We have a special guest who is a reader of "JOURNAL OF A 25-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN". His story is raw, vulnerable and maybe even relatable. Without further ado...
My name is Eric. I am an avid rock climber, runner, and fan of the outdoors from rural Pennsylvania. Riley and I go to school together, and quickly became friends after being introduced a few months ago. When Riley shared her story with me, I was delighted to find we both share a passion for vulnerable conversations. Anyway, I’m not just a rock-climbing, outdoorsy, somewhat nerdy runner who enjoys the occasional glass of Lagavulan (What Would Ron Swanson Do, am I right?). I care deeply about the issues Riley discusses on her blog, especially pornography. I care because it has been one of my biggest struggles.
Is pornography something you find yourself struggling with?
Before I go any further, I want to be sensitive to the fact that I am speaking from a particular perspective. My story might not resonate with everyone who reads this. In fact, it probably will be very uncomfortable for some. I want to acknowledge your discomfort. Still, it’s my hope that even the smallest detail of my story might serve to open you up to a bit more freedom.
Also, I don’t find it helpful to think of my struggle with porn as strictly a problem of my past—as something that doesn’t affect me anymore. While I experience freedom from it, I try not to take that freedom for granted. Some days it’s harder to live in freedom. Some days it’s easier. Regardless, every day requires a conscious effort. Likewise, I want to avoid characterizing porn as a cold that can be cured with the right prescription. As I’ve experienced it, struggling with porn is more like having a bad knee than the flu. It requires constant attention and a humble willingness to modify your day-to-day routine to compensate for the chronic issue. As a runner who has suffered both cold and knee pain, I’d prefer the cold any day. But, in the long run, the care and effort that goes in to nurturing an injured limb is far more rewarding. With all this talk of disclaimers out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff.
The first sex scene I ever watched was from a 90s action film, when I was about twelve years old. As I grew up in a fairly conservative household, which held to values of sexual purity and abstinence before marriage, I was hyper-aware of the all the sexual dangers lurking around, waiting to steal my purity. Nevertheless, as the movie transitioned from explosions to romantic saxophone music, my heart started to race. Seeing a naked woman doing things from which I had been taught to abstain, I felt nervous and ashamed, like I should have turned off the TV and walked away. But I didn’t. I only wanted more.
Despite the wildfire of desire roaring in my brain, it took another three years before I found my way to the porn sites whose URLs are still etched into the back of my brain. Speaking in terms of my peers, I was late to the game. The group of angsty, hormonal teenagers with whom I went to school talked about it incessantly. Every guy I knew seemed to be obsessed with sex and porn. It was so pervasive that I remember conversations during marching band practice about favorite porn sites, and which ones offered the best viewing content. Slowly, one small concession at a time, I found myself taking on habits and thought patterns similar to my peers. Out of a desire for pleasure and intimacy, and quite frankly my own lustful desire, I began dipping my toes into the metaphorical pool of porn.
Quickly, that pool became a lake, and the lake an ocean. Eventually, the riptide pulled me under. By my first year of college, watching porn had become a daily occurrence. Everyone I knew watched it, both my male and female friends. There was no shame around it. We were all swimming in the ocean together. Eventually, though, I found myself too far from the shore. I realized I was drowning, and I was too ashamed to cry out for help.
Do you feel like you’re lost at sea, drowning in porn? If so, trust me, you are not alone. And there are people out there who will respond to your cry for help. Think about who you might reach out to, and check in next week when I share the rest of my journey and how I found freedom.
Part Two will be released Jan 30, 2020. Come join this space for the continuation of Eric's journey to healing. Trust me, it is worth the wait!
Are you struggling with pornography? Please know that you are not alone. I am here for you. Send me a message on firstname.lastname@example.org.