My addiction to masturbation started when I was about four years old (in this post, I will not cover the reasons why this happened at such a young age). My secret pleasurable habit intensified with time. I remember that in preteen years, deep in my heart, I started to feel bothersome, irrational discomfort that my life was heading in a dark, undesirable direction due to this habit. It scared me from time to time, as I saw some “red flags” connected to it along the way.
Sometimes I considered seeking help or at least speaking with someone about what was bothering me, but I was too afraid, too shameful to verbalize anything about my intimate private secret. No one was talking about such things around me at that time. There were many things that I did not even know how to verbalize. So I floated on the waves of “I don’t care”, “No one sees me”, “I’m not harming anyone by that”, “I’m just relaxing” and just proceeded that way.
During puberty, when I began to witness and feel the changes of my sexual body parts, more questions and insecurities connected with my sexuality arose. Though my parents did quite an amazing job by helping me to enter that season of my life quite safely and securely by giving me adequate affirmation (as much as they could) and love, and providing timely and decent information on certain topics, there were many aspects I still hungered to know more about. As a curious teen, eager to become independent as quickly as possible, I wouldn’t miss a chance to know something more about sexuality, if just such chance materialized. Sexuality was an interesting and mysterious sphere of life already knocking at my door, so I craved to get to know it more in order to feel safer about that unknown world.
I was around thirteen when I found an article on masturbation in a popular journal for girls, written by a physician. He provided ideas related to medicine science. That was the highest authority for me at that time, and I bought all the opinions the physician was presenting as truth. Though I had an unexplainable ache in my heart, which from time to time would surface after my masturbation, I counted on the answers he provided: that everything is “okay” with masturbation; that “scientific research tells us that almost everyone is practicing this type of sexual behavior, and that fact proves masturbation to be normal and for sure not a bad action”; that “every normal girl should try it to discover her sexuality, to understand her erotic zones, to grow in her sexual maturity in order to become a better sexual partner in future for her male friends”, etc. So, why bother? Why not to take that free pleasure for myself in this life full of hardships?!
I was encouraged, and eagerly encouraged my heart to proceed. I used those arguments as my defense in those awkward moments of irrational confusion and feelings of unease after masturbation. With the knowledge I have today, I would say I was trying eagerly to persuade my conscience, which was knocking then.
Those ideas presented in the article became a perfect excuse for me not to share with anyone about my secret habit as well. Though I had doubts that something was wrong (over the years I was becoming more and more aware that I was falling into an addictive habit, and shame followed), I was denying all this and justifying myself: “Why speak about normal things?”; “I am normal because many people practice that as well”; “Everything is okay with me; I’m just learning about my body, my sexuality, I am just preparing myself for adult sexual life”. I lacked good enough (scientifically proven, if you like) reason to stop masturbating, so I made a choice to proceed. And the fruit of that choice was that after a few years, my addiction intensified from occasional masturbation to a daily habit, from once a day to several times a day.
How my addiction to masturbation functioned?
The general tendency was, the worse tribulations in life I was going through, the more intense pleasure I craved. Masturbation, an easily accessible source of free pleasure, was always with me, helping to ease my tensions quickly, and free of cost. However, as my addiction intensified, I began to use my body as a source of pleasure in good times as well. Many times I started to do that simply because I enjoyed the pleasure, without any serious need for relaxation or comfort present. And such sexual pleasure was always available; what could be better?!
In my times of need, I was sincerely happy to be able to fill my life with that extra pleasure. As very often happens for many of us in nowadays over-sexualized society, masturbation was not the only issue. Early on, maybe around age eight or nine, I had discovered that self-stimulation, in the manner I knew from my early years, accompanied with viewing erotic or pornographic material, was much more pleasurable and exciting.
I was a curious child, and sexuality was hidden and strange. It was a new and undiscovered world for me in many aspects. Erotic, even pornographic, material became available with Lithuania’s gained independence. Once we had cable TV installed with different channels from the Western world, it became very easily accessible right at home (not to mention the uncountable possibilities that came with increased access to Internet).
Fueled by desire to experience even more pleasure, to gain more knowledge and experience, I eagerly immersed myself into the world of porn, which promised new supplementation to the pleasures coming from masturbation. In the beginning, pornography and masturbation mostly brought me instant relief and comfort in my daily tensions. They made my life more exciting, and filled me with “grownup knowledge”, — that was how I perceived the effects of those habits then. There were even times when I was proud of myself, especially when I found myself having more knowledge about sexual issues in comparison to my peers.
