The First Time I Saw Porn

I originally sat down to write about what all I’ve learned about pornography from research and then how the Bible looks at porn and what it does to marriage. I still want to write that post, but as I thought about the topic, my mind wandered back to the first time I saw porn.

Blog post title + XXX-adults only wordsOne little research tidbit I’ll include here is that the average age a person is exposed to pornography is around 13. And that’s how old I was when I was at a friend’s house and she reported that her older brother kept Playboy magazines in his closet. He wasn’t home, and she offered to show me one.

Curiosity impelled me to say yes.

I’d seen adult magazines in convenience stores behind sealed packages that blocked out the private areas of women sprawled on their covers, and I’d heard stories of the sordid features of porn magazines. I wanted to find out for myself what was going on inside those slick covers.

My friend pulled down one of the magazines, and we flipped through. I couldn’t tell you what all was in there, because only two pieces have stayed with me all these years. I’m going to describe them in as clinical a way as I can. One was a sexual fantasy story about a woman on an airplane who engages in various activities with several passengers. The other was an image of a woman wearing barely-there lingerie (not covering breasts or genitalia), positioned in a way that focused on her private parts.

I can’t conjure up the specifics of either the story or the image. However, I absolutely remember how I felt. And that’s what I want to share.

I admit that I was fascinated. My curiosity was assuaged, and I was amazed that this whole world existed. Who were the people who put out a magazine like this? Who wrote sex fantasy stories? Who posed for nudie photographs to be shared with anyone willing to pay a few bucks to ogle the page?

But mostly, I felt violated. My stomach muscles tensed, and bile rose to the my throat. I felt creepy and wrong and just off-kilter. Something inside me revolted against the idea of treating women and sex this way. It almost felt like a personal attack as well: Was this what men thought women were good for? Was this what they really wanted women to be? Were we just a collection of body parts? I certainly hoped not.

But then I had another moment of curiosity. Not just about what men wanted, but what my own body was doing. Was I only feeling tension and disgust? Or did something else in me, some strange trigger reaction, want to know more about this whole world of sexuality and what it all meant? Yes, I was repulsed, but also intrigued.

A wave of guilt followed. Not only did I think I’d get in trouble if my friend and I were caught looking at a girly magazine, but I felt it was wrong — both what this magazine was doing and my choice to look. I also knew what I’d seen wouldn’t soon disappear from my mind, and I’d be wrestling with these thoughts a while longer.

Yet another part of me just felt sad. I felt sorry for women who allowed themselves to be treated this way, as merely a tool for sexual arousal and fantasy. The photographed woman especially made me wonder about who she really is, and did anyone looking at the picture care? Or was she only valuable for the size of her breasts and her willingness to strike an erotic pose?

Now when I saw this magazine, I knew very little about sex. At that point, I might have held a boy’s hand. But in a way, my lack of sexual education and personal experience allowed me to look at the magazine with fresh eyes. And my personality is to mull and reflect thoroughly about my experiences. Had I reacted with such aversion purely because of my religious background, or was something else going on — some more deeper and instinctive response?

Of course I didn’t answer all those questions at the tender age of 13.

Throughout the years since, I’ve actually grown less concerned about the rules and more concerned about hearts, relationships, and honoring the Lord. And from that place, I’ve lost all that curiosity and fascination I had when I first saw porn. Yet, I’m left with the same disgust and sadness.

Whoever that poor woman was that appeared in the Playboy issue I saw, she was someone’s daughter and deserved better than to be consumed by greedy eyeballs wanting a cheap thrill. Honestly, even I can’t remember anything about her face, and that’s a shame. Wasn’t she a person? And yet how did I treat her? Like the object she was displayed as being.

That is nothing like how God tells us to treat others.

Some husbands (and some wives) say that looking at porn isn’t a big deal — they just like looking at naked women; it has nothing to do with how they feel about their wives; and it doesn’t affect their intimacy in the marriage bed. Some men suggest we ladies have just made up all this brouhaha about porn being bad and we get our panties in a twist over nothing.

Men still looking at porn: Do you know what your choice says about your view of women? Your view of sexuality?  Do you understand why it upsets so many wives? If you think it’s okay to treat women that way, what might your wife conclude about how you view her in the marriage bed?

Yes, you say it’s different, and I believe you to some extent, but your actions don’t send the right message. They’re making your wife feel emotionally unsafe.

Okay, someone out there is saying: “But my wife is different — she understands / watches porn with me.” You might even argue that it’s helping your sex life. But tell me what you’re doing to that person posing for you: Can you imagine Jesus ever treating someone the way you’re treating that porn star, as a collection of arousing body parts?

