J Loren Norris

J Loren NorrisOVERCOMING SEXUAL ADDICTION

   My name is J Loren Norris. I am a conference speaker and author of six different books, the newest release is "5 Battle Strategies of a Victorious Warrior; Tactics to win the war within."  I would like to share my story.

   My nightmare began when I was nine years old at a group sleep over when I was molested by an older boy. It was like an introduction to chocolate or gummy bears or liquor. I had no idea why it felt good. I had no idea where this open door would lead in my life. I just knew what happened felt good to me and I wanted more.

   I spent the next two decades searching for more of those feelings. The opportunity to gratify my desire was a driving force in so many relationships and encounters. My heart was broken. My mind was broken. I had no hope for anything different. I didn't want anything different. I wanted a sexual fix, more sex.

   My bedroom was littered with stolen magazines and posters of nude women. When I was home alone, I would search for all the explicit movies on the premium channels. There were “off market” videos and conversations and chance encounters with people twice my age and more sex. There were long term relationships destroyed by an insatiable craving for more sex. There was unfaithfulness, and more pain, and more sex.

   There was no shortage of people who were curious, or addicts themselves. If I wanted sex, I was usually able to meet the need some way. I could sweet talk, or say just the right thing to create an opportunity within minutes with the right person. Girlfriends or strangers, it didn't matter. I would get a feel for how willing they were and decide to make a move, or simply ask. If there was no sexual interest, I would move on. For a season of my life, there were several partners who were willing and actively engaged in my sexual addiction, each of them knew about each other. All of them knew which one was “my girlfriend,” but they were sexually involved on a regular basis anyway.

   I recall one long term relationship where I revealed that I had been unfaithful and she said, “I can believe that. You have more ‘love’ than any one woman can handle.”

   There was enough pressure from the “normal people” that I had to hide my desires and cravings in the crevices of my mind. I tried to act out so many of the things I had seen and read about until I ran out of willing participants. I began to fantasize about encounters until I made them real in my mind so I could feel all the anxiety, the rush of emotions, the fear, the tantalizing excitement and release. Some memories and imaginations began to run together. I remember someone asking me if I bought a certain magazine or video and my reply was “I have already done more erotic things than they are willing to publish. Why waste the money? All I have to do is remember.”

   In the early days of sexual conquest, my cohorts and I would look for attractive single moms as ideal one night stands. We would often joke their kids were trophies to prove they were good in bed. In all, I had close to two dozen sexual partners. The stories were similar every time. It was an easy pattern to recognize. The scars of abuse, neglect, and sexual exposure were like beacons to me. I could spot fellow journeyers quite well, but the older I got, the deeper the expectations of a real relationship became. Women wanted more than a one night stand or a causal relationship. I thought if I just got married, I would have a willing partner all the time. She won’t say no because she loves me. She will be willing to do anything I want.

   I fell in love at first sight, but it may have been more about lust than love. When I arrived at the front door, the porch light was out and the living room light behind her lit up her silhouette through the thin white pant suit. Her form was stunning! Her rich blue eyes smiled at me and she welcomed me into her home. I was absolutely taken. Then all the signals became obvious. She was a single mom. She was recently divorced. She was living alone in a new city. She was far from home and starting her life over. PERFECT.

   Over the next few months, I said all the right things and made all the right moves. I took her to church. I bought her small gifts. I mowed her yard. I was working harder in this relationship than ever before. “It better be worth it,” I thought. Then I discovered in one of those long, late night conversations that she had been a victim of a date rape.

   I felt a very strange emotional reaction to this revelation. Something weird started to happen in me. I was hurting for her. She was suddenly more than an exploit or sexual conquest. She was one of a kind to me. The first rape survivor I had ever spent time with. But she was also fellow traveler whose life had been forever redirected by a sexual encounter. I asked her to marry me.

   I had sabotaged every relationship up too this point. I wanted to be loved, but not as much as I wanted sex. I also hated me so much for all the things I had done, I really did not feel like I was worthy of being loved and I was convinced no one wanted to be in a real relationship with someone like me. If she knew everything, she would be nuts to agree to marry me. She did.

   On our wedding night there were no spectacular fireworks. We had dinner, sat for a while in the dining room and went back to the room. My heart was racing with anxiety and excitement. My expectations were so high; no porn star on earth could have been passionate enough for my desires. I had a wife now, not a sexual goddess who lived to fulfill my every sexual desire. Sure, she was hot and looked great behind closed doors. She loved me and gave me undivided and fully devoted attention, but I wanted more; more sex, more new experiences, more fulfilled fantasies, more pornography, and more sex.

   She was living my nightmare now. I asked, pleaded, requested, cajoled, manipulated, bargained, begged and even cried to get what I wanted in the bedroom. I had this incredible belief that somehow she would one day “awaken” to the passion and excitement and learn to crave sex in the same way. I wanted her to want me as much as I wanted sex. It was torture to both of us. My demands on her were unrealistic and painful. Her self-restraint was for her own protection, but felt like a cold shoulder to me. My self-restraint was nonexistent.

