4 minute read

I Created Porn in My Head: David Heughin’s Story

Last Updated: February 17, 2021

Moriah Bowman

Moriah Bowman has been using Covenant Eyes since childhood. As a member of the Covenant Eyes team, she is passionate about writing and fighting pornography in the millennial generation. Moriah has a BA in political communications and plays an active role in fostering children of all ages who need a temporary safe home.

When David Heughins became a born-again Christian at five years old, porn was the last thing on his mind.

Raised in a parsonage, he wasn’t supposed to “struggle” with anything. Unfortunately, David’s Christianity was mostly rules and fear. As a child, he was at the bottom of the metaphoric schoolyard food chain, and he suffered a significant amount of peer abuse. That, combined with being an only child in a very strict home, led David into a pattern of imaginary living. In his imagination, he was strong, brave, and in control.

Unfortunately, this started a downhill slide into addiction.

An Addiction from the Imagination

When David reached puberty, his imagination took up the enthralling subject of females. And because he was isolated and the girls he knew did not attend his church, they became a subject of sexual fantasy.

Without being told anything about sex, David was still able to use his imagination. The reactions this caused his brain chemistry led to a strong addiction to fantasy sex.

David didn’t know anything about pornography, but he was addicted to the pornographic images he created in his mind. Speaking of the lust that overtook him, David says, “They stirred up chemical reactions in my brain and pleasure that was as powerful as any drug on the street.”

As he grew older, he thought that getting married would help stop these fantasies swirling in his head. However, when he did find his bride, he continued to backslide, and now there was a fear of being exposed that only made it worse. David knew that these thoughts were acts of adultery, and he felt an overwhelming sense of condemnation.

At one point, David began to despair his own salvation: “Why doesn’t God deliver me from this?”

An Addict Stuck in Addiction

By 2008 (nearly 50 years after the fantasies began), David’s addiction was only getting worse. He was seeing body parts instead of people in his daily life. He knew that he needed to change, and he signed up to attend a men’s conference called Iron Sharpens Iron. There, David came out of his denial enough to attend a seminar on Internet purity. The Internet was becoming popular and easy-to-access, and David realized that if he went online, he was going to have opportunities to do and see things that he didn’t want to do.

At the seminar, David realized that he was sexually addicted. He was an addict stuck in an addiction.

When he finally realized and accepted this, David was able to maintain sobriety for almost a year. But without accountability, he relapsed.  It was hideous, David says, “I was imagining things that went against everything I stood for as a Christian man.”

Near the end of that year, Celebrate Recovery came to his church. If you’re unfamiliar with Celebrate Recovery, it is a Christ-centered, 12-step program for all kinds of hurts, habits, and hang-ups.

David dragged himself to the second meeting, and when he got there, the lesson was on denial (of course!). David learned that denial is pretending a wound is not there, and you can’t heal a wound by pretending it is not there. The teaching struck a chord in his mind and spirit, and David knew that he needed to change.

“I could hear the chains breaking…”

After the lesson, the group of men broke into groups. David sat with a dozen guys, most of them whom he knew and respected. As they went around the circle, each man gave an introduction. Soon, it was David’s turn.

“Hi, I’m Dave, I’m a grateful believer who struggles with…um…um…sexual addiction.”

Nobody fell off their chair. Nobody laughed or said “just quit,” as if quitting an addiction was at all easy. It was the hardest thing David had ever done, but something happened in him when he said it. He describes it as, “It’s like I could hear the chains breaking, and basically, I’ve been in recovery ever since. That room became a safe place for me. Those guys became my brothers, my accountability partners, my accountability team. And I’ve been involved in Celebrate Recovery ever since. When I lost my wife, I went through some relapse. But again, I started going to more meetings.”

Since David’s first Celebrate Recovery meeting, finding freedom hasn’t been perfect. There have been slips now and then. And every morning, he thanks God for helping him to make it through the night, and he asks Him humbly, to help him stay clean throughout the day. He uses Covenant Eyes to monitor his Internet activity, and this has paired well with his meetings through Celebrate Recovery.

We Are God’s Workmanship!

