by Berry Kercheville
Pornography worldwide is a $57 billion industry, with about $14 billion coming from the United States. That is more than the U.S. spent on foreign aid in 2010. It is more than all pro-sports combined. Most of the money from pornography is made from online sales.
Ninety percent of kids 8-16 have viewed porn. The average age when a child first views porn is 11. The number one consumer of porn is 12-17 year-old boys. About 90% of boys and 70% of girls, ages 13 to 14, have reported accessing porn at least once the previous year, and 35% of boys reported viewing porn online “too many times to count.” According to a survey of freshmen and sophomores in American universities, 93% of boys and 62% of girls said they saw porn online before they turned 18. In fact, 69% of boys and 23% of girls surveyed said they have spent at least 30 consecutive minutes viewing Internet porn on at least one occasion.
Our problem is that when we think of something pornographic we just think of hard-core movies. But that is limiting the definition. The American Heritage Dictionary defines porn as, “Sexually explicit pictures, writing, or other material whose primary purpose is to cause sexual arousal.” Therefore, porn includes mainstream movies with nudity and/or sex scenes, explicit photos, pictures in “soft” men’s magazines, Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues, and even some women’s magazines. It includes romance novels that create porn in one’s mind, music videos, and even just the words of songs that offer word pictures. Lust, as Jesus described it (Matt. 5:28), is creating a porn film in one’s mind. We have become desensitized because of how widespread it is.
Here are seven reasons to avoid pornography of any kind:
- Viewing porn is not a “victimless” activity. Interviews of ex-performers reveal that most in the industry were abused or abandoned as children. Abused children feel betrayed and unloved, leaving emptiness in their souls. This emptiness drives them to seek intimacy and love in sexual ways instead of godly ways. The sad part is that the industry continues their abuse. Most take drugs to numb the pain. So consider, even when a person clicks on a “free” site, every click sends money to the industry through advertisers. The person who clicks is participating in the abuse.
- Viewing sexual images chemically rewires the brain. Studies in the past 50 years have revealed that porn alters the neural pathways of the brain. Over time, these neural pathways become like ruts & canyons that the brain automatically falls in when pleasure is desired. The website “Covenant Eyes”, which provides blocking software, says this: “Pornography taps into the neuro-circuitry of our brains, signaling the release of dopamine, serotonin, opiates, oxytocin, and other hormones and neurotransmitters. This hormonal cocktail is part of our body’s natural response to sexual activity, but when combined with graphic porn, the brain experiences a sexual “high” at unnatural levels. Those who have developed an addictive relationship to pornography experience an overwhelming craving that seems uncontrollable.”
- Viewing pornography is joining one’s mind to a prostitute. Paul explains that a person becomes “one flesh” with her (1 Cor. 6:12-20). Joining with her is more than just a physical or biological incident. There are strong mental connections being made and it is a violation of oneness with the Lord. Even if a person didn’t have a wife, this is still adultery against the Lord. It is a unique sin “against one’s own body” and uses one’s body in a way that does not glorify God.
- Porn addiction sends a person into a fantasy world that is preferred over real people. Addicts admit that they would rather view porn than have an intimate relationship with their own spouse or any other person. Studies have shown that “viewers” can no longer look at a woman in a pure light. She (or he) is immediately evaluated and placed in one of the movies of his or her brain. Paul said, “To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled” (Titus 1:15).
- Viewing sexual images is voyeurism. Would you peak through your neighbor’s window, even if they gave you permission? Viewing others in sexual acts is equivalent to “uncovering the nakedness” of a person God has forbidden our eyes to see. It is an abomination to him (Lev. 18).
- Viewing sexual images is today’s idolatry. Romans 1:21-28 shows that when God is no longer worshiped, something else will be worshiped. They “worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” Pornography is a worship of the human body, which is exactly the reason that it leads to “dishonorable passions” and “unnatural relations.”
- Pornography seriously damages the relationship with one’s spouse or future spouse. God created sexual relations within a marriage as a wonderful gift. The pleasure derived from intimacy with one’s spouse creates strong neural pathways that results in an intimate bond that is unique above any other relationship. God called this “one flesh.” To create other sexual neural pathways in one’s brain ruins the bond and special pleasure God intended for marriage. As always, God had a reason for his command that “two shall become one flesh.”
Seeking intimacy and love through pornography is a dead end street. Connect with Jesus. Make him your object of passion. Go deep in the scriptures. Nurture your deepest desires, not desires that will leave you empty. “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food” (Isaiah 55:2).