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The Porn Path
Real Marriage

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Porn hurts God. Porn hurts men, women, and children. Porn hurts marriages. There is no such thing as free porn. Crissy (iamatreasure.com), a former pastor’s daughter who grew up to be a porn star and has since returned to a vibrant relationship with Jesus, shares her story and realities of the porn industry. Those of you on the porn path: Jesus died so you can kill your sin before it kills you.

Recommended Resources:

Treasures – A unique, faith-based outreach and support group for women in the sex industry.

Books:

Porn-Again Christian

Redemption

Rid of My Disgrace


Crissy: I grew up in Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, but when I was four years old, it was the first time I was molested by a man that lived down the street. He had three little boys, and we went swimming in the pool, and he molested me. My mom and dad were together until I was about thirteen or fourteen. My dad was a preacher. He then became an alcoholic and abused my mom. And then they eventually split up.

Porn Practically

The US Supreme Court can’t even define pornography. They’ve struggled with it for a long time. For purposes of our discussion, here’s what we mean. We mean movies that are explicit, photos that are explicit, websites that are explicit. In addition to the hardcore forms, we also are talking about the softcore forms, some of the men’s magazines that basically show as much as pornography did just a few generations ago. And the same is true for the women’s magazines, some of them sitting in the grocery store line showing things that a few generations prior would have been tucked away under a shelf not for public viewing, because it would’ve qualified for pornography, not to mention the headlines that are shouting even at children. I would go so far as to include romance novels, which encourage women to have pornographic fantasies in their mind of someone other than their husband, and the same goes for men who also are into such sinful fantasizing.

And, yes, it does count. Sometimes pornography is in an image. Sometimes it’s in your imagination. I was recently on a television show with Dr. Drew, my wife, Grace, and I were, and we got ridiculed for that. They thought it was completely unnecessary to say that even fantasizing of someone other than your spouse could constitute anything wrong or unhealthy or abnormal; but it is a pornographic thought life that is equally guilty, because God not only sees what you see, but he also sees what you think. And so many of us have been so desensitized to this, because it is now “normal.” That is porn practically.

Porn Culturally

Porn culturally is a fairly recent phenomenon in its current form. To be sure, in previous generations and cultures, you had images drawn and things of that nature, but everything changed in 1953 with the debut of the first pornographic magazine issue of Playboy with the now-legendary Marilyn Monroe on the cover. And with the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 70s, pornography became much more popular. It became much more graphic, with Hustler and Penthouse pushing the envelope and then others trying to outdo them, so that now there is a real competition to see who can have the most extreme and newest edge of depravity when it comes to pornography.

And what’s happened now is pornography is now mainstream, culturally speaking. You have mainstream pop celebrities making their own sex tapes and distributing their own pornography, and you have those who, as well, have developed their identity and made their living in the porn industry crossing over into the mainstream, doing television shows, mainstream movies, appearing in reality television shows and the like.

And so the line between pornographic culture and pop culture is blurred, if not altogether eliminated, and it’s such an industry today that between $10 and $14 billion a year is spent on pornography. That is more than the combined revenue of pro baseball, basketball, and football teams combined. That’s more money than was spent on foreign aid by the United States of America last year. Additionally, globally, it’s a phenomenon often tied to the sex trade and slavery. Upwards of $90 billion a year is spent globally on porn.

Some of you will say, “Well, I don’t contribute money to it.” But you do, because the advertisers are the ones who pay a fee, and every time you click, you are legitimizing their existence, and you’re participating in a culture of slavery and abuse. And there is no such thing as free porn. The people participating pay and the advertisers pay so that you can enjoy their suffering, shame, and humiliation.

There Is No Such Thing as Free Porn

So, you were sexually abused as a little girl. For women that are in the industry, is that common?

Crissy: Yeah, it’s very common.

As far as the gals you know, friends you have, what percentage would you say have a similar experience?

Crissy: I would say probably all of them. It’s a very common thing.

And so older men abuse young girls, and then those women grow up to then be abused in a different way.

Crissy: Yeah, it’s kind of like, I guess, when it happened, I disassociated, and that’s kind of like the same thing I did when I was in the business, because you learn how to do that. You learn how to numb yourself, and then you just disassociate, and it’s kind of like you’re not really there.

I’m sorry about that, and I appreciate you being brave and sharing that, and I think, as a father, to have that insight is devastating and illuminating to think a little girl was harmed, and then that set in motion where she can disassociate, sort of check out, emotionally distance herself, which then sort of grooms and prepares her for the industry and her future. You know, it’s a daddy’s delight, not just his duty, to love and protect his daughters and to keep them from a certain fate. And so as a little girl, was the dream, kind of, get married, and be a mom, and—

Crissy: When I was a little girl, yeah, I played with—never mind. I played with baby dolls ‘til I was, like, fourteen. I wanted to be a mom. It’s kind of embarrassing, but—and I always thought, I always thought that one day I would adopt a baby. And I don’t know. Now I don’t know what God’s plan is for me, but back then that was—I mean, for many years, that was, like, the main thing I would focus on, like, how am I going—who am I going to marry? I want to have kids as soon as possible, so I can be a young mom, like my mom was, and it just didn’t happen that way for me.

When I was seventeen years old, seventeen years old and was in high school, I got pregnant by a boyfriend that I had at the time, and he told me if I got pregnant, that we would have the baby and live together. And this was one of the most traumatic things. Still, I haven’t even really received healing from it, but I ended up—my mom wanted me to have an abortion, and I didn’t want to do that. I went to the clinic, and they got to the part where they—what is it called when they put the gel?

An ultrasound?

