WARNING: The subject matter of this post may be considered offensive by any and all who read it. I would be concerned if the subject didn’t bother you quite frankly. You may not want to read this. Proceed with full awareness that you have been warned. Some of the links in the stories referenced and linked from this post may not be safe to click on if you are reading at work . The subject at hand is porn. By clicking on the more link to view this post, you are taking this on with full awareness.
There is a short list of topics that most people will go out of their way to avoid talking about, particularly in Christian circles. At the top of that short list is all manner of topics surrounding sex and sexuality and other issues that are directly related to the two. For over a year now, I have been challenged and encouraged and convicted as I have taken time to listen to the daily podcasts from Mark Gungor after having first heard about him via a Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage seminar.
The man pulls no punches when it comes to sex, dating and relationships (or pretty much anything else either for that matter) and listening frequently has cemented some things in my heart and mind that I have been thinking about and praying about for a long time. A series of news articles that I happened to notice in the last couple of weeks sealed the deal on this post getting written and the fact that you are reading it now should tell you that I am following through with this conviction. Additionally, my wife has reviewed this post before I published it. I have no secrets from her when it comes right down to it in this matter.
We live in a culture that encourages us to make excuses for all manner of things that we know are not good and frankly are sinful. Isaiah nailed it when he said that there would be those who called evil, good and good, evil. For years, I have struggled with pornography, but I have never called it good. I have admitted it, confessed it, combated it, regretted it, wished it would go away, prayed about it, decided it was my “thorn in the flesh” and thus I would never be rid of it, and on and on it goes. My wife knew about my struggle before we were ever married and she still signed up to fight in this battle with me anyway. She deserves more blessings than I can ever give her in this lifetime.
In a conversation with someone several years ago, I remember talking about some of the causes of my own struggle with porn. I was basically told long ago that as long as I kept this stuff hidden it was OK, because it was inevitable apparently that I would look at porn. Maybe those weren’t the words that were used at the time, but that was the message that I got loud and clear as a young man. The person I was recounting this with heard me say those words as I remembered them and said something that has stuck with me to this day. It’s not OK. It was never OK.
It was not really news. I knew the truth of that statement long before it was said to me. But self-justification is a slippery thing. Most of the time we don’t realize just how good we are at it and it goes completely unnoticed. Porn is an issue and it isn’t going away. It cannot be justified or made OK, so what do we do about it. This matters even more to me now as a parent. I don’t want my own kids going down the same rough paths that I have had to walk in this area and if anything, the climate has gotten worse now than it was then.
The current generation of kids is being inundated with porn and sexual images to a point that was frankly unimaginable when I was growing up. One recent article that I read dubbed them Generation XXX. This is producing a generation that has 13 year old “sex offenders” who have never even kissed anyone. It is time to wake up and smell the looming disaster.
When I was a kid, there was the “Just Say No” campaign against drug use. It was a counter-offensive to all of those people who said that drugs were harmless and kids were just going to try them anyway. Sound familiar? This is exactly what many have said for years about porn. It is harmless. They are just going to look at it anyway. It is natural for them to be curious. And so it goes. I am encouraged to realize that many are starting to wake up and realize that porn isn’t harmless and it isn’t OK. It is the new drug. And we once again need to teach our kids to “JUST SAY NO!”
I know that many people won’t take this issue seriously. They will ask things like, what is the real harm in looking at a little porn? Let me take you back to some quotes from an article linked above for a little perspective:
As he told me at a recent session: ‘It still makes me think I might never have a proper girlfriend — because the pictures still come back to me sometimes. It make makes me want to shout, “Stop, stop.” But sometimes they still won’t go away.’
Jamie’s story is not unique. He is just one of the growing number of young patients referred by social services, youth offender services and police to the Portman Clinic — where I work as a psychotherapist. I would never normally consider speaking out in this way. But after much thought, I have come to the conclusion this is no longer just a private problem. It is a public health problem.
Now this is the perspective of a secular psychotherapist who has seen far too many young people who are left wounded and scarred by this “harmless” porn. I would only disagree on one point with the final sentence. This isn’t a public health problem. This is a parental responsibility problem. Parents need to take the initiative and teach their kids about the dangers of porn. I know that some folks are not up to speed and don’t get it yet. And if you are sitting there telling yourself that it isn’t an issue, I am telling you that you are fooling yourself. Let me give you some more:
Several studies have discovered links between viewing online pornography and problems including social isolation, performing badly in school and behavioral issues.
. . .
Mr Mittiga warned that children were ten times more likely to develop an addiction than adults and that getting hooked could potentially escalate into criminality.
Here is the truth. Sex is good. God created it and gave us the boundaries for enjoying it to the fullest extent possible, which is marriage. Believe it or not, He knows what He is doing and He knows the right way to do it. Sex in marriage is a powerful bonding experience and an amazing experience altogether. People who convince themselves that they can ignore the power of sex and use it recklessly without repercussions are headed for a serious day of reckoning. Those who make and distribute and view porn are doing exactly that. Even worse yet, porn short circuits the power and destroys what sex was meant to be. We need to be honest with ourselves, with our kids and with each other. Porn is not okay.