The porn industry is worth approximately $96 billion. 96. Billion. Dollars. There are 68 million porn searches daily.1 This is staggering. Our culture is obsessed with sex. It’s everywhere: magazines, movies, TV, advertisement. And we’ve all consumed it, whether it’s softcore pornography (ex. nude/semi-nude images) or hardcore pornography (ex. explicit sexual acts). Look at the following stats:

Youth actively using pornography:

35% of boys aged 13-14

42% of teens

Watch porn several times a year:

53% of clergy

21% pastors

Watch porn several times a week:

37% of Christian men

7% of Christian women

Watch porn once a month:

64% self-identified Christian men

15% of self-identified Christian women

18% of clergy

6% of pastors1

And to add: 56% of US divorce cases involve a porn-addictive partner2

As you can see, it affects quite a large number of us.

 

WHAT SCIENCE HAS TO SAY ABOUT PORN

Viewing pornography has been both associated and correlated with depression, discouragement, social anxiety, stress, and low self-esteem.3,4It correlates with less relationship satisfaction5, intimacy problems6, and poorer quality of life7. Additionally, it impairs motivation and confidence, loss of attraction to real people, sexual dysfunction, and escalation to more graphic and extreme material8. A study showed that just exposure to “sexy female images” caused a man to devalue his partner9

People use pornography to escape their anxiety, boredom, and low self-esteem, amongst other things.10 When that rush disappears, those feelings come back stronger, and thus the viewer repeats the cycle, which alters the brain chemistry leading to addiction.10 By watching porn we are: creating an emotional bond to an artificial world, we begin to have distorted views of love and sex, we believe that there can be sex without intimacy, and we end up substituting nurture, intimacy, and love, with sex. And because it is sex without emotional intimacy, the basic needs that one needs, remains unsatisfied, and creates loneliness and emptiness.

 

PORN AND WOMEN

“Being anti-porn is anti-woman.”

“Porn-stars are the real liberated women out there.”

Let’s discuss.

From Dines’ book, Pornland *graphic*: “In porn, sex is framed as not just consensual but as something that the woman seeks out because she loves to be sexually used. [Example]… The images …show [her] being orally, vaginally, and anally penetrated by three men at the same time. One of the images shows a red, raw, and swollen anus while others show her face contorted as she is supposedly having an orgasm. [This] seduces the viewer into believing that no matter how cruelly her body is being treated, she belongs to a special breed of women that enjoy sexual mistreatment.”11

In the 1960s when feminists fought for sexual freedom, they fought because they didn’t want their sexuality to be defined by men.11 That didn’t go as expected since porn serves men. Women are fighting to be seen as a whole; more than their sexuality, more than to be objectified, and yet they do the exact opposite when they support and participate in the porn industry, which presents women by their sexuality above all other characteristics.

Typically, porn stars are sexually traumatized, drug addicts, and dealing with a range of psychological problems.12 Yes, very “liberating”.

When adolescent girls (and boys) are exposed to porn, they have stronger notions to see women as objects12. These girls then normalize sexual abuse towards themselves because this is what they see in the pornographic scenes, and they want to be seen as “cool”12. They end up having anxiety in relationships because of the unrealistic expectations that pornography falsely portraits.12

Let’s talk about the wives of porn consumers. The average western woman wants a relationship that’s based on equality, partnership upon mutual respect, honesty, shared power, and romantic love. In contrast, porn is everything women stand against. It promotes power imbalances, discrimination, detachment, objectification, disrespect, abuse, and voyeurism.12 And yet, when wives find out that their husbands are porn viewers, they start to question everything; they feel they’re not good enough, that they don’t measure up. They think, “maybe if I was more sexually available” or “I must have a bad marriage”, even though husbands viewing porn has nothing to do with their sexuality. Finding out their husbands are porn consumers is equally painful, if not more, as finding out their husbands had an affair.12 Wives then become emotionally devastated, they experience isolation, and psychological and spiritual crisis. Following, the marriage has diminished intimacy and marital satisfaction, increased risk of separation, divorce, anxiety, and depression, and less sensitivity within the marriage.12

In pornography, 88% of the scenes contain physical aggression and 49% contain verbal abuse1. When these are the images we see and the words we hear, we begin to have a distorted view of men, women, and sex. Women want “equality” so bad that they’ll do anything men do, even if that takes them to the lowest places.

