The Path of Porn Leads to Destruction and How to Fight It

noBy Sally*

(Special Note: This topic is one that needs to be addressed but also needs a warning. The details are graphic and the topic is mature. But, this is the real struggle of many women and I am thankful for the humility of this one woman to discuss the effects of sinful lust as it relates to women and  marriage. Read with this in mind. Thank you, Editor.)

I want to start by addressing some pretty obvious things… First of all, this topic is not tame like writing about the Church and it’s definitely not all warm and fuzzy-feeling like friendships, although those two things are definitely helpful in our fight against lust.   This is going to probably get uncomfortable and possibly offensive.  But my goal is to be open, candid and honest so that we can all grow together in our understanding of lust and fighting against it.

Viewing pornography or masturbating is really common, even among girls.  During my research for this testimony, I discovered that 30% of Christian women struggle with lust in a way that is comparable with their male counterparts.  And I would safely assume that all of us have dealt with it to some extent. I know I have.

 

When I was 13, I would stay up late at night and watch scrambled porn on my TV in my room.  I still remember, on my cable provider the spice channel was 73, which happened to be the reverse of VH1, which was 37.  I happened upon it by accident one night, and it changed my life for several years. I would show my friends when they’d come over and we’d watch it together. I knew that when the background of the room they were in was white, the picture would be almost crystal clear.

 

I mean, you guys, it was bad.  I was straight-up addicted.  Eventually I started experimenting while watching it.  I was a virgin and I was curious, and what harm was it doing, right?  My addiction with porn and masturbation lasted until I was a senior in high school, at which point I  entered into a relationship with a guy in my church.

I was a Christian at this point, and so was he, but neither of us had any self control or a strong conviction about premarital sex. We swore it off at first, but a few months in, before I knew it, I had experienced my first kiss, and then I was rounding second base and third base and was headed quickly for home plate.  It was only by the grace of God that we never actually had sex.  And after I got out of that relationship, I craved that feeling that I no longer was experiencing.  I wanted those “feel good” endorphins. I wanted to experience an orgasm!   But I knew it was wrong.

The Lord had done a work in me to get me out of that bad relationship and I knew I didn’t want to go down that pathway again. I remember looking at that scene from “The Notebook” (and if you’ve seen the movie, you know the one) on YouTube, and before I knew it I was watching Pornographic material.  I was shocked at how fast it led there.  And I closed the computer down and wept. It was a changing point for me. I cried out to the Lord for help, and I asked to be delivered from my sexual sin, and I was.

That was my junior year in college, and I haven’t looked at it since. Of course, I got married in August of 2008, about two and a half years later, so now I have a partner to help me but those good years as a single girl helped train me to fight lust now, because it can still infiltrate your marriage and lead to adultery if you’re not careful.

The Principles I Learned

Well, now that you know a little about my story, let’s talk about this topic in more depth and see what the Bible has to say about it.

1.  A desire to have sex is a good thing.

God created us with sexual desires. One of the first things he told Adam and Eve was to “be fruitful and multiply”. Sex is one of God’s good and fun creations that we get to enjoy. But like other good things, God places boundaries on our use of them so that we can enjoy them to the fullest extent.  When we ignore God’s boundaries, we make something good into something sinful.   God has reserved sex, in any and all forms, for marriage.
When practiced correctly and within the confines of marriage, sex is freeing and causes both husband and wife to be filled with thankfulness for each other and for God, for creating such a special way to bond and enjoy each other. When practiced outside the bonds of marriage or in selfish gain, sex is bondage.

2.  The temptation to look or touch isn’t sinful in itself

 

I think a lot of people who struggle with sexual sin can get so discouraged when the temptation to look at pornography or whatever it may be crosses their mind. I mean, this stuff is packed with guilt. They can think, “Man, I thought I was making progress, but I just had the thought to look at that website again!”  But temptation alone isn’t sin. Jesus was tempted, but he never sinned. Therefore we can also assume the same for us.
Where sin comes into play is how we respond to temptation.  Do we continue to let that thought play out until we’re lusting in our minds, or viewing pornography, or touching ourselves sexually, or do we cry out for help and choose to obey the Lord?

