Feb 282017
 

Back in the good old days, people that contacted me experiencing marital issues were usually having financial issues or communication breakdowns.

Now the vast majority are dealing with the devastating impact of pornography on their marriages.

 

It is, as they say, an epidemic.

It is beyond my gifting and education to address the issue in an substantial way…the problem is so large and solutions so complex that it is overwhelming.

It is not just a problem in the secular culture…it has permeated the church world, (including pastors) as well.

Pornography has become ubiquitous, it is everywhere in all different forms of media and avoiding it would almost require cutting oneself off from the outside world.

It sneaks onto Facebook and Twitter, it fills our junk mail folders, and beckons to us on cable TV.

I go through my 14 year old godsons phone everyday…and everyday I delete some unsolicited filth from it.

After many requests for me to write on this subject and much thought about how to respond to them, I think the best course is to simply start the conversation and let the community here speak to how this issue impacts their lives.

My friend has had to walk through this fire and she graciously wrote the following for us;

“I had known for a long time that something was wrong. There was often a distance between my husband and myself. Sexual intimacy had long ago left our relationship and I had a deep and enduring sadness that I could not explain. He always told me that I had an “issue”, yet I begged him to seek a Christian counselor and work on his own intimacy issues. But he would not.

I thought we had a strong relationship with trust and openness and honesty and there was a lot that was good about our marriage. But there was rot in the middle of it I could not explain. Using blame shifting, he always pointed back to me having some kind of a problem.

I found out he was doing porn because a counselor I went to told me that if he had confessed to doing it earlier in life, he was probably still doing it now. So, I asked. And he said that, yes, he had been doing porn on and off for 10 years or more. When I asked if there was more I should  know, he said no, but God kept revealing things to me about what he had been up to. So, when I asked again, he would say, yes, that is true, but there is nothing more. After about 5 rounds of that,  I realized my husband was a liar.

And when the reality of what porn had done to our relationship, I was so hurt and so angry at him that I threw him out rather than continue the downward spiral I was on. He confessed to manipulating me, using me, controlling me (all things he had accused me of for years), lying to me, deceiving me, and throwing me under the bus when needed. I was devastated beyond belief and thrown into such fear as I had never experienced before in my life.

Porn rewires the brain. Men who do porn habitually are wired to do porn, but no longer wired to have sex with a woman. That’s why the woman feels like she is a prostitute or feels this disconnect when having sex. There is no emotional tie. Sadly, the objectification of women can reach down to the children, which it did with both my daughters.  As a result of our unhealthy relationship, they learned some bad patterns they have had to overcome.

We split up, but to pray and go before God. I no longer loved him or cared for him at all. He was dead to me in so many ways. I had been his pawn, I had played along, and I came to blame him for everything that went wrong. Everything! And when we were apart, we did talk on the phone at night and pray and commit our lives to God. Slowly, healing came. One day I realized I no longer had a broken heart. Another time I realized I could trust him and when I sought God about this, He revealed that my husband was doing everything God told him to do.

He went to a 12 step group. He went into private counseling with a Christian counselor. He began to learn who he was. He was always, before this, a persona. The guy everyone loved. People used to tell me how much he loved me and I had come to learn that it was his persona, the person he wanted people to believe he was, who loved me. Not him. He was a shell, a person who didn’t know who he was. Porn was a stress releaser but a prison for him. He had to learn who he really was and what he really wanted so he could start meeting his needs in healthy ways rather than just hiding in porn.

We are three years out.  Much has healed. God has been good, but we have been faithful to pray for healing, to be willing to do anything God asked of us, to repent of and change our bad relationship behaviors. For me, it was the pointing of the finger. God hates the pointing of the finger and I had to repent and change that behavior.

There are plenty of books to read on porn use. I read 23 in two months. Some were helpful. Each had some little piece of the puzzle in it for me. But the answer to this problem in a marriage is two hearts, both committed to God, both able to forgive, both able to do what God asks and do it quickly, and a commitment to stand in righteousness, no matter what.

I hear that healing and trust are hard to get back. They are, but it can be done. Trust is earned. A man who has erred so egregiously has to earn it back. That takes time.”

How has pornography affected your life?

 

  107 Responses to “The Porn Problem”

  1. I will keep this short. First, thank you Michael’s friend for sharing your testimony and praise God for healing and reconciliation.

    Porn / strip clubs / lust played a big part in my first marriage ending. It almost did the same for my second. I would commit the sin, confess and ask forgiveness over and over and over. Repentance required more than just words or else I would never stop. I joined a group of men who struggled with similar issues and for a year we met, read and prayed together, all the while holding each other accountable. God helped me repent of this particular sin through this group. Am I still tempted? For sure. Am I free to turn away because of Jesus? Thank God yes.

    This is a dangerous addiction because it’s so prevalent and easy to hide. But it’s effects are devastating. Repentance requires getting help. There’s no other way to stop.

  2. JoelG,

    Thank you…because this is such a difficult matter to talk about testimonies like yours are gold to others .
    Thank you, again…I hope we are able to help some folks through this…

  3. Porn rewires the brain.
    ————————————
    This is maybe the most important point in the excellent testimony above.

    People need to understand this physiological truth. Especially Christians who are quick to offer a bromide solution.

    I doubt any pastor is skilled or trained to do the counseling needed to actually help someone with this problem. Thus, such counseling sessions are useless and wives will end up disappointed as the behavior will continue and continue.

    This is an area for a specialist. (And yeah, that probably means putting up some big dollars rather than free counseling at the church. You get what you pay for and besides, the weekly counseling fee will still be cheaper than alimony and child support once the marriage ends in divorce).

    And I also heartily amen becoming connected to a 12 step group and working the steps (which are all rooted in Scripture anyways) specifically geared to this issue in the person’s life.

  4. “I doubt any pastor is skilled or trained to do the counseling needed to actually help someone with this problem. Thus, such counseling sessions are useless and wives will end up disappointed as the behavior will continue and continue.”

    You are right on and I’ve seen too many marriages go under because they kept all counseling in the church.
    Pastors can provide spiritual support and prayer…but I readily admit that I don’t have the tools to handle this issue.

  5. In seminary in one of my counseling classes, taught by a professional counselor, he shared a story of getting a call from a pastor about help with a guy with sexual addictions, that the pastor said he was just not having any luck in helping…

    Long story short, he asked the pastor how long he had been working with the guy. It was like 8 or 9 months! Once a week…all that time. My professor (the counselor) point blank asked the pastor if he had any training in dealing with such a person, and the guy had to admit he did not.

    That is pastoral ego at worst, and ignorance at best, but whichever it certainly did more harm than good.

  6. Steve,

    How often is this issue coming through your office?

