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3 Things You Don’t Know About Your Children and Sex

3 Things You Don't Know About Your Children and Sex

Dear Parents, Please allow me a quick moment to introduce myself before we go much further. My name is Anne Marie Miller. I’m 33 years old. I’m newly married to a wonderful man named Tim. We don’t have any children yet, but we plan to.

For the purpose of this letter, you need to know I’m a recovering addict. Pornography was my drug of choice.

I grew up in the church—the daughter of a Southern Baptist preacher man with a passion for learning the Bible. I was the honors student; the athlete; the girl who got along with everyone from the weird kids to the popular ones.

It was a good life. I was raised in a good home.

It was 1996, I was 16 and the Internet was new. After my family moved from a sheltered, conservative life in west Texas to the ethnically and sexually diverse culture of Dallas/Fort Worth, I found myself lonely, curious and confused.

Because of the volatile combination of life circumstances—the drastic change of scenery when we moved, my dad’s depression, and a youth pastor who sexually abused me during my junior year of high school—I turned to the Internet for education. I didn’t know what certain words meant or if what the youth pastor was doing to me was good or bad, and I was too afraid to ask.

What started as an innocent pursuit of knowledge quickly escalated into a coping mechanism.

When I looked at pornography, I felt a feeling of love and safety—at least for a brief moment. But those brief moments of relief disappeared and I was left even more ashamed and confused than when I started. Pornography provided me both an emotional and a sexual release.

For five years I carried this secret. I was 21 when I finally opened up to a friend only because she opened up to me first about her struggle with sexual sin.

We began a path of healing in 2001, and for the last 12 years, although not a perfect journey, I can say with great confidence that God has set me free from that addiction and from the shame that followed. I returned to school to study the science behind addiction and family dynamics.

Over the last six years, I’ve had the opportunity to share my story in a variety of venues: thousands of college students, men, women and teens. This summer, I was invited to speak at several camps to both junior high and high school students, and it’s without exaggeration that I tell you with each year I counsel students, the numbers and the stories shock me more and more.

There are more students compulsively looking at pornography at younger ages and with greater frequency than ever before.

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Anne Marie Miller lives with her husband, Tim Miller, in Franklin, Tennessee, where she learns and plays and writes.