In my lifetime I have seen the social status of cigarette smoking change drastically. Throughout my adolescence and early adult life second hand smoke was something that we simply had to deal with, like it or not. In a somewhat astonishing way the social views on smoking have been almost completely reversed in the last ten to fifteen years. And over the course of my short thirty eight years it has gone from cool to neutral to annoyance to near universal social taboo. Occasionally I see older movies where people are smoking in offices at work or in airplanes or any other now extinct smoking practice and I think about how no one bothered to analyze the fact that society had broadly accepted cigarettes as harmless fun, seemingly without question. And that always leads me to one question, “What are today’s cigarettes?” You know, those individual practices that society has accepted as harmless fun, but will turn out to be life threatening forces of destruction. It’s an interesting question, and I’ve been thinking about a possible candidate: porn.
Of course, porn is a different kind of danger. I do not think it will turn out to be carcinogenic. But I do believe it brings about other pathologies. In some ways those sicknesses are just as sinister and just as deadly. Whether or not porn could be called today’s cigarette, the attitudes toward it are disturbing. Porn is increasingly accepted as not only harmless fun, but even encouraged as a healthy ingredient for a spicy sex life and defended as an important constitutional right.
Recently CNN posted an opinion article that compared Rick Santorum’s social values with the imposing of Sharia Law by the Taliban in Afghanistan. I think it is a fair question to ask what the difference is between imposing Sharia Law in America and imposing conservative Christian values. But honestly, this article was ridiculously flawed. The big dramatic (melodramatic, in my opinion) punchline was that Santorum might try to make abortion illegal (even for rape victims), annul gay marriages, ban federal funding for birth control, and oppose porn. The most offensive aspect of this article to me was the fact that the author is absurdly ignorant of what life is like in countries governed by Islamic Law if he honestly believes that those four restrictions compare. Almost as shocking is the way that the author implies that the executive office of President holds the legislative power to pull it off. But the interesting aspect of the article was the way that he went about discussing the fourth issue of porn. He states:
4. No porn! I’m not kidding. Santorum signed “The Marriage Vow” pledge (PDF) authored by the Family Leader organization, under which he swears to oppose pornography. I think many would agree that alone should disqualify him from being president.
It’s not just the idea that porn is an individual right that bugs me. It’s the tone that suggests that porn is every cool guy’s favorite past time. The day after reading this poorly done article I found myself in the waiting room of a local healthcare provider. I picked up a copy of a recent Prevention magazine and began thumbing through it. I noticed an article that claimed some astonishing health benefits of sex. After making these points the article went on to discuss various ways for increasing the amount of sex in a couple’s marriage. What was suggestion number one? You guessed it, watch porn together. Porn. Supposedly, according to this unassuming article in waiting rooms around the country, every marriage needs some. Without it your sex life might not be everything it could be. And just in case the wife in the marriage had some reservations about using porn in the relationship the article went on to specifically state that she should not worry if the husband likes porn, that it is completely natural and healthy. And that she should also not feel shame herself, nor think too much about not liking it at first, for she was bound to learn to love it.
Have we become completely insane? Porn has no redeeming qualities, and tons of destructive properties. Consider some facts about porn.
- 90% of youth ages 8-16 have viewed porn online.
- 63% of youth ages 14-16 say they can easily access porn on their mobile phone.
- The largest single group viewing porn is ages 12-17.
- The average age that children are exposed to porn is 11 years old.
- Porn is often not sought when discovered the first time.
- Porn gives children (and adults) unrealistic ideas about sex.
- The majority of child porn offenders first found child abuse images while looking for adult porn.
- There is a correlation between porn use and attitudes of violence towards women.
- The use of porn is highly addictive.
- Porn use causes damage to the frontal lobe of the brain.
- The use of child porn often begins with the addiction to adult porn; 85% of male child porn offenders have also physically abused children.
- The use of porn causes impotence in men towards their spouse.
