This isn’t exactly how I planned to spend my afternoon. In fact, I was getting ready to go to the grocery store and restock the refrigerator for my family; however my spirit was stirred and convinced me that this had to be done now.
As we proceed, please note this is an uncomfortable topic for me. It houses years of confusion and hurt that are slowly being healed by a great God.
Here it is. The topic of pornography and the dangers of a world so desensitized to sex. Keep in mind that I understand this is not purely a male addiction; however the use of pornography is most common among males which is why I will be referencing to it as such.
It is impossible to live in this world and not be exposed to pornography at some level. In the store checkout lines there are magazines smeared with provocative images. You can’t watch a television program without being subjected to commercials using sex to sell products as simple as candy bars, burgers, and cars. Then there is the multi-billion dollar industry of internet porn and prostitution. It is almost effortless to view and many times starts out “free”; however what is advertised as free could cost more than you were ever willing to pay.
With this such a wide spread epidemic, what is a woman, or man for that matter, to do?
First let’s look at the effects of what we will refer to as softcore pornography. You know the type. The ones that are everywhere and treated like a normal part of society. The provocative images on magazine covers and television ads which in most cases use women displayed in some sexy half-dressed pose in order to sell a product or idea.
Here is just a little of the message these images are spreading: To be of value you have to have a sexy body and be willing to expose it. External hotness is the most important feature of a woman. Women are objects, a means to an end.
These messages leave women and young girls believing the lies that they are not enough and plummets self-esteem. It leaves men and young boys expecting a woman to purely serve as a point of sexual pleasure thereby separating sex from any emotional connection and even farther from the idea of a lifetime commitment to an individual.
Not convinced that these “soft” images that we view everyday are harmful? Check theses excerpts taken from 7 NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF PORN
‘Softcore pornography has a very negative effect on men as well. The problem with softcore pornography is that its voyeurism teaches men to view women as objects rather than to be in relationships with women as human beings.’ According to Brooks, pornography gives men the false impression that sex and pleasure are entirely divorced from relationships. In other words, pornography is inherently self-centered–something a man does by himself, for himself–by using another women as the means to pleasure, as yet another product to consume (80).
By inundating girls and women with the message that their most worthy attribute is their sexual hotness and crowding out other messages, pop culture is grooming them just like an individual perpetrator would. It is slowly chipping away at their self-esteem, stripping them of a sense of themselves as whole human beings, and providing them with an identity that emphasizes sex and de-emphasizes every other human attribute (Pornland, 118).
Porn tells a false story about men and women. In the story of porn, women are “one-dimensional”–they never say no, never get pregnant, and can’t wait to have sex with any man and please them in whatever way imaginable (or even unimaginable). On the other hand, the story porn tells about men is that they are “soulless, unfeeling, amoral life-support systems for erect penises who are entitled to use women in any way they want. These men demonstrated zero empathy, respect, or love for the women they have sex with…(Pornland, xxiv).”
So these are definitely not messages that I want my daughter believing about herself or my son believing about females.
The other thing that you should know is that pornography is addictive. This is another reason why the soft images previously mentioned are so dangerous. They leave a society desensitized to images and behavior and create a pathway of acceptance. Once the mindset is established that women are objects for sexual pleasure and an individual delves into that world of experimentation, addiction is likely to follow. Then what once satisfied no longer works and leaves the addict needing a higher high. In the case of pornography it means another level of images, actions, and acceptance taking the addict further away from reality and into a reliance on fantasy. The deeper the addict goes with pornography, the less satisfied he will be with reality.
Check out this research that explains more about the pornography addiction.
These excerpts were taken from 9 Things You Should Know About Pornography and the Brain and demonstrate the addictive behavior that results from viewing pornography.
In men, there are five primary chemicals involved in sexual arousal and response. The one that likely plays the most significant role in pornography addiction is dopamine. Dopamine plays a major role in the brain system that is responsible for reward-driven learning. Every type of reward that has been studied increases the level of dopamine transmission in the brain, and a variety of addictive drugs, including stimulants such as cocaine, amphetamine, and methamphetamine, act directly on the dopamine system. Dopamine surges when a person is exposed to novel stimuli, particularly if it is sexual, or when a stimuli is more arousing than anticipated. Because erotic imagery triggers more dopamine than sex with a familiar partner, exposure to pornography leads to "arousal addiction" and teaches the brain to prefer the image and become less satisfied with real-life sexual partners.
