Does watching porn make me dirty?

Does watching porn make me dirty?

I have watched porn. I don’t know about you, but watching porn made me feel ashamed, icky, and dirty. That was the regret that followed indulgence.

Before watching porn, I felt an insatiable urge that seemed to overtake all other thoughts. After giving in, I thought to myself, “What have I done?”. Then came regret and the feeling of failure and despair – “I’m never going to get rid of this, I’m broken and dirty and worthless!”

Why does porn make us feel so dirty? I think, for myself, growing up in a conservative Asian context like Singapore, porn was not talked about, and if mentioned, was always accompanied with a look of disgust or distaste. It was taboo, associated with shame and secrecy. I also thought I was the only one who watched porn, the only weak, lustful person who had this secret addiction. So naturally I felt ashamed and dirty.

What does the Bible say?

As a churchgoer, I also knew from the Bible that Jesus said in Matthew 5: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

So just watching porn made me an adulterer. I could fool myself and think that being a virgin made me pure, but actually my lustful thoughts and fantasies had gone much further. I had three responses to my addiction: despair, rationalisation, or surrender.

Despair

Despair meant a continuum of my feelings of shame and guilt. I began to feel like I deserved this unending cycle of self-pleasure, guilt, and depression. It would lead eventually to apathy and lifelessness, as I resigned myself to that existence. Those were terrible, gray days filled with a fog of negativity.

Truthfully, my habits, like any other addiction, affected my social and professional functioning - as I would be distracted and dazed throughout the day, not able to do well in school and have normal social interactions. I would also find myself imagining strangers and friends in sexual situations, which made me feel even dirtier. I realised this wasn’t sustainable – didn’t Jesus promise a life that was abundant and free?

Rationalisation

I tried to rationalise my addiction. As I explored more of the internet, and through conversations with others, I received messages that normalised porn and masturbation. But I still couldn’t shake off the thought that I was doing something wrong, something unnatural even.

Surrendering the addiction to God

Finally, I could do nothing but surrender. I recognised I couldn’t deal with this addiction on my own and I had to stop hiding. I had to admit I had a problem to myself, to my God, and to trusted friends. It took a long time to admit I had an addiction, because no one likes being an addict. But recognising the signs of addiction was helpful in addressing the problem rather than plastering on quick fixes.

God and friends

Admitting my problem wasn’t the only step though. I also needed to seek the help of God and friends. The greatest comfort comes from God, because He promises that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I cherish this promise so much as it reminds me of a loving, forgiving Saviour who doesn’t hold our past sins against us. So, seeking His forgiveness and trying my best to “go and sin no more” was my kickstart to recovery.

Accountability partners and newfound freedom

Along the road to recovery, friends played an important role, too. Confessing my sin to even my most trusted friends was nerve-wracking and akin to jumping off a cliff - because there was no taking back what I had said. But after sharing with friends and seeking their help to keep me accountable, I experienced a relief that I was not alone, and I had allies in this battle against sin.

We would text each other promises from the Bible and let each other know whenever we were tempted. We would also schedule regular prayer calls. Having that support really helped me.

Back to the question, “Does watching porn make me dirty?” Yes, watching porn made me feel dirty, and although it was so easy to despair and give up, it was so much better to seek God and build a relationship with Him. In fact, just simply admitting to God that I have a problem, and that I needed His help, was a great burden lifted off my shoulders. When we replace sin with God’s presence, we are so much less prone to trip up again, because we have the peace and embrace of God to fulfill us instead of our selfish human desires.

Even better, we gain a steadfast friend in God.

If you or a friend you know are experiencing this issue, I encourage you to surrender, to seek help immediately. Don’t be like me, wasting years in hidden sin and self-blame, not living to my full potential. A good first step is taking an inventory of the problem and recognising the extent of the issue. Yes, I am still struggling. Yes, I still trip up and I am a dirty sinner. But this pushes me to cling even more to God.

 

The following set of questions was borrowed from retorno.org. Answering more than a few “yes”may indicate a pornography use problem or even addiction. If so, please seek help, from God and others.

Pornography / Online Sex Addiction

  1. Did you start viewing porn or engaging in cybersex accidentally, and then it became something you needed?
  2. Do you feel ashamed or guilty about your online sexual activities?
  3. Do you worry about how much you think about pornography or actually view it?
  4. Has pornography or your online activities interfered in any way with your family or other relationships?
  5. Do you use porn to reward yourself, or to escape from stress or difficulties?
  6. Have your online activities interfered with your regular daily activities (work, school, etc.)?

 

 

Editor’s Note:

If you would like to find out more about pornography and how to break free, you can watch our seminar series New Freedom to Love at: hopechannel.sg/watch/show/ml/12/

Or if you need to talk to someone regarding pornography addiction that you or someone you know is facing, you can also call WE CARE community services helpline at 31658017.