  7. I think there is probably still too much stigma around this to have much in the way of honest public dialogue.

    That being said, as one who teaches teenagers, I don’t even know how you ask them to refrain. It is everywhere. Everywhere. Every single one of them is carrying a mobile porn machine in their pocket all day at school.

    When I was young, you had to do real work to find the stuff. Dig around someone’s basement or garage and find their dad’s stash, be real careful about removing items with out leaving a trace, etc. Now, you have to press “on”…and there it is. I can tell you at 14, no amount of shaming, lectures, or warnings would have kept me from looking at it daily.
    I’m afraid that the generation that has grown up this way, by the time they are getting married is too late. They’ve been hooked for a decade or two at that point.
    It really does seem undefeatable.

  8. Porn was one of the biggest factors to contribute to the end of my marriage; I only found out later after I was going through our home as I was packing to leave.

    It’s still a factor for him; he’s not changed. He did get married again, though.

  9. “I’m afraid that the generation that has grown up this way, by the time they are getting married is too late. They’ve been hooked for a decade or two at that point.”

    Josh, that is what terrifies me…good post all the way around.

  10. Laura,

    Thanks…if it’s still an issue for him another divorce is just around the corner…

  11. Too often, Michael. And I am sure I only hear about a small fraction.

  12. “I think there is probably still too much stigma around this to have much in the way of honest public dialogue.”

    This is sad but true. Why some Christians carry a bible around that has some pretty graphic sexual stories and yet stigmatize pornography issues is ironic.

  13. Steve said, regarding counseling, “you get what you paid for.”

    LOL

  14. This is a serious problem. Unfortunately, most pastors and churches do not know how to help. Sadly, I came through this mess myself and now write about this subject. Jesus came to set captives free. The rewiring of the brain goes both ways. http://www.overcoming-lust.com/

  15. Just for the record, I do not endorse Jim’s site, nor his methods.
    I firmly believe professional counseling is called for in most,if not all, of these cases.

  16. I have tremendous respect for Michael and this blog community for taking on the difficult issues and providing a forum for their discussion.

    I agree with Steve’s #3. God uses people (even non-Christians) in their vocations. Pastors are a most valuable and blessed vocation because God speaks through them the words of eternal life. But, typically they are not trained in other professions, such as addiction counselor, lawyer, dentist, geologist, etc. Therefore, Christians should not expect more from the Church than God has ordained.

  17. Jean,

    Thank you… and very well said.
    I concur completely.

  18. I understand where you are coming from, Michael. Thank you for allowing me to post in spite of that.

    If professional counseling is the solution, there is no hope considering the breadth of the problem and the cost. Even worse, most professionals, including those who are Christians, offer behavior focused treatments for what is essentially a heart problem. Buyer beware. http://www.overcoming-lust.com/articles/christian-counselor-lust/

  19. Jim,

    You just (inadvertently) showed the problem with much Christian counseling.
    To boil the issue down to lust is simplistic and irresponsible…any professional counselor will tell you that there are many other dynamics involved.
    There are spiritual components to the problem,but it’s also much more complex than that.

  20. The fact that married men, with willing and able wives, wives these men do usually love, neglect them to pursue a mental image through a screen, should speak for itself. Teenage boys going through puberty is one thing….but 40, 50 year old men, fathers and husbands…that’s another.

    All the more when you hear the stories of the risks taken by these men…and how they typically get caught. This is not simply lust.

  21. I can only speak for myself. For me there are deeper, more complex issues that lie beneath the lust issue. Lust was an outlet for anxiety that I struggle with. I have taken steps to deal with it with medication, but I’m afraid it will always be there. As with any addiction, there are a host of complex physical and psychological factors that contribute that should be handled with by a professional.

    At the same time I believe the Church would do well to provide support on the lay level and have a place of refuge for folks to be open about the porn issue like I was blessed to participate in rather than pretend there isn’t a problem.

  22. How has porn affected my life?

    Damaged it severely. Possibly irrevocably. It has been lurking in my life since I was younger than 10. Now in my 40s. I won’t kid people here. I am NOT one of those people that will go online and say “it USED to be a problem”, nor will I say that it only took more prayer and Bible study (huh, seems to be the cure-all for most of our ails in the church to some people).

    It is a VERY hard dynamic to overcome. Can’t say that strongly enough. I am married, but it has damaged our relationship. My wife is wonderful. But, I can’t test her wonderfulness and forgiveness forever. I have gained some healing through counseling and being open to love from others, and from our Lord. However, I am not perfect and I honestly don’t think that with this addiction and all other addictions, there is a magic bullet that will “cure me once and for all.” It is more than a daily battle. Sometimes it is an hourly battle.

    Like in the movie “A Beautiful Mind”, there may be overcoming, but like in John Nash’s life, there was something lurking in the background through the rest of his life. Not trying to be overly dramatic or pessimistic, but there are days I don’t feel I will make it.

    And the church is hard to deal with regarding this addiction. It is in the shadows and dark places in the church that we don’t want to deal with this issue, that makes it all the more hellish. It will be that way until the church is honest that we are sick and wounded and in pain. You go to church with a phony smile on your face and tell everyone “I am doing fine”, yet deep down you are miserable and depressed. And it’s expected of you to have all your ducks in order.

    I don’t have mine in order all the time.

    I made myself vulnerable on this website with this comment, and I know some may judge me. Daniel means “God is my judge” and he is much more compassionate and a friend than lots of church people have been.

    The church should have a sign out front that says “for those who have consumed alcohol, engaged in promiscuity, porn, taken drugs, whatnot. Welcome!”

  23. Dan,

    No judgement here…just a deep appreciation for your honesty and for your heart.
    God bless you, really…

  24. Thanks Michael! That is REALLY appreciated!

  25. Brother Dan I understand the battle. I know it’s hard to admit the struggle. Never forget God is with you and for you. He IS your judge. You are forgiven and loved in Christ.

  26. Dan,

    Your sharing of your struggles is very inspiring. You did what most won’t and it took great courage and honesty. As has already been said here, this problem affects so many is much greater than what is known at a surface level. Many who secretly, and even unsecretly, struggle with porn are not going to admit to it, most especially in a public forum like this. Yet, what you have shared here is likely what many others wish they had the freedom and gumption to share, too. So thank you, Dan.

  27. Thanks guys. Thanks for your understanding and support. Y’all are awesome!

  28. I am astonished by the assertion that lust is not the root problem. Which other sin is to blame?

    If pointing to sin can be dismissed as a “simplistic and irresponsible” response, I wonder how the Church experienced success prior to the time when “professionals” with their myriad contradictory solutions came to the rescue.

  29. “Church experienced success”

    When did the church experience success over sexual sin?

