Youth Culture Window

The Empty Promises of Porn

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The Internet’s Version of Sex is Just a Bait-and-Switch
David R Smith

I love the Internet. As a naturally inquisitive person, I can research just about any topic imaginable. In fact, as comedian Dwayne Perkins points out, there are YouTube videos that actually show people how to wipe their own butts! It may sound crazy, but a generation of kids now use internet porn as a way to learn about sex. Unsurprisingly, the endless supply of graphic pics and vids don’t enrich these kids’ lives; instead, many of them experience the hidden consequences that stem from viewing erotic material.

Porn makes a lot of promises and keeps none of them. It has a history of over-promising and under-delivering.

There are too many examples to include in this article, but one obvious bait-and-switch is the possibility of introducing a crippling addiction into a kid’s life through porn use. Many of us know someone who has an addiction to prescription pain meds, but none of us know anyone who set out one Thursday to develop a life-threatening dependency on pills. In a similar manner, teenagers might initially explore pornography to learn about sexual topics (anatomy, positions, pleasure, performance, etc.), but soon discover they’re returning to porn for anything but an “education.”

Porn promises life-changing information, but too often, it ends in disappointing addiction.

Moving past the likelihood of addiction, research is consistently showing that frequent porn use is associated with lowered levels of sexual satisfaction. Translation: the more “online” arousal a person has through pornography, the less “offline” satisfaction he or she has with a partner in the real world. The Journal of Clinical Medicine cited several disconcerting effects of porn use including delayed ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, and an overall decrease in libido and sexual desire.

Porn wants to offer a life void of bad sex. Instead, it just leads to a life void of sex altogether.

Fight the New Drug, an online co-op that exposes the inherent dangers of porn, takes it a step farther in their discussion of porn’s relationship to loneliness and depression. This article from their website describes the sinister connection between porn use and isolation in stark terms:

From a business perspective, the porn industry has a pretty clever racket going. Their product offers consumers temporary relief from anxiety, depression, and loneliness in exchange for making these same problems much worse in the long-term. That works out really well for pornographers, since the worse their customers’ anxiety and isolation grow, the more reason they have to turn back to porn.

Talk about a vicious cycle! Porn glamorizes one sexual connection after another, but in reality, it robs users of almost every healthy relationship they have.

We could keep going and we haven’t even touched on the shame and regret involved in porn use, the long-term impact on marriage, and much more. The infiltration and impact of porn is so bad that a growing number of states – my own included – have declared pornography to be a public health crisis. For the reasons mentioned above, that legislative decision was probably not an overreaction. But we can’t wait for the government to try and solve this problem. (When was the last time they solved a problem, anyway?) Loving parents and caring adults have what they need to help steer young people away from the needless pain of pornography. Here are a couple suggestions:

  1. Talk with your kids about porn, often and honestly. Many parents shy away from having a conversation with their kids about porn because they fear the awkwardness it might entail. Many other parents wait far too long to have any discussion because they wrongly believe porn isn’t a real temptation until high school. Don’t make their mistakes! Speak with your kids on a regular basis about the temptations and damages of pornography on their minds, hearts, and futures, especially your boys. And when you do, make sure to speak openly and honestly. Don’t be afraid to use books with discussion questions that help you open up dialogue about the topic. If you faced an earlier struggle, share how you were able to move away from the temptation and encourage them to take similar steps. Almost every kid responds positively to authenticity.
  1. Get them all the help they need. If our kid was having a medical emergency, we wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to get him or her the medical attention necessary to address their situation. Heck, if our kid needs additional batting practice with a particular coach, we move mountains to arrange it. So, why don’t we make sure our kids have every resource they need to stave off the dangers of porn? If your kid needs accountability, provide it. If your kid needs an app, download it. If your kid needs counseling, schedule it. Get them whatever they need to be victorious over porn.

In a world where porn makes empty promises and breaks them at every turn, stand out by making good promises…and keeping them. Whether you’re praying for your kids, offering them wisdom, or compassionately dealing with a setback, do whatever it takes to win!

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David R. Smith

David R. Smith

David R. Smith is the author of several books including Christianity... It's Like This and speaks to parents and leaders across the U.S. David is a 15-year youth ministry veteran, now a senior pastor, who specializes in sharing the gospel, and equipping others do the same. David provides free resources to anyone who works with teenagers on his website, DavidRSmith.org David resides with his wife and son in Tampa, Florida.

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