Tag Archives: pornography

5 Reasons to Stop Using Porn…Now

woman covering eyesNow and then, I see pornography statistics in one source or another — the percentage of people using porn, the amount of money spent, the number of hours consumed, and more. Although I’ve long recognized porn as a huge problem, the stats never fail to surprise me in some way.

Maybe it’s how young people are when exposed. Maybe it’s how much free porn is now available online. Maybe it’s the percentage of people who believe porn is a morally acceptable practice.

Why exactly am I surprised? Because the damage is so clear for anyone willing to look at statistics, studies, and marriages impacted by porn. If you’re using pornography, it’s time to stop. Here are just five reasons why:

1. It messes with your brain. There is absolutely no doubt that watching pornography alters your brain function. Brain research and measurable outcomes are clear. Viewing porn retrains your brain to see sexual imagery as the main way to achieve sexual pleasure, to desire greater and greater variety and even cruelty as part of the experience, and to objectify potential partners.

Strong effects are seen with as little five hours per week. Unfortunately, some view five hours in an afternoon. If you really want to know how pornography is messing with your brain, check out Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain by William M. Struthers, Your Brain on Porn (free ebook from Covenant Eyes), and/or this TED Talk: The Great Porn Experiment by Gary Wilson.

2. It makes real sex less satisfying. I cringe every time some secular “expert” suggests a couple watch pornography to kick-start their sexual intimacy. Because the real data show a very different result. Those who engage in pornography tend to miss out on the more meaningful and fulfilling experience of sexual pleasure with their mate.

Pornography focuses on imagery and the physical aspect of sex, and it contains many myths about sex. Users, therefore, become less satisfied with the real thing — expecting sex to look like what they see on screen (or read). Their disappointment can lead to seeking greater and greater highs, all the while missing that true sexual fulfillment isn’t all about increasing your physical pleasure quota. Rather, sex involves a real person (your spouse); includes mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects; and satisfies when it represents a commitment and relational intimacy.

3. It encourages abuse. If you’re viewing porn, you need to think very carefully about how your consumer habits influence those who put out the product. A lot of abuse occurs in the porn industry, and our societal support has a detrimental effect on those involved. Think of it this way: If a lot people attend cock fights, more roosters will fight and die (one reason it’s illegal here). Likewise, the more people who watch porn, the more porn actors will be injured, contract sexual diseases, and take drugs to numb their senses. (See Why Do Women Pose for Porn?)

Plus, the prevalence of minors being used for porn imagery has greatly increased. Make no mistake: The increasing demand for porn will be met in part by kids under age 18. Sex traffickers are more than willing to use their victims for pornography. I believe the vast majority of people would cringe at the idea of involving children in the making of porn, but it happens whether the larger population is aware or not, because of high demand and ease of anonymity.

4. It dishonors your spouse. I was once in a wives’ prayer group in which one woman claimed her husband’s pornography habit didn’t bother her because “that’s what men do.” But you could tell that it did bother her, that her husband constantly looking at other women sexually conveyed a message — a message that she wasn’t enough. Just sitting here thinking about her, my heart aches.

When you gaze longingly, lustfully, sexually at others, you dishonor your spouse. You send a message that they aren’t enough to arouse and satisfy your sexual desire. I’m not talking about a stray thought of a gorgeous person passing you by on the street, but the dwelling of your mind on someone else and using that to titillate your sex drive. Porn is definitely in the category of allowing someone besides your spouse to arouse you sexually. And what does that communicate to him or her?

Frankly, most of us have enough built-in insecurities that having to compete for attention with a porn star is a big ol’ slap-in-the-face. Spouses should be reassuring of their focus and love and commitment to one another, and one another alone. There’s a reason why the song “I Only Have Eyes for You” hit the top Billboard charts three different times. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your marriage partner had this attitude?

You are here and so am I
Maybe millions of people go by
But they all disappear from view
And I only have eyes for you

5. It is a sin. If we go looking for a commandment that simply says, “Thou Shalt Not View Pornography,” you’d be right to say there is no such thing. But short of an outright statement like that, the Bible can’t get much clearer that pornography is not God’s intention for sexuality. So let’s take an honest, no-excuses approach to whether porn is sinful.

“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28

“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Hebrews 13:4

“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman. For what is our lot from God above, our heritage from the Almighty on high? Is it not ruin for the wicked, disaster for those who do wrong? Does he not see my ways and count my every step?” Job 31:1-4

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5

That’s just a sampling. Moreover, many scriptures talk about guarding our hearts and our minds, so we remained focused on the things of God. Yes, the “things of God” include sex — with your spouse as He designed. But involving a third party, even in the form of an image, detours from His path. Pornography is simply wrong.

