As someone who was once deeply trapped in the web of pornography, I can now look back and recognize several lies I believed without question during that time. Since sharing my story with many people over the years, I have found that these lies are not unique to my own story at all. Many of us have silently accepted these lies as truth, when they are anything but truth.
Lie #1: I can never tell anyone.
I didn’t think I could ever tell anyone of my porn addiction. I looked like I had it all together on the outside, and no one suspected what I was doing. I was sure that everyone would reject me if they found out my deep, dark secret. I had trouble admitting my struggle to myself, let alone anyone else. I repeatedly tried to stop watching porn on my own, but it never worked. I was convinced that telling someone would be a huge mistake.
TRUTH: My heart didn’t start to heal until I told someone.
Little did I realize, not telling anyone would have been my biggest mistake. Confessing my struggle is what helped set me free. Strongholds like pornography grow in the dark, and when they are brought into the light (telling someone) their chains start to loosen. I still had a long road ahead of me, but the day I confessed my struggle to my husband was the day my healing started. It was the scariest but one of the most important parts of my journey.
If you are struggling with pornography, I encourage you to pray about someone you can talk to. Telling someone may seem absolutely horrifying, but it will aid in your freedom. As long as you carry this secret sin on your own, it will eat you alive from the inside out. Telling someone breaks off part of the stronghold and allows the process of healing to begin.
Lie #2: I don’t know any other women who struggle with pornography.
I thought I was the only Christian woman who struggled in this way. I felt like a freak of nature. When I searched for help online, all I found were resources for men and support for women whose husbands were addicted. I felt so alone. Any sermon I had ever heard preached on pornography (which wasn’t very often) was in reference to men. Believing I was the only woman I knew who was trapped in this struggle increased the shame I already felt so deeply.
TRUTH: Most likely, there are other women in your own church and maybe even in your own circle of friends who secretly know all too well what you are dealing with.
When I first shared my story on my blog, I started receiving emails from other women who were also struggling. In addition, I had a few women in my own life who confessed their addictions to pornography to me once they heard of my own. Many thought they were alone until they heard the testimony of another woman who finally spoke up. Be encouraged! There are many women, like myself, who have found healing in their lives and freedom from pornography. This is available for you, too!
Lie #3: I am attracted to the women in porn. I must be a lesbian.
I was drawn to lesbian porn from the beginning, which did nothing but escalate the questions I already had concerning my sexual identity. Before I knew it, I was fantasizing about it all the time. After doing this repeatedly, I became convinced that I must be gay. (Why else would I be watching lesbian porn, right?) This made it even more difficult for me to confess to someone that I was trapped. I felt such shame and embarrassment. I was a married to an amazing Christian man, yet I was indulging in lesbian porn. I felt like two different people, and I didn’t know who I was anymore.
Over the last several years, I have talked with many women who question their sexuality. They have no desire to be with a woman in real life, but they find themselves aroused by the women they see in pornography. Many of them never questioned their sexuality until after they started looking at porn. (This is so much more common than you may think.)
TRUTH: If you started questioning your sexuality after watching porn, please let me encourage you: this does not mean you are gay.
As women, we put ourselves in the place of the women we see in porn. We want to look like them, or we even imagine being sexually desired in that same way. Mix in the heightened sexual arousal that pornography is designed to provoke, and it is no wonder many women start questioning their sexuality afterwards. Pornography warps our view of sex, sexuality and what true intimacy is. This is one of the reasons it is so important to know who God created us to be. The enemy can be relentless in attacking our identity. We are going to be led all over the place in directions we were never meant to go if we don’t know and embrace our true identity in Christ.
Lie #4: God must hate me.
I felt such guilt and shame for the pornography I continued to seek after. I believed God was angry with me, and I was convinced He turned away from me. I was absolutely disgusted with myself, and I couldn’t imagine that He felt any differently. I pictured myself turning to Him for help, but all I envisioned was Him pointing His finger in my face and walking away from me. I was aware of how destructive my actions had become. I felt so ashamed and thought I went too far to receive His grace, mercy or forgiveness.
