Does Porn Hurt Anyone?

Does Porn Hurt Anyone?

Does Porn Hurt Anyone?
Does Porn Hurt? It may seem like a harmless distraction – but porn can consume your life – and harm others.

by Ben Jeremiah

Does porn hurt anyone? “I’m not hurting anyone except myself. And it may not really be hurting me.” At least that is what I used to tell myself. It wasn’t until I entered recovery for what I thought was an addiction to pornography that I realized the real impact of what I had been doing to myself.

I grew up in a “normal” American household with my parents and siblings. That’s not to say our home was a perfect place…we had our challenges and faults like any other. However, as far as I was concerned, there wasn’t any physical abuse or neglect.

But somehow, I felt different from others – distant and separated. I still don’t understand why or how. Things that didn’t seem to bother others would leave me gripped in fear at times – fear of bullies, fear of failure, and fear of being abandoned.

All of these emotions left me searching for an escape – a way out. I used lots of things to escape – from toys to video games…to imaginary fantasy scenarios where I was a rich kid. However, these didn’t quite relieve the pain and fear I felt.

Does Porn Hurt Anyone? Easing Into the Darkness…

My first exposure to pornography was seemingly innocent. “Just something boys do,” was the thought. However, there was a spark within me that changed things. I was drawn to that excitement and that excitement made the pain and fear slip away. Our family soon bought our first computer and modem. Once on the Internet in the early days of dial-up, it didn’t take long to learn about search engines and the many things that could be found using them – including pornography. Along with a friend, I looked up some images. Soon, I was looking them up on my own, and my compulsion grew stronger each time. Does porn hurt anyone? Is sure did not seem so to me.

By the age of 12 to 13 I was hooked. Along with this newfound thrill, I learned about masturbation. The compulsion would grow deeper and stronger over the coming years. It was not long before masturbation and pornography consumed my time and energy. If I was not engaged in it, I was scheming and planning for the next time – it was consuming me.

Through junior high and high school the addiction grew. I knew it had to stop, but I could not. It was completely at odds with my spiritual beliefs. In fact, as my addiction progressed, I fought harder to develop my faith, pray hard, learn more, and even began to teach Bible classes and preach.

Does Porn Hurt Anyone? Now it Was Hurting Me…

In spite of all of this, I did not seem to have the strength to stop myself. It was like walking toward a hole and falling right in without any power to stop it – over and over again. I quit porn 1,000 times; I just could not stay quit.

When I started college, access to porn was dramatically reduced. So, I did not view much of it from the dorm – I had to have a dial-up account and find a time when the dorm was empty. So, much of my time at college was spent in fantasy about whoever I was obsessing over at the time. At breaks and visits home, the addiction was always there waiting for me to pick it back up.

This desire was never relenting. I continued to pursue what I considered “spiritual things” to make up for my apparent deficiencies and failures. These things either left me on a spiritual “high” or in a state of feeling inadequate. As an addict, both of these feelings were too much to bear, and I would seek escape! (That’s right, even feeling too “good” was too much for me!)

Does porn hurt anyone? It was devastating me – but at least I was not hurting anyone else.

Does Porn Hurt Anyone? Now I Hurt Someone Else…

I assumed, perhaps like many others, that marriage would fix me. “This is all I will ever need,” I told myself. A wife would certainly be able to fulfill all of my desires This lie I believed could not have been further from the truth. This was a completely unrealistic expectation that would have a severe toll on my life, my wife, and my marriage.

We married young and she worked while I finished my education. It wasn’t long after we got married that the addiction was back up and running. No amount of marital intimacy seemed to satisfy my desires – I was left looking for more. She was the first person I had truly admitted my addiction to, but I never got help – and she didn’t make me. So we continued in a crazy cycle for several years growing apart from each other in our wounded state – her feeling like she could never compare with the porn stars and me feeling empty and rotten for the things I put us both through. But I still couldn’t stop. Upon completing my education, I took a job offer and started providing for my family, but the problems remained. Life was increasingly unmanageable for me.

Does Porn Hurt Anyone? Yes.

“What should I do?,” I would often ask myself. I had no tools for dealing with this situation. I had no real grasp of how desperate my situation was. All I knew was that I was in trouble, and I needed help. For the first time in my life, it was clearer than ever: I cannot do this myself…I must get help. I was completely powerless to overcome this situation of my own and my life was completely unmanageable. After fourteen years in my addiction, I made few simple phone calls that changed the course of my life and my marriage. For the first time in my life, I was actually able to ask for what I really needed: HELP.

Coming Soon and Next in the Series: How Do I Know If I Am Addicted?

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