Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Women And Pornography Addiction. . . .

I received a sad but not surprising Facebook message from a former student of mine today. He was simply asking for my thoughts on a blog posted by a female friend. . . . a blog that he found troubling. The blog post was pretty simple and straightforward. . . one picture and one word. The picture was of a professional athlete (male) posing in nothing but his boxers. He was holding a hockey stick in his hand. Underneath, the blogger simply posted the word "yeeeeeeaaaaaahhhhhh." My friend then wondered out loud to me about what might happen if he had done the same thing on his blog with a photo of Megan Fox.

My friend's question reminded me of an eye-opening comment I heard from a ninth-grade girl a few weeks ago as I was talking to her and a group of her peers about advertising and images. This innocent and younger-looking-than-a-freshman openly and straightforwardly admitted to something I've never heard a teenage girl admit to before. She asked, "What's with all the Abercrombie ads and the half-naked guys? Don't they know what those ads do to us girls? Don't they know what they make us think?" In a world where we've been hammered with the message that guys are visual and girls are emotional. . . well. . . maybe the playing field is much more level than most of us ever imagined.

God gave us eyes. God gave us bodies. God gave us emotions. God gave us sex. God gave us sexual desires. God gave us the wonderful and complex mix of nerve endings that inhabit all the body parts that bring sexual pleasure. And God declared all of those things as good. Then, Genesis 3:6. . . and it comes undone. Now, as we anticipate the day when God will redeem and restore those things once and for all, we need to be about the business of experiencing them all redemptively and in ways that reflect their intended use and what they once were. No doubt, it's a battle. And in today's world, it's not just men who are indulging in things that rip apart their lives and the lives of others.

I found these stats this morning:
-13% of Women admit to accessing pornography at work.
-70% of women keep their cyber activities secret.
-17% of all women struggle with pornography addiction.
-Women, far more than men, are likely to act out their behaviors in real life, such as having multiple partners, casual sex, or affairs.
-Women favor chat rooms 2X more than men.
-1 of 3 visitors to all adult web sites are women.
-9.4 million women access adult web sites each month.

This issue is one of the most significant issues of our technologically advancing times. It's fed by a plethora of forces including family breakdown, age-compression, age-aspiration, moral relativism, narcissism, entitlement, materialism, etc. And lest we think the answer is to get the computer out of the house, think again. Like everything else in life, the real problem lies within . . . in the human heart. That heart will always be with us. Consequently, maybe we should be doing anything and everything we can to help our kids and each other understand and guard our hearts.

This isn't a simple problem with simple solutions. Rather, it's a complex problem that's on the rise. And if we don't address it with men, women, boys, and girls. . . well. . . we're surely going to be reaping the ugly and exploitative fruits of sexual anarchy in a very, very short time.


mdyoder said...

Thanks for the post, Walt. We need more straight forward conversation about the issues of pornography and sexual addiction between parents and children, spouses, and churches. I appreciate what Craig Gross at 3X Church has been doing over the last several years.
Keep the conversation going!

Ryan said...

Our junior youth group at our church is 90% female (grades 5-7, ages 10-12).

Most are non-Christian kids and pretty liberal about what they talk about at church haha..

I think these stats would be inflated in this crowd. I hear them talking about watching porn more then I care to admit. It's really saddening and mind boggling..

Thank you for posting this!

Jessica Harris said...

Thank you for writing on this! A friend of mine posted it on my Facebook wall.

Women do struggle with pornography addictions, including hardcore. Christian women.

In 2009, I started a ministry specifically for Christian women struggling with pornography. Being a former female porn addict myself I understand the devastating effects it can have on a woman's life and faith and I work hard to let women know that yes, other women do struggle. It is so encouraging (for lack of a better word) to see men realizing this.

Thank you for speaking up on it. We need more people like you!

Stephanie said...

It just makes no sense to me Walt. You relate all of this pornography(as part of all the evil in the world)to Gen3:6. Amidst all that beauty in the Garden of Eden why would anyone create a tree containing evil? For what purpose? It makes absolutely no sense at all, and consequently impossible to believe.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget about soap operas. I became addicted to a certain actor in a way I never, ever would have imagined. It only took a month. It was very real. Bringing it to the light with my husband was essential. How the enemy wanted me to keep it in the dark, "just between us."

