The peril of porn

Image: The peril of porn

Pornography is addictive, but there is hope to break free.

Pornography is the global elephant in the room. We all know it exists. We refer to it in conversation, often jokingly or in passing. But generally it is much easier to leave it as the ‘Great Unspeakable’. An issue best left alone, and perhaps it will go away.

The facts about porn

Porn isn't going away. It's growing bigger.

The latest stats are disturbing.

  • Every second 28,258 people view porn
  • The global porn industry rakes in $4.9 billion annually
  • Porn sites comprise around 12% of the internet
  • Two-thirds of Australian men admit to viewing pornography
  • One-third of all porn users are women
  • 64% of Australian children learn about sex from pornography

Why is porn a problem?

In our hyper-sexualized culture, porn is increasingly seen as normal, and perhaps even good.

But far from being helpful, porn provides false intimacy and destroys the fabric of real human relationships.

Dr. William Struthers, an American biopsychologist, says:

"Repeated exposure to pornography changes the way our brains see each other. Repeated exposure to any stimulus results in neurological circuit making. Pornography is the consumption of sexual poison that becomes part of the fabric of the mind."

Porn addiction

Porn literally rewires the brain to a state of sexual hyper-sensitivity. This means that a person will crave increasingly explicit and exciting sexual images. A seriously addicted person can spend hours and hours at a time viewing image after image, often late into the night, ever searching for the one experience that will truly satisfy their longing. But that satisfaction never comes, and so the process is repeated within a day or two. Dr. Struthers quite reasonably suggests that pornography addiction is biologically and practically similar to cocaine addiction.

Porn is inherently destructive. It destroys marriages by driving a relational wedge between spouses as one begins to prefer porn to actual sex, and the other feels like they cannot compete with the computer screen. It destroys singles when they become trapped in the cycle of pornography, inhibiting them from healthy relationships with the opposite sex, and forcing them to deal with the guilt and shame of leading a double life. It objectifies the women and men who act in porn films, and supports an industry rife with corruption, sexual abuse, drug abuse, sex trafficking and suicide. And most seriously, it destroys relationship with God through worship of a twisted counterfeit of the good gift of sex, instead of the gracious Giver, God himself.

The sin issue

More than anything, pornography is sexual immorality, idolatry and an offense against God. 

In his judgment of the nation of Israel, the prophet Jeremiah struck right to the heart of their sin, and is entirely applicable to pornography.

My people have committed two sins:
     They have forsaken me,
          the spring of living water,
     and have dug their own cisterns,
          broken cisterns that cannot hold water. (Jeremiah 2:13)

Any sexual immorality is an attempt to find ultimate satisfaction in something other than God – the fount of living water.  Pornography is a 'broken cistern' that cannot hold water, and the water it does hold is poisonous sewage. Drinking from it will never satisfy – only destroy.

But more than this, viewing pornography, whether frequent or infrequent, is idolatry. It takes a good gift of God - sex - and distorts it into something detestable. God takes such things seriously and we need to take it seriously too. Paul provides a dire warning to the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10:

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

There is hope!

Thankfully, the story does not end there. Paul continues in verse 11:

And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Those who are in Christ need not continue to live enslaved to porn, but can experience true freedom! We have been washed, sanctified and justified by Christ's sacrifice. He paid for all our sins on the cross, including pornography. He offers us a relationship with Him that transforms our entire life, including our sex life. Through the Gospel we have a new identity and a new way to live – as redeemed children of God.

God calls us to repent and turn from all our sin, and strive for holiness and purity in all areas of our lives.

A hidden life

However, I know from experience that in a dark place repentance does not seem to break the cycle of sin. This is because sin thrives in darkness.

Porn is generally kept hidden from others, as part of a secret life. Indeed, the very thought of our sin coming to light is enough to provoke terror in our hearts.

But this is exactly what needs to happen! Sin has to be brought out into the light. James says that we should "confess [our] sins to one another and pray for one another, that [we] may be healed" (James 5:16). Sin out in the open loses much of its power, and can be much more easily dealt with.

If you are reading this and you are hiding the sin of pornography, then bring it to light!  It will probably seem like the hardest thing you've ever had to do, but be of good courage. You might tell your community group leader, a pastor, a Christian friend or mentor, a Christian therapist or psychologist, even your spouse. Tell someone you trust and who knows you well. This won’t be the only step towards freedom from porn, but it is the first.

The time is right now to declare to yourself and God, 'Here and no further!'

