Real Marriage: The Porn Path

Chapter 8 of Real Marriage deals with the issue of pornography. I’m not going to write a whole lot concerning this topic because I did a four part series about pornography not too long ago so I feel like I would just be repeating myself. To read those posts, click on the following links:

Pornography & the Family

Pornography & Marriage

Porn & Parenting: 6 Ways to Protect your Child

Pornography Follow Up

I will sum up and highlight some of what the Driscolls had to say on this topic.

Most experts agree there are four basic aspects to virtually all heterosexual pornography, which constitutes the majority of porn:

1. The message is consistent that all women want sex from all men all the time in all kinds of bizarre ways and are essentially nymphomaniacs.

2. Women really enjoy whatever any man does to them sexually.

3. And woman who does not meet the stereotype of points 1 and 2 can quickly be changed through a bit of force or intimidation.

4. The woman is dominated and degraded by the man in a way that exploits her as essentially a tool for the pleasure of the man and not really a person, but rather, parts.

Pornography rewires the brain. It creates a fantasy world in which these four points are the “norm.” When this happens, reality is no longer satisfying. Real men and women aren’t attractive because our brains have been rewired to desire a porn star. We no longer crave intimacy but simply lust after more and harder porn. It is destructive to our marriages and to our souls.

Unfortunately, many many people, more and more being women, struggle with a porn addiction. It is a very real problem in many, if not most, marriages. It needs to be fought. Repentance and redemption need to be sought.

The Driscolls offer “some practical advice for those wanting to be free of porn and sinful lust, as well as those spouses who love them.”

1. You must be honest with yourself.

2. You must be honest with God.

3. You must be honest with your spouse.

4. You must put your sexual sin to death by the grace of God.

5. You must submit to God the Holy Spirit.

This is the only way to be free. Repent, confess, put your sin to death, and cling to the Holy Spirit to help you run away from temptation.

Our marriages are worth it.

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Pornography Follow Up

My husband found a video about porn addiction and after watching it I decided to write a follow up post. This video is from the scientific perspective only and I think that speaks volumes.

Pornography rewires your brain and the more you do it the more your spouse becomes unsatisfying and unattractive to you. The only thing that will satisfy you is more porn but that is only temporary and isn’t truly satisfying. As the video said, it’s like a drug. It functions as a drug within your brain and you start to crave porn instead of intimacy. So instead of desiring a close relationship where your intimacy lies deeper than sexual gratification (and where sex is a sacred act used to express love and a deep bond) you desire an erotic fantasy world that rewires your brain from its natural state into a state of addiction. And it has been shown that what porn finds acceptable influences our culture so that we find it acceptable. Once we as a society accept graphic and unnatural ways of having and exploring sex then what kind of society are we leaving for our children? They will grow up to believe that such sexual experience is “normal” and the level of acceptance will only grow.

That’s just the science of it but when we look beyond that to the God who created our brains and we look at this from His perspective we see an even deeper issue. Not only does pornography rewire our brains and promote sexual perversion but it dishonors God’s gift of sex and it doesn’t bring Him glory. It’s destructive. It destroys the healthy functioning of our brains, the future for our children, our marriages, our families, and our relationship with (and to) God. That is not a place that you, as a Christian man or woman, want to be. If we were created to worship and glorify God with our bodies and with our lives then sexual immorality must cease. We cannot stand up under it and we cannot pass it on to our children.

Even the video said that this can be helped but unfortunately that message was “just stop long enough and the addiction will go away.” We all know that “just stop” is harder than it sounds. I gave some steps in beginning the journey to healing here but for further help I suggest a Christian based addiction recovery program or counseling. Also, here’s a website to look into: http://www.x3pure.com

The most important first steps to take are repentance and confession. Repent to the Lord, confess to your spouse and then to a trusted pastor or friend. Tell someone who will help you find the counseling, program, or whatever it is that you need to get help. You don’t have to be stuck in this addiction. You don’t have to live with the guilt. There is hope for you.

