Pornography is one of the biggest challenges the church faces in this generation. It is vital to understand Scripture’s teaching on it and also be aware of devastating consequences that come from consuming it.
William Struthers shared this helpful chart* in Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain comparing healthy and unhealthy sexuality:
|Godly/Healthy Sexuality||Pornography/Unhealthy Sexuality|
|Sharing with someone||“Doing to” someone|
|Enhances your identity||Compromises your identity|
|Emotional bonding||Emotional separateness|
|Spiritual unity||Spiritual separateness|
|Morally saturated||Free of moral convention|
|Communication is essential||Communication is optional|
|Biblical boundaries||Has no limits|
|Involves all of the person||Is visual and genital|
|Naturally drives us toward intimacy||Unnaturally drives us toward compulsions|
|Naturally drives toward sanctification||Unnaturally drives toward depravity|
|Matures into responsible habits||Escalates toward irresponsible risks|
|Nurtures the spouse||Hurts the partner|
|Is an expression of love||Is an expression of usefulness|
|Honors the image/imaging of God in you||Dishonors the image/imaging of God in you|
|Honors the image/imaging of God in spouse||Dishonors the image/imaging of God in another|
|Provides emotional, moral, psychological and relational clarity||Produces emotional, moral, psychological and relational confusion|
A Few Quotes from Wired for Intimacy
Pornography dishonors the image of God in an individual by treating him or her as a sexual object to be consumed directly or indirectly.
Pornography and our response to it alter our brain in a way that is difficult to undo. Pornography is the consumption of sexual poison that becomes part of the fabric of the mind.
A classic piece of art that is a nude can become a piece of pornography to a warped mind.
It is not the shouting of pornography that gives it so much power over men. It is the whispering of the lie of sexual fulfillment that prey on our human insecurities.
Pornography shapes and rewires us in such a way that we become unable to see women as we should. We no longer direct our sexual drives in appropriate ways. Porn narrows our ability to live a good and holy life.
Pornography has numbed the healthy sexuality of men who are active consumers of it.
Pornography corrupts the ability to be intimate. It pulls consumers and producers in with the promise of intimacy, but fails to deliver the connection between two human beings.
One of the greatest victories that a man recovering from an addiction to pornography and compulsive sexual acting out has is when he can look at a beautiful woman and not feel the need to mentally treat her as a sex object. A man with a properly oriented conscience and filled with the Spirit has a healthy view of sexuality. He values the image of God in the women (and men) that he meets and has trained his mind to take these sexual thoughts captive.
So how do men respond to the confusion produced by pornography and unhealthy practices of sexually acting out? Many employ common cognitive defense strategies. Viewing porn can be denied, minimalized, normalized, rationalized, or even celebrated.
Pornography teaches its students to focus on the physiology of sexual sensations and not on the relationships for which those sensations are intended.
Shame only offers the lie of worthlessness, and a sense of worthlessness creates fertile soil for the continued exercising of sexual brokenness.
Bonus Video: Dr. William Struthers on Pornography
*Chart found at Kindle location 426