Monday, December 12, 2011

Pornography vs. Intimacy

Pornography vs. Intimacy

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or Acquired ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a disease of the human immune system caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). This condition progressively reduces the effectiveness of the immune system and leaves individuals susceptible to opportunistic infections and tumors.

In like manner, pornography like this disease is progressively reducing & corroding the immune system of our society, making it susceptible to opportunistic infections of immorality resulting in fornication, adultery and all kinds of perverse immoral behavior. This addiction crosses all social lines and all national borders, includes people from all walks of life, religious beliefs, cultures and sexual orientations, and is not restricted to any age or gender.

The postmodern age has brought many wonders as well as incredible moral challenges. Society has become sexualized; so much so that there are triggers everywhere. Sexy women are used to sexualize everything; in every field – from homes, to cars, electronic products, magazines, short stories, comic, TV shows, movie, fashions, commercial, etc, and it seems that their products have no chance of selling if they do not add any sexual connotation.

Sadly, technological achievement and moral complexity also come hand in hand. This is most explicitly the case with the development of the Internet. For the first time in human history, a teenager with a smart phone has access to an innumerable array of pornographic websites, catering to every imaginable sexual passion, perversion, and pleasure. Today's teenager, if not stranded on some desert island, is likely to know more about sex and its complexities than his father knew when he got married. Furthermore, what most generations have known only in the imagination--if at all--is now there for the viewing on websites, both commercial and free, and some even come in 3D version. The Internet has brought an interstate highway of pornography into every community, with exit ramps at every terminal or personal computer.

The pervasive plague of pornography is one of the most critical issue and greatest challenges faced by the Christian church in the 21st century. In Ministry Today Magazine it was reported that studies have indicated that up to forty percent of American pastors view pornography every day and I seriously do not think that the Asian spiritual leaders are doing better. With eroticism woven into the very heart of the culture, celebrated in its entertainment, and advertised as a commodity, it is virtually impossible to escape the pervasive influence of pornography in our culture and in our lives.

For many, pornography or porn for short, has become a default mode whenever things hit the rough patches in life; when they feel anxious, stressed, bored and especially when their emotional needs are not being met and they are hurting. Porn is an easy way to escape and medicate. They can do it anytime, anywhere.

Affair of the Mind

Lamentably, many view pornography as a “victimless” crime. Pornography addiction is unlike any addiction like drug or alcohol addiction. There are no needle marks, no tell-tale breath, no stagger or slurred speech. Porn addiction is a private thing. It can spring up in fantasy in the secret place of our mind while we are in a roomful of people and nobody will notice it. Thus, many have been deceived that pornography is strictly an intellectual activity, that it has no behavioral repercussion or emotional implications. We are deceived that it is a “victimless” crime because we cannot see any immediate victim. There is no corpse to prove something has been killed.However, it has brought many death and many families and lives are victims of this “victimless” crime.

There is no sure thing as private sin. Who we are affects our communities. The way we live our lives affects those around us. Pornography warps the mind by reducing a person’s perception of the way women should be regarded and treated. By the regular viewers of pornography, women are no longer perceived as God’s image bearers to be respected, valued and loved. Rather, she is being degraded to slaves of sexual pleasure to be used and exploited. In most porn films, women are even being portrayed as the sexually aggressive ones who are willing to do anything for sexual pleasure. Men who allow these images to register in their sub-conscience minds will gradually alter their expectations of the roles their wives play in lovemaking, and this happens to most men without them even realizing it. When that happens, sex becomes a naked pursuit of pleasure of the flash and is severed from commitment, sacrifice, intimacy and love.

Pornography is to the mind and emotions as what gasoline is to fire; it has become the single most inflammatory force for evil in our society. The Bible tells us that the love of money is the root of all evil. Pornography like money, if we are a bondage to it, will likewise be the root to many evil.

In the beginning, it seems that pornography has no outward effect on our personality. However, the thoughts and the images porn present become seeds lurking deep in our minds. Continuous exposure to it will water those seeds. Worst when all these activities are done secretly. It provides the warm and dark place for the seeds to germinate. Once they begin to sprout, they take on a life of their own and began to choke out ours – we begin to manifest the aftermath of it and soon it changes our personality.

Pornography also create permanently imbedded image that recur in our mind often. These recurrences draw us further and further into a world of fantasy and over a period of time, the lines between what is fantasy and what is real become unclear. Our minds become totally corrupted. Eventually, we can wonder aimlessly through life. Instead of spending profitable time upgrading and achieving the spirit of excellence, we may spend most of the time fantasying or watching pornography.

Hence, the most obvious injury from pornography occurs in the mind. Once porn is downloaded into our mental hard drive through the portals of the senses, it works like a computer virus, corrupting our thoughts about sexuality. In addition to these mental injuries, pornography also contributes significant challenges to our emotions. Healthy attachments and bonding become elusive. Many psychologists now believe that pornography addiction is a type of intimacy disorder that makes connecting with others more difficult.


