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An Open Letter to Pornography

Last Updated: May 6, 2021

Guest Author

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.

This post has been updated as of May 2021. 

Dear Pornography,

I met you at a young age. As memory serves, I was around the age of seven the first time I was shown a pornographic magazine. Little did I know that it would be the beginnings of the longest relationship I have ever known, outside of that with my mom and my brother. From the moment I met you, I was hooked. You had me.

In elementary school, I dabbled in you; stealing glances at my step-father’s magazine when no one was around. In Junior High, we began a torrid affair. I began sneaking those magazines back to my bedroom where I got to know you intimately. It was from you I learned what sex was like.

Even then, there were consequences that came from my relationship with you—like the time my step-father found one of his magazines under my mattress and grounded me from a party (which cost my girlfriend at the time). I paid dearly, but it wasn’t enough to keep me from coming back to you.

High school, it seems, you left me alone. I had girlfriends that occupied my time, and I was busy devoting myself to school and to church. I am sure we had encounters, but for whatever reason, that time isn’t as prevalent to me as others. But you were there waiting for me.

College came, and we didn’t spend much time together, probably because there was always a roommate there to dissuade me from doing anything that would put me in a compromising situation. We dabbled a bit—you, me, and my fiancé at the time—but I didn’t need you. You were always there though, waiting for the day I would come back to you.

After college, we renewed our relationship. I discovered the Internet, and countless sources of pornography to entertain me and keep me company.

When I met my wife, you were there. I knew she didn’t approve, but I tried to keep our relationship secret.

When I got married, I hoped you would go away, but you didn’t. You were always there. Calling to me, enticing me. I gave in often. I swore it would never happen again. It did. Over and over again.

I caused my wife so much pain, so much heartache. My wife begged me to stop, prayed for me, supported me while I went to counseling, but ultimately it became too much. Knowing what the consequences would be, I chose you. I always chose you.

You promised so much. Excitement, Concealment. No guilt. Companionship. Community (after all, there are only two types of guys in the world: those who look at porn and those who say they don’t). You promised to love me unconditionally. You promised to make me feel like a man. You promised to make me feel proud.

What you delivered was just the opposite. Guilt. Isolation. Shame. Regret. Remorse. A life alone.

You lied to me.

Because I chose you, my life and the lives of those around me look very different.

Because I chose you, I am now separated from the four people I only now realize I love the most: my wife of 18 years and my three children.

Because I chose you, my daughters have come to the realization that I was never there for them, partially because I was always consumed by you and consumed by the guilt that came from you.

Because I chose you, I have missed prom, dance recitals, baseball games, softball games, National Honor Society inductions, campus tours, holidays, family vacation, bonfires, and dinners.

Because I chose you, I have spent most of my life feeling incapable and ill-equipped to lead my family spiritually as I have been called to do.

Because I chose you, I have lost track of the number of lies I have told to family and friends to hide my guilt.

Because I chose you, my wife spent our 18 year anniversary with our children instead of me.

Because I chose you, my children spent Father’s Day with their mother instead of me.

Because I chose you, my wife wants to end our marriage so she can be free of me. She never wants to go back into a relationship of lies, deceit, and isolation. I don’t blame her.

Because I chose you, my daughters have asked me to divorce their mother so they can all start over again. I don’t blame them either.

Because I chose you my friends have deserted me, tired of being deceived yet again when they find out I have run back to you despite telling them I left you for good.

Because I chose you, sleep doesn’t come until very late most nights, as I lay in bed, pondering my actions, and the hurt they have caused those I love most.

Because I chose you, my wife has spent the majority of our 18 years in marriage on her knees before God, asking Him to help her fall in love with me because she couldn’t do it on her own.

Because I chose you, I have spent my adult life mired in guilt and shame, feeling defective and unlovable by God or anyone else. My relationships have been distant and fragmented so no one would have to get to know the real me.

Because I chose you, my beloved wife, who you gave to me to look after and take care of, has been cheated out of years of intimate bedtime conversations where we shared our hopes, our dreams, our fears, all out of my selfish fear that I would have to open up and share true feelings and struggles.

Because I chose you, I have had to surrender leadership positions in my church, doing what I love to do most, which is singing and leading people in worship.

Because I chose you, I attend church on Sundays alone, trying to ignore the glances from the people that know us, and trying not to wonder what they are thinking about me right now.

Because I chose you, my wife forbids my son to come to the place I am staying right now because she doesn’t trust that I can provide an environment free from pornography from my son. She’s right: I haven’t earned back that kind of trust yet.

Because I chose you, my daughters don’t want a relationship with me, fearing the pain of being betrayed yet again. I don’t blame them.

Because I chose you, I have spent thousands of dollars of our hard-earned money on counseling sessions that never worked.

Because I chose you, I have made a poor financial decision, hoping that I could buy my guilt away.

Because I chose you I am unwelcome and unwanted in my own house. I have to leave my house every night after spending time with my son; a reminder daily of the consequence of my actions.