  30. Jim, do you believe that there are underlying causes to any addiction? Whether it’s addiction to pornography, drugs, alchohol, food… you name it… I’ve come to learn that these sins are coping mechanisms for a deeper hurt. Jesus is the healer of all wounds. He always has been. By His grace we have professionals to help us now.

  31. Michael/Steve,

    It’s generally accepted that porn addition is rampant. Statistics are all over the place but if most of them are to believed, on an average Sunday morning as you stand at the pulpit there is a large percentage of men listening that are either struggling with pornography or are full out addicted. I wont hazard a guess at the number but some of the studies put it shockingly high.

    This isn’t a challenge or a disagreement but a question. Do you feel that as the church we just can’t really help these men with this problem? That it’s beyond our capabilities? It seems sad to me to hear two pastors saying there isn’t much they can do to help. I have a hard time thinking that the local church has nothing to offer with something that is at it’s core a heart and sin issue. Do you really believe, from your experience, that basic pastoral counseling, care, and accountability is barely effective?

    If a guy comes in and confesses this, or a couple comes in together, what do you do at your church? I mean practically, after you diagnose to some extent what the problem is and that there is a porn addiction do you immediately suggest outside counseling? And if this is the accepted course of action, wouldn’t this make it even more difficult for men to be open about this secret that is crippling so many of our churches?

    I don’t mean this post as a criticism, I was just surprised to hear your responses and I respect both of your opinions. To hear two guys in your positions say that just shocked me a bit and it makes the issue, which is SO bad, sound kind of hopeless.

    Honestly, if you had a young pastor you were monitoring come into your office and ask how to handle a man who confessed a serious porn addition, how would you guide him to proceed?

  32. Adam, do you think a pastor gets adequate training fro addiction recovery in seminary?

    Sure, he can offer bible verses that may help, talk about sin, etc…

    But if it is an addiction, basic pastoral counsel has never worked.

  33. There are two things going on in this discussion:

    (1) People are creating a sacred/mundane dichotomy to the theology of vocations. When people ask “can the church help with this problem?” it comes off as though Christ is weak unless his church workers are solving every human problem. But in reality, Christ is not weak, but (a) helps people through vocations that often fall outside the “church” (even through non-Christians in their vocations (who may not even know that they are serving the will of God)), and (b) one principle of the Christian life is to reckon the old Adam dead.

    Christ is not a repairman of the old Adam. He is the giver of the new birth, the new creation, which will live eternally. Our sinful nature is going into the grave; it is not being raised; we will be given something imperishable to put on.

    The best the most of us will ever be able to do, with respect to addiction, sexual sin, greed, anger, haughtiness, etc., is to manage it; to repent of it everyday of our lives; and to be forgiven of it in Christ.

    Look at human history of murder and war. Do you see any progress whatsoever?

    So the church preaches the word, by which sin is brought to light that men should repent and turn to Christ for forgiveness. Paul gives the pastor a fairly simple, yet profoundly important vocation:

    “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

    Christ may deliver someone from addiction either with or without the assistance of a professional helper, but that is up to Christ. But, delivery or not, Christ’s promises stand for everyone, and it is His promises that give us hope. We are not defined by our sinful natures, but by our Savior. He is our eternal identity.

  34. I think that through seminary, ministry experience, and the power of the Holy Spirit that yes, pastoral care can help someone overcome addiction. The church was able to help me overcome the habitual sins I was in bondage to in my life and I believe that as James tells us, if we confess our sins to each other and pray for each other we can be healed, freed from bondage.

    I certainly think that recovery programs and outside counseling can be a part of this process. It just seems like as the church, dependent on Christ, we should know that we have the answer to sin, not just to be justified but also sanctified in this life.

    I don’t think a prayer, a pat on a back, and an ‘atta boy are going to help someone recover from a deep, secret, soul crushing addiction to porn. But i do think that wise pastoral counseling, prayer, accountability, and willingness and honesty on the part of the councelee (with Godly sorrow leading to repentance) can, through the power of the Holy Spirit, bring deliverance. Maybe that’s naive, but that’s what I believe about any sin. I also recognize, that like most sin, it’s not a magic fix and most people with fall, stumble, and struggle along the way.

  35. I’ll have a detailed explanation in reply later

  36. I wasn’t going to comment in this thread, but a few things have come around that made me feel like I should. Steve and Michael are, in my mind, right in recognizing limitations in pastoral counseling, especially when it comes to addiction. My two elder brothers were both alcoholics. Both of them died from alcoholism. I worked with one of my brothers for over a decade, three times in rehab, AA, all the late night calls… He needed psychiatric care, which I made sure was provided, and even then it didn’t work. I buried both of my brothers feeling that with my background I should have been able to do more. Addiction is, I learned, far more than a spiritual crisis.

    Secondly, I made a rule with marital counseling over 30 years ago. Three counseling sessions and I then recommend that they go to a “professional”. I found the phenomena some time before of being able to help save the marriage through lengthy extended counseling, but then losing the couple in terms of the church. I knew too much about them. They knew that they had revealed a very secret and private part of their lives and they simply no longer felt comfortable with me on a weekly basis. Those who, after a few sessions I sent to a professional marital counselor, did not carry that baggage and remained involved with the church.

    Just my experience…

  37. One from the peanut gallery:

    Some thoughts.

    Isn’t all sin rooted in pride, “I WILL…” Is. 14
    …?
    Regarding pornography, it isn’t necessarily the image, but it’s effect on the viewer. The SI Swimsuit issue is as pornographic for the unitiated as Pornhub is for the addict. An image of a foot can be pornographic, as can a picture of a cucumber. It’s not the image but what the person seeks from it, what they do with it, starting in the mind/soul.

    Speaking as a former “addict”; speaking as one who nearly destroyed their life over it; speaking as one healed of my self inflicted wounds by the gracious power of God:

    I don’t believe porn rewires the brain. If the brain is indeed “rewired” (I don’t believe there is any hard evidence for this, as I don’t think a synapse has ever been directly observed),
    it is the action of the person behaving doing it. Porn is not, imo, an addiction. It’s a sin.

    We all sin. I sin. Christians do not excuse or persist to live in sin, as the bible says. Christians have free will to choose not to sin. The rest of humanity does not have freewill, since without Christ they are headed to the same Hell we were headed for. Their only will resides in *how* they will sin. So when I, as a Christian, sin it is as reprehensible as Is. 14. Because I know the wonderful saving grace of God, and yet I choose my will over His – sin. If I choose sin often enough it can become a life consuming, soul crushing, family devouring habit, but then one has to wonder about the power of the Holy Spirit in that person’s life, having a form, but denying the power thereof…? Again, speaking from experience.
    Do you think maybe giving sin such power over yourself as a Christian, to the degree where we give up and toss a label on it, saying it has addicted me, I am powerless, could be the same as saying the Devil made me do it, Guns kill people, or This porn popped up on the computer and made me masturbate? “I can do all things through Christ”…God is able to heal mental illness due to the works of iniquity we pursue. He did for me, he will for anybody.

