Monday, December 9, 2013

10 Things To Tell Your Students About Pornography. . . .

It appears that there might be a long-overdue shift taking place regarding our culture's stance on pornography. Yes, the church has been speaking out against pornography and it's horrible distortion of God's good gift of sexuality for years. Parents, pastors, youth workers. . . we've all been warning our kids about pornography . . . mostly from a Biblical/ethical perspective. Sadly, those warnings have usually elicited  criticism from a morally relativistic culture that when it comes to matters of sexuality believes "to each his/her own."

But the good news is that the culture-at-large seems to be listening to the growing number of warnings that are coming from the medical community, experts in neuro-physiology, social scientists, and even those who are sharing anecdotal testimonies to pornography's addictive and dangerous fall-out.

As a Christian, I am encouraged for the reason that this new push-back is testimony to the integrated nature of how God has made us. In other words, science is now telling us that something we've increasingly seen as benign or even virtuous is actually quite dangerous. God has indeed made our sexuality as a good thing. . . but we are indulging it out of the bounds of his plan. When we step out of the bounds of that plan, bad things happen.

Late last month, Scott Christian penned a piece for GQ Magazine - a men's mag that typically promotes boundary-less sexual activity - that looks at some of the statistics regarding pornography. It's worth a read and it's worth talking about with your students. We shouldn't be surprised that people are starting to "get it" when it comes to the porn pandemic. In his article "10 Reasons  Why You Should Quit Watching Porn", Christian passes on this list that comes from surveys of the NoFap online community, a group committed to abstaining from pornography and masturbation. Talk about these reasons with your kids. . .

1. For those addicted to porn, arousal actually declined with the same mate, while those who regularly found different mates were able to continual their arousal. It's known as the Coolidge Effect, or novelty-seeking behavior. Porn, after all, trains the viewer to expect constant newness.

2. One in five people who regularly watch porn admitted to feeling controlled by their own sexual desires.

3. 12 percent of NoFappers report watching 5 or more hours of Internet porn every week. 59 percent report watching between 4 and 15(!!) hours of porn every week.

4. Almost 50 percent of those on NoFap have never had sex in their lives, meaning their only experience with intimacy is purely digital.

5. 42 percent of male college students report visiting porn sites regularly.

6. 53 percent of the NoFappers developed a regular porn habit between the ages of 12 and 14. An alarming 16 percent said they started watching before they were 12.

7. 64 percent report that their tastes in porn have become more extreme or deviant.

8. Among 27-31 year olds on NoFap: 19 percent suffer from premature ejaculation, 25 percent are disinterested in sex with their partner, 31 percent have difficulty reaching orgasm, and 34 percent experience erectile dysfunction.

9. After committing to no masturbation/porn, 60 percent of those on NoFap felt that their sexual functions had improved.

10. And 67 percent had an increase in energy levels as well as productivity.

Once again, I want to encourage you all to learn as much as you can about pornography, its effects, and its remedy. A good place to start is with Tim Chester's Closing the Window: Steps to Living Porn Free.


David Vanderberg said...

Hello Walt,
Thanks for posting this - I am encouraged to see that discussions about pornography and its effects are becoming more commonplace and men and women alike are gaining freedom by talking about it.

I have a question/thought/query that may result in disturbing a bit of hornet's nest here, but I've read your blog for awhile and I know that, for the most part, your readers are quite intelligent and informed when dealing with contentious topics. So, I'm not too worried about bringing up some contention.

Finding #4 concerns me: "Almost 50 percent of those on NoFap have never had sex in their lives, meaning their only experience with intimacy is purely digital."

I don't know if NoFap is religiously affiliated, but I know SO many Christian men who are stuck in the following loop: They desire intimacy; they are committed to not having sex; they are mired in pornography which relieves their sexual yearnings (to a degree); yet, porn continues to ruin their brains, making their real relationships with women difficult, unhealthy, and (most) often unsuccesful, driving them back to pornography.

So, my hornet-nest-stirring would be this: Does Church-teaching on abstinence create an unhealthy view of intimacy which leads young Christian men TOWARDS pornography (and subsequent relational unhealthiness), rather than leading them away from sexual "sin" in the form of pre-marital sex? I suppose that an interesting stat would be to represent the frequency that virgins use pornography as opposed to non-virgins. (ex. Do these 50% of NoFappers use pornography more than the other 50%?). Or perhaps, one could pose the question as, "Do humans require a sexual outlet, and if so, does rigid abstinence-teaching push a generation of young men with limitless access to a "digital sexual outlet" towards a pornography addiction?

I am fully aware that I am employing the "if you can't beat them, join them" argument, which is full of holes. However, I am choosing to leave it phrased in such a Devil's Advocate fashion in order to broach the subject of the Church's role in "sex education." To me, there seems to be a missing link in the teaching between "save yourself for marriage" and "don't masturbate and look at porn." What is the Christian response to healthy sexuality for the abstinent man or woman?

John said...

We should not be teaching young men (or women) to suppress their sexual desire for the sake of abstinence. Abstinence is not having sex - chastity is giving your sexuality to Christ and His Lordship. Every aspect of every person is to be given to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The key to healthy sexuality is the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the grace of His Holy Spirit abiding in us. There are too many virgins who are in sexual bondage because while they chose not to have sex, the did do give the gift of their sexuality to Jesus to guard and keep pure until marriage or heaven.

The sexual desire is not like hunger. Hunger is a biological urge that keeps us from dying but our sex drive does not need to be gratified or death occurs.

Every gift that we have, every part of our lives needs to be under the Lordship of Jesu Christ. The Holy Spirit needs to be our interior master. The battle for purity begins between the ears, not the legs. Porn weakens the mind and will and leads to sexual bondage.

There is nothing flawed in the church's teaching on purity, holiness, and the sacredness of marriage.

David Vanderberg said...

Thanks for your response John. I appreciate the difference you highlight between abstinence and chastity, it is helpful. I was wondering if you could elaborate on the phrase: "The sexual desire is not like hunger. Hunger is a biological urge that keeps us from dying but our sex drive does not need to be gratified or death occurs." Are you saying that one's sex drive can be ignored without any adverse effects? Using the same analogy - hunger cannot be ignored, it will lead to death; however, sexual desire is a "hunger" that can be safely (and wisely) ignored until marriage?