User Rating:  / 12
PoorBest 

WHY PORN IS A PROBLEM

Paul H. Byerly

wife upset about porn in bedroom © Martinmark | dreamstime.comSome have inferred what we say about "sexually explicit material " to mean we are not concerned about pornography. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We see porn as a huge problem, and we know it contributes to sexual problems for many, many couples.

The difficulty for us with this issue is that we have an extreme dislike of legalism. The Bible says, "for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life" (2 Cor. 3:6b), and we have seen far too many people destroyed by legalism. We want never to be guilty of adding to God's law or putting on people heavy burdens that God did not intend them to bear. We cannot say it's a sin for a man to look at a picture of a naked women he is not married to for two reasons - the Bible does not say (or imply) this, and we are convinced the act it not inherently sinful. Medical personnel see such pictures as part of their training, does this mean one cannot become a doctor, nurse, or EMT without sinning?

I (Paul) would argue that it's possible for a man to see a naked woman and not lust. In fact I would say that we should all grow to the point in the Lord that such a sight would no longer have the ability to cause us to lust. In our sex crazed and lust filled society such a man is all too rare, but this does not mean such men do not exist.

However this does not mean that we are encouraging the viewing of nudity outside of marriage, or that we think doing so is safe or benign. Many, maybe most, men in America can't even look at a woman in a bathing suit without committing the sin of lust. And even if a man could view pornography without lust, this would not make it a wise or good thing to do. Just because we can do something does not mean we should, and if we want to see such nudity we are not really free of lust.

Lust aside, porn is dangerous and causes problems

  • Unrealistic view of the female body: The women shown in porn come from a very narrow part of the wide spectrum of how real women look. They are young, they are thin, they have large breasts, and so on and so forth. In addition, these women may wear makeup from head to toe, they are filmed with lighting that hides blemishes, and the pictures may be air brushed or digitally altered after they are taken. The women in the pictures and videos do not look "as good" as what is sold to the public, and most women can't even come close to looking like these women look.
    How can a man look at these false images of "sexual perfection" and not begin to think less of his wife? How can he not be affected by these images? And when he thinks "my wife would look better with larger breasts" or "I wish my wife would shave her pubic hair like that" is he not coveting other woman who do look that way? He is wanting his wife to imitate something she is not, to be someone other than God made her.
  • Wrong ideas and expectations about sex: Porn is not real sex. Porn has only one purpose, to make money for those who produce it. For this reason the pornographers produce something that has only the most visually powerful aspects of sexuality - the faster and stronger the turn on, the more likely a man will come back and pay for more. This results in porn being very different from real sex:
    • Things like love, respect, romance, and commitment are not found in pornography.
    • Spontaneous sex with someone not known is common.
    • Oral sex is extremely common in pornography since it's easier to get camera close ups and therefore more visually arousing than intercourse.
    • The more common positions used for intercourse do not film well, so porn is full of strange and impossible positions.
    • A lot of action and movement is more arousing than soft, slow, gentle sex, so only the fast and hard kind is shown.
    • Men want "proof" of orgasm, so most male climaxes in porn are done in a way that allows the ejaculation to be seen. And most female climaxes are accompanied by an exaggerated amount of screaming and thrashing.
    • In porn videos the women do not need foreplay - either they are ready at the drop of a pair of pants, or they need only a few seconds of stimulation.
    • The women are insatiable, they climax repeatedly, and they are so desperate for sex they will do anything with anyone.
    • Illicit sex arouses, so porn is full of fornication, adultery, lesbianism, threesomes, orgies, rape, and other things that we will not even mention!

    It is impossible for someone to repeatedly view this kind of thing and not be affected by it. Normal sex acts start to seem boring, and a man who has been happy with his sex life can become frustrated that it's not like the porn. A man may start to think there is something wrong with his wife, or get mad at her for not being like the women in the porn. The man may also start to question his own sexuality, since the men in porn are much "better endowed" than most men, and seem to be able to have an erection at will and last as long as they choose. No real man can do the things men in porn seem to do.

    Women can also be affected negatively by viewing porn. They may feel ugly or think they cannot turn their husband on because they don't look like the women they see. They may start to doubt their sexuality because they can't do, or don't want to do, the things they see.