To say it was strong would be a huge understatement. I have a (married) friend who became addicted to romance novels, also. For women, so much is about the fantasy of it all.

Thanks for your wise words on this subject. Love your blog.

Diane Foley said...

Great post and very helpful! Could you post your source for the stats so we could reference them? Thanks!

Diane Foley MD

Tammy Robinson said...

Walt, in this post you refer to Gen. 6:3(The Fall) as the reason “it comes undone” and why the world is nowhere near what God intended it to be. According to you, part of the evil of The Fall is pornography (something I enjoy immensely). An argument is only as good as the foundation upon which it rests. So let’s examine pornography being a result of The Fall and if so, who is responsible.

In law there are four degrees of criminal culpability (blame) in determining the degree to which a person is responsible for a crime. The higher the degree of culpability, the more the person is responsible for the crime.
The 4 levels are:
INTENTIONAL – a conscious object and taking direct steps to cause a specific result.
KNOWINGLY – does not hope for the result but is certain a type of conduct will cause a certain result.
RECKLESSLY – is aware of, but not certain, of a substantial risk a certain type of conduct will cause a certain result.
NEGLIGENTLY – unaware of a substantial risk of which one should have been aware.

God created the Tree of Knowledge (Good and Evil). He created Adam and Eve.They were created in a most perfect and serene Garden of Eden. God informs Adam that he can eat of any tree in the garden, but commanded that it is absolutely forbidden to eat from the Tree of Knowledge.

God, being omnipotent, and all knowing, obviously knew that Adam and Eve would disobey Him when tempted by the serpent. Now here’s the ghastly part. God was fully certain (“Knowingly) that Adam and Eve’s indiscretion would result in 10,000 years and counting, of the most horrific and apocalyptic events imaginable – continuous massive starvation of innocents, billions of horrendous deaths of innocents by floods and hellish diseases, billions of innocent babies born with mental and grossly disfiguring physical deformities, the Holocaust, never-ending wars, elderly loved ones rotting away in feebleness and their own waste, etc., etc. He had no doubt of this.

We cannot say, based on the evidence we have, that God “Intentionally” set this scenario up, but we can unequivocally state that God was guilty of the second highest degree of culpability – “Knowingly”, in that He knew that Adam and Eve would disobey Him, and was also fully aware that it would “cause a certain result” - The Fall.
What enhances the severity of God’s culpability is that it’s so incredibly unfair to cruelly allow billions of innocents to be victims of the actions of the actual two perpetrators. Nowhere has this unwarranted victimhood ever been deemed appropriate, fair, or just.

So, if one believes as I do, that a loving and merciful God would never be part of such a heinous “crime”, one must then realize that Gen 3:6 is a fallacious account of history, and that the condemnation of the enjoyment of pornography cannot be attributed to something that never occurred. Only if one believes in a god that would have “Knowingly” allowed such horrors to be reaped upon innocent (those who did not eat the fruit) billions, can one believe in Gen 3:6.

For those confused let me make an analogy. An amateur chemist is working on creating a most deadly and noxious nerve gas to be sold to the military when perfected. The father finally discovers a concoction so potent that even the release of a wisp of it will cause the deaths of everyone within miles. Prior to leaving for his job the next morning he informs his son that he can play anywhere in the basement, but in no uncertain terms he instructs him not to turn the brass valve on the red canister sitting on his workbench. Ridiculous yes?

But even in this analogy the father’s culpability is not as severe as God’s. The father is not omnipotent, he is not certain that his son will disobey him. God was certain Adam would disobey Him. Would it not have been more logical for the father to place the canister into a locked safe, for God to build an impenetrable and unclimbable wall around his tree?

Why even have a tree containing evil in such a perfect garden to begin with?

Can anyone present a logical response to this?

Jim and Diane Ruehling said...

I and several other women I know actually found pornography to be quite boring after the initial novelty wore off. I think for a lot of Christian women it is the lure of “forbidden fruit”, which after experiencing, they find to be rather bland. Also Walt, if seventh graders are acting out the pornography they see on the Internet “sexual anarchy” has already arrived. I cannot even imagine the ramifications. Seventh graders???

