HTAG, People of Just Love, Uncategorized

Porn kills love

If the link between porn and injustice is new to you, or you thought that porn was harmless, here’s a brief summary of what’s been happening in the world of research into porn. Researchers are beginning to realise the extent of the harmful effects of pornography on the brain, our relationships and the world.

Firstly: the brain, the most powerful part of your body.

Pornography affects our brains just like many drugs and other addictive substances. It has been shown that the reward centre in the brain decreases in size after a period of consumption of porn. This may lead to less satisfaction with one’s partner and even sexual dysfunction, where you brain requires even more intense stimulation to obtain the same level of satisfaction. The brain is also being normalised to sexual violence and objectification. In many countries, the average first age of exposure to porn is steadily decreasing to under 10 years old – an age when the brain is still developing. This is very distressing. Fortunately, there is some good news! Our brains have a property called neuroplasticity, so that however long the brain has been conditioned to porn, it can and will revert back to its normal state with abstinence from porn.

Secondly: our relationships and the way we relate to everyone around us.

In addition to the decreased satisfaction with one’s partner, porn can have many other harmful effects in our relationships. The reality is that today’s porn often depicts sexual violence and since we are great at learning things from watching – especially when emotional, excited or stimulated – we are likely to start learning from and believing in the attitudes displayed in what we watch. On a study of 50 porn films, 95% of the times someone was hit, the response was either pleasure or no response. This can influence us into thinking that my partner likes to be hit and if I am hit, then I should like it – when the truth is often far from it. Over 50 recent studies have shown links between porn consumption and domestic violence. It is estimated that a couple is 2 times more likely to have a divorce if either or both of them watch porn. Not to mention the feelings of utter betrayal, worthlessness, depression and anger that a partner can feel when they find out. When you start to see relationships breaking apart because of pornography, that’s the obvious point to conclude that it is having a serious negative impact.

Thirdly: the world. We can affect people on the other side of the planet with just a few clicks. It isn’t just ourselves and our close relationships that we affect when we watch porn, but is has worldwide effects. The porn industry has very strong links with the sexual trafficking industry – in fact, they are said to have a symbiotic relationship where each feeds the other. When we watch porn, we are helping to fund trafficking around the world. Much of the porn on the internet is videos taken of sexual trafficking victims, and it is often impossible to decipher which is consensual. It has been sold and sold again and the victims will be told to have smiles on their faces – even when they are forced into it. Even many actors and actresses that willingly got involved in the industry are blackmailed, coerced and tricked into doing things they didn’t agree to. Victims have spoken about how every time someone watches one of the videos made of them, they feel abused again and again. Sex trafficking is a 99 billion dollar a year business with an estimated 4.5 million victims around the world and it’s estimated 50% of whom are children. Hard hitting though it is, it’s the truth, and someone once said there is no such thing as fair trade porn.

So what can we do about it?

Well firstly, if we ourselves are watching it, we need to stop. Jesus set the bar way higher than the law when he said

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” in Matthew 5:27-28.

We should seek forgiveness for all those we have hurt and seek healing in our relationships and relationship with God, as well as seeking healing for ourselves.

Marriage and sex are beautiful creations of God, but he created them to be enjoyed in their proper context – ‘a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24). Saying yes to the one means saying no to all the others, and especially no to porn.

We also should think about starting a conversation about porn: in our families, our friendship groups and our places of study and work. Porn as a problem is in many ways similar to smoking – at first it was widely accepted, but then research came out showing the harms and dangers of it. The difference is, smoking was a public habit that was generally out in the open, where as pornography is private, hidden and not talked about.

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he says, ‘have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them’, and I believe this speaks to us powerfully today. Not having anything to do with it ourselves, talking about it in a non-judgemental way and helping others to lay it aside to. Who are we to judge others sin when God’s grace was undeservedly lavished upon us when Jesus died on the cross. This is not a public exposition of people’s porn problems, that is not loving. We need to help people talk about it by removing the shame, not adding to it. It is a widespread problem and so many people struggle with it, so we shouldn’t be ashamed to tell someone we struggle with porn. For those struggling themselves with a porn problem or have a friend they want to help – a secular platform called Fortify is a great place to start with lots of resources and guidance.

One of the most effective tools to overcome porn and start recovering is accountability. Being open and honest with someone else about your problem is so powerful in changing that negative habit. Where they can be set up, accountability groups are a great place to get people talking about their problem in a safe place that they can be vulnerable with each other. A great way of exposing the ‘fruitless deeds of darkness’ in a shame-free environment, surrounded with love and empathy.

As well as the harms to ourselves, we need to raise awareness of its effect on the world. So many people are passionate about fighting injustice and would happily stand against porn if they knew and understood the links to sexual trafficking. The world is starting to rally against porn and sexual trafficking, and we could be at the front of the wave surging against it. Tumblr has removed it’s pornographic content as of December 2018. Starbucks will block porn on it’s wifi. Since 2016, 11 U.S states have declared porn a public health crisis. Secular organisations like Fight The New Drug are gaining huge support and are raising awareness.

As we focus especially in on Revelation 21 this term, we can see that God’s kingdom is free of sexual immorality and definitely free of porn. If we are working to bring about God’s kingdom here on earth, then porn has got to go. Help us be on the frontline of this movement to tackle sexual trafficking and raise awareness about porn. And for those still thinking about whether to stop – how much better is it to love one than to click through thousands.

 

Josh Jones | 1st year @ St Peters