  38. #36

    Duane made some good observations. Pastors done get over their heads at times. When I was in pastoral ministry, I often times referred people to a Christian psychologist who was far better equipped to handle certain situations. Since leaving the ministry, I have attended some churches where psychologists are discouraged. There are some things that college and seminary training does not cover.

  39. Duane,

    Well said,

    I had one of my folks tell me recently he’d love to confess his secrets to me,but he’d never be able to come back to church.

    You nailed it…

  40. Jim,

    “I am astonished by the assertion that lust is not the root problem. Which other sin is to blame?”

    The fact that you’re astonished speaks to the weakness of your method.
    You’ve made a cottage industry of selling your solution.
    There are a number of issues that contribute to any addiction which you would know if you really knew what you’re doing.
    I don’t think you do.

  41. “I have a hard time thinking that the local church has nothing to offer with something that is at it’s core a heart and sin issue. Do you really believe, from your experience, that basic pastoral counseling, care, and accountability is barely effective?”

    Yes…and at times it’s actually harmful.

    I didn’t say the church had nothing to offer.
    The church and a pastor can provide biblical counsel and comfort…but it also needs to have the humility to stay in it’s lane.

  42. Siggy,

    “I don’t believe porn rewires the brain. ”
    What other science do you reject?
    Flat earther?

  43. Michael, lol. I also have the film cans from the Apollo missions sitting with my certified copy of the Holy Grail on my workbench.

    Show me the study where they directly observed a synapse.

    Also, I qualified it with, if it does indeed…then, etc. I think, as Christians, labeling sin, which is a choice, as something beyond our control is denying the power of the Holy Spirit.

  44. Should read… “beyond the power of HIS control…”

    jiminy!

  45. Siggy,

    I have someone close to me that suffers from mental illness.
    A great deal of money was spent on brain scans that gave a map of the neural pathways and an understanding of where the brain is “short circuited”.
    There is a lot of science on this matter…and to be blunt, people like you in the church scare the hell out of me.
    This denial of science when it comes to the brain and behaviors destroys people…it kills people.
    There are many factors that we have to consider when it comes to mental illness and behaviors…none of them deny the power of the Holy Spirit,they all simply testify to the brokenness we share from the fall.

  46. We don’t expect a general physician to be competent beyond general medical advice and evaluation. We have medical specialists because the body is so complicated. And those specialists devote their life, study and practice to one part of the body.

    Most medical problems can be avoided by certain basic truths. Don’t smoke, don’t carry extra weight, healthy diet, exercise, plenty of water and plenty of rest. Then you play the genetic hand your parents dealt you. Of course, if you HAVE smoked for 20 years, or violated these other principles for extended periods of time, you may have created a medical crisis that will require a medical specialist.

    Then again, SOME medical conditions are completely unrelated to personal responsibility for one’s health, and to simply tell such people to exercise or get more rest would be medical malpractice.

    Pastoral counseling is like the general physician. There are certain truths, found in Scripture, for living as a Christian that should be followed and if followed will remove most of the issues that Christians say they need counseling for in the first place. Most counseling comes down to ignorance and obedience. The person asks what the Bible says about their situation, and has the desire to obey when they find out. Or, they know what the Bible says, they just don’t want to obey. Therefore, a pastor should always meet and talk with anyone who seeks counsel, but once one moves past ignorance to obedience, what possible benefit is there for the pastor to spend an hour a week for months with someone who refuses to do what God already told them to do.

    (I have a couple other thoughts so will break them up in separate posts)

  47. There is no debate that our brains are still developing until our early 20s.

    If you can find me the porn addict who did not start looking at porn until after those years, then that would be a unique case. The reality is that this discussion is about the many, many adult, often married men, in their 30s, 40s, 50s who have been looking at porn since they were teenagers. As teenagers, porn was likely a daily occurrence, or at minimum, several times a week. Even before the internet, porn has been on regular cable TV since the early 80s. And all it took was for a kid to get hold of one magazine (and hide it safely). Of COURSE it has a detrimental effect on brain development. Watching your dad beat the crap out of your mom every night while you are growing up has an effect too. Many things in our youth work in tandem with our sin nature to lead to lifelong battles. It is not nature or nurture, it is nature and nurture. We are sinners by nature, and our childhoods will often influence the battles we face as adults. In all sorts of ways. I know a couple hoarders who grew up dirt poor and whose parents never tossed anything that might have a second, future use. That affected their lives and now they have an unhealthy behavior.

    And with the exception of a bunch of guys getting together and laughing at a porn movie while getting drunk in college, the reality is that all of this damaging consumption is done in secret, and for the married man or for the Christian (whether married or unmarried), done in shame. Kids lock the doors and hide from their parents, and adults do the same as they hide from their wives.

    They don’t need to be told to “stop, it is wrong” anymore than the 30-year smoker does. And if we are talking about Christians (and we are) then we are dealing with men who have been sinning regularly against the conviction of the Holy Spirit and they “can’t” simply stop or they would have years earlier before they finally got caught by their wives.

    Is there anyone who thinks a 30-year heroin addiction can be treated by simple counseling with the Senior Pastor. The Church does not as there are plenty of rehab facilities that are built and run by Christians to help these addicts. Even son, my wife is a highly credentialed medical professional who specialized in drug and alcohol addictions and their treatment and together we cringe at some of the simplistic things we hear from pastors when it comes to drug and alcohol abuse. Well, porn is different, but it also is equally misunderstood by many in the Church, including (especially) some pastors.

  48. Michael
    That’s a broad brush with the wrong colour. Please let me explain.

    I am simply talking about the power of the Holy Spirit to heal. Not decrying the medical or psychiatric professions. I have benefited from both, as have very near and dear family members. Like you have said, I have also been through damaging attempts at church counseling.

    But as they are, Medical models can only treat the symptoms of mental illness, and instinctive returns are generally inevitable, as many studies have suggested. As Jean said, God can use all manner to His will, regardless.

    Further, I am speaking of my experience with one aspect of self-induced mental illness regarding the subject of your post. Self-induced mental illness such as drugs, alcoholism, pornography, etc. I am NOT talking about Schizophrenia, ASD, or other probably congenital, environmental causes. Mental illnesses from behaviour are very real as you know in the DSM V, IV, III, such as Bi Polar from drug use. Vices that destroy the mind.

