When I was a junior high boy, one day, walking a country road, I spotted some magazines in the ditch which were to change my life. They were pornographic. Even though they would be considered “soft porn” I still remember the explosive effect it had on my hormones. I kept the magazines hidden for a while (I wasn’t following Christ at the time). This was a sort of unlucky happenstance back in the 60’s. I just happened upon them. Today pornography is far easier to get. In 2017 alone, Pornhub got 28.5 BILLION visits. That’s almost 1,000 visits a second, or 78.1 million a day. Even in the church pornography is a significant issue. I’ve known otherwise godly men who struggle with it. Perhaps some of you listening or reading this are fighting this temptation.
The word “pornography” does not appear in the Bible, but the word “lust” appears 29 times. Lust, in most of these contexts is a deep hunger, for sex with someone you’re not married to (there’s nothing wrong with lusting after your marriage partner – that can be good and normal). Lust is the purpose of pornography. Lust is fun. It excites the pleasure centers of the brain. It can help take the pain out of life or at least dull it for a while. Yet pornography is not only ungodly, since the Bible condemns lust, it can also ruin your life. Even a number of non-Christian researcher have pointed out the damage it does. I will be writing mostly from the viewpoint of a man, though some women also engage in pornography.
Why is pornography a problem?
1. Pornography is a problem because it gets me sexually focused on someone other than my marriage partner
It’s a wonderful gift to look at a person of the opposite sex and get a little crazy inside – feeling our sexual desire smoulder until we want to drop everything else and satisfy it. To hunger and to be hungered for is a treat.
Pornography takes that desire and gives it away to others who have no right to it – lots of others. God made us to get wild over one woman or one man – our husband or wife. Pornography takes this pleasure pie and cuts it into lots of little slices – one for my wife, another for the woman on page 23, still another for that temptress on the internet. Jesus called lust a form of adultery. This leads to the next point.
2. Pornography is a problem because it distorts my proper desire for my wife
We’ll discuss this more in a moment, but enjoying normal sex with the same wife while working, raising children and growing older, becomes increasingly more difficult when measured against pornographic standards. God created us to enjoy making love to one person, in ways that match reality and the seasons of life. Pornography wouldn’t sell if it showed reality. To continue this insight:
3. Pornography is a problem because it exaggerates our expectations
Porn stars are chosen for their beauty and exaggerated proportions. They’re unusual. Most people don’t look like that (even some of the porn stars have had help from surgery along with carefully chosen camera angles, well-edited) and even they don’t keep looking like that as they age. The shelf life of a porn star is usually short.
Furthermore, most people don’t act like porn stars. Women especially, seldom want sex all the time, in any available place, and in kinky or rough ways. So porn makes it hard for men to get interested in more normal situations, like in the bedroom at bedtime.
4. Pornography is a problem because it inflames lust
Sexual desire is a normal part of the life cycle, but it’s not meant to dominate our time and our thinking. Porn exalts it to a place it was never intended to occupy. It makes a good friend, but a lousy dictator. Porn also makes it harder to enjoy the simple beauty of other women we meet without immediately sliding into lusting after them.
5. Pornography is a problem because it usually drags us down into increasing perversion
There’s what’s called “the law of diminishing returns” in pornography. Soft core pornography, simple nudity, is enough to get most beginners aroused. But after a while, they get used to it and want something more explicit – like real sexual action. And as time goes on, even that isn’t always enough to get them going. They often go after harder, more perverted porn with its increasing kinky and distorted view of what God created sex to be.
6. Pornography is a problem because it makes us easy prey for the Devil
Pornography is an enticing worm on Satan’s hook. Once it gets a grip on us, it’s a tool he easily uses to pull us away from God and into his territory. Our resistance to him and to sin in general is greatly diminished when we give in to pornography.
7. Porn is a problem because it opens the door to actual adultery
Adultery, which can severely damage or ruin a marriage, usually begins in the mind. Thoughts of lust enter (we can’t always help that). But if these are not quickly put out, and renounced, they gain a grip. This grip grows stronger and is fed by pornography. Lust increases. Sometimes the next step is visiting strip clubs. Even that doesn’t happen, lust, allowed to grow, weakens our resolve against actual physical adultery. Our barriers have been lowered, our walls have been weakened, and when a willing woman appears, we’re already half-way there to giving in and following through.
8. Pornography is a problem because it wrongs the women being viewed
Pornography is an insult to women. The only one who should see them in this way are their husbands. We’re usurping that privilege as well as treating them as merely physical objects rather than as whole persons. Furthermore, playing this role for men other than their husbands does damage to them spiritually and psychologically.
9. Pornography is a problem because it weakens my relationship with God
Pornography is an act of rebellion against God. We’re disobeying his express commands. I may be obeying Him in other ways, but any sin, left unchecked, does damage to our relationship as well as opening the door to other sins. It also dishonors His holy name and betrays His gracious love.
10. Pornography is a problem because it has incredible staying power
I still remember a lot of the pictures I viewed in junior high. That was almost fifty years ago. We may confess the sin of pornography and renounce it, but those images remain burned into our minds indefinitely, even when we want them to leave. They’ll pop up in our mind without warning, perhaps even in the midst of making love to our wives. We can push back and dismiss them when they do, but it’s still an ongoing battle which can fade, but seldom goes completely away.
How can I win the battle against pornography?
Pornography is a wily, powerful opponent, but, with God’s help it can be overcome. And it’s worth overcoming, since God’s original plan is so much richer; full of innocent fun and deep bonding. Tune in next time to hear both offensive and defensive strategies to help win this battle.