Writing about marriage is often a challenging task, because there are topics here, there and everywhere that must be covered. Writing about love languages, friendship in marriage, working through problems, ideas for the bedroom, etc. are all subjects that immediately come to the surface. That said, there’s one subject that comes up through various blogs on occasion, but I’m not sure the drum is always beat as loudly as it ought to be. The subject is pornography.
Before you close this page and move on to another blog or article, I want you to think about this for just a second: pornography is ruining more marriages than anything else today. Some estimates indicate that even among Christian churches today, 50% of those attending services on a weekly basis view pornography regularly. Others have stated that up to 1/3 of pastors today struggle with it. It is wrecking not only secular society, but the Christian church as well.
Maybe you’re involved in porn personally, and don’t think it’s a big deal…but you know your marriage and sex life isn’t anything like what it could be. Maybe your spouse is involved in it and you don’t even know…but you know your marriage and sex life isn’t anything like what it could be. Maybe your kids are involved in it in some way and you don’t even know it. And you’re beginning to wonder why parenting has suddenly become so frustrating. Our goal is to discuss each of these things in a series of three posts.
Before we dive into the subject of “Having the Conversation With Yourself”, here are some statistics I want to bring to your attention. These statistics didn’t come from a “Christian” perspective who inflated the numbers just to make them sound worse than they really are, they came directly from a Business Insider post on the subject of internet porn.
1. Every second, over $3,000 is spent on porn.
Mark Driscoll points out that the net income for the porn industry on an annual basis is MORE than than of the NFL, MLB, and NBA…combined. To put it another way, it’s MORE than the annual income of the 3 largest US networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC…combined. Even those who don’t pay a dime, are supporting the industry due to the advertisers who pay to make it happen.
2. 40 million Americans are regular visitors to pornography websites. 2/3 of these are men, and 1/3 are women. In fact, the largest growing percentage of porn viewers today are women, not men.
3. 2.5 Billion emails a day are pornographic.
4. 25% of search engine requests are porn related. Here on the Do Not Disturb Blog, we know this to be true because of some of the search engine requests that lead people to our blog.
5. 35% of all internet downloads are porn related.
6. The average age which a child first sees porn, is 11 years old. To be completely honest here on the blog, I (Justin) first saw porn when I was 11 years old. And this was the age before the internet, so I know the truthfulness of this statistic.
There were more statistics offered as well, but these are the ones that stuck out to me the most.
Now, up above we mentioned three different types of situations. The first one was — maybe you’re involved in it personally, and don’t think it’s a big deal…but you know you marriage and sex life isn’t anything like what it could be. Let’s focus on the first part of this for a second: is pornography a “big deal”?
In Matthew 5:27-28, Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Translation to today: anytime you like at pornography, you’re committing adultery against your spouse. You are, essentially, sleeping with someone else.
So before we go on with the rest of this series, here’s what we’re hoping you do today: Have the Conversation…With Yourself. What does this mean? Well, it means you need to:
1. Acknowledge the Problem
Maybe you’re not fully addicted to porn. Maybe you just take a little peak now and then. You’re thinking, “This won’t hurt anybody.” And then you don’t look again but you come back a month or two later for another small peak.
Maybe you are addicted. Maybe it’s something you look at on a near daily basis. Because you’ve gotten in pretty deep, the only way to satisfy your cravings is to see even more.
Whichever category you may fall in to, you need to acknowledge that it’s got to stop. Porn. Is. Adultery. There’s no really kind way to say it. Not only is it adultery, it’s degrading to women. Women are being used, lied to, manipulated, and treated in some of the worst “work” conditions possible. Every time you watch porn, you’re catering to this system. So acknowledge that it’s a problem. Make the decision that you really don’t want to be part of this system any more.
If you don’t view porn ever, I think that’s wonderful! I really do! But, I’m sure you know others who do. Many others. Be sure that you take opportunities to communicate with them why you don’t, and why you don’t feel the need to. You may be able to be a significant help to those who have a sincere struggle in this area.
2. Get help.
If you’re not involved in a full pornography addiction, you can begin meeting with a trusted counselor or Christian friend who will help you walk through it. Commit to reading scripture on a regular basis. Commit to being open and honest with your new friend about what you’ve seen and not seen on a weekly basis. Commit to loving your spouse and serving her/him more than than you serve yourself.
If you believe you may be fully addicted to pornography, a trusted accountability friend will be helpful, but you may need additional counsel as well. The addiction doesn’t come from the images themselves, but from the chemicals in your body that are released when you see it. To stop viewing porn is to deprive your body of a chemical substance it’s used to getting on a consistent basis. Porn addiction is much like alcoholism and drug addiction. It often takes more professional help and a complete lifestyle change.
3. Be free.
Our tag line here has always been, “Finding freedom behind closed doors.” Guess what, if pornography is in your house in any way, you and your spouse will never truly find freedom in your sex lives. If you want this to happen, you’ve got to seriously take steps 1 and 2 to heart, get the help you need, and by doing so take the steps to make your marriage that much better. I won’t lie, this isn’t going to happen in a few days, or even weeks or months. It will take several months to work through this area. But if you have the conversation with yourself and acknowledge you truly need the help, and then get the help you need, your marriage will benefit in ways you never imagined.
Now, one of the questions often asked from those who have struggled with pornography is this: Do I talk with my spouse about this and confess to him/her my struggles in this area, or don’t I? It’s a tricky question, and one we’ll pick up with next time.
For those not currently struggling with porn, which statistic above surprised you the most? Why do you think so many people get ensnared in pornography?
Linking with: Revive Your Marriage