[NOTE: Parents, you may want to read this article with your kids. The subject matter is obviously very strong, but we felt this was a needed topic to discuss.]
Today’s list seeks to tackle a very sensitive but important subject. The statistics are alarming, but they are clear: pornography is huge business, but it is also destroying lives. It draws people in and it is very difficult to overcome this temptation.
With the continued growth of the Internet, pornography of any sort is readily available to anyone with just the click of a mouse. It is easy to say, “Pornography is sinful.” However, I want us to think about why. What makes pornography sinful and very dangerous? Here are 9 reasons.
1. Celebration of the sinful. It is hard to justify gaining enjoyment from watching others having sexual intercourse. Considering the “plot,” you are celebrating adultery, homosexuality, abuse, or other sinful practices. Paul told us that those who “give approval to those who practice” such things are just as sinful as those who are involved in the sin (Romans 1:32). God has clearly stated that sex is to be between a man and woman in the bonds of marriage, and, frankly, it is to be enjoyed in that setting. To “enjoy” others having sex goes against that pattern.
2. Objectification of women. When asked, married women who have husbands struggling with pornography will state that this is one of their most difficult things to get over. The women are nothing more than sex objects. They are only there to have sex…nothing more. Jesus stated that we are not to look upon a woman to lust after her (Matthew 5:28). Pornography provides only that, and causes men to begin to see all women (whether on screen or in real life) as an object to be compared to other women.
3. Objectification of men. This may seem out of place, but there are women watching pornography, too. The men in the videos are there for one purpose, too, and more and more women are watching for these objectified men. No husband can live up to what these women are seeing, and men begin to become objects to be compared to other men in the minds of women.
4. Sex as the “goal” of life. There is no way to avoid it: sex is the goal of pornography. It is the pinnacle of each scene, and it makes the viewer think that sex is the most important thing in life. It becomes the pursuit of every day, and it consumes the thoughts of the viewer, because the one watching can begin to think that sex is part of every single day and that it is the “high point” and “goal” of everything we do. Despite that message, sex is not the goal in life! Glorifying God is our goal in life!!!
5. Time is wasted. The most common time to view online pornography is during the day, meaning that men and women are viewing pictures and videos either at work, or while the other is away at work. How much time that should be spent doing productive things is being wasted on these sites? Also, how many stay up late to watch “one more” video when they could be spending quality time with their spouse, or (here’s an idea) going to sleep so their body is refreshed?
6. Money is wasted. Not everyone spends money on pornography, but those who do are wasting that money. If there is anything that causes the user to spend and then does not provide anything in return, it is pornography. You’ve heard how much money is spent on the industry each year, but let’s make this personal. If you had the money back that you have spent on pornographic websites, videos, magazines, etc., how much more good could you have done? And, be honest, what have you gotten for your money in the long-run from spending on pornography?
7. Harder to avoid other sexual sins. Why are so many of our movies now containing nudity and extremely sexual scenes? Why do people think it is okay to watch soap operas, where characters are constantly “switching beds.” Why is immodesty such a problem? One major reason is because we give the “wise” answer: “Well, at least it’s not porn!” I beg to differ. Sexual sin is sexual sin! We are told in Scripture to avoid even the very appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). Just because you are not watching “hard core” pornography doesn’t give you the right to then watch a movie with adultery, or a TV show that promotes homosexual behavior. That being said, those who view pornography are going to have a very difficult time avoiding more “tame” forms of sexual sin, through the media or through immodest dress. It lowers inhibitions strongly (and, may I add, quickly).
8. Intimacy is harmed. I want to be careful how I word this, to avoid sounding crass. Many who view pornography still have sex with their spouse, but have trouble really connecting and being truly intimate while making love. The reason is simple: they are thinking of someone else! They are wishing that their spouse would do what “that girl/guy” did, or they are wishing that she/he looked more like that fantasy girl/guy in the video or magazine. When that happens, intimacy is destroyed. Think about that implication: you aren’t really getting what you want from pornography, and now you cannot enjoy real intimacy with your spouse, either!
9. Support of sinful businesses. “But I don’t pay for it. I just watch the free stuff.” By going to the websites, you are increasing the number of “hits” on a site, making it a more attractive place for advertisers to use. In other words, even by just consuming free pornography, you are lending support to a business built on sin.
What can you do? If you are involved in pornography, there are some things to keep in mind and to do:
1. STOP…NOW! Don’t try to “work your way off” pornography. Stop it!
2. Have accountability. If you are married, be honest. If you aren’t, find someone you trust who can check in on you. Many guys text or call a partner every day and just say, “good day” or “bad day.” That accountability leads to a lot more “good days!”
3. Pray. There is no substitute for prayer for one who is struggling.
4. Take note of how you view women/men in real life. How you “look” at women or men will be a good indicator or how your heart is doing concerning pornography. If you are able to walk down the mall without objectifying members of the opposite sex, you are moving in the right direction. If not, you have a lot more work to be done.
5. Realize that this is a lifetime pursuit. Male or female, sex is a real drive and temptation (especially in our culture) is ever-present. Never think you have fully conquered the temptation to lust.
Thank you for reading, and I would appreciate your thoughts on this problem in the comments. It is a real problem, and one we cannot be afraid to address!