I’m so excited to introduce you to our third contributor in the series tonight, Paul Robinson. Paul is a blogger (and a tweeter/twit/twitterer at @paulrobinson33) who lives in Belfast and works with XXXChurch, an organisation that works to free people from addiction to pornography. Paul will share a little bit of his story and explore the ways in which pornography is a thief; the ways in which Porn Boulevard is definitely a dead end.
Some men like boobs.
Some like bums.
Some like both.
Some like different sizes of bums and boobs.
Unfortunately, a lot of guys aren’t too interested in the rest.
You know, like the actual person, the relationship, the time, the trust, the commitment.
Porn is a really easy way for guys (and girls) to meet those sexual needs that we all need met. That is why it is so attractive. You can receive the pleasure without the work of being with the person. You can be with the girl of your dreams depending on what size of boobs you like, the colour of skin you like, age, size, the number of people. The list of preferences goes on and on. Whatever turns you on you can have.
But dig deeper and the reasons men look at porn are more subtle than just enjoying looking at naked women.
The reasons can be different for everyone.
For me, it was loneliness. It was because I didn’t feel I mattered. I didn’t feel loved. Maybe it was the absence of my father growing up and the insecurities that caused. Either way, porn allowed me to pretend I was loved and it made me feel, for a fleeting moment that I was someone I wasn’t.
For others, maybe its boredom or curiosity. Because let’s face it, we are made to have sex and we are going to want to explore that sooner or later. Maybe you don’t have a girlfriend and porn lets you feel good and there is no judgement, no arguments, no stressing over remembering birthdays. Or you have stuff from your past that you have never really dealt with. And so instead of looking it straight in the eye, porn helps numb the pain.
At least it might for a few moments.
After which, the pain still remains.
If you ask any guy who has ever seen porn I am pretty confident he will remember the first time.
It’s so powerful that years later that first image can get stuck in there.
Which is why porn is so morish.
Once is not enough. Sure you might feel ashamed after and you may even vow to never look again. But you will probably want to see what else is out there. If you’ve ever found yourself stuck down Porn Boulevard you have probably uttered the magic words more than once
“Like I said last time, it won’t happen again”
Porn won’t let you get away that easily though. Soon the images you have been looking at won’t be enough. Our brains change when we view porn so to keep those neural pathways happy we will keep looking, strengthening them after repeated views. Eventually something has to give and it’s usually ourselves.
It stifles your creativity. It makes you cross the street when you see a friend. It makes you stay at home because you are ashamed. It tells you that you aren’t loved. It tells you that your wife is not as good as the women you see online and that she will hate you forever.
Porn makes you believe that you aren’t hurting anyone. But you are. You are hurting yourself, your wife, your kids, your future wife, your girlfriend, and your friends. Porn stops you allowing yourself to be vulnerable in front of people. It keeps you from growing into the man your family and friends deserve. The man that the world deserves. It keeps you from the opportunities that will allow you to feel alive. It stops you enjoying life.
It also hurts the women who make porn (Robin looked at this on Monday and will continue to look at it from other angles later in the series.) The woman who desperate to feed their kids or put themselves through college, get into porn for easy money. The woman who quickly realize they don’t own their own image anymore. That belongs to the porn producer. To the viewer online. It’s not about us vs them, though. It’s realizing that porn hurts everyone. From the teenage kid online to the veteran porn producer.
What porn doesn’t do though is give.
It takes and it will continue to take until you have gone too far.
When it gets to the point that you are giving yourself into the police you know you have gone too far. When you miss your kid’s football game because you are looking at porn one last time you know you have gone too far. When your wife is crying because you treat her coldly and anger easily, you know you have gone too far.
Thankfully that never has to be the end. It takes guts to admit you have a problem but once you do you are turning around in Porn Boulevard and heading home. Once you get help there is a chance to rejoin the party.
Nobody says it will be easy. The pain the truth might cause others could be horrible. But it will definitely be worth it.
Sometimes though, it’s so hard to see because freedom from porn is a distant memory.
That’s why other people are so important in getting through it. They can see what you can’t. They can believe when you doubt.
Make today the day you turn around.
Because Porn Boulevard is always a dead end.