by Penny Davidson
America is waking up to the reality of sex trafficking. The frequency of school shootings tells us violence is on the rise. Human life is callously extinguished every day in abortion clinics across our county. How did people become so inhumane? How did society become so numb to human suffering? There doesn’t seem to be one original cause, but rather a series of wrong choices as a nation that have led us down this godless path. Certainly our forms of entertainment have been a downfall to us, but nothing has more subtly desensitized us to the inherent worth of women than pornography.
Twenty-five percent of internet search requests are for pornography. Porn has a higher annual revenue than the revenues of all professional football, baseball and basketball franchises combined. Ninety percent of 8-16 year-olds have viewed pornography online. These statistics from www.familysafemedia.com prove the enormity of this “dirty little secret” that destroys the lives of many men, women and children. By devaluing young women, our sex-crazed culture has put them at risk of being victimized and abused. The dangers to young women include sexual assault, date rape, increased risk of STD’s and pregnancy, domestic violence, and the pain of broken, damaged relationships. Pornography reinforces the negative message that women are constantly receiving – that their value is wholly linked to their sexuality.
Recently the American Society of Addiction added pornography to its list. We have found that pornography strongly influences our culture by wreaking havoc first at an individual level with problems that include sexual dysfunctions, violence, apathy to violence, job loss and divorce. When pornography becomes addictive, its hold can be harder to break than a cocaine addiction. Because pornography fosters the idea that sexual experiences outside of a caring relationship can be exciting and fulfilling, it subverts the way men and women are designed to experience sexual intimacy. And Christians are not immune to its influence; a ChristiaNet poll found that a shocking 50% of all Christian men and 20% of all Christian women are addicted to pornography.
Pornography undeniably promotes violence toward women. The creation of pornography usually involves violent acts of sexual abuse and portrays women as sexual objects who enjoy being sexually assaulted. Researchers have found that these visual images and sexual thoughts build new neural pathways and create attitudes that become increasingly more tolerant of violence to women. Viewers of pornography easily progress to harder forms of porn and more deviant forms of sexual behavior. Porn users may become sexually impulsive and sexually aggressive. Women, who make up one-third of internet pornography users, are especially apt to engage more freely, more often, and with more sexual partners which increases their exposure to STD’s. Psychotic men are particularly vulnerable to pornography and more likely to act out on sexual impulses. Several studies have suggested a strong link between sex offenders and pornography. In “The Effects of Pornography on Individuals, Marriage, Family and Community”, Dr. Patrick Fagan argues that, “Pornography and sex offenders are inextricably linked.” He has found that about one-third of sex offenders report using pornography as a deliberate stimulus to commit their sexual offenses. States with the highest porn readership also report the highest rates of domestic violence.
The boom in internet availability has caused internet porn sales to soar during this century and, consequently, has introduced pornography to a younger generation. Pornography is now available to any viewer of any age. Although there are many efforts being made to restrict internet pornography and pornography production, this is a world-wide problem that has easy access to our homes. The more you are online, the greater your risk of exposure, and this is why as many as 70% of young people accidentally stumble across pornography for the first time while online. If they come across it once, studies say they are more than twice as likely to seek out porn on the internet again. The noted connection between pornography and lax attitudes toward sexual violence explains why date rape is on the rise as well. Laurie Hall, the author of An Affair of the Mind, quotes a study done with 1700 junior high students which found that an alarming 65% of the boys and 57% of the girls believed that it was “OK for a male to force a female to have sex if they had been dating for six months.” Another study reported by Dr. Patrick F. Fagan showed that frequent exposure to televised sexual content was related to a substantially greater likelihood of teen pregnancy. Earlier and more frequent sexual encounters increase exponentially the risk of contracting sexual diseases. The explosion of pornography availability and addiction means young women today risk finding themselves in relationships or even marriages that are troubled by pornography use. Pornography addiction can tax a marriage to its limits and is one of the leading causes given for divorce today.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” John 10:10. Satan has stolen purity, killed healthy self-images, and destroyed relationships. Pornography is a poison that tries to warp the beauty of human sexuality and demean womanhood. Thank God that He is able to rescue and redeem and bring us into His abundant life! Porntopurity.com offers information and help for those struggling with addiction. This site also links to others such as Covenanteyes.com, a site providing accountability helps, and ShellyLubin.com, a former porn star turned advocate for victims of the pornography industry. For women in relationships with porn addicts, I would suggest Laurie Hall’s website www.pornaddicthubby.com which was birthed from her own personal experiences and the research that she has conducted. Covenant Eyes and NetSafeKids are great online resources to help parents navigate the pitfalls of internet exposure. Let’s not be blind to the deep societal problems masked by the apparently private and personal nature of pornography. When the value of women is attacked, then all of us are attacked. Life is life. People are not objects. Pornography degrades us all. As it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:6, “let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.” Since pornography directly or indirectly poses a threat for all of us, we need to hold on to our freedom in Christ Jesus and to train up our children to recognize and avoid this trap. We need to share with Christ in His redeeming work to rescue those caught in pornography addiction, and fully display for young women the love of Christ and the glory of His purposes for them.
Alexander, Rachel. (Oct. 23,2012). Porn Addiction at Crisis Level. World Net Diary. Retrieved 8-31-2013 from: www.wnd.com/2012/10/porn-addictions-at-crisis-level./
Fagan, Patrick F., PhD. (Winter 2010). The Effects of Pornography on Individuals, Marriage, Family and Community. Family North Carolina Magazine. Retrieved 10-21-2013 from: www.ncfamily.org/FNC/1001SF.html.
Hall, Laurie. (July 8, 2013). How Pornography Kills Love. Charisma Magazine. Retrieved 8-31-2013 from: www.charismamag.com/life/women/9540-how-pornography-kills-love.
LeClaire, Jennifer. (July 19, 2013). Can Christians Blame Their Porn Addictions on Apple? Jennifer LeClaire Ministries. Retrieved 10-21-2013 from: www.jenniferleclaire.org/articles/can-christians-blame-their-porn- addictions-on-apple.