Ben: [Reading a magazine] Hey Adam! Listen to this - "Addiction to web porn and masturbation is now one of the 5 most common of ALL addictions in North America"!
Adam: Pornography? Masturbation? Yeuch!! Why are we even talking about such sordid things? Didn't Paul say "Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things"? We are a civilized, healthy society!
Oh, I realize there is an underworld, sure. Drunken men watch strippers and masturbate, losers hire prostitutes, drug-addicts get sex in crack houses, bikers gang-rape ... but all that's rare! The media love it, but it's not a problem really - a tiny minority.
Ben: Tiny minority? No. MOST people masturbate! 80 years ago a research team carefully interviewed over 10,000 Americans. Around 90% of men were masturbating fairly regularly - including married men with active sex lives. And this was before Internet porn!
Adam: OK. But that's just masturbation - that's a fairly normal habit? Healthy, totally private, doesn't do any damage. That doesn't mean they're in trouble watching pornography, surely?
Ben: Sounds like they're watching porn as well. Listen:
- 700 people start a connection to PornHub every second
- 25,000 of them are watching porn right now, this second
- they're spending $3000 per second watching porn (not to mention the free stuff)
- 10% of ALL web downloads are porn videos etc
- 8% of all emails are porn - more than 2 BILLION emails daily
- 47% of US families include a porn problem
https://www.webroot.com/ca/en/home/resources/tips/digital-family-life/internet-pornography-by-the-numbers and others
It says the average time a person watches porn is 15 minutes - so guess what they're doing at the same time ...
Adam: Um. That's bad. But these are mostly drunks and weirdos and lonely old men, right?
Ben: That's the popular myth. But let's read on ...
- 23% of porn viewers are women
- 70% of all young men (18-24) are regularly watching porn, more than once a month
- the average child discovers internet porn at age 10
- 95% of porn sites don't verify your age
- 14% of US teens have been sexually solicited on-line
- more than 1 in 4 adults watch porn AT WORK regularly (more than 1 hour a month)
Adam: Oh come on! Can't be as bad as all that. There's always been pin-ups - remember the Pirelli calendars in garage workshops? And Playboy magazines kept behind the counter at the newsagents?
This is all media hype, big fuss about nothing.
Ben: Yes, you're right. Porn wasn't a huge problem in the past. But things have changed.
Thanks to the internet, you can sit in the safety of your own home and watch real live girls talk, and move, and make love, in full colour and close-up. That simply didn't exist for our grandparents.
The problem is so bad that in 2012 the UK prime minister forced porn filters onto all mobile and broadband services. People must choose to opt in or out of porn.
Did you know that the idea of "paying on-line" by credit card was invented so people could pay for porn videos? And now porn is often free, instantly available to everyone. It even pops up by accident on your screen!
Today with a phone or iPad you can retire to the privacy of your bedroom and do whatever you like. You can even search for porn that fulfils your particular desires. And the world number-one porn search is for "step-mother" - Eeuuww!
You can send your own personal porn, too. On Snapchat or Instagram or Twitter. You can go to a chat-room and exchange intimate photos of each other.
The pressure of sex ADVERTS is so great that Google had to set up a total ban, strictly enforced for several years now.
Adam: Well ... surely most of it's very mild? Glamorous women in tiny bikinis, or occasionally topless. It's not that bad? Sometimes they look wonderful, God's creation.
Ben: Mild? I wish!
Porn-makers always have to be ahead of the curve, just a little MORE shocking/brutal/violent - to satisfy customers. So porn videos are getting steadily more degrading.
Now it's sex with no romance, no tenderness, no commitment, no love, no family - all the things that God intended to be part of love-making. Where are the hand-in-hand walks, the laughter, the fond caresses, of marriage?
Around 90% of popular videos already include violence. New stuff is beginning to include sex with animals, urination/defecation, rape, murder. Around 80% of modern porn is "hard-core" - close-ups of genitalia in the sex act, semen, etc.
They say you can never forget the images from the very first porn video you saw.