Crissy: Yeah, the ultrasound. And they say, “Do you want to see your baby’s heartbeat?” And I said, “Yes.” And I looked, and I saw it, and I panicked, and I left, and I told the boyfriend I wasn’t going to do it. I went home, and my mom was there, and she said, “Well, how did it go?” She was talking to my boyfriend. I went straight to the bathroom, crying. And he goes, “She didn’t do it.” And then she took—my mom took me back the next day and made sure that I did do it. I drew a picture of me holding my baby, and I named it.

Was that the only abortion you’ve had?

Crissy: No, no. That’s the only one I remember, because when I went to the clinic, there’s certain—I can’t even remember what it is, but you pay extra money so that it doesn’t hurt as bad. I know that’s part of it. And my mom was paying for it. My boyfriend said he was going to. He decided not to. My mom was paying it. And out of, like, a sense of, like, I don’t know, obligation, I felt like I shouldn’t have, like, the pain—I should—I don’t know—not cost more money, because it was an inconvenience.

So, sort of punish yourself too a little bit with some pain and suffering?

Crissy: Yeah. And just, like, it broke my heart. I had nightmares for a really long time, and, you know, I’d just stay in my room and write poetry to my baby.

Porn Chemically

What’s interesting is the Bible, for thousands of years, has said that lust—and that is the entire purpose in porn and pornography—is sinful, and it’s unholy, and it’s unhelpful. And now modern medicine and science is starting to catch up with the truthful teaching of the Bible. And so biopsychologists and others are studying the effects of pornography on your brain and on your body, and that’s because pornography really was, in its current form, it was a massive social experiment. People were uncertain what the results would be, but your generation, your parents’ generation, they were essentially the lab rats for the massive experiment. And what we’re finding now is that pornography alters the chemistry of the brain. It changes you, as a person.

One of the leading researchers from the Christian side is William Struthers. He’s a Christian biopsychologist. He wrote a very interesting book called Wired for Intimacy, and he not only looked at what the Bible says, but also what medicine and recent biochemical studies have found, and here were his findings. He said, “As we fall deeper into the mental habit of fixating on these images, the exposure to them creates neural pathways. Like a path that’s created in the woods with each successive hiker, so do the neural paths set the course for the next time an erotic image is viewed. Over time, these neural paths become wider, as they are repeatedly traveled with each exposure to pornography.”

So, here’s what he’s saying. You desire pleasure and the relief that comes ultimately from activities surrounding pornography, and so you venture down that path, so that you might receive that pleasure. Over time, this is how you become addicted, because your body becomes habituated, conditioned to going down that path for that pleasure. It’s a neural pathway.

Think of it this way. Think of a pristine wilderness where no one has been, except for one path that was frequently hiked upon, and everyone ventured along that path. Eventually, it would be a well-worn rut. So it is in the biopsychology of our brains. If we pursue pleasure down a particular path, over time, a neural pathway—to say it another way, a rut—is created, and our body becomes habituated, conditioned to seeking that pleasure down that pathway.

Now, additional biopsychological studies have said that the pleasure that is derived is affecting the same part of the brain and having a very similar response as that of heroin or cocaine. And so if you’ve ever known anyone who tried to get off of cocaine or heroin, someone who is deeply addicted to pornography has the same kind of potential struggle. Because just like the person who is addicted to cocaine or heroin has created for themselves a neural pathway, they’ve conditioned their body and reshaped their brain to go down a path for a pleasure, and now it’s a well-worn rut, so it is with pornography. That’s why you hear people say that they’re addicted to porn in the way that some are addicted to cocaine or addicted to heroin. It’s that same kind of chemical, biochemical high.

And so people come along, and they say, “Well, you know, two consenting adults. They’re having fun. Where’s the harm?” You’re literally conditioning your body and re-hardwiring your brain to become addicted to images that you will ultimately prefer over people, such as your spouse, which is the whole point of sex, according to the Bible, in the context of marriage.

The person who illustrates this, I think, most disturbingly is a man named John Mayer. He is a musician. Many of you are probably familiar with him. He’s had a lot of famous celebrity girlfriends. He travels the world. He did an interview with Playboy, and in that interview, John Mayer essentially said, “I now am so addicted to pornography that I prefer pornography to a relationship with a woman.” He goes on to say in his interview, quote, “Internet pornography has absolutely changed my generation’s expectations.” What happens when you travel down that pathway for that pleasure is, eventually, like all addicts, you have a hard time living in the real world. You have a hard time dealing with real people. Things become obsessive, out of control, and it’s because you have conditioned your body and reconditioned your mind in a very deadly, destructive, and dark way.

Some of you are hearing this, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It feels like gravity pulls you toward that activity, and you may feel guilty, but powerless to stop. It’s because of what they call a biochemical love potion is released. There are endorphins and euphoric highs, that are quite similar to being on drugs, that are released with the pleasure that comes from the ultimate result of the activities that surround pornography.

God created sex and the passions and pleasures associated with it for marriage. Because the way God has wired the body and hardwired the brain is that whatever path we go down for the pleasure we receive, we become literally bonded to it, connected to that person or thing. Now, can you see where this would be a magnificent gift for marriage? If you remain pure, and you’re with your spouse, and you love them emotionally, you’re committed to them covenantally, you agree with them theologically, you invest in them verbally, and you enjoy them physically, you are habituating yourself, you are conditioning yourself to be bonded to them, to be into them, to be connected to them, to desire them, to be satisfied with them, to long for them. And in marriage, that’s wonderful.

The qualifications of an elder include being a one-woman man. It says in the English translations, “the husband of one wife,” but in the Greek it literally means “a one-woman man,” that he’s into one woman, and his desires are her, his longings are her, his joy is with her. And so the way God has made us, if we obey him, we build this very deep, significant, emotional, mental, spiritual, biochemical connection with our spouse; but if we sin, we then bond ourselves with, connect ourselves to someone or something else. This is where pornography becomes addictive. This is where people become consumed with fetishes.

