Chaz Smith is known for his hilarious videos intentionally mispronouncing things — most recently, the characters of Marvel’s “Endgame” — but he has quietly become an advocate for those fighting addictions to pornography.
He was a guest on this week’s episode of Fight the New Drug’s podcast, “Consider Before Consuming.” Smith opened up about his own compulsive behavior, when he was first exposed to porn, and the conundrum it created in his own life.
Smith told FTND’s Garrett Jonsson he was first exposed to porn when he was just 8 years old, which is very common. In the early 2000s, no one had smart phones and the internet was still pretty clunky, there weren’t any popular social media sites, and it was hard to navigate, so his foray into explicit content was actually via television.
“There just so happened to be a movie on TV, and it wasn’t like an ‘adult film,’ but the first thing I remember seeing was a rape scene,” he recalled. “I didn’t even understand what was going on, but I knew it was bad. And it kind of stuck with me.”
While he was never professionally diagnosed with an addiction to pornography (experts are still debating whether compulsive pornography consumption can be classified as an addiction), Smith admitted he was exhibiting addictive behaviors.
“It was like the same behaviors of somebody who feels like they need to go to alcohol or drugs in order to cope with something, whether you can articulate and explain and understand why you keep going back to this thing, what the roots of it are or whatever,” he said. “It’s the same behavior.”
But despite the siren call of pornography, Smith said he was “never really” satisfied. The well-known YouTuber explained he was using porn to try to fill a void, but it really just made him feel even emptier.
“There’s nothing good about it,” he said. “Just a moment of pleasure for being depressed for the rest of the day.”
Smith, who is an outspoken Christian and has dedicated several of his videos to talking about his faith, then related his own pain and struggle to the burden expressed in Romans 7:15-20 by the apostle Paul, who explained the conundrum of the human experience with sin.
In the passage, he wrote:
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
As perplexing as Paul’s words are, that passage makes perfect sense of what Smith was feeling and the inner battle he was fighting.
“I knew I did not want to do it — I never did want to do it, which is crazy,” he told Jonsson. “It’s such a paradox. It’s like, you know, continuing to go back to something that I hated.”
In response, the FTND host described Smith’s description of his habits as “the definition of compulsivity.” Exposure to porn — particularly at a young age — essentially “hijacks” your mental reward centers, Jonsson said, because kids “can’t think through pros and cons” in a measured way.
Jonsson also explained that, for him, a good way to determine whether a behavior is addictive is to discern if it’s something you’re beginning to turn to “chronically and compulsively.”
Now on the other side of an addiction to pornography, Smith, who made a video about the dangers of porn in 2018, said he knows “there’s no shame in the struggles that we have” and told Jonsson it’s “so liberating to be open” with his past. With that in mind, Smith has started using his platform to share his story.
“This destroys relationships,” he said of porn. “The depth of what that statement means, I don’t think people are really aware of. We are relational people. It totally takes away what makes us human.”
Stories like Smith’s are the very reason FTND decided to make the podcast “Consider Before Consuming” in the first place. By sharing his experience with the dangers of pornography, Smith is giving listeners the opportunity to fully understand what they’re exposing themselves to when they consume explicit content.
During an interview last month with Faithwire, Jonsson, who has his own history with pornography addiction, said he and the team at FTND decided to launch their first-ever podcast “because we know it’s another way to reach people and to educate.”
“One of our biggest things that we look to do with all our material, all of the things we produce,” he explained, “is we want to make it cool first and informative second because, if our target audience is youth, then it needs to be cool first.”
In his own life, Jonsson wasn’t really motivated to ditch porn until someone told him about its dangers by using “science, facts, and personal accounts.”
“This information is going to help serve someone else,” he said of the personal accounts and data shared on the podcast. “So it’s really [about] education, vulnerability, and helping others.”
If you would like more information about FTND or its podcast, click here. Also if you or someone you know is fighting an addiction to pornography, Faithwire has a video e-course — Set Free — devoted to helping people overcome sexual sin. To learn more about that series, click here.