Porn & Parenting: 6 Ways to Protect Your Child

*Today’s post is a guest post from Jessica at The Faith-Filled Home.  She has some great and practical suggestions for parents who want to do what they can to protect their children from pornography and other sexually explicit content. Happy reading!

Hello to all The Biblical Family readers! I am so happy to join Sarah in the topic that is all too often ignored in Christian circles. So let’s dive in!

How does pornography affect parenting? As a mom of boys, ages 3, 2 and one due March 2, this topic is on the forefront of my mind. The statistics are staggering. The following information is from citizenlink.com.

In the past decade, most research has focused on how the Internet has impacted youth exposure to pornography. According to a survey of more than 500 college students in 2006, 73 percent reported having seen pornography online prior to age 18, including 93 percent of boys. An article about this study in Cyberpsychology & Behavior reported that the mean age for first online exposure to pornography for boys is 14.3.

Exposure to Internet pornography among college-aged males

• 93.2% – before 18

• 4.2% – after 18

• 2.6% – never

If exposed before age 18, age at first exposure

• 8 – 0.6%

• 9 – 0.6

• 10 – 0.6

• 11 – 1.7

• 12 – 10.9

• 13 – 16.0

• 14 – 21.1

• 15 – 22.9

• 16 – 20.0

• 17 – 5.7
(numbers may not add up to 100% due to rounding)

I don’t know about you but 8 year olds looking at pornography makes me sick to my stomach! Studies like this let me know that I can’t wait till pre pubescent years to be protective of my sons eyes. It starts now! Our culture is obsessed with sex. It’s everywhere you look!

~Billboards down the highway

~Magazine covers and articles

~Poster/Ads at the Mall (think 8ft half naked lingerie models!)

~Movies

~TV shows

~The average woman walking down the street

So how do you safeguard your children? I am writing primarily from the perspective of boys since that’s what I have but much can be applies to girls as well.

1. Love your husband/wife

Give your child a model of Christ’s love through your love for your spouse. You made a covenant and young boys are watching how dad treats mom. They will notice if he gives lip service but then he himself retreats to a dark addiction. Boys are also watching mom honor or dishonor dad. Is she sweet, loving and nice to him like she is to her friends?

2. Teach truth from God’s word

Colossians 3:2-5 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

2 Timothy 2:22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Gal.5:16-24, Rom.13:14, Titus 2:11-13, John 8:31-32 and James 4:7-10 

We need to teach our children that sexuality and life aren’t isolated ideas. They go together. We have to put to death not just sexual immorality but all sins. They need to understand that while humans may see sin in degrees of ‘evil,’ God sees all sin the same. All sin goes against God’s Word just the same and it all leads to the same consequence, separation from God. Talk to your children early about waiting for God’s best. Pray with and without them for their future spouse and their personal protection against temptations.

3. Be mindful of where and with whom your child is spending their time

As iron sharpens iron bad company corrupts morals.

We as parents are given stewardship over our children. This covers every aspect of their lives. I can remember when I was growing up that I didn’t spend the night just anywhere or go over to just anyone’s house. I didn’t learn until I was an adult that my parents did that in order to protect me. Here are some questions to ask yourself before your child spends time with a friend or goes out in general.

~ Does that friend have an older brother?

~ Does that family share the same values, principles and faith?

~Is that movie/show/song appropriate?

~Just because they are related to you doesn’t give them a free pass to watch your child.

I encourage you to sit with your spouse and decide what questions you will to determine where and with whom your child will be spending their time. You want to be prepared before it happens and not say “yes” on a whim.

4. Guard media time

Handing a young pre-pubescent boy a smartphone without parameters is just asking for trouble. It doesn’t matter how ‘good’ your child is, temptation is now at his fingertips. This can be avoided, whether you are dealing with movies, TV shows, computers, or tablets. Some simple things that I know my parents did and others have done is no computer in child’s room period and no TV with cable access in child’s room. Put basic parental filters on all devices, have screens face the room, use TVs that lock at a certain time of night, and look up movies before you release them to a theater. Hollywood has done a great job of distorting and desensitizing us to sex and foul language. I can’t think of a reason that a student should see a movie with a sex scene in it. You may be very un-popular with your child but it isn’t our job to be their friend.

