Pornography and the ‘theft’ of our true essence

Pornography and the ‘theft’ of our true essence

Pornography and the ‘theft’ of our true essence

I sat there staring at the screen, images of naked women looking back at me. What had started out as curiosity it seemed, had led me here – to a page of women in various states of undress, and a variety of explicit poses. The sense of ‘being turned on’ I had when I started out on my online search had been replaced with a different feeling – that I was transgressing, on the very borderline of what I knew inside was right, doing something ‘bad’ where I might be caught. It was this more than anything that seemed to have adrenalin pumping round my veins.

I remember the first time I saw pornography. When I was 12, a boy brought a magazine into school. It was huddled round and pulled apart at the back of the room by a few lads until the teacher discovered what was going on and broke it up. I didn’t feel to look myself but caught a glimpse of some pages ripped on the floor. What was there was unrecognisable at first, it seemed like a lot of meat – perhaps a page from a butcher’s advert? It was only when the teacher addressed the class that I learnt that it was actually people on there; I felt repulsed and disgusted inside. The teacher went on to explain to us that pornography was ok, it just wasn’t great to bring it to school per se. What he said didn’t resonate with me but in a super conservative school like mine it was exceptional that he attempted to discuss it at all.

One day when going through the books in my parents’ living room I discovered two black photography books I had not seen before. They were full of young women, artistically shot in beautiful landscapes with very few clothes on. I felt like I had discovered a secret of some kind and instinctively took the books and hid them in my room. My Dad never asked for them and somehow I knew it would be difficult for him to do so. And so began my association of sexuality and theft.

My parents weren’t religious but had been raised in church schools and rarely talked about sex, making love or our bodies as I grew up. I think one day I was given a ‘birds and the bees’ book and it was never mentioned again. Looking back, I can see this may have helped foster a feeling in me that this unspoken act was bad somehow and something dirty to be ashamed of.

As I grew up and was exposed to tv, movies, music videos and mainstream culture, pornography wasn’t really on my radar. Those weird looking magazines were on the top shelf in the newsagents for ‘adults’ and whilst I was aware they existed, they had no appeal to me.

Whilst staying at a friend’s house, I discovered a pile of women’s fashion magazines in the spare room. As I flicked through them, I started to get drawn to some of the adverts and photo shoots and models in them. They weren’t explicit, but there was something there that got me hooked. Add on the thrill of looking through someone else’s things when you shouldn’t be and there was a buzz to this escapade I got off on. I liked the magazines so much I started to steal them and take them home to my house to keep.

Every Sunday I used to walk to the newsagent for my family. I would get the paper and maybe a football magazine. But as my interest/addiction to women’s magazines had been piqued I started to want to get these too – but rather than pay for them and pretend they were for my mum, I slid them in between the newspaper’s pages and stole these too. There was a thrill as I paid for the paper and wondered if the checkout girl would look inside and catch me out.

This went on for quite some time, and one day whilst on holiday, I found some pornography on a much lower shelf in a shop that stood out and caught my eye and this time slipped this inside another magazine to take home as mine. Every time I stole something like this, I was left with a deep sense of guilt and shame, which became naturally intermingled with the images I had taken as I looked at them again.

When the internet came my world was changed – suddenly after a 25-60 seconds wait and the familiar dial up whirr, I was able to cruise the ‘information highway’ as I liked. At first my interests were only football and music, but one day along the way I think I may have been home alone and feeling disappointed that a girl I liked didn’t quite feel the same way about me. I started to look online at images of women… movie stars that appealed to me. As I did links appeared diverting me to other sites of a similar type. Like a prospector hunting for gold I went looking for what could be there, and pretty soon discovered what was clearly pornography. There was a thrill again of being on my dad’s computer and downloading things I shouldn’t be – a fear of someone coming home and getting caught.