Adam: Well, thank goodness I'm a Christian! People in my church don't get into that stuff - they're great people, and a good influence on me.
Sadly, no. Porn addiction is almost as common among Christians. 2 out of 3 Christian men watch porn regularly (at least monthly) - 7% watch it more than once a day.
15% of Christian women watch porn. 1 in 7 church pastors are addicted to internet porn.
At a Promise-Keepers conference (all-men) years ago, a speaker asked several thousand men "What is your worst problem?". Over 90% responded "Internet porn".
A Canadian church sponsored a Porn/Masturbation conference. The speaker made an altar-call inviting those with pornography addiction to come forward for blessing. More than half the mixed-sex audience went forward.
More porn is watched on Sunday than any other day - except Christmas Day!
God gave us sex to enjoy. But Satan is using it as a tool to enslave us and destroy our happiness.
Adam: Gee, that IS a problem! But - hey, Ben, why are you reading all this stuff?
Ben (after a pause):
Well - er - actually, I've been searching the web myself looking for help with porn addiction.
Adam: Oh. Wow! [There is an embarassed silence.] Uh - are you - er - finding anything useful?
There's quite a lot of stuff about porn addiction. They say to treat it the same as alcoholism. "Give it all up (both porn and masturbation), take a vow of abstinence, find a self-help group, and get a sponsor."
Adam: There are self-help groups for that??
Yes. Something called "Samson Societies". They meet in coffee-shops and church basements, just like AA. Hundreds of them. Founded by Nate Larkin, a church minister who got addicted to porn, and wrote a great book "Samson and the Pirate Monks".
You team up with a personal sponsor ("accountability partner"). Whenever either of you are tempted, you call the other (day or night) and they talk to you, pray with you, persuade you to see sense and get out of the situation.
Would that help you? Y/N/Comments
Ha! That's not going to work! Don't you understand? It's an ADDICTION - videos of wonderful girls doing unbelievable things. It's impossible to escape!
[Ben stares at him in amazement. Adam blushes slightly.]
Well ... I ... giving up cold turkey doesn't work well for alcoholics, does it? Most of them relapse - even after treatment programs, AA, all that stuff.
Look, people are not watching porn from choice! You're trapped, hooked. You try to stop - over and over again - and you fail!
I doubt if anyone can give it up! You ever known anyone?
Qn: Is it fairly simple to give up pornography and masturbation? Y/N
Ben (nodding thoughtfully):
Uh - well - no, I haven't seen anyone give up. All this is fairly new. Don't think there have been many successes yet.
And look, I - er - I don't actually talk about this with my friends. They don't know about my habit. I think my partner may suspect, but she hasn't said anything. And I haven't been to a self-help group ... I would die of embarrassment! So I don't know if it works for other people.
Think it would work for you? Y/N/Comments
Or: could you do that?
Well, this "give up cold turkey and go to AA" thing won't work. Porn/masturbation addiction is WAY worse than alcoholism. You can keep alcohol out of your house ... not go to bars ... avoid temptation. But your body is ALWAYS there, and the sexy images in your brain - you can't get away from them!
So you reckon there's no cure, we're doomed? Come on! "With God all things are possible", remember?
Q: Think you will ever get off?
BTW, what did you mean, "cold turkey"? How else can you give up anything?
Well, they don't take you straight off morphine, otherwise you get dopesick - and your skin goes like a plucked turkey.
They put you on a milder drug - methadone - and then wean you onto smaller and smaller doses. Takes longer, it's easier. ... But that's no help - I can't go onto "milder porn"!
Ben stares at him, takes a deep breath:
No. You can't. Nor can I. (Pause) Hey! I gave up smoking once.
Maybe porn/masturbation is more like smoking? Sure, a big part of the addiction is the thrill of the nicotine. But another important part is the "foreplay", going outside, getting the cigarette out, lighting it, puffing it, tapping off the ash ...
So? How does that help us?
[Any ideas? Y/N/Comments.]?
Ben: Research shows it's easier to give up smoking in two stages, not all at once.