    This change of ideas and expectations is a slow, subtle process, but it's extremely destructive. It's also very difficult to correct - a man who has stopped viewing porn still has the wrong ideas and expectations in his head, and getting them out is not easy. Many men who have used porn prior to marriage say they have no idea what real sex should be like.

  • Habituation: Porn arouses - that's what it's designed to do. When we are aroused by something it creates a positive reinforce in our minds. This leads us to seek out the thing that aroused us again and again. In a normal sexual relationship with another person this works well, but with porn there's a problem. Because the porn is incomplete, its power to arouse is limited. Over time a man needs "stronger" porn to get the same arousal - it's very much like a drug addict needing more of the drug to get a high, and the same brain process are responsible for both addictions. The need to escalate eventually results in the man "needing" to view horrible things like bestiality or rape, or the same kind of porn must be consumed in large and larger quantities.
  • Dependency: Another problem is that a man may become so used to the strong stimulation of porn that it becomes more and more difficult for him to be aroused by normal sex with his wife. He may have to fantasize about the things he sees in porn to get an erection, or to keep it during intercourse. He may have to imagine his wife doing things she would never do, or imagine she is someone else.

    A woman can also become "addicted" in this way. Some men like watching pornographic videos with their wife because it gets her very aroused and results in "great sex." But over time she may grow to need the porn to get aroused, or feel upset by not getting aroused quickly without it. What started as an "extra" becomes a requirement, and one or both of them may resent this.

Porn can be like a cancer - the damage can be rather extensive before any hint of a problem exists. Porn can eat away at the healthy sexuality of a marriage, slowly perverting and destroying what God intended sex in marriage to be.

What is and isn't pornographic?

This is really a judgment call. Some say it's porn if it was designed only to arouse - but teenage boys have for decades used innocent things like the lingerie section of the Sears & Roebuck® catalog and photos in National Geographic as pornography. Others would say anything that depicts nudity is porn - but many medical texts have photos that could affect a man the same way porn does. Art is another difficult area. One man's art is another's porn. Rather than trying to classify these, we think it's better to look at the results, or fruit, of these things. The difficulty here is that we end up with things that produce good fruit in one person and bad fruit in another. (For example the boy who finds his father’s medical texts and uses pictures therein for sexual arousal.) What we are looking for is not just the absence of bad fruit, but also the presence of good fruit. If there is no good fruit then it is one of those things that is at best, "lawful but not profitable."

And what of items like books about sex which are intended to educate, but can also be visually arousing? How do we judge these? Is a book with realistic drawings okay, while a book with photos is not? Is a book with photos of partial nudity but no exposed genitals okay? Where do we draw the line? Again we are dealing with something which is going to be individual. A man who struggles with lust, or a man who has had past problems with porn, should not view such things, but if the man does not have such problems it may be beneficial for the couple to read them together. Once again we are looking at the fruit, both lack of bad fruit and presence of good fruit. If a "marriage manual" helps a couple solve a problem, that is a good thing; if a book is used by one spouse to try and force the other to do something they do not want to do, that is a bad thing. If a web site causes a couple to enjoy sex more that's good; if a web site causes either of them to be dissatisfied with their spouse that's bad.

Sex is a powerful force that has the ability to bless or curse, to do great good or great harm. In a similar way, any image, or words that deal with sex have the potential for great good and great harm. While the Bible does not give us detailed instructions about what is acceptable and what is not, it certainly gives us guidelines and warnings. Playing with fire is a good way to get burned, and ignoring or underestimating the potential for damage is foolish.

Another Helpful Article:
How Internet Pornographers Target the Male Brain

 

Image Credit: © Martinmark | dreamstime.com

CMBA

Christian Marriage Bloggers Association

  

Support TMB

razoo-red

Parental Control Software

safe-eyes

Get custom content filtering for Mac or PC. Protect your kids and yourself. Works with YouTube®, iTunes, and more. Monitor what's posted to social networks, log or block IM programs, and block gaming sites. You can even schedule internet time.

Get Safe Eyes!

Want to Talk?

message-boards

Come join us on the TMB forum. A safe place for Christians to talk about sex.