Later I used my “extra knowledge” that I’d learned in the magazine article as proof that those physicians ideas were the right ones. I remember thinking of myself as a free, progressive person due to practicing masturbation and watching erotic/pornographic movies, and as less narrow-minded than several of my peers, who once or twice loudly doubted the goodness of pornography.
Though with time the amount of “red flags” – warning signs – of my secret sexual behavior was increasing, I ignored them as much as I could with the help of those proponents and arguments, until they grew to a level that was impossible to ignore.
First huge acknowledgment
One of breaking points for my stubborn denial about my reality – the direction where those habits were drawing me – was a certain incident at the age of fourteen. I was alone in my room reading a short, ordinary romance story in a popular magazine. The story was about a girl who fell in love with a handsome boy. To my surprise, that story suddenly shifted to unexpected scenario, as the author started to share a scene of sexual abuse, in which the handsome man forced himself on the girl during one of their meetings. What happened with me next, when I became aware, where that story was heading to?
First, rejection and pain surfaced. I was scandalized by the man in the story, having tasted the pain and destruction that comes from sexual abuse myself. The direction that the story was heading resonated with me deeply. My first reaction to those surfaced feelings was instant: I immediately stopped reading and closed the magazine. I did not even want to read to the end of the abuse scene, it was too painful and unwanted. But, sadly, after few minutes I found my body being sexually aroused by that scenario and craving for more, in order to intensify the level of sexual pleasure. My sexual drive was urging me. It was pushing me to read the story to its end. I remember that my brain and will were suggesting that this story is terrible and cruel, but at the same time, I found myself desiring that well known taste of pleasure… I wanted it!
I was alone in my room, no one would hinder me from getting it. That was an unexpectedly perfect moment for satisfaction, and finally I chose not to resist. It ended how it ended… I’d read that story of abuse a few times even, accompanied my reading with masturbation, and gained the desired sexual satisfaction, and eased the intensive craving for sexual pleasure in me. I was done; sexually satisfied, but immediately had to face that obvious distortion of my soul.
In a few seconds, I became completely aware of it. My wicked deed was shouting to me louder than ever before. Why? Because, in general, at that age I was quite a gentle person. Any cruelty was unacceptable and hideous for me. I thought that I would die to stop any of it, if I was just able (at least so I believed about myself, until that moment). Not mentioning the fact, that I myself had experienced sexual abuse earlier, and knew the suffering and burden it brought to me… I really hated abuse, especially sexual. However, the new truth about me had also become more than obvious. The truth shouted reality to my face in a way I could not deny: I had become aroused by and used a scene of abuse to satisfy myself, I was happy for it. I had enjoyed the story, and exploited it to my pleasure.
After the short wave of delicious pleasure, I suddenly had to face that ugly fact about myself. In seconds, all the questions: “How could I go so far and so low?”, “How could I use other women’s pain and abuse story to satisfy myself?” ran through my head. They were exposing the true reality of what the actual fruits of addiction that were in me. For the first time, I personally faced the dark disintegration of my heart.
I really became aware that masturbation did not make me more mature and progressive, rather it was selfish, made me cruel, and distant. Those rightful questions in me were shaking the “safe world” of my addiction. Such replies as, “Nothing is wrong with masturbation,” were no comfort to the dull pain of my heart. The loud reality of my perverse sexual urges, which I had failed to resist a few minutes ago, convinced me more than those pro messages given by the physician. Instantly, I was convinced, from within of the depths of my heart, that something was not so “totally okay” with masturbation. I still was not very sure what exactly, but that was the moment when I became aware of something dark expanding in me through that habit, and the vanishing goodness of my heart for the sake of satisfaction.
My vain efforts to stop addictions by my own willpower
After that event, I seriously started to doubt the idea provided for me by science that, “masturbation has no side effects, and is worth practicing as much as one wants, just if in reasonable quantity and in privacy.” I started to purposely seek to rid myself of this ugly habit of mine by my own willpower. From time to time, I gained some free days from masturbation, and then, another erotic scene on film, or a convenient occasion, or an uncomfortable feelings during a day, and I would jump in again.
I would tell myself that I would never again watch or satisfy myself during abuse scenes, and then I should be totally okay. However, the action films that I was eagerly consuming at that age, were full of sexual abuse scenes and I was unfaithful to my promises. I started to experience those same fruits of which many addicts of porn and masturbation witness: the reality that, in time, you become accustomed to the stimulus of erotic scenes as your only sexual outlet. In time, you get used to those experiences, they become not-so-pleasurable, and you start to seek more intensive triggers and darker pornography joyfully offers uncountable variations for you.
