Itâ€™s a cold and rainy day here in Los Angeles.Â I slept in late, missed my bus, and waited in the rain for a ride to Starbucks this morning.Â The next bus didnâ€™t take me far enough, and I walked with my pack slung over my shoulder down the dirty Hollywood sidewalk, my faded boots with fraying laces and thin soles carrying me the rest of the way. By the time I made it, I was aching for a cup of coffee only to discover the cafĂ© in Barnes and Noble conveniently covered up all their outlets to keep out bloggers like me.Â Considering I am writing these blogs on a Macbook fossil — an artifact Indiana Jones would have fallen into a pit of snakes for — I was forced to venture on because my machine cannot last without power.
Cold, tired, hungry, feeling anxious because it was already 9:30 a.m. and I still had no damn idea what I was going to write about this morning, I started clicking through the internet looking for inspiration after I got settled a few blocks down the road.Â And how quickly I stumbled upon swimsuit models, sexy rock stars, and lingerie ads.Â Reminded that it’s been over eighteen months since the last time I looked at pornography, my heart hurt.Â Not for meâ€”itâ€™s simply no longer a part of my life, and I donâ€™t miss itâ€”but for the millions of individuals caught in a worldwide lie.
The first time I used pornography I was eleven-years-old.
Before the glorious appearance of the Internet, I got my fix from all the Victoriaâ€™s Secret reading material haphazardly scattered about the house.Â I was just another one of the girls in a household full of women.Â When my oldest sister went off to college, my parents brought home a computer with something called the World Wide Web and America Online to keep in touch with their daughter over email. I knew nothing of the Internet except what I heard the boys whispering about in the hallways between classes. They’d seen things. Things there fathers and older brothers weren’t yet clever enough to delete from their web histories.
It didnâ€™t take me long to figure out my parentsâ€™ password, and start accessing their AOL account in search of the mysterious and exciting female body so the next day at school I could talk about it too.
Fast forward ten years and Iâ€™m in collegeâ€”Art Schoolâ€”where experimenting goes well outside of the classroom mixing color pallets.Â Art School isnâ€™t like normal collegeâ€”not to discredit all the tomfoolery that ensues on college campuses around the world, but on my campus it was easier to find a naked body than your classroom any day of the week. Pornography, for whatever reason, flowed from our hard drives and televisions as freely as water from the kitchen faucet.Â It was a socially acceptable way to pass the time. Over those ten years it casually integrated itself into my life as something as natural as breathing and sleeping.Â I was entirely immersed. I was addicted to pornography.Â Cold, hard math.Â I planned my day around it, canceled plans and missed class because of it.Â Yet, for some reason each and every time I used, I couldnâ€™t help but feel that same childhood panic meant for cafeterias and schoolyard playgrounds: shame.
If you sit for hours on end waiting for a thirty-minute video to download, at one point or another you’re going to find yourself thinking, â€śWhat the hell am I doing here?â€ť You expend copious amounts of energy downloading, clicking, searching, canceling downloads, and constantly hovering over the X in the top right corner of the screen because you swear to God you just heard your roommate come home or Mom knocking on your bedroom door to tell you dinner is ready. And if the stress of being caught doesnâ€™t kill you then the stress of not getting off in those next twelve seconds surely will.
I still hid it on my computer buried so deep in folders I often forgot where it was even though a helpless housewife needed the air conditioner fixed by her glistening, shirtless neighbor every day of the week on our dorm room television.
Why are we so obsessed with not getting caught if over 70% of the population uses pornography on a regular basis? Why do we act like criminals fresh off the scene of the crime when weâ€™re questioned about using it if the porn industry brings in more money annually than the film industry, Apple, and Microsoft combined?Â Because we are voyeuristically watching an act intended only to be shared between two people as the ultimate expression of love.Â We feel shameful because deep down we know whatâ€™s really going on just out of frame.Â What we are seeing isnâ€™t real, but the lie is good and hard to question. Itâ€™s easier to accept than actually deal with what youâ€™re doing at 2 a.m. on a Friday night.
So why after all those years did I just stop? Cold turkey. Done. It may have had something to do with my roommate moving out and taking everything with himâ€”including the Internetâ€”and I had just recently thrown my computer off the roof of our building to watch it explode into a million little pieces in the alleyway below, but I was through being lied to.
Throwing my computer off a roof was the easy part. Spending the next two years digging up my past and facing it like a man was a battle I wasn’t sure I’d survive.
Lust is a lie. It will tell you whatever it is you want to hear. It will always promise what it cannot deliver.
The chances are good those two girls youâ€™re watching conveniently just getting ready to take a shower came from broken homes and bad choices. They were once Homecoming Queens and cheerleader captains in high school. Because no one wakes up one morning and simply decides that an honorable and worthy career choice would be one in pornography.
Those girls and men, they once were children with parents and friends too.
In the beginning, I could watch pornography and people behaving badly all night. Yet even then I couldnâ€™t help but think: What is this? Thatâ€™s someoneâ€™s daughter.Â What happened in her life that she feels the only way she can feel valuable is by doing this?
More importantly, what the hell happened in my life that I think I needed this?
Using pornography is built upon a simple, common law: gravity.
Hereâ€™s the thing about gravity.Â Once you fall, itâ€™s hard to stop.
Our brains come jam-packed with a supply of dopamine.Â A drug that helps us remember.Â Any time the brain experiences something new or novel, like a delicious, mayonnaise-free sandwich, or, letâ€™s say, sex, the brain releases a small amount of dopamine to the amygdaleâ€”the part of your brain that helps you remember.Â The dopamine feels good, and your brain will remember everything about that moment: the smell of the deli, the taste of the sandwich, the hairy, tattooed man behind the counter who assembled it.Â The brain remembers these seemingly insignificant details so you can get it again because it was good.
The same thing happens when you use pornography.Â Your brain releases dopamine, and logs away everything about that moment. So next time youâ€™re in that room, you see the color of your computer, or smell the same fabric softener you use on your sheets, you suddenly remember how good it felt to get off.
Pornography, just like lust, is a lie. Your girlfriend might not love you anymore, but these girls on the other side of the Inter-highway will love you for a few minutes this afternoon because they do whatever you want.Â But youâ€™re connecting to something that isnâ€™t real.Â These are multi-camera shoots with directors shouting precisely where to put it and how to grab it.Â There’s nothing real about it.
Sex is a brick.Â Before the brick we used stones.Â They were inconsistent, unstable, and weak.Â Bricks are used to build houses, provide shelter, and can create entire cities. They protect us.Â But this very same object can also be thrown through a windshield, or smash in someoneâ€™s unsuspecting skull.Â Sex is the same.Â It provides us pleasure, intimacy with those we love, and creates life.Â You canâ€™t throw sex through a windshield, but you can shatter someoneâ€™s heart with it just the same.
What do you think our world would be like today if instead of spending countless hours downloading, clicking, searching, and seeking unfulfillable sexual satisfaction, we funneled all that energy into Godâ€™s Kingdom? Into our dreams and aspirations? Would there be less hurt in this world? Would more of us be working jobs we love? What about our relationships? Would they be healthy? Would the sex be mind-blowingâ€¦
Or are we forever trapped in a world where we have too much to compare sex to?
Like what you read? Click here to become a Make It MAD fan on Facebook and get access to original content.
Then follow me on Twitter: @maxdubinsky
Copyright Â© September 2010 | | Make It MAD