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Finding Porn in Seminary

Last Updated: July 27, 2021

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Want to write for the Covenant Eyes blog? Share the story of your journey to freedom from pornography. Let us know how you overcame porn or how Covenant Eyes has made a difference in your life or the lives of those you love.

by Kyle Reed

Understanding the unavoidable exposures to pornography in the average life of an American teenager, you can consider me peculiarly blessed to have grown up relatively unscathed from the effect of porn. Apart from an occasional topless woman in a rented VHS tape, my eyes had very little encounters with the dangers of pornography.

With such a clean slate—lasting into my early 20s—I entered marriage assuming to never be affected by porn. I assumed that being in a covenantal marriage with the woman of my dreams would ensure this. Sex was no longer something I had to “hold off” for. Through marriage I had obtained the most sought after gift that any Christian man could receive: unrestrained physical pleasure with a gorgeous woman, available 24/7!

I know now, and as you hopefully realize from my sarcasm, this perception of marriage is never reality—regardless of the sexual appeal and ability of the wife. Most Christian men today (including all the friends I have spoken with and/or counseled prior to their marriages) are misled on this truth. We assume that in marriage all of our sex will enable us to never be tempted toward porn.

Why porn still allures

There are two truths we often miss, truths that I apparently was too naïve to truly understand.

First, marriage does not bring with it unrestrained sexual pleasure. Despite what engaged couples and couples on their honeymoon say, there is far more to a marital relationship than sex.

Second, more important and interestingly unrelated to the first point, marriage does not stave off cravings for pornography. Sadly, no amount of sexual pleasure could make the temptations of pornography unappealing. This truth is especially difficult for women to understand, and it is painfully personal. A married man’s struggle with porn is not a result of his wife’s sexual appeal or performance, it is solely the result of the man’s sinful desires—which are present in every man, and which aggressively must be quelled.

Open to temptation

A year into our marriage I began seminary. As pornography had never taken root in my life, I concluded it wasn’t necessary to take precautions against it. A year later, well into my studies, I became overwhelmed with school, work and ministry. In August 2009, buried deep in my intensive Biblical Hebrew classes, I became exhausted in every way.

One day, through a harmless Google search, I found my way to an alluring website—a website that I knew I should not be visiting. Yet, I began revisiting. The images of women and sexual content saturated my thoughts, and I could not let go. I was afraid, and arrogant regarding what to do.

After revisiting the site frequently, at various times and locations, I knew I needed to talk about this falling with my wife. But, as men do, I put aside my need to confess and come clean, assuming that I could heal and overcome by myself. Alone.

Accountability is key

I was a fool. Luckily, and thankfully, my wife caught me, and confronted me. Nothing in my life has hurt my heart or the heart of my wife as severely as this shock. My actions, carried out in darkness, broke her heart, and we are still working on recovery and reconciliation today. We weren’t prepared.

And this is what I know: I wish I had accountability from the beginning.

Sexual integrity without Internet accountability doesn’t happen. Not today. I am the perfect example of this truth. If you desire to protect your heart, to protect your spouse, to protect your integrity, the reliable accountability of Covenant Eyes is a necessity.

My marriage is indebted to Covenant Eyes; because I know what must be quelled within me, I will never own a computer without it.

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Kyle Reed is the Visual Arts Coordinator with Woodcrest Chapel. Check him out on Twitter at  twitter.com/kyle8reed.