Pornography Myths and the Truth You Need to Know

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 2.26.22 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So pornography has been in the news a lot lately, right? What’s the deal with porn? I truly feel that most people do not fully understand the devastating affects of porn use, and that is why we, even as Christians treat porn use with a slap on the wrist, and an “everybody makes mistakes” attitude. Pornography is much more dangerous than most people think or really even care to learn about. However, in order to address this issue effectively, we HAVE TO understand just how it works to destroy.

Now, I could talk from here to Timbuktu about what the Bible says about porn. How in Matthew 5:28, Jesus says, “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” How in Proverbs 7, it describes the “strange woman” and tells us that she will cost you your life, and that her way is the way of death. God tells us over and over that all sexual sins are forbidden and that we sin against our own bodies when we commit these sins. They are dangerous and destructive, and, yet, for some reason we choose not to believe him. Whether in acting on these sins, or in addressing them….. we simply do not believe God when it comes to this area.

I’m going to address several myths about pornography. If you don’t want to know, you should skip this article, but know that you won’t be held any less accountable for not knowing when the information is readily available to you. You won’t be able to say “no one ever told me.” Because I’m telling you right now. This post may make you uncomfortable, but these are the problems our generation and the next are facing… like it or not.

1. MYTH: The problem with porn is just looking…

The problems associated with pornography are not simply related to looking at naked women or wanting to watch people have sex. The purpose of pornography and what it does to the body are related. Pornography is NOT sex; however it triggers all the hormones associated with sex thus leading to masturbation. The purpose of pornography is to masturbate. This may come as a shock to some of you. I have had women tell me, “I never knew that is what he was doing.” This is why I am telling you. It is not just “looking with lust.” It is responding to those lusts and acting on them in a way your body and brain were never meant to function, sexually gratifying yourself outside of marriage, outside of your spouse, and outside of God’s plan for sex.

2. MYTH: Pornography is sin, but not that harmful…

Masturbation as a result of internet porn has devastating results especially on adolescents exposed to it. In the pre-teen and teenage years, if one is exposed to pornography, they are being sexual conditioned. This means they are learning “how it’s done” from internet pornography rather than real sexual experiences, and it can be forever harmful.

The crucial detail to remember is: “Nerve cells that fire together wire together.” This is true for everyone. For an adolescent brain, this means connecting sexual reward to the environment. Early sexual conditioning remains even when circumstances change, like marriage, and have the opportunity to wire in all sorts of fetishes that would normally seem aversive. This creates profound consequences for the body, especially the brain, and, in many ways, acts like a drug.

Dopamine is the most common chemical associated with pleasure. It plays a major role in reward-motivated behavior. However, I want to introduce to you another chemical called DeltaFosB. DeltaFosB is a transcription factor, a protein that binds your genes and turns them on or off. It is the master switch for addiction. Dopamine is what barks orders saying, “We like this! Connect these experiences!” And DeltaFosB does the work. This is the stuff that in a normal sexual relationship, such as marriage would bond you and your partner together, and form those deeply entrenched pathways in the brain. DeltaFosB sticks around for a very long time, altering your genes responses and bringing on measurable, physical brain changes. Once it is turned on, it stays on, and is not turned off easily. That is why long after the dopamine surge vanishes, the roads and pathways remain just as they left them.  These pathways are why early sexual experiences can have such a powerful impact and lasting affect. This process occurs with ALL addictions. Chronic overconsumption to alcohol or drugs create the exact same pathways. Dopamine surges –> DeltaFosB accumulates–> brain rewires to want it and do it again the same exact way. Remember and repeat. It leads you to not only desire it, but require it.

A study done in 2013 stated this, “Natural and drug rewards not only converge on the same neural pathway, they converge on the same molecular mediators and like in the same neurons (nerve cells)…to influence the…wanting of both types of rewards.” Kind of confusing but this is saying that addictions to drugs and addictions to porn/sex are formed in the same exact way in the brain with DeltaFosB driving the bus and creating these pathways. The more these pathways are traveled, the easier they become to travel again, like creating deep ruts in the sand. These pathways become memories, skills, habits, even methods of coping. You are more like to use an established path even when you don’t want to simply because it is the least resistant.

These pathways of overstimulation can lead to the destruction of the body leaving the user unable to have normal sexual experiences inside their marriage or simply unable to perform sexually at all. Think about it, this is why we have had a surge in ED diagnosis and medications in the past 15 years.

