How I told my boyfriend…

“I’ll have to tell him before we get married, but I just don’t think I can tell him yet.” Those were my thoughts when it came to telling my now husband about my previous addiction to pornography and struggles with masturbation.

The way it all turned out just proves that God has a sense of humor. At least when it comes to my own life.

My husband and I had been dating for several months now and I was thinking that I would just wait until we were engaged to tell him. We were pretty confident we wanted to get married at this point. We were sitting in church one day when the pastor said, “Girls, on the very first date you need to be asking the guy you are with if he is addicted to pornography.” I sighed inwardly thinking that if he had been dating me a year and a half ago he would actually need to be asking me that very question. I was still too nervous about telling him though and figured it could wait until we were engaged.

I had never shared my past or present struggles with a guy before. I had no idea how he would react. Would he still love me? Would he be angry or disgusted? I had finally gotten over the idea that I was horrible and unique in this area of sin as a woman, but the idea of having to face my boyfriend’s rejection was too much for me.

We often drove about 45 minutes away to visit his parents and on our next trip there, he turned to me and told me he had been thinking about what the pastor said. “No, no, no I don’t want to hear this yet. I am not ready to tell you” was all I could think about. I already knew what he was going to tell me. The statistics of guys viewing pornography made it pretty likely that he had looked at pornography. I didn’t care about that, but what I did care about was that I was now going to have to reveal my ugly past to him. I immediately burst into tears.

He was confused, thinking that I was horribly upset by the fact that he had been addicted to pornography before. I explained through sobs that that wasn’t it at all and I had to tell him something too. I was shaking and crying and finally managed to let him know, through a mixture of him guessing and me saying random words, that I had been addicted to pornography and struggled with masturbation.

His reaction was the opposite of what I had feared. Some of his comments were things like, “At least we know we will probably have a pretty good sex life” and “Well, that’s a relief. I thought you were going to tell me you have homosexual tendencies”.

The funny thing is that the whole time he was trying to tell me his past, I could have cared less because of what I had to tell him. And the whole time I was trying to tell him about mine, he could care less because I didn’t seem to be bothered by his own.

We had several more conversations and still do concerning this issue, but it was one less burden for me to carry. I was so happy that I had to tell him sooner than later. I can only imagine the dread and anxiety I would have experienced the moment he proposed to me. “Oh no, I have to tell him now” would have been my first thought after he bent down on one knee instead of being joyful and thrilled.

Although I thought I knew better than anyone when I would need to tell my future husband, God knew much better than I did what was best for us. I really should have known better looking back on how most of my plans tend to work out.

Masturbation: It’s Not Disgusting

I mentioned it before in A Breath of Fresh Air, but I want to focus on it for this particular entry.

I had a really hard time even saying the word masturbation when I first brought what I was dealing with to my friend. Even after that I felt awkward and weird saying the word. My friend said it with ease and basically forced me to use the word just so she knew that we were on the same page.

Recently, I had a young woman share her past and present struggles with me. She was a reflection of myself a few years ago. She felt like she was the only one dealing with masturbation, but when it came time to tell me the truth she couldn’t say the word. She kept telling me how disgusting it was. I wasn’t trying to be mean, but like my friend, I forced her to use the word.

After I talked to her, I wondered why I followed in my friends footsteps. What is the importance of becoming comfortable using the word masturbation?

There are a few reasons that I came up with, but only a couple that I find are really important.

First of all, it prevents miscommunication from occurring. Until you actually define what it is you are dealing with, people you share your life with aren’t going to know how best to pray for you. Using words like “struggling” and “lust” aren’t going to get the point across. Do you know how many forms struggling and lusting can take? You will ensure that the prayers you receive will be as general and vague as you are. And you may run into a few people praying for things that don’t even apply to you!

More importantly though, being comfortable with the word erases the link of shame that you have placed on it. Masturbation is real and most people deal with it at some point in life. You may not have realized that until now, but it doesn’t change the fact. As a Christian, it may not be beneficial for you, but it isn’t disgusting. If you have masturbated, you are not a disgusting person.

Let me repeat that. You are not a disgusting person.

If your desire is to stop masturbating, telling yourself that you are disgusting and worthless and imposing self-hate will get you nowhere. Those are lies, so stop believing them! You may lack self-control, be out of touch with the Holy Spirit, or simply bored and not doing enough with your life. All of which can be corrected.

Words can have power, and sometimes that power is negative. In years past, I was allowing this one word to wreak havoc in my soul and tell me I was something I was not. Don’t allow it to do the same thing to you.

Pornography: The truth

“If Anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” – James 4:17 

In 2010, I went, with several of my friends, to a presentation that was given on the local college campus about sex trafficking.

During this event, they showed us a documentary with statistics and stories about women in the pornographic industry that had been trafficked. For instance, 1 out of 5 pornographic images are of a minor. They also presented the idea that although not all pornography involves trafficked women, the likelihood that someone addicted to pornography has viewed a trafficked woman and therefore supported their bondage was very high.

At that moment, this realization crushed me and at the same time delivered me.

It crushed me because I realized that, although unknowingly, I had been fueling the demand for pornography and women being abused. How could I live with myself? How could I do this to another living being?

I fell further into my internal misery when all of my girl friends with me began to discuss how horrible it was. “I just don’t even see how a girl could ever look at pornography. It is so disgusting!” That was one comment that would have prevented me from ever telling anyone what I had done.

And then the Lord made it impossible for me to continue to ignore his commands.

One of the friends with us just happened to be “the one” that God had told me I needed to talk to. As soon as the girls shared their disgust with women who could succumb to the world this way, she spoke up. “Oh, well I have looked at it.” She explained that she didn’t look at it anymore, but while everyone else was awkwardly trying to cover up their previous comments, I was filled with fear, joy, and anticipation all at once.

I could no longer ignore what God was telling me to do. It could not get any clearer that she was the one I needed to talk to.

That day is special to me for two reasons:

  1. I was finally listening to my Savior and drawing up the battle plans to carry out his orders.
  2. It was the day that I lost my desire to view pornography. I have not looked at it since.

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never again say you did not know.” – William Wilberforce