Addressing a Porn Generation

When I was a teenager, if I wanted to view porn, I would have had to find a magazine. Honestly, even though I may have wanted to, I never had or found a “stash” of porn. I knew everyone in stores where I might have bought some and if my friends had their own stash of pictures, they never shared them with me.

I did some babysitting as a teenager in addition to my grocery store work and I found some magazines at one of the houses where I worked late one night (after the kids had gone to bed). I wasn’t really snooping. They were in the magazine rack, next to the recliner, which I thumbed through while watching Saturday Night Live. (In the golden years of SNL!) Anyway, those images are still with me today. As much as pornography was probably a part of my generation, it wasn’t that accessible to me.

My boys have grown up in a different generation. Since they have been old enough to be curious about such things, access to porn has been readily available if they wanted to look. No, I’ve never had a stash hidden around the house, and we always monitored their activities closely, but our house has always been connected to the Internet and, because of that, pornography has been programmed into their culture. Today’s generation has been saturated with opportunities to experience pornography.  In fact, all of us now have equal opportunity in this area of temptation.

I wish I could tell you this change doesn’t matter, but having sat with dozens of couples whose marriage is falling apart because of an addiction to pornography by one spouse, I have to speak against this part of our culture. Pornography is seldom talked about, but it is rampant and is destroying people and marriages. I consistently talk with young men who have been addicted since an early age. I’m certain that is true for women also, but I mostly have dealt with men about the issue. Pornography causes them to view their wives differently and cheapens the value of sex in their marriage, not to mention the emotional damage it does to the wife, forcing her to question her worth and her husband’s commitment to her and the marriage.

I don’t have all the answers. I don’t think legalism is the answer, but I believe the church must address this issue.

If this is your issue, before it ruins your life, let me offer a few points of encouragement:

1. Know there is a way out of the hold pornography has on your life if you are willing to find it.

2. Recognize that the consequences of pornography are huge and get help. It’s never too late for God’s grace to rescue you.

3. Get accountability now. You will be embarrassed, but you are not alone in this struggle. (1 Cor 10:13)

4. Ultimately you’ll want to learn to refocus that same passion and attention towards Christ. He is the answer for everything that ails us. Then you can begin to love your spouse as he or she deserves to be loved.

The sooner you start some of these steps, the sooner you’ll break free from the hold pornography has on your heart….and you know you want to be free!

Have you faced this battle? How do you guard your heart here? What should the church be doing with this issue? What suggestions do you have for those in this battle?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Add video comment

Have you Subscribed via RSS yet? Don't miss a post!

37 thoughts on “Addressing a Porn Generation

  1. With the emergence of social attitudes more tolerant of sexuality and more specific legal definitions of obscenity, an industry for the production and consumption of pornography arose in the latter half of the 20th century. The introduction of home video and the Internet saw booms in a worldwide porn industry that generates billions of dollars annually.

  2. Ron,

    I am sure this obvious, but viewing pornography has much to do with a persons history. People could just turn to Jesus like you said, but why don't they? He died for them in the most loving and impacting way. I recently counseled a young lady who is struggling with homosexuality. She knew the Bibles decisive teaching on the subject and yet she still struggled. As I accumulated insight from other Christians their first reaction was "tell her the Bible says it is sin". This makes the Bible look powerless. I am not saying the Biblical truth is not important or "true" for that matter. I am saying that a person in sin needs help. Someone to love them enough to hear their story and not agree, but listen. To hear things in a persons story and then teach them some things that happened to them were not healthy. While pornography addiction is a hurtful act to the person using it and to their loved ones it is only another indication that we struggle with sin. To weight that sin and use it for shame and guilt sake only makes it worse.

    Consider the Lord sending Nathan to David. Nathan tells him a parable that evokes David's knowledge of good and evil. Nathan is then able to provide intervention. In other word's Nathan provided David with a way to help himself bring accountability concerning righteousness on himself.

    I know that is what our aim is, but in our attempt to reach out we need to be careful that we don't come across as belittling toward those who have failed in this area (so easy to do). Because, aren't we all failures?

  3. 1. The church should be open. They have all kinds of “support group” they need one for this addiction. Bring it out in the open. 2. We are in a war let’s be on the attack. As men we need to be candid with one another stop being “so sensitive” we need to be up in each others grill. Agape.

  4. Ron, thanks for the post. I recently went to a seminar put on by http://ourbandofbrothers.org/ The seminar leader, Mark Trover has a somewhat different approach. He suggests that we should enter into accountability relationships with our male family members in an age appropriate manner. The ministry grows out of the story of his own life with his son and sons-in-law.

  5. Thank you Ron for sharing. I covet your experience!

    I have experienced an addiction to porn since I was 9 years old. When I met Jesus and was baptized at the age of 20, I figured that it would all go away. 15 years later, the temptation is still there. However, I can attest that with Jesus living in me that He is working His good and perfect will in and through my life. That said, the struggle isn't what it used to be and I am thankful for Him abiding in me to give me His victory!

