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The Problem With Pornography

Here are some facts to consider about pornography:

  • Nearly eighteen percent of all “born again” Christian adults (in America) have visited sexually-oriented Websites (Zogby survey conducted for Focus on the Family, 2000).
  • Sixty-three percent of men attending “Men, Romance & Integrity Seminars” admit to struggling with pornography in the past year. Two-thirds are in church leadership and ten percent are pastors (Pastor’s Family Bulletin, Focus on the Family, March 2000).
  • One in seven calls to Focus’ Pastoral Care Line is about Internet pornography (Pastor’s Family Bulletin, Focus on the Family, March 2000).
  • Fifty-one percent of pastors say cyberporn is a possible temptation. Thirty-seven percent say it is a current struggle (Christianity Today, Leadership Survey, December 2001). Four in ten pastors have visited a pornography site (Christianity Today, Leadership Survey, December 2001).
  • Cyber-sex is the crack cocaine of sexual addiction. (Dr. Robert Weiss, Sexual Recovery Institute, Washington Times 1/26/2000)
  • Fifty-seven million Americans have Internet access. (MSNBC / Stanford / Duquesne Study, 2000)
  • Twenty-five million Americans visit cyber-sex sites between one and ten hours per week. Another 4.7 million in excess of eleven hours per week. (MSNBC / Stanford / Duquesne Study, Washington Times, 1/26/2000)
  • Sixty-two percent of parents of teenagers are unaware that their children have accessed objectionable websites (Source: Yankelovich Partners Study, September 1999)
  • Nine out of ten children aged between eight and sixteen have viewed pornography on the Internet. In most cases, the sex sites were accessed unintentionally when a child, often in the process of doing homework, used a seemingly innocent sounding word to search for information or pictures (London School of Economics January 2002).

What exactly is pornography? The Greek language is used in the original texts which rely upon for the New Testament. The Greek language includes the word “porneia,” which literally means fornication, adultery, or idolatry. This is the word we get our English word pornography from. Pornography is a means of indulging a sexual fantasy. Typically, we think of pornography ranging from viewing people who are immodestly dressed to viewing people engaged in sexual acts. Using these images one is able to create a fantasy, and then indulge that fantasy. However, pornography is merely a means to an end: the fulfillment of a sexual desire. The means, or the pornography, can take many different forms. Though we think of pornography as images, pornography can include still images, video, audio, conversation, and fiction in the form of short stories or novels.

The majority of pornography is visual in nature, and, traditionally, pornography has been primarily targeted at men. However, an increasing number of women are becoming involved in various forms of pornography. Because women and men are sexually stimulated in different ways, there are different types of pornography.

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The Sexual Process

All sexual activities are a part of a process that has been studied and clearly defined. The process begins with attraction. This attraction can be triggered by either a physical attraction or by a spiritual attraction. That attraction triggers a desire for a relationship and then physical contact. That attraction becomes an arousal with any initial contact between two people who are attracted to each other. This initial contact can be anything ranging from a glance to a conversation to some physical contact. When this arousal takes place, the process has already begun. As the level of comfort and trust grow, so does the intensity of the physical contact. Holding hands leads to an arm around the shoulder. An arm around the shoulder leads to an arm around the waist. An arm around the waist leads to kissing, which leads to petting, and so on. Among other lies, popular teaching today tells a teen to know when to stop, but the problem is that sexuality is a process that was never intended to stop. Trying to stop the sexual process only creates a greater desire to complete the process. This desire cannot be legitimately fulfilled outside of marriage and therefore leads to a temptation to sin, if not the sin itself. God’s plan is that the relationship be built on a solid foundation of trust and devotion that is demonstrated through the union of marriage.

But at what point has a sexual sin occurred? That really is the question, right? Since Jesus said in Matthew 5:28, “…whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart…” we must conclude that the sexual sin occurs when the illegitimate desire for physical contact occurs. Clearly Jesus’ statement in Matthew 5:28 applies to someone just looking at another person. If a sexual sin can occur just from looking at someone, it can also occur as a result of any physical contact. In fact, physical contact is a clear trigger for sexual desire. This is why Paul was inspired to write in 1 Corinthians 7:1 “…It is good for a man not to touch a woman.” However, just as physical contact is a trigger for sexual desire, it is also a means of fulfillment as well as an indication that the illegitimate desire is present. Paul further explains saying that every woman should have her own husband to avoid fornication. Have you ever wondered why, at a wedding, the preacher tells the groom, “You may now kiss your bride”? Paul has set the standard for us. There should be no physical contact between a dating couple before they are married.

During one summer, there were four teens in our youth group: two girls and two guys. Let’s call them Dan, Mark, Anne and Sue. Of course, these are not their real names. Both of the guys claimed to be called to preach, and demonstrated a keen ability to preach. Dan found out about a birthday gift that Sue was planning to give him – a kiss. Later that night, he asked for his birthday present and she gave it to him. A few minutes later, Anne and Dan sat in the back seat of a car watching Sue and Mark in a passionate embrace. Now several years later, three of the four have had illegitimate children, two of the four have already been married and divorced, three of the four have been heavily involved in drugs and alcohol. And one still struggles to this day with her walk with God. Was all of this the result of the one kiss? No, not completely, but the one kiss was a match dropped in a sea of gasoline that was the unrestrained emotions of four teenagers.

Another aspect of purity is a pure heart. As we saw above, Matthew 5:28 clearly shows us that purity is also a condition of the heart. Guys are especially prone to the corruption of the heart through their eyes – what they see. Matthew 5:28 deals with this directly saying “…whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Guys need to be aware of this weakness and avoid the times when they are vulnerable to being defiled, but a large portion of the blame lies with the girls. When a girl is immodestly dressed, she is tempting the guys around her to sin with her in their hearts. Leviticus 18:6-18 deals with God’s direction against inappropriate nakedness and Isaiah 47:2-3 defines nakedness as revealing the thigh:

Isaiah 47:2-3 “Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers. Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man”

There is much more to being immodest than just nakedness. Immodest dress is any kind or style of dress that either draws attention to the body or causes another person to have a sexual desire.