I heard a Preacher once tack on to Mark 9: 43-47 this, “Better to enter into heaven without your manhood than to stroll down the road to Hell whistling Dixie with your Dick in Hand.” He began to preach on the horrors of masturbation, porn, premarital sex, and I think the Kama Sutra—all of these he considered to be “the woman Jezebel”, and “the Whore of Babylon”; I don’t really remember, I wasn’t paying as much attention.
My first pornographic experience was a dirty German magazine some friends and I had discovered in the public garbage (though, to be fair and true, my overall sexual experience began much earlier). I remember everyone wanting to see it, but no one wanting to admit what they did with it. Was there anyone else like that? You remember? I can look back and it was always the same. Everyone wanted to look at porn, no one wanted to admit that they did what it was used for. Here we go: Masturbate.
Bum BUM BUM BUMMMMM!
The unmentioned topic. The Voldemort of pubescence and—in some cases, pre-pubescence. Looking at porn was fine, thinking about masturbating to it…not so fine. In fact, it became just another topic of ridicule. “You masturbate!” became the insult of ultimate insults…up there with “you’re a fag!”
Anyway, after a long stint of digging through countless German public trash bins hoping to score some new reads, I eventually moved on to screen captures of films like “Wild Things” and finally came a-knockin’ at the door of pornographic films.
Robin Williams once said that “God gave men two heads, but only enough blood to run one of them at a time.”
Story of my life.
I started “making out” when I was in first grade—second time I was in first grade, actually. There was this girl across the street and we would hang out and kiss. And we thought sex was her on top of me with our clothes on and making out.
I grew very aware of arousal and pleasure very young. And it began to develop into masturbation; way before puberty even came along. And when that happened my desire for experiences did too.
And now we’re caught up to where I started.
When I was a freshman in high school, there was this one time a bunch of students went to an FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) conference and we all got to stay in hotel rooms. We had free access to a lot of things—and German television. Not to mention the porn channels. Now these, mind you, were pay by minute viewing. Not at all like how it is in the States. Here there’s a check and recheck system so that there’s no way you could watch porn if you didn’t want to.
I mean, if you had a porn charge come up on your bill staying at a hotel in the States, and you wanted to deny it, I’m sure the talk with the clerk would go a lot like this:
“40 dollars for porn.”
“What? Uh…I didn’t watch any porn. It just came up accidentally.”
“Really? You accidentally found the Porn section of the channels and accidentally clicked it?”
“Then when it said, ‘You are entering an Adult section, are you sure you want to continue?’ you accidentally clicked yes; then when it asked again, ‘are you sure?’ you accidentally clicked yes again?”
“Then when it asked you to enter your birth date to make sure you were of age, you accidentally did that?”
“Yeah, I must’ve sat on the remote or something and it did that.”
“Sir…just take the 40 dollar charge.”
Anyway, I digress. So sure enough, I wanted to see some porn, and it couldn’t wait until late night German television—which is basically porn. No no. Right then. And when we got to the end of the conference, and my teacher was paying the bills…guess what came up under room charges to my room? Yep.
I was humiliated. I was ashamed. And…I had a lot to deal with on that long drive home, and after.
A couple years prior, some really bad things happened to me in 7th grade. I don’t mean to seemingly jump off topic but I want to make it clear that I was struggling with a lot that whole middle school time. From being an outcast to really severe issues with intimacy. I felt worthless (I know, every middle schooler does), I felt disgusted with myself, and I kept looking for some escape.
I feel pleasure became distorted. It grew to be what I sought as a means to make up for the pain and disgust that was all me then. I felt that once that was attained, at least in that moment, I was safe and I was free.
And there wasn’t a real middle ground. I’m one of those people that doesn’t have a dimmer on my light switch—I’m either on or off, light or dark, energetic or shut down. So I fluctuated between pain and pleasure pain and pleasure.
Time moved on and so did technology. My voracious sexual appetite did not.
