A guest post.
Let me tell you a side story of my life…
As a child around five or six years of age, I was inadvertently exposed to visual pornography by careless adults — including my alcoholic father, who watched videos thinking I was already fast asleep on the couch — or who left their magazines just lying around.
When you can’t understand things, you are not even sure why they are wrong. My natural curiosity made me want to go over them time and time again. I also played the scenes back and forth in my mind. I even encouraged my sister (who was diagnosed as schizophrenic in her late twenties) to join in the fun, not to chicken out and turn off the TV when intimate scenes were on display.
At one point, I remember the pre-adolescent me crying and throwing a tantrum when my mother found the stash and threw it away. The problem was that she did not leave me any explanation of why this was wrong and sinful in the first place.
For a time, I had no more of such stimuli, and developed a fascination with the written word. By my teen-aged years though, literary pornography came into the picture with graphically-written romance novels and best sellers describing the requisite intimate moments. Peer pressure was on with this being the favorite pastime of all the girl in my high school. I kept on buying and borrowing books. Even the required English class reading featured a few scenes here and there. By this time, I would go back to these books, re-read these specific scenes and practice self-abuse. If I had ever been in a relationship during those turbulent years, I would have had dallied with pre-marital sex, gone through teenaged pregnancy, married at a young age and then separated by the time I was in my mid-twenties. This happened to a lot of my peers, even those on the honor roll.
In my late teens, God’s grace intervened. I rediscovered the beauty of the Catholic faith, started to frequent the Sacraments, followed sound advice from prudent spiritual directors, and answered the call to virginity for the sake of the kingdom of God.
I still have to struggle to live chastity in my state of life and live a temperate life with all the temptations made available to us by mainstream media and the new media powered by the Internet. I have also been left with self-esteem issues due to comparisons with the reality of my developmental changes in comparison with what I have seen or read.
I count on the grace of God though to overcome my past and look forward to a future in His Heavenly Kingdom.