We Need To Talk About Porn 2 Article

We’ve all been there: an unexpected sex scene pops up while you’re watching a movie with friends … or worse, your parents!

Sex was once a taboo topic. But society has changed and the church is playing catch up. At long last in the church, we’re not afraid to say that sex is a gift from God–it was his idea in the first place! It’s not designed to be dirty or shameful. Quite the opposite, it is designed to be a beautiful thing that brings two people together physically, emotionally and spiritually.

But here’s the catch … sex and porn are not the same thing! Ask anyone who has struggled with watching porn and they’ll say, ‘I felt dirty after watching it’ or, ‘I felt too ashamed to tell anyone about my struggle’.

 

PORN ONLY AFFECTS ADULTS, RIGHT?

I know first-hand the damage that can be done to young minds when exposed to sexually-explicit material. As children, we don’t have the ability to process what we are seeing. Our brains are these amazingly complex organs that can change and rewire themselves—as children, we have an ‘emerging brain’. Exposure to pornography changes our sexual expectations and our stimulation point, according to Doctor Pat Love. ‘It alters your brain in such a way that makes you crave more stimulation.’ It is extremely powerful and is like crack cocaine in its addictive nature, she says.

With today’s technology, you don’t even need to go looking for porn, it will find you. Smartphones, laptops, iPads, social media, texting, Netflix … there are so many access points just in the home. I know of at least one New Zealand school where students watched 50 Shades of Grey in the classroom!

The born-into-digital generation is being shaped from birth by what they consume. According to research from Aussie, ‘pornography is moulding and conditioning the sexual behaviours and attitudes of boys, and girls are being left without the resources to deal with these porn-saturated boys.’

One 15-year-old-girl told the researcher she ‘didn’t enjoy sex at all, but that getting it out of the way quickly was the only way her boyfriend would settle down and watch a movie with her’. Wait, what? Sex for a movie?

According to researcher Melinda Tankard Reist, ‘girls and young women are under a lot of pressure to give boys and men what they want, to adopt pornified roles and behaviours, with their bodies being merely sex aids. Growing up in a pornified landscape, girls learn that they are service stations for male gratification and pleasure.’

 

PORN IS HARMLESS, RIGHT?

High School Muscial sweetheart Zac Efron is starring in a biopic about convicted rapist and serial killer Ted Bundy. The night before he was executed, Bundy gave a video interview with Dr James Dobson from Focus on the Family. In the video, he talks about his Christian upbringing and how his American-boy-next-door image was such a contrast to the secret reality of his life.

‘As a young boy of 12 or 13, I encountered (outside the home) in the local grocery and drug stores, softcore pornography’—what Bundy describes as the kind of stuff you see on MTV all the time today. But for him it progressed into porn that involved sexual violence. 

Bundy is quick to take full responsibility for his actions, and point out that pornography did not cause him to kill. But pornography is addictive. ‘I was a normal person, I had good friends, I led a normal life–except for this one, small, but very potent and destructive segment that I kept very secret and close to myself,’ said Bundy.

It’s important to know that if you use porn, it doesn’t mean you’re going to turn into a monster. You do not need to hate yourself. But it’s also important to know that porn does have addictive qualities that are not healthy to nurture.

 

PORN EMPOWERS WOMEN, RIGHT?

I find the argument that ‘to be anti-porn is to be anti-feminist’ a difficult one to entertain. There is nothing feminist about pornography. It is not liberating and empowering and does nothing to advance gender equality.

In the 1970s and 80s porn was seen as ‘the objectification and sexual subordination of women’ and feminists were actively protesting pornographers and pimps, according to journalist Caitlin Roper. Fast forward a few decades and ‘feminists promote porn as progressive, liberating and a woman’s choice’.

Mainstream porn is full of acts of sexual violence, primarily by men against women—and it’s not like WWE wrestling—a punch in the face, actually is a punch in the face. The people are not acting or ‘play-fighting’. War Cry will not print the language used or describe the actions in any detail, but there is nothing progressive or liberating about it.

‘Pornography says that women exist for men’s sexual use, that it’s okay for women to be treated like sluts, to be degraded and abused, and that both men and women find pleasure in the sexual degradation of women,’ says Roper. There is nothing beautiful or loving about that. Porn is not ‘just sex’.

 

PORN HELPS WITH SEX, RIGHT?

Watching a porn movie is not a ‘how-to guide on sex’. That’s part of the problem teenagers who engage in porn, are finding. Reality does not meet their expectations. A recent study in America concluded that porn use was the likely reason for low sexual desire among a random sample of high school students. Since when have teens not had raging hormones?

‘This trend of sex problems is especially serious for teens and young adults. Their brains are particularly vulnerable to being rewired by porn, and they are in a period where they are forming crucial attitudes, preferences and expectations for their future.’ [fightthenewdrug.org]

 

PORN IS A GUY PROBLEM, RIGHT?

Topics like masturbation and pornography have traditionally been aimed at males; but girls, we know the truth, right? Girls wrestle with their sexuality too. They’re forever being told to ‘cover up’ because they might tempt their ‘brothers-in-Christ’ but no one ever asks guys to put a shirt on or because of the effect on their ‘sisters-in-Christ’.

Girls struggle with porn too. Author Jessica Harris wrote about her own addiction, ‘I thought pornography was a perfectly acceptable form of sexual release. It was safe. I wasn’t actually having sex, getting pregnant, or contracting an STD.’ Her shame and struggle with this addiction kept her isolated. ‘I thought I was the only female in the world who struggled with this, and there was no way out,’ she says.

When Harris told someone about her addiction, the power of the secret was broken and she could let others help her get past the shame and brokenness she felt. One of Satan’s most effective weapons is shame. Adam and Eve experienced it in the garden and tried to hide from God.

Jesus said that Satan tries to steal, kill and destroy us but he (Jesus) came to bring us life and enable us to live a full and abundant life (John 10:10). Porn is a thief. Porn steals, kills and destroys—it invites secrecy and shame into our lives. But if we can find the courage to tell someone, the power of the secret is broken, the enemy loses his control over us and we can position ourselves to find freedom and forgiveness in Jesus. ‘If we freely admit our sins when his light uncovers them, he will be faithful to forgive us every time … ’ (1 John 1:9 TPT).

You do not need to struggle alone. God’s got this. And he’s got you in the palm of his hands.

 

Check out part one of 'We Need to Talk About Porn' here.