At every step along the way there was a sense of taking one more step along a path that seemed to be getting more and more dark. Yet I found myself going ahead nonetheless. I soon discovered sites of women who were not models but looked more like the women I saw in my life. What began to open up was a million different types of porn, all ready and waiting, depending on what you were into. When one got boring, there was always something else to explore. Yet like every addiction what you find is it’s never quite enough and what worked yesterday, today seems tame. To get the same hit or feeling you are doing ‘something wrong’ you need to go further every time you go on.

And so eventually I found myself at this point I could never have imagined when I looked at the magazine in my school – seeking out ‘harder’ and more X-rated images. Every time this took place, I felt dirty and disgusting inside, confirming all the negative thoughts I had about myself inside my head that left my already low self-esteem in tatters. I resolved to leave it behind knowing it was no good for me, deleting my browser ‘history’ only to find myself back on the same sites days later.

This sense of being out of control and not knowing where and when this addiction would end started to truly scare me. Even when my parents did discover some of the images I had been looking at and got a huge internet bill, my actions though rebuked, were glossed over and ignored as ‘boys will be boys’, and something yuck nobody wanted to really address.

As I grew up, led my life and started my career, I started to comprehend and sense that maybe my pornography addiction was not as hidden as I thought but might be something other people might start to actually be able to sense and feel. I felt lonely too and had been unable to form any kind of meaningful romantic relationship and knew that if I wanted it to change, I would need to stop this corrosive behaviour that was hurting me deep inside.

Being sensitive and growing up with images, I had decided to make working with art my career. When working on a project or new commission I would scour the internet and surf links to find inspiration, just the same way as when I was looking at porn. I consumed images in great amounts with the concept this would make whatever came out great. I stole images that I found and included them in a camouflaged way in my own work, for which I was paid. It was at this point I started to see a similarity between how I looked at pictures and pornography. The more I looked into this, the more I could feel there was an addictive quality to images in general that had a hook in me. I started to wonder what was really going on and how all this worked on a deeper level. Even though I feel many of the men I knew may be dealing with this too, I held back from discussing it for fear of being judged and singled out.

In 2011 I started a relationship with a woman that I met at work. Through discipline and self-determination, I’d been able to stop the pornography binges on my own and build some kind of resolve internally. I didn’t want to go down that route or be that man – divided, dirty and hurt – but on one level I could feel the temptation to return was still there.

At that time, I was introduced to the work of Serge Benhayon, the Gentle Breath Meditation™ and his simple presentations on energy. Although at first I found what he offered confronting and unusual to grasp, something inside let me know there was something very true to all this though I didn’t know quite what it was. As I listened to what he said and read some of his ‘purple books’, gradually many things in my life that had taken place started to make sense. I started to understand that there was energy to everything first and that a photo actually held the energy of the person who took it, rather than the subject who was in it.

I started to perceive and sense sexual energy as something very different from making love. It clicked in how this sexual energy stimulated me like a bucket of coffee but didn’t actually leave me feeling great. It started to make sense how full pornography was of this but was so distant and unlike actually kissing, holding or touching another human being.

I realised how lonely I felt surrounded by examples of relationships where people just sold themselves out for comfort and just getting by. And in the midst of all of this I was introduced to a way to connect to me, and get to know a sweetness, a gentleness and warmth that was yummy and delicious – and untainted in my body. No matter what I had done there was something pure and divine inside me that was still there untouched despite every transgression that had taken place. It started to make sense that it was this essence inside I had always missed. The more I developed this sense of inner harmony, the more I could see that there were things in life (food, music and movements) that numbed it too and took me away from feeling great.

When I felt things I didn’t like or made choices that weren’t so hot I found there was a huge pull to escape and run away. I started to understand how escaping into porn had given this ‘out’ to me, as well as all these hits of it being ‘bad’ and ‘naughty’. But as I went on, I started to see that this escape and hook to be stimulated away from my own connection to who I was, was by no means restricted to pornography. I used social media, design, music, my intellect, sport, news, arguments and food all in a similar way. When life got too much I would dive in and consume something I knew inside was not true or great.