    I am not denying science but looking at it realistically in its scope. In my history with the medical profession I was diagnosed Mentally Retarded in childhood by IQ tests and speech impediments, then became suicidal in teen years, then diagnosed ADD. Finally a very wise child psychiatrist implored my mother stop with the testing and keep me off medication because he believed development was hampered by it, and development might solve some core defecits. So, not disparaging the professions or their practitioners or their motives.

  49. “I am astonished by the assertion that lust is not the root problem. Which other sin is to blame?”

    Interesting question. If you look at the literature and the personality type of those who tend to use porn as an outlet and become addicted, you will find that they are people who live in a persona, who don’t know who they are, who are unable to ask for what they need, who, in some way, have been injured emotionally and spiritually, and who are truly lost. Having no real sense of who they are, they suffer from loneliness and the subsequent hurt and live a life that is hollow and meaningless in many ways.

    I don’t see any sin there.

    Sin comes in the response to what the heart feels. Lust becomes their answer to their problem. Or so they think.
    They do porn (sin) and then the shame and condemnation comes which perpetuates their problem.

    I will look up the research on the brain for the disbelievers among us and report back. It does exist.

  50. Steve Wright

    I did not start engaging in porn until 29 (Not saying Id never seen it, but not habitually). However, I had had a number of highly sexualised relationships. The memories from those are pornographic in and of themselves. Pornography doesn’t require a computer, and being a Worker of Iniquity means even unto oneself, imo.

  51. Judy,

    Very well said!

  52. Judy

    Great post.

    But I do see sin there. Sin is in our nature. Take that profile – now a sinful nature has to navigate the life of that profile. “Addiction” is symptomatic of emotionally shattered people, much like perseverative behaviours are symptomatic of certain special needs people.

  53. In seminary, in the language classes, one will get a cursory understanding of the principles of textual criticism. That knowledge will make them heads and shoulders above the rest of the congregation, but it also will make clear to the pastor that if one truly wanted to “do” textual criticism, it is a specific ministry and a lifetime commitment of study. Just like the general physician has no delusions of one day doing heart surgery for a patient.

    Counseling is no different. I had two excellent counseling classes in seminary and learned a lot. A general physician knows a LOT about the human body, and is capable of far more than telling people to diet and exercise. A pastor should be able to sit and counsel with someone and be helpful – and not just say “read the Bible and pray more.” However, I also learned (as I shared an example above) that counseling is a specialized ministry and some longterm problems require longterm extensive help. The Senior Pastor does not have the time to devote to study and practice to be effective in cases where serious counseling is warranted. And as to the Christian in need, well, if you needed heart surgery would you seek it from a guy who had never done it before, or someone with years of training and experience? And if the pastor does love the person, why wouldn’t he suggest a specialist? Ego? Like the general physician thinking he can do heart surgery? Except you can’t sue for pastoral malpractice and wasting time like you can sue the doctor.

    One mistake that has been made here is somehow I am against “pastoral counseling” for those struggling with porn. Far from it. My point is that the Senior Pastor is not, in fact, cannot, be that person. Not with his other responsibilities and commitments, and given where his time and study should be focused.

  54. Steve,

    Thank you for contributing…all I can say is that there is real ministry happening here and I thank God for it.

  55. Absolutely great stuff Steve

  56. Steve is all over it.

  57. Michael

    I hope I cleared up some things and that I don’t freak you out anymore.

  58. I did not start engaging in porn until 29
    ————————-
    Surely you realize that makes you one of the unique ones I spoke of. That is not the norm

    However, I had had a number of highly sexualised relationships. The memories from those are pornographic in and of themselves.
    ——————————————–
    Apples and oranges. There are many facets of sexual sin. I remember a Christian addicted to prostitutes. Most porn viewers would never dream of going to a prostitute. This guy could not stay away. Memories of your actual experiences, even if sinful experiences, is not the same as porn viewing.

    Porn also can lead to greater sins like rape and molestation, just like drug addiction can lead to theft and homelessness. However, just as there are many functional drug addicts walking around, capable of holding a job, hiding it from family, so it is with porn.

    In fact, most porn viewers pastors may deal with likely, by God’s grace, will not take the next step to adultery, rape or molestation. Though they are playing with fire.

    However, they WILL, in every case, hurt their marriages and wives, even if the wife does not officially know of the sin yet.

  59. Siggy,

    You won’t get any argument here as to the ability of God to heal.
    I would simply say His method of healing usually includes multiple components…some spiritual, some of this world.

    I have people praying for me and we also anoint with oil and pray for people every week.
    I’m still going to end up having open heart surgery.

    For further clarity, there are clergy in some circles who do not believe in referring people to psychologists or psychiatrists and do not believe that drugs should be prescribed for mental health issues.

    Those people are my sworn enemies and I have a no tolerance position here regarding them and their hillbilly scabulon.

  60. How do we know it wasn’t persevorative recall of past encounters that led to porn? Not apples and oranges, imo, but grapes and raisins.

  61. You know, there are resources out there for people with a porn addiction. There are 12 step groups and there are counselors who specialize in sex addiction.

    The idea of going to a pastor with this problem, especially if he is not trained or overcome the problem himself, seems worthless to me, for the most part.

    I think the greater problem is with them deciding to make change. There is so much fear and shame in this problem and they are such a strong prison (strongman) for men. The beginning of moving past this, the idea of really letting go and finding answers is scary and if a man also suffers from unbelief, it is compounded.

  62. Judy,

    Because of the huge issues that a woman will have with trust and self esteem, do you think the wives of porn addicts should be in counseling as well?
    I think the church can be very helpful in this regard…

  63. A final note, going back to Duane’s point, that I was about to write before he beat me to it, so I will just affirm it.

    I think there is great value in one’s counselor for a serious, longtime problem, being someone that this is their only relationship with. (Again, as is typical with our medical professionals).

    This is definitely true with marriage situations, because effective counseling requires total honesty. When I am with my doctor, I am totally honest, because why would I want him to advise me based on false information because I am somehow ashamed to tell him the truth.

    In marital counseling, at some point one spouse gets mad that the other spouse “told Pastor Steve about that” – but there can be no secrets in counseling. Not if you want it to work. That can mean revealing some pretty deep stuff.

    So again, not against pastoral counseling, or Christian counseling – Hey, I was going to be a military chaplain remember before I was asked to step in at CCLE. But a military chaplain would have specific duties and not have to do a lot of what a Senior Pastor of a local church has to deal with.

    I am all in favor of Christians getting the education and experience to help the body of Christ in this ministry of counseling.

  64. Question, because I don’t know, and I’m NOT going to google it:

    Is this a problem for non-Christian marriages?

  65. “Is this a problem for non-Christian marriages?”

    Very much so.
    Very, very, much so.
    It’s also a problem for marriages where one partner is a believer.

