Most of the conversations I have with men that go deep and personal pertain to lust and Internet pornography. Sometimes it’s deeper and even darker, especially when porn has created the illusion that people (especially women) are mere objects to be stared at and lusted after rather than souls to be loved.*
I never, ever ask, “Have you seen online pornography?” Instead I ask, “When was the last time?” or “How bad is it?” It’s nearly universal. We even created what we call our church’s “porn page” to catch and help people who struggle.
Some people actually still argue that Internet pornography is a consent-based free enterprise and affects no one negatively. I can’t disagree strongly enough.
- Porn is an enormous industry with many terribly dark and illegal spots where minors—boys and girls—and sometimes unwilling adults are forced, coerced or manipulated into participation.
- Porn takes the act of sex, which is the most deep and intimate kind of exchange that can take place between two people, and reduces it to the observation of a purely physical exchange.
- Porn breeds tremendous mistrust within marriages and relationships. Couples who claim that it helps their sex life are misinformed, misguided and are usually headed for disaster.
- Porn weakens people (especially men) spiritually, causing them to struggle under the weight of tremendous shame and the fear of exposure.
- Porn suggests to people (especially women) that they will never be able to live up to the acts portrayed on the screen or the page.
- Porn promotes the dehumanization of people in our minds. We wind up seeing people as objects to consume mentally rather than souls needing genuine connection and love.
I’m speaking out of personal observation, plus empirical evidence from a multitude of studies. As FightTheNewDrug.org reports:
- Studies have found that frequency of porn use correlates with depression, anxiety, stress and social problems.
- Porn use has been found to influence some users’ sexual preferences, leaving them wanting what they’ve seen on screen and significantly less satisfied with sex in real life.
- After being exposed to pornography, men reported being less satisfied with their partners’ physical appearance, sexual performance and level of affection, and express greater desire for sex without emotional involvement.
- Among the effects of the use of pornography are an increased negative attitude toward women, decreased empathy for victims of sexual violence…and an increase in dominating and sexually imposing behavior.
- The Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children both recognize that pornography is an element that adds to the serious problem of sex trafficking.
When it comes to solving the porn addiction epidemic, I don’t have all the answers. But when it comes to the desire of the next person who wants to be done with porn or to protect their family effectively, I do consider these three elements to be essential when balanced.
No system is flawless. If you want to see porn badly enough, you’ll find a way. But if you don’t want to see porn, you don’t have to and there are systems that are almost unbreakable.
I highly recommend CovenantEyes. It uses a VPN that works flawlessly. It doesn’t interfere with your normal Internet browsing, social networking or email. CovenantEyes offers multiple levels of filtering and allows you (with a family plan) to tailor the filtering to each age group represented in your home.
Further, it works on every device whether on wifi or a cellular network.
When someone like a close friend or my spouse is going to have access to my history and receive a weekly accountability report, I’m all the more careful when it comes to what I click on.
If you’re already struggling, there are two resources I highly recommend…
Neither of the above options are helpful if you believe you don’t really need them, or if you decide you just don’t want them. But when I remember that I am made of flesh, subject to temptation and always the target of a sinister enemy, I can then humbly and gladly submit to both filtering and accountability.
If you’re in deep and need help breaking free…
Always remember, God’s will for you is to be sexually pure. That means that it IS doable. And when you have a relationship with Jesus, the Holy Spirit lives inside you, guarding your heart like a military garrison from the attacks of the enemy.
You can do this! You can live with a clean thought life. You can overcome!
* I’m well aware that porn affects women, too, and dehumanizes both the men and the women involved. Statistically, it affects women more, and I’m writing this article to speak strongly to the hearts of men.
This article originally appeared here.