So God created the body, and he created the passions and pleasures of the body for marriage. God was very gracious and very wise to give us such a great gift, so that we might be one. That’s what the Bible says. And when we sin, we do great destruction to our own body, to the hardwiring of our own brain, and to our ability to really enjoy our spouse, and to be faithfully devoted to them.

“It Broke My Heart”

Crissy: Well, I was engaged when I was twenty-one. I dated this person for two years. So—and I had a book and everything. I bought my own wedding dress. I was, like, ready to go. He also was a viewer of porn. I ended up leaving that relationship. And I told him, I said, “One day, I’m going to be that girl that you look at all the time.” Because it really, it broke my heart. Actually, I would throw the stuff in the dumpster, and it would end up back in our apartment. He was totally addicted to it. And it didn’t matter what I said. That was his property. I always just thought there was something better. I always had this hope inside that there was something better and that I would find the right guy, and I didn’t really have high expectations, just, “Don’t cheat on me, don’t look at porn, and stay.” That was it.

Porn Theologically

Your Standard of Beauty Is Your Spouse

Porn theologically. Porn makes someone other than your spouse your standard of beauty. In the Real Marriage book, Grace and I address this. When God created our first parents, Adam and Eve, he didn’t give them a type. He gave them a spouse. So, there was one man, one woman. Adam’s standard of beauty was Eve. Eve’s standard of beauty was Adam. That’s it. Our standard of beauty is supposed to be our spouse. Your spouse is tall, tall. Your spouse is short, short. When your spouse is twenty-five, twenty-five. When your spouse is eighty-five, eighty-five. If your spouse is skinny, skinny. If your spouse is no longer skinny, no longer skinny. Your standard of beauty is your spouse. And pornography exists to present a menu of options, none of which is your spouse.

“I was never the pretty girl”

How did you get into the industry?

Crissy: I found a modeling website, and the girls and the guys on the website that were models didn’t look like models. So, then, I looked under their picture, and it was saying, you know, “So-and-so was so great to work with. She’s so enthusiastic—” and all this stuff. And I’m like, “Well, I wonder if I could model.” Because I always had, like, self-esteem issues. I was never the pretty girl. So, I put my pictures up. And then all of a sudden, all these emails started coming through, asking me to come shoot. The only thing was they all wanted, you know, me to do more than what I was wanting to do. So, I did work a regular job during this whole time, like, for five years. But one day, I had a breakup, and I hit rock bottom, and I contacted one of the photographers who offered to shoot me, to do a trade shoot. That means he gets the pictures. He can do whatever he wants with them, and I can do whatever I want with them. So, I would use them to update my portfolio. So, his pictures were beautiful, so I said, “Okay, I’ll do a shoot with you.” So, that’s how it started. And then the next thing you know, I’m in a hotel room with this man that I’ve never met before—

You don’t have to go into all the details, but when that was over, how did you feel? What did you do?

Crissy: I sunk into a depression, and I would just, like, wonder why was I doing this? But then the emails kept coming, and they were, like, “You’re so beautiful.” Like, and these are things I’ve never heard before. So, I just kept doing shoots, and it just started from there, and the next thing you know, I’m in Los Angeles doing a photo shoot and traveling from Jacksonville to Los Angeles. And then I met a manager, and then he managed my “career.” So—

Grace: Were there ever drugs or alcohol involved?

Crissy: Well, for me—I have seen it on sets. I never needed it, because I disassociated. I learned that when I was a little girl. So, you just kind of—you feel like you’re floating. You feel like you’re not really there, and that’s how I felt. So, I could totally just blur everything out and do it.

Porn Is Coveting

Porn is coveting. That’s one of the Ten Commandments. Exodus 20:17, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.” You’re not supposed to look at someone else and think, “I wonder what it’d be like to be with them.” If you’re not married to them, you have no right to lust after them, to fantasize after them, and that includes pornography, because that’s all pornography exists for, to get you to covet, to want someone or something that you do not have.

An Industry of Slavery and Death

Crissy: I have lots of friends who are still in the business. There’s one girl, she’s like really big in the business. And I walk up to her, and she’s like, “Don’t make me cry.” Because all of—I mean, well, I can’t say it’s the same—it’s not the same story for everybody. We all have different stories, but most of it comes from brokenness, and I can say that for a fact.

In pornography, there is payment made. Some of you actually are giving money to this industry of slavery and death. Some of you are contributing by visiting websites that will advertise free pornography, but at the end of the day, they’re sponsored by advertisers, and so there’s payment, nonetheless. And I don’t say that in any way to denigrate men, women in the industry, whom Jesus loves and wants to deliver, and I’m not trying to in any way disrespect them. But I’m saying for those of you who are consumers and purveyors of porn, you’re participating in an industry of abuse and assault.

Some of what’s made is because of sex trafficking; some of the women who are even in the industry in the US are often held against their will, threatened, beaten, traumatized, because it’s always about the money. And even if you’re not giving your credit card number, by clicking on the site, you are encouraging an advertiser to pay money, so that someone might be assaulted and abused, and you’re complicit in that.

Porn Is Idolatry

Porn is idolatry. First Corinthians 10:7–8 says, “Do not be idolaters as some of them were.” And looking back here, he’s speaking of an occasion in the history of Israel. “As it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.’” They ate too much, they drank too much, and they decided that now it would become a very wild night. “We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.”

Paul is saying to the church in Corinth, which was an urban church with young people and a very sexualized culture, that even had a temple filled with prostitutes in town as part of illicit worship. I wonder if Paul would look at strip clubs today and say, “Those are temples to pagan gods.” It was like that.

