My good buddy Wikipedia describes pornography as the portrayal of explicit sexual subject matter for the
purposes of sexual excitement and erotic satisfaction. I however, would disagree and say that defining pornography so specifically is like an alcoholic saying “I’m not drinking, this is beer.”
Please understand that I say this not because I have a hard heart towards the topic, but because I myself, have long struggled with an addiction to pornography. For those of you who don’t believe it’s possible to addicted to such a thing allow me to provide a little bio-chem lesson.
The human sex drive is powered by testosterone – the same chemical compound that makes men aggressive, muscle up, and have a hairy chest. Because it’s more common in men, men tend to have a more aggressive sex drive. Pornography causes the human brain to generate testosterone as a side effect of sexual arousal. The satisfaction of that arousal then leads to a temporary high in testosterone levels thereby increasing the sex drive, which without any other outlet will likely turn to pornography. And so on and so forth.
My first encounter with pornography was with Playboy when I was six years old. Later, when I had little or no access online and couldn’t buy my own magazines, I ended up stashing away copies of Sport Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, Victoria Secret catalogues, and the more explicit materials that friends of mine had or had discovered in the back of their father’s closet.
From the time I was six to the time I was about 20, it did not once occur to me that I was addicted. After all, I had been very careful about how much money I spent in this industry. I was less interested in films because I think of myself as something of an artist and preferred to admire the shape and form of the female figure. I diligently and deliberately made a point to be chivalrous to women, to be the best kind of man I could possible be.
Of those fourteen years, I spent two of them as a Christian, but you wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference.
I would like to say that I had a radical encounter with Jesus and my life turned around. That I had some kind of vision and I just repented and turned away. But anyone who has struggled with addiction knows that it doesn’t work that way. I knew it was wrong at some point. I realized that the women I was treating well were the ones I knew. If I didn’t know you and happened to have two X chromosomes you became one of those ladies on the laminated page or LCD screen. But it wasn’t until I saw someone I considered a friend in that way that I finally managed to change.
Out of shame and fear, I have never disclosed these details to anyone. Because I’m not that kind of man. I’m not the man who is driven by his body and temporary desires. I nearly was. I very nearly was. I got lucky and I managed to avoid making a mess of my life (like this guy did to his wife) and my relationship to the woman who is now my wife, and I thank God every day that He watched out for me during that time and brought me back to Him.
But at the same time, there is no silver bullet. The addiction to pornography is an addiction to lust. It boils and spirals out from the explicit, to the implicit, to the sexy, to the “just looks good” and then to everything. An alcoholic can stay away from bars, a cocaine or heroine addict can stay away from the dens, a gambling addict can stay away from the casinos (although that is getting more difficult with online gambling), but a man addicted to lust will not be able to separate himself from women (or men if that’s his preference).
All that being said, pornography is not just a business or a sin machine, or a magazine or a video or a website. Pornography is not even a combination of all those things, but rather a perspective that we as Christians must strive against as a single body. I can’t prove it, but I am convinced that had Jesus been confronted with what we call pornography, he would have laid his hands on the page, or the men and women if they were present and said to them “Do you wish to be healed? Then go, and sin no more.” I mean would you really expect him to be aroused by it?
But for myself, at my worst, a woman in a tight tank top and shorts would have given me issues.
Pornography is a perspective.
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