Let me add that many people approach this subject with a “what can I get away with?” attitude — wanting to know how far they can go before crossing some imaginary line. The better question is: How can I honor God with my sexuality? Then seek that higher goal.

That’s five reasons why pornography needs to get off your computer or other device and out of your life. There is a better way. Do what’s necessary to seek that better way.

What negative impact has porn had in your marriage and your life? What other reasons can you name to stop using porn?

Why Do Women Pose for Porn?

Wired for Intimacy book cover

I recently read a great blog post from “husband,” a user’s guide about How Porn Works discussing a book titled Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain by psychologist Williams Struthers. In the blog post, “Huz” begins by stating that “Over 25% of all Internet searches performed every day are for porn-related images, videos or websites.” Yikes!

This blog post, Struthers’s book, and plenty of other resources discuss how men crave intimacy and how pornography is a shortcut to that desire for visual and sexual stimulation. Hearing this from so many sources, I believe that pornography is incredibly tempting to men.

What I haven’t ever understood is why women pose for it.

Why are so many women willing to take off their clothes and expose themselves in sexually titillating ways? After years and years of women fighting for the right to own property, to be educated, to vote, to garner some respect, etc., why would any woman willingly become an object of ogling to be picked up and discarded at will?

I started reading stories of ex-porn stars, looking for clues to why anyone would enter this seedy world and publicly expose their most vulnerable parts. I came upon some patterns:

Abuse. Quite a few women who have posed and participated in sex acts for the camera experienced sexual abuse at the hands of family, friends, or strangers. They received a message early on that they were there to be taken, used, and mistreated sexually.

Unstable family background. Most of the ex-porn stars I read testimonies from had incredibly unstable families. They simply didn’t have anyone to teach them their worth or to protect them from abuse or help them heal if it did occur.

Need for money. Oftentimes, women began with stripping and moved to porn or prostitution. The porn industry, in fact, offered better money, so why not? they figured.

Connections to the industry. Someone they already knew suggested getting involved in porn. A friend or acquaintance took them to a set, introduced them to a filmmaker, or touted the advantages of working in the porn industry.

Attention. Now this one struck me. Many of the ex-porn stars related that – at first – they enjoyed the attention. These women liked the idea of getting male attention and being considered beautiful.

Glamor. Having your name known, signing autographs, and attracting larger attention seems glamorous. Porn actresses feel like Hollywood movie stars at times.

What also became clear from these women’s stories is that the porn industry led to more abuse: Often, they experienced forced sex acts, STDs, and mistreatment. It led to further instability: They were used by others to make money and not cared for or listened to.

They did not end up financially better: The money was often gone quickly, as many porn stars abuse drugs and alcohol to keep going.

Moreover, the attention and glamor are illusions. There is nothing glamorous about acting out sexually for someone else’s benefit and a wad of cash. A prostitute is a prostitute, no matter how good the camera work is.

What disturbs me as much or more than these stories, though, are the many women who are not in a porn industry but willingly take off their clothes for any reason or no reason at all. Plenty of gals post nude or scantily-clad images of themselves for freebie viewing on the Internet. Teen girls send suggestive or nude images of themselves to teen boys. Why are they engaging in this behavior?

I think the Attention category comes into play here. God has designed women such they we want to be beautiful and cherished by men. He has given woman a natural bent toward wanting a man’s eyes to hold her in his gaze.

Satan is so very happy to pervert that.

He perverts women with broken hearts to seek the wrong attention of men willing to pay for and praise sexual stimulation. He perverts men with broken hearts to seek the visual stimulation of women willing to pose for attention. In the end, the attention and stimulation each gets is a twisted, inadequate substitute for what God intends with sexuality.

Some people selling or giving away sexual images are purposefully evil in their intent, and some are broken human beings in need of a different message and healing.

Why do women pose? For the same reasons, I suppose, that we continue in any sinful and self-destructive pattern:

  • We have a hole in our lives and are looking for something to fill it.
  • We don’t know our own worth in God’s eyes.
  • We aren’t willing to let go of our selfish desires and surrender to God’s provision.
  • We allow ourselves to be led astray by others.

I wish I could take some of the women I read about in my research into my arms and describe how beautiful they are as daughters of God. And for those men who look at pornography, I would ask them to think about why women pose and what painful experiences they have endured and continue to endure.

Pornography is not a benign business. Many of these women have already suffered in their lives, and they continue to do so. May God bring healing to those ladies who find their way out.

For another heartfelt post on this topic, see Intimacy in Marriage’s My Love Letter to Pornographers.