And he says they were guilty of idolatry. And some of you say, “Idolatry? I don’t even understand what he’s talking about.” The Ten Commandments begin with these two commandments. First of all, there’s one God; and, secondly, you’re to worship that God alone, and worship of anyone or anything other than the God of the Bible is idolatry.

And here’s the truth: we’re all worshipers. We are passionately giving ourselves away to someone, to something, to a cause, to a person, to an experience, to a pleasure, to a pursuit, to a passion. We give ourselves away. We give our money, our time, our energy. It’s what we talk about. It’s how our identity is formed. It’s what we commit ourselves to. We’re all worshipers, Christians, atheists, those who are members of other religions, all are worshipers. The only question is who or what are you worshiping?

In Romans 1, Paul makes this very interesting distinction. He says—well, the whole argument, from Romans 1:18 through the remainder of the chapter, is all about idolatry in regards to sexuality. But he says therein that “they exchanged the truth of God for the lie and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator God, who’s forever praised! Amen.” And he really subdivides all of human history into two categories: those who worship the Creator and enjoy and steward creation, and those who worship the creation as god.

And some of you say, “Well, how do they do that?” Paul goes on to say, through all kinds of sexual sin. He talks about heterosexual sexual sin, homosexual sexual sin. He even includes lesbianism, the only expressed place in the New Testament that addresses that issue. And what he’s saying is if you worship the creation instead of the Creator, you will find yourself being sexually consumed with sinful passions, because there’s nothing more beautiful that God made than the human body. There’s nothing more pleasurable that God has given us than the human body. And if you worship created things, you will find yourself becoming perverted.

And make no mistake: Every time you see an image, lust in your heart, go surfing on the Internet, you’re worshiping. You’re not worshiping the Creator; you’re worshiping the created, and it’s idolatry. And the issue goes deeper than just sexual orientation or preference. It goes down to the root issue of idolatry. You can’t simultaneously worship Jesus Christ, the Creator God, and be into porn. You can’t. You can’t worship the Creator, while worshiping the created. It’s one or the other. So, for some of you, your problem is not just behavioral. It’s not that you just need to change the way you act. You need to alter the God you worship.

That’s Not Reality

When we had spoken on the phone a while back, you talked about one boyfriend who was particularly dangerous, and he was in the industry, as well. And some of the relationships, then, it seems like they got even more potentially deadly.

Crissy: We dated for three and a half years. So, yeah, so he was the one I worked with. He was very abusive. He told me every day he was going to put me six feet in the ground. He was going to kill me. He raped me all the time. He was addicted to pornography. He watched it all the time. He watched it at night. I would wake up, and he would be down the hallway looking at it. I would open the door and, like, scream at him, and it didn’t, you know, I didn’t, I still didn’t like it, even though I was in it.

How many years were you with him or how long?

Crissy: Three and a half years.

And in an average week, as things got worse, how often do you think you were raped?

Crissy: He was always—it was always like that.

Every week or every day?

Crissy: I would say, “I don’t want to, I don’t want to, I don’t want to.” He was, like, “Come on, come on.” And then I would just give up. And then, you know, and then I would cry afterwards. And the thing was, he knew I wasn’t on birth control pills, and I would tell him, in the midst of it, but he kept getting me pregnant. And so I had multiple abortions, and I don’t even know how many.

As a dad, this is really hard to hear. So, I’m real sorry, but I appreciate your honesty and your bravery, because I think sometimes people think, “Oh, she’s beautiful. She’s in a mansion. She’s smiling.” That’s not reality.

Porn Emotionally

Porn emotionally. We’ve talked about the definitions, and the statistics, and the biochemistry, and the theology.

Porn Hurts God

Porn emotionally. First, porn breaks the heart of God. It breaks the heart of God. The Bible says that God is a Father. I’m a father. I’ve got a fourteen-year-old daughter and an eight-year-old daughter. And if they were treated the way women are treated in the industry, I would not just have a clinical response. I would have a deeply emotional response. I would be destroyed. I would be devastated.

God is a Father who made us in his image and likeness. He created us with dignity, value, worth, and purpose. When we act like animals, and we treat one another shamefully, it doesn’t just break the laws of God; it breaks the heart of God. And, see, that’s what sin is. Sin is the breaking of the laws of God—that’s what 1 John says—but it’s also breaking the heart of God. That’s what Genesis says. It says in one particular season where human sin on the earth was so intense, it says that God was grieved in his heart that he made man.

Porn Hurts Marriages

Porn hurts marriages. The Bible says that God made the man. God made the woman. God brought them together so that they could be one flesh, one, and they were naked, without shame. That’s God’s intent for marriage. Pornography is not oneness between a husband and wife, because it’s including others. And it’s not nakedness without shame. In fact, it is using shame to make something God created beautiful, dark and despicable. And sometimes the pleasure that is associated with it from sin is particularly intense, because there’s an adrenaline rush from disobedience, and defiance, and sin. It harms marriage.

Some of you who are married have excuses like, “Well, our intimacy is not great, and so I do that on the side, but it keeps me from committing adultery.” Jesus says you’re already committing adultery in your heart. Some of you say, “Well, we don’t know what to do, so we watch it, and then we imitate it.” That’s adultery of the heart. That’s lust. That’s sexual immorality. The excuses that people give are unbelievable.

Some of you may wonder, “Why is it, in our marriage, we’re not close, or I don’t feel like I know you?” This may be your spouse’s secret. They may have a secret life—probably through technology, maybe even involving other people—that you don’t even know about.

There’s nothing good that pornography can do for a marriage, nothing. It’s amazing, as Grace and I have done media interviews recently, we’ve had multiple non-Christian media outlets just flat out ask, “Are you saying porn doesn’t help a marriage? There’s nothing good that can come from porn for a marriage?” That’s exactly what we’re saying.

