In something of a shock, the medical/social/psychological world is catching up with what Christian thinkers have been warning about for some time: The very real dangers of online pornography.
This is a sensitive issue because the secular media tends to favor anything that has to do with sexual liberation and the freedom to choose what they consider “victimless” activities (but of course even they draw the line at child pornography). However, TIME magazine recently ran a cover story about online porn that sees it as destructive, addictive, and a genuine public health crisis.
Dr. Gail Dines is a professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College in Boston. Her writing and lectures focus on the hypersexualization of the culture damaging effect of porn. Her powerful TEDx talk is called, “Growing up in a Pornified Culture,” and it provides an introduction to her work. Gail is a recipient of the Myers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights, and she says the scientific question of whether porn is bad for society is settled:
“Just as the tobacco industry argued for decades that there was no proof of a connection between smoking and lung cancer,” she writes, “the porn industry, with the help of a well-oiled public relations machine, [has] denied the existence of empirical research on the impact of its products.”
Dines cites a bevy of peer-reviewed studies showing that kids who watch porn engage in sex sooner and at greater risk, and that men who consume porn actually become more accepting of sexual harassment and assault, as well as rape.
Furthermore, in the TIME article, Belinda Luscombe says the reason porn addicts are leaving online erotica is clear: The twenty-something males who have grown up with easy access to online porn are realizing that it has rewired their sexuality, hampering their ability to form healthy real life relationships. She writes: These young men now “are convinced that their sexual responses have been sabotaged because their brains were virtually marinated in porn when they were adolescents… [They] feel like unwitting guinea pigs in a largely unmonitored decade-long experiment in sexual conditioning.”
How pervasive is it? According to Breakpoint, just in the month of February, an online traffic-monitoring company recorded 107 million hits on explicit Web pages in the U.S. alone. And in 2013, according to the Huffington Post, “X-rated sites got more monthly visitors than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined.” Breakpoint notes, “One of the most popular ‘adult’ pages reported that its visitors last year watched nearly 4.4 billion hours—or 500,000 years’ worth–of explicit video.” Yikes!
The Biblical worldview has a lot to offer this pornified generation. Sex is a gift from God. It was not designed for digitalized images. It was not meant to be something outside of a loving, trusting, committed relationship. The Apostle Paul writes:
The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body… Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:13, 19-20 ESV).
Furthermore, the biblical worldview shows us that forgiveness and a new start with the transforming power of God is able to help us deal with all our destructive habits and addictions. But we can’t do it on our own. We need each other’s help. Confession works wonders. If you are in a trusted Life Transformation Group (LTG), confess to them. Then get help. The book, Every Man’s Battle has been helpful to many. Also there are many online helps available. Pure Life Ministries and Pure Heart Ministries are trusted sources. If you want to talk with others who have been dealing with sexual addictions, I can put you in touch with them.
God cares about your health in every possible manner.