“Dean, can we talk for a second?”

I sat glued to my chair, frozen looking at the TV. I couldn’t bring myself to look over. I didn’t want to know what he was about to say. There was a more than decent chance that it wasn’t going to be good.

My dad wanted to talk to me; of course it wasn’t going to be good.

“Dean,” he said again. I had a feeling I was supposed to respond. I swallowed hard and turned my head to face my dad so he knew I understood him. My father sat across from me, looking more serious than I had ever witnessed.

“Dean, your mother and I know.”

My parents are smart people; they know many things. I tried to play ignorant, hoping if I looked innocent perhaps this conversation would end right away. But the tears that began welling in my eyes betrayed me.

“Dean, we know you’ve been looking at pornography.”

Several years following the moment my dad said he was disappointed in me for playing a woman’s instrument, I now sat here facing a new level of disappointment from my father. I was trapped in a terrible porn addiction.

Worse, I was caught by my parents in a terrible porn addiction.

I had no idea what he was going to say next. Legally, he couldn’t kick me out of the house.

Would I be locked in a room for the rest of my life? Was I going to be sent away to one of the middle of nowhere camps to work the fields while memorizing the book of Proverbs?

I simply turned my stare to the ground, bracing myself for whatever came next. And then, my dad shocked me.

“I want to help you, Dean. I want to help you overcome this.”

Is this really my dad? I was bewildered. I didn’t respond or look up or anything. Yet my dad kept talking. He told me that this happens to many men, that sin is a part of being a human. However, there is freedom; there is a way out.

“I want to help you with this. I want to help you find freedom from this addiction. I will be here for you to talk with you about this and walk through this with you.”

I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t going to die. I was actually going to get help with my pornography addiction!

I finally looked up at my dad, tears pouring from my eyes. I got up and hugged my dad and thanked him. I was so excited to start a new chapter with my dad — a chance to get past the disappointments and hurts of years past.

Here was the new beginning for my father and me.

And then my father never spoke to me about pornography use again. He never even mentioned the fact that I was looking at gay porn.

I feel like that’s something that would stick out to you as a parent. And yet the homosexual nature of my pornography use never came up in the conversation with my dad. Not once. I don’t know what happened.

I should have seen it coming.

Years later when I told my parents about my struggle, they said they had no idea about this. And yet I don’t think you just forget about your son’s gay porn addiction.

I almost wonder if they really knew and just decided to scare me into purity. Or if they found the wrong stash of porn. I honestly don’t know. It’s not a topic I really want to bring up either.

Here is what I do know: my dad had failed me. Again.

And I was more alone than ever in my struggle.

Has your dad ever failed you in a significant way? Did your parents discover your gay pornography usage, or did you come clean to them first?

* Photo courtesy Johnny …on and off, Creative Commons.

  • You don’t think he put the ball in your court and you dropped it (to mix metaphors)? IOW, wasn’t it up to you to suggest specific things he could have done?

  • In a significant way? Let me count the ways, but I will run out of fingers and toes real quick. He never spoke to me about sex. Never. He never apologized for anything. Never. He never communicated in any real way that I had what it takes to make it in this world. He did his best to convince me that Holocaust denying and extreme racism was an important part of our faith. So, it took me quite a while to embrace the father heart of God once I became aware of that concept. There is no bitterness now. He is with the Lord and is stripped of all the diseased rags that tormented him when he walked the earth. He didn’t have a chance with two mean and selfish parents and a bizarre view of headship that overcame him when he first embraced the faith. I look forward to seeing him in his new suit someday soon. I’m sorry your dad let you down in that way, Dean. That must have been so incredibly disappointing after the initial relief and tears.

    • Thank you, M.I., for sharing your story. It is incredible mature to let go of the bitterness that could so easily take over. Proud of you for that.

  • my parents found porn on the computer history when I was about 12 – the first time I ever looked it up and barely even knew how a computer even worked. They were fighting because my mom thought that my dad did it, and he hadn´t. I heard them fighting and my mom was outraged that he even suggest asking me, but he did. He looked me straight in the eye and asked if I had looked up naked pictures of people or of people having sex and I said “no.” Even though my dad could have pressed knowing that he hadn´t done it so it kind of had to be me, I don´t feel like he failed me. I feel like I failed him by letting him take the fall for my very big mistake and causing even more problems in my parents marraige. I told my mom that a couple years ago – she didn´t even remember the incident, but I still haven´t talked to my dad about it

    • Thank you for sharing this, Ashley. You showed great courage in talking to your mom about it. I pray you continue to find healing in your relationship with your parents.

