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My Story
By cactus
8/24/2011 10:52:50 PM
I wish it was easier to write this stuff. I never know what to say.

I'll be jumping around a bit here but to start. I was raised in a fairly active home as I suppose many of us were. Sex was not discussed much. I never really got "the talk". I was actively involved in my church youth groups, went to camp and tried to live as I was taught. I'd never try drugs, smoke, or do anything against the standards I was taught. Then I hit puberty and hormones hit pretty hard. I figured out about masturbation by reading a family home health encyclopedia and since I'd never heard it mentioned at church thought it was a great thing I'd discovered... I did pretty frequently but didn't think much of it. There was even a special meeting at church for teens where they discussed pornography and premarital sex but they never mentioned masturbation so I continued doing it. They didn't mention it... it must be OK. (I wasn't going to raise my hand and ask.) It was about 2 years later that there was a church meeting with teens and their parents to discuss morality. The meeting focused on masturbation... I went with my mom because my dad was out of town. I was shocked that they said we shouldn't do it and it was considered sinful (I had been doing it almost daily). On the way home, it was silent in the car until my mother asked "You don't do that do you?" I said "No! Of course not!"... it was my first lie about it. I've thought about this a lot and think that my lie was response to the way she asked. If she had said "Son, a lot of boys experiment with masturbation, have you ever tried it?" I would not have had the knee jerk reaction to lie. I have lied several times since then but that was the first I can remember.

So... After that meeting I decided it was time to quit. I tried, I really did but was surprised and embarrassed that I couldn't quit! I tried and tried! I even kept a secret chart on a calender in my room to track the days that I didn't do it... I struggled with it for a while and even disclosed my "problem" to a few girls I dated and some close guy friends. They didn't seem surprised by it... maybe it wasn't such a big deal. Anyway, I had a friend who died in high school and after that I decided that if I died I needed to be right with God so I told my bishop about my problem and he was very good... not too probing... not inappropriate in any way and told me that it was a very common problem but that if I felt guilty about it, stopping it was the right thing to do. He told me that if I talked with God about it, read my scriptures daily and prayed daily, I'd have the strength to overcome it... adoing those things helped! At least off and on for a few years...

As time went on, the problem kept popping up from time to time. I discovered pornography and out of curiosity found I really enjoyed it. It started with just reading the sexy articles in magazines and progressed to soft porn on the internet. Much of what I looked at did not even contain full nudity. I have never been interested in anything really hardcore...

I think now that I can recognize that to me looking at porn makes me feel similar to the good feeling you have when you first fall in love. I like that feeling. I felt bad about it but found myself looking at stuff from time to time. Masturbation would pop up and I'd do it daily for a few days and then tell myself I needed to stop... so I would, for a few days, weeks or even months at a time. I eventually got married and I had told my wife about some of the issues I'd had in the past and that they were "resolved"... However, at times during the marriage I found myself occasionally looking at stuff online and once again masturbating though I'd thought it was behind me... I have never cheated but I do recognize that at times I relied on the porn the false sense of intimacy it provided. Every time I did it, I'd tell myself it was the last time, and it would be... until I did it again. The worst part is that I kept it from her and lied if she asked me if I was having any trouble with it.

At some point I came across some erotic material with the theme of spanking and found that it really hit me. Soon I was looking into it and reading about it and fantasizing about it. I realized that I had a thing for spanking since I was a kid. I played "spanking games" with girls I was friends with as early as 1st grade. In fact I remember that I played spanking games with cousins, siblings and other kids in the neighborhood. I had even done some playful spanking a few times in high school and college. I wasn't really sure where it came from and now that I'm seeing a therapist have tried to figure it out... I was not abused... I did have an experience in kindergarten where I was spanked by a teenage babysitter and my therapist wonders if I may have sexualized that experience. At any rate I hid these desires from my wife and tried to explore these feelings online... This lead to decreased intimacy and some problems in our relationship. I have lied about my behavior which is in conflict with my character. It is a problem for me. It is my weakness and I own that.

I have been seeing the counselor and looking in to my issues. I have disclosed everything to my wife and she was hurt... She's not mad about the masturbation, she is hurt by the porn but she was devastated by the fact that I didn't tell her about these things even when she had asked me about them. We are working on our relationship and I now realize that I can tell her anything. I can be open, honest and vulnerable with her and she still loves me despite my weaknesses.

In conclusion I'd have to say that I have learned a lot over the past few months. I am thankful I have found a therapist to take this journey with and who I feel I can trust. I believe in God as my higher power and have felt His hand my life. I hope this is helpful to somebody. It was helpful to me writing it...