Do you recall how you felt the first time you saw porn? Because I suspect you had a mix of emotions too. Some of curiosity, fascination, and perhaps even arousal; but also something sinister in the back of your mind, the pit of your stomach, the core of your heart.

Maybe that sinister feeling was a warning, a nudge from our conscience.

Ultimately, porn is sin. Pure and simple. And it’s time to seek something better.

75 thoughts on “The First Time I Saw Porn

  1. Cara

    Awesome J!
    The images that are stuck with me forever have started to fade (only come back if I think hard-so I don’t 😉 )
    I wish I could unsee and unfeel everything it caused but I can’t. So I do the next best thing. I share your articles (and Sheila’s) with my teenagers. Hopefully they never look.
    We told my son at like 10 that the women are in porn are someone’s sisters (and put his sisters’ names in there) and daughters and mothers……
    As far as I know it’s worked (he’s 15 now).
    Please parents!!! Talk to your sons AND daughters. Don’t avoid the hard topics!

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Good point. I’ve said that my sons too — that this someone’s daughter, sister, and maybe someday mother. It’s a person, and you shouldn’t treat people like objects for your own pleasure.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        Thank you for this article, I really appreciate the exhortation on how porn objectifies women. I would like to make one comment about using phrases like “someone’s daughter” to justify why porn is dehumanizing. Too often we define women based on their relationships to others. Porn isn’t dehumanizing because the woman is “someone’s daughter,” it’s dehumanizing because the woman is someone. She’s a person made in the image of God, regardless of her status or relationships with others. I think when we use phrases like “someone’s daughter,” we can inadvertently reinforce the idea that women have no intrinsic value outside of what they can do for other people. I know that wasn’t your intent here but phrasing this differently (like saying, “she is made in the image of God” instead of “she is someone’s daughter”) can reinforce the truth that women are valuable, not only for what they do for others but because of who they are.

        Reply
        1. J Post author

          I basically agree with you. However, I’ve used that phrase because it helps me, and others, to think about this person as having relationships and a life outside of this image. For my sons, they know how much they mean to me, so thinking of women are someone’s daughter has meaning to them.

          Reply
  2. AC

    Such an awesome post, J! I couldn’t possibly say enough about it.

    I found it interesting when you mentioned 13 being the age a lot of people were first exposed to porn. So why can’t people stop assuming that a man uses porn because his wife withheld sex? I know that does happen, but it’s certainly not the default reason, at least not now with the age of porn use being so young. I’m trying to get over this, but right now things people have said trying to “help” us hurt more than the betrayal of my husband. I’m sure that’s because he’s on the straight and narrow now and that pain has lessened.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Thanks, AC. Most people who look at porn later did indeed begin young, and it had nothing to do with their spouse.

      But here’s what I think that stories I’ve heard and research I’ve read show: Withholding sex from a man who has already engaged with porn makes it more difficult for him to resist temptation. Maybe like how being hungry makes you more likely to eat junk food? But (1) that doesn’t mean withholding sex causes him to look at porn (anymore than me skipping lunch justifies an Oreo binge), and (2) you can’t blame others for your own sin — that ain’t gonna fly with God.

      Reply
      1. AC

        I agree with everything you said. My struggle is that my pastor’s first assumption was that I was withholding sex, when we went in for counseling. And I haven’t. No one should be blamed for someone else’s sin, especially when the scenario being suggested isn’t even accurate.

        Reply
  3. Shelly

    I remember the first image I saw- I was 23 years old… my husband had a really yucky addiction that I had no clue about. We got through it, although it took many years (15+) for him to finally be done with it. Very good writing, J. I remember having those exact same feelings. You’re very brave to admit it got your curiosity and intrigued you. It got mine too. But mostly I did fee sorry for those women and eventually my husband who wanted so badly to be free from this. Thankful God is a God who sets us free from the grips of sin.

    Reply
  4. Tom Hillson

    I don’t understand why looking at a naked woman in a magazine, even doing more than looking, is objectification. One is admiring her form, yes, but it doesn’t mean that he thinks the woman has no brain and no personality. It’s just that, in an image, you aren’t given a look into her intellect or personality.

    If I listen to an audio recording of a woman PhD talking about astronomy, am I objectifying her mind, thinking that she has no personality or no body?

    Reply
      1. Tom Hillson

        So when I’m looking at my wife’s large breasts when we’re making love, am I objectifying her? Large breasts are very stimulating visually to me. Are you trying to shame me for being a man with male desires?

        Reply
        1. J Post author

          No, I’m trying to convey God’s design that you keep your eyes on your wife’s breasts — where they belong. And those breasts, which should “satisfy you always” have far more meaning because they are attached to your covenant spouse. They are visually pleasing, yes, but also a part of being “intoxicated with her love.”