- Porn is constantly evolving into increasingly deviant forms.
- Porn addictions cost addicts relationships, families, and jobs.
- Porn use has been connected to violent sexual assaults.
- Male adolescents who use porn are more likely to become the victims of forced sodomy.
- 83% of convicted rapists report a high rate of hard-core porn use.
- Porn is a common pathway to infidelity and divorce.
- Porn use from a parent leads to disinterest in relationships with children and other family members.
- Men who use porn have increased attitudes of women as commodities or sex objects.
- 66% of porn stars have herpes.
- 70% of sexually transmitted infections in the porn industry happen in females.
- There are over 68 million daily search engine requests for porn.
That is just a start. Research on the destructive path that is being left by porn can be found online as easily as porn itself. If you are not sure where to get started try a few books like this and this and this. While you’re waiting for your books to arrive start with some websites like this and this and this. And if you have not done so already install filtering software such as this on all of your computers, phones, and other internet ready devices. Addicted to porn? Start here. Are you a Christian who is interested in ministering to the porn industry? Check this out. Want to know the ugly truth about life as a porn star from former porn stars then go here.
Again, these are just a start. But the point is that plenty of people are working hard to educate the rest of us on the dangers of porn, and if you want to be part of the solution it is not that hard to get involved. It is even easier to simply get educated. The real victims of the ubiquitous state of porn in our culture is our children. Unfortunately, many of us have shrugged our shoulders while this problem has ballooned into a multibillion dollar industry. Children shouldn’t have to see porn before they’re twelve. It has no redeeming qualities, and only time will tell just how deadly are its consequences. It is time to sound the alarm on porn. Will you help fight?
When Did Porn Cost So Much? by Jonathan Simmons
This is great, Jonathan! I really think there is a lack of knowledge especially in parents of how much access is readily available! Christian and I consider ourselves fairly tech saavy yet we blindly handed an unrestricted ipod touch to our oldest for his 10th birthday. I wish I could say that he didn’t stumble onto something he shouldn’t have, but he did! We were so devastated that not only was his innocent mind imprinted with those images forever but also that we had handed him the tool! Before that incident it didn’t even occur to me (hello naive!) that people could access such things on ipods and cell phones. Ouch! We now have restrictions and browser accountability but I wish I could go back in time about 6 months ago and talked to my unenlightened self. Since then I have made sure to tell all the parents I can bring it up to about this danger. Keep up the Kingdom work by taking a stand on issues like this, brother!
Janna, thanks so much for sharing that! There is a lot of naivete from all of us! I’m so sorry that you guys had that experience! The good news is that it opened up the conversation with your oldest. Now you and Christian are part of his dialogue on the issue. Unfortunately many of us have children who have been exposed and we have no clue about it. Maybe Emily or another counselor can write an advice piece on how to navigate those conversations with our children (hint, hint for any child and/or family counselors who read this). I think that we have to start openly talking about porn if we are going to be able deal with it. So, thanks again!
Thanks for this post. I know this is something that just about every guy I know struggles with or has struggled with, including myself. One of the things I find to be the most dangerous isn’t just the objectification of women, but even the body itself is objectified. In art, the beauty of the body is glorified, where porn seeks only to arouse lust and sexual stimulation. Rather than enjoying the beauty of humanity and sexuality, it becomes a tool for hollow chemical highs and physical release. It creates a mentality of sexuality that is totally self focused. Even guys who stay virgins until they are married have often trained themselves from porn that sex is essentially about masturbating into another person. There needs to be a total sexual revolution in the church, redefining sex, the body, and God’s intentions for it.
That is so true, Karsten! Thanks for sharing your insights!
Incredible post. Will be using your eesearch for future purity discussions and lessons. I read a Doug Fields article recently where instead of asking he just assumed his high school guy group struggled with porn. Feel like it is going to get worst. Teens need to understand it affects them now & NEEDS to be a lifetime decision to abstain. Keep fighting the battle…I know I will! Will pray for after I press submit. God bless.