    I have a ministry called PureIntegrity.org where I speak at schools, churches, men's retreats, etc. on this subject. Having been a pastor/church planter its been a joy to be involved with breaking the ice on this difficult subject. I have a free handout that I am happy to provide that contains statistics and solutions. None of the ideas there are mine, just a compilation of information from various authors. Email me at vagabondservant@gmail.com and simply request "Free Handout" and I'll send it to you. Or you can simply go to http://www.matthewgamble.com and click on the links tab and see download the same PDF from directly off my site.

    Blessings!

    Matthew
    (206) 423-1991

    • Thanks for sharing your experience and this resources. I will add it to my personal resource list for times when people need help in this issue. God bless your ministry.

  6. It's also an indictment of the morals, or lack thereof, of our society. Like everything else technology has just exacerbated the issue. Fifty years ago a bully had to actually be there to beat you up. Now he/she can post pictures taken with a cell phone camera on Facebook for the whole world to see and embarrass you without touching you. As I commented on above, you used to have to drive to the book store with the yellow-painted windows in order to get really "good" porn or have it delivered to your house in a plain brown wrapper. Now you can lie in bed or sit on your couch and see it for free or at some reasonable cost on your computer.

    According to friends of mine with kids in public school a "common" practice these days is young females engaging in oral sex with young males…it's not "really" sex you know.

    Then there's sexting; one reason I have picture texting blocked on my kids' phones. It's not that I don't trust them; it's the rest of the world that I don't trust.

    As big a fan as I am of technology and Apple, I can't wait to see what these same people who do all these things we cringe at will do with Facetime (Apple's video chat feature on IOS devices like the iPhone 4). Now we'll not only be to text pictures of ourselves in various sexual poses, we'll be able to stream the video of it live to our "friends".

    Sigh…

    It just gets harder and harder to protect our kids and ourselves from this and then we wonder why there is a problem.

  7. Ron,

    Here is what I just recently implemented to protect not only myself from temptation, but also my young teens in the house. It was a free solution that secures your entire home wireless router, including internet enabled phones on wifi. It's a little harder on implementation side, but protects anything that accesses the internet. It may help some of your followers for Free.. It's helping me.
    http://bit.ly/b44h3z
    Or http://nickernet.wordpress.com/2010/10/08/guide-t

  8. What can the church do? I think it’s done a much better job in recent years of vocally talking about the effects of pornography in men. However, it’s done a poor job in discussing porn’s grasp on women. As a leader in a high school youth group, I’ve talked to many girls who view it and don’t know the lasting effects or how to break free. They feel that since it’s not talked about, it must not be that important, since “it’s a bigger deal for guys”. Now, I do know that the Church is about ten years behind the culture when it comes to talking about relevance, so I figure that the church will still take a while to become comfortable adressing porn’s effect on women. I understand that. But let’s offer up a continuing discussion. I’m not sure of the statistic, but I’m positive that the rate in which women are being drawn to porn is increasing at a more rapid rate than men right now. I wish that when I was in high school there were women who were vulnerable to share with me before I got sucked into it. Now I want to be that woman… Thank God for the everlasting grace and mercy He offers.

  9. First I would say that pornography is a symptom of a deeper issue: misplaced desire for intimacy. We are created for intimacy. When it is not properly fulfilled, we will seek a poor substitute.

    I have definitely struggled with this. I think I was in bondage for so long due to the shame associated with this type of sin. Not just from myself, but from others as well. People are so afraid of it and talk about it like some kind of disease. Because there is fear, it is not always handled in love. People try to address symptoms (Internet filters, weekly addiction meetings, etc).

    Throwing out your computer, burning your DVD collection and promising that you will never do it again is foolish. There is no power in that. If you never address the root, you will keep weeding the garden but it will keep coming back.

    I think it is important to talk about these issues in the church but the danger is to go the opposite direction and make more of the issue than really needs to be made. Sure it is there, don't pretend it isn't but also don't give the issue more power than it really has.

    Accountability is important but that isn't the full solution either. Accountability is a result of authentic relationships, not someone getting a weekly report of what websites you've been to and then asking you why you are still struggling. You're setting people up to fail.

    Authentic relationships will consist of talking about your life and your dreams and your goals. Encouragement and building each other up. In the course of the relationship, you'll talk about struggles as well. But your struggles don't define you. They only will if you let them. Focusing a relationship on struggles perpetuates this.

    That's why I don't really believe in addiction or recovery affinity groups. If all you do is meet week after week discussing your weakness, you give it more control over your life and it becomes your identity. If you struggled that week, you come in with so much shame and condemnation. After awhile, the temptation is to just stop going. Try harder next week just doesn't cut it.

