The Avon River

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - NEWS -

I’ve been in this line of work since the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion, and so a lot of prospec­tive sto­ries have passed across my screen. Some awe­some, many lame, most en­tirely for­got­ten. But some stick. I re­mem­ber one girl, who wrote a per­sonal ac­count so hon­est and bleak that I never see a photo of the ducks on the Avon River with­out think­ing of her.

She was from a Chris­tian back­ground and she mar­ried her first boyfriend while they were both still in their early 20s. Her mood go­ing into mar­riage was full of joy, love, com­mit­ment – and lust. They were both vir­gins and she couldn’t wait. But sex wasn’t what she ex­pected. It was kind of cold, full-on, ag­gres­sive. She started to won­der if her new hus­band was a vir­gin after all. And then a few short weeks into the mar­riage, it stopped. There was no sex at all. Her hus­band closed off from her com­pletely and it was on a hol­i­day in Christchurch, on the banks of the Avon, that he told her he wanted out of their new mar­riage. She was bro­ken.

They went to talk to a pas­tor at their church. They went to­gether and got no an­swers. They went sep­a­rately and the truth came out. Her new hus­band had a hard­core porn ad­dic­tion. Real sex paled in com­par­i­son. He wanted to leave his wife and go back to his porn – and he did. I can’t imag­ine the pas­tor was im­pressed.

My edi­tor at the time was a woman in her 50s who wore pearls and used Creme De La Mer. She said that the young writer of this story was a prude. She said: “Why doesn’t she sug­gest they look at it to­gether?!”

That was how peo­ple talked about in­ter­net porn then – in the late 90s. Like it was a fun way to spice things up. And I’m sure it is – I mean, it can be. But we now know that it can be a hor­ri­ble ad­dic­tion, en­trap­ping peo­ple at a young age, de­tract­ing from real sex with real peo­ple, and some­times mak­ing it an im­pos­si­bil­ity.

Philip Matthews writes about the pow­er­ful cul­tural force that is porn on page 12.

And as for our young Chris­tian bride? She used a pseu­do­nym, but I still re­mem­ber her real name and I just Googled her. OK, I stalked her In­sta­gram. She’s fine – looks happy, and it seems she’s con­stantly trav­el­ling all over the world. No posts from Christchurch.

Check out Sun­day magazine on­line

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.