You get nicotine gum to chew, or patches, so you can give up the foreplay first! You're still on a nice big dose of nicotine, but you can throw away your cigarettes and lighter, swear abstinence from tobacco, tell all your friends.
THEN, when you're safely off smokes, you can wean gradually off the drug - smaller and smaller patches. Still tough, but easier than giving up everything at once!
Adam: So how does that help people like - er - well, me?
Ben: Well, look at it this way. Masturbation is natural behaviour - even small children and animals do it, and always have. But not porn. Porn is man-made, new, and REALLY evil.
Why not try giving up just porn, and continue to masturbate? That might be much easeir to achieve?
Adam: Eeuww - NO!!! I want to be clean, triumphant, PURE - I want God to help me defeat the Devil utterly! I want to be a "new creation", free from sin and shame.
Ben: Mm - yes, we all do. But is that how God works? When you pray for help with your temper or whatever, does the problem suddenly and miraculously disappear for life?
It sounds so nice doesn't it - pray for strength, KAPOW! - and become perfect, an instant shining hero, no more uncleanness. But that's not how human beings grow, is it?
Paul says about sex to the Corinthians “Don't go further than is written” - and end up with failure and shame.
Adam: But what's the point in giving up one evil thing and keeping another? They're both shameful. How would that be progress? Bit like giving up liquor for Lent but drinking beer non-stop!
Ben: Porn is getting brutal - degrading women, and sex, and even children. Surely it's vital to stop that stuff going into your mind and filling it with evil images? You'll never get them out again!
Modern porn is tremendously addictive. Some of the best brains in the world are employed to make it impossible for you to stop. You've got to escape from their clutches!
By contrast, masturbation is private, personal. Maybe it's not your masturbation that upsets God? Maybe what saddens Him is how porn and masturbation are ruining your happiness, monopolizing your mind, your time, and your nerves.
Adam: Ha! You haven't seen the images in my mind when I masturbate. You would be horrified! I think I'm a freak. I need to give EVERYTHING up, right now!
Didn't Jesus say "He who looks lustfully on a woman has already committed adultery in his heart"? Fantasies are just as evil as actions!
Ben: Maybe we need patience? Yes, Paul says "I am a new creation". But he also says "Work out your own salvation in fear and trembling". Rome wasn't built in a day!
Suppose you give up porn first, and succeed. THEN perhaps it will be easier to work on your fantasies. You can gradually train your mind away from violence, bondage, perversions or whatever. God wants you to control your mind, not be a slave to sin.
A smoker might say "No no, I want to be free of everything at once! No nicotine patches for me". But surely winning the first step is crucial to winning the war?
Adam: But you don't understand! Masturbation is way more shameful than watching porn! How could I ever face anyone, if they knew what I do? I am a leper, an outcast. I can't believe I'm even telling you this. I've never told anyone.
Besides, I've never seen anyone recommend giving up porn and keeping masturbation. It sounds crazy.
Comments? Who is right?
Ben: God can work good through ALL things - don't give up! To escape from porn we need four things:
- God, and honest prayer to Him
- really want Him to change us, and patience to achieve it in His good time
- energy to take action, now!
- courage. You're going to have to tell people ...
That last one will be tough. Especially for women - 70% of women porn viewers keep it totally secret, never tell ANYONE. But God is not going to work with you alone. He's not a private God.
Adam (appalled, hesitant): Oh dear! I - well - that is REALLY tough! I don't think I could ... ah ... look, maybe porn is not so important after all? It can't hurt me? And I'm sure it will all stop when I get married and have a partner of my own.
Ben: Don't bank on that. Around a third of married men still watch porn. It's true that in a happy marriage the man is less likely to watch porn (and the woman even less likely) - but no marriage is happy ALL the time!
Just think what the porn ACTORS are actually doing, in front of cameras, just to feed your habit. Men with teenage daughters are only half as likely to watch porn.
Ben: But I would miss it! Porn really does comfort me and help me.
Look, my life is not easy - I get really anxious and depressed at my failures. My porn is always there for me, to comfort me and distract me from my worries. I wake up each morning looking forward to it - it's almost like having a wonderful lover, who never gets cross with me, and always finds me exciting.