  • In a major way. After 12 years of sexual abuse at the hand of a neighbor and a life is secrecy, my dad and mom “found out” about my sexuality when I was 18 because of an erotic letter I wrote. It was disastrous to say the least. I never had a good relationship with my dad and was always angry at him for being so emotionally and physically distant from me. He didn’t help. Then when I was 26 my mom died unexpectedly. At that point my dad thought it helpful to tell me that he himself had dabbled in homosexuality before he married my mom. I guess he thought it would make us closer. Wrong answer. I was PISSED. Here was a man who saw all the evidence of my abuse daily before him for all of my childhood and did NOTHING. He had indeed failed me. Again. It’s been a number of years now and I have forgiven him and recognized his inability to help me because he couldn’t help himself. Now, I just don’t want to do the same to my son.

    • I’m so sorry for what you endured as a child, Jaye. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I am so excited you are wanting to use your experience to ensure you are the best father possible to your own son. That can be an incredible motivator.

      • Thanks Dean! It can also be crippling. I spent the first year or two of my sons life evaluating everything I did to ensure I wasn’t like my dad in anyway. I realized that I wasn’t enjoying the time I had with him because of it. I had to let my dad go emotionally.

  • No, no major failures between regarding my dad that I can think of. Like I’ve said before, we’re not really that close, but I don’t really view that as a failure on his part. Sometimes I wish we’d talk about stuff like marriage, sex, or whatever more, but whenever it does come up it’s the most awkward situation ever and I realize that not talking about it is probably better at this point. Most advice he gives to me in that regard doesn’t really apply to my situation, but mainly because he doesn’t know about my situation. My parents have never been very “snoopy” about my computer use so even if I was dealing with a porn addiction (praise God I’m not!) they probably wouldn’t find out if I wanted to hide it. I’m a pretty honest person, so I think I understand why they trust me so much, though. But if they looked through my emails, texts, Facebook messages, or here on YOB they’d be in for a big surprise. I’m not nearly as careful about hiding my tracks as I used to be.

    • Praise God for having your parents’ trust! I pray you grow closer to your parents as the years progress.

  • I’m sorry for the failures of your father. You’re definitely not at fault for his lack of communication. I pray, if nothing else, you look at communication with your own children with new eyes. I have a feeling you’re going to be a phenomenal father.

  • Thanks Mike. Ill take that hug. Truth is though it was traumatic and molded a path that never would have voluntarily chosen, I now see so much beauty from what was only ashes and I’d never change it. An eternity of holy affection and fellowship with brothers like you – I CANT WAIT!

  • Ha ha ha! I was around 53 years old when I started watching gay porn! So, no, neither my mom nor my dad caught me watching gay porn. I’m a late bloomer to the porn scene. My wife didn’t catch me either. Internet porn was not around when I was a teen, so that temptation was not there. Not to be nostalgic about simpler times–but that is one area I wish technology hadn’t improved on!
    Within a year, it was definitely an addiction and I was miserable. Addicted and conflicted. My Christian Faith couldn’t stand it and I was overwhelmed with guilt and shame. I started to look for answers and was praying sincerely to to the LORD for help to end my addiction.
    His answer surprised me–often In His wisdom He answers in our prayers in a better way than we asked for. He showed me that gay porn was not the problem, but the symptom of something much deeper–my unresolved past that led to my SSA. And that led me to a journey of self-discovery and self-therapy to find healing and wholeness and peace for my soul. I am in process and happily making progress both in my journey into manhood and in recovery for my porn addiction.
    Early in 2015, I confessed my porn addiction to my wife and explained what I was discovering about the SSA I had. I had confessed that I had been in a same-sex relationship before we got married and I have never acted out with another man again. But my SSA hadn’t gone away, and I really never understood how it developed myself, so until recently I had no way to explain it to my wife. Reading the stories of other men who had changed gave me hope. And seeing how many common life-experiences we all shared made me realize I was not alone. I had “Your Other Brothers” who like me, were Christians who struggled with their SSA.
    My dad failed to understand me, he failed to show his love to me unconditionally and he failed to affirm me as a man. I didn’t connect to him as a child or teen. This in itself didn’t create my SSA, but it was a poor foundation for my manhood and was one factor in my development of SSA. As an adult I have been reconciled with him now, love him deeply–and we are best friends as adults! I understand that although he was not able to express his love to me in a way that I could understand (through affectionate touch or through affirming words), that he did love me. As an adult I have been able to change the story I told myself as a child, that he didn’t love me. This is very healing. Yes, he did fail me, but God has restored the years that the locusts have eaten.