In our sinfulness, many men and women are drawn toward pornography and a frighteningly large percentage of them have developed a dependence upon pornographic images for their own sexual arousal and for their concept of the good life, sexual fulfilment, and even meaning in life. Medical research documents the increased flow of endorphins; hormones that create pleasure in the brain, when sexual images are viewed. Given the law of reduced effect, greater stimulation is needed to keep a constant flow of endorphins to the brain's pleasure centre. Without conscious awareness of what is happening, men and women are drawn into a pattern of deeper and deeper sin, more and more explicit pornography, and never-ending rationalizing, and all this started when the eye first began its perusal of the pornographic image and sexual arousal was its product.
The experience of sexual arousal can be adrenalized and intensified when viewing pornography, and like any ‘high’ our body will crave another hit. The result is a pattern of addiction and escalation. Soft-core pictures of women in lingerie will soon become boring and we will seek full nudity, and as that loses novelty we will look for something more enticing. Professionals have studied this escalation and reports that it proceeds according to four steps.

Addiction: We keep coming back to porn. It becomes a regular part of our life. We’re hooked and can’t quit.

Escalation: We start to look for more graphic pornography. We start using porn that disgusted us earlier, but is now enticing to you.

Desensitization: We begin feeling numb towards the images we saw. Even the most graphic porn is no longer arousing. We become desperate to feel the same thrill again, but cannot find it.

Acting out sexually: We start acting out the images we have seen and rehearsed in our mind.

Ruination of the Marriage bed

A question frequently asked is, “Why shouldn’t a husband and wife use pornography to increase their sexual excitement and so enhance their lovemaking? After all, it’s for a good cause, and at least they’re doing it together”.

They are not doing it with each other & building intimacy

Come bedtime, husband and wife indulge in pornography. Husband becomes excited by gazing at the woman in the pictures instead of his wife; wife becomes excited by imagining the man in the pictures instead of her husband. Then they go to bed and have intercourse. The question is, who are they having it with? They may be having sex at the same time, but they plainly aren’t having it with each other. The husband is having it with the fantasy woman, the wife with the fantasy man. The fact that the fantasy partners are not physically present is merely a detail.

We would be shocked by the suggestion that husband and wife should hire a male and female pair of prostitutes for the night, warm up with the prostitutes, then roll over simultaneously and complete the sexual experience with each other. Yet that is in essence what they are doing. They are having sex with other people even though no one is present but themselves. The husband is pleasuring himself by imagining that his wife is not his wife. The wife is pleasuring herself by imagining that her husband is not her husband. This isn’t making love, but masturbating with the spouse’s body.

Pornography has no attachment to the people it features, no bond of love and commitment to make sexual desire holy and real. Instead it makes people into objects useful only to exploit for personal gratification. So it warps our view of others. We need to acknowledge pornography for what it is — a destructive sin.

It reduces their sexual excitement

Although pornographic intercourse may have something to do with the sexual excitement of the spouses, it has nothing to do with their sexual excitement in each other. Each spouse is really having sex with someone else. And this is but half of the problem, the other half is that pornographic fantasies can become addictive.

Consider this, if the husband or wife increases their excitement during sex by pretending that their spouse is someone else, they will become more and more dependent on the fantasy, and less and less capable of being aroused by their spouse. Not only that, but the fantasy will rapidly lose its power. To become excited then, they will need a new fantasy.

At first it may be sufficient just to imagine another person but that too gets stale. The unreal never has the vitality of the real. Pretty soon, therefore, the fantasies will have to get kinkier. They will have to imagine not just a different person, but a different kind of person – not just having sex, but having another kind of sex – in order to feel excitement at all. They may find themselves wanting pornography not only before sex, but during it. In fact, fantasy may no longer be enough they may find themselves wanting their pornographic fantasies to become real.

It Undermines True Delight

Sometimes a husband and wife turn to pornography simply because they have difficulty enjoying their sexual relationship, and they expect the pornography to fix the problem. Alas, not only does the use of pornography destroy what it is supposed to fix, as we have seen; it also distracts the spouses from working on what really does need fixing.

Sexual frustrations may arise from many causes. Perhaps the couple approaches sex in the spirit of selfishness rather than giving. Perhaps they have unrealistic expectations about sex. Perhaps one of them is ill, grieving, stressed, depressed, or afraid of growing old. Sometimes sexual frustrations arise from relationship problems, like quarrelling, unfaithfulness, or never taking time to talk.

By the grace of God, a couple who face their problems can work them out. Unfortunately, pornography is not a way to face them, but to make them worse. There is a huge sexual addiction on pornography going on right now and it is destroying marriage after marriage.
Pornography represents one of the most insidious attacks upon the sanctity of marriage and the goodness of sex within the one-flesh relationship. Unfortunately, some couples are led into the delusion that watching pornography would engender a positive effect on their sexual lives. Pornography is unholy, period – no further explanation needed.