Anyway, I really don't know - who could I talk to? My church never talks about porn OR masturbation.
Qn: If you wanted to tell someone, where would you start? Comments/Skip
Ben: Wow - you're really hooked, eh? But you can't just stay where you are. You're on a downward spiral. Charles Spurgeon said "Kill the habit, before it kills you!" Porn is such a powerful weapon - look what Satan is achieving with it:
- a man's wife becomes less attractive to him, and eventually he becomes impotent with her
- 80% of men become aggressive, demand their partner act out porn scenes
- women act out porn fantasies via promiscuity or affairs, more often than men. (It's a short step from husband+porn
A man slides down through strip clubs to massage parlours to brothels, neglecting his friends and family, and ending up lonely and depressed. And loses his marriage!
- a married man with a porn habit is twice as likely to be unfaithful, or use prostitutes
- a married man with a porn habit is 40% more likely to end up divorced
- more than half of divorces involve a porn habit, or a lover acquired on-line
You're right - our churches are not talking about it! A stunning, shameful silence. Maybe because we don't know what to say?
Adam: So where can I go for help?
Ben: Here are some ideas.
Maybe go to your church youth leader, and say the church should run groups for youth on porn and masturbation? They'll know about this problem already. Then you can quietly join in!
But caution - expect disgusted reactions. When one church advertised a conference on this subject, several members called in to complain that the notice included the word "porn" - which must be a misprint!
Qn: Could you do this? Y/N/Comment
Adam: You are much braver than me. I could never start a group in my church! I wish I knew someone else who shares my problem, here in my town.
Ben: You could go to "www.xxxchurch.com". There's a free test to see if you're a porn/masturbation addict.
They offer help with porn addiction, provide helpful hints, and can match you up with an "accountability partner", so you can provide each other with round-the-clock support.
And there are on-line treatment programs at pornographyaddiction.com, and fightthenewdrug.com. But careful - you will see lots of porn ads while you search!
Qn: Would this help you? Y/N/COmments
Adam: I don't think I can do this alone.
Ben: OK. Try Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA-recovery.org). They help you find AA-type self-help groups in your area.
Or go to samsonsocieties.com and click the "sign up" box! Then you can see where Samson groups are meeting in your own city - and go meet them.
Adam: [Gives big sigh.] Ye-e-ess - I could! I could just about do that. But ... go to a strange group, alone?
Qn: could You do that? Right now? Y/N/Comments
Ben: Once you've found a friend or two, you'll never look back. God is all about fellowship, right?
Here are a couple of other ideas, to try out at home.
Habit-Share is a free phone-app. You put in 3 questions monitoring your habit, and the app will ask you daily about your progress. Then you "share" your account with chosen friends - and they get a daily copy of your latest progress, and can call you to offer support when needed.
CovenantEyes.com will help you fit porn filters, fix you up with accountability partners, and encourage you to chat to them weekly. But it's not free.
Would any of those help you? Y/N/Comments
Adam (scornfully): No chance! I've tried installing a porn filter. It lasted 20 minutes - then I turned it off!
Ben: Well, there;s a way to stop yourself "unblocking" your porn filter in a moment of temptation. When you set the "admin password" (to control the filter), close your eyes and type in a random password! Then you can't easily turn it off.
You could even advertise on-line to find other sufferers, and start a weekly accountability group. Maybe host it in your home? Maybe look for Christian sufferers ... or perhaps God will offer you opportunities to spread your faith through this ministry?
Got any other ideas? Y/N/Comments
Adam: You know what? I'm going to do this! I am. With God's help I'm going to beat this thing. Say - Ben - um, will you come to the first meeting or group with me? Just to lend support, so I don't run away when I get to the door? ... And can we pray about this, right now?
Qn: Would you like us to pray for you? Or help you find a local group? Y/N/Comment
(Y > see contact info)
Qn: Do you think giving up porn first, masturbation later, makes sense? As far as we know, this is a fairly new idea - we'd love to hear your views. Y/N/Comment
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