The Blog of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

April 13, 2012

Porn Is Interesting

By: 
Grace Biskie

There's a Chinese proverb that states: “May you live in interesting times.” As I thought about those “interesting times,” I thought about pornography. 

Yeah, porn. 

What's more interesting than living in a time where you can download an app to your phone displaying photos of nude women? What's more interesting than living in a time where you can anonymously watch others engage in sexual activity who have proudly posted their escapades for the world to watch for their personal financial benefit?

These interesting times have come upon us quickly. The first time I ever saw pornography I was ten. The next time I was in 8th grade. A friend raided her Dad's VHS stash. I was—at first—disgusted, but this time, unlike the last, I wanted to watch again. It was like getting tipsy for the first time. At 13 years old, I thought about porn again but never in a million years imagined having my own porn. I didn't consider buying my own stash and it never occurred to me to borrow from my friend’s Dad's extensive collection. The year was 1989. There were no smartphones. As a result, I never saw porn again for an entire decade.

Porn Is Accessible. All. The. Time.

At 19, I wanted to watch porn again. But I wasn't about to walk into a store (and risk being seen?) and buy pornography. Pretty soon, the desire went away. In fact, the desires didn't come back until it became easily accessible to me:  when my husband and I got high-speed internet in our home in 2003. All of a sudden, I found myself struggling with porn—quite out of the blue—and feeling profoundly disgusted with myself as a Jesus follower, as a woman, as a human being. I struggled on and off for a year before fully getting it under control. A willing heart to be healed and God's abundant willingness to deliver me won my freedom. Nowadays, I don't go anywhere near it. Not in movies, not in books, not anywhere. This is insanely difficult to do. One false move on a Google search can lead to image after animated image. But it's not just the accidental searches that are our problem, is it? It's our desire to find it, to find something other than the One who created our sexuality.

As a mama of two little ones, I feel sickeningly afraid that my sweet little boys will have their sexuality awoken in 2nd, 3rd or 4th grade by some kid with an iPod touch and parents too misguided to set up parental controls. Or maybe in the 5th grade my boys will attend a sleepover where a group of nearly pubescent kids rally around the family computer scanning YouTube for videos that get them, well, excited. Or, or, or . . .

Point is, any one of us could find porn very easily if we wanted to. Any one of us can nurse that addiction privately without anyone knowing but God. Thankfully, this is no longer—falsely—seen as a man's problem. Thanks to the ease of use, there are now more women, young boys, and young girls addicted to pornography than ever before. The stakes raise even higher as the profits of porn directly benefit the global billion dollar human sex trafficking industry.

The hyper-sexualized culture we live in means not only offering porn in more easily accessible formats but it means openly celebrating it as well, with the destruction and consequences spreading evenly throughout our families. No one is left unaffected.

Porn Isn't Our Biggest Problem.

Truth? Pornography is evil, abusive to women, torture to children, a medium for sexual trafficking, a source of funds for human slavery, an addiction that can lead to rape and sexual violence. It is a killer of healthy marital sex, an instrument which is capable of rewiring our brains, and a serious affront to God.

It's evil. It's accessible. But our biggest problem is our sinful nature, our weak faith, and our weak bodies ruling and running us around like undertrained marathoners.

Though we continue to have amnesia about why God doesn't want us to participate in porn or any other God-dishonoring behavior, the truth is that these guidelines are always for our benefit and always out of love. Our continual defiance of God is our own love problem. An obedience problem is a love problem. If we love God, we obey his directives.

This Kind Can Only Come Out Through Prayer.

We need God's help. Addressing porn in our lives means getting desperate for God's help. If we feel that we can "handle this" alone, we are dead wrong. We need to get on our knees and ask God to make us desperate. We need to ask God to show us who we can begin to talk to or who we can invite towards consistent, loving accountability. 

Ours is hope, offered willingly to us through Jesus. Lord knows if he can do a miraculous work in my life, he can do all that and more in yours. Never give up your hope.

We live in very interesting times, indeed. I hope and pray we can figure out how to guard our hearts, set up gridlock-strong accountability, and steer far, far away from the sin that so easily entangles.

Grace Biskie is InterVarsity’s Regional Coordinator for the Great Lakes East area and blogs at www.gabbingwithgrace.com.