Slap-worthy Practices in Marriage…and Better Options

From time to time — in personal conversation, through my blog, or on Twitter — I hear of spouses who are completely blowing it in the area of marital intimacy. I’m not talking about the spouse whose approach or skills could use tweaking. I’m talking about that selfish husband or wife whose actions are destroying the feelings of the other when it comes to bedroom relations.

"Slapsgiving" scene of How I Met Your Mother

“Slapsgiving” – How I Met Your Mother

And while I generally subscribe to non-violence, some of you, to be honest, I want to slap. Seeing that I can’t actually reach my hand through the Internet, find your face, and deliver a personal wake-up call — not to mention that I really am not that kind of person — I’m merely going to describe some types who are not helping their sex lives.

Pound Counters. Those of you keenly aware that your wife weighs 17 pounds more post-childbirth than when she was leading an aerobics class back in the day and remind her often, stop it. (And all of you whose wives weigh 50 pounds more than they used to, but you knew she had never done a sit-up in her life.) As long as you nag her about her weight, she is very unlikely to feel worth the effort to exercise, dress up, and strut into the bedroom for intimate times. Honestly, what beauty contestant would sleep with the judge who gave her the lowest score? I know this happens with wives judging men as well, but I hear more often from wives feeling that they aren’t pretty enough. And being told that they aren’t pretty enough.

What can you do instead? Tell her she’s beautiful to you, over and over. Find something to compliment — even it’s her eyes. Take her shopping for attractive clothing or lingerie. When you have built up her confidence and remembered why you thought she was so hot to begin with, you can suggest exercising or taking a healthy cooking class together for your mutual health.

Barterers. A barterer is that person who conveys something like: If you build a shed in the backyard, watch the children for two hours, go quilt shopping with me, and give me a 30-minute back rub, I suppose I will open my legs a few inches so you can have sex with me. Really? You are making it clear that you do not want to engage in physical intimacy with your spouse and will only do so if he kowtows to your demands. You are putting yourself in the princess throne and expecting your subject to slay the dragon, save the villagers, and bring you the golden crown before you’ll acquiesce to his request to spend time with you.

God intended sex to be a mutually intimate act. That means that you need to willingly engage in sexual intimacy with your spouse, without all the strings that make your honey feel more like a marionette than a treasured partner.

Porn Junkies. Be assured: Not all men look at porn, no matter how much you tell yourself otherwise. There are plenty of men whose view of naked females includes only their wife and their infant daughter during diaper changes. Fess up to what you are really doing — paying women to titillate you. Porn models and actresses are compensated to pose and portray; they love the dollars in your pocket. Your wife is not paid to be intimate with you; she loves you.

Engaging in pornography imprints a perspective of sex that damages your marital relationship. Physical intimacy is not supposed to occur in quick bursts of increasing arousal in which there is no relational connection between the parties. That is the antithesis of what God provided.

Moreover, a husband engaging with porn negatively affects his wife. When you look at these images and make sex about your private arousal, you communicate that she cannot turn you on and isn’t worth the time to try. Many women experience terrible body image issues because their husband is always looking at gorgeous naked women instead. They feel they can’t compete and often lose interest in trying. Which becomes a vicious cycle because the husband may view more pornography when his marital sex life is lacking.

Sex Withholders. If you withhold sex every time that you feel the slightest bit tired, unnerved, miffed, not-in-the-mood, or just “off,” you make it impossible to have a quality sex life in your marriage. If you can count the number of times you’ve had sex in the last six months on one hand, that is a big problem. If you are waiting for ideal conditions to engage in intimacy with your spouse, you are causing both of you to miss out on God’s design for your marriage.

Unfortunately, one of the common themes Christian sex bloggers see is from husbands wondering how to convince their wives that once a month or so isn’t enough or how to get them to enjoy sex with them. Ladies, the truth is that if you rarely have sex, it probably won’t feel good because you need some built-up elasticity for your body to respond favorably; otherwise, it’s like taking a high-energy aerobics class every six months and wondering why you’re sore after every time.

If you don’t enjoy sex or have problems in your marital relationship that are causing you to withhold, address them! Talk to your doctor. Talk to a counselor. Talk to your pastor. (See my Pain & Pleasure post on pain in intercourse, if you’ve having that problem.) But stop wondering why your hubby’s tongue is hanging out at you every time you undress; he’s like a dog who hasn’t had a drink in days, so no wonder he’s panting.

I don’t really want to slap any of you. Of course not! I pray for the marriages of my readers.

I do, however, want to convince you to follow the Golden Rule. It’s a great way to approach life: “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12).

Think about how your choices impact your spouse. Do you communicate genuine love for them? Are your choices selfish and rationalized? Do you need a wake-up call? Or will you wake yourself up and start loving the person you are committed to with the respect and care we all desire?