Today, David continues to fight against temptation and the tight grasp of sin. When his wife passed away in 2013, he was able to lay her in the arms of Jesus, while being clean inside and out; what a triumph that was! When he talks about his victory over addiction and his journey to remain pure, David says this:

“I give credit to the Lord. I couldn’t do it myself. You have no idea how helpless addiction makes you. I was trying to live for the Lord, trying to serve the Lord (to prove I was a Christian), reading Scripture, and praying. Yet all those things that I did, did not prevent me and my mind from going to the wrong place.

I’ve come to realize that if I do fall, the steps I hear are not coming to grind me into the dirt but to pick me up. Sexual addiction is not just a spiritual issue, it’s an emotional issue, and it’s a physical issue too. That was a key for me in overcoming it—realizing that I don’t have to prove myself holy in order to meet God’s standards, in order to please God. I need to let Him make me holy from the inside. I’m a piece of work, but I’m a piece of work on His bench.

I can’t, He can, I’m gonna let Him. This is what keeps me clean, one day at a time.”

  • Comments on: I Created Porn in My Head: David Heughin’s Story
    1. R.C. Black on

      I struggle with this, and it feeds into my masturbation addiction. I have seen porn so it gets very messy in my head and I just desire freedom from it so bad it hurts.

      Reply
      • Stephen D Fox on

        I don’t know how old you are. I am 51. But in the time I grew up, sexual imagery was part of the culture. I know it is now, but at least there are people speaking out against the bad sides of it, like older women with younger men, like teachers and students. But when I was a kid, you saw that in movies all the time, it was like a joke. I had a lot of trouble with this sort of thing. I think it really does get easier as you get older. If nothing else, your desires cool down. Try to stay strong and positive.

      • TJ on

        There are many programs that can help. I myself went through one called “Click to Kick”, which consisted of group zoom meetings with a trained leader. We did weekly exercises and had “homework”, all to help us understand our behavior, plus tools to use to avoid porn and masturbation. It really helped me and I haven’t looked at porn since. Start looking at the resources Covenant Eyes has, and you find that there are a LOT out there. You CAN get free of this!

      • Khan on

        Yeah same. I have been masturbating since 13 years to porn and hentai. I used to masturbate 4-5x’s DAILY for like 7 years. Then (now) it got reduced to 2-3x’s DAILY. I am a virgin. I want to wait for marriage for sex unlike many people who fornicate.

    2. Someone Who Escaped on

      if you’re reading this, your body and desires are natural and anyone who pressures you to see your human nature as inherently sinful does so in order to control you

      Reply
      • Moriah Bowman on

        Hi friend,

        I would agree with you that it is normal to have sexual desires. That is part of being human. However, my point of disagreement comes in when you imply that we are not inherently sinful. The Bible is quite clear on this, and I’d challenge you to dig into what Scripture has to say about it! Our body and desires can be a good thing, but it is when we take those desires and use them to fulfill our sinful nature that they become disastrous.

        I’d love to hear your further thoughts on this!
        Moriah

    3. Tim Etiene on

      I have never thought how my fantasy life fed into my porn addiction until now. I was that boy that couldn’t tlk to the girls in life but I could in my fantasies. I didn’t do school work because in my fantasies I was going to play professional hockey. As an adult I didn’t do certain things or complete tasks because in my fantasies it would go away.
      I may have ruined a marriage but am praying my wife will allow me to cleanse myself and live in the present.

      Reply
    4. Wolf on

      My Instagram algorithm led me here; and I’m glad I did. I’ve been addicted to masturbation and sexual fantasies since I was 12. I still have a lot of trouble with it to this day. And yes, I would describe it exactly like that. It’s as if you’re creating porn in your head. Furthermore, this takes over every aspect of your life; making you a slave to your imagination.

      Reply
      • Keith Rose on

        We’re glad you found us! Have you taken steps to try to quit? We have a helpful article with 6 essential steps to quit porn. These steps apply whether you’re struggling with porn on the internet or with fantasies in your own mind. Like David, the key to breaking an addiction is putting yourself in a community where you are brutally honest about your struggles and where you have one more allies to keep you accountable. We wish you all the best on your journey!

        Blessings,

        Keith

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