Therefore like how one cannot expect a bad tree to bear good fruit, so an unholy vice like pornography can never be capable of producing godly results in a sacred gift like sex. If we think it might, chances are we have been deceived. Yes, initially, pornography might seem to be a good idea to couples because it could provoke a desire in them and even teach them some new techniques in lovemaking. However, relying on third party (pornography) influence to feel desire for our spouse will not benefit and sustain our sexual life in the long run. If we do not ground our marriage and sex life on the solid foundation of God’s principle in His Word, we would never come to experience sexual fulfillment in the measure God destines. Instead, sex life might even take a turn downwards, for reasons mentioned above.

Take for example the husband or wife who watches a porno film and then jumps into bed beside their spouse, expecting to re-enact the passion they caught on film. We can easily imagine the kind of frustration or disappointment they would feel if after several effortful attempts he or she is still unable to get from their partner the kind of actions or reactions that the artiste exhibited in the film. After some time, this disappointment and discontentment may lead to an illegitimate pursuit of sexual satisfaction outside the marriage. The husband or wife may start looking out for the dream partner they saw in the porn, and if by the most unfortunate turn of events, such a person appears in their life, it is not difficult to imagine them yielding to the temptation. When we sow a thought, it leads to a harvest of actions. When we sow the seed of lust (by watching pornography), we are paving the way for the spirit of lust to dominate and oppress our mind.

Great sex is not a product of lust, but the fruit of a love that is pure and true, where each partner does his or her utmost to please and bring pleasure to the other. Lust brings pleasure but for a moment; only love keeps a marriage running on the joys of an enriching sex life. The goal of pornography is to arouse the sexual passions of the viewers. When our sexual passions are aroused by someone other than our spouse, we tend to compare our spouse’s “sexiness” with those in pornography. Over time, we can lose interest in our spouse’s body and end up fantasizing our dream girl or men. We may also end up unconsciously pursuing our dream model with an affair or visiting a prostitute.

Addiction to pornography results in decreased satisfaction with our spouse, contradictory to our beliefs. Many are deceived that porn can enhance their sex drive and take it as a sex educator. When we are involved in pornography, we will never be satisfied with our spouse. We tend to complain consciously or subconsciously that they are too fat, too flat and too boring, etc. Our spouse’s attractiveness and sexual skills can never compete with the “eternally” young and surgically-altered model. Our minds are confused with the real and false. We begin to feel irritation when our spouse becomes uncomfortable with some of the sexual practices we have seen in pornography. If they cannot measure up, something is wrong with them. In the end, we lose all interest in our spouse and begin to pursue our fantasy for self satisfaction.

Men who are involved in pornography often have a false impression of their own sexual prowess. In his fantasies, his imaginary partner squeals with delight and that made him some kind of supreme sex machine, for women in the porn didn't have a will of their own. They never resist to whatever the man demand and seems to enjoy all the perversion of sex. The true fact is that many of the models do not enjoy the sexual act but are under the influence of drugs and forced to perform. Many are also paid highly to fake it. They are basically selling their dignity and body.

What is most deceptive is the fact that like any movies, what takes us an hour to watch, might take them days to perfect the scene. Hence, it sets false standards for true sexuality.
When we expect the same kind of undying attitude with our spouse, we might find our spouse very unsatisfisfying. This can drive us to look elsewhere for our dream sex partner. This is a devastating circle. The more we find our spouse inadequate, the more we seek out our dream partner.

Pornography also creates a selfish attitude towards sexual intimacy. Men who are on a steady diet of porn often fantasize on the sexual parts of a woman’s body. Thus, in a sexual relationship, he is interested only on the “good stuff”. He zeroes in only on her breast, genitals or buttocks. This often makes the woman end up feeling like she is a banquet where the only dishes sampled are the appetizers.A woman loves her husband to explore the sensuality of the other parts of her body too.

Intimacy is about opening up and revealing ourselves to another. It’s not about manipulating another to fulfill our fantasies. Intimacy is about caring for another’s pleasure as much or more than we care about our own. It is not about seeing another as a tool to bring us pleasure. Intimacy is about truly desiring to be with another. Intimacy is about cherishing another in ways that go far beyond sex. Porn leads to fantasy and one common thing is that when we are having sex with our spouses; our minds are far away with some dream babes or men. This kills intimacy.

Perversion & Unhealthy Message

Pornography alters the belief of uncommon sexual practices, thus leading to perversion in sex. Perversion is using something in a way it was not intended to be used. One of the perverse practices touted by porn is anal sex. The muscles of the anus and rectum are designed to contract and expel, down and outward and not in and upward. The cells lining the rectum also do not have the lubricating qualities of the cells lining the vagina, thus is never appropriate for sex. Another downside to anal sex is infection. The rectum is alive with bacteria, what do you think happen when a penis is withdrawn from a rectum and thrust into a vagina?