Because I chose you, I wear the title or badge of “Hello my name is Sex Addict who destroyed his family, and is reaping what he sowed for 18 years.”

Because I chose you, I have had to seriously ponder my salvation, and wonder if am truly saved by God.

But because I chose you, I have been forced to ponder my salvation and wonder if I am saved. I have been forced to learn what a person broken and surrendered to God looks like. I have been forced to take a good hard look at my relationships with my children, the friends I have left, and with God. And I have been forced to confront my “dependence” on you.

Because of you, I identify with Matthew, the tax collector and one of Jesus’ chosen 12. Matthew was originally named Levi, so he was quite possibly part of the tribe that was supposed to lead the Jews spiritually. Instead, he became a tax collector, one of the most reviled occupations of the time. No doubt, Matthew disappointed his family greatly, who probably had much higher hopes for him than to be a tax collector.

Like Matthew, I had never stepped into the role God had laid out for me. I was to be a father, a spiritual leader for my wife and my children. Because I didn’t, someone else had to. In addition to being mom and wife, my wife had to become the spiritual leader, disciplinarian, and so many other roles she was never called to be. Jesus called Matthew despite his sins. He chose him to make a difference. Like Matthew, he wants to use me to make a difference.

I choose you no longer.

Just like my family doesn’t believe my promises because I have shattered their trust, I refuse to believe your promises because you have shattered mine. Contrary to what you promise, You only offer a life of regret, remorse, emptiness, shame, isolation, hurt, financial ruin, spiritual bankruptcy.

I choose light. I choose life. I choose a relationship with God and with my family. I choose to make sure that my family knows every day that they are loved and treasured. I choose every day to choose God and life over pornography and death.

You may think you have won for now, but this battle is not over. I will never come back to you. You have caused too much pain, too much destruction. I will never stop trying to reconcile with my wife and children, and I will not stop bringing your lies to light.

There are thousands, probably millions of women and children experiencing what my family has experienced for the last 4+ months because men all over the world are choosing you. I will make sure they know my story. I will make sure they know that you are nothing but a liar who promises so much, and gives so little. I will help them win.

You will not win.

As a matter of fact, you have already been defeated. You see, I have a God who loves me, and not only loved me so much to send his Son for me, but he left me something as well. He left me his Holy Spirit that lives in me. If this Holy Spirit had enough power to raise Jesus from the dead, this same Holy Spirit will surely give me the strength to resist you. He gives me a way out every time you try to entice me.

I will choose this way out. Even if I never get my wife back, even if my children never want to have the kind of relationship we should have had from the beginning, I will not come back to you. We are through.

God wins. Every time he wins. He is undefeated. Mark my words. You are finished. We are finished. Perfect love wins. There is hope in the name of Jesus. There is power in the name of Jesus. He wants me more than you do, and I know you want me dearly. It must anger you to know I am leaving you, and I expect you to come at me harder than you have ever come. Bring it on. My family means too much to me. I just wish I had realized it a long time ago.

Author Anonymous

  • Comments on: An Open Letter to Pornography
    1. Preston Turner on

      Very powerful message. I am a believer in Christ and I have to been redeemed. I’ve been struggling with this addiction for about 20+ years. Every since I can remember I have always been sexually curious. I see hope and have faith from your message. It really touches on a lot of things I have been through and I want you to know your not alone. There are plenty more out there and I am here to stand with you and defeat this all together. It can really ruin your life and I was on that road before God took control. I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.

      Reply
    2. Steve on

      Ken,
      I’m praying for you in your battle and for Gods victory to be over you constantly. I also pray for a miracle between you and your family. We serve a God of the miraculous. With Him it is possible! I will keep you in prayer and thank you for your openness and honesty in sharing your story. May God watch over you and keep you close and always protect you my brother!
      Steve

      Reply
    3. Leah on

      I was exposed to porn when I was 5. My moms boyfriend had it laying around the house. When exposed to such things it alters your mind. I to this day have lesbian temptations. I hate my life. I’ve always known homosexuality is wrong. I’d daydreamed of marrying this wonderful man yet I’m tempted by women. It’s tiring. In the past I always fought this temptation.

      Reply
      • dale on

        LEAH, You will make it because God promises to finish the work He starts in us eventhough we cant see it or always understand it…Im praying for you!!!

      • Charles K on

        My prayers are with you. My wife left me, not for one women, but for many. She is also an alcoholic and drug addict, thankfully in recovery. Also thankfully, she still has a relationship with my children. That is to little, or no way her victory, but theirs. They have learned charity, in spite of her. My youngest daughter was most hurt by her mother and is currently in a lesbian relationship. I believe that this is a bad choice for her. I pray for her happiness, but I know that her current choice brings struggle and anger. I don’t force her to defend her choice, but others do, and that makes her self righteous and angry. She loves children and would be a wonderful mother. But children need a natural setting. Some do better than others with the various levels of disorder that we provide. So as I pray for you, I ask for your prayers, if you are willing.