          Reply
          1. Tom Hillson

            Actually J and Amy, I don’t have a wife. I was using that as an example. So I’m not cheating on my wife, since I don’t have one currently.

            Now, I know you probably feel I’m cheating on my future wife, or God, or me, or whoever. This is where we would have to agree to disagree.

          2. Amy

            Tom,
            Pretty weird that you even use an example of being married and are not. o.O

            Married or not, viewing porn really skews a person’s view of sex and perhaps women, and whether you believe it or not, is already damaging to your future wife if you choose to get married.

            And I will choose to disagree with you. 😉

        2. Amy

          Looking at your wife and admiring your wife’s body is the way God intended. Looking at a naked woman other than your wife is lustful and wrong.

          And admiring the female form in perhaps a painting at a museum is one thing, but I don’t see looking at a very explicit picture of a woman posed to show her genitalia as admiring the female form, that is simply ogling her genitals.

          Your wife should be the only woman meeting your male desires not a sexually explicit picture of a woman in a porn magazine or movie.

          Reply
    1. J Post author

      And you know, I just want to add that I find that argument rather silly: “I’m just admiring the female form.” If that’s what you want to do, go to an art museum, not pick up porn. That’s total rationalization.

      Reply
      1. E

        If it was really only admiring the female form, then why is there so much porn that is ‘themed’ eg. Dress ups (like the airline story J used as an example). assumptions are being made about the porn stars personality, intelligence and character based on what role he/she is currently acting out.

        If it was only about admiring the female form, why do so many men watch porn that has male actors? Or are they admiring the male form too?

        Reply
  5. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    I’ve always found pornography boring and distasteful. Seen one, seen them all, and what I saw was none of my business anyway.

    Much preferred Guns and Ammo and Sky and Telescope to Playboy. Even preferred the Wall Street Journal.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      I hadn’t heard this one. I liked this stanza:

      Well beauty and the beast baby, everyone belongs
      But you won’t find the answers tucked away in songs
      And you won’t find it either in what people think of you
      You gotta rise up higher and get a better view

      Reply
  6. Becky

    J., I wonder if you consider pictures from Naturism to be pornography? Also, do you consider non-sexual nudity to be porn?

    Are the people at Naturism resorts engaging in pornography because they are walking around unclothed? What if their naked pictures or videos show up in a Naturist journal or an online Naturist website — is this porn production?

    On June 24th, 2017, our city in Portland, Oregon (along with many cities around the world), celebrate the World Naked Bike Ride. Are the riders in these naked bike rides engaging in pornographic behavior because they are riding nude and the footage of their naked bodies is showing up in pictures and videos online?

    Is the Free the Nipple campaign where women go shirtless in public venues (just like men), producing pornography? Their photos and videos show up on their blogs and Youtube all of the time online.

    Are the photographers and art students that are drawing or photographing nude models in college art classes producing pornography? After all, the models are posing for human eyes.

    Is there wisdom in using you as an arbiter to find out what types of media you consider to be porn so we can make decisions about what to avoid or embrace as believers?

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      No, I don’t think your examples — Naturism, the Naked Bike Ride, Free the Nipple campaign, etc. — are pornography. But that doesn’t mean they’re wise. Our bodies are to be treated with some modesty, and that means that we have some parts that are revealed to our spouses only and in other contexts as necessary. Here are a couple of posts I’ve written on that topic: Are “Au Naturale” Destinations Okay? and Who Should See You Naked? More on Nudity vs. Modesty.

      And your last sentence appears to be an attempt to scoff at my suggestions for what constitutes porn. However, (1) I try very hard to align my beliefs with the Word of God. Believe me that I’m not always quickly convinced of the conclusions I draw; rather, a selfish part of me still resists at times what I see in the Word to be true. But I want what honors Him to be my standard. Is there interpretation? Of course. But I’m not just throwing stuff out there like an arrogant blowhard. And (2) My entire blog is what I believe. People can come here and decide whether they agree or disagree; that’s called free will. I make my case, people decide, and God will judge — not me.

      Reply
      1. E

        Another example might be a breastfeeding woman (not your wife). If you look at her and all you see is a woman feeding her child, that’s not lusting. If you are staring at her naked breast, drooling, then you are engaging in lustful behaviour, and should look away immediately!

        Reply
        1. J Post author

          Yes, and I also take the stance (unpopular as it may be with some) that a mother should be able to breastfeed in public yet do so modestly. That is, go ahead and nurse wherever you are, but cover up. If you can’t manage that, go somewhere private. I know many moms who did this with great success (including moi).