5. Be open to having conversations about sex and pornography. 

Pornography may not be their sin struggle but nevertheless you want to always be the first to talk to them about their sexuality. I know that as kids get older they may not talk to parents as much. Especially as a mom of boys many of these important conversations will likely take place with my husband. That’s fine and healthy. What I can do is pray now for those conversations that are 5-10 years out.

6. Pray for a godly mentor for your child 

There is no replacement for a parent’s role in a child’s development when it comes to a healthy biblical view of sex, however a wonderful supplement is a mentor. Some one who is younger than mom and dad {usually} and closer to the adolescent’s age {usually} with a little bit more life experience. I am already praying for the mentors my boys will have in high school/college.

I have seen first hand the benefit of having a mentor in a teen’s life. My husband has been that person many times. Young men ages 15-21 have come to him with questions and issues that either those boys haven’t shared with mom and dad or have only shared with them in part. Moms have also told me how thankful they are that my husband takes the time to meet with their son and point him to truth. My husband isn’t saying anything much different than that mom or dad but that’s just it, he isn’t mom or dad. He is someone closer in age {he is 27} to them so he seems more relevant.

The biggest help for parents is devotion to prayer, open communication with your child, and community. We can’t keep our child from being tempted, but we can raise them in truth and lean on the promise that God’s word will not return void. We need other parents, those who are right there in the trenches with us, and those who have been there. done that, and lived to tell about it.

Jessica is a stay-at-home-mom to almost 3 boys, David age 3, Elliot age 2, and Micah due in early March 2013. She has been married to her highs school sweetheart Robert for almost 5 years. Jessica blogs over at The Faith-Filled Home where she talks about her faith, keeping her home, and life in general. In her “free” time she enjoys crafting, cooking, Pinterest-surfing, playing with her sons and dating her husband. Follow Jessica Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest! 

http://facebook.com/pages/The-Faith-Filled-Home/
http://twitter.com/FaithFilledHome

Pornography & Marriage

On Monday we looked at what pornography is and why people look at it and get addicted to it. And I said that it’s destructive and is one manifestation of sexual immorality. Today we’ll look at how pornography affects the marriage relationship and because men view pornography more so than women I will be writing from that perspective.

According to the Internet Filter Review, “The average age of first Internet exposure to pornography is 11 years old.” So because men are exposed to pornography so young, by the time they get married they have spent the majority of their life struggling with this issue. And sadly the issue doesn’t go away when they wed. Instead it only becomes more of a problem because it now affects their relationship with their spouse. It can affect the wife’s view of herself and her husband and it can affect the way the husband views sex. We are going to look at these closer and see just how harmful pornography can be.

THE HUSBAND & SEX
Pornography is explicit and obscene. It creates unrealistic scenarios and it takes the emotional and intimate aspects of marital sexual experience out of sex. God created sex to be used as a way of showing covenantal love, expressing the deepest sense of physical, emotional, and intimate connection that only a husband and wife can share. Porn cheapens sex and makes it dirty and unnatural. It’s disgusting. And when a man views porn it begins to shape his view of women and sex. He begins to see women as sexual objects and he sees sex as a means to an end. He becomes obsessed with sexual gratification so that when he has sex with his wife he isn’t making love with her, he’s simply seeking a release. Or instead of sleeping with his wife he chooses to masturbate. Lust blinds men and it perverts their hearts and minds. It is a dangerous sin that, once many men fall into, it is very hard for them to find their way out.

THE WIFE
When a wife finds out that her husband has a porn problem it completely devastates her. The way she reacts is much the same as if he had cheated on her with an affair. She will feel that he is unfaithful (which in a way, he is) and question her part in the problem. She’ll wonder if it’s her fault because she’s not pretty enough, isn’t adventurous enough, or isn’t satisfying to him. She’ll wonder what she is lacking that causes him to seek sexual satisfaction from anything other than herself. She will be deeply hurt and insecure.