3. MYTH: I am not addicted.

At what point does one become addicted to pornography? Well, scientifically speaking, whenever the amount of stimulation causes the accumulation of DeltaFosB and other addiction-related brain changes.

How will you know? In short, you won’t. Especially if you were sexually conditioned to pornography at a young age.

Adolescent or teen brains are more sensitive to dopamine and produce more dopamine and higher levels of DeltaFosB than do adult brains. As a result, as a teenager, one is far more vulnerable to addictions. Older men can sometimes feel when they slip into addiction because they know what normal was before internet porn arrived. Their brains have generally been conditioned in the correct ways, and pathways have been formed. How does a 23 year old who has been watching porn since age 12 know when he is crossing the line into compulsive use? He doesn’t; because porn is his “normal.”

4. MYTH: Porn is not a widespread problem, and it can not touch me or my family…

Well, I shouldn’t have to tell you in light of recent events that porn is ravaging our country and destroying our lives. How do you think that all these men including pastors and Christian leaders ended up on Ashley Madison? I will tell you right now it started with porn. Like any addiction, porn is subject to the law of diminishing returns, meaning that each time you want the same high levels of dopamine release, you need something more shocking than the last time. And with the rise of internet pornography, it is at our fingertips. You can click, click, click away keeping dopamine levels high for hours on end creating an endless supply of DeltaFosB to create lasting brain pathways firing and wiring together. This is why many adulterers, rapists, and serial killers all started with pornography. Think it can’t happen to you? Think again.

As a wife, as a mother, as a sister, it is our responsibility to do everything we can to protect and help the men in our lives to stay pure. The world shoves temptation in their face every chance it gets, and satan would love to destroy the lives of Christian men more than anything else. We need to keep one another accountable, keep computers in the open where everyone can see what’s going on. We need filters and blocks on our smart phones. We need to know how to check history and cookies on computers and browsers as a level of accountability. There are lots of ways to do this. Safe eyes filter is a good place to start. The iPhone even has restrictions (Settings>general>restrictions>enable restrictions) you can set already built in that asks for a password when the user attempts to access restricted items or applications.

Many people, especially older generations, do not understand the difficulty in dating and finding someone who isn’t addicted hasn’t been addicted to pornography in the past. It is not impossible to find, but very very rare. We have got to educate our young people in this area so that they will know the dangers enough to STAY AWAY from such a harmful lifestyle. Many of our children wouldn’t dream of doing drugs or drinking alcohol, but dabble in pornography and end up addicted because no one is telling them how dangerous it is. We have to stop it this trend. We have to be informed, and inform others.

5. MYTH: My pornography problem only hurts me…

This is one of the biggest lies of Satan in this area. Think of all the devastation that porn has caused in the last few weeks. If you think all those men were just looking to cheat with real women and not watching porn, you’re kidding yourself. I personally have been the victim of pornography use in past relationships. I know first hand how it feels to be betrayed in this area. It destroys you, and you have to rebuild. (You can read my story in my article Pornography is not ok: what you don’t know can hurt you) I have witnessed marriages fall apart, women reduced to empty shells of what they once were because the men in their life have so taken what was sacred and precious to them and burned it in the fires of their own lust and selfishness. Families have fallen apart. Children have lost daddies and mommies to it. Hundreds of men are stepping down from their ministry positions, their jobs, and their lives are in turmoil all because of the sin and addiction of pornography all because they did not heed the warning in Proverbs when God said, “it will cost you your life.”

Readers, this is why in my last article, I said that I would leave my husband if he began watching pornography. Not because I would hate him, not because I want to throw my marriage away, but because the punishment needs to fit the crime. Pornography will destroy anyone who uses it, and I love my husband too much to sit aside and allow it to happen to him or us or my family. He would need a wake up call in this area like no other to realize just how serious of a sin this is. The purpose of leaving would be for him to realize that he truly would lose everything that is precious to him if he continues down this path. I could stay and allow that to happen, and go down that path with him, or I could take a stand and say, “No, this is me protecting you and protecting our marriage, and making you get help with this terrible terrible sin.” Not out of hate, not out of an attitude of quitting or giving up or throwing him away, but with an attitude of love and protection, and in an attempt to save my marriage from future harm.