    One of the most difficult situations I’m currently dealing with is a believing wife and an unbelieving husband who loves porn…

  66. “they suffer from loneliness and the subsequent hurt.

    “Lust becomes their answer to their problem. Or so they think. They do porn (sin) and then the shame and condemnation comes which perpetuates their problem.”

    Nailed it.

    More than anything else we need to constantly be reminded who we are in Christ and then take the unique steps He has for each one of us.

  67. In my tradition, in addition to what we learned in seminary, we attend yearly seminars concerning updated counseling methods, practices, issues, etc.. It is overwhelming in terms of new diagnoses, techniques, journaling and all the rest. To be honest, unless you are full time in the field it is almost impossible to keep up with all of the new research.

    I think, however, all this brings up another issue, that of the pastor being regarded as a “super hero” who can do literally everything and can do it all perfectly. We can’t… just that simple. Nor should there be the expectation on the part of a congregation that a pastor can do literally everything perfectly.

  68. Josh

    No, it isn’t. Not until it destroys the marriage.

    I think intra marriage sexual aberrance, open marriages, mutual porn viewing is now seen as normative, not as a problem. Only with Christ can we realize what we are doing to ourselves.

  69. “I think, however, all this brings up another issue, that of the pastor being regarded as a “super hero” who can do literally everything and can do it all perfectly. We can’t… just that simple. Nor should there be the expectation on the part of a congregation that a pastor can do literally everything perfectly.”

    Amen…along with the myth that our prayers have more juice behind them than others….

  70. “No, it isn’t. Not until it destroys the marriage.”

    Really?

    Then why do I get so many calls from unbelievers about this?

  71. With all due respect, I would argue that porn is not first and foremost about lust and sexual gratification. It is about fantasy and escape foremost. I think this is also what Judy is saying.

    I would argue that because there is a reason that there is always the search for new porn by the user. And of course the porn industry cranks out new product nonstop. Remember, married men typically have an able and willing wife who is neglected while they surf, often for hours, for new images and scenarios.

    This is why wives especially are devastated. They can’t understand why their husband does not simply enjoy them, as she enjoys him. And as I think was noted above by another, often the intimacy that should be there is lacking as the man has a twisted view of the sexual act due to that porn viewing.

  72. Steve @ 71…yes and amen.
    It’s also connected in some cases to control and anger issues…

  73. Michael, I was being sarcastic.

    Why do I…?
    Probably because they are seeing its effects on their lives…? I assume they aren’t calling to brag 😉

  74. Yes Steve. Porn is an escape, just like a drug. As you said, it turns sex into self gratification rather than putting your partner first, as God intends.

  75. Duane, I was an insurance agent for over 20 years. A general agent meaning I was not captive to writing for any one company. I too was subject to professional licensing and continuing education requirements.

    I was a multi line agent, (auto, home, life, commercial, umbrella etc) with one exception. Health insurance.

    Health insurance is the most legislated, most unstable, constantly changing type of insurance that one has to be a specialist in the area to keep up with it all. Plus the constant change in underwriting rules by different insurance companies.

    I cared more about my clients than my commission, and wanted them to get the best advice and product for their needs. I knew I could not stay educated on the health insurance market and all the changes and still be effective in the other lines of insurance (which rarely change, except for rates).

    The pastor ought to care more about the needs of his congregation, which means knowing limitations, rather than the pastoral version of “commission” (i.e. being the superhero)

  76. I should add that I was perfectly legal and licensed to sell health insurance. And represented companies to do so. I got calls and inquiries asking for quotes.

    I CHOSE not to do so…for the reasons stated above.

  77. Michael and Steve

    Do you think the unsaved have no free will in this matter of sinning? They can only choose their vices, not the ability to rid themselves of vices? If so, isn’t Pride of life the root, I am the “Captain”? If so, isn’t this pride even more of an offense to God in the life of a Christian?

  78. Siggy,

    I’m in the Reformed tradition.
    We don’t have any use for “free will”. 🙂

    In truth,these are complex matters that I have neither the time or inclination to address today.

  79. #75 #76 Steve

    Could not agree with you more. The side issue of “pastoral burnout” is closely related to people not knowing their limitations and trying to live up to the “super hero” image…

    Steve and Michael… People think porn is related to lust in the same way they think rape is related to lust. Porn is fantasy and control. Rape is violence and power. Just because a sexual act is involved does not automatically equate to lust.

    Additionally, it needs to be said that the issue of porn is not limited to men. There are women who face this issue as well…

  80. Michael said: “Because of the huge issues that a woman will have with trust and self esteem, do you think the wives of porn addicts should be in counseling as well?
    I think the church can be very helpful in this regard…”

    There is counseling for wives. In my area, there are two or three who specialize just in treating wives of porn addicts. They have individual sessions and they have group sessions. I know someone who will begin with one of those groups in the near future.

    There are also 12 step groups for the wives of sex addicts.

    I think it is very helpful for a wife to have Christian women friends to whom she can tell the truth, the whole truth, and to whom she can pour out her heart. She needs to be wise as to who she tells because she is laying out her very core and if it’s to people who don’t respect or honor it, they can damage her more.

    I think that we hear very little about the wives of sex addicts but they are some very devastated people. Usually they are women who are used to picking up the slack, making things right, and they are often women who have held everything together for a long time.

    And then it falls apart and they fall apart with it. I hate to use the word “enabler” because I really hate the word, but there is truth in it. They have held up the husband, they have held on, they have excused, they have put themselves aside and compromised their identity to keep the addict going.

    In doing that, they have lost themselves and when everything falls apart, so do they. Their whole paradigm is shattered and they have to begin to learn who they are in Christ, not who they are as a “good Christian wife” or anything else. It may be the first time in their Christian walk that they have explored who they really are in Christ. Walking away from who they think that are or who they have been is hard. But it can be done.

    God is a restorer and a healer. He is willing to work in these marriages and repair them. It takes time and it takes a listening ear. It takes prayer. And it takes a lot of time, more time than you could believe. It becomes the life work of a marriage to grow into a healthy place and to follow God into that place. That is the hardest work of all because our natural inclination is to do what we have always done. To get off that path requires real commitment. And re-commitment every step of the way.

  81. Do you think the unsaved have no free will in this matter of sinning?
    ———————————————————
    I’m not sure I understand the question or its purpose in the discussion, but speaking from my own experience for 25 years as an unsaved person, all the sins I did were by choice and because I wanted to do them.

    The motivation for wanting to do them might have varied, but there was zero shame, zero conviction, zero feeling I was doing “wrong” – because there were plenty of very wrong things I would not do either.

