Jack Flynn, a former client, was raised in a home where he was severely emotionally and physically abused. He has written a powerful memoir, Smash-Mouth Jesus, about his healing journey. In the book he describes his first encounter with pornography as a child. He has done a remarkable job of making sense of that experience and explaining why it had such a powerful impact on him.
Jack makes it clear that it was not sexual arousal, but emotional comfort, which drew him to the picture. Is he justifying porn-viewing–of course not! But by sharing his understanding of that long ago experience he is shining a light on the need for many pornography addicts to focus on healing deep emotional wounds as part of their recovery. Here is his story:
It was when I was walking to school one morning that I first saw porn. There was a colorful magazine page lying on the ground. I reached down, picked it up, and saw the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life.
The most wonderful, euphoric feeling came over my body as I gazed at the beautiful naked girl. I felt so deeply flattered that this girl would show me her most intimate side. I fell in love. It was love at first sight, for sure. I lived in a world of loneliness and rejection. This made me feel wonderful.
I knew right away that it was wrong. A moment later I balled up the paper and threw it down, although it was too late. All the crushing pain I was in had subsided, if only for a brief moment. As soon as school was out, like a starving person, I hurried back to where I had thrown down the angel. She was gone. I couldn’t find her. It made me feel even more sad and alone. I needed her.
For her to show me this intimate side of herself–it made me feel accepted, connected, complete, and safe. Like a loving, accepting mother, she cradled me in her arms and made everything right in my life, if only for a moment. My undernourished, empty heart was starving for intimacy.