Porn also destroys the dignity and the worth of the participants. Bondage is commonly promoted in pornography. Whether it is the hard-core portrayal of women restrained in deplorable conditions, or the sadomasochistic portrayal of a dominatrix humiliating a powerless male, or the soft-core portrayals of “cute” ways to tie up women in charming bedroom scene, the message is clear: Having power over our partner to humiliate or deny her freedom of motion is satisfying. We only tie up or otherwise restrain animals, not valued human beings with whom we want a consensual relationship. Handcuffs, chains and other restraints are designed to render powerless those whose lives have been judged to be “bad”, they are not for use on people we love and cherish. Sadly, many couples under the influence of pornography are using these “sex toys” to gratify their lustful desire.

Pornography also encourage rape, incest, molestation and other forms of sexual violence by perpetuating the myth that women will eventually come to enjoy rape and pain and beg for more. It does not promote an ongoing responsibility for their sexual encounters and it is a proven record that there is a close correlation between the pornographic consumer with rape, incest and molestation. A person who is preoccupied in porn is incapable of looking past his own needs to see and meet the needs of others.

Pornography has the lure and propensity of leading men to chauvinistic and perverted attitudes about women which will eventually kill the wonder and beauty of making love to them. For women, fear and inferiority surmounts as they watch the ‘skilful’ movements of the females in a porn film, and because they do not perceive themselves to be as well-endowed as the female stars or even as able to deliver lovemaking at their level of performance as portrayed on screen, insecurity soon begins to take root in their lives. This would eventually lower their confidence in themselves, especially during sexual engagement with their partners.

Spirit led vs. flesh controlled

God designed us to be controlled from the inside out and porn does just the opposite. It seeks to lead us by our flesh. Porn uses the desire of our flesh to lure us into its clutches. Through the window of our eyes, it gains access into our souls where it affects our belief system, seek to bend our wills to evil and cause devastation in our emotions. It finally kills us by violating our consciences, quenches our ability to differentiate reality and world of acting, thus killing our spiritual men. Once our spirit is dead, there is no real life in the body; it shut down our communion with God.

Pornography also causes a process of gradual desensitization to take place in our minds and it fundamentally alters our moral bearing and makes us disoriented sexually. It is possible for our moral, ethical and principles to be changed, subordinated, or even eclipsed if we repeatedly violate our conscience.

Casual interest in “soft” porn or uncensored explicit sensual movies can and most often will pull us under before we realize what had happened. It occurs slowly enough, making us unaware of the damage. We lose our self-respect, ability to reason well, ability to tell the truth, ability to give, ability to love and last but not least, the ability to lead a godly life.

Sexual addiction lead to unfaithfulness, broken promises, stealing, manipulation, fear, guilt, emotional abuse, broken dreams, humiliation, embarrassment and broken trust. Our sense of shame and guilt often spill over into outrage of anger. Only those who live righteously enjoy true peace and joy.

According to James 1:14, “each one is tempted…by his own desires and entice”. Hence, all temptations arise from within us. This means that the only way to overcome our ‘inward’ temptations within oneself is not by merely saying ‘No’ to its desires but rather by saying ‘Yes’ to the greater things of the inner spirit within us.

The way to overcome bad thoughts and evil desire is not by constantly fighting against them but by merely replacing them with good thoughts and godly desire. By thinking and affirming good thoughts the bad thoughts automatically are removed. For that reason, Paul exhort us in Phil.4:8 to establish ‘good thoughts’ in our lives, “whatever things are true, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is anything virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things…”

Many Christians struggling with the fleshly desire in their lives fail to recognise that it is the spirit which overcomes the flesh and not our own will power or mental efforts. When we yield to the Spirit of God within, the flesh will be naturally overcome. Which is why Paul’s rhetorical question in Rom.7:24 “Who shall deliver me from this body of death?” is answered by “I thank God - through Christ Jesus our Lord!” (Rom.7:25).

How does that accomplish the overcoming of the flesh? The key is that Paul has clarified earlier that he delights in the law of God according to the inner man (Romans 7:22). Therefore by yielding to Christ within the inner man, Christ overcomes the flesh within him. It is the spirit within that overcomes the outward flesh, and not the flesh overcoming the flesh.

By our own strength we will never overcome the flesh no matter how hard we tried. The secret is in yielding to the grace of God in the inner man within us, the strength of the Spirit within us, to allow the rivers of living waters, the rivers of the Holy Spirit to flow out from within us – affecting your heart, your mind, your soul and your body.

Through His grace & mercy, may we all be spirit controlled saints rather than flesh controlled sinner. Amen!

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