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Today’s post is from my friend Robin Nordhues. Robin is a brave woman who has decided to share her story to help others. She’s also a speaker, blogger and workshop leader with a passion for connecting women to God and each other. A Bible Study teacher and independent business leader for over 15 years, Robin strives to help women discuss contemporary issues through a Biblical lens.
The 50 Shades Trilogy is billed as “the perfect date movie.” Robin’s story illustrates why that just isn’t true.
What we choose to read and watch and click on matters. 70% of the men and 30% of the women in America are addicted to pornography (1 Million Men study). If this is not an area where you are tempted, you know someone who is.
50 Shades of Grey, the books and the movie, are dramatically increasing the number of women who struggle in this area. Some women who pursue pornography are visually stimulated by images on their computer or smart phones, in magazines or in movies. For me it has always been the vivid pictures my imagination created from the words in a book.
I am one of the 3 in 10 women whose poor choices led to an addiction to porn. As a woman who has loved God since I was a child I knew that the reading material I was choosing was not God’s best for me. The advent of the e-reader made it too easy to access whatever I wanted to read in a password-protected environment. As I became more and more desensitized to the material I was reading I sought out more explicit material to get the same response. I read things in the privacy of my e-reader that I would never have brought into my home in a traditional book format.
As things escalated I slipped farther and farther down the rabbit hole and into a 5-year addiction to pornography that affected every part of my life. At first it was a private, hidden secret that I thought only affected me. It affected my self-image and my self-worth in negative ways. It gave me a sense of self-loathing, guilt and shame that was exhausting to hide from the people around me. My addiction made me feel weak and hopeless as it became a poison that seeped into every area of my life.
From the beginning pornography separated me from the people around me. Brick by brick, book by book, I built a wall of guilt and shame that trapped me on one side and the people I loved on the other. I knew I shouldn’t do it, but I felt helpless to stop.
As the addiction continued it began to affect my marriage. It set my husband up to fail as I compared him to the impossible expectations set up by the pornographic material I was consuming. It brought things into our marriage bed that sacrificed intimacy for the false thrill of the forbidden.
While I was in the throes of my addiction I had two teenage daughters at home. We had raised them with a philosophy that asked this question – “Could Jesus walk into this house and read, watch or listen to anything you own?” If the answer was no it did not belong in our home. Needless, to say their mom was not practicing what she preached. My lack of integrity (actions not matching words) in this area was a firebrand that never failed to sear my conscience for the entirety of my addiction.
Today I am a recovering porn addict. I say “recovering” because it will always be an area of temptation for me. God healed me from my addiction, and in doing so He clearly called me to share my story so that I could help others.
Before I could go public, however, I had to ask forgiveness from the people who had been hurt by my dirty little secret. I confessed first to my husband and asked for his forgiveness. Although I had never cheated on him physically I had cheated on him mentally through the books I had read.
Then I had to confess to our two teenage daughters. Difficult to say the least! It is so hard to be transparent with our children when it is what they need most from us.
I do not know what temptations you struggle with today. I do now that 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that God is faithful and he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. If this is an area of struggle for you, I want to encourage you to:
- Be open and transparent about your struggle. Find accountability partners.
- Change your habits and your environment to make pornography less accessible.
- Seek professional help.
There is hope and help. You’ll find more of my story and resources on Women & Pornography at www.livingthelifetransparent.org.
I’m so grateful for Robin’s honesty. I’m passionate about this subject and wrote about it first here and then here. Today I ask that you join Robin and myself in making a commitment to be careful about what you feed your mind.
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I commend her bravery to face something head on that our culture considers normal (and which it normalizes and encourages). This is truly a beautiful example of someone walking back to God and owning their struggles, no excuses and no hedging. I’m so inspired by this story. Thank you to the author for being transparent, and calling out to other women to remember that guarding our eyes applies to women. The “romance novel” genre is rife with literature that does not teach us how to live in whole and happy relationships with our spouses, or ourselves. We as women lie to ourselves if we think reading those novels is, as Robin described, just a little guilty pleasure. Bravo. It takes courage to share that story and call out prophetically to her fellow sisters a message of hope and freedom.
Thank you for your honest and insightful blog. You bring light to a very dark subject.
Thank you for sharing your story.
Thank you for sharing! I am hoping someone who sees this comment can help me. How do I help my husband during this time? It has been an ongoing struggle through our marriage, and before. He recently found the material on my phone. My wonderful sister in law is an amazing accountability partner to me now. Her husband also struggles with the addiction and she knows how important purity is, in heart, body, and mind. I’m getting help, but how can I help my husband?
First of all – good for you for admitting your struggle, seeking help and having an accountability partner. These are all an important part of leaving your addiction in the past where it belongs. All of this is a process and I am so glad you have a husband who is willing to stay the course even though he may be feeling hurt or betrayed. For me, helping my husband meant asking for forgiveness and receiving it. It meant having hard conversations and making time for regular dates as a couple. It meant making a concentrated effort on both our parts to focus (with God’s help) on healing the physical and emotional parts of our marriage that had been damaged by my addiction. Praying for your journey!
Ma’am, the first time I was ever exposed to pornographic imagery, I was too young to even know the “mechanics” of sex. I don’t remember the exact age but, if I had to guess, I’d say I was 8 or 9 years old. It was in the mid-90’s.
God made men very visual creatures, especially when it comes to sexual stimulation. We are aroused mostly by what we see, in the same way that an addiction-prone individual with clinical depression may be driven by a wont to alleviate their sadness through drug use.
All that being said, the moment a man witnesses these perverse and unholy things, it’s the equivalent of giving an extremely depressed person a methamphetamine pipe to smoke. It fills a need (or seems to), and this will often become an addiction.
Pornography is surely vile beyond human comprehension, but it’s important for you (and any woman reading this) to understand that even a righteous man is not perfect; and, in a world where the adversary and accuser has placed visual stimulation EVERYWHERE, even a man without an addiction to pornography will undergo trials involving sexual immorality.
I also have issues with pornography, though the conviction of the Holy Spirit is crystalline. I am impure, and I am certainly not trying to stand above you like I don’t have the same issues (MATTHEW 7:3-5); rather, I stand beside you as a brother in our Lord, Jesus Christ, offering wisdom that has helped me, that we might all walk together in our journey to His side in Heaven.
I read this, elsewhere, and it has helped me: Following a confession of sins, ask the Lord to “frustrate my plans to disobey You.” That way, when our hearts rebel in our natural selfishness, He will put up a wall between us and worldly satisfaction. We may run into and bump our heads, but He will scoop us up and make it all better.
God bless you, sister.