I've posted a couple of links on my LJ and FB about the issue of pornography and I want to let you know about my own journey with it. I believe it's not good for the issue to be so hidden amongst women in the church.
I started looking at porn in year 9 (I think). It was exciting. I grew up in a loving Christian home, I was told to avoid sex until marriage, my parents also educated me lovingly on what sex was. Unlike some Christian families, I was not ignorant on what I was meant to be avoiding. But porn wasn't sex. It just showed what sex was - albeit explicitly. And it made me feel this thrill of excitment.
I always watched it when my parents were out. Frequently I would go into chat rooms and lie about myself; constructing a persona I quickly learnt that men would find attractive. I lot of the chat consisted of me telling this bloke I'd never met before what I would supposedly do to him and he would respond somehow, encouraging me to continue. It was heavily one sided as I would be the one typing the most. And it was heavily one sided as I would lie and he would be fed off these lies. But knowing what power I held over this stranger was also intoxicating. Though quickly disenchanting - when would it be time for me to hear what I wanted?
Women are attractive creatures. It wasn't porn based on men that I was watching, it was porn based on women. What women should look and sound like, and do. I found what the women were doing attractive. I found the power they seemed to yield attractive. I knew it was wrong, but I began to fantasise that I had that power too. Thus the chat rooms. And if it wasn't porn, it was erotic fanfic.
But it was not real power. I believe it wasn't until we moved in year 11 and I went to boarding school, that I finally had to stop. There was no way to get around boarding facility internet filters AND the computers were in public space. I had a reputation to protect! I finished high school and moved to Perth, but didn't have my own internet connection for a couple of years. There was NO way I was going to actually spend money on a magazine or trashy romance to fulfil my urges! If I did that, I would be acknowledging to myself, properly, that I was a porn user!
Over the course of the past 5 years, a couple things have happened that have turned the appeal of porn into disgust and I'm so glad these things have happened.
1. I've read up on a couple of internet site, the journey that a few porn stars have made. From entering, to the difficult process of getting out of the porn industry. It seems that it's easy to get in. But once in, the self and sexuality of a woman is degraded. Her body is used merely to please others. Sure, she may find pleasure in it at first, but not for long. Knowing that in the industry women were the pawns, not the powerful, turned the idea of sexual power on its head.
2. I watched a fascinating documentary by Louis Theroux, an atheist. He was observing the porn industry and didn't make judgements upon it. But seeing what was going on behind the scenes,\ was shocking! It filled me with disgust. Men and women were forsaking their sexuality and increasingly faking their orgasms. They were in brightly lit rooms with cameramen, directors, makeup artists and all manner of stage crew, baring themselves for the camera, waiting to penetrate/be penetrated. There was no excitement, romance, love or even desire in these settings. In fact, not only was their sexuality forsaken, but the emotional connection otherwise inherent in sex, was obliterated! Porn was shown to be what it really is: a big fat lie!
3. I read up on the Biblical design for sex, marriage and relationships. I educated myself on how good genuine, real sexual relationships could be. Obviously not from my own experience, but via books, blog essays, Christian magazines, etc. These people acknowledged that sex was really super good. But more importantly, all the extras and add ons that aren't ever shown in porn, were part of the amazing, wonderful package. The intimacy, vulnerability, honesty, respect, beauty, tenderness, care and love were equally a part of marriage and played a part in making sex awesome.
4. I was honest to a good Christian friend about my struggle. And she kept me accountable.
And I didn't want the superficial power lie that porn brought. No! I wanted the emotional relationship too! I wanted to be loved and needed, not because I was great in bed and knew the moves. I wanted to be loved for being me! I was never going to have the body of a porn star - with my small bust, thunder thighs and perpetually pimply face (that no cream or face wash has solved thus far). I was never going to be satisfied in simply spreading my legs, nor getting power over men by offering it. I wanted and longed for the emotional intimacy, trust and love that a real relationship brings.
Knowing the lie and knowing the truth has brought me in a complete 180 from where I was 10 years ago. The sexual nature of porn is still appealing because I am created to be a sexual creature. But actually seeing it now fills me with disgust. Looking forward to my marriage with James fills me with joy and hope! We are building a firm foundation on Jesus and his word. We are communicating openly and honestly. I love, honour and respect him. He is so tender and caring. Receiving hugs from him, whispering loving words to each other and gently caressing each other (in the 'safe' zones of hands and faces) is better than porn ever brought. Loving another human being and being loved by them bring so much satisfaction and contentment! I could wax lyrical about it for a few more paragraphs yet. But my point is made.
It started with an exploration of my own sexuality through the medium of porn. But it never brought what I really longed for. In fact, the promises it held out were lies. In breaking free of it's appeal by going without it for a few years, I was able to realign myself with how good real, pure sex could be. To be honest, the anticipation I have of marriage - not just the sex, is so much more than the pleasure that came with porn. Because it is inherently more. It is with someone who is real - in mind, soul and body. It is with real emotions and real life. This realness lasts for the rest of our lives. I desire more and more of it, but I come away feeling satisfied and content, rather than dirty, depressed I don't measure up, and disgusted at the nature of hardcore porn.
As I woman, I thought that porn was a problem for the boys. But that only fed the initial "it won't matter if I just have a look" justification. Please, do not be fooled.