A Threat To Virility: Time Is Not On Our Side
Just a week ago, Time® magazine published an online article entitled Porn, A Threat To Virility. Today, their magazine has the article as the cover story, on this week's edition. Kudos to them for speaking openly on it to the masses. There are others who are not afraid to address porn directly for the calamity that it is. Those voices are few and far between. What I've noticed in America is that most preachers don't want to preach on it, and educators don't want to teach on it. Scientists don't want to speculate without enough evidence that pornography is hurtful to a consumer. And parents don't want to talk about it to their children. I won't be quiet about this. I've researched it, I've consumed it, I've taught on it, and I will be speaking about it with my children and my youth group and their parents. The evidence is crystal clear in my experience, knowledge, and in other's stories that I have heard.
The problem of porn addiction is so immense that parents, the church, the researchers, and the education systems, are too late on the scene for my generation. The damage to a whole generation has already been done, and Time magazine is just recording the casualties. There is so much evidence out there if you just research a little bit. Start with the Time magazine article.
In the article, Belinda Luscombe writes:
A growing number of young men are convinced that their sexual responses have been sabotaged because their brains were virtually marinated in porn when they were adolescents. Their generation has consumed explicit content in quantities and varieties never before possible, on devices designed to deliver content swiftly and privately, all at an age when their brains were more plastic—more prone to permanent change—than in later life. (Time, 2016)
Porn is more than a threat to virility, or the sexuality of men. The consumption of pornography has changed the minds of all who use it. When I say changed minds, I literally mean changed the physical brain of it's addicted consumers. Without getting long-winded about the science, let me share just a bit about what I've learned. Just like a narcotic drug addiction changes the neural pathways that link your appetite for drugs to satisfaction, porn triggers the same parts of the brain, causing us to react to porn the way a drug addict reacts to narcotics. Consuming porn releases a feeling of euhporia due to the chemical release of dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin, norepinephrine, serotonin, vasopressin, nitric oxide, and the hormone prolactin. The surge of prolactin is thought to be what causes the "satisfied" feeling. In order to reach the same high over and over again, we have to consume progressively more hard core porn. Eventually, the part of our brain responsible for rewarding our physical behavior reduces size so much that it can't reward our body the way it was designed to. Over time, our body can become dysfunctional. For some, porn addictions have led to erectile dysfunction, sexless marriages, and divorce.
I believe that our whole American culture, both as a society, and as the church, must radically change our mentality towards porn if this epidemic will get better. I have seen porn addiction ravage marriages, careers, and spiritual lives. All of mankind must take an active and united appraoch to fighting this new drug. I've been actively fighting it and winning, praise God, for years. Even though God has helped me to be disciplined with my mind and heart, I will never stop defending against the temptation. One thing I've been a part of, along with few friends, is called the 40 day challenge to overcome porn. This is an iOS app, available on iTunes. We just completed it yesterday and I've been absolutely blessed by it. It's not a flawless app, due to some glitches, but what app doesn't have glitches? For the price ($2.99) it's a great deal for anyone (male or female) who desires to keep their hearts pure. You don't have to be addicted to watching porn to benefit from this 40 day challenge. You can download the app here. The app icon looks like this:
I want to beg each of you who read this, if you haven't already changed your minsdset to a defensive one, do it now. This defensive stance looks different for different people. To the 8-12 year old (boy or girl) it means never watching a rated R movie, or maybe even a PG-13 one. It means watching TV with your parents in the room, so that you are less likely to watch something that will tempt you. It means never being alone on the computer, tablet, or phone if it has unfiltered internet access. It means turning your phone into your parents at bed time. It means pursuing purity in your heart, by filling it with good, excellent, and praiseworthy things. It means admitting to a strong spiritual influence (God and a parent), when you struggle. It means, asking for forgiveness when you do mess up.
To the teenager and the young single adult, it means abstaining from sexual activity. It means choosing not to watch or listen to inapproate movies or music. It means having a plan when temptations arise. It mean laying out boundaries for what is appropriate and inappropraite in your relationships, and telling friends and significant others what those are. It means keeping your mind clear and sober. It means filling your heart with goodness, and with Godly people and activities. It means pursuing a disciplned lifestyle. It means asking for forgiveness for when you've messed up, and when you will mess up in the future.
To the married man and woman, this defense is double teamed. You and your spouse should speak openly about what struggles you have faced with porn, and then keep each other accoutable. There's a great video series called Guardrails. It was put out by Andy Stanley, a famous religious speaker. I would highly recommend watching it with your spouse. I would even say that double teaming this temptation is not enough. There are multiple fronts you can attack from. It isn't easy to admit your struggles to your spouse, so having a friend of the same sex to keep you accountable is a good idea. You'll need to meet with this accountability partner at least on a weekly basis, depending on your need. If you are deeply entrenched in porn addiction, then meeting daily may be the way to overcoming an addiction. There is a science to how to do accountability well, so don't just go at it blindly. The guys over at www.covenanteyes.com have done a great job in offering accountability software to help anyone with a porn addiction. Go over to this link and read this checklist for accountbility meetings.
This topic can be hard to address with your spouse or family, but that doesn't mean you should avoid it. Sometimes sharing an article with someone is easier than confronting someone 1 on 1. Do something. Everyone has someone in their life who struggles with porn addiction, you just may not know who it is. Why not share this on your own social media pages and hope that all of those who need to read it, do. Or you can target someone who needs to hear it by emailing this article to them directly. All the tools you need to share it are just one click away. Use the share buttons at the top.
Finally, I want to encourage you. No matter how deeply entangled someone may be in porn, they can get out. I have read, time and time again about people who have overcome porn addiction through spiritual warfare, and help by friends and family. I am available to help any of you who may need it. Just let me know you want help, and we will go from there. I'll do whatever it takes. May God bless your week!