2007August1, Wednesday

Porn and Its Effects

Posted in Bible, Current Events at 23:45 by Trey Austin

This article from New York Magazine by Naomi Wolf is a must-read for every one in our culture, especially Christians, more especially pastors, and most absolutely especially those of us pastors who have had personal run-ins with pornography in its various forms growing up and becoming men. We have to come to grips with how that has affected us and what it implicitly taught us. Plus, we need to understand that this effect isn’t only from watching internet porn, reading Playboy, or ordering the Spice Channel, but rather it comes just as much from “softer” versions of pornographic images in our culture—from TV to movies. And more than anything, we need to be sure to become resensitized to it so that our sons and daughters don’t face the difficulties that we face because of this ever-present monster that has further perverted our minds (as if fallen sinners needed more help!).

For my part, i think Wolf is half right. Yes, as a result of pornography, we have less intimacy, and greater (unrealistic, really) expectations from women to men (and also from men to women, if we’re to be honest about it). We have, as a result, people who are lonely, and have terrible times in being intimate.

However, that is not the only effect that we see. Just as well caused by the ubiquity of pornographic images in our culture at large is the greater need to become “extreme” in order for some men and women to be sexually satisfied and gratified. This has led to a certain S&M sub-culture that takes a certain sexual gratification in physical abuse and hatefulness. This has led some men who think this way to ignore the pragmatic consideration of finding a mate who shares those predilictions, and cause them, many times, simply to seek out others upon whom to act out their violent fantasies—i.e., victims to rape and ravage in order to gratify themselves. Pornography has a tendency, just as any other additction, to cause a person to build up a certain tolerance to it, and so, after a while, it takes more and more (or more extreme forms of the same) to have anything like the same effect—borrowing from economics, this phenomenon is called the Law of Diminishing Returns.

Not only, though, has it indeed made *SOME* men more ravenous toward women (who could deny that?), it has also bred a culture that cannot be satisfied in the wife of one’s youth. We see all around us the longing to be fulfilled sexually. It isn’t *ONLY* the technologizing of relationships and the relationalizing of technology that has led to a lack of intimacy among real people, it is also the familiarity with the overt promiscuity of the porn culture and the idealism that looks for the “perfect” sexual partner that has led to a culture not even of serial monogamy but really of defacto polygamy and polyandry (it is that, even if traditional marriage has been ignored and avoided, and it must be if the Apostle Paul’s words in 1 Cor. 6 [esp. v. 16] mean anything), with young adults thinking that the only way to find what they are trained by these images to look for is to “experiment” with sex and sexual partners—whether you’re already married or not.

In other words, the porn culture has not only made people in its wake emotionally numb, physically overstimulated (and then understimulated), and intimately divided from one another, it has caused the sex drive to become monstrous in some (to the point of seeing the rape and ravaging of women as the only way to fulfill their desires), and it has also caused the rampant fornication, homosexuality, and adultery in our society today. Worst of all, it has caused a broader phenomenon in our culture that causes people to think that their every fantasy needs to be fulfilled, regardless of how outlandish or unhealthy, and regardless of whom it hurts. That general selfishness must be connected with the inherently self-centered and selfish nature of pornography (rather than seeing sex as how Scripture presents it, as the ultimately intimate act to be enjoyed and shared by husband and wife who are not their own but belong to one another in their bodies for the purpose of fulfilling one another’s healthy desires and needs).

There is alot here to this. Dissertations could be (and, i’m sure, have been) written on these issues. But we  just need to contemplate these things and allow our actions (and our teaching) to follow our thinking.

HT: Mark Horne

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1 Comment »

  1. tempe said,

    Great comments, Trey.

    The statement about the variety of “soft” porn in the culture (that is, apart from the mags and porn movies and such) is so pervasive as to be difficult to escape. I remember living in the Greenville area and driving by two large billboards (one for a strip club, Dockside Dolls, another for a local radio station announcing its 6th anniversary by showing six large-breasted women along with the slogan “Six Big Ones” ) almost daily — and Greenville, SC is not exactly Sodom. When I lived in south Georgia, I lived virtually next door to a nice convenience store, but one that displayed an entire rack of porn magazines directly behind the counter (I had to stare at the counter whenever I made a purchase there). And just last evening, I went to a Braves game with a friend — in the men’s room, Old Spice has placed a very suggestive ad above the urinals of a young woman provocatively eating an ice cream cone. And these kinds of images are everywhere, without actively seeking them out. The problem continues to fester, as long as we go along with it (I’m no longer going to buy Old Spice products, though).


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