to gain her heart. There are so many men in the world who dress and talk like a good game but over time their actions fall short. She found me to be authentically who I say I am. I proposed to her and she said yes — praise God she didn’t make a brother cry by saying no. We’ve been married for almost a year now and she knows my heart — what I’ve gone through to become the man I am today. She accepts my flaws and I hers.
The battle continues
I am still battling to overcome my past encounters with women and porn even while I’m married. I have to explain to my wife that certain movies and TV shows I can’t watch because they will make me believe cultural lies about women and make me lust. And that certain environments makes it harder for me not to undress women with my eyes: yoga classes, spin classes, and beaches.. Yoga pants and half naked women is hard for me. But the biggest thing I had to free myself of was all social media outlets. For some people social media is great but for guys who struggle with staying free from porn like me, it “can” be toxic.. I found that by avoiding these obstacles, it is easier for me to look at my wife and not compare her to other women. I’ve learned that comparison can be dangerous to my marital health: It makes me take my focus off of who she is when I’m comparing her to what she is not. These are limitations and shortcomings I am bluntly honest with my wife about and she does her best to honor my efforts with affirming me in love. Each day is a new battle for me to walk forward and not look back.. I pray I never look back!