Holiness, Issue 34, Purity, Restoration

What’s Wrong With Watching Porn?

What’s Wrong With Watching Porn?

Did you know that 51 percent of Christian youths in Singapore have viewed porn at least once in the past year? According to the Whole Life Inventory by Focus on the Family, 35 percent of Singaporean teen females have been exposed to porn and 22 percent of single young women watch porn one to five times a year.

This March, renowned Christian author and evangelist Josh McDowell spoke at Cru Singapore’s Set Free conference, the first nationwide conference on pornography. This spunky 79-year-old was decked out in a Superman belt and Spider-Man socks, and reminded one of a fun grandfather.

He recalled buying a children’s book about Spider-Man for his grandson, and realising there were explicit images that he actually needed to tear out to protect him. That was one of the many instances that made him realise that pornography has grown into a huge problem that we need to stop ignoring. He then decided to commission a ground breaking study on the issue of pornography in the USA that cost him a quarter of a million dollars.

His research showed the following statistics:

– The average age of exposure to porn is eight to nine years old.

– 82 million porn videos are viewed by kids and teens all around the world every day.

– The largest group of Internet porn consumers are 12 to 17 years old.

– 79 percent of porn users begin their habit at home.

– It takes at least 3-5 years to break free from a pornography addiction.

In our own survey with over 60 teen girls who watch pornography regularly, we found that 80 percent of them wanted help to stop being addicted to pornography, with many of them expressing shame and guilt. Kallos spoke to Josh in an exclusive interview to find out more about how porn affects us as young women and our relationships, and how to be truly set free.

INTIMACY IS NOT SEX; IT IS THE CAPACITY TO BE REAL WITH THE OTHER PERSON, NO FACADE, NO BARRIER.

1. IS WATCHING PORNOGRAPHY REALLY A BAD THING?

The easiest answer to this question is that I can’t find anything good in watching pornography. It is a counterfeit of God’s original design for sexuality and it dehumanises individuals. In particular, it makes women be looked at as items, as objects, and sends the message that what’s important is their body, not the person.

Put it this way: you marry a man who watches porn [regularly and refuses to get help], or vice versa, and you will [find it difficult to] experience what I have experienced for 48 years of my life with my wife — incredible love, intimacy, sexual relationship, everything. Intimacy is not sex; it is the capacity to be real with the other person, no façade, no barrier.

2. CAN PORNOGRAPHY BE A NORMAL EXPRESSION OF A WOMAN’S SEXUAL DESIRES?

It amazes me that somebody would really think porn is normal, [with 90% of all popular porn scenes depicting violence toward women, and 50% depicting verbal use] … getting hit, beaten, all that is normal? That doesn’t fit into my concept of what is normal and healthy. If it indeed is normal, then why do an overwhelming majority of the women that are in porn end up being damaged for life? To agree with this statement, you’d have to say that damaging someone is a normal process of life in sexuality, and I can’t go for that.

3. WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS FOR A YOUNG WOMAN TO DO IF SHE IS STRUGGLING WITH PORN?

Firstly, get a support group. The more vulnerable you are about your struggles, the less grip it has on you. Secondly, cut the problem at its source. Even if you join the support group but don’t cut the source, it won’t help. If you cut the source but don’t join a support group, it also will not help.

4. KNOWING THAT SO MANY MEN WATCH PORN, HOW CAN A YOUNG WOMAN BE SECURE IN HER BODY IMAGE OR EVEN TRUST MEN?

It will be very difficult unless you have a good family setting, especially in your relationship with your father, and your parents have brought you up teaching you about your sexuality, your body, feeling comfortable in your body, knowing what is right and what is wrong and so on. If you have the kind of relationship with your father where you really, really trust your dad, it’s going to be so much easier for you to trust other men.

The way I raised my three daughters and my son from the time they were born was to teach them that their bodies are beautiful, that God created them, and their private parts are not private because they are dirty, but because they are [sacred]. I teach them about their significance and meaning as individuals. Porn on the other hand pretty much says the significance of a woman is sex. In reality, sex is such a little tiny part of life, and to think that women are defined by this little tiny part of life, as purely sexual, is sad to see.

5. WHAT CAN A TEENAGE GIRL DO TO BUILD HER FUTURE FAMILY IF SHE DOES NOT COME FROM A “GOOD FAMILY SETTING”?

I mean, my dad was an alcoholic, my parents didn’t have a marriage, and when my father wasn’t trying to kill my mother, I was literally trying to kill him! I was also homosexually raped for seven years, from 6 to 13 years of age.

But I now have an incredible stable marriage, and I’ve got four kids who would die for me! I never dreamt that that was possible in life, but one thing I did was to learn from others. I watched couples and how they relate to each other and to children. I learnt the things I could do from watching others, and I really believe I’m a better father and a better husband because of other men that I watch who have good relations with women.

NO WOMAN [NO MATTER HOW BEAUTIFUL] CAN COMPETE WITH PORN, BECAUSE PORN DEMANDS NOVELTY.

It’s not so much finding the right person, but rather being the right person. Before you think, “Who am I going to marry?”, you need to ask yourself, “Who am I? Am I a kind of person who is worth being married to?” I didn’t get married till I was 31. I think one reason I didn’t get married until I was 31 was that I wasn’t a person being worth married to until then. I had so much dysfunction in my life, and I had to work through a lot of those things before I could’ve thought about getting married. Most people think marriage will solve all your dysfunction, but almost everybody who has been married would say it enhances it.

6. WITH SO MANY MEN WATCHING PORN, WOULD YOU SAY THAT ALL THE GOOD GUYS ARE TAKEN?

One of the most sobering, serious questions I have ever asked myself is, “Who are my grandchildren going to marry?” Porn narrows the field. I say to any young lady, when you get serious about a fellow, if you think he might be the one you want to marry, in a very casual time, just casually say something like, “Oh! Do you watch porn on the Internet?” and [watch his response].

It doesn’t mean you wouldn’t marry someone like that, but if you marry someone and they stay addicted to porn, you’re throwing your life away. [It doesn’t matter] how much you think you love him, because there is no woman that can compete with porn, because porn demands novelty. No matter how beautiful you are, you [can’t compete].

So I say to young ladies, is the person willing to be free? To change? And if they are, it takes years to change. It takes three to five years to really become free from porn, and for the rest of your life that propensity is still there; it is always in your brain. I don’t have the answer to this question, but I believe God understands all these. God is not limited by people’s behaviour.

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