  • Yes, my father failed me. The obvious was staring him right in the face, and yet he did nothing to help me. He tried to a few times, but they were weak, pathetic attempts. Too little, too late. That’s pretty much how I have come to view the church as a whole in its attempts to help — weak, pathetic, too little, too late. Impotent.
    But I have come to forgive. And while it’s true that my father and the church both failed me, this has made me fully aware of just how important it is that my generation and I don’t make the same mistakes. The failures of the past generation will serve only to highlight the glorious difference of this one and the wonderful things God is doing! So, in a weird way, I’m really happy!

  • I had a similar experience when I shared with my dad. He hugged me and said he loved me the day I voluntarily shared with him that I struggle with SSA, and regularly used gay porn. Later that day, however, when we were taking a father-son outing to a baseball game, he asked be why I thought I needed to share with him. The question came out of left field and caught me so off guard that I didn’t know how to respond other than “I dunno.” Later, after I had thought about it, I realized it was because I loved and trusted my parents (although our relationship sounds similar to yours – one-on-one times like car rides can sometimes be awkward and full of silence) and wanted help, wanted discipleship. (And, like you, we didn’t talk about it again except when I asked not to have a smartphone anymore because of the temptation it was, and my father acquiesced but told me I needed to grow up.) But it wasn’t until a month ago that I learned that I needed to be up-front with my dad about whaat I expected from him. He was probably scared and confused, too, just like me. I don’t know if I should have to be the one to make my expectations clear, as the son; but now, four years later from that day, I am older and realize that whatever should have been doesn’t matter as much as the situation that we presently have. Now I’m at the point where I have other significant sources of discipleship, and while I want to cultivate that with my dad, I’m not going to depend on him for help with sexual struggles.

  • My dad did lose sight of the emotional needs that I so desperately needed in my childhood that only a father could provide. When I confronted him during one of my visits, he dismissed my appeals and put mom in the mix. “You want this lovey-dovey affirmation, affection and accolades… Go see your mother for that stuff… She’s that sort of person” (ESFJ). I have mom’s love in spades. Enough to last me well into old age. I want something from you. In retrospect, I guess I should have signed myself up for the Big Brothers program. Maybe then I could have found a role model and someone to love, encourage and mentor me like I wanted him to do. The sad thing is dad would have been ok with me having a substitute father along he felt he was fulfilling his paternal obligations.
    Dean… I wasn’t there, ok? I wasn’t there. It sounds like once your parents confronted you about this, they wanted to do something for your benefit. Unfortunately, I fear they didn’t know what to do to help you. Again, I wasn’t there. Whatever I say could be all speculative. BUT that does not give your dad a free pass on this. Something should have been done! As you mentioned: “I will be here for you to talk with you about this and walk through this with you.” Where is the follow-through dad? Where is the communication? If you have plans to be a father or already so Dean, I give you my congrats. As far as fatherly advice I would say tell your children you love often that you love and care for them. Show them you as well. Not every other second, but often enough. I give this advice not because I’m a father myself, but I am a son and hindsight is 20/20.

    • I am sorry, Eddie. That sounds painful. Praying that God will fill in the gaps left by your father’s selfishness. He has done that for my kids in spite of all my mistakes. And being a father who has made too many mistakes (forgiven and under grace and restored to my kids), I deeply feel the mistakes your dad made with you. We all need the affirmation and affection that you rightly sought from your dad. I’m praying now that God will provide it now. He is generous and good (though I rarely understand his timing).

  • I think that my dad is a great guy, so it is hard to say that he failed me, but if I am honest, I guess he kind of did. He was very passive and never confronted me or taught me about anything really. He would provide financially and say a prayer at dinner and a prayer before going to bed and that was about it. I just thought this was how things went. The only real meaningful conversation we had was about how babies are made and how your body changes through puberty. We never talked about anything about that or about anything else since then or before then. My gay porn addiction began with being curious about what a man’s body really looked like, and what would be happening to me as I developed. My mom found some stuff with naked men that I had looked up, but I don’t think it was like sexual porn or anything. So she had told my dad and then they both told me it was wrong and grounded me, but never talked about it with me, they just avoided it and moved on. Later, I was using an app to talk to guys and my mom found out and asked me some questions about it and grounded me. Im sure she had to have told my dad, but he never said anything to me or talked to me about it. To this day it is so incredibly awkward to even just sit in the car just the two of us, or in a room because we have never had real conversations, everything is awkward small talk.

  • Dean

    I write under this pseudonym account and do my best to pursue Jesus Christ every day. I fail often, yet I get back up each time. I am married to an incredible woman I call Lisa – she is far better than I deserve. My daughter is one of the greatest joys of my life. And in my spare time, I watch my favorite TV shows and movies, play RPG video games, and hang out with my friends. Yes, I am a nerd and I am proud of it.

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