    4. Jenna C on

      I thank you for being a man and stepping up to the plate and recognizing the pain your addiction has caused your wife and children. Many addicts don’t recognize their wife’s pain and hurt her even more in their own recovery as they expect her to own her reactions to the pain he has caused. It’s painful and it’s not an easy journey for those of us women who have been the recipients of these addictions. There is a great deal of loneliness and depression that we experience as well as extreme insecurity that results from this addiction. I’m glad that you are a man who recognizes what we do go through. I hope and pray that your marriage will be restored and that men like you can reach those men who refuse to acknowledge the pain their families have had to go through. More women who have had a husband engage in this addiction would heal if the man who did the most amount of damage in their lives would acknowledge it.

      Reply
    5. Andy Bruner on

      Ken, I don’t know your whole story other than what you wrote here but if you haven’t done so already I would say try finding a pure desire group to attend. Google it. They are great, but unfortunately not in every city. I’ll be praying for you in this battle. I know it myself.

      Reply
    6. Rhett A Brown on

      Ken,

      I feel like you stepped into my mind and verbalized my thoughts through most of your letter. Last night, I spoke with my wife about my struggle. It is the second time I’ve had to do so. The hurt in her eyes is aweful. I will be praying for you when my mind will remember to do so. It is a hard battle and one that will not be easily won. Stay the course. Pray. Remain steadfast in the faith. Always watch for the way of escape. Pray. Make no provision for the flesh. Pray. Stay in the Word. Pray.

      Reply
    7. Shawn on

      Ken,
      May the Father flood you with HIS mercies. May He make you to know Jesus, may He draw you to Himself. I suggest you look into Pure Life Ministries. Only the savior can rescue you and set you free from bondage. May God bless you.

      Reply
    8. Mike on

      I’m in a similar place. I have made this choice finally, and it’s not easy, but I can already see that it’s so much better. it’s like you said at one point, “I choose life”. It’s very cool to hear you make the decision. I actually got on this website so that I can find other people’s stories. How are they holding up? How are they defeating this. I’m right there with you on trying to focus on and win back relationships. The good news is that we can spend the rest of our lives doing the best that we can to love people. That sad part of course is that we have a trail of destruction that we have left. As God heals us, as we make this decision that it is SO IMPORTANT, a wife’s heart, kids’ hearts, and we start living for real, God will fix things. Maybe things won’t ever be the way they could have been, but all we can do now is just focus on what we can do for the ones in our lives that we love.

      Jesus, thank you so much for this man who was willing to share his story. Please God, heal his wife’s heart, and show her that You love her. Wrap your arms around his kids and be their Heavenly Father. Do wonderful things in their lives. Though the devil meant to destroy him, You are going to heal him and make him someone who can trust You through everything, and to need nothing else. Help Ken to continue to do the right thing, and to live his life for love for now on. Me too. Amen.

      Reply
    9. Jaime on

      Dear Ken,
      Really touched by your story. That was me 20 years ago. Just wanted to tell you that restoration is possible in Christ. I can testify to it. But on this side of heaven, not everything can be restored. Certain losses need to be accepted as a consequence of our actions. I know it hurts. But the best thing we can do is to say, “Lord, I deserve this. I take full responsibility for it. But help me get through this pain. Let it work for my good and for your glory.” Addcits are very selfish by nature. To accept responsibility for one’s actions and start to think about the pain of our families is a sign of recovery and grace.
      God will provide for all your needs and He will heal the wounded hearts of your family. Jesus will finish the word He has started in you, by the power of His Spirit that lives in you. I am praying for you. Jaime.

      Reply
    10. David on

      Thank you, Ken. Inspirational and nearly moved me to tears. May the good Lord finished what He started.

      Reply
    11. ck on

      My dear young brother,
      Jesus loves you as you are and he won’t leave you to fight alone. I’m in my 60’s now and am being healed of a terrible fear of abandonment. The devil has used that against me many times and I’ve fallen many times. BUT, the Lord is so merciful that He hasn’t given up on me. So, please know, He hasn’t given up on you.
      Love you, brother!
      ck

      Reply
    12. Gabe on

      Hey there brother.

      I don’t know you and you don’t me. I do know you pain. You have far more then me. Yet, take joy in your pain my good man!! Your letter has inspired so many. So so many. You have helped me and others realize the lies of porn and the IMPERATIVE need to quit. Yet, you have also taught us to be patient with ourselves, and never lose hope in our Heavenly Father, who never loses hope in us.

      God created the world in its complex and beautifully but baffling perplexity in mere 7 days. He became a man! Literally raised a man from the dead. He literally died for us , as we know we are, imperfect humans. His creations! Then…He literally defeated death. Do you know anyone other guy who has defeated death? Didn’t think so. If God can do ALLLLLLLL of that. In His time, so WILL He defeat our porn addiction. He will not leave us to die.

      I will fight with you brother. I’m here too. Together, but with the sea parting grace of God Almighty!!

      Praise be Jesus Christ!!!

      Reply

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