In Men’s Sexual Purity, Is it for you? 80/20 Principle – Part 1 I frankly discussed the sexual purity issues of excessive lustful thoughts and self-gratification (masturbation). Two “minor” struggles almost every man has with maintaining sexual purity. I state “minor” only because if these two are left unchecked, they may develop into a compulsion which becomes a lot more difficult to treat.
In Part 2, I discuss the issue of pornography. “Pornography is the devil!” I once heard used to describe the subject matter. I don’t believe this is Biblically correct, but I do know that pornography and sexual immorality is a tool the devil uses against Christians to try to separate us from God (not separate God from us). The sad reality is, a lot of men view and use pornography for their sexual gratification. One of the pastors at The Fellowship circulated an anonymous survey at one of our general men’s group two years ago. The results were not surprising. Among attendees of this men’s group (not sexual addiction related), 100% viewed and used pornography for sexual gratification! (Admitting to sexual impurity is a lot easier when done on anonymous surveys, and this is one reason our group attempts to maintain anonymity and confidentiality.)
So 100% of men in the men’s group admitted to having viewed and used pornography for sexual gratification. These are dedicated men who attended this particular class to better themselves and their walk with Christ! What does this tell you about the truth of pornography and how it has infiltrated the church? The enemy is great at using one of the greatest weaknesses men have – sexual temptation! The viewing of pornography has become the “norm” in American society. I read some other blogs recently referencing a CNN article that stated that over 30% of all Internet traffic is pornography related. WOW!
So how does pornography become so addicting? Well there are plenty of resources for in-depth description on how this occurs. I will try to give you a simple an explanation as possible. In short, the human brain has the same reaction to getting high off crack cocaine as it does to viewing pornography. Patrick Carnes has every reason to state that Internet Pornography is the crack cocaine of sex addiction. Pornography affects the brain in very negative ways.
So how is the brain affected by pornography? Neurochemicals! Adrenaline and pleasure hormones become linked to and released by the experience of a male viewing pornography. Watching pornography is like drinking out of a fire hose. What is meant to give us a need in terms of water, will soon drown us and kill us because of the amount of water coming out. So is the concept with viewing pornography. What God meant to be a meaningful expression of true intimacy, pornography twists and distorts it to the point that we end up drowning, yet want more and more! Men seek to be intimate with their partners, pornography hijacks this intimacy with over-stimulation of the male brain. Now, here is where things get tricky. The brain pumps out the chemicals triggered by the viewing of pornography at a very high level. This initial amount is enough to get us aroused and to sexually act out. However, escalation ensues and the original high level of chemicals produced by the brain is no longer enough! Now, more of the chemical is needed to get the same arousal and sexual satisfaction. And this means that we need to view more pornography, perhaps more “hardcore” pornography to get back to that level of arousal at which we have set in our brains. Perhaps we need longer periods of viewing pornography, searching, viewing, finding, objectifying, fantasizing, etc…
This brings me to my next point. Getting high off viewing pornography does not require self gratification (masturbation). The high is already there once the user views the pornography. The brain is already active in pumping out the chemicals necessary to bring the user to a state of sexual arousal. One can sit in front of their computer or TV and watch pornography without gratifying themselves and still get the “high”! Self gratification only adds to the experience but is not required to achieve the high that comes from just viewing pornography. The longer one watches, the more that will be needed the next time to get to the same level of high. This can quickly turn into a downward spiral where the Christian who only watched “a little” pornography is now addicted, spending hours in front of their screen viewing pornography. Slowly, they begin with 10 minutes, then 1 hour, then 4 hours, then 8 hours, etc… More of the chemical is needed to maintain the high, they can’t get enough. The will NEVER get enough! The sad reality in all of this is that I have heard of men in their 20′s needing Erectile Dysfunction medication to achieve an erection with their spouse because of the amount of Internet pornography they had been viewing before and even during the marriage. Their arousal template has been completely distorted, but there is hope in recovery and abstinence from viewing pornography!
Now why is Internet pornography so dangerous? I’ll discuss this in-depth in another post on why to use Internet filters. But in short, the Accessibility, the Anonymity, and the Affordability (Al Cooper)! All a user has to do is get online and they can quickly view whatever pornographic content they desire to view. Internet pornography is easily accessible! The user can do this in the confines of their own home. No need to go to a public place to view pornography. No need to worry about being seen leaving a “video store” or Sex Shop. Furthermore, postings on the Internet allow for users not to use their real identity. One can post sexually graphic messages without anyone knowing who they really are. Internet pornography allows for anonymity! Finally, a user can quickly find “free” content online. There is rarely a need to pay for content that is easily given away for free from these crack dealers! Have you noticed how some of these pornographic websites give free “previews” of the sexual content, just enough to draw a user in so that they will purchase more of the product? Hmmm, sounds a lot like a crack dealer, they draw you in with a free “high” then you have to pay to get more! Regardless, there is almost no cost to access pornographic content on today’s Internet. Internet pornography is affordable!
I could go on for pages on why pornography is so destructive to the human brain, however, in my next post, I will discuss another level of sexual impurity, crossing the flesh line….