Looking for Love in the Wrong Places
The True Story of a Young Girl's Struggle
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I committed my life to Christ at the age of nine, and I attended a Christian school; but from the ages of twelve to eighteen, I was addicted to pornography. I was hooked on romance novels.

Like most addictions, it began harmlessly enough. I moved from light, non-sexual romances to books that my mother, if she'd known, would've burned. I had no idea I was getting hooked. No one told me books could be dangerous. They were just stories. They weren't drugs—no one ever talked about being a "romance junkie." Sure, there were times where I felt dirty and guilty, but it was never enough to make me stop.

The stories themselves weren't addictive; in fact, most were rather average. What I craved was how they made me feel. Emotions and feelings of all sorts were stirred up in me: passion, lust, longing, desire, and even loneliness. I wanted to experience everything those authors wrote about. Since I couldn't do that in real life, I just read as many books as I could, and let my imagination do the rest. My life, in reality, may have been rather boring, but my fantasy life was worse than an adult film!

I would go to the library on a weekly basis, and take home an armful of books that I devoured during the week—sometimes reading the books twice before returning them. I must have read hundreds of books between the ages of twelve to eighteen. During those six years, it never once occurred to me that I was addicted to pornography. Like most addicts, I told myself that I could quit whenever I wanted to—I just didn't want to. And those books? They weren't pornography. They were just romance novels; all sorts of people read them.

The truth finally dawned on me when I was eighteen. The books I was reading by the dozens, the ones I'd passed off as "harmless romances," were indeed pornography. In pornography, casual and unlawful sex outside of marriage is portrayed as exciting and desirable. Personal gratification with no regard for the other person is highlighted. People exist only for their sexual gratification. Beauty is measured by the size of one's body parts. Instead of love, pornography cultivates self-centered, selfish desires that dehumanize people. These desires can become powerful obsessions that, in turn, can have a powerful effect on the way we behave. Consider Ted Bundy, the infamous serial killer, who stated that there was a strong connection between pornography and the rape and forms of violence that he committed.

Of course, being confronted with the truth, I immediately felt ashamed, but God is not a God of condemnation. I knew the moment I repented and asked, I was forgiven. It's taken me much longer to forgive myself, but God's love and forgiveness came the instant I asked for them. The Bible realistically points out that sin is temporarily pleasurable, but in the end, it will lead to death and destruction (Hebrews 11:25 "Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season," and Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord").

I cut myself off from all my "harmless" romance novels. Satan has tried a few times to drag me back, tempting me with memories of that one book that was really good ("you can just skip the sex scenes"), but with God's help, I've stood firm. God has given me plenty of other things to read, including His Word, which I'd barely glanced at since being born again.

I was enslaved to lust and pornography, but God set me free. God's grace doesn't give us the license to sin—it gives us the ability to live above sin. Have you called upon God's grace to save you from your sins? If not, call on Christ today.

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