OHi, my name is Rosario and I used to struggle with an addiction to porn and masturbation.
What caused your struggle?
To be honest, my struggle with masturbation never started with any particular reason. I started masturbation as early as 10 years old (or so I remember) and I found myself doing it every single night. I had no idea what I was doing, but I knew I would experience so much pleasure from it along with feelings of guilt and shame. Throughout last years in primary school through to high school up until my time in university I found myself engaging in masturbation to release my stress and anxiety. By the time I reached my last year in high school, I experienced my first breakup and so I sought pornography to soothe the loneliness I felt. Little did I know I would get so hooked on it. Even when I didn’t watch pornography, my head was completely filled with those sexualised images of men and women and I felt I could not get through the day without getting my fix of sex in my mind.
How long have you struggled with this issue?
I struggled with masturbation since the age of 10 and with pornography at the age of 17. Thanks to God I healed from my sexual addictions by the time I turned 22.
What led you to your healing journey?
When I was in high school I had no idea about sex (literally). My mom was very protective of my sisters and I, so the only form of sex-ed we got was “sex is bad”. I was extremely curious about sex because of my lack of knowledge and how much it was portrayed in the media and how much my peers at school would talk about it. In the end I had deduced that sex was just love.
Thankfully after I had finished high school (and about 6 months after I had started getting addicted to pornography) I encountered my first real lesson about love and sexuality. A friend of mine invited me to a bioethics talk, where a female doctor explained what sex was all about in just one sentence:
“Sex is the expression of love between a married man and a woman, and that ultimate unity between two people in love creates a new life.”
That was the very first step towards my healing journey. Now that I knew what sex was truly about, I knew I needed to change my habits and turn towards purity.
What were the obstacles you encountered in your healing journey?
There were sooooo many obstacles! But there were 3 major obstacles that were linked to each other that had a huge impact on the progress of my healing journey:
Consumption of media material
It is so hard to strive for something pure when you are bombarded with disordered sexuality everywhere in the media. So this was something really hard, but I actually had to go on an extreme media fast.
Conviction about God’s Plan for love and sexuality
Even though I had really taken to heart the truth I had learnt about sex, I still had trouble with following through that belief. It is hard to stand your ground on a belief when everywhere around you the media and even society screams “love equals sex!”. So I really had to put my head down and study well about love, purity and God’s design of sexuality.
Comparing myself to other girls
One message that is really rampant in the media is that you have to look a certain way, act a certain way, talk a certain way to be loved by your fellow men. And 99.9% of the time, these portrayals of women are completely sexualised. So many times I compared myself to the other girls in Instagram, analysing their revealing clothes, their provoking behaviour and even started to get some swearing into my talk to sound more alluring. That was one of the reasons I ended up watching porn: “if my boyfriend broke up with me, it must be because I didn’t have the same sexual appeal these other girls have”. In the end I completely got rid of my Instagram account to remove myself from the situation of self-deprecating comparison and restore the beauty and dignity God created me with.
How are you doing now?
In freeing myself from these sexual addictions, my loneliness was soothed as I found a community of true friends: women whom I can look up to and become inspired by, and men who I truly respect and whom have shown me what authentic and pure love looks like.
I never knew I would get to this state of life to be honest! Throughout my whole journey I felt so lonely, uncomfortable with my weakness and failure, struggled so much with discouragement and hopelessness. But now looking at where I am now, it is like a dream come true (and I am definitely not exaggerating, because I honestly didn’t believe I would get to where I am now).
As of today I am 2 years free from porn and masturbation. I can be honest and say that there are times when I do get tempted, but it is in such rare occasions compared to the daily falls I experienced in the past.
What would you say to other women struggling with masturbation and pornography?
There is never shame, always hope in God that you will be able to tackle whatever shortcomings you may be facing right at this moment. It may take a couple of days, weeks, years, decades or even a lifetime. Nonetheless, it is never too late to start anew in your journey towards purity! It doesn’t matter what you have been through, where you’re from, what stage in life you are at, how old you are…
Know that you are not alone in this struggle. You are not the only woman who is sinning in this area. I have sinned and continuously battle against impurity every single day. This is a daily cross we face, but you don’t have to do it alone. It is possible to overcome this weakness. I know that it is so hard to get past this stage of your life, but I promise you THIS TOO SHALL PASS!
Just continue to persevere, continue to grow closer to God, continue to hope and believe in His mercy. And NEVER GIVE UP.