          Reply
          1. KS

            I agree except for the “cover up” part. No, a woman need not strip down to her waist in public, but a cover isn’t needed, either. Especially in hot weather a cover isn’t always practical or the mom or baby don’t like it. A woman shouldn’t (and legally doesn’t have to) be forced or expected to hide herself simply because a flash of nipple might be seen should baby detach suddenly. Heck, even Mister Rogers Neighborhood had an episode that shows a baby latching onto his mother’s exposed nipple!!

            I am quite the prude and loathe porn, but I will not stand by while mothers are subtly shamed that they are somehow wrong or causing stumbling by breast feeding. Again, I am not saying a woman should let it all hang out, but simply being comfortable and juggling a hungry newborn need not have shame wrapped up in it.

            The kids and I played at a park while a mom nursed twins uncovered among us. My husband chose to separate himself from us. Not because he was ashamed or embarrassed or feeling lusty, but because he wanted to make sure the mom was comfortable.

          2. J Post author

            I wouldn’t force it on women, but I would ask them to consider that a breast is a breast, even with a baby attached, and in our culture (I’m speaking of the U.S.), we keep our breasts modestly covered. I know plenty disagree with me, so whenever I say something like this, I expect push-back. However, I just know way too many moms who managed this gracefully to think it can’t be done.

          3. E

            Me too! But I also know many other mothers who were less modest than me (also, they were not Christians…but neither was I when I was breastfeeding) and they don’t have a problem with it, their husbands don’t have a problem with it, and *most* males didn’t have a problem with it.

            But, I have seen some rather immature, older teenaged boys getting a bit leery about it, that’s why I used that example!

            I think that as women we have the right to choose whether or not to breastfeed in public/covered/exposed, whatever, and I would not ‘force’ or make a request that another woman covered herself, but, if I was asked for advice, I would suggest covering up, because that was how I felt comfortable doing it. But I am not judging any woman who breastfeed a in public uncovered, and certainly not blaming her for the actions of leery teenaged boys!

        2. Amy

          Most women that breastfeed do not expose both breasts and so it’s often very hard to even see her a breast at all unless you get up close and personal. LOL

          Breastfeeding is a far cry from porn (not that you were implying that 😉 ) and isn’t even nudity in the sense of a person choosing to be naked at a nudist beach…or while riding a bicycle! LOL 😀

          Reply
      2. Eric V

        How about we just don’t get hung up on definitions of what’s porn and what isn’t.
        How about just this. Are you getting sexual stimulation from the image? If yes than it doesn’t matter if it fits whatever definition you have for pornography or not, it’s not healthy for you and constitutes sin. Remember ‘looking at a woman lustfully’ being adultery in the heart?
        The same goes for how people around you are dressed or not dressed.
        Occasionally seeing half naked or even fully naked people may become a fact of life.
        Just because World Nude Bike Day is happening or there’s a slut walk or there’s a go topless rally or whatever, doesn’t mean you have to go check it out in person or follow it in the media.
        Years ago, in 1992, a small number of women held a topfree demonstration at Parliament Hill in Ottawa and THOUSANDS of men showed up with cameras. No, I didn’t go.
        I hope that if I ever interact with an improperly dressed woman I can focus on her face no matter what. If that disappoints her, well too bad. Not my problem.

        Reply
    2. alchemist

      Porn is something produced for the purpose of sexually stimulating or titillating the audience. Obviously not all nude photos/ pictures are produced for that purpose.

      You could actually make the case that nudes drawn in art classes are produced to appreciate the female form. Especially since the genitals are often not drawn/ hidden by the pose.

      Riding bikes in the nude is obviously not intended to titilate anyone. It also seems like a horrible idea. But that’s for the participants to deal with I suppose.

      As believers, if any kind of medium causes you to sin, stop using it. That’s a pretty straightforward application of Jesus’s exhortation to pluck out your right eye if it causes you to sin.
      If you can’t look at any nude/ partially clothed photos or drawings without sinning, then don’t look.

      Reply
      1. J Post author

        Just a note: I think we also have to responsible not to put ourselves on display in a way that tempts others to sin.

        Reply
    3. Amy

      Nudity does not equal porn.

      People at a nude beach, in a nude bike club or part of the free nipple group are not participating in porn nor is anyone who sees one of those nude people looking at porn. Yes, they are exposing their naked bodies but not purposely (at least most I would presume) walking around with the intent to arouse another person or be sexually explicit.

      That’s the difference to me. A naked woman walking on a beach, riding a bike or modeling in an art class is usually not posed in a sexually explicit manner showing her genitals like women do in porn magazines and movies.

      Porn is produced specifically for sexual arousal. A nude person in a portrait or on a nude beach is just, well, naked. And that’s the difference to me between pornography and nakedness.