Helpful resources

XXX Church
Covenant Eyes
Captured by a Better Vision – by Tim Chester
Wired for Intimacy – by William Struthers
Porn Again Christian – by Mark Driscoll

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Comments (20)

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  • user

    Christina

    I wonder why there are no comments here..? :( well I guess I’ll be the first…I know many of us teens struggle with porn and addictions similar to this….but I hope and pray that we can realize that we are saved from this problem if we repent!!! Hope everyone has a good day!!!

    • user

      Anna

      Exactly what I thought! Thanks for leading the way!

      • user

        Christina

        No problem :)

  • user

    Thomas

    these facts are really disturbing…

    • user

      Christina

      Yes they really are…very frightening….

  • user

    Paul

    Well, we have to face the facts. Porn is literally everywhere, porn actually removes; wisdom, knowledge, understanding and worst of all, the Spirit of God. I’ve had challenges concerning porn and porn-related issues, but i never really got into it. At the beginning of this year, I did a 21 day Fast, and 1 of the things I talked to God about was porn. You can actually get rid of bad habits by prayer and setup good habits . Hope this was helpful.

  • user

    Christina

    It was!! I am recently overcoming many problems . Associated with this subject! I thank Fod for an amazing and supportive friend I have that has helped me through this. It’s just good to know I am not the inky person out there with this struggle. I felt lost, but I am much better now because I am fido going my identity in Christ and not this .

  • user

    Christina

    Sorry, my auto correct messed up some of my words ....God* only* finding*

  • user

    Paul

    You know, you can’t have negative people around then expect to live a positive life. I’m speaking from experience, if you ask God to give you the right friends, he will put you in the midst of his people. Try it, it works.

  • user

    Christina

    Yea sure I’ll try that :? Thanks for the response

  • user

    Jackie

    This is one of the hardest things ive evr done in my life…but im finaly going to admit and confess that im addicted to porn.And ive been afraid to tell anyone because i was scared of what they might think or say.But now that ive read the article and you guys comments im not scared anymore to say it and i kniw that as long as i keep my eyes on God,pray,and spend more time in his word;He will help me.Thank you guys so much for your advice and encouragement .please keep me in you guys prayers.

  • user

    Fervr

    Thanks for sharing with us Jackie - we will be praying for you!

  • user

    Christina

    No problem :) when you pray , talk to God as a fiend..he loves you and wants you to be completely open with him. Always know this

  • user

    Paul

    Thanks for sharing your story Jackie, I’ll keep you in mind when I pray.
    Another good way to overcome this, is not to search for dirty things online, and when you don’t have anything to do on the internet, then don’t go online.
    also memorize 1 cor 6:18 and other related verses because, the word of God which is also the Sword of the Spirit is what you will use to kill and defeat porn.

  • user

    Braeden

    To feel convicted to tell my mom about my addiction but I’m sooo scared, iv been addicted for almost a year now and the whole time through iv felt that God wants me to tell my mom, but I’m like well I don’t think so and I hate being held down by living in sin.what should I do :(

  • user

    Paul

    believe it or not, I’ve always talked with my dad about porn stuff, anytime I see anything dirty I tell him and then he encourages me. So I am personally advising you to tell your mum if you fell led by the spirit.

  • user

    Fervr

    Hi Braeden - I can understand this would be a scary thing to talk about with your mom. But no doubt she loves you and would want to help you. One of the first steps to overcoming porn addiction is by speaking to somebody, and asking them for help.

  • user

    Sope

    As a believer who is addicted to porn, in spite of the addiction God loves you. He loves you but dislikes porn. With that knowledge always confess it whenever you fall and repent immediately. Ask God to show you a mentor you can be accountable to. Anytime you feel the desire to view porn, call the person for counsel. Then make the Word of God your best companion, soak yourself in Romans 6. The Word of God will deliver you, just like it did to me.

  • user

    Damon

    Gosh, those stats are UNBELIEVABLE! I don’t look at porn myself, but I feel like I’m almost there, like looking up pictures on bing that could be questionable. Thanks for posting this, this has probably saved me from starting.

  • user

    Rabia

    Hi, I’m just seeking prayer. I’ve never watched a full on porn video but I have seen pornographic images. I’ve been battling lust, but it seems like it just happened all of a sudden. As I look back on my life I see how it built up to where I ended up. Please pray for me. I want to win this battle against lust, sometimes it’s just so strong and it leaves me depressed and ashamed to talk to God and repent. I know He has never-ending grace, but sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. Especially when I pray and I go right back to commit the same sin again. Pray for me please, thank you.

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