Why I Stopped Watching PORN

*WARNING: Out of respect for my modest audience, I want you to know that this article contains sensitive personal information that might make you uncomfortable. Also, though this article is written about my personal story from the perspective of a man, the same is often true in reverse.

Intro

Let me give you a brief overview of my understanding of sexuality prior to following Christ. Simply put, I believed that we, as humans, are nothing but animals, which pretty much informed my identity, purpose, sexuality, etc. As for porn and masturbation. I never really thought there was anything wrong with it.

Encounter  1

One day, while I was still an atheist (read Unbound: Why I Am No Longer An Atheist), I was talking with a guy that worked for me. We were being typical worldly guys. At one point I showed him a picture of a female friend who had recently gotten breast implants. She was clothed, but clearly… showing off her newly acquired assets. At the same time another coworker walked by. I showed him, but something different happened. This third guy looked away, which totally freaked me out. Obviously this was inappropriate for a workplace environment, but it was not the sort of thing guys would normally complain about so I hadn’t thought much of it. I immediately wondered if he was gay. It was the only thing I could think of at the time. I had never noticed another man look away from an attractive girl. He didn’t complain, report us, or anything, but I still didn’t understand why he would look away. So, I asked him. He told me that he tried to treat women with respect and that even though he wasn’t married he wanted to honor his future wife. My mind was blown. I didn’t know whether to laugh at him or praise him. My actions didn’t change… but it did get me thinking: What if looking at people in lust really does cause harm?

Encounter  2

The first time I actually decided to go to church to seek God, I heard a sermon speaking about how sex prior to marriage was emotionally and spiritually harmful. Up to this point my concerns had been primarily physical – pregnancy and STDs. If I could avoid those two things, I thought I was good. At first I didn’t buy the whole emotional spiritual perspective, but as he spoke I began running through the laundry list of damage that I had done. I didn’t decide to never have sex again at that moment, but it did get met thinking: I thought about the damage those relationships had done to me – even as a callous, vain, self-absorbed man. And I knew the girls had a harder time than I did. What if sex outside of a covenant commitment really does tear people apart from the inside out?  

Encounter  3

At this point I had been through a lot and had even decided not to have sex again until I was married, but I still thought porn was totally okay. I began having more and more conversations with my Christian employee – the one from “Step 1.” Somehow porn came up. He said that he thought it was harmful. I said, “No way. It’s reduced rape and helps people avoid sex before marriage.” He just looked at me gently and asked, “Where’d you hear that?” I thought about it, but couldn’t answer. (Sidebar: I have now done considerable research and the results are quite opposite to my original hypothesis). He simply challenged me and reiterated that it was harmful to our mind, body, and soul. He explained how even looking at a woman in lust is adultery and it dishonors your (future in this case) wife. He also went on to explain the abuse of the women that are being objectified in that way. We talked about it and I made a mental note, though I wasn’t personally convicted. It definitely got me thinking: What if porn really teaches us to view each other as objects to be had, without responsibility or relationship, without commitment or care? What if porn systematically trains us to want more and more, never satisfying our real needs? 

Encounter  4

This fourth encounter was the game changer. This was a few months later. I had given my life to Christ, was dating an amazing woman of God, and was on my first mission trip in Haiti. I had just been baptized in a river near the town in which we were ministering. As the pastor and I walked out from the river after my baptism I turned to him and said, “Hey, I’ve got a question.” For the life of me I can’t remember what it was, but I think it was related to asking that girl to marry me. Before I could get the question out, the pastor looked at me and said, “Masturbation.” I stopped, shook my head no, and told him that I didn’t have a problem with that. He said, “Yes, you do” I told him that I didn’t. I had actually cut back -hadn’t done it in weeks. Then he asked me the question that changed my life forever. How would you feel if your soon-to-be fiancé was doing that, thinking about other men? Light bulb moment… It suddenly hit me how selfish porn truly is. “Okay, fine,” I said, “but it’s not like you can not do that…” He challenged me suggesting that abstaining was quite realistic.