      Reply
      1. J Post author

        I agree, but I gotta say… Who wants to head out with their family for the day and have their young children exposed to a naked bike rider? Jeez, people, put some pants on! 😉

        Reply
        1. Amy

          Haha!! Yeah, I agree! I’m NOT condoning nude bike riding, although one of the small towns south of us has quite a bit of that going on I guess. 😀

          Reply
          1. J Post author

            I get it. I just think of that and *shudder*. Lol. (Also, I’ve ridden a bike enough to think that can’t feel good.)

      2. Libl

        Funny how many of the loudest proponents of the Free the Nipple Campaign are women who make money by exposing their breasts in media, including porn.

        When Noah got stupid drunk and naked, one son mocked him (using his exposure to satisfy his selfish humor) and was punished for it. T
        His other two sons respected him and covered him. They were honored.

        While the Bible doesn’t say, I believe one of the reasons Christ looked at the ground and drew upon it while the adulterous woman was brought in is because she was caught in the act and probably brought before Him in a state of undress.

        We are even to be robed in heaven. Heaven isn’t going to be one big sinless nudist colony.

        Reply
  7. Marina

    When I was 16 I was in a bad relationship where my boyfriend started pushing me to do things he had seen in porn videos. I was so innocent and had no idea what these things were, and I remember looking them up. The results shocked me, but I wanted to make my boyfriend happy. Before I knew it I was in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship where I was forced to do things, threatened to become the images he had seen, but I tried ignoring the sense of degradation I had. I felt like an object, like a toy, a passing fancy, worthless. When I came out of that relationship, I met Jesus and He helped me through a lot of the insecurity that resulted. Now I have an incredibly loving husband and our sexual intimacy is the best! I still find myself remembering the things I have seen and experienced, but they no longer plague me or give me nightmares. God is so faithful, and He saves us from these deep dark place. What an amazing Father. Porn kills. It really messes with this gift that God has given us to enjoy within marriage.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      I saw a documentary not long ago in which younger woman said that they also felt pushed to do things that men had seen in porn. What a tragedy! I’m glad you found a husband who wants to be truly intimate.

      Reply
      1. Alex Cockell

        I’m curious – how should a couple go abotu extending their sexual repertoire then? [Leaving out a section where other sites and objects are mentioned, that I just don’t need to point readers to.]

        Wasn;t too long ago that the church would find the idea of the quickie at work scandalous – while it’s there in Song…

        Reply
  8. E

    I can’t remember the first time I saw porn…but I do remember the first time I read an erotic sex scene in a novel…in The Horse Whisperer of all books! I was at a sleepover with a couple of girlfriends, and happened upon that part of the book. It was kind of gross and exciting at the same time. Of course I read it aloud to my friends and we were all giggly and embarrassed, but I felt like the odd one out because no one admitted to the excited feeling (I didn’t either, because I didn’t want them to think I was weird!). So I don’t know if those other girls were actually like me, or if they simply just felt gross about it.

    As for porn, I’m guessing I was much younger than 13, as my bestie had a couple of older teenage brothers who had their rooms plastered with girly posters.

    When my son was young, we used to watch a tv drama series that had a lot of topless women in it. One day, when he was about 2, I asked him what DVD he wanted to watch, and instead of picking from the umpteen cartoon kids ones, he decided he wanted to watch ‘boobs’ (his words) choosing that DVD case from amongst the others. There were no boobs on the cover of the DVD case, but apparently that was what his eyes had picked up on from being in the background of us watching this show.

    Thankfully, I have learned to be more intentional in my parenting since then!

    Reply
  9. Michael

    Beautiful post. I do not remember with the exact first time I saw porn as you do.

    “Do you recall how you felt the first time you saw porn? Because I suspect you had a mix of emotions too. Some of curiosity, fascination, and perhaps even arousal; but also something sinister in the back of your mind, the pit of your stomach, the core of your heart.”

    I remember the curiosity, fascination and arousal for sure. Sadly I did not feel anything sinister and thus I struggled with a porn addiction for years. I was much younger than you when I first saw it, and maybe that is why I didn’t feel the shame I wish I had. If I had felt that shame, or some tinge of conscience my life might have been different. Being shown porn by older family members might have also given me the impression that it was all ok, older brother, father, uncle, grandfather are doing it, so it must be ok.
    Thankfully that is in my past, not to say I don’t struggle at times, but I win the fight. Thank you again for stating it plainly that porn is sin.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      How heartbreaking that you were exposed at such an early age! But I’m grateful that you are winning the fight. May God continue to bless you with strength and victory.