And deep in your heart, particularly if you are a Christian, you know this. All right, if some guy wanted to marry my daughter, and I asked him, “What’s your plan?” and his plan was, “I’m going to look at a lot of porn, so I could be close to your daughter,” the obvious answer is, “You can’t come near my daughter.” See, sometimes, when we’re sinners, when we think of what we want, we find a way to rationalize, justify, and excuse our behavior. Start thinking it from the perspective of someone you know, someone you love—brother, sister, friend, son, daughter—and ask, “Is that what I would want for them? Is that how I would counsel them? No.” Then take that counsel for yourself.

Porn Hurts the Viewer

Porn hurts the viewer or the viewers. It’s just like cocaine or heroin. The whole point is to get you addicted, so that you can give your money to someone else. That’s it. It’s all about the money. It’s always about the money. It’s only about the money. The entire industry exists to make you an addict and to take as much money from you as possible, to get you to buy things, to get you to click on websites, to get advertisers to write large checks. Don’t be fooled.

Porn Hurts Women

Porn hurts women. The guy who watches porn and then pressures his girlfriend or wife to do things that he’s seen, that harms the woman. I mean, in the industry, women’s bodies are pushed beyond the limits of what they can even handle physically. Women are harmed. If you think, “I want to do that to my woman,” you want to harm her? You want to abuse her? You want to break her?

And sometimes women who are enabling, they’ll watch. They become addicted. Sometimes they become as aggressive as the men. The result is now we live in a rape culture. I mean, one in four women is sexually assaulted, raped at some point in their life. For those who are of younger generations, the statistics may even be higher, maybe even one out of three in a church like the one I pastor. The same is true for one in six men, as well, sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime. And it’s getting younger. There was even a news story that was out this week that says children are now raping children.

It hurts the women in the industry. It hurts others outside of the industry, who mimic the behavior of those who are being harmed in the industry. See, make no mistake. When they say, “Oh, it’s two consenting adults, and, you know, the gal’s happy. Look, she’s smiling, and she wants to do it. And who are we to judge?” No. Oftentimes, those women were molested as children or sexually assaulted by a boyfriend. They oftentimes self-medicate with drugs or alcohol before they go in for a filming. Oftentimes, they’re suicidal. They try and take their own life. They go into deep, dark seasons of depression. They have blackouts where sometimes they can’t remember whole days of their life, as they’re psychologically trying to endure the trauma. It hurts people.

“Do You Believe in Jesus?”

Crissy: And I just fell on the floor and just cried, because the porn industry had been a part of every relationship that I was in, and there were numerous men that I’ve lived with. And, also, I was in it, and I was, like, so confused. Like, what am I going to do? This is, like—

This is all you know.

Crissy: This is all that I know, yeah. So, I fell to the ground, and I said, “God, if you’re real, I need you to tell me. I need a sign. I need you to let me know, because everything I know about love is not right. And I need to feel you in my life, because I haven’t felt you there since I was eleven years old.” And I was just— I stayed on the floor. I don’t even know how long.

The next day, my boyfriend calls. He’s like, “Do you want to come out here?” He was in Albuquerque. So, I went out there, and the next day he asked me if I wanted to go on the set and just hang out. And I was like, “Yeah, that would be cool.” So, I went, and we were—I was sitting in a group of people in chairs. There were, like, seven guys around me, no girls.

And one of the guys, the director’s son, got something on his cell phone, and he started showing it to everybody. And my boyfriend saw it. I said, “What was that?” He goes, “Oh, it’s so-and-so’s wife. She’s topless.” And I was, like—I got so angry, and I said, “Well, I would hope that my husband would never show pictures of me like that.” And I knew that he had—he emailed pictures of me around to all his friends all the time, but there was just something in me that knew that there was something better. And I said, “I hope that my husband would not show pictures like that to anybody.”

And then the guy sitting to my right goes, “I wouldn’t show that to anyone. That would be only for me.” And I was, like, “What?” I was in shock. I’d never heard a guy say something that respectful. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. And, anyway, they went to do the—he was doing his acting thing.

And I was sitting there with this guy. His name is Chris. And Chris says, “So, tell me what you do for a living.” And I said, “I do modeling.” He’s like, “What kind of modeling?” I’m like, you know, “Bikini stuff, calendars, Bud Light.” And so he kept asking me and asking me. And finally I said, “Okay, I’m in the business. I’m in the porn business.” And then he’s like, “I already knew that.” And then I said, “How did you know?” And he goes, “Your boyfriend already told everybody before you ever got here, and he showed your pictures.”

And I was just like—I put my head down. I felt so ashamed and embarrassed and like—because I’m sitting here speaking out against something, and he’s showing it to everybody. I put my head down, and Chris goes, “Let me ask you something. Do you believe in Jesus?” I was, like, “That’s the sign.” I was, like, “Yes, I do!”

And then, immediately, he asked my boyfriend if he could take me outside to pray. And my boyfriend was, like, “What?” And he couldn’t say no, because he would look like a jerk. So, we went outside, and we prayed, and I cried, and I confessed, and I turned away.

Later that night, when my boyfriend was there, he was, like, he goes, “What were you praying about?” I’m like, “Oh, I just accepted the Lord back into my heart and rededicated my life.” He goes, “Oh, okay.” And I’m like, “You know what that means, right? Like, we can’t live together.” And he was like, “Well, what are you going to do? How are you going to make money?” I said, “I don’t know. I have no idea.” He goes, “You don’t have anything planned?” I’m like, “No, I don’t.” I said, “But I know, from even just my childhood faith, that this was something that God was going to—he was going to provide for me.”

