This is the third blog in a three-part blog series on sex and intimacy.  If you missed part one or two of this series, you can go back and check those out HERE and HERE

“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” -Phil 1:6 (NIV)

22% of young adults aged 18 to 24 consider porn to be good for society. 8% of that age group actually think it is “very good for society.” Nobody over age 50 thought so. The 18 to 24-year-old group is more likely than any other age group actively to seek out porn (57% at least monthly). Meanwhile, over 70% of those over 50 say the “never” actively seek out porn (Covenant Eyes). 

So, is porn bad for you? Attitudes on pornography use vary drastically across the nation and the world, but here at Cornerstone, we think the answer is a resounding “yes.” Here’s why!

“Many men feel a deep sense of shame as a result of viewing and sexually acting out to pornography. Shame can be internal disappointment with ourselves or can be placed on us by a wider community. It is an attempt to cover up a sense of unworthiness or agonizing vulnerability. It involves exposure and judgment, with resulting feelings of insufficiency, defectiveness, inadequacy or unworthiness. At the core of shame is the belief that the individual is not worthy of love,” (from Wired for Intimacy by William Struthers). 

“It is not the shouting of pornography that gives it so much power over men. It is the whispering of the lie of sexual fulfillment that prey on our human insecurities. When men believe those lies, they develop psychological and behavioral habits that prevent relational fulfillment. Pornography shapes and rewires us in such a way that we become unable to see women as we should. We no longer direct our sexual drives in appropriate ways. Porn narrows our ability to live a good and holy life,” (from Wired for Intimacy by William Struthers). 

At its core, pornography is an escape. Many men and women use it to avoid pain, sorrow, grief, insecurity, anxiety, loneliness, boredom, you name it. However, the reality is that it does not get rid of these issues or feelings, but in fact, it perpetuates them.

Pornography indirectly emphasizes the lie that “You’re not good enough” and overtime this message becomes internalized and its result is shame. Shame is different from guilt. Guilt tells us that something we did went against our moral code, but shame is rooted much deeper and it emphasizes the message there is something wrong with me.

Shame has the power to overtake an individual and distance them from what is good. Our romantic relationships begin to suffer. Overt (or covert) depression becomes a familiar friend. God and His promises of love, hope, and eternal life begin to feel like a fairy tale. I think you’re beginning to get the picture.  

Next comes the internal separation between mind, body, and soul. For many, pornography use began in adolescence and the innocent curiosity of seeing the naked body now serves as a way for coping with past and present issues. After years of pornography use, a person’s feelings have become sexualized, random pornographic images begin to flood the mind’s eye, and a person starts to feel like a shell of who they once were.

Lastly, the user’s greatest fear is of being exposed. The thought of being found out (by spouse, kids, parents, members of your congregation, etc) promotes hiding behaviors and defensiveness. The need to hide the pornography use occurs because they are afraid that if they were found out they would be rejected by the ones they love the most. If rejected, their belief that something is wrong with me is confirmed.

The reality is that 40 million people across the U.S. visit pornography sites on a regular basis. 47% of Christians admit that pornography use is a major problem in their household. Pornography is glorified by our culture and media. Images of half-naked individuals flood the television and computer through the forms of ads, shows, and commercials.

But there is hope!

We are beginning a new group for men beginning Tuesday, May 23rd called “Restored.” It is about knowing you’re not alone. It is about recognizing and understanding that pornography served a purpose in helping you cope with your issues, but now has become destructive. The purpose of this group is to lead you towards restoration and healing as well as healthy and holy sexuality, love, and intimacy.  

For more information or to sign up for the group itself, please contact us. This confidential, six-week group has a limited number of spots available so if you are interested, please sign up now! 

Cost is only $40/session or $200 for all 6 sessions
Email us at: info@christiancounselingco.com if you’d like to register.

Photo of Devin Pierce, M.A., LPCC, NCC