I decided to give it a shot. That was over 5 years ago now and haven’t turned back since. I haven’t been perfect – not by a long shot. My eyes have wandered. I’ve had to stop myself mid thought. I’ve come close, particularly in moments of distress to just giving into those passions. Nevertheless, God’s grace has sustained me and there are certain boundaries that I have not crossed and don’t intend to in the future. This time I didn’t just get thinking. I knew right away that pornography was harmful, that I had totally missed the point of relationships with people and that women (and men) deserve to be loved, trusted, and respected exclusively – in our mind as well as with our bodies!

Encounter 5

Though I had already made the commitment, something else happened that is worth noting. Prior to my Christian life, I had always viewed sex workers- be they strippers, prostitutes, porn stars, etc. as women who just really like sex and got paid to do it. After all, that’s how they’re portrayed in the most of the movies. My friends who had stripped also kept most of their personal issues to themselves and I was too absorbed with myself to see what they were going through.

Since then, however, I have volunteered with some ministries that help women come out of those lifestyles. I can tell you… I had the wrong idea. Sure, there are some who find certain pleasure in what they do, but that is rare and there is always something deeper at play. The truth is that the bulk of these women have been manipulated into these lifestyles. Many of them have been physically coerced. You wouldn’t believe how prominent sex slavery is even in the United States. It is amazing that it is not spoken of more outside of the Christian community – and still not frequently enough within it. Our entertainment jokes about “pimps and hoes,” we make jokes about a “pimp hand,” “pimpin’ ain’t easy,” and so on. The fact is, that these are tasteless jokes about a violent, abusive, and terribly harmful industry that exploits women (and men), leaving them objectified, demoralized, and unvalued. One thing is certain. We not only dishonor our spouses when we engage with porn or any other sexualized business model. We also encourage, support, and even fund the objectification and abuse and exploitation of God’s precious children. Again, my world was shaken. Porn and other sex products, which are advertised as a frivolous pleasures are really a dark and evil treatment of people who deserve love and respect, even when they don’t realize it about themselves.

Closing Thoughts

Contrary to my upbringing (cultural not parental), I now know that people are not just animals. We are magnificent beings, created in the image of God. We have intrinsic worth, beauty, and value. Any lie that tells us that we are just animals accidentally existing with an insatiable appetite for pleasure is incomplete, at best. We must begin treating one another as God’s glorious creation. It’s not easy. As always, I don’t write this claiming to have it all figured out. I am susceptible, vulnerable, and frequently fall short. At the same time, I am protected, empowered, and forgiven by Christ. Whether you realize it or not, you have access to the same. It’s not an easy task. I don’t think I go a single day without seeing a woman’s body exposed either in an advertisement, at the gym, or in some form of entertainment. Even kids movies sexualize their protagonists. We don’t have to buy the lie that sex is for sale- that it is cheap, easy, and only designed for experiential pleasures. We don’t have to support these vile industries that enslave the young and discard them when their bodies begin showing the weathering of abuse and age. We can glorify God, honor our spouses, and learn to respect one another. 


WHAT DO YOU THINK? Does porn harm its makers and its viewers? Leave a comment below and share to get your friends in on the conversation.

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13 Comments
  • Mac Dumcum
    Posted at 16:53h, 19 June Reply

    Kudos to you, my Brother! Thank you for being so vulnerable. I hope this post is viewed by thousands of Christian Brothers who are struggling in these areas.

    • admin
      Posted at 22:39h, 19 June Reply

      Thanks Mac. Of all the rotten things I have done, this one seems the hardest to talk about. I think more people need to hear what I was blessed to hear…

  • Prateek Bansal
    Posted at 03:15h, 20 June Reply

    Its is not only dangerous for one community or either else. It’s poisonous for every human being. It’s is not real as playing call of duty is much way different from going on war at Afghanistan or Iraq..

  • hnatasia
    Posted at 09:35h, 20 June Reply

    Wonderful, thanks for sharing. God bless you.

  • Anthony Griffin
    Posted at 16:45h, 20 June Reply

    Wow. I bet when you wrote this the first thing that came to your mind was, “I bet I don’t get very many hits on this one, but here goes anyway!” Thanks for being honest. Why don’t you write a book about this?

  • Leo Marco Laquaglia
    Posted at 19:50h, 20 June Reply

    Amen my brother. That particular issue comes to mind when hear the scriptures say, ” deny yourself, have self control, and present our bodies as a living sacrifice”. God Bless.