Overstimulation of the reward circuitry—such as occurs with repeated dopamine spikes related to viewing pornography—creates desensitization. As Gary Wilson explains, "When dopamine receptors drop after too much stimulation, the brain doesn't respond as much, and we feel less reward from pleasure. That drives us to search even harder for feelings of satisfaction—for example, by seeking out more extreme sexual stimuli, longer porn sessions, or more frequent porn viewing—thus further numbing the brain.
Pornography and sex immorality, even in its most simple form, is taking our society captive. It has enslaved us, both men and women.
Girls young and old strive for acceptance by displaying their body rather than their beauty. A beauty that comes from the heart and mind and radiates outward.
Men and young boys are being bound by images that give false fulfillment and rob them of good judgment. It leaves guilt and shame and casts them into a lifestyle of habitual lies and diminished leadership abilities.
Marriages are being destroyed before they even begin because the sexual experiences in the marriage bed just don’t fulfill the ones in the pornographic fantasies. Families are falling apart because the idea of sex is more appealing elsewhere.
Still not convinced that pornography is a problem. Check out these staggering statistics
Here we stand. Rather than protecting our children and families we accept the fact that sex will sell products; provocatively dressed women will continue to fill the magazine racks and television ads; movies will continue to be more sexually explicit and yet get ratings that allows teens to view them with no restrictions; men will always view pornography, and life will go on.
I am with you.
I know the epidemic destroys.
I have experienced it.
I have known the feelings of being less than enough. I have been made aware of my flawed body as I was blamed for another’s indulgence in pornography. I have been lied to, cheated on, and rejected. I’ve had images burned into my mind as I have stumbled upon others pornographic use. I have been made aware of things that I wish I never knew existed. I have witnessed the progression of addiction and watched it harm people I love. I have been utterly broken.
Although I know the devastating end the path of pornography and sexual immorality leads to, I have no voice to combat it. Maybe because I carry the shame of my own sexual immorality. One of a confused teenage girl that truly believed sex was the only way any guy would love and accept me. Or maybe it is because I still carry the scars of a marriage that was rooted in lies and sexual addictions. It solidified my insecurities and spoke truth into the idea that a woman was created for nothing more than a man’s sexual use to which no female young or old is exempt.
Oh my heart aches that I did not know the truth. I did not understand my worth. I allowed myself to be devalued and abused. I settled for trinkets instead of waiting for God’s grand treasure.
Parents, youth leaders, mentors: I beg you to tell these young people today the truth. Sexual promiscuity is not glamorous. It is dark. It leaves holes in your spirit, and robs you of knowing true fulfillment. Pornography isn't acceptable. It isn't innocent. It leads to a path of destruction and a life of habitual sin and lies. It robs its victim from experiencing and enjoying reality.
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
Women if you have believed the same lies I have, now is your time to stop. You are wonderfully and fearfully made. You are more than your outer shell. You have gifts and talents that the world is waiting for you to unleash. Respect yourself and through your example others will respect you as well. Be more than the world says you are.
Men if you have been programmed to believe that sex is the prize and pornography is innocent, you have accepted a horrible lie. The road you are on is dangerous. Your family, whether current or future, is at stake. Your God given calling as a leader has been jeopardized. You were created for so much more than a sexual encounter. You were created for a rewarding relationship uniting with a person and/or purpose that creates a fulfillment that no image or sexual experience can match.
Now for those that sit on the sideline. Raise your voice. Not a voice of condemnation, but one of love, hope, and accountability. Band together for healing and truth.
Ladies stop justifying men by telling your girlfriends that “all men look at pornography”. This is not helpful. In fact, it only reiterates the message the world already feeds us.
Men stop allowing your friends to struggle in silence. Instead, take steps to help each other be accountable. Fight for truth, and if it applies, share your own experiences.
Parents guard the hearts and minds of your children. Let your voice be louder than the messages of the world. As a society is lost a generation at a time so it can be rebuilt in the same fashion.
Now I want you to leave knowing this, devastation doesn't have to be your end. Whether you have been trapped in the addiction or harmed by its effects, there is hope.
You can be free.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
You can be healed.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
Unfortunately there are very few resources on the topic of healing from the betrayal of pornography for women. This one is on Amazon with a “look inside” before you buy option.