THE MARRIAGE
When a husband has a porn issue it brings him shame and guilt. He may try to stop but he can’t do it on his own. And when a husband’s porn issue comes to light it hurts the trust, intimacy, and oneness in a marriage. And if it’s not dealt with, it will destroy a marriage. God didn’t create sex to be pornographic and when we make it so we do it outside of His design and that brings repercussions.

I have heard a lot of people say that porn is okay. I’ve had women tell me that all men look at porn and it shouldn’t bother me if my husband does too. I should just accept it. What lies! It is sad to me that these people have been so blinded that the truth seems foolish to them and that they don’t demand respect and honor. Wives, your husband should not be looking at porn. It is not okay. YOU are the only woman he should be looking at and YOU are the only woman he should go to seeking pleasure and intimacy. He made a covenant with you and he should honor that. He should not be robbing you of intimacy by choosing to participate in masturbation or pornography. Above all else, you should expect your husband to honor God. Your husband’s sin doesn’t just separate him from you but it separates him from God. He cannot be your spiritual leader while drowning in unrepentant sin.

And know this, in no way is his issue with porn your fault. Lust is powerful and in the moment it is not about how pretty you are but about his sin. It is not your fault that he can’t say no to temptation. However, there are ways you can help.

1. Talk to him. Talk to him about how this makes you feel and what you expect from him. Remind him of God’s standards. Tell him that this isn’t acceptable and that he needs to get help. Ask him what he plans to do and be clear on what the next steps will be.

2. Encourage him to talk to someone. A pastor, counselor, or trusted friend. And if he won’t, then do it for him. The thing about sin is that when it is kept secret it is easy to ignore but when it is brought into the light it becomes hard not to face. Someone needs to be talking to him and keeping him accountable. And it needs to be someone who doesn’t also have the same struggle. Even if they have good intentions to help each other I think it becomes easy to dismiss the sin and not provide real accountability and discipleship.

3. Love him anyway. I know this is hard and sounds unreasonable but loving him through this period of revealing his problem and getting help speaks more volumes than becoming harsh and hurtful. Allow yourself to deal with your emotions and feel the hurt but don’t stay there.

4. When you are ready, forgive him. Don’t hold this over him forever and don’t bring it up in arguments. You both need to heal but you can’t do that if you bring it up with angry and hurtful intentions.

And husbands, if you have a sin issue with pornography, then please do this:

1. Repent to the Lord. You have defiled His gift of sex, you have been unfaithful to the bride He has given you, and you have dishonored Him. There is forgiveness and reconciliation for you but you must repent.

2. Confess to your wife. This will probably be harder than confessing to the Lord since He already knows but it is something you must do. It will hurt your wife, yes, but you can’t keep this secret from her. It only dishonors her even more. You must tell her and begin the journey to healing and rebuilding the trust you have broken.

3. Get help and accountability. You know you can’t overcome this on your own. It’s not possible. You must find someone who is able and willing to regularly check in on you and keep you accountable.

Losing yourself to a sin you can’t get out of on your own and hurting your spouse is not worth easy and immediate sexual gratification. God has something so much more and better in store for you and your marriage. Undefiled and totally devoted marital sex between two covenant keepers is better than any amount of pornography. In the end, porn will leave you feeling empty and unsatisfied. Following and keeping to God’s design will satisfy you to your very soul and you won’t look for anything else.

*Please check out this article from The Gospel Coalition.
Study: Watching Pornography Increases Support for Adultery and Same-Sex Marriage

“When a person has been exposed to thousands of images of an particular human behavior it becomes impossible to consider such activity as ‘unthinkable.’ It becomes accepted on the individual level and later, when people recognize that other people are okay with it too, accepted on a societal level.”

Pornography & the Family

*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.