  • ragfish
    Posted at 21:39h, 20 June Reply

    Great testimony! Suggest losing the picture at the top of the article, it objectifies the female body in such a manner as to perhaps be pornographic. When I saw this on my Christian FB friend’s post, I was shocked. The article and the testimony are valuable; however, the distorted image of what is obviously a woman on one hand emphasizes the validity of the testimony, but is itself licentious.

    • admin
      Posted at 09:53h, 23 June Reply

      Thanks for the input. We try to be careful about that. That is actually not her hand, it’s just the way the picture blurred. The picture itself was sensual. We blurred it out to cover body parts and also highlight the distortion and loss of identity that comes from these things. Appreciate your comments and will keep it in mind going forward.

  • Nathan
    Posted at 00:03h, 21 June Reply

    Porn is definitely extremely harmful not only to the person watching or the actual model at hand, but if marriage is a present reality, porn can do major harm to the relationship. It creates emotional & physical division, and can really effect the strength of intimacy. Porn trains the mind to get off only when “this, that, this, this and that” are all lined up based on our current sexual appetite. We become accustomed to a smorgasbord of things in order for me to be able to perform sexually. We become numb to the “one thing,” the “one person” standing right in front of us: our spouse…
    It becomes not enough to “get you going.”
    I’ve seen it not only in my life, but in the lives of many men I consider my brothers.

    It’s gotta stop.

    • admin
      Posted at 09:49h, 23 June Reply

      Yes and amen! Thanks Nathan.

  • Marvin
    Posted at 06:52h, 21 June Reply

    Good job Chris. I love your candidness. It is refreshing to hear ministering that isn’t the typical preacher approach.

    • admin
      Posted at 09:49h, 23 June Reply

      Thanks Marvin. Good hearing from you brother! Hope all is well!

  • Sister of Adam
    Posted at 23:22h, 18 September Reply

    Your twitter bio brought me to the website and then to this article. My brother of Adam, I wandered here to this very article because my former husband alias love of my eternity had self destructed from sexual innuendo of the majority of which you had described. One of the main causes to the spread of this disease of sexual innuendo is MOST DEFINITELY pornography. Why do we wonder why our earlier generation were much more respectful, cordial. You know how they kinda say oh man my grandparents really loved each other or things of this sort. Before even if there were brothels and things of that sort. It was not wide spread, anyonr and everyone did not have access to this sexual desire of self destruction at their fingertips. So that which was hidden to mankind as a whole was limited to your partner or maybe even partners. Man could not back then when their was no pornography could not see the hidden shame of man and woman it was only for the partners you were paired with. So suppose whos to know for a straight man what a brazillian women would look like in comparison to a french woman. Man were to think generically that all women similarly had what any other woman would have. When porn came in it is like what shopping is to women. The brands designs and addiction to all the different types and its exploration of trying new types can never end. Because man will be so confused as to what his satisfaction of his flesh really is as flesh is never satisfied but the spirit is. So pornography takes man out of his hidden simplicity and turns him into an animal will do anything without shame with any animal. Something of that sort. Surprisingly the final testament makes the same exact comparison of man to behaving like an animal. None the less I am a muslim but I do find this article as the answer along side God’s scriptures to be the answer to what had happened to my x. He’s a goner lost him to a series of things but sexual innuendo was number one reason of which pornography was at the top, which lead to curiosity which lead to bisexuality. Eh thats done with hes a goner. I can only pray that people protect themselves from perversion. As perversion keeps them in the darkness from the light. One perversion leads them into everything else. There becomes no boundries. If your spirit is having high off of sexual things, mankinds spirit has already reached the heights of shame theres bothing else that would bother them at that point. One thing surprisingly leads to another. Porn the urge to commit adultery/have sex at some point for sure..having sex might even lead to some more freakish things seen in pornography and then from attempting that to curiousity bisexuality to even drugs to theres no limits. Like I mentioned one thing can and will evidently lead to the next. So indeed fill your spirits, your eyes, your mind, your soul, your deeds your every little actions with only the piety of those actions in which God had recommended us. He already knew the faults of everything. Pornography does lead mankind astray. His everything becomes filthy wanting more and more and it will want to make them stay in that virtual world to never understand or appreciate the spouse or the spouse to be. Theyll never be satisfied ever.

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