The way out of guilt

I accidentally fell into the trap of pornography when I was 12 years old and at the stage when most teenagers usually experience inner turmoil! In my innocence, not knowing all that was involved, at first I was shocked and at the same time fascinated by what I found on this subject, I felt a pleasant sensation within which filled me with shame at the same time. It was exactly this shame that drove me into isolation. I could always talk about everything with my mother but the topics of pornography and masturbation were absolutely taboo for me.  I would have been ashamed to death in the full sense of the word if my mother had found out about all of this.

My sense of shame deepened because I had believed in Jesus from the time that I was 6 years old and had always been active in my church. I was sure that I was ill because it was only men who had a problem with pornography. I thought that I was the only “perverted” woman.

When I received compliments about my outward appearance I was unable to accept them or believe that they were true. Instead I thought: “If people really knew what I was like they would not pay me compliments”. It was a vicious circle: I tried to deal with my feelings of guilt and tension which drove me into masturbation and the dream world of erotic fantasy.  Incidentally this fantasy world is typical for women who read explicit love stories and thus consume more pornography than they are aware of. Addiction does not only confine itself to the consumption of hardcore porn but can be played out in masturbation and losing oneself in an erotic fantasy.

My own healing began when I began to talk to God honestly about my problem. The realisation that Jesus did die for everything, finally gave me the strength to open up to a friend. Our friendship did not end but became deeper and more meaningful. It was this friend, who time and time again, pointed out that I was trying to do things in my own strength – a mistake that many make when they try to escape this vicious circle of pornography. They beg God to give them more strength to resist the temptation and wonder why it does not work. I tried the same thing, unsuccessfully.

I found the root of my sin when I took a journey into my “inner-self”: I grew up in a protected environment in which there were seldom quarrels or arguments, therefore, I had never learnt to deal with my negative feelings.  I learnt to express disagreement in an appropriate way instead of withdrawing as I had previously done in conflict situations. As I learnt to forgive and to accept forgiveness and allowed myself to be drawn into friendships, the tension was built down. The proof of my healing is in the fact that I no longer feel ashamed of what I did.

Incidentally, my mother now knows everything. It has come to my attention over the last few years, that I am not the only woman to have had problems with pornography even though examples of men are usually cited when it is spoken of. I want to tell all women who are affected that there is a way to break the chains of shame. A time will come when women will be able to live out their femininity in freedom as God originally planned it.

Susanne (40 years old)

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