Porn Hurts Daughters

Porn hurts daughters. If you’re a guy looking at porn, and you’ve already got a daughter, there’s a crisis. If you’re a single man who hopes to have a daughter, there will be a crisis. Because what’s happened now with pornography—the laws were changed a few years ago. Child pornography is still illegal, but available and popular because of the Internet. And so those who are into pornography oftentimes will end up getting so far down the road that they’re interested in child pornography. And if it’s not child pornography, it’ll be, quote/unquote, “barely legal porn.”

A court case not long ago said that it’s still illegal to have a child in pornography, but not an adult who looks like a child and is presented as a child. So, you take women who are barely legal—pigtails, lollipops, school girl outfit, dress her up like a little girl—and then put her in a porno.

Now, if you’re a guy who’s into that, what do you think happens when your daughter hits her teen years? All of a sudden, she looks like what you’re addicted to. Do you think that affects your emotional connection with her? Do you think you’ll feel uncomfortable sitting next to her on the couch, because you’re lusting after your own daughter? Do you think that’ll affect your affection for her? Do you think you’ll give her a hug appropriately, give her a kiss on the head, tell her you love her, take her out on a daddy date, encourage her, love her, enjoy her, invest in her? No, you can’t.

This first hit me when I was working longshore. I grew up in a rough neighborhood behind strip clubs, where Ted Bundy and the Green River Killer picked up many of their prostitutes and victims. Some of the strip clubs and hourly-rate massage parlors had women that I knew, and had gone to school with, as employees. Pornography at that time wasn’t on the Internet, but it was available in magazines, and movies, and the like.

And I was working a job as a longshoreman. I lied about my age, falsified my birth certificate as a teenager, so I could make some money while in high school. I was working down off the docks in Seattle, and this was a workplace that was completely unfit for anyone, but especially a woman. The break room had porn everywhere. The guys would just come and eat lunch and look at porn. Porn in the bathroom, I mean, just saturated the whole environment.

And I was sitting in a can, it’s a shipping container, with an older guy. And I think it was on a Friday, and we’re unloading whatever the cargo was. And I’ll never forget the conversation, because I was, I don’t know, maybe sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, something like that. And I said, “Well, what are you doing this weekend?” He said, “Oh, man, it’s Friday. I’m so excited to get out of here. Friday is the best day of the week. I love Friday.” “Why is that?” He said something to the effect of, “Man, I’ve got this teenage daughter. She’s really hot, and she has some really hot friends. And on Friday night, they all come over for slumber parties. And I just sit in my chair, and I drink beer, and I watch them run around in their pajamas and have pillow fights, and it’s like having free porn at my house.”

Don’t be that guy. And if that’s what you’re into, you’re that guy, or you will be that guy, but don’t be that guy. I’ve talked to so many women who ended up with the wrong guy, got battered, got assaulted, got abused. “What happened to your dad?” “Well, we were close, but then as soon as I hit my teen years, and I started to go from little girl to young woman, he stopped talking to me. He wouldn’t hug me anymore. He just avoided me.” Ah, he was that guy. And then a boy came in and tried to fill the gap of longing and need, and tried to be the man in your life, and that man happened to be your abuser, because your father wasn’t your protector.

For you single guys, I’ll tell you, everything looks different once you have a daughter. Everything looks different once you have a daughter, and daughters are a gift that God gives a man to change him in every way at the deepest level.

“Nobody Feels Sorry for the Porn Star”

Crissy: I ended up leaving the boyfriend, and I flew to Virginia, where my friend, Chris, is from, to stay with his family.

Were they a Christian family and supportive?

Crissy: Yes, they are Christians, and they were so amazing, and they just really helped me a lot, like, just to get away from everything and focus on God. And then I had a therapist—two therapists I met with while I was there, too. And when I came back, I was, like, “Uh-oh, now what?”

What condition were you in emotionally and psychologically at that point?

Crissy: I was sharing my story on MySpace when I first left, and, actually, before I even, I mean, right when I left, I posted something on MySpace. I just started it because my friend, Chris, said I should do it. And I posted that I left the business. And then, all of a sudden, my webmasters found out, and they were so mad. They were like, “Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked them to take my stuff down, and they said no, that I was in a contract. And then I’ve talked to multiple lawyers, and nobody, I mean, nobody feels sorry for the porn star. You know, we kind of made our own choices and decisions.

You’ve really tried to get that stuff down.

Crissy: Yeah, I have. I’ve talked to several lawyers, and I don’t know, they just don’t, they want me to—I can’t pay money. I mean, like, I can’t afford to do it. So, it’s kind of like if you—if you’re planning on doing porn, I mean, I highly wouldn’t recommend it, but it’s never going to go away. It’s always going to be there.

Porn Hurts Children

Porn hurts children. Ninety percent of children, kids ages eight to sixteen, have viewed Internet porn, most accidentally. How old do you think the average person is when they see their first online porn? Eleven. I talk to Christian parents all the time. They’re like, “I don’t want my kids to hear about this.” Well, you should ask them if they’ve already seen it, because if they’re eleven, odds are they have.

Who’s the number one consumer of online pornography? All the porn on the Internet, who’s clicking the most? Twelve- to seventeen-year-old boys, twelve- to seventeen-year-old boys. The average boy doesn’t even hit puberty ‘til he’s thirteen-plus years of age. That means he is into pornography before he’s even biologically approaching manhood. Do you think that affects the ways that he sees women or treats girls? Yeah.

See, the average person doesn’t lose their virginity until, I think it’s 16.4 years of age. That means the average guy today is spending four or five years, who knows how many hundreds of hours online, deep, deep down the porn path, and then he finally sleeps with a girl. And then it’s going to be another decade-plus—maybe twenty-eight is the average age for marriage. That means the average guy, from twelve to twenty-eight, is probably statistically, practically a porn addict, and then he gets a wife.