      Reply
  10. Raye

    I’ve been married over 25 years to a man who had a porn addiction when we married. I knew he used it but didn’t know the hold it had on him. I figured he’d never need it again after he had me. He even had me watch a video with him while we were dating. I was repulsed. I flat out asked him if he would want me to do that stuff to him after we were married, and he didn’t deny it! I can say this addiction has affected our marriage in a huge way. For years I let myself be used as his way of acting out what he allowed to enter his mind and heart – believing that denying him was sinful. He has never been able or willing to connect with me emotionally, and I truly have felt like a “toy” that he takes off a shelf when he wanted to play with it. When he’s done, I’m ignored emotionally until he wants to “play” again. About a year ago, I finally sought counseling to help me get healed emotionally. My counselor had me read a book by Leslie Vernick – The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. It was so freeing to understand that all of Paul’s commands in the epistles aimed towards husbands and wives were two-fold – for BOTH the husband and wife. It’s a two-way road. My husband doesn’t know how to relate to me outside of the porn that is in his mind. We have been through many marriage counselors over the years, and the bottom line is that he is not teachable. I pray for grace daily to, at this point, minister to my husband. I’ve decided I don’t want to be divorced, so in Leslie Vernick’s words, I’m trying to “make my marriage my ministry.” Is it easy? Absolutely not. I desire my husband to love and cherish me – I don’t know why, but he isn’t able to do that. His health is declining at this point due to type 1 diabetes. I pray for his deliverance and him to receive all that Father God has for him. In the meantime, I’m learning to love him through ministering to him.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Nope. They conjure up images of others to sexually titillate, and they also create unrealistic and selfish perspectives of sex. Look, I understand the draw people have to use porn or erotica to get aroused, but they are other ways to do so that don’t carry all this baggage. Sometimes I think people use these as shortcuts instead of really exploring the sensual and erotic with their own spouse.

      Reply
  11. Eric

    I don’t know my exact age, but if I had to guess it was around 13 or slightly before. I had a friend whose dad had a Playboy stash and we would look at those. Then later on, the boys in my neighborhood would bring a magazine they would find to our “fort” in the woods. Thankfully, I can only remember 1 picture from all those years and it is fading. The scary part, and maybe what eludes to the point, is the part of that picture that remains in my mind. Not the woman’s face, but her genital region. I do struggle with lust like most men I’m sure, but God has been gracious to help me avoid (most) exposure and the desire to seek out sinful pictures. I am not totally innocent, my flesh still wants to go there from time to time.

    In my job (sales type), I get into many male-dominated shops and businesses and the ‘girly’ calendars are everywhere. Don’t fool yourself, it is easy to separate ‘art’ and objectifying a woman. But I would dare say that some/most men would even venture into the wrong mindset seeing a nude art of a woman. Where do our eyes gravitate? Let’s be honest.

    Reply
  12. Tom Hillson

    I could tell this post was written by a woman even if I didn’t already know it was. J mentions that she was “fascinated” or “intrigued” by seeing porn. She doesn’t stress being “aroused” or “stimulated”, words that would be used if the post was written by a guy. I consider the female species to basically be asexual. I know, I know, they’re more emotional with regards to sex. But from a straight guy’s perspective, it looks like asexuality. And it’s very sad, and very frustrating.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Honestly, Tom, this made me laugh, because “asexual” is the last thing I would call myself. I think your view of women has taken some hits with personal experiences, but I pray that you will see that women can be highly sexual; it may look different from men, but it’s still there. Blessings!

      Reply
      1. Tom Hillson

        I think you as a woman can feel that women are highly sexual, but it’s like someone who has the fastest racing bicycle thinking they go fast, when they’ve never seen how fast you can go in a car.

        Reply
        1. J Post author

          So I get that’s how you feel. But come on, Tom, don’t you see how that comes across? That you think YOU can tell me what my sex drive is? What all women’s sex drive is? Doesn’t that smack of some arrogance? Not to mention inaccuracy. I just hope you can rethink this and realize that there are high-drive men and low-drive men, low-drive women and high-drive women. And all kinds of places in between.

          Reply
          1. Tom Hillson

            But J, I can say that because of science. We know that, in general, men have a higher sex drive than women. There are bell curves for each, but the bell curve for men is shifted higher. So there will certainly be women who have high sex drives, even women with higher sex drives than most men, but in general, men have higher libidos, and that’s why it seems to many men that women aren’t very sexual. It’s just the facts, not arrogance.

          2. J Post author

            Yes, men in general have a higher sex drive than women. But you’re taking those bell curves and applying them across the board, when even by your own admission plenty of women are higher-drive. Indeed, 20-30% of marriages have a higher-drive wife. Those women are hardly “asexual”; and that doesn’t count the many wives who aren’t as libido-driven as their husbands, but are still willing and enthusiastic partners.