Increasing disintegration in me and the inability to stop my undesired sexual habit just intensified my confusion, shame, and loneliness. It multiplied the need for more comfort and satisfaction; the circle of addiction was functioning perfectly. Its mechanisms had shut me down, even more from ability to speak about my ugly, dark secret with anyone.
In that season I was very insecure in my being and who I really was. In order to survive all of these feelings of low self esteem I was eagerly creating the “perfect me” and was extremely dependent on it. I was presenting to everyone around the image of good girl in order to be accepted and loved. Any imperfections in my sexual sphere threatened to ruin that diligently created “me.” This served as fuel to keep the topic of my addiction to masturbation and porn in my list of taboo themes to talk about with others. Obviously, I was stuck in deepening addiction and increasing loneliness and isolation.
So often at that season of life I was eagerly waiting for my parents to be on night shifts at work (and these occasions were not rare in their professional practice: my father – as an orthopedic surgeon, and to my mother – as an intensive care doctor). I knew that, then I would have undisturbed freedom to make a night of “pornographic movie feast” with my secret “friend and reliever” of all kinds of pain.
The breakthrough – provided by His mercy
On one of such nights, when I had a hard day before, felt lonely and unloved by anyone, however secretly comforting myself by the excitement that both my parents were on their night shifts, which meant that evening would be all mine and undisturbed by anyone, God approached me.
I was all day ardently waiting for that evening. When it finally came, I eagerly switched on the TV and started to watch an erotic program. I was feeling bad after a bad day so I planned not to miss a chance and to enjoy that evening to the fullness, as much as I would be able, to take as much pleasure as my body would allow.
In the beginning it seemed everything was happening according to my plan: as usual in those days reality, very quickly, while watching just the beginning of the erotic program, I got aroused and I relieved that tension by masturbation… but what happened next was new for me…
Suddenly in my heart I saw myself as if from outside… I started to feel my painful reality that despite the pleasure and full satisfaction I’d just experienced I still felt lonely and even lonelier than ever… It somehow became so clear for me then, that I was eased by the habit, which at the same time had become my prison, out of which I could not escape, which, in truth, abuses my soul… I started to feel the pain and hopelessness of those previous vain efforts of mine to stop it… things that just seemed to be so attractive and pleasurable a few seconds ago, now looked like poisons: dark and harming…
I started to cry; actually I was weeping as a child probably like never before… By so many previous failures to resist the habit of masturbation, I already was convinced that I was not good help for myself. I felt trapped in that prison and my loneliness was as if choking me. I knew I had no one to help me, because my shame was too huge for me to overcome it and reach for help from someone. So I was weeping in despair… but suddenly, in the midst of that my cry, by my spirit as if I started to feel that much greater than me or any other human being Person was next to my side. He was as if standing a little bit behind me in my room.
Through his holy presence suddenly as if a strong light and hope approached me, as if the air of the room became immersed by a very loving, completely pure presence of that divine person, who was silently standing just beside me.. I really heard no voice, however very clearly I felt as if God (whom I did not know then, and had no relation with, but that experience left no doubt to my heart it was Him) was telling to me – “this, what you are doing here, is really wrong, it is a sin, it’s bad, it will destroy you finally if you proceed; there is more for you, than that; I am not against you, I’m on your side.”
I’m not sure how long this experience lasted exactly, but for sure no longer then a second or two… Really it was short! And I was amazed how much it changed in me immediately: the pain was still there, the ugly truth about me was still there, the program with impure sexual encounters was still running, but no more loneliness was present in my heart and just a deep amazement of what had just had happened, about that transcendental purity I had just experienced, of which existence I had never before even imagined.
In those few seconds I experienced someone completely Other, and that One was such satisfying love. And that love bore profound authority, which I’d never tasted before. The purity of that divine Person and safety in His presence was something so healing and nourishing, so different and incomparably better than the pleasure and relief offered by masturbation or pornography. I had realized how hungry for more of that I was…
That Authority was of a different power in comparison to other authorities in my life which I knew. His presence alone instantly revealed all truth about my heart. That truth, though it condemned my behavior, did not condemn me or shame me. That truth was strictly convincing and yet filled with compassion, a clear urge for better; peace accompanied with love.
To be honest, after that “glimpse type” experience I had very strange feelings: for sure I felt confused, as it was something completely new for the reality of life I knew before that. I was wondering: “what was that?”, “does God really exist?”, “should I believe in what Authority I felt during such short time?”, “was it a real Person or was it just my imagination?”, “but science is telling that masturbation is ok”…all those questions and thoughts in a second ran through my head.. However I also saw that part of my heart did not care about all those questions at all as it was as if still drinking goodness of love and comfort it received and true alleviation of its grave loneliness through that experience.