  82. One thing I want to add here is the necessity of persevering prayer. In our house, we’ve learned to be very specific in what we ask for in prayer. When we do, it seems to move God’s heart to answer very specifically. There is no question as to whether or not the answer is from God. It’s clear, specific, and dynamic. And it is an answer that is spot on for that part of the problem. But, one answer does not fix the bigger problem, so continuing to ask, seek, and knock is so important. The answers come from God as a result of that prayer and they may come through anyone or in any way He sees fit. But they come.

    When David prayed, he told God that he would wait and anticipate His answer. Because he waited and watched, when the answer came, he saw it. I think it’s a good example to follow.

    God knows that all flesh is like grass. He knows how weak we are and how inclined we are to wander. But he is so faithful to be our shepherd.

  83. Duane

    I think that’s right

    Porn is like plagiarism, intent makes all the difference, whether the creator or the consumer.

  84. Steve

    Just trying to see if any agree with what I have found, that addiction is the willingness to keep sinning unto self destruction due to Pride. At the basic level, the addict does not seek God or seek help because of how reinforcing the sin is. We would rather have our will, rather than his, Is 14.

  85. Great thread, feels like I’m getting a bit of an education here today. Thanks Steve, Michael, and everyone else.

    Steve, just to expand a little. Do you see a demarcation between a guy who is feeding his daily porn habit and a guy who has struggled here and there. Has a moment of weakness every several months or so, has some accountability and confesses it but every so often in moments of weakness falls?

    Porn is something I dealt with earlier when I was a young Christian that while I wont say the Lord has “delivered” me from (because I’m so afraid of it I don’t ever want to think I’m beyond it’s destructive grip) but by His grace has not been a part of my life for a very long time. Being a layperson church leaders I’ve had guys over the years come to me and ask what to do, confess their addiction, hear my story and ask for help.

    Some guys are hard hitters and are like drug addicts. Others are like someone who goes on a one night bender once every several month or even years. Sometimes a guy is “sober” and just falls once and now he is freaking because he wants to tell his wife but is afraid to, etc..

    I’m just curious, as a pastor, how you handle these situations practically. When do you try to handle it within the church and at what point do you tell the guy sitting with you “ok, stop right there. I’m going to pray for you and trust in the Lord to minister in this area of your life. However, I also want you to go this meeting Tuesday morning or give this friend of mine, a counselor, a call”?

    I suppose this is applicable to a lot more than pornography. I’m just interested in how someone dealing with these issues more often than most draws the lines and makes these decisions.

  86. Michael (#59)

    True! And it isn’t just some isolated people or fringe group of believers that believe in the “prayer-only” model of healing and treatment for our ails. This seems to be common in the church, the belief that if you only had enough faith, read your Bible more, pray harder, be anointed with the right oils and by the right people, then you will be delivered from what plagues you.

    Ask any Christian struggling with addiction if they tried the pray harder/read the Bible more/repent harder model, and see what you get for an answer. I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW OFTEN I TRIED THESE THINGS, and I am still addicted. I PRAYED ALOT FOR GOD TO DELIVER ME, and it hasn’t happened. And no, people, it isn’t because of some hidden or secret sin, or lack of faith, that prevents so-called deliverance in people’s lives.

    It takes A LOT of work, spiritually AS WELL AS medically/psychologically to strive against addiction. Michael and others are right, the Spirit helps us, and sometimes/most of the time, it is through trained medical practitioners and people skilled in the worldly methods.

    Let’s let go once and for all the belief that it’s only through praying harder and reading the Bible more that healing is found.

  87. Dan,

    Well said again…I don’t think we can stress this point enough.

  88. Steve Write @ 81

    It looks like you became a Christian in your mid 20s. And you mentioned that you did not feel any guilt, conviction or shame for certain sins before that. Are you able to be specific with these sins and were they sexual in nature?

    I am asking because a person who became a Christian at an earlier age lets say before puberty often will have a completely opposite experience regarding sexual sins. For instance, as they are developing sexually they may feel deep shame and guilt about their own natural sexuality which often can be extremely unhealthy and lead to sexual problems later on. I’m just curious what you think about that?

  89. Adam, there definitely are degrees….no one size fits all.

    Using your alcohol example, the once in awhile guy can do practical things to help him not fall. Avoid certain places where alcohol is served, certain social gatherings, even certain friends….don’t keep it in the house. However, a true addict is going to find a way.

    So as to porn, there are practical accountability things that can be a real help for the guy who occasionally falls, and which he is willing to do because he is serious about not falling. Giving the wife the passwords and only going online when she is home and logs him in…asking the hotel to remove the TV before checking in…that sort of stuff…but that is a joke for a guy who is committed to his porn above all else. It won’t do a thing. Not to mention now there is the whole phone thing. Although I know at least one guy who has given up his mobile phone entirely, even though it is a terrible inconvenience.

    The thing about porn that I mentioned earlier, unlike alcohol or other sins, is it is a sin done in isolation, in secret – meaning guys who have done it for decades have had decades to figure out how to hide it, how to cover their tracks of usage….such guys can’t be helped with a few practical suggestions.

    I would guess the occasional lapse is largely a lust issue…..but unlike alcohol which is used by some people off and on, to greater or lesser degree,, porn addiction in the church, I would guess, is rarely of the occasional variety….if one can “take it or leave it” then as a Christian, you probably will leave it. When one is in the “I must have it” mindset, it is a totally different thing.That’s where most of my commentary has been addressed.

  90. Steve @88.

    I was an 80s youth. The 80s is, without question, when porn went mainstream thanks to the VCR and cable TV. The internet just made it easier for people to make and sell their own porn without being a part of “the industry” The consumer has had it easy since the 80s. Needless to say the 80s also were a time for a lot of other hedonistic vices to flourish. I started high school in 1981 and graduated college in 1989. So that is my wheelhouse. (I do usually win the 80s movie and music trivia contests though 🙂 )

    I don’t really like to get detailed about my prior life before Christ. I don’t include details when I preach, I have never shared the raunchy testimony of the past (though I often share the process by which the Lord saved me through His word and Spirit with no church, no preacher, no testimony).

    Decadence pretty much sums it up. In its many forms.

    Like I said, there were some things I would never have considered participating in to any degree. Prostitution is one. Also being violent or forceful upon a woman for example. In fact, I saved more than a couple wasted girls over the years from being raped by slightly less wasted guys.

    But if you use your imagination without getting too twisted or dark, then you probably are in the ballpark.

    The thing in my case is this was a prosperous decadence. I never ended up in jail, or broke, or without shelter etc. In fact, Christ saved me when, from a world’s standpoint, I was pretty much on top at the time.

  91. My Ex was a bit into it. She had the fantasy porn-star view of intimacy, and she wanted to spice things up. Here I’ll confess my sins of bonding with a non-believer… then not marrying… then choosing to have two children, and thus I was duly punished in the end. I felt Satan attacked my home and my children, but being the eldest and knowing better, I opened this door in the beginning.

