The Problem of Porn

I recently stumbled onto porn.

Scrolling through Twitter one night led to seeing a video I wasn’t expecting to find. It had been almost two decades since I’d last encountered porn. In fact, I only remember three prior exposures, all before adulthood. It wasn’t arousing. It was sad.

Porn’s accessibility and widespread reach deeply grieves my heart. I’m sad for addicted young adults who desire freedom but can’t quit turning toward their “drug” of choice for a fix. I’m heartbroken for the millions of smartphone-generation children who encounter porn accidentally, awakening to sexuality at far too young an age. I even care about the men and women involved in the porn industry, made in the image of God, who are surrounded by and participating in such depravity…sometimes not by choice.

Related to pornography are abuse, assault and human trafficking. In this sin-sick, supply-and-demand industry, victims abound. Despite what porn advocates preach, it isn’t safe, harmless and fun. It is evil.

Let’s dismantle a few misconceptions about pornography and infuse truth and grace over repentant users, because hope, forgiveness and healing is readily available.

Porn is counterfeit.

There is nothing real about porn. It’s not representative of healthy sexual expression in the slightest. Unlike marital sex, there is no foundation of vulnerability and intimacy, built up over time, day in and day out, with one’s beloved. There is no beauty, no wonder and no true pleasure. It is void of all that is good and holy.

If your mind has been trained by porn, your expectations aren’t realistic. They’re not just skewed or over-the-top; they’re damaging to healthy sexuality.

Let’s get specific.

Men, your future wife will not behave like a porn star in the bedroom, knowledgeable of all the latest tips and tricks. She will not meet your every sexual whim on demand. Her body won’t be airbrushed, perfect, or forever young and healthy. Unlike the fantasy world, sex is not all about you and your pleasure.

Women, sex with your future husband won’t be the perpetual dreamland portrayed in smutty novels and romantic comedies. He won’t meet every emotional need, saying and doing all the right things at the right moments. There is no melt-your-heart script and no perfectly cued music. He’s not your solution, your savior, or the answer to your loneliness.

We need to toss the idea that a manufactured sexual playground, portrayed by actors, is desirable, let alone attainable. In fact, it’s a counterfeit of what God intended for sex when He created a mutually-satisfying bond between a man and woman in marriage.

Porn destroys (and prevents) relationships.

Despite the misconception that porn use can enhance or benefit a relationship, most of us can recall a friend or acquaintance whose life, marriage and family was sunk because of this addiction. We hear terms like “virtual infidelity” – the porn user won’t quit, the spouse feels betrayed, and distance between the couple is established. The marriage breaks down and often leads to divorce.

What about singles? We’ll stop using once we’re sexually active in marriage, right? We’re not cheating on a spouse, so it’s OK, right? Nope.

Statistics confirm that porn addicts carry their use into marriage. It’s not as if your wedding day arrives and poof!, all of your hang-ups and issues go away. You can’t simply stop patterns of behavior, un-see the images you’ve viewed in the past, or change overnight.

I can even make the case that pornography use is cheating…on your future spouse. We all bring baggage into marriage. What will yours be? What will mine be? These are things to consider. Even if we never get married, porn is cheating ourselves from a lifestyle of purity and a clear conscience before God. It can destroy our lives and the health of all relationships – marital or otherwise.

Let’s consider one additional angle in the lives of singles: Although there are many reasons why young adults today delay marriage, have you considered porn as a factor?

I believe pornography not only destroys current relationships, it prevents godly Christian marriages from happening in the first place.

Porn kills ambition in all facets of life: work, friendship, ministry… and yes, relationships. It produces guilt, deep shame and isolates its users, both male and female. But there’s a particularly sneaky way that the enemy is at work through pornography use in the lives of Christians. If young men are entangled in porn, they aren’t motivated to pursue marriage; if young women are enslaved, they have little motivation to respond to the interest of godly and worthy pursuers. Instead of investing time and energy in the slow, steady process of dating and building a relationship that leads to marriage and God-honoring sex, porn users take the easy route of self-gratification. It’s self-centered, whereas marriage requires denying oneself. Selfishness always destroys relationships. It may prevent them from forming as well.

Porn is not beyond forgiveness.

There is hope. It’s never too late to turn from porn and toward health, healing, freedom and an abundant life in Christ. Flee! Get out from behind the computer screen, repent, seek accountability from a mentor or licensed professional counselor, and begin to conquer this addiction before you enter a serious relationship. Don’t waste precious brain space any longer. There are great resources, including apps and filters that block “adult” content, to help you win the battle against pornography.

Each morning, lay aside the sin that entangles and receive fresh mercy. As we submit our lives to God, we can trust the Holy Spirit to be at work, sanctifying us and infusing our lives with power, love and self-control. It’s right there, available to us if we choose to receive it.

Extend grace to yourself and others and stop categorizing sins that further isolate porn users. Sexual sin is no worse than any other addiction or stronghold. There is no place for self-righteousness in the body of Christ, as all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. In fact, each of us misses the mark daily. Those of us who’ve never been active porn users aren’t better Christians. We have all been forgiven much (Luke 7:36-50).

Our identity is in Christ, safe and secure, in spite of our sins and shortcomings. Pornography can be a problem from your past, covered by the blood of Christ on the cross. It doesn’t have to be your future.

About the Author

Lindsay Blackburn

Lindsay Blackburn is an ordinary Montana girl who loves life and its many wild and crazy adventures. She works full time as the women’s and children’s ministry assistant at her church and enjoys hosting parties and teaching crafts as a side job. She has a Bachelor’s degree in English literature and a Master’s degree in education. In addition to being an occasional writer, she’s a bookworm, fitness junkie, traveler, foodie, and theology nerd. You can follow her on Twitter @ellesbee.