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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How Porn Taught Me to Love Like Christ.


This November, at the Good Women Project, [a Christian women’s blogging site that addresses the struggles of being a good woman in today’s society—which I recommend everyone to look up] the women have been writing about Pornography and it’s impact on women. I wanted to participate in this conversation here on my own blog. Consider this my call to prayer. Thank you for opening your hearts today.

The computer glowed softly as her vacant eyes stared back into mine.  The room was silent, as the previous user had turned the computer to mute. While racing to exit out of the webpage I had accidentally stumbled upon, I became trapped in a trance that this hypnotic scene was playing in front of me.

I wasn’t turned on, and deep down I even knew it was distasteful…but I couldn’t for the life of me look away.

She stared at me, stunning blue eyes piercing my soul. She smiled, as if to make the statement ‘I’m enjoying this…aren’t you?’… and then proceeded doing whatever degrading act was in the script.

I sat, frozen. Stomach flip-flopping with a mix of emotions.

Pornography was something that was never really discussed in my household. Granted, my parents were incredibly open about sex, and were more than willing to answer my questions—but this particular subject had never made it’s way into conversation. 

Mostly because I was clueless.

Yes, I was a pretty innocent thirteen year old. I didn’t know much about the perverse world of sex, and though I made jokes about sexual things with my classmates to make myself seem like I was up to speed with them, I knew deep down that I had no idea what I was talking about. At thirteen, I was really just entering the dialogue between my body and it’s sexuality.

And before I knew it, or even had a say, while working on a project for my eighth grade English class on our apartment complex’s free computer, I was pummeled with the over-stimulation of eroticism.

And thus my innocence was stolen away.

The girl laughed, as she looked at the camera. She seemed comfortable. As if what she was doing was ‘normal’, as if the fact that I was watching her do…whatever she was doing… was something to be considered ‘normal’.

But it wasn’t normal. I knew deep down that something was missing.

I won’t lie and say that I watched in complete disgust. It awakened a part of me that I didn’t even know existed. I was uncomfortable and surprised, perhaps even a little fascinated, but even more than that… I was scared. Scared of feeling the pressure to be this girl. Terrified that I couldn’t live up to what I was watching.

Even more so… terrified by how lifeless her eyes were.

Would I react this way to sex? Would I look that disengaged when I ‘made love’ with my husband? Being raised by two devout Catholics, I had been promised a sex life filled with love, not complicated acts of animalistic pleasure.

I had prayed for so long to have an understanding husband, a man of God that would love me with all his heart and love my child-like naivety when it came to such subjects…but watching these scenes made me scared that the man that I would fall in love with would want these images that were so void of love. Vulnerability, honesty, truth, love, trust… everything I thought my future sex life would possess, played no part in the relationship between the man and woman on this website.

I went to bed that night, ashamed of myself. Ashamed of how my body felt ‘alive’. Ashamed for being so naïve. Ashamed of thinking a man could love me with my lack of knowledge. Ashamed that my physicality couldn’t compete with the girl on the screen. Ashamed of being unable to erase the image of her from my mind as I shut my eyes to sleep.

I hated her.

Weeks passed. Months. Years.

My struggle with lust was a battle that I fought tooth and nail. My body was awake now and I didn’t know how to put it back to sleep. I wished to wipe those thoughts and images from my mind, but no matter how hard I tried…there always seemed to be a moment that they re-appeared in my mind’s eye, and the fight to remain pure would ensue once again.

One unintentional viewing of pornography ruined my youth.

And I blamed her for it.

It wasn’t until I was seventeen, as my father and I drove from Florida to Pennsylvania, that I was suddenly reminded of her face. The face that I had been so enthralled with. The face that ruined my purity. See, we passed a billboard advertising for the ‘XXX: Adult Enterainment’ gentleman’s club off of the highway and almost immediately I had a flashback to that afternoon. That moment when she was smiling and looking at the camera. And for the first time, I fell into a deep state of prayer. 

What had she expected when she first signed up for that project? What was she promised? When she was a little girl, had she dreamed of being a princess or a porn star? Was she a Christian? Did her parents know what she did for a living? Did they care? Was this even what she did for a living, or was it something she did on a whim?

I cried silently that car ride. I didn’t really know why in the moment. I thought, maybe, for my soul. Or, maybe for the brokenness of humanity. But when I look back on it, five years later, I know I was weeping for her. For her lost dreams, for her lost hope, for her lost innocence.

This past month at the Good Women Project, women have been writing about their own struggles with pornography and the impacts it has on women. While I have struggled immensely with lust and sexuality, I was never addicted to porn. In my story, I never craved it the way that some of the women this month have so courageously shared.  But porn did impact me.

It taught me to love like Christ.

In high school, I would have looked at that woman as something that had wanted to corrupt me. Someone to hate. Someone to blame for all the struggles that I would come to know. But in truth, when I least expected it, God broke through my hardened heart and reminded me that she too was broken. That that girl on the internet didn’t grow up with aspirations to destroy my sexuality, or her own. I would say that she was just as much a victim as I was, and just as desperate for love.

My heart aches for her.

Today I would like to make a request. It’s simple, really. I would like to ask each of you to call to mind that girl when you pass an ‘adult entertainment’ billboard or see a tantalizing website. And I would beg you to say a prayer [for you and I] to have the courage to remain strong in not indulging in this media…and for the women who have so blindly lost themselves by participating in this entertainment of empty pleasure.

Because they deserve so much more than the base infatuation we have to offer at watching them on the internet. Because they are beautiful and so are we.

Because, I love that woman in the porn I watched so many years ago, but I love her for more than her body. I love her soul...and I wish I could tell her that. I wish I could tell her that I pray for her and think about her face every day. I pray that she is happy, and that all her dreams come true. I wish I could tell her that she is beautiful, not 'sexy' or worth getting off on. She's simply perfect.

Because He too devoted His life to spending time with, and praying for, and loving prostitutes and sinners. Shouldn’t we?

4 comments:

  1. Beautiful post. Yes, I'll pray. God bless you.

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  2. This is a great post, but it seems a bit flawed. Human beings are sexual creatures by nature, and sometimes sex is just sex, whether it's with yourself or someone else. We don't know the woman's background, like why she was doing it, how she got into, etc., but maybe she enjoyed it, maybe it payed the bills, maybe it was just a job. I don't think it's fair to see it through one, god-like prism, though. I don't think you have the authority to ask people to pray for people who are involved in this industry, that's somewhat offense to put yourself on that pedestal, as if you're a better person than they are. Being in-touch with one's own sexuality is natural and healthy, and it sounds like you're a bit uncomfortable with yours.

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  3. Very good post, but to be honest, I love my body and I love sex. I love God and I love my faith, but I would enter the business in a heartbeat. To be honest, maybe said female did not want to be a porn star as a little girl, but somewhere in my fucked up "I don't give a damn" 15 year old mind, I was determined to be in porn. To this day, my dream is still to be in Playboy. This doesn't make me a bad person or any less of a Christian. I don't believe our over flaunting nudity degrades us, actually it ensures us our role of womanhood. What straight man can say he is appalled by a beautiful naked and confident female?

    To agree with the previous comment, we can't just offer people prayers because we think what they're doing is wrong. This is her life. This is what puts bread on her table and what gets her name out there. You express your passion in writing, some people express theirs more physically.

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