    She left me for a young college jock (fulfilling something like not only a sex addition, but a love addiction). That marriage devolved into domestic violence (on both sides, but mostly her) and now separation— which was necessary because one or both of them was going to end up in jail. There is, of course, mental illness involved. The porn addiction is likely in a lot of cases indicative of something deeper. Based upon my arm-chair readings of psychology, it goes back to growing up in an abusive, neglectful and invalidating household. Many children forever search for the love that was never shown them, and it does become a juvenile fantasy.

    As for me? No porn, though at some point when I fire up the defunct laptop which has been dormant for almost 8 years, I’ll delete the browser history of the site my ex pointed us to back then for a few months.

  92. Dan,
    I don’t doubt for a moment that you have faith. I in no way doubt the faith of anyone who call Christ Jesus their Lord and Saviour. How could I? I was in the same boat. In fact I still blow it every once in a while. But the intensity of what I choose to sin by looking at, the frequency of the behaviour is not even a drop of what it had been.

    For me, the healing came at the 11th hour. After years of this, I was sitting in front of a site on my Mac, my marriage was trashed, my wife wanted out, I was not sleeping for hours of porn watching, gaining weight, getting sick, my kids were ignored, my role in ministry had been destroyed by the gracious hand of God… In total despair, looking at how far down into sickness my mind had spiraled, I pled to him while a video was playing, in my prayer saying to Him “Christians don’t do this, they just don’t, please help, I can’t, I need you”, etc, etc. Mind you, all things I’d said before. But because of the deplorable state of my life I had let my sin have reign over, I had no control over it’s outcome. As the woman with the bleeding issue, or the paralyzed man on the mat, FOR ME, my faith and forgiveness of my sin was what he was getting at. FOR ME, it was about true repentance, and I believe true salvation.
    I closed the computer and the next day the desire was gone. I got rebaptised to proclaim it and share my testimony. Then my toddler bathed the $1500 Mac with his drink. God is good.

    As I said, I still sin, but the intensity of what I choose to sin with by looking at, the frequency of the behaviour is not even a drop of what it had been. No longer do I lose sleep, no longer do I spend hours even on the internet (today not withstanding, this thread hits close to home). Not even a drop of what it was. This is why, FOR ME, FROM MY SMALL PERSPECTIVE, addiction does not apply as a label, though I just described the life of an addict. I wonder if it does at all, because at its core , my “addiction” was based in an agapé, sacrificial love of my porn habit. When I do sin in that way, I now grieve, and THAT never happened before that night. Never. I can’t help but tell you. I want you to have that, before the 11th hour. You are in my prayers today, brother.

  93. Victor, God be with you and your kids. They are the ones who suffer most when families split. Believe me I know from what I did to my own kids. Peace brother.

  94. Siggy…. awesome.

  95. Steve Wright @90,

    Thanks for sharing. Your response about your raunchy past being before Christ is precisely what I was getting at in my inquiry @88. Somebody that was saved prior to going through puberty however is unlikely to have a raunchy past prior to Christ since they were not yet physically sexually capable. So for this type of person, the dynamics of learning about their own sexuality as well as learning about sexual sin happens after they were born again. A very different dynamic than your experience.

  96. In this day and age, I am thankful that I have four daughters to raise and not boys.

    I often do think about what kind of men they could possibly be marrying one day, though.

    Is it even possible to marry a man who hasn’t been exposed to some of these things in their generation?

  97. Costco Cal,

    That is a depressing question. Maybe a foreigner raised in the church?

    Joel,

    Praise God!!

  98. Thanks Siggy for your testimony and input, and I appreciate your prayers!

  99. Michael,

    Can I ask you about porn related neurological changes? I recently sat through a charity solicitation mentioning this issue among other items. I have sat through many appeals for funds in the last half century. This was unique.

    Here’s what I’m interested in locating sources for:
    -Porn rewires brain
    -Leads to erectile dysfunction, including young males
    -Leads to inability to have sexual interaction with women. (separate issue from ED)
    -Any reports of large groups of young male “quitting porn cold turkey.” (or equivalent phraseology)

    What would interest me most is learning how you personally heard or learned of this. Especialy from any Christian source.

  100. Your welcome, Dan. I don’t have a lot but I got that. Praying for you now 🙂

  101. I grew up in the 60’s.
    The barber shops had playboy photos on the walls.
    Hard to believe.
    Astonished my mom took my brother to the barber with me there.
    My dad hid playboy magazines under his bed.
    My brother used to sneak there and read them.
    My dad took a photo of my brother in his Boy Scout uniform ( probably 8-10 yrs old)reading a playboy.
    He posed him to look astonished.
    That photo hung in my dads office till he died.
    I just thought about this with my post.
    I’m not on speaking terms with my unsaved brother so I don’t know how this affected him but I’m curious.
    I do know that part of what attracted him to his wife was her voluptuous figure, which she lost with large weight loss early on in the marriage ( anorexia of sorts) and kept.
    I do know he has always had the wandering eye, and never hid that.
    They are still married but lead separate lives.
    This thread is informative yet very sad that this can be luring in our young men, who are Sarah’s prey with the technology available.

    I am praying for those posting.

  102. Satans prey ( another downfall of technology)

  103. God’s Word speaks much about the power of sin to hold man captive. Pornography use, all other observable sexual sins and the inner lust that drives them are heavy chains. The Bible also points to the only way out of this bondage. Jesus came to set captives free. May we all become the light this world so desperately needs and offer living water to a thirsty world.

    You are right, Michael, there is much I do not know. However, this I do know: I once was blind and now I see. I once was chained but now am free.

  104. In case there was some doubt or confusion on the topic…when I have spoken of pastoral counseling as a specialized field of ministry, I was including the power of Christ and the authority of Scripture in the equation.

    In no way have I suggested the Church does not have the answer for someone with this problem.

    I did though speak largely to helping the Christian in this bondage – the one who knows all the verses he is breaking, and know the Savior and Lord he is grieving and disobeying all these years.

  105. Since I’ve gotten married, I’ve been surprised by how all pervasive porn is in men’s day to day existence. As a woman, I can easily live my life with minimal exposure to pornography. But, my husband can’t even look at fishing stuff on pinterist without having his feed dotted with images of stilettoed, thong-clad women posing provocatively above their ice-fishing holes. It’s ridiculous and we laugh at it, but it’s super sad at the same time. I’m guessing it’s the same thing for any stereotypically “manly” pursuit be it car or motorcycle repair or hunting or whatever–you can’t even surf the internet for info about your hobby without having naked women thrown at you.

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