   Then came the internet and another depth of addiction. An opportunity to hide the craving, yet meet the need was perfect. I could have every fantasy I had ever imagined. All I had to do was search the right terms and someone had already done it and caught it all on video. That’s when I really became a slave. A spark of imagination, an idea of a “new experience” would open a whole new level of sexual experiences I had never pondered. Notions that would once turn my stomach began to turn me on. Desires I knew I would never enjoy became the very thing I sought out. I would look at myself in the mirror and wonder who I had become, but the cravings were so strong, so deep, and so dark I pursued them anyway. I tried to meet the need for more. I tried to quit. I tried to meet the need for more. I tried to quit. What a horrible cycle of torture and pleasure, of guilt, shame and enjoyment. I was a wreck.

   One day, as a married father of four, I was in the shower, doing what sex addicts do, and my three year old son who liked to sleep in the shower at my feet, woke up. He caught me in the act. In his precious little voice he said, “Dad, can we be done now?” In that moment, I was annoyed.

   In the next few months, I would begin a whole new level of struggle. I had been sitting in the church, teaching in the church, reading the Bible to my kids, and living with this addiction all at the same time. The revelation hit me like a freight train, my wife thought she married a “man of God” but she married me, an addict, and a slave to sexual sin. If I did not hate myself before, I did now. At a men’s meeting as the leader spoke about “putting away childish things” I heard a whisper. “What if someone else was doing that I was doing in the shower and made my son watch?” and I thought I would rip their arms off and beat them to death with them. Then the voice whispered, “You are that man.”

   I was broken. It was time to make a permanent change. I had prayed for forgiveness. I had asked for people to forgive me for what I had done with them. I had begged God to give me power to fight the temptation, but I was still a slave. If the slave master of sexual addiction spoke, I answered. I responded to every temptation. I gave in to every lustful notion or feeling. It was destroying everything and everyone I had come to love. I was sick and tired of it.

   Nothing was as dark as the prison of my own mind. Even now I look back at the places I have been in my imagination and it makes me cringe. The power of addiction is a destructive force. Everything I thought and believed was a lie. The bondage was horrendous, the shame unbearable, the guilt perpetually haunting and the fear of being found out owned me. The exposure to sexuality when my heart and mind were too young to comprehend the consequences devastated my ability to make good choices.

   Now it was time to fight back. I joined a class at church which truly attacked the issue of sexual sin head on. We worked through a book which was direct, heartfelt and written with passion to win. One day in class, I had a vision of myself hanging over the Grand Canyon staring at the darkness below the sun line. I was leaning out over the abyss and trembling in fear. The only thing holding me back was a shoestring of grace. The whisper said, “You have no idea what lies in that darkness. It contains every sexual sin you have not yet experienced. If you stay in this addiction, those things will utterly destroy you in every sense. Get off this path and do it now.”

   A few weeks later, I was given another vision. I saw a huge buffet table. From left to right I saw lines of cocaine, a pile of cash, a bottle of liquor, a pecan pie and a naked woman. The whisper said, “Which one would you fight me for?” I replied, “I have never been high in my life, keep the cocaine. I am not driven by money, keep the cash. I have never been drunk, keep the liquor. Now I might fight you for the pecan pie and the woman… that’s a tough choice.” The whisper replied, “That’s your problem. When you want ME more than you want those things, then you will be free.”

   It has been more than a decade since that conversation. I have found strength in unusual places to resist temptation. I have fought battles with and for friends, family and strangers who fight against addiction. I have seen the incredible impact that pornography has on marriages, children and society at large.

   We are sadly beginning to see a cultural shift to make sexuality and the use of pornography publicly acceptable and publicly accessible. I cannot tell you how much that hurts my heart. Young people are getting married at a lower rate, because internet pornography and open sexuality no longer require a committed relationship for sexual expression. The average age of exposure to explicit imagery is nine years old. The number of people who are addicted to pornography and do not consider it a problem would boggle the mind. I recently saw a study which stated, a higher percentage of millennials consider littering morally wrong than consider pornography morally wrong. Young people are not only exposed to sexually explicit images in dark places. These images are found in text books, social media, billboards and basic prime time television. Premium channels and on demand video are also portals into the home that leave young people at risk.

   I know that beyond my own foolishness, some of my own children have been exposed to sexuality long before it was the right time of their life. My wife and I are both very aware of the impact of sexual desires run amuck. We have experienced it first hand and we know how it destroys families. It is my hope for the truth of the impact of pornography and sexual addiction to be exposed for the danger and harm they really are and for the light of Jesus Christ to shine in the dark places to reveal hope for freedom.

   There are news stories every day of public figures, ministers, athletes, professionals who are incarcerated, exposed and destroyed because the addiction has won. If you are struggling with this addiction, please get help before it robs you of everything important. There is hope and power in the name of Jesus Christ. Those who are His, have overcome, because He has been tested and tempted in every day and yet was without sin. If He lives in you, you have the same power. Find a mentor, find a pastor, and find hope!

J Loren Norris Hearing His Voice Testimony