I’ve picked up a new kind of kink? Not sure what to call it.
I like to watch porn addiction confession videos or read literature on porn addiction. The ones I love the most are the highly religious ones. Having been very religious once, up to an MDiv, and simultaneously been a life-long pornography addict, there is a special something knowing the cognitive dissonance they are experiencing. I know that most will only claim, “Victory by Christ,” while the re-dedication phase is only elapsing once again, no matter how long it is held off. Some will go on to continue to claim spiritual and physical purity despite metronomic relapses; some like me, daily. I would complete my degree work quickly enough to make room for porn. Some grades were not helped along the way by my addiction to porn. At one point, the need for more porn was so great that at one that I put my prior knowledge, and academic future if I was caught, of networking to use. I super-duper carefully and stealthily wired a long ethernet line to a wall jack that was never in use but had privileged access. It took several weeks of slowing finding a time in the early morning hours to pass it through a few more ceiling panels. Every time was a giant risk: I’d have to explain what I was even doing awake, let alone why I have my room chair out and I’m obviously trying to get away with something. Finally got there, [redacted], and Bob’s your uncle–invisible connection. After the dorm was silent, I’d stuff where the door and the floor meet to remove any light escaping. I’d checked to see if the monitor would give me away by looking at my doorway with the monitor on, and the addition of a towel at the bottom was enough to conceal the faint light. Had to hide the fact because there were moral police that would sometime patrol to see if signs of wakefulness were evident. They would abruptly knock if shenanigans were suspected, and I couldn’t risk that. I went totally undetected. They had men’s bible studies quite regularly on campus. Usually at a senior student’s off-campus residence. As often as not, the subject of “sexual purity” would emerge. That was their euphemism for sins of the lust for thine own flesh. I never went to a single one, but my friends would tell me all about them. They just knew me as the guy that studied all the time. All. The. Time. Ha, if they only knew.
So knowing that is how it is for some, and knowing I’m not the only one, how many young men are struggling with porn, trying to see a way past their addiction as if their soul relies up on it? How many in my door hallway? Falling to the temple of foreign gods, falling into temptation, falling from grace, embracing an addiction that deep down they never want to let go of. While they are in the amber of their religion, the stakes are high enough that some will shake with lust and fear. Knowing it is so wrong but feeling compelled. Pushing out contrary moral obligations from their heads, knowing that they cannot stop, now that it has begun again. Next time. This only heightens the addiction, unbeknownst to the porn addict. That extra adrenaline rush that you actually crave. That cognitive dissonance becomes paired with arousal, and soon enough, it is a persistent background noise. like tinnitus, it can’t ever be forgotten only temporarily unnoticed, but as soon as one does, it is once again unavoidably brought to awareness. Dissonance becomes a constant state of knife-edge anticipation for the inevitable, because final release, the longer the abstinence, makes the dopamine hit from relapse addictive. Resisting is prolonged giving in; edging by trying not to even think about porn. Trying to stay distracted makes it better, when finally porn comes back into awareness. A dopamine detox to let the resistance to even mild pornography too much. The woman on the magazine at the check-out aisle, maybe. That could be the thing that makes you crack again. Knowing that when you get back home, it is on. The rush of feel-good; the heart-pounding submission to hundreds of millions of years of instinct. Lust. Pure lust. For more porn. Back again.