The other night TL got to talking about how, as I had mentioned before, I don’t feel a real sensation of temptation from an available woman. That would take an added ingredient: entitled intent to sin, on my part. However, I do actually feel temptation sometimes when I’m reading news on the Internet and some banner or advertising box says that clicking on it will show “women you won’t believe exist,” “celebrities in bikinis,” or whatever stupid thing the advertiser knows is sickly irresistible.
I told TL I struggled with those images. She asked if I had ever clicked on them. I said, “no.” We discussed it some more. She asked again if I had ever clicked. I said, “Well, maybe,” or something half-hearted. This continued until I had contradicted myself at least twice in 10 minutes.
I had lied. I had fallen off the honesty wagon. Despite my good intentions, I had succumbed to fear, fear of being honest. This caused TL and I great anguish. Hopefully, at least I learned from it.
I learned, again, that the beginning of the slippery slope is not necessarily just an available woman or a pornographic image. It is anything I might experience, do, or think that I fear sharing with other people, particularly with TL. Clicking on an Internet link claiming to show Kim Kardashian’s butt or “25 unbelievable women” may sound insignificant. I may even ultimately turn away from it before becoming transfixed. But, in fact, I must avoid it because it is like an entry-level drug. More importantly, whether I click on it or not, I must tell TL, completely and quickly. Why? First, telling her will help defang the temptation and reinforce my will to resist in the future.
Second, telling her will build better neuro-pathways in my brain, pathways to make honesty and transparency a habit. Every time I lie or withhold information I train my brain to lie and withhold information. So, instead, I need to practice (just like practicing piano or batting a baseball) honesty and transparency so it eventually becomes reflexive, instinctive. It worked for Pavlov’s canine. It will work for me too.
I also learned that even as I become better at removing myself from the slippery slope, it is imperative to describe the entire experience, act, or thought to TL, immediately and in full detail. Yes, I have successfully avoided porn for nearly four years. But, telling TL about any occasion when I am tempted to click on a website and not tell anyone about it is important for demonstrating to her that I can overcome my fear of telling her. In the case of porn, it is obvious to me that it is a sensitive topic that I must discuss with TL. And, it will be easier for me now to recognize that gateways to porn should be discussed exactly as though they were porn, in that regard.
But, I also need to watch out for surprises, for anything, related to sex and porn or not, that I may be tempted to keep quiet. TL suggested it might be useful to ask myself, before I do anything, whether I would do the same thing if TL was standing next to me. I think that is a good tool. I look forward to trying it.