          3. E

            ‘But science’….which is changing all the time. There has been a lot of studies in recent years that show that a female and male sex drive runs completely differently, so maybe this science about higher drives was based off of the female response to things that are considered ‘sexy’ and ‘sexual’ by your ‘average’ male. Perhaps future scientists will find that women actually have a higher drive, but are stimulated by different things, and so in current societies the male sex drive is the one being awakened, while the female drive lies relatively dormant because it is not being stimulated as much.

            There is evidence that the female sex drive is awakened by engaging in sexual activity, not prior to, and if you look at the amount of women who have multiple orgasms, compared to the amount of men that do, you could say that women are actually the ones with the higher drive, as there are plenty of women (myself included) who are rarely sexually sated by one orgasm, whereas most men seem to be content with one! If we are measuring higher drive by that scale, women ‘win’. 😛😉😀

    2. E

      I think you are also forgetting that the 13yo J was viewing porn that was specifically produced for the male gaze…I am fairly confident that if you saw a picture of a naked man with an huge erection, you wouldn’t use words such as ‘aroused’ or ‘stimulated’ to describe how you were feeling, either!

      Reply
  13. Anonymous

    I was a 12 year old girl.
    I was babysitting with a friend. Both of us came from single Mother homes.
    We found a Playboy in the closet and skimmed through it quickly.
    All I remember were pages of women’s bare breasts.
    Some were ‘dressed up’ with faces painted on them. Art?
    My first reaction was, “Why would anyone want to dress up and take pictures of women’s breasts? Who would want to look at those?”
    Oh, to be naive again.

    Reply
  14. Tom Hillson

    J, I didn’t really mean that all (or even most) women are asexual, just that they can often seem that way to straight guys. That’s why I wrote “it looks like asexuality”. I was exaggerating to make my point. But think about it – you’ve agreed that women generally have lower sex drives than men. Now throw in the fact that women aren’t as overt about their sexual desires as men are. That leaves it appearing that women are MUCH less sexual than men. And as a guy, I look out and see this big disparity and it makes me feel that women are asexual, or darn close to it.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Okay, I understand what you’re saying now. But I still think that it’s better to be honest about what’s really out there and then proceed accordingly. Blessings!

      Reply
    2. Amy

      Tom,
      You wrote, “I consider the female species to basically be asexual.” That’s quite the exaggeration.

      Women were made sexual human beings just as men were. I believe without a doubt that in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve did not have such a struggle with sex like we do nowadays, but once the Fall occurred everything changed. And over time society, and I think specifically the Christian Church has warped the view of not only female sexuality but sexuality in general. And I think that’s why women may not be as overt about their sexuality as you state. We are told to be ‘good girls’ in our teens and until married, then told to suddenly flip a switch and be a real vixen in bed with our husbands. So I don’t believe it’s about women being made with a lower sexual desire, I just think society has made sex into a man thing (all you have to do is look at most blogs written by men to see that) while women are objectified for their benefit and/or the subtle message is that sex is for the husband so wives need to make sure their husband’s needs are met, and quite often at that. And don’t forget, things are written constantly about how women don’t need orgasms to enjoy sex and yet it’s always about the man’s orgasm. It’s also drummed into our brains that our desire doesn’t really start in our genitals but in our brains, women don’t start feeling aroused until well into sex, etc. And while that may be true for some, I just don’t believe it’s really the norm, it’s what we’re taught.

      I’m a very sexual woman and to be painfully honest, I was highly aroused the first time I saw porn in my first marriage when my ex introduced me to it. I was a rather naive 24-year-old and I was very ashamed and yet admittedly, intrigued at the same time.
      Porn was very damaging to me and that marriage.

      I’m sorry that you have this view of women having no sexual desire/libido, but I just do not buy into the thinking that’s how females were made. It’s what our sexuality has been made into, but it’s not how we as human beings are truly designed.

      Reply
      1. Tom Hillson

        ” women don’t start feeling aroused until well into sex, etc.” – isn’t that what J says? If I’m mistaken, I’m sorry. If she doesn’t say it, then either Shaunti Feldhan says it, or Sheila over at tolovehonorandvacuum.com.

        Reply
        1. J Post author

          Sheila and I have both said it, based on newer research. Original studies on sexual response cycle didn’t distinguish male/female; but when researchers looked closer at women, they recognized that arousal often didn’t happen first, but rather as a response to stimulation.

          Reply
          1. e2

            This truth is very helpful as it clarifies some confusion and frustration I have had.

