“As a Christian and as a pastor, I feel the weight of all of this.
I know that porn use is the pastoral challenge that defines our generation. This brokenness is all around us and among us. It
is the burden of far too many of the men sitting in our pews. I
don’t know of any other problem that has done more to subvert manhood and marriage than porn use. It is killing us.” Denny Burk

The Darkness of Porn and the Hope of the Gospel

Conservatives definitely feel that the ‘American way of life’ and the institution of family is being threatened. A lot of attention has been focused recently on the so-called threats by the LGBTQ community using public bathrooms. States governed and influenced by fundamentalist leaders have proposed or even instituted laws segregating bathrooms. (Wouldn’t the unisex bathroom just avoid all of these artificially constructed issues?) Digging a bit deeper, there seems to be a perceived greater threat to the foundations of the institution of family that has been identified by the clergy: it is the excessive use of porn by young men.

It seems that easily accessed porn on the internet (computer and phone) has created a catastrophe for young men and is directly impacting the sustainability of the church. This negative phenomena has been cited by observant clergy as one of the biggest problems facing the church!

The young men who experienced heavy doses of porn on the internet in their formative years have been permanently damaged by this experience. They claim that the structure of their brains is altered. It seems that their capacity for actual sex and intimacy has been severely tarnished by their exposure to porn. This disability has not resulted in a class action suit: there are no warnings posted on porn videos alerting men of the potential danger of excessive use of the media or of possible addiction. Men are not forewarned that 10 years of constant exposure to porn leaves them incapacitated when it comes to relating to real women by enjoying their company let alone their bodies.

Church leaders do not want this dilemma framed as a public health crisis but as a moral crisis even though they are not mutually exclusive classifications. The church’s concern is summarized as such: “It (porn) teaches young men to use women for sex and then to discard them when they become unwilling or uninteresting. This means that it has given us a generation of young men completely unprepared for marriage and for fatherhood.” D. Burk

As a woman and public health educator, the problem has ramifications for the health and well-being of individual men and women and for all of society – for the public at large. For the church or for Burk, a religious leader, this calamity is seen as a problem for the institution of the church – “I don’t know of any other problem that has done more to subvert manhood and marriage than porn use. It is killing us.” D. Burk

As a sex educator, it seems clear that there needs to be a paradigm shift on the part of the conservative church leaders. There is a need to acknowledge that sex is a natural and healthy part of life for males and females. That the double standard is crippling for both men and females. If one wants to promote heterosexual marriage it seems only practical to that sex is to be respectfully enjoyed by both men and women. Teaching morality around sex might best begin by emphasizing respect and equality for sex and gender. Morality (knowing the difference between good and bad/ right and wrong behavior) must consider the consequences of ones sexual behavior: possible pregnancy, possible exposure to an STD and possible emotional bliss or disaster. Risks resulting from sexual intimacy have to do with physical and emotional health and well-being. Taking no risks and condemning sexuality is not the answer.

Love and compassion are the hallmarks of faith and community. Those characteristics need to be nurtured and modeled by adults. Adults are the role models for generations to come and we need to communicate clearly about the complexities of life, health, sex and intimacy.

So bathroom segregation & security and banning all pornography are not being recommended as the cure for healthy sexual and moral lives. What is being recommended is acknowledgement of the diversity of human beings and the consistency of biological basic needs. Empowering individuals to make decisions best for them based on information and self-awareness and respect for self and others is the key to healthy sex lives and the ultimate dismissal of the power of porn. The public’s health would benefit if porn is discredited by combining the power of the gospel with information in a comprehensive and accurate review of sex information

At the SmatSex app, we feel it is essential that Americans become fully informed about sexuality to help better inform their lives and the government policies they endorse. With this in mind, the SmartSex app attempts to combat the distortions presented in pornography. This educational resource does encourage one to be skeptical of the air brushed bodies and the abnormal and sexist performances often featured in pornography. Providing accurate information and scrutiny of the consequences of sexual behaviors will certainly improve the healthy development of intimacy skills. The better informed we are, the greater is our capacity to live healthy lives and have reasonable government policies.

Resources:
• “Porn and the Threat to Virility” by Belinda Luscombe. TIME Magazine
• The Darkness of Porn and the Hope of the Gospel by Denny Burk on April 4, 2016 in Christianity, Culture http://www.dennyburk.com/the-darkness-of-porn-and-the-hope-of-the-gospel/
• The Porn Catastrophe. The American Conservative
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/the-porn-catastrophe/

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