Pornography, from greek Pornos = Immoral person / prostitute.
Pornography is a topic that the church doesn’t deal with very often. It is extremely uncomfortable to discuss, and many pastors themselves deal with it, so who are they to speak on it?
We are going to talk about it this week because it is a very important issue, one that is having profound effects on society, but more importantly, one that is having profound effects on people, men and women, you and me.
I am speaking to you today, not as an expert in the field, not as one with some sort of academic authority in the area, and certainly not as one with much moral authority in the area. I am speaking to you tonight as one who has been broken by pornography. One who struggles with it, but also as one who has found a measure of healing from that brokenness, and one who believes that there can be freedom from the struggle.
I am tired of seeing men and women cowering in the corner, hoping that they won’t trip into porn, won’t go back to it. Sick of seeing them huddled up and hoping that they won’t get hit by that arrow. It is time we start to stand up and face the issue head on, and take action to fight against it.
So, what’s the problem?
Most of you in this room probably agree with me that pornography is not a good thing. But do most of you really consider it a bad thing?
I ask this because most of you probably watch it, seek it out, or think about it on a semi-regular basis.
I have heard questions like “well, what’s the big deal with a little bit? As long as it’s not hurting anyone, what’s the problem?”
These are the issues I want to talk about tonight.
Well who’s it hurting anyway?
Hurts the viewer
Addiction: studies show a chemical addiction forms with viewing pornography, that the brain associates with the pornographic imagery. I don’t know if I need to quotes studies here though, a lot of you have been, or are currently addicted to it. I myself am an example of this addiction. A recovering porn addict, if you will, probably will be the rest of my life.
Regular users of porn have been shown to have increasingly hostile and aggressive sexual fantasies.
TIME magazine: "In recent years a number of psychologists and sociologists have joined the chorus of religious and political opponents in warning bout the impact of pervasive pornography. They argue that porn is transforming sexuality and relationships – for the worse. Experts say men who frequently view porn may develop unrealistic expectations of women’s appearance and behavior, have difficulty forming and sustaining relationships and feeling sexually satisfied. Online porn has catapulted overall pornography consumption, brining in new views, encouraging more use from existing fans, and escalating consumers from soft-core to harder-core material."
Studies also show correlation between aggressive and violent behavior and regular viewing of porn, as well as more permissive views on rape and violence against women.
These rates of aggression and addiction are the same no matter the “degree” of severity or violent content in the porn.
"But I don’t watch that much…"
- Studies indicate that watching just 10 minutes of porn causes men to think of them and talk about them in sexualized terms, and see them as sex objects.
Hurts those around the viewer:
- Areas with porn outlets and sex business have a significantly higher # of sexual offenses than those without such businesses.
- Sales of sexually explicit magazines in all fifty states correlate directly with state rape rates.
Hurts the women (and men) that are IN the porn…
- Studies indicate that between 75-90% of all women in the porn industry come from a background of rape, incest, or other sex abuse in their childhood.
- Slow path from dancing, to modeling, to porn, to stripping and back… stories of 3 ex-porn stars that I’ve read… pornographers take advantage and essentially con women into doing things they wouldn’t otherwise.
National TV is no different!
Definition of Porn: Sexually explicit pictures, writing, or other material whose primary purpose is to cause sexual arousal.
- Victoria’s Secret fashion show first aired on ABC 5 years ago. Soft core on prime time.
- Now seems tame compared to The Bachelor, Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire, Joe Millionaire, Outback Jack, Average Joe
- The same month that George W. Bush was re-elected, sanctity of marriage being a large part of his message, Desperate Housewives, a show that features a married woman who sleeps with her teenage gardener (among many other things) was the second-highest-rated show on television. ABC.
- Sex In The City is on Network television.
- Kaiser Research of the 2004-2005 season: 70% of all TV shows (77% of primetime shows) contained sexual content, from dialogue to scenes of intercourse… 3,783 total sex scense, one every 12 minutes.
- These shows depict, granted on a less “severe” level, the same casual attitude towards sex, the same objectification of women, the same unrealistic body and behavioral images as the harder-core material does. And yet we feed our brain two or three hours of this stuff a day.
- That’s not including commercials.
- Paris Hilton, who, has her own show, advertises everything on TV from Jewelry to Hamburgers, was made famous why? Because of her sex tapes that got “leaked” (?) all over the internet. She is the mascot of American marketing.
In one episode of Friends, Joey and Chandler discover a free porn channel on TV. They leave it on and watch it endlessly lest it go away. Later, Chandler reports to Joey “I was just at the bank, and there was this really hot teller, and she didn’t ask me to go do it in the vault.” Joey describes a similar cold shoulder from the pizza delivery woman. “You know what?” Chandler concludes. “We have to turn off the porn.”
I think Chandler is on to something.
The reason we find this amusing is because it is a caricature of reality. It shows very accurately the way porn affects our mind.
G.K. Chesterton put it this way:
"All healthy men, ancient and modern, Eastern and Western, know there is a certain fury in sex that we cannot afford to inflame, and that a certain mystery and awe must ever surround it if we are to remain sane." – G.K. Chesterson
Realizing that this an addiction we are talking about here, we can’t simply say "STOP WATCHING PORN, IT’S BAD FOR YOU." That would be utterly unhelpful.
Fact #1: We all love to look at nude women.
Women are beautiful because that's the way God made them. We are naturally attracted to them. If you're not, then there is probably another website out there that can help you with that problem. He did not create women for us to be able to click onto a poorly designed and cheesy website and look at them naked. He did not craft the woman's body so we could pay $3.95 a month to look at pictures of them. There is so much more to God's plan.
You need to understand that attraction is from God's heart, but lust is from ours.
Fact #2: We have all looked at nude women.
Ok men...are you still going to sit there and say that you have never looked. How many of you talk about this as another man’s problem? “well my friend Jeff... I know he used to have a problem with this." Can't we all just agree that we looked and we want to look some more?"
Fact #3: We all know where we can find pictures of nude women.
Here is the clincher. We have established the fact that we like to look. And now finally, there is the truth that we know where to find more pictures. That in a nutshell is the problem. What are we going to do about it?
There are many helpful tools out there for overcoming this addiction. You can find a lot of great resources at xxx.church.com. But the most powerful tool you can have is a close group of friends that you meet with on a regular basis and discuss these things openly and honestly. And really, the only way to find freedom and healing from this damaging addiction is with God’s help. But the first step is admitting the problem.
The facts speak for themselves. Now as men it is time for us to rise to the occasion and be the leaders that God has called us to be.