This isn’t “liberating”. It’s not “pro-women”.

This is liberating: read the stories of these 10 ex-porn stars13 sharing their journey. The director of The Pink Cross Foundation was also in the porn industry. Read her story and see how she’s reached out and helped thousands of ex-porn stars and actresses. This is pro-women.

 

THE CHURCH

I visited a church once and the pastor started speaking on sex. He said, “Yeah I have sex with my wife almost every day — and it’s good!” and like five people walked out. It was pretty funny, although maybe a little inappropriate. When the Church speaks on sexuality, which it barely does, it’s mostly negative, and when we receive constant negative messages that don’t satisfy us, we are going to look somewhere else to get a more positive message, and we all know where that’ll lead. The Bible speaks pretty boldly about all issues, we are to emulate.

We need the church to create groups where men, women, and youth can gather together and talk about struggles such as this. We need to recognize what sins we commit when we view porn. We need compassionate leaders. Too many Christians feel alone in their sin, so they keep quiet, which wreaks havoc on the individual. The most effective way to end sin is to bring it out into the light. It’s why confession to priests, pastors, and one another is important. Because you will be held accountable, and none of us particularly like telling another person we’ve committed the same sin 193 times. We need stronger discipleship. We need a stronger community. We need more encouragement.

Our culture has managed to make sex everything and sex nothing in the same time. We need our leaders to be equipped in how to handle these sexual confusions and sexual struggles in general. We need our parents to be equipped so they can help their children. I know a pastor and a wife who, when a couple in their congregation is about to get married, they “teach” the couple “how to have sex”, amongst other odd things. This is not what I mean. This treads the line of decency,  is beyond biblical teaching, and frankly it’s awkward and none of their business. What we need is to teach positive sexuality (within Biblical limits), teach what Christ made us for, teach sexual expression within marriage, and ultimately, to be captured by something much more beautiful than the degrading and demeaning images. We must teach that we are all made in God’s image, and by viewing porn we are objectifying those people. We must make everyone aware of what viewing porn does to all people, as shown above. We need to teach that porn lessens a human being to a tool for one’s own pleasure is wrong. This is the only way to destroy the porn industry; by reaching out to one individual at a time.

Porn has never, and will never be a sign of “progress”.

 

References

  1. http://www.covenanteyes.com/pornography-facts-and-statistics/
  2. Manning J., Senate Testimony 2004, referencing: Dedmon, J., “Is the Internet bad for your marriage? Online affairs, pornographic sites playing greater role in divorces,” 2002, press release from The Dilenschneider Group, Inc.
  3. Simone Kühn and Jürgen Gallinat, “Brain Structure and Functional Connectivity Associated With Pornography Consumption: The Brain on Porn,” JAMA Psychiatry (2014)
  4. Michael E. Levin, Jason Lillis, Steven C. Hayes, “When is Online Pornography Viewing Problematic Among College Males? Examining the Moderating Role of Experiential Avoidance,” Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity 19/3 (2012)
  5. M. Morgan, “Associations between young adults’ use of sexually explicit materials and their sexual preferences, behaviors, and satisfaction,” J Sex Res 48/6 (2011)
  6. B. Weaver 3rd, et. al., ” Mental- and physical-health indicators and sexually explicit media use behavior by adults,” J Sex Med. 8/3 (2011)
  7. Andreas G. Philaretou, Ahmed Y. Mahfouz, Katherine R. Allen, “Use of internet pornography and men’s well-being,” Men’s Studies Press 4/2 (2005)
  8. Wilson, Gary. Your Brain on Porn: Internet Pornography and the Emerging Science of Addiction.
  9. Jennifer Viegas, “Flirty strangers sway how men see partners,” Discovery News/ABC Science, March 26, 2007
  10. salifeline.org
  11. Gail Dines, Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality
  12. http://www.covenanteyes.com/2010/12/17/the-impact-of-pornography-on-women/
  13. http://fightthenewdrug.org/10-porn-stars-speak-openly-about-their-most-popular-scenes/
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