It hurts children. It re-hardwires their brain. It is confusing information for them to process, and it also is increasing sexual assault, child on child, as children see things and then do it to one another, not fully understanding everything that is happening.

Advice for Parents

Advice for parents: number one, don’t just have the talk, have the talks. Some of your parents sat you down, and they said, “Okay, don’t have sex before marriage. Don’t look at porn. That was awkward. Glad that’s over.” And they were just assuming that from that point until you said, “I do,” everything would be done. That’s not the way it works.

If the first age of exposure is age eleven, you’ve probably got to start talking to your kids around age ten, and if they’re curious, maybe even earlier. And you don’t have the talk, you have the talks. “Here’s what porn is. Here’s what porn does. Here’s what sexual assault is. Here’s what’s inappropriate. I need you to talk to me. If anything happens, I’m for you, not against you. Don’t be ashamed. Come to me. Let’s keep the lines of communication open and keep talking about this.”

Number two, get some protective software on your computer if you’re a parent. You’re suicidal if you just give your kids a computer and access to the Internet without any protection, something like Covenant Eyes.

Number three, guard your kids’ cell phone, laptop, iPad, whatever Internet-enabled technology they have. To send a teenage boy into his room with the ability to surf the Internet anonymously, you may as well hand him a gun.

Number four, your family computer should be visible in the home, not hidden away in some private room. Ours is in the kitchen and living room area, with the screen facing out in front of everyone. We all know what’s being watched. There’s software on the computer, as well.

Number five, your TV should have a password to protect against certain content, so that you can guard what your children do and do not watch.

And number six, you’ve got to watch the homes that you allow your children to go to. You may safeguard your home, and then let your kids go play at the neighbor’s house—porn everywhere. Dad’s got it. They don’t, you know, guard what’s on television. Who knows what’s on the computer?

I mean, I experienced this as a young boy. I went to a buddy of mine’s house. I was maybe late elementary, early junior high. His mom was a single mom. His dad wasn’t around. His mom didn’t know what to do with him as he approached the teen years, so she bought him a subscription to Playboy. I’d go over to his house to, I don’t know, play ball or something. He’s got this huge stack. “What is that in your bedroom?” “Oh, my mom got me a subscription.” “Wow.”

Make sure you investigate the homes that you send your children into for play dates. Don’t even do an overnight when they’re kids. Just don’t even take the risk. You don’t know who’s going to come into the home, what they’re going to watch, what could happen. You just don’t know. So, err on the side of caution when it comes to your child’s safety.

“I Know He Sees Me as Clean”

What do you think about Jesus?

Crissy: Hm. He’s my Savior. And, you know, like, for me, like, where I’m at in my life right now is that I just want to follow him. Like, that’s my passion. He’s everything that I live for.

Is he the first man who ever treated you well?

Crissy: Yeah, yeah, he was. Leaving the industry, and starting things over, and being a Christian wasn’t easy. And my walk with God was very, very, very, very, very hard. Immediately, I was stripped of my identity, the only identity I knew.

What would you say is your identity now?

Crissy: Now I know that my identity is found in Christ.

Do you think he’s totally forgiven you for everything you’ve done?

Crissy: Yeah, I think he has forgiven me.

Do you think he sees you as clean?

Crissy: Oh, I know he sees me as clean.

That’s awesome.

Porn Redemptively

Porn redemptively. Some of you say, “It’s too late. I’m already in. I saw the bait, not the hook. The hook’s in my mouth, and I’m getting reeled in. It’s too late.” It’s never too late, because your theology can conquer your biology.

Galatians 5:16–24 says, “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Those are your sinful desires. “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to one another, to keep you from doing the things that you want.” We’ll talk about your deepest desires in a moment.

“But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality . . . orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness—” And what? “Self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

Paul’s saying a couple of things here. Number one, be a Christian. The goal is not just to stop looking at porn, but to start worshiping Jesus. If you start worshiping Jesus, that will help you to stop looking at porn. The issue is deeper than just activity. It’s, again, rooted in idolatry. So, first, you’ve got to be a Christian. Some of you may just be moral, guilt-ridden religious. You may just feel bad, and have failures, and feel condemned, and try harder. Have you really come to Jesus, and asked him for forgiveness, and received the indwelling presence and power of the Holy Spirit?

Number two, you’ve got to be honest with God. Have you ever just sat down and journaled out your history? “Here’s my first exposure to porn. Here’s my sexual activity, sins I’ve committed, sins that have been committed against me. Here are the shameful things that I’ve done. Here are the dark places that I’ve been.” Have you ever actually journaled it all out, so you can look at it and realize the pattern, how things maybe have gotten worse, and the real danger you’re in? You’ve got to become honest with God. This could take time. And let me tell you, it’s going to break you. You’re going to be destroyed. You’re going to cry, and you’re going to weep.

And here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to start the process of getting honest with yourself. Instead of blaming others, or hiding your sin, or excusing yourself, or minimalizing it, or just thinking about the most recent event, “But, you know, it’s been a couple of weeks now, and I feel like I’m doing better.” Be honest about all of it with yourself and God.

Number three, if you’re married, be honest with your spouse. All right? Before you even leave, you just need to say, “We need to talk,” so that you don’t leave here as a coward and never have that conversation.

Number four, kill your sin before it kills you and who and what you love. Paul says here that Jesus Christ died for our sins, so we could put our sin to death; because Jesus died for sin, we could put sin to death.

Nurture Your Deepest Desires

I’ll tell you, in the grace of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, it’s possible. All right, the first time I saw porn, I was a little boy. I was in the restroom, I don’t know, going to the bathroom, looking for a Band-Aid or something, and I opened a drawer, and there’s a magazine like I’d never seen. I grew up in a neighborhood where it was common, where the boys in their fort had magazines that they’d ripped off from their dad. Again, this was the days before the Internet. Things are even harder today, more difficult. I full, fully, fully acknowledge that. I was never addicted to porn, but I was exposed to porn.

