intimacy, women & porn addiction, women & same-sex attraction

How Porn Warped My View of Men and Women (and How Jesus Restored My Heart)

It was ten years ago today that I confessed a pornography addiction to my husband. It was consuming me, and I felt as though it was killing me slowly from the inside out. I was trapped.

In confessing this to him, I had to admit that I was wrestling with an attraction to women and watching lesbian porn as an outlet. I knew he would be devastated. He knew of a relationship I was in with another woman several years earlier, but we both thought it was just part of my past and would stay there. That couldn’t have been any further from the truth.

Porn took an attraction I felt toward certain women and it introduced lust and fantasy into the picture. This changed everything. I started to see women so differently after that.

This is still not easy to admit, but women became something I could fantasize about any time I wanted to. I didn’t recognize it at the time, but I was using those women. This eventually started affecting how I viewed women I would come across in my own life, not just the ones I saw on my computer screen. That’s only a very small example of what porn can do to a person’s mind and heart.

After I finally told my husband what I had been doing, the long journey of healing began in my life and in our marriage. As I look at the past ten years, I am amazed. Some years have been so difficult, but Jesus has been faithful to heal my surrendered heart, and I have been set free in ways I never used to think was possible. He has done so much!

Sharing my story and ministering to other women who struggled with pornography was never a thought in my mind in the beginning. Honestly, I was afraid to be around other women my own age. I didn’t trust where my heart and mind would go if I let my walls down.

Lesbian porn gives the illusion of intimacy and a deep connection between two women. Even years after I stopped watching it, I didn’t know what to do with that unfulfilled desire to have a connection with another woman.

My mind was so cluttered with lust (that I didn’t want anymore), lies from the enemy, along with all the pictures and videos I could not erase from my memory. These pictures would haunt me years later when especially when spending time with my family, when I was alone, and on Sunday mornings during worship at church.

A year or so after I confessed everything to my husband, I remember going to a conference. Someone prophesied over me that I would have a ministry for women. It felt like a word straight from God, but I froze in fear.

Surely God hadn’t forgotten what I had done and that I didn’t even know how to be around women my own age without putting walls up.  I felt like the worst person to be doing any kind of ministry with or for women. I didn’t want any part of it.

As I continued to surrender my heart and sexuality to Him, He took all of my past mistakes, all of my sin, everything that corrupted my mind and heart, and He created something beautiful.

He was healing my heart.

He started teaching me how to see women as He created them to be, instead of what I learned while watching porn for so long. He started showing me that to truly love another woman, I was not going to willingly lust after her in my mind and heart. Instead, I would purpose to see her as God created her to be.

He started showing me that loving another woman was seeing her as God does and caring for her heart, not entertaining sexual thoughts about her. He also started showing me that the deep need for intimacy and connection that I had was a need that could be filled by Him.

In 2010, I felt the Holy Spirit encouraging me to share my story. This turned into my blog, the book I recently wrote, and the ministry I have today. My marriage is better today than it has ever been. Now I also have close, healthy female friendships, and I do not need to have walls up with them. It has not always been easy, and it has been a long process, but Jesus has truly restored and redeemed so much of my life.

Thankfully He did not stop there.

Even before I started watching porn, I saw men as untrustworthy and (emotionally) unsafe. If one of them looked at me the wrong way, I felt incredible anger rise up inside of me. There were times I also watched hardcore porn, which incorporates violence. This surely did not help my view of men! It did nothing but fuel the anger I already had toward them.

As you can imagine, this did a lot of damage to my marriage on top of everything else. Can you imagine how it must feel to be married to a woman who distrusts and dislikes most men? It affected how I saw him, even though he was not at all the reason for my distrust and anger.

Over the last several years, God has been healing my heart in this area. A couple of years ago, I started noticing specific men standing in front of me in the grocery store check-out line. This may sound strange, but I would suddenly see them in my mind as a boy as old as my son was at the time. Instead of looking at them as I normally would, I started wondering what their childhood was like and what had happened in their lives between childhood and when they were standing in front of me in the grocery store. It humanized them to me and disarmed my defenses. I truly believe that was the Holy Spirit beginning soften my heart.

To be honest, I still have a way to go on this one. Jesus continues to heal layer after layer of my heart, and He continues to expose so many lies I have believed about men along the way. As He continues to do this, my marriage has healed in deeper ways as well.

As I think about all that Jesus has done in my marriage and all that He has restored over the past ten years, I am so grateful. He took a huge mess that I didn’t know how to get out of, and He showed me what it is like to know his grace, love, mercy, healing, restoration, and redemption in so many ways. I look forward to seeing what He will do over the next ten years.

If you are trapped in pornography, lust, fantasies, or anything else, it is not too late for you. Maybe you have been wanting Jesus to heal your heart, and you have seen progress, but you feel so far away. I have certainly made many mistakes. I tripped and fell several times. I have had to break through an incredible amount of fear and shame along the way; but as I have kept going, I see more of what Jesus is doing. He is making something beautiful.

If this is something that has been affecting your own life, keep going! Jesus will continue to restore your heart and mind. He can set you free.

Fear, doubt, frustration, and shame will try to tell you otherwise, but that is not true. Lean into Jesus. Surrender your heart to him and pursue an intimate relationship with Him. There is grace, love, mercy, healing, restoration, and redemption for you – just like there has been for me. Your story is not over. There is so much more to come!

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