            As a man whose sex drive is almost always on simmer, I’ve never understood the ability of some women to clearly separate sexual touch from non-sexual affection. To me, nearly all touches between a man and woman have some sexual connotation and fall somewhere on the romantic continuum from holding hands to orgasmic delight. But, if a woman doesn’t get aroused until well into a love-making session, then it makes sense that she would see some of the preliminary touching as non-sexual and not leading to anything orgasmic.

            My frustration, of course, is that until my wife is aroused, she often has little interest in receiving the very touches that will arouse her. But, I’m learning to touch her in ways that speak love to her (even if they don’t lead to arousal) rather than touching her in ways that speak love to me. Likewise, she is learning to understand my higher drive and touch me in ways that speak love to me. We are both learning to accept that the touches that speak love to her are different from the touches that speak love to me. It’s all good, even if it’s not the way I would have painted the marriage portrait.

  15. Eric

    I wish my experience was more like yours. I’m a guy, which I wanted to add up front to make sure the rest of this makes sense.

    My first exposure was when I was 9, I think. My brother had discovered the “joys” of late night HBO and was pretty good at finding softcore stuff late at night and wouldn’t change the channel in our parents’ basement. He also showed me how to find the harder stuff on the internet.

    I wasn’t raised in a Christian home, so the most I ever got was “Hey, don’t look at that stuff!” and getting grounded once. But I got better at hiding it, storing it on CDs instead of on the computer, etc. It got REALLY bad when I got my own computer in my room, to the point where I couldn’t fall asleep at night without using it. Needless to say, I went through all of my developmental years using pornography daily and habitually without ever seeing a need to stop.

    I was saved in 2010 and since then it’s been quite the war to stop. I got married in 2013 and I’ve hurt my darling wife a handful of times, unfortunately. She is understandably heartbroken each time, and each time gives grace upon grace to me.

    Where my story majorly differs from yours is that I always found porn interesting, alluring, and attractive. Even in my moments of sin and failure now, I don’t feel the desire to turn away. I don’t have just 1 image in my mind like a few of your commenters. I have literally thousands of hours of images, sounds, words, etc. burned into my mind that are so hard to run from.

    So like I said, I wish I had an experience like yours. It’s not an easy battle, but God is good to those who seek Him.

    Reply
  16. e2

    If you could, help me understand the female’s feelings of being objectified, because from where I sit as a man, I see what appears to be inconsistency in this area.

    I’ll set aside for the moment the porn participants themselves. I’m inclined to assume that, if they’re doing it voluntarily, they don’t feel objectified, but I realize that may not be a valid assumption. They may just be doing it for the money and enduring their feelings of objectification. I once read many years ago that strippers generally hate men.

    But if I consider mainstream women — those not involved in porn — I still see inconsistencies. Before I married, any time I dated a woman, she dressed in a manner that seemed intentionally designed to appeal to my visual nature as a man. Eyes became smokier, lipstick became bolder, shoulders were bared, as were toes, and heels became higher. Everything about her appearance said to me, “Look at me and desire me.”

    Then there is the current tendency for women to strip down for a camera as a way to attack body-shaming and to express their self-confidence. I can’t tell you how many bait-click links I see of mainstream celebrities and athletes (Olympic gymnast, Aly Raisman comes to mind) being photographed nude or nearly nude as an expression of self-acceptance. They are then praised by other women for their bravery. This seems to me to be a very anti-feminist double standard. I don’t get it. A man is called brave if he dodges bullets to save his fellow soldiers in battle. A woman is called brave if she takes off her clothes for a photographer. If I were a woman, I would be totally offended by what appears to me to be a low standard for courage.

    I guess I don’t understand how woman feel objectified when so many of them seem to enjoy putting their assets on display to varying degrees.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Short answer: They’re objectifying themselves. And no, I don’t consider that bravery in the least.

      Reply
  17. Tom Hillson

    E writes “There is evidence that the female sex drive is awakened by engaging in sexual activity, not prior to”. But how, E, is that a sex DRIVE if it has to be awakened?

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      I’ll pipe in and say, so what if it isn’t? Maybe it’s sexual response rather than drive. That would only mean that male/female sexuality is different, and what works best is for husband and wife to work together so they can both express their core sexuality.

      I believe that they’re both libido, however, which is simply defined as “sexual desire.”

      Reply
      1. E

        Thanks, J. I agree with you re libido/sexual desire.

        Tom, I can see what you mean re ‘sex drive’. Perhaps the wording was wrong. However, I think my point still stands if you change the words drive to desire…women may have a stronger desire for sex, once it is awakened, which still means that they are FAR from asexual.

        Reply
  18. Pingback: Q&A with J: Is Animated Porn a Problem? | Hot, Holy & Humorous

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