*This week I will be doing a 3 part series about pornography and the family. Today I will give an introduction on pornography, Wednesday I’ll look at pornography and how it affects marriage, and then on Friday I will have a guest post by Jessica at The Faith-Filled Home who will be discussing pornography and parenting.
Pornography: “printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings.”
That is what porn is in definition but we need to go deeper than that. Why does porn exist? Why do people look at porn? Why do they become addicted? These are the questions I will attempt to answer in order to lay down some groundwork before going into how porn effects marriages and parenting.
WHY PORN EXIST
Sexual immorality has always been a part of our human history. All you have to do is look at some of the things that are recorded in the Bible and see that sexual promiscuity and perversion were alive and kicking way back then. In some ways we are a far more civilized people with a higher sense of morality but in other ways we are deteriorating under our depraved nature. Sexual immorality is a huge part of our depravity. We are drawn to it and often give into it. Pornography is just one way that sexual immorality is manifested, by those who create pornography and by those who consume it. Pornography exist because we are depraved beings who desire sexual satisfaction yet seek it outside of God’s will and design. Pornography exists because we have cheapened sex into a solely physical pleasure where the goal is physical release.
WHY PEOPLE LOOK AT PORN
We’ve already discussed why porn exists which also answers why people look at it. We desire sexual experience and satisfaction but we look for that outside of God’s design of a marriage covenant. This is the overarching issue but people give many different reasons for why they look at porn. I’ve been saying “people” because both men and women view porn but it has been shown that men view porn more so than women. R. Albert Mohler Jr. wrote an article in the Baptist Press in 2005 where he included these statistics: “70% of 18 to 24-year-old men visit pornographic sites in a typical month. 66% of men in their 20s and 30s also report being regular users of pornography.” I don’t put a whole lot of stock in statistics but I do believe that it is true that the majority of men have viewed porn and struggle with this particular issue more than women. The main reason for this is that men are visual and are more easily “turned on” by visual stimulation. Another reason is that men tend to have a higher sex drive and need to have a sexual encounter more often than women. Pornography creates a sexual encounter through fantasy and masturbation so men may say that they use porn to fill the void when their partners aren’t available or don’t want to have sex. Or they use it as a form of foreplay. None of these are valid reasons, however, and the deeper issues lie within a sin and heart problem.
WHY PEOPLE BECOME ADDICTED
There is a difference between a general enjoyment of something and an addiction. Something becomes an addiction when it becomes the main focus of your life, when it gets in the way of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, when it becomes something that has more control over you than you have over it. Viewing porn is never acceptable, even if it doesn’t become an addiction, but often that first look leads to more looks and more looks until it does become an addiction. There are different levels of it and different ways of viewing it. There is soft porn and hard porn and you can view porn in magazines, on the TV, in videos, and on the internet. At whatever level a person is introduced to porn (usually soft porn) that level may be satisfactory for a little while but then it becomes boring and uninteresting. New and harder porn is needed to satisfy an ever-growing hunger for sexual experience. So people tend to get deeper and deeper involved until they are so deep that they can’t find a way to climb out. It’s a trap and it can easily become an addiction that holds severe consequences.
Pornography is alluring and promises sexual gratification at many different levels. Men can look at all kinds of different women and their naked bodies which, in purely human language, is every man’s dream. It demands no work, no commitment, no relationship. Just nudity and sexual fantasies played out before their eyes, inviting them to partake in what their body desires. If you take God out of existence for a moment then this sounds like a great thing! But God does exist and the reality is that pornography and all that it represents is so totally outside of God’s design. It may offer us immediate sexual gratification but at the end of the day, we have experienced absolutely no intimacy or godly relationship, and that is what binds us together. Porn twists and obscures what sex is suppose to be and how it is suppose to function within a healthy marriage. Porn is destructive and it can wreck havoc on a marriage relationship and on a family unit. This is not how God intended for His gift of sex to be used and when we take part in something that goes against His standards there will be consequences. And unfortunately those consequences don’t only affect the wrongdoer but they also affect the family.
We’ll see how pornography effects the family in the coming days so please continue reading. In the meantime, if pornography is a personal issue of yours then I greatly encourage you to repent and seek godly counsel and accountability. The cost is too great to you and to those you love if you don’t.