At age nineteen, when God saved me, that was one of the first deep convictions he gave me: “Don’t go there!” I still remember being in a fraternity, as a pledge, for a week ‘til I moved out. I go downstairs, and they’ve got this huge TV, and they’ve got a big kitty on top of the TV, and all the guys are encouraged to put money in, because that’s the porn fund. And then they just sit around all day, drink beer, and watch porn. And that’s when I got in a fight and started packing my bags. I wasn’t a Christian yet, but God was even, at that time, saving me from myself and getting me out of harm’s way. As soon as I met Jesus, my deepest desires changed.

So, that’s what I’m going to tell you to do, to nurture your deepest desires. Paul says here that the flesh will keep you from doing what you want to do! Some of you think, “I want to look at porn.” If you’re a Christian, you may want to look at porn, but you really want to honor Jesus. You may have conflicted desires, but your deepest desires are desires given you—he’s saying here—by the Holy Spirit.

Some of you would say, “Well, my problem is I’m just too passionate.” No, you’re not. Your problem is you’re not passionate enough. You settle for lesser things, lower things, created things, rather than greater things and the Creator God. So, I would encourage you, be more passionate and pursue your deepest desires, the desires that the Holy Spirit gives you, desires for holiness, desires for obedience, desires for purity, desires for marriage, desires for fatherhood, and motherhood, and legacy, and integrity.

And I could tell you, by the grace of God, it’s possible. It’s possible. I’m not a perfect man, but in the grace of God, this has not been an issue in our marriage. It’s not something that I do. It’s not something that I’ve done. When God saved me at nineteen, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit changed my desires. And it doesn’t mean that I have never been tempted, but it does mean, by the grace of God, as I nurtured those deepest desires, I was able to put those temptations to death and to worship Jesus. And by the grace of God, though a fallen sinner and an imperfect man, I love my wife, and I’m faithful to her, and I have been faithful to her. And this year, we celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary. And I don’t have anything to tell her, like, “Here’s my stash,” or what I’ve seen.

By the grace of God, you can have a commitment to your spouse, because of the commitment that God has to you through Christ. And I want that for you. You know, and I’ll tell you, had I grown up in the age of the Internet, I think I’d be in a lot more trouble. I think I would’ve gotten further down that path because of the anonymity, the immediacy, and the accessibility. God saved me before the Internet even came into being. And so in that regard, that’s been a grace of God on my life.

I tell you that to sympathize with those of you who are struggling, not to excuse you in any way. But I’m so glad that even before the Internet came into existence that God did fill me with the Holy Spirit and did give me a desire to pursue my deepest desires, which kept me from going down that path, because had I been going down that path, when the time that the Internet came into existence, who knows? I might have kept going for a really long time.

So, put it to death, because Jesus died for it. And I would say fight and keep fighting. And if you struggle or fail or fall, get up and fight again. This is a lifelong battle for some, but it doesn’t have to be a lifelong series of failed battles. And some of you will say, “It’s too late, I did it again, I’m already halfway there. I may as well see it through.” No, repent at any point. Repent at every point. Turn around, go back, start over, come clean, get help, talk to God, talk to Christian leaders. Talk to good friends, be honest, get the help you need. It’s never too late.

Lastly, this is a word particularly for the men. 1 Timothy 5:2 says that we are to treat women as what? “Sisters, with holiness, and reverence, and propriety, and respect.” I want you men to start to view women as sisters, not as objects.

Our Sister in Christ

Crissy, we really appreciate your bravery, and your honesty, and your sincerity. And I really mean that. I mean, I can’t think there are many people that would have this kind of courage. And I just feel inclined to tell you, in the Holy Spirit, that Jesus may have been the first man who treats you well, but I don’t think he’ll be the last. And I think that those deep desires that God gave you as a little girl are God-given, and I think, in the grace of God, that hope that you originally had as a little girl to love Jesus, and to be married, and to be a mom, I believe that that’s what God wants for you, as well, and that’s what I’m really praying for. And I appreciate you being our sister in Christ.

Crissy: Thank you.

Yeah. Could you go ahead and close our time in prayer, sweetheart?

Grace: Dear Lord, thank you for Crissy. Thank you for the redemption in her life, Lord. It is such a witness to be able to see what you’ve done, and her love for you, Lord, is real. We thank you for that. We thank you. You can cleanse all of us, and you can put your righteousness on all of us, and that’s the only way that we can have righteousness. We thank you that we don’t have to earn that. Lord, we thank you that it was a free gift and that we can continually come to you and ask for healing. We pray for that for Crissy, that you would continue to work through all of these areas of hurt in her heart and in her mind. Lord, just renew her. Thank you that she’s a beautiful, godly woman, today, and that she’s willing to share that with so many others, so that they can experience that healing that only comes from the cross. Thank you, in Jesus’ name.

Amen, and Father God, I feel inclined to pray for the men, the men who are looking at pornography, that their heart would break, Father God, as your heart has been broken, that they would not see just women, but they would see women who are your image bearers, that, God, men’s hearts would open up to the reality of the demonic nature of the industry and that they would put to death their sin, and that they would be defenders and protectors of women, that the men, Lord God, who have been giving their money to pornography, and strip clubs, and prostitutes, I pray they would give it to ministries that help women who are victimized in those situations get help, and healing, and hope in Jesus Christ. And, God, I thank you so much for Crissy’s bravery, and I pray for all of us, men and women, when we’re tempted to look at something we should not, that we would see her face, that we would hear her voice, and that we would share her heart to love and serve Jesus, in whose name we pray, amen.

Note: This transcript has been edited for readability.

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