So… what actually is pornography? Why is it such a big deal?
I realize this is kind of out of left field… but could we talk about porn? I know the world is going crazy right now about the new show on Netflix and calling it soft-core child pornography, but what does that even mean? Why does it matter so much?
When I was in high school, I had an addiction. If I had a hard day or a boring day or an exciting day, I would cheer myself up, get excited, or continue stimulated emotions by watching porn. At the time, I didn’t know what it was. As a girl, I’d never been talked to about pornography, so I didn’t have a definition for it. All I knew was that it was bad… whatever it was. I also knew that what I was watching was not good for me, and I’d hide it as best I could from my parents and friends. Even though I didn’t have a name for my continued practice, I knew subconsciously that I shouldn’t be doing it.
In the three years since high school, I’ve been educated on pornography and come clean to my friends and family about watching it. Now, even though I still struggle with the temptation and have to confess giving in to it occasionally, I want to educate other young girls about porn so they don’t go down the same path I did.
So first of all – let’s define it. Merriam Webster defines pornography three ways:
The depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement,
Material (such as books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement, and
The depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction.
So basically, anything sexually related that gives you an “emotional high.” Playboy magazines? Definitely. Sports Illustrated? Yep. Nicholas Sparks movie sex scenes? Yeah, even that. What about my romance novel? If it describes a sex scene, then it’s highly probable. Walking into the mall and seeing Victoria Secret posters? Uh, yeah. It doesn’t have to be specifically found on pornhub.com to be classified as pornography. (That explains the hubbub around that new Netflix show, eh?)
Have you been exposed to porn? Most likely.
Ok, so if it’s so popular, then why is it so bad? It’s just the human body, what’s the big deal? Well, a lot of things.
First of all, it’s addictive. Like I said, I was addicted to it. It was my source of adrenaline when I needed a pick-me-up. Eventually, it became my only source of emotion whatsoever. There are multiple studies on the effects of pornography on the brain. When someone watches porn, their brain begins to latch onto porn as its foundation for happiness, and will then compare real-life experiences to that emotional high to see if they measure up. Suddenly, movies aren’t as enjoyable, friends aren’t as fun, sunsets aren’t as breathtaking. Nothing really gives you that adrenaline shot like pornography, so it becomes your brain’s go-to. You start to rely on it, and can experience withdrawal when you go without it for too long.
I don’t know if you realize, but that’s scary! To become dependent on anything other than God for your emotional satisfaction is unstable ground. Porn took my joy in life away. I’ve struggled with depression because I stopped enjoying things that used to make me happy. I’ve heard countless other girls say the same thing.
Not only does it take away your love for life, but it takes away your love for yourself. It’s a platform for comparison. If your body doesn’t look as good as that girl’s, you’re never going to be wanted. If you don’t act like that around a guy, he’ll never go for you. If you don’t show a little more skin, you’re not beautiful.
I never had a boyfriend in high school. Watching pornography became my relational satisfaction as well. I was taking notes, trying to learn what would catch a guy’s attention. At the same time, I was being taught at youth group how to value myself as God’s child, and treat my body with respect. Let me tell you, those two things do not line up! It was confusing and painful not knowing which expectation I should measure up to, so I refrained from going too far in either direction. I felt like a failure. Guys didn’t want me, and I knew God wouldn’t either.
I’ve seen girls over and over again think that they have to look or act like the sexy Victoria Secret models they see on screens in order to be desirable. They never measure up, so they learn to hate their bodies. But because they’re watching something so sinful, they also feel ashamed to go to God. They don’t learn how to value themselves as daughters of a King, and they’re stuck in that confusing and painful place.
So, pornography leaves us women in a spot of measuring up to unrealistic expectations for ourselves, ashamed to go to the One who will give us lasting worth, and yet still crawling back for more. Sound like a fun gig? Nah, not really.
So, tell me, why is it so popular? No idea.
There’s so much information on the facts about pornography on the website https://fightthenewdrug.org. It’s an incredible organization that aims to educate our society on the harms of pornography. If you’d like to learn more, they have articles, personal stories, even a docuseries on all things porn. I strongly encourage everyone to check it out.
But I’m not going to end there. If you’re the girl I described above, caught in the trap between measuring up to impossible expectations from pornography and shame that keeps you from your heavenly Father, I’ve got hope for you sister. God is not mad at you. He is not waiting to strike you down with lightning every time you re-watch that sex scene. He isn’t screaming at you from across the void or turning His back on you. He is right there with you. He is calling you to something better, something lasting.
Jesus is the only One who can give you lasting satisfaction. He can help you find joy in life again. He can bring your heart back to reality. He will show you how much you’re worth, the value you have as His daughter. There is freedom waiting for you.
Open up. Come clean. Tell God about your struggle. Confess your anxiety about not being pretty enough, your depression from not enjoying life, your burden of sin surrounding porn. Tell a trusted friend, a mentor, or your parents (or all three). That is an incredible weight to be carrying around, and you weren’t meant to carry it. Give it to God. He wants to take it from you and to give you rest. It will be hard, and probably a long process. But true joy and contentment is waiting for you on the other side. God will give you the desire and the power to accomplish the journey (Philippians 2:13). And I’m here, praying for you.
If you have any questions and need someone to reach out to, our email is email@example.com. You can DM us on Instagram or message us on Facebook. We’re always ready to talk about hard subjects like this, and we’ll help you as much as we can.
I’m praying for you girlfriend. God is with you. Turn to Him instead of the screen.