Comments

My biggest problem with this article is that you make numerous claims without the necessary sources as evidence. A primary example of this is when you state: "The stakes raise even higher as the profits of porn directly benefit the global billion dollar human sex trafficking industry." Inspired by this statement, I spent time trying to research to find any compelling evidence of this claim. There is nothing that links any major porn company to illegal human sex trafficking. Making a claim like this is completely frivolous and negates any argument about the legality of porn. Another quote in your article I find completely absurd is: "Pornography is evil, abusive to women, torture to children, a medium for sexual trafficking, a source of funds for human slavery, an addiction that can lead to rape and sexual violence. It is a killer of healthy marital sex, an instrument which is capable of rewiring our brains, and a serious affront to God." That argument itself can be offensive to those who are victims of such violence. Please provide psychological studies and crime statistics that link porn to those tragic events. If prayer is your only answer to those heinous occurrences, I'll rest my faith elsewhere.
Anonymous, There's an org called "Hope for the Voiceless," that is currently studying the connections between porn and human trafficking. Many predators have confessed their online addictions lead to offline addictions. There are probably many more organizations like it, though that is one of the ones I've been privy to. I myself am a victim of both sexual violence, incest and rape and it is not offensive for me, at all, to consider that the making of porn is and has been a form of torture to women and children. Many couples have admitted to porn killing their marriage and trust. There's no denying it's addictive power, and it has many times over been admitted a cause that has led to greater violence. It's not rocket science. No little girl grows and hopes to be PAID FOR SEX. I mean, c'mon, seriously? Do you really need a psychological study to prove how degrading porn is? If you find my argument absurd, why don't you engage in some conversations with women and children who have been trapped in the porn industry? I don't have crime statistics no psychological studies to give you, just a lot of conversations and testimonies from people whose lives have been devastated by the porn industry in general. I never suggested prayer is the only answer to solving the world's problems with evil, but it's certainly the best place to start for Jesus followers. If you want to watch porn that's up to you, but you can't deny that it is very destructive on many levels. -Grace
I never denied that there are not any links to all porn and human trafficking. I was stating that there are no links to major porn companies who follow the legal regulations under the US laws. According to studies conducted by AP, ABC, US Census Bureau, etc; the majority of porn viewers purchase and watch pornography from those legal industries. Federal and State law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, the Department of Justice, etc. are there to enforce the laws surrounding the legality and illegality of porn and do as much as they can to keep non consensual women and children out of the industry. I was not suggesting any studies or statistics to show how degrading porn is, that is a subjective matter in which people are free to choose their own opinion of. I was suggesting to find official studies from secular institutions that link human psychology, crime to LEGAL porn industries. I had never denied that there are some instances in which women and children are trapped in the illegal porn industry. In terms of the legal porn industry, women of legal age voluntarily enter the industry and are free to leave if they so choose. I do not deny that porn is addictive and can cause problems with families, but you cannot blame the legal porn industries. People have free will and choices to view or not view porn. The porn industry is simply following the trends of market economy that pushes a product that sells and following the legal regulations of such an industry. PEOPLE are the ones who buy their products and end up having the problems associated with it. Saying porn is destructive in a general sense is too subjective to argue. The morality of porn is something of relative nature. To Christians, I can understand how it can be deemed immoral in a general sense and how that can be destructive to those Christian relationships. Many non-christians have no problems with porn and attacking legal porn may attack those people's happiness, violating the very nature of secular liberty.
I think that you're missing the po int of her article that this hast nothing to do with legality or the constitution but everything to do with the standards tha God has set for us (if you believe in Him). His Kingdom has different rules than the USA and ut's much harder to be a citizen of His Kingdom than this country. You've got to choose your allegiance.
I was not missing the point, I just was trying to clarify that people make their own choices through whatever motivations they seek (Christian or not). I just don't want people to be so quick to point the finger at something else such as the issue i had mentioned previously. According to the New Testament, the only standard God directly laid down for man was to to treat others as they would like to be treated. Other people throughout history have misconstrued Jesus' actions by not swearing allegiance to their nation and only swearing upon allegiance to their god. If your asking people to only choose allegiance to God, it will have the same effects as it did to the Roman Empire. That consequence was complete destruction of the empire, something I do not want to see happen to only entity protecting my liberty, the USA (If not the USA, other industrialized secular nations).
Thanks! This was great! And it was very cool to hear a woman's story. How did you manage breaking free? By yourself or with others?
Yes, I involved both my husband, an accountability partner, two of my best friends and a therapist.
I praise God for delivering me out of a similar pattern. I realized that I wanted to loom at porn to fill an emptiness in me. It was a loneliness and perhaps even a fear that I might never get married, that I was unattractive and no one would ever want me-so I turned to porn to excite myself and feel the pleasure of sex. I was curious but I was also needy to know that I am now alone. This past easter I was thinking back to how God is slowly delivering me from my sinful desires by filling me up with His truth. I never thought it would be possible, but He is doing it-doing a new work in me.
Praise God! Glad to hear of the the new thing He is doing with you! He's not done yet.
Thankyou for this vulnerable post. "Lord knows if he can do a miraculous work in my life, he can do all that and more in yours." Yes! I too can testify.
Your welcome. I certainly hoped it would encourage those who have been living in the dark.
wow this touched my heart just to read the title, but at first i almost turned away from it. i have was also a person who struggled with porn from the age 10-18, I kept it hidden from everyone but god. I remember praying almost every day asking god why? Why me lord, and it was some days i was so upset with him because i kept praying asking to please take these fillings away so i can stop letting him down, but it would'nt go away it kept hunting me.... BUT!!!! BUT GOD :)) when i was 18 well let just say 4months ago. The end of December i really understood the stripture in the bible where its say What's Done In The Dark COMES TO THE LIGHT!!, that is what happened to me, in i thank god for that because if it wasnt for my god bring my sins to the light i wouldnt have gotten deliverd from it and gotten the help i needed to FIGHT back SPRITURAL.
Keep fighting in the strength of the Lord! Trust him for the battle and lean on His grace in times of failure....and don't be afraid to keep bringing the issue to the light with people who love you. -Grace
I am so grateful for this revelatory look at how pornography affects so many areas of our lives. Until now women have not spoken out about their struggles about it and keeping those battles forces others with similar weakness into isolation. That only leads less strength to fight. Thank you for leading in this helping us to "renounce ever secret and shameful way" IICor 4:1.
Thanks so much for the encouragement. I felt really nervous for the first 48 hours after I origninally posted this on my blog, but then I had a strong sense that I am forgiven, God loves me, his grace rules over me, and if someone wants to cast a stone, oh well....what can I do? I can't be perfect, eh? I hope it will encourage more women to step forward and realize they can't do it alone either. blessings... -Grace
+ 1 for blogging about porn.
+1 for +1'ing it. =) -Grace

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