Please be gentle with your judgments.
-Cactus

Comments:

No judgements    
"We all have enough on our plate that we shouldn't have time for judgements. Sounds like you are really doing a great job with your step 1 and step 4 here. Way to go! As a wife of an addict, I have to say that you going to your wife and telling HER! Instead of her catching you, was really great. The lies are so much worse than the addiction itself in so many ways for me...I'd rather face the problem head on, together even if it is painful, rather than have him lie to me as he deals with it alone. My husband has lied to me so much that I don't believe him even when he does tell the truth. Never, ever, ever lie to her and it will make the world of difference.

Welcome and I hope you are able to fit the puzzle pieces together and find all the help you need to overcome.

Maddy"
posted at 07:39:06 on August 25, 2011 by maddy
Cactus,    
"Thank you for sharing your story...so similar to mine. I like how you have banished the secrecy and brought it out in the open. I think you are a great example of recovery already!"
posted at 10:24:17 on August 25, 2011 by Anonymous
good job..    
"good luck in your endevour.. Honesty is the big addiction killer. It really sucks that I know this first hand."
posted at 14:19:54 on August 25, 2011 by hurtallover
Nice to relate    
"It is always nice to see I am not the only one going through this. Thank you for your thoughts."
posted at 19:13:44 on August 25, 2011 by Leo
Thanks    
"Cactus, thanks for your post. I can relate to so much of it."
posted at 12:13:31 on August 30, 2011 by 1day@atime
There is no Shame in Jesus Christ    
"The one thing that I have done right on this journey is that I have been honest with my wife. It is painful enough to feel worthless after a slip, but when you have someone who you know loves you that you can honestly share your pain with really helps you understand the type of a Savior we have. Shame is Satan's greatest tool. Jesus Christ is not a shaming or condeming God. He has a perfect understanding human weakness. He does not condemn us. He sent us into a fallen world knowing the price He would have to pay to free us. He is gentle and compassionate and kind. I am so thankful for a wife who has helped me come to know Him that way."
posted at 22:07:43 on August 31, 2011 by Anonymous
no judgements    
"You have judged yourself more than enough, there is no need for anyone else to add to it. In the end it doesn't matter what other people think or say about you, it is your relationships; with yourself, your spouse, and God. You have been given a talent and now it is up to you to decide what you want to do with it. Will you bury it or give it to the Lord? There is no shame in what you have done. Your story sounds almost identical to mine, so I am not trying to justify, I am simply sharing a little of what I have found. You were just an innocent boy who was exploring his body. You found something that felt good and no one had explained to you, so you explored it further. This is inevitable without a parent or guardian helping to explain what the urges and thoughts are meant for.

We are designed to want to have sex. If no one wanted to have sex there wouldn't be anyone here. It is part of God's plan. Learning how to live as a healthy person with natural sexual desires is difficult, for one because no one talks about sex. There are people who are good examples of how to live a clean life, but when it comes to gospel principles and how those relate to sex, well I have yet to have that sunday school or priesthood lesson.

You are not a bad person for having fallen into this path. This is how God is allowing you to learn what you need to know while in this life. We all have our trials and cannot judge someone else. Our purpose on this earth is to help one another, not to bring others down.

May you and your wife find your path to God."
posted at 18:59:46 on September 3, 2011 by blindman
Thank you    
"I appreciate the replies and the welcome. I'm glad to be here and thankful for the sobriety I have been able obtain. It is always a battle. Thank you. -Cactus"
posted at 22:12:26 on September 8, 2011 by cactus
Guilt vs. Regret    
"One issue I have am working hard to do is differentiate between the guilt/shame ("I am bad") and regret ("I did something I didn't want to do.").

If I can set aside the moral issues of whether MB is a sin (the topic of another post sometime) and the attendant guilt, I can avoid one of the biggest challenges that comes with being a priesthood holder and a member of the church: guilt and shame. These negative emotions are lousy motivators. I'm trying to remember that God doesn't hate the sinner, only the sin. In other words, I'm not a bad person, only engaged in some bad behavior. God does not want me to feel guilt and shame, these come from Satan, and rob me of my self-esteem.

Instead, I am striving to focus on the more practical issues that MB does not help me get where I want to go in life. It is like a black hole that sucks my life and everything I value out of me. I can really hate MB and P if I remember what it does to me. This helps take the attractiveness away and helps me focus on remaining sober."
posted at 17:56:57 on September 20, 2011 by fwd2joy


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"In recent years, as I have sung the hymns of the Atonement, it has been with an especially full heart—and also with full voice, when I can continue to sing—lines such as “How great thou art,” “I scarce can take it in,” “To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,” “I stand all amazed,” and “Oh, it is wonderful!”"

— Neal A. Maxwell

General Conference May 1987