TRUTH: It was only through God’s forgiveness, grace and love for me that I was able to begin the journey of Him healing my heart so I could be set free.
God certainly did not approve of my sin, but I didn’t realize He was not going to turn away from me when I reached out to Him for help. Did I mess up along the way? Yes. As I learned how to seek Him first and keep my eyes on Him, I started to see much more progress along the way. Knowing that God was my strength and that He would never give up on me gave me the determination I needed to persevere during the toughest of times.
Lie #5: There is something wrong with me. I cannot stop craving porn.
I craved pornography all the time. When I would stop trying to watch it, my mind was on constant replay of all the scenes I had previously watched. I lived in a fantasy world. It numbed the feelings I did not want, and it also helped me to escape into a world I could never get enough of.
I was convinced there was something very wrong with me, because I kept craving the very scenes that I hated myself for.
TRUTH: What I was truly craving was the intimacy God created me to have.
Porn is a very cheap imitation of what God designed sex and intimacy to be. I tried to let pornography fill a deep need I had inside of me, but God started showing me I was settling for a counterfeit. I always heard that God could fill all of my needs, but how could God fill a need in me that was so corrupt? It didn’t seem possible that a holy God could fill something in me that was anything but holy. This is when He started showing me that what I really wanted, needed and craved was intimacy.
Do you crave porn? You were created to experience an intimate relationship with God that runs deeper than anything else you could experience on this earth. This is why pornography never fills you up for long, and it is never enough. I encourage you to pray and ask God to reveal what intimacy with Him is. You are hard-wired for it. If you are reading these words, it is not too late for you to know the depth and satisfaction that comes with an intimate relationship with Him. There is nothing like it!
Lie #6: “I feel numb, and porn helps me to feel something.”
In an effort to turn off my lustful thoughts and attractions, I inadvertently turned off many of my emotions. My heart was also wounded in so many ways, and part of it shut down somewhere along the way. I couldn’t feel anything anymore. I wanted to feel something again but didn’t know how to. When I turned to porn, it awakened feelings in me that felt like life to me. It made me feel alive, even though I knew it was so destructive. The exhilaration that came with viewing porn made it incredibly alluring to me when I otherwise felt so numb.
TRUTH: Porn was only a temporary fix that led me further away from the joy I was seeking.
Looking at porn brought temporary feelings of exhilaration, but it quickly led to depression, despair, and feeling even more numb. I was stuck in a cycle of feeling numb, so I turned to porn, only to feel numb again. It was leading me further and further away from the joy I was seeking. I didn’t know how to stop what I was doing. It wasn’t until after I confessed to my husband that I was looking at porn and God started the process of cleaning out my heart that I started to feel joy again. The joy restored to me felt so clean and pure, unlike what porn offered me. It took cleaning out the junk in my heart to feel the pureness of joy again. This is something I never want to lose again!
Lie #7: It’s too late. I ruined my brain forever.
The more I tried to stop looking at porn, the more I realized how much I fantasized about it. My mind was on constant replay with many of the scenes and pictures I viewed, and I thought I had ruined my brain forever. Pornography did re-wire my brain in a way it was not wired to think and feel before.
Regret is not an adequate word to describe the pain I felt when I was repeatedly unable to rid myself of the compulsions and pictures in my mind I did not used to have. Many of you know exactly what I mean. I wanted to feel pure and not constantly be reminded of how I corrupted my mind had become. I wanted the marriage God designed me to have, but because of the horrific choices I made I was afraid it was too late.
TRUTH: I have found lasting healing for my heart and brain.
As I started taking steps to guard my eyes and my heart, I also started surrendering my thought life to God. As I was diligent in this, I started to find the hope I needed to see a future free of pornography. This was not an overnight process. There were times I felt like nothing was changing, but I kept moving forward. I can now say that my brain has not been ruined forever. Many of those images that were burned into my brain have subsided as I learned how to fight against them.
Do you recognize any lies that you have been believing?
I want to reiterate that if you are struggling with pornography and have not told anyone, please pray about who you can talk to. As God has healed my heart, I have been set free from a pornography addiction and the fantasies that go along with it. This has been a long process, but God has restored so much to me, and He can do the same for you.