6. MYTH: Once you are addicted, there is no hope for you…

Some research suggests that, in some, DeltaFosB takes 6-8 weeks free of porn/masturbation to decline, while others suggest it may stick around for up to 9 months, depending on the level of addiction, and prior sexual conditioning. There is still much to learn. Fortunately for us, our brain works with a “use it or lose it” system. Meaning, nerves that are used with flourish and grow stronger, and in return, nerves that are not used will wither and fade. Will your brain always crave it? To some degree, yes. Even long after alcoholics are sober, these brain pathways still cause cravings and are the number one reason behind relapses.

Of course, nothing is impossible with God. No one is too far gone for the grace of God to fill their life and help them to overcome addiction. God can heal, but consequences still remain. The pathways are there and you will have to fight the rest of your life to stay pure, but in Jesus Christ, we have the power to do battle with the enemy and win.

Having said all this, I want to reinforce that this is an actual scientific addiction. Depending on their level of addiction, porn addicts can NOT simply be told to work on their relationship with God and all will be fine. This may work for someone who has simply stumbled upon it and became curious once or twice, but NOT for compulsive users. There are many many Christian and secular rehabilitation venues where people can go to get serious treatment and help in this area.

Please visit {{this site}} for more information and resources on pornography.

Men and women, we need to be informed. We have to understand and warn our loved ones of the dangers and devastation effects of pornography. It is much more serious issue than many people realize. We need to understand that we need to treat porn addiction as an addiction, and do everything we can to keep it out of our lives. That means being loud about things that are uncomfortable for us. That means loving one another enough to keep accountable those that are closest to us for the sake of their lives, our families, our churches, and our society. Let us vow to be the ones who take an educated stand against porn out of hearts of love.

Advertisements

13 comments

  1. This is an eye opener. Thank you for writing this well informed post. It amazes me everytime I read your posts, what an honor it must be for God to use you like this. To tell you the truth, (and as selfish and immature as this sounds) I really envy you. Sometimes I’ll think, “I wish God could use me like He’s using Lauren. Why can’t I simply choose to be like her in regards to obedience and loving God the way she does?” I understand nobody’s perfect. I can sit here and throw myself a pity party about my failings, and compare myself to older, wiser, and mature Christians like you all day, but I know it won’t change anything. Ultimately, this is something I must continue to work on. I know most of this has nothing to do with your post, but will you please pray for me Lauren? That God would continue working in me;refining and humbling me even when it absolutely hurts, so that I could be more useful for Him? Again, thank you for this post and what you do.

    Like

    • I am far from perfect, and honored to be used in this way to touch people’s lives. I prayed for a long time for God to use me also. Be patient and obedient, you never know how God will use your life through obedience to Him. Praying for you!

      Like

      • I understood you were far from perfect. In my mind, the love you have for God and your level of obedience by writing these blogs surpassed mine. Not in a perfect sense, but just great in general. That was what I meant. I probably should’ve clarified better, haha. Thanks for the comment and prayers!

