: pornography and sex and learning to be a white rose, part 1

Part of the curriculum for my eighth grade religion class was watching a movie called Sex Has a Price Tag. The boys watched it in one room and the girls in another, because words like sex and porn and masturbation made our little faces turn red and pink and white all over. I don’t remember much of the movie, except it confirmed what I heard my whole life—sex is bad. After the movie, a female teacher talked to the girls about loving their bodies and a male teacher talked to the boys about being addicted to porn (since women weren’t supposed to struggle with porn and men weren’t supposed to struggle with their bodies). 

 

Porn was a man’s issue. Body image was a women’s issue. And sex was bad.

 

When I was in high school, a woman spoke to us in an assembly about how she and her husband were both virgins when they got married. She compared their relationship to a white rose and then talked about a soldier who died in battle protecting a handwritten letter from his wife. I’m not totally sure how it all made sense together, but it was a compelling speech and I remember thinking, I want to be a white rose when I get married. I want to be sexually acceptable to my husband. I want to protect the handwritten letter God gave me.

 

As I listened to her speak, flashbacks from a past of sexual abuse began to surface and I realized I was not a white rose—not because of something I did, but because of something that was done to me. I was tainted. I was ashamed. 

Everyone deals with shame and sexual temptation differently, but I turned to pornography. I didn’t trust any real human being, but I deeply desired intimacy and acceptance. Pornography was a cheap and temporary fix, and I bought into the lie that it was satisfying for over three years.

 

I felt trapped. Nobody could know.
Porn was a man’s issue. 
No man would want me.
I was used goods.
God wouldn’t want me.
I ruined the gift he gave me.

I carried the weight of these lies and a distorted view of sex with me throughout high school and into college. I was confused and lonely and trapped in shame. This is where Jesus met me, and while I did not know it at the time, meeting him meant being healed by him. Meeting him meant being crucified with him. Meeting him meant being raised to life by him. Meeting him meant my past would not drive my future. Meeting him meant I mattered to someone. Meeting him meant I was a white rose, after all.

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