And porn became as easy to find as typing a letter. Just sit down in front of any ol’ computer with web access and click away. Back then though, it wasn’t so regulated, and pop ups where horrendous. And…when you’re using the family computer, there’s no hiding the sites you’ve been to except by deleting the history. Which I couldn’t do, because dad would know. I remember trying to cover it up by saying that I accidentally deleted the history instead of the cookies and thought I was in the clear. I mean, if there was no proof, than there was no way I could get in trouble.
Except Dad always had a way of finding out. I mean, I’m in no way as computer literate as I know a lot of people are. But he always knew the sites. If you’re out there and you can tell me how someone can figure that out without the history, please lemmie know…I want to be ready for my kids someday.
Well, so the usual routine would go as follows. I’d look at some porn, rub one out (as it’s been coined), “accidentally” delete the history, and think I’m in the clear. A couple days later, Dad would be in the computer room, and casually call me in from the living room. There on the computer was one of the sites I looked at. In the beginning—the first few times this would happen, he’d ask me if I visited this site. How do you deny that when it’s right there? “Uh, no Dad…did you and Mom? What type of freaky craziness are you two into?” Nope. I just had to stand there as we both knew the truth, and Dad in silence pulled up site after site I visited. He would then simply tell me “You are not allowed on this computer for *x* amount of time. There are now certain viruses I have to spend time cleaning up.” And he’d then show me all the viruses that the virus checker picked up thanks to me.
So there I’d be. Time and time again, invited into that room with my Father only to come face to face with something I felt disgusted with myself for doing.
Then came the ladies. Then I got in to actually taking something I felt badly about, and putting that on another person. All in the hopes that somehow, I’d find a way for the pleasure to finally cover the pain. I would finally find the intimacy I desired, the passion. But it’d be fleeting. And I’d be left feeling worse off than I did before. And so would seek again. Maybe, just maybe, that one was out there that could not only satisfy me, but create a sense of passion and intimacy that wouldn’t fade. All the while the primal desire to just have sex was there, so too was the porn. And again, then I’d go back to feeling more disgusted with myself than I did before.
Now it isn’t my intention to condone all the faults and “sins” I committed while “under the influence” of Jezebel, the whore of Babylon. Nor do I want to make light of an issue that for many, is an addiction, an uphill battle, a thorn in their side, and a part of them they wish to be done with once and for all. But I do feel that if we can’t talk about it, or stare it in the face, how will we ever be comfortable with being who we are? Every aspect of who we are. Further, how can we see what love, God, truth, may see in us if we cannot bring everything we are to the light of day?
I began to feel more and more like Aldonza. And the closer I got with someone that eventually let me down, the worse that Aldonza feeling became. I was raping myself. What else could it be?
There’s a song in the musical, “Man of La Mancha” where Sophia Loren’s character is at her worst. She sings a song titled Aldonza about her disgust with herself. One of the lines in the song summed up just how I’d feel time and again. Don Quixote tells her “never deny that you are my lady Dulcinea.” To which she responds screaming, “take the cloth from your eyes and see me as I really am!”
I still can’t watch the musical and not cry at that song. I connect with it so much. I am Aldonza the WHORE. And I scream out to God “of all the cruel bastards who badger then batter me, YOU ARE THE CRUELEST OF ALL!”
But maybe true love doesn’t fail. Maybe I am also still Dulcinea. Maybe in fact, I being Aldonza the whore is exactly why I am also Dulcinea. Maybe the sheer lunacy of true Love is what gets me to see that.
Maybe dad wasn’t so much concerned about the porn as he was the computer viruses.
Or the computer viruses that infected me. Maybe the infection is that hurt, is that shame, and I was never meant to have those things. Maybe he cast me out not out of shame, but out of cleansing.
Maybe love will catch me up and show me all the things that it’s been telling me. And maybe that love not only looks a whole lot different than what we may expect, it hurts like hell because it causes us to see ourselves and feel shame and disgust. Then causes us to see ourselves as Love sees us, and through the pain, through the disgust, through the shame, see that it doesn’t matter how we see us; that the eyes of love see it all and yet still love.
“NOW AND FOREVER, YOU ARE MY LADY DULCINEA!”