Interestingly enough, after reading your post (which I fully agree that the 17% need help), I was curious as to what exactly were the words of verse 6 in chapter 3 of Genesis. Realizing that I had not done leisurely Bible reading for a while I started out with the beginning of Genesis, my favorite book. I was quite surprised to find a verse that long ago I had read but for whatever reason did not jump out at me as it did today. The Lord seeing Adam and Eve wearing ONLY “aprons”(KJV) which only covered their privates, “made them ‘COATS’ of skins and clothed THEM”(Gen.3: 21). Do you realize the implications of this? Adam and Eve were HUSBAND AND WIFE, yet God still did not want them to see each other naked! God also wanted ADAM’S CHEST covered in addition to Eve’s!

Therefore God would only approve of lovemaking in the dark, or fully clothed and very awkwardly in light, and men always covering their chests as do women. It would also mean that Christian families could no longer go to public beaches with men parading around half naked. No more YFC and CCC witnessing getaways in our beloved Ocean City, NJ.

If one preaches literalism to our youth one must live literalism, or it becomes the epitome of hypocrisy.

TAMMY ROBINSON, it looks like the answer to your last question is a resounding and unveiling "No".

You have not informed us Walt of your healing progress for quite some time. May we assume that it’s progressing rather well? I certainly hope so. You are so fortunate, as are we, to still be here.

Anonymous said...

Some thoughts for us all to consider... particularly in light of the last two posts:

The Scriptures are clear that sexuality is God's creation. He alone has the right to establish and ordain the bounds for its, which -- as all His gifts -- is for 'His' glory and purposes; not our self-indulgence. We were not put on this earth to serve ourselves, but to love and serve God and neighbor, according to God's definition.

In Eph. 5 we are exhorted to find out 'what the will of the Lord is'. This requires 'knowing Him', and that involves loving Him and His Word, and saturating ourselves with it. It is not enough to know 'about' God. James 2 tells us even the demons fit that criteria.

Romans 1 reminds us of the age-old issue of rejecting God and His ways, choosing autonomy instead. Consider having a fresh read; remembering the extent to which God has gone via the cross to prove His desire for us to return to Him.

A few other verses that came to mind as I read the last two posts follow.

Is. 5:20-21, Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness,who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!"

God does not seem to feel the need to deny His activity in disaster. He also refuses to fit into our self-defined boxes of who He is and what He would or wouldn't do.
Note, for example:

Is. 45:7 I form light and create darkness,I make well-being and create calamity,I am the LORD, who does all these things.

God is not defined by our wishful preferences, but by who He actually is. We must respect who and what He has revealed Himself to be by His Word and through His Son. (Consider Colossians 1).

Finally, God has not called us to live by 'logic', but to live by the Spirit, according to a genuine faith and a pure conscience. - Putting into practice instructions like the following, involves a surrender of all of our being in everyday life:

Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Numerous places in the Gospels record Jesus having said that anyone who would follow him must take up His cross daily, and deny himself, (e.g., Matt. 16). This is a high calling involving 'total' surrender to 'God's' will, even when in opposition to one's own preferences and longings. And to those who are willing, He promises abundant 'life'.

Are you ready?

Jim and Diane Ruehling said...

ANONYMOUS, thank you for your caring response to the last two comments of Tammy Robinson and myself. Your intention is certainly virtuous, but…

Let me respond to your specific points, something you protrusively fail to do in commenting on our comments.

YOU STATE: “The Scriptures are clear, sexuality is God’s creation.”

What are you trying to say here? Sex being God’s creation was never in question. Obviously everything is God’s creation.

YOU STATE: “He alone has the right to establish and set bounds for it (sex), which – as all His gifts – is for His glory and purposes; not our self-indulgence”.

OK, but what are the bounds, and according to what scripture? Second, how does one have sex “for His glory”, and again, according to what scripture? Third, “for His…purposes” – and what would they be and according to what scripture? Fourth, not for “our self-indulgence” – if not for “our self-indulgence”, how do we include God in our indulgence in sex, and according to what scripture? Also, are you including masturbation as “self-indulgence”? Do the “bounds” God set for sex include or exclude masturbation? If it is excluded that would have to be the most cruel and abominable exclusion that one could imagine. Well, what is it – included or excluded? If excluded, according to what scripture? Walt emphatically states, (May 31 post),

“God gave us sex. God gave us sexual desires. God gave us the wonderful and complex mix of nerve endings that inhabit all the body parts that bring sexual pleasure. And God declared all of those things as good.”