3.  Viewing porn or masturbating isn’t as private as you think

 

Though these sexual sins are relatively unusual in the fact that they are normally acted out in the privacy of your own home or bedroom or car or wherever, they don’t just affect you.  I mean, that’s what I always thought- it’s not hurting anyone? In fact, it feels good!  What’s the harm?

However private it may feel, we are never beyond God’s sight.  Proverbs 5:21 says, for a man’s ways are before the eyes of The Lord, and he ponders all his paths.

What’s the Harm in It?

Let’s talk about the harmful effects on us, as individuals.

 

Pornography is bondage and so is masturbation. The dopamine your body releases during orgasm is meant to unite you and draw you back to want to experience it again. Once you start, it is very hard to stop. It seems clear to me that masturbation is selfish.  By manually pleasuring yourself, you are essentially saying that you don’t need another partner to fulfill your sexual cravings, which is not the way God intended it.

Sexual experiences are meant to bond a husband and wife together in marriage.  When you fantasize about someone and masturbate to the images in your mind, you are uniting in your mind with the person about whom you are thinking. Psalm 51:10 says, “create in me a clean heart, o God, and renew a right spirit within me.”  When we think of these illicit images, we are not thinking about what is good, pure, holy, true, etc.

God tells us that our body is not our own and we were bought with a price (1 Cor 7:18-20). We are called to honor the Lord with our bodies. This includes our thoughts and actions as well. When we disobey the Lord in this area there are lasting consequences. Sometimes I still have flashbacks of things I’ve seen or done in the past. Sexual sin sticks with you like nothing else.

Second, let’s talk about the harmful effects on others:
Pornography objectifies your partner.  It makes them out to be a means to an end, rather than having sex be a mutually gratifying experience.  It also can objectify those other than your partner, if you are not married and are having impure thoughts about other guys you know or are attracted to.  Remember that your brothers in Christ are exactly that– brothers. It’s hard to lust over a guy that you view as your brother, and someone else’s future  spouse.
Pornography places unrealistic expectations on your partner and your sex life.  It sets you up for failure and to be continually disappointed.  Studies show that addiction to porn can cause the inability to be turned on at all by your spouse.

With the insatiable desire for sex that can come from sexual addiction, chances are likely that once you tire of yourself and then your partner, you will look elsewhere for pleasure, eventually leading to an adulterous relationship.

God’s Redeeming Power

God is in the business of redemption.

God is good. He can change your heart too. But it takes work and a lot of grace. You have to put off the old and put on the new!  You can’t expect to put yourself in situations where you are going to fall, and then be surprised when you do.  There is forgiveness in Christ for all past, present, and future sins of lust.  The only sin that we can defeat is forgiven sin! (Jerry Bridges) Paul in Romans 6:11 says that we must consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to god in Christ Jesus.

A Few Application Tips

  1. Don’t make it easy to sin.  Get rid of books, magazines, movies, TV shows, music, etc that pose a temptation for you. If that means you cannot listen to Marvin Gaye or Ludacris, then discover some new Christian artists in the same genre.  When you know a scene in a show or movie is coming up, or even if it surprises you with no warning, change the channel…turn it off… Fast forward.  Watch movies or TV shows with friends who will hold you accountable.  Sometimes it takes drastic measures to get started in winning the battle against lust.
  2. Speaking of accountability, get some. X3 Watch is a great free tool that you can download and put on your computer, tablet, or phone that tracts your Internet viewing and emails a report of any questionable material to three email addresses of your friends that you provide.  You can have your accountability partner disable YouTube apps or safari on your phone with a password that only they know.
  3. And regularly confessing your sins and having those candid conversations with someone who will shoot you straight and remind you of the Gospel and the freedom over sin in Christ.  1 John 1:8-9 says that if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just for forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save,

or his ear dull, that it cannot hear;

but your iniquities have made a separation

between you and your God,

and your sins have hidden his face from you

so that he does not hear.

(Isaiah 59:1-2 ESV)

*The name of the author has been altered.

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