Thanks, Jeff! And the prayers are much appreciated! Keep up the good fight!
Great article Jonathan! I really liked your comparison of porn to cigarette smoking. It seems cool while you’re young and naive, but you quickly find that it ruins your health and the health of those around you.
Thanks for reading, Chad/Jessica! It’s so true, seems harmless at first but it proves so destructive in the end!
Thank you Jonathan. This article gave me some amunition to spread the word around the internet by using WP automatic social page subscriptions. God Bless you and you can count with me with prayer and standing along side of you. This has been one of the heaviest burdens upon my soul for a long time and I truly thank the Lord for leading me across your article to link strategies to debunk this hedious lie that is corroding the very essence of our social structure today. I will approve your post on WP.
Sorry the word was ammunition.
World English Dictionary
any projectiles, such as bullets, rockets, etc, that can be discharged from a weapon
bombs, missiles, chemicals, biological agents, nuclear materials, etc, capable of use as weapons
any means of defence or attack, as in an argument
[C17: from obsolete French amunition, by mistaken division from earlier la munition; see munition ]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Yes, ammunition! We all need it! So, fire away! The more of us posting and speaking out the better. This issue has to be dealt with. Thanks for your comments, and for your efforts! Blessings!
Reblogged this on jonathan stone's blog and commented:
We’ve got to do something about this…
[…] Stone wrote an amazing post on the addictive nature of porn. Here is just a sample of some of the statistics he […]
You know, I remember a time when, if someone wanted porn, they had to work for it. They had to drive across town, enter the seedy establishment without getting caught, sneak back out, and then they could partake in their unscrupulous undertaking. No longer! All you have to do is make an innocuous mistake tying in a URL and bam! you’re somewhere where you never intended to be. To make matters worse, there is almost no stigma attached to porn these days – and a user has to work really hard to get caught since the internet enables it to be piped quickly and stealthily to whatever internet-connected device you choose.
Satan comes to kill, to steal, and destroy…and this is one of his main weapons! As such, we need to treat it accordingly!
The bigger question is, “How many of our brother and sisters are addicted to, influenced by, or have a problem in this area of their life?” You would be astonished at the answer. Seriously, put up a poll on your blog or provide an anonymous comment box at your next men’s breakfast and see what you get. The church needs to deal with this directly, but also in love, so that Satan no longer has this foothold he can use to wreak havoc among the elect.
You are absolutely right, Mark. Thank you for reading. And thank you for your comments. Blessings!
porn is devoid of the Spirit of God and Higher Love
sex devoid of the Spirit and Love is a damaging idol
thank you so much for bringing attention to this sensitive subject
thank you for the many sexually abused young girls who grow up without options, protection or real love; forget God and who they really are; and are sucked into the porn industry or life as a stripper.
May the Light of God shine into the darkness, exposing it, and rescuing the wounded innocents and misguided.
This is the most enlightening and intellectual discussion on pronography I’ve ever read! I think if more people were educated, they would have another competing voice when they go to click on the website or pop in the DVD. I know a few parents who struggle with this, and knowing that this can effect their children will give them more of a desire to put to death this misdeed of the flesh by God’s Spirit (Romans 8:13). Thanks again.
[…] the greatest sexual societal issue facing the church is not homosexuality, but pornography. And as I have noted here, we seem completely unaware of this, or the fact that the true victims of pornography are our […]
[…] for mass murder by spending sixteen hours a day on World of Warcraft and Call of Duty. However, as I have written previously, it should be clear that on the pornography issue we are dealing with something far greater than […]
Amen! I absolutely agree with everything you said, particularly at the end when you mention that the children of this generation are the ones suffering from the way porn is talked about and viewed in our society today. I was one of those statics- porn found me at age 11- and I was addicted for 8 years! I’m not even three times that now! It’s weird to think that such a large part of my life, and most of my life that I am able to remember, was spent in addiction. Shame on all of us.