YOU STATE: “We were not put on earth to serve ourselves, but to love and serve God and neighbor…”

Are you saying that by engaging in sex that we are serving ourselves and not loving and serving God and neighbor? If so, you are saying that we should not engage in any activity that serves ourselves, “but to love and serve God and neighbor…” Again, see Walt’s quote.

YOU STATE: “In Eph.5 we are extorted to find out what the will of the Lord is”.

Oh Jesus made CERTAIN we knew what the “will of the Lord is” in Matthew 22:37 –40. Nowhere in those words, even with the furthest stretch of the imagination, can be interpreted the slightest condemnation of unmarried consenting couples (heterosexual or homosexual) engaging in mutually pleasurable sex, nor the act of masturbation.

YOU STATE: “Romans 1 reminds us of the age-old issue of rejecting God and His ways…”

Again you fail to note even one way that Tammy Robinson or I are rejecting God and His ways.


Jim and Diane Ruehling said...


YOU STATE: “Is.5: 20-21, Woe to those who call evil good and good evil…”

Whose calling evil good and good evil? Again, you fail to cite even one example of either of us doing this.

YOU STATE: Is 45:7 “I form light and create darkness, I make well- being and create calamity (evil – KJV)”

Now which is it? God created the evil in the world - Is. 45:7 (see Tammy’s partial list), or is the evil in the world due to Adam taking a bite out of the forbidden fruit, thus resulting in “The Fall”? Please pick one.

I just had an “Aha!” moment. Both of those possibilities can coincide with each other if you are implying that God created evil by His “Knowing” (see Tammy’s comment) that His creation of Adam and Eve, would result in The Fall. Yes, this would then support Is.45: 7, where God states as you say, “I make well-being and create calamity (evil). The question then still remains though why a loving and merciful God would create such massive flagitious acts of iniquitous suffering over thousands of years? For what reason would He “create” or even allow this? Can you even fathom a guess? Can you believe that there is also another possibility that would be the most logical and “in the Spirit”? That would be that God never really told Isaiah that He created the evil in the world. As you know, Jesus never once mentioned or even implied that anyone was an inspired scribe of His Father, now did He? It seems to me that this last explanation makes the most sense. And after all, it is those things that make the most sense that we should believe as compared to those things that make less sense, wouldn’t you agree?

YOU STATE: “God has not called us to live by ‘logic’ but to live by the Spirit…”

Here you directly imply that to live by the Spirit is not logical but rather illogical. There is no middle ground between logical and illogical. I’m sorry, but it’s one or the other. Don’t you think it more appropriate that God has called us to live logically by the Spirit? Isn’t Matthew 22:37-40, living “logically” by the Spirit? Where in the Bible does it state or even imply that living logically AND in the Spirit cannot co-exist? Do you have any idea of how instructing us not to live by logic, destructively discredits our entire belief in God? Why does the word “logic”, as it relates to your belief, create such cognitive dissonance for you and so many other believers???

ANONYMOUS, although I sincerely appreciate your attempt to shed light on the issues, I’m afraid you only clouded over them with very non-specific and vague generalities. You deal in conspicuously abstract concepts that never lend themselves to understanding an issue. You also glaringly failed to answer a single question or respond definitively on a single issue that was raised by Tammy or myself. Why might that be?

Rachel Coyle said...

I appreciate your willingness to address this issue, Walt. It is an increasing problem among women of all ages, to be sure. In fact, I have recently written a booklet on this topic, titled "Help! She's Struggling With Pornography" (published by Day One). My book is one of the only (if not "the" only) book written from a purely biblical perspective and geared directly for women (of any age) who struggle with pornography. We need to get the word out among Christian circles that this IS a problem females struggle with. That, along with the fact that pornography is available in many forms, not limited to visual images / pictures, but including written material (magazines, romance novels, chat rooms, etc.). As you said, it is a matter of the heart. I address that in my book as well. Again, thank you for your willingness to open up this "can of worms" and get people thinking -- biblically.