    Sorry for such a long post but this is something I've been discussing a lot with my discipleship group. Something's got to change and I want to see men of God delivered from this issue.

    • Thanks Tony for this comment. You are absolutely right. We are created for intimacy and pornography never meets that ultimate need.

  10. I believe we as a church need to address it more and directly, as well as addressing it as an issue that both men and women struggle with. I am a woman who has struggled with this for years and most of those years I didn't feel like I could tell anymore because I was a woman dealing with a man's issue. The church can no longer avoid this subject….it's right in front of our face and I believe people in the church are looking to the leadership for guidance and grace in their area. Thanks for this post!

    • Thanks for your honesty Mandy. You are right. I don't work directly with women dealing with this issue, but I hear the affect of it often.

  11. The battle seems to be overwhelming at times.
    And I think the thing that makes it even worse is that it does not get better. No marriage or happiness will solve the issue.

    One thing that I have had to really work on is seeing women for individuals and beautiful creations of God rather then objects.
    It gets real for me because I have two younger sisters. I would never want anyone to see them as objects, but as a child of christ.

    Maybe when Jesus was talking abou gauging out your eyes he was talking about seeing in a whole new way rather then just trying to remove the problem by not being able to see anymore.

  12. My parents' marriage was destroyed because of my father's addiction to pornography, and of course it wasn't just the marriage suffered. I've essentially grown up fatherless due to the fact that my dad was more interested in watching porn on TV in his room than spending any time with his children. My brother grew up to have a completely false view of women, himself, the world and turned to drugs to soothe the pain. He's now been diagnosed with a mental disorder of his personality. The strength of pornography to have a hold over someone should never be underestimated. Of course Jesus is more powerful, but only if you submit to him. And as a product of a wrecked family requiring years of therapy to combat all the years of abuse, I would very much recommend 'nipping it in the bud' as soon as you see the problem surfacing. It's not easy – but so much more difficult later and there'll more at stake and more to lose.

  13. I wanted to share this passage from Wild at Heart by John Eldredge that I've loved and gives a great perspective for men who may need it:

    "Why is pornography the number one snare for men? He longs for the beauty, but without his fierce and passionate heart he cannot find her or win her or keep her. Though he is powerfully drawn to the woman, he does not know how to fight for her or even that he IS to fight for her. Rather, he finds her mostly a mystery that he knows he cannot solve and so at a soul level he keeps his distance. And privately, secretly, he turns to the imitation. What makes pornography so addictive is that more than anything else in a lost man's life, it makes him feel like a man without ever requiring a thing of him. The less a guy feels like a real man in the presence of a real woman, the more vulnerable he is to porn."

    • I too think this is a great quote and is spot on in a number of ways.

      But I think there are other issues at play in some circumstances. In my own marital issues, my wife has very much distanced herself from me. I caused the problem, that problem is no more, but she is unwilling to see that and act on it. So it's not that I don't have a passionate heart for her; I do. It's not that I don't know I should fight for her or that I don't want to; I do know it and I do fight for her every day. But in my case there is a woman,a wife, who really doesn't care that I have a passionate heart for her or that I fight for her every day. So I am a real man and I love my woman, but…

      I have not turned to porn nor will I. That is superficial at best, violates ( in my mind) my marriage vows, disrespects God and my wife and does nothing real to fix the issues. But many men in my situation would do just that and the fact that it's so easy to get to makes it doubly a problem.

  14. You are so right. "Back in the day" you had to work hard or even put yourself in an embarrassing situation in order to acquire porn. Now, I could get to it faster than I can find this blog or a particular scripture. And it's only accelerating. When the Internet was "new" there used to be something known as use groups. They may still exist, but have mostly been replaced by slicker and better. But these were text-based bulletin boards where people could drop comments on ideas… kind of like a blog, but less refined. My wife and I home school the kids and I was looking for some info on home schooling and found a couple of use groups that dealt with this issue. So one day I was scanning the posts and right in the middle was one supposedly from an attractive teenage girl, who provided a link so that I could go and view her sexy cheerleader pictures; obviously I declined, but was struck at how easy it was to see this stuff, even when I wasn't looking for it. A Christian friend of mine has kids about the same age as mine and he was, at that time, not as savvy as I in techie things. He asked me how easy it would be for his kids to see this kind of stuff. I showed him and I believe that this delayed the entrance computers into his house.

    Now, it's even easier. All you need is the right Google search and you can, without financial cost, gain access to some pretty bad stuff.

    I know someone, not well, who is addicted to porn. It's amazing how it has torn his life and his marriage apart. I think he's still married and the wife knows, but it's obviously not a complete and working marriage. It's as though she's not enough for him, like these pictures are more fuflfilling. And I know of a marriage that has issues and the man had turned to porn; not as an addiction, but for what his wife wasn't giving him. I believe that he no longer does that, but what a mess such easy access to this creates.