After several years of building a connection to me, the life I led and my circumstances have changed completely. I’m joyfully married with children and share each day with my stunning wife. I’ve never looked back or been tempted to return to pornography since finding something deeper within.

Today I understand in a new way the energy these images carry; the abuse involved for those involved in making them, and for the consumer too. The horrific effects on those using porn or those starring in the images and videos can be clearly seen if we want to truly feel and perceive. But I’ve also, through perspective, started to grasp the chilling and perverted effect judgement, shame and guilt have on us all.

Through labelling making love an indecent and dirty animalistic act, we are diverted from seeing the true beauty that’s on offer. We stop discussing it in a deeper way and hide it beneath polite talk about the weather. We keep it as a naughty treat – a setup that keeps us set to explore varieties of abuse, instead of love’s true power.

More than anything it stops us all from talking and discussing openly what’s going on and asking, without judgement or critique, why sweet and beautiful boys grow into men who end up making choices that abuse and hurt themselves and others in the name of sex and having ‘fun’?

The hatred and repulsion that we feel for the disgusting sexual abuse that we see in the world is clear and easy to understand. As we discover people using the internet and social media to groom and pervert their targets at an increasingly young age, it’s understandable that we may react with rage. This behaviour must never be normalised and condoned in any form. But are there also other concerns we may need to look at:

  • Why do things ever get to this stage?
  • Why do so many ‘nice’ men get hooked into such disgusting behaviour?
  • Why do innocent boys grow to abuse?
  • Why do women participate in activities that scar and debase and hurt themselves?
  • Why is the use of pornography so prevalent?

If we do not look deeper within, will we ever understand and heal our society and personal lives?

I do not have all the answers myself, but as a person who experienced this addiction and slow slide into darkness I felt it was important to speak out: not to confess or bash myself, but honestly open up about what many men and women in this world are experiencing and being hooked into.

I know now that my number one job in life is to love myself. There’s a very physical reality to this – that we exist in a world of energy and have a spirit, which keeps us caught in the deceit and patterns and behaviours we claim make us what we are; and a soul, which offers access to truth and joy. This understanding of myself as a multi-dimensional being in a world of energy has helped me see that my addiction to pornography was just because I was living in a way that was empty of the love I am. Of course, I needed something to fill that space and my spirit looked for it in images. For others the poison may be different, but the cause is the same – we all miss the truth of who we are inside.

Seeing my previous actions in this light I’ve been able to move on and not hold what I did against myself, as it was never coming from the real me. The more I have started to accept the truth, the more openly I have started to observe the energy of pornography around me in the world. It might be in my friends or family at times, just a yucky sense I do not usually feel when I’m around them. I’ve also strongly sensed this energy in videos, music and social media posts – even in children’s advertising for clothes. This energy sexualising everything is way more prevalent than we may be willing to see. If we are not aware, then pretty quickly we can be sucked into playing ball and letting the behaviour be.

It’s horrible to feel your father indulges in this energy, or your brother, best friend, teacher or your priest, but by denying what we feel and pretending that what we see is all there is, we leave ourselves and those close to us wide open to abuse, letting those indulging in this energy get lost without a chance or moment to pause and make another choice.

If we are serious about halting this, we need not reduce our hatred and distaste for sex abuse, but simply start to see that we each play a role when we accept emptiness as ok, hide from love and what we truly feel inside. It may not be easy to talk about or discuss in this day and age, but if we don’t go deeper with how a man can abuse others and themselves, we’ll be condemned to continue experiencing the atrocities we have seen for so long.

Filed under

AbuseAddictionPornographyEnergyMaking love

  • By Anonymous

  • Photography: Iris Pohl, Photographer and Videographer

    Iris Pohl is an expert in capturing images with a natural light style. Little to no time is needed for photoshop editing and the 'original' moment captured to represent your brand and remain in its authenticity.