For a while, most probably with empty glance, I was staring at the ongoing erotic video on TV trying to gather myself up.. then, for the first time in my addiction history, I became aware that erotic type video on TV was no more interesting to me and that it actually did disturb my heart not allowing fully to rest in that goodness, which was still so vividly memorized, still so healing. To my own surprise, with new willpower I unhesitatingly turned off the TV in the middle of the erotic program, and went straight to my room, laid down on my bed and soon peacefully fell asleep…
How many times before had I tried in vain to stop my addiction like that with my own will and failed. To turn the TV off before the end of the erotic program seemed impossible. And now surprisingly it happened! I could not ignore that immediate good fruit – the freedom to end in the middle of show – which that strange positive experience provided me with …
What’s more – I simply felt loved by God. It was a completely new experience for me, so comforting and giving deep rest… Like a Samaritan I was excited and happy because I had just met someone much better, more beautiful and powerful then me – Purity itself – who knew my ugly deeds, told them to me and yet, despite that, honored me and loved me.. That was something different from anything I knew..
The new beginning
The next morning I woke up feeling good, much better and much more loved and happier (that was also a surprise for me, as it was not my normal mood in the mornings). Though I had no clue what all that experience was about and what it would bring me later, yet I discovered having in my heart new little hope for sexual purity and freedom and huge relief, that maybe I’m not alone in that fight with addiction to masturbation and pornography. I realized that I’m feeling safe and good and really convinced to stop that “wrong” in my life… I found myself longing for same purity, which I had experienced last night, which was so good, so beautiful, so safe, so life-giving, and so obviously different from the “taste and smell” and perversion of pornography.
However that exact morning, new-old temptations to sexually satisfy myself were very quick to come. Just as I entered the bathroom for my morning routine they were as if already waiting for me with open arms and so inviting. The bathroom was the perfect place for my private habit. At that season of my life masturbation had already become a “normal” part of my daily bathroom routine and served as good candy almost every time I had some business to do in private places of such kind. So as I entered the bathroom that morning, my body reacted immediately and was urging me to act “as always” and give myself the daily dose of pleasure. Yet at the same time I felt that “yesterday’s experience” was encouraging me to try to fight temptations and not to act according to the urge and increasing sexual arousal of my body.
I felt a strange encouragement inviting me not to act “as always”. Though I had no deep understanding, why masturbation was wrong or, why it was a sin, I felt a strong conviction that masturbation was wickedness and leading me to destruction… But I did not know how I should resist and fight the temptation with God either. The only idea, which came then to me, was the Jesus prayer (”Our Father”), which I knew from my childhood. So I tried to whisper it while I started to wash myself up. That prayer was short and time I needed to spend in the bathroom was much longer, so I repeated it incessantly, with the intention to rely on His help through that prayer, until I was finished.
As I prayed, I was just going back with my memory to the last evening’s experience and as if immersing myself again into that love and purity of that Other I had experienced then. It was helpful. I felt like through that God was strengthening my will. I managed to come out of the bathroom victorious, not falling again into the old habit – that was second huge sign of hope for me! My second huge personal miracle after that mystical encounter.
A glimpse to further journey towards deeper freedom with God
So my journey to freedom started, what was important later in it I will come back later in my other posts, yet if to put it in short: as time passed, not always I prayed and was eager to pray in the times of temptations, after all it was completely a new practice for me. God was still so new and a distant reality, even as if just “mere possibility” than “a real person” for me, and masturbation, on the contrary, was almost as old as much I could remember myself and so real and pleasure offering. During the first years after that experience for sure I had falls again into both addictions, but after every fall I was more and more sure that it was bad choice, hunger for freedom increased with every victory…
Freedom and victories, when facing temptations, always left me with joy and peace type experiences, I became happier, while masturbation or watching pornography left me with dull sense, with loneliness, irrational shame, ache and experiencing as if “smell of destruction”, “the taste of choosing the less”. So with time more and more I became empowered, convinced and able to grab into life than death.
Now with the perspective of more than nineteen years of me being sober from masturbation and pornography, with a lot of healed wounds of my heart through the grace I had found at the foot of Jesus Cross in my sexuality and a lot of still healing I burn to encourage others! God is the best choice we can ever make in life! He indeed is worth trusting in. He remains faithful always. Always fighting for our freedom. He is so worth following – His mercy I will sing forever!
I pray for everyone’s heart, who has read this testimony about His mercy and deliverance in my life. I pray all be blessed, encouraged and strengthened for good choices in their own way towards wholeness!
With love and prayer for you.