        Like

  2. This post is so timely for me, so thank you! Last week my whole world came crashing down once again because of this massively deceitful industry. I have been in a relationship with the same person since I was 16. We both became sexually active one month after dating (proving we had no self control) even though we were “very Christian”, “Jesus loving” people. We led worship together in many churches, and we’ve both shared dreams of being missionaries & just having a general hunger to see God move this generation! Sex was always this thing that became compartmentalized away from our “God pursuant lives”. Temptation would creep in while watching a movie or going on a date, and we rarely fleed from it. We lived a cyclical pattern of doing our Jesus thing, giving into temptation, feeling guilty, saying we should stop, & then repeating for 4 years until we got married 2 years ago. All this time I would give into sex 50% because I wanted to, and 50% because I didn’t want my boyfriend to look at porn. I realized he had an issue with porn early on, but just thought that if I provided him the intimacy, he wouldn’t need it. WRONG! Addiction is real. He claims to have been addicted to it since age 10, and can even recall looking at bra/lingerie models in catalogs since age 5. So, I know that this has definitely had an affect on his brain chemistry because I thought that we were entering our marriage porn free. Wrong. I found out 5 months into marital bliss (via his own confession) that he had lied to me before & after (marriage) because he didn’t want to lose me. I was shocked, but I got over it because marriage was fresh, & we could still conquer this……Fast forward 10 months, I find videos in his youtube viewing history. Once again. Shocked. Devastated. Humiliated. Fooled twice. Now, after this time, I wanted to crack down on whatever we needed to do to fix the leaks in our marriage. Was I being the best wife I could be? What blocks needed to go on his devices? Who did we need to talk to about accountability? Was I pretty enough? Did I need to workout more? & I NEVER SAID NO TO SEX. Ever. So fool proof right? The steps to success right……? Ouch. So wrong. Last week I happened onto my husband’s facebook and noticed some questionable things in his viewing history. GREAT. Again….I had a serious panic attack at one in the morning all alone in our living room and just sobbed. I had missed it again. Here I was, extremely proud of my husband and our marriage that was no longer crowded with ‘sexy teen girls’ and pixels of nameless hot people. The worst part is that after confronting him the next morning…..he lied 4 times. I asked if he had viewed porn since our last talk…..I said, “that really sucks that you said “no” every time, because I know for a fact that you have……”….. and then, my worst nightmare, he spilled everything. Wow. I found out so much more than my tired soul could handle. He cried, I cried. There was prayer, anger, & apologies……just like the previous interventions. It has been ridiculously trying on my psyche though. I don’t know how I can even begin to trust when it had been false trust all along. We haven’t had any period of our relationship that has been porn free for longer than 3 months….. If even that. But, even after I reflect on the past and find myself feeling hopeless for the future….. God has been such a comfort in the past few days. I’ve grown to realize that marriage, as much as it is for intimacy and love, it is also for sanctification. We’re all sinners, and when a man and woman come together they are choosing to live the rest of their lives with another sinner in a broken world. It has made me realize that though I take porn use personal, it is not personal. It is temptation that I need to pray for my husband to flee from. I need to love and respect him well, even if he falls again…. and again. I don’t do this out of being a doormat to be taken advantage of, I do it because I love Jesus, and I must forgive those who trespass against me if I am to be forgiven of my daily shortcomings. IT’S HARD! I know if you’ve been in my shoes, lies creep in like:he doesn’t deserve my body if he looks at other women, or I must be fat and unattractive if he is looking elsewhere, or he can just do his own thing with the porn and I’ll live a Godly life on my own. Your husband cannot heal without both of you actively pursuing Jesus. I know it sucks. It seems like he is the one messing it up for both of you, but then you’re holding your own righteousness to a higher standard, and God calls your righteousness filthy rags. I’m still learning Grace. I’m still growing in unconditional love. This comment seems so one sided, because it is, but my husband is an amazing man. Porn does not define him and we have both taken steps together, even when I feel unwilling, to pursue change. We’ve allowed trusted accountability into our circle in the form of Godly men who also have admitted struggles. We’re praying together and going through Paul Tripp’s book “What did you expect?”: it’s about having biblical/realistic expectations for marriage. God does the rest. I find myself getting anxious and doubting, but I’m reminded of all that God has fulfilled amongst my doubts. He’s faithful. He designed marriage to be pure, holy, and a model for Christ’s steadfast love for His church. That’s what we are pursuing.

    Like

  3. Wow, like the first person said this is truly an eye opener. I’ve struggled with pornography since a very young age, nobody really talked to me about it. My family had no idea that I was watching it, and I agree with absolutely everything you said. For a very long time, I used to think that what I watched on there was what guys wanted. Lost my virginity at 20 years old, and from then it just went downhill, I was with a lot of men and kept thinking that the only way for me to be happy was to be in a relationship with a man. I want to cry just writing this to you because in December of last year God intervened, I got an std and you know for a while I kept thinking that’s God punishing me but no, he was protecting me from the path I was taking, I was slowly destroying myself completely. I’m at a point right now where I have never felt this close to him, temptations are everywhere but I actually feel God is making me stronger to turn away from the evil things of this world. I don’t know you Lauren, but I just want to say I love you and I loved what you wrote. I pray that God keeps using you to reach out to other believers and non-believers as well, so they learn about God’s unconditional love towards us. I truly thank God for you 🙂 have a blessed night.

