I know well what triggered this temptation. And I knew it was a risk, and I did it anyway. Was it a compromise? Not exactly. Because there’s nothing wrong in itself in watching Law and Order: S.V.U.; it’s one of my favorite shows. But its themes often play to the deviance and disorder in me—my darkness.
Sometimes that is cathartic; other times it’s arousing. I used to really like Dexter for the same reason—not that murder was ever arousing, but it was certainly cathartic. I could relate to Dexter’s “dark passenger” that he sometimes had to let out, because I have my own. It doesn’t feed on blood, but on another kind of lust. Dexter finally crossed the line in one season or another and I lost interest; but there is a part of me that I know is drawn to that kind of darkness.
At least with S.V.U. the deviants are clearly portrayed as bad guys, and disorder for what it is. And good nearly always wins, and evil is defeated. But sometimes I can relate a little too much to the offenders: not that I have ever or would ever hurt anyone, but I can relate, I can empathize, in some distant way, with the darkness that motivates them.
The word rape is literally a taking by force. I’ve often heard it said that rape is not a crime about sex, but about power and control. And I can definitely understand that. Because I’m all too aware that I feast on the very same feelings when I give in to the demon of pornography. A part of that is always about intimacy and fantasy and tenderness; but another, increasingly prominent part is about having and controlling: having the girls that I can never have in real life; owning and possessing and controlling their images—hoarding them, collecting them, as many as I can, with ever the lust for more.
In his final interview with Dr. James Dobson, hours before his execution, the serial killer Ted Bundy spoke about the beginnings of his depravity—born in an addiction to pornography and leading into an obsession with true crime stories of rapes and murders. And it horrifies me to admit that I completely understand that. Because at times, that’s the path my own darkness has wanted to take. Sometimes when I’ve been at my lowest, I have been fascinated and titillated by such stories of murder—been delighted by and even aroused by such evil. And then I wake up and realize what I’m doing—realize the horror of what I’m fixating on, realize I’m taking pleasure when I should be feeling nausea and disgust and abhorrence; realize that murder is not just a taking of an image, but of a life; an innocent life snuffed out that can never be restored. And I know then how desperate my situation is: I can see where this darkness will lead me if I don’t break away.
And break away is what I absolutely have to do. These wounds I have are deep and need healing. To continue with pornography, or even worse, such horrible stories, only carves the cut deeper and deeper until it will pierce my soul. I don’t let myself read such stories anymore; I shy even from media coverage. But I know I need help—help above all, from God, but as I write out here the secrets I’ve never written out before, I realize that I need professional help, too, I’m sure.
My merciful saints, please pray for me.