    Like

  4. Lauren, I think it’s so awesome that you wrote about this serious issue that is going on today. Spreading the word about pornography, has been something I’ve felt very passionate about for a long time, ever since I stumbled across an organization called “Fight the New Drug”. Their mission is to spread awareness about the harms of pornography. They have a lot of great information and personal stories on their website and I wanted to share this resource with you!
    http://fightthenewdrug.com/

    Like

  5. What about girls who struggle with pronography? I mean when I was introduced to romance novels and became addicted to porn through words which I never thought was a form of porn. Porn to me was only a guy thing, where they looked at sexual images of women. No one ever told me girls also got through it, and so growing up when I would feel so guilt and ashamed about reading those books and feeling pleasure from it, and it scared me. I was too scared to tell anyone, because like I said before I didn’t realize women also struggle with porn, and I thought that I was all alone in this battle and if I told anyone they would see me as a sick and dirty person. I didn’t even know what mastubrating was, and I didn’t realize that when I read those books I even did it sometimes. The Christian world always focused porn on men, never on women so I always thought that my sexual sin was one I had to face alone. It wasn’t until I read “Every You g Woman’s Battle” that I realized that I wasn’t alone and the what actually was happening to me. And that was the first time I ever realized that women also struggled with porn and I wasn’t in this alone, and no one ever had even brought porn struggles for women up ever to me, and for such a long time I feel so shameful, dirty, and like I was a freak of nature for doing this.

    Like

  6. This post is very informative. There are many women who have this problem as well. One of my best friends (who is a girl) has an addiction to porn and she has expressed to me that she feels even more disgusted with herself because she is a girl and she shouldn’t this problem. She said that every sermon or book on this topic she comes across is for men. I think it’s crucial that we acknowledge that women also struggle with this and they are not alone.

    Like

  7. l love this article and every other article you write! This was very informative to me, but I think there should be a light shed on the fact that women deal with pornography/masturbation addictions just as bad as men, it is just never spoken about. Most women are ashamed because as women we are not supposed to have this problem. We’re just supposed to pray for our men/sons not to get into it and keep our eyes clear of those things. I am one of those women. I “developed” at a very young age so I was looked at differently by men my whole life. My dad was in the military so he wasn’t around very often to affirm my identity in Christ and as his daughter. So around 14-15 I liked a guy who wanted me to do things that 14 year old’s just shouldn’t do. But I didn’t now better, I just wanted him to like me and so on. Long story short, that started me down a road of finding ways to ‘keep him interested’ and so came my pornography and masturbation addiction. I am now 23 and have been free from binge watching pornography for almost a year and God i still working on me in the other areas. I believed that there was no help for me and that I was in this fight alone until I met my mentor, who low and behold had gone through THE SAME EXACT thing as me and let me know that I am not alone. And she has been walking with me with The Lord through this ever since then. It took a long time for me even be able to speak about this part of my story, but The Lord has brought freedom and is gonna get all the glory, honor, and praise for my walking in freedom and eventually marrying a mighty man of God and our marriage not being tainted by the things of my past. Yes, I will always have to fight the enemy on this BUT God wins, meaning I win. If my mentor can have the amazing marriage her and her husband have, there is hope for me. Thank you for posting this article, Lauren, and giving me new information that I did not know! You have kept me going by your posts on instagram and your articles.

    Like

  8. I appreciate that you talk about the difficult topics that a lot of Christians shy away from. But I also think it is important to point out that a lot of women in the Christian community also struggle with addiction to pornography, masturbation, and lust. I being one of those women, often feel like no one addresses the fact that this is also a serious problem for women. Finding your blog/Instagram/Twitter has been a great encouragement for me and also for my friends that I have shown. Please keep doing all that you do, and know as your sister I am always praying for you!

    Like

  9. There is much dead-on truth in this article. I was conditioned at a VERY early age and like the article says, I still to this day have no clue what real sexual intimacy is. I am 40. The good news is that I’m in recovery and it is SLOWLY getting better. I loved what the writer had to say about it being a REAL scientific problem. It absolutely is. I can get right with god all I want but there is no miracle cure after you’ve crossed a certain point. I pray that my struggles will some day help others in the same situation I was in and that someday I will be able to have a healthy relationship. Good work!

    Like

  10. Thank you for this article. My husband and I struggle with our interest in porn and pornographic images. We both know the harmful influence and continue to talk ourselves back into the cycle of porn then guilt, then porn, then guilt, then porn, then guilt!! It’s exhausting and I know that it is because we are weak and not asking for God’s greatness to intervene nearly enough. I pray for our marriage to be pure and focused only on one another. I pray that we find our interest being met by one another, and that we seek each other fully. I pray that we have the strength to resist our bodily urges and see the benefits that staying true to one another has. I pray that we have the ability to see the intimacy and beauty our relationship can have when we seek each other and rid ourselves of sin. I ask for God’s grace in forgiving not only my husband, but myself as well. I ask for God’s strength and wisdom to know when something may turn into something shameful to keep myself as far from temptation as possible. I know that with God’s power we can do this.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s