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Generation Porn: Single and Too Addicted to Mingle

Last Updated: December 31, 2019

Moriah Bowman
Moriah Bowman

Moriah Bowman has been using Covenant Eyes since childhood. As a member of the Covenant Eyes team, she is passionate about writing and fighting pornography in the millennial generation. Moriah has a BA in political communications and plays an active role in fostering children of all ages who need a temporary safe home.

I had the “perfect” Christian upbringing. My dad was a pastor, and our family’s faith was strongly integrated into every aspect of our life from day one. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior at a young age and felt confident in what I believed and how I lived out my testimony of faith.

So, when I moved out and started college at a public university, my perfect world flipped upside down. I was surrounded on a daily basis by students, professors, and friends who had not only turned away from God but lived like there would be no tomorrow.

I was regularly encouraged by these people to enjoy college as a lifestyle, not a professional path to a career. This included partying, drinking heavily, interactions with countless boys, and recreational drugs, none of which I actually wanted to participate in, but did anyways because of the intense peer pressure.

I was encouraged to watch porn.

I think what shocked me most about the “college experience” was the casualness regarding porn. Everyone watched it, everyone loved it, and everyone talked about it like it was a completely normal thing to do. Now, I know what you’re probably expecting me to say: I started watching porn and became addicted and my Christian upbringing was destroyed.

Praise God, because I’m not going to tell you that. I am incredibly thankful that out of all the miserable activities I participated in throughout college, watching porn was not one of them. Just like partying and binge-drinking, I knew that porn was wrong, but by God’s grace, I never watched it.

I’ve thought a lot about why that was the case, especially since so many people tried to convince me that it was not only okay to watch, but actually enjoyable. It only clicked for me after I graduated and really started to study the detrimental effects that pornography is having on the millennial generation.

Millennials fear commitment.

To be blunt, pornography is sex. It’s edited, filtered, and heavily staged, but it is sex nonetheless. When somebody sits down to watch porn, they are watching sexual interactions that appear to be perfect. And for those who watch it regularly (i.e., the majority of college students), this image of perfect sex is becoming ingrained in their brain. They are quite literally being trained to believe that when they have sex, it’s going to be “just like the movies.”

And when it’s not? When they realize that sex is not at all like the videos portrayed on their screens, they feel confused, dissatisfied, and bored – the opposite of what God intended sex to be.

In college, I was amazed at the lack of commitment displayed by girls and guys my age. Everyone was afraid to commit to a significant other, and I couldn’t understand why. Sure, some people will cheat and betray their partner, but this isn’t the norm. So why are so many millennials single and afraid to mingle—or, more accurately, afraid to commit?

I believe that porn is one of the biggest reasons.

It’s a bold assumption, I know. There are other factors that play into this issue, I’m sure, but I will confidently put porn near near the top of the list. To accentuate this premise, let me paint a two-fold picture for you.

Girl is a sophomore in college. She meets junior Boy at a frat party, and they hit it off. Boy takes Girl home and they have sex. Over the next few weeks, the two continue to have sex and hang out casually. There are clearly feelings involved, but when Girl approaches Boy about starting an exclusive relationship, Boy backs off and completely cuts off contact with Girl.

He has enjoyed his time with her, but what if there’s someone out there who can provide even greater satisfaction for him? He’s seen some great sex online, so he’s afraid to commit when there could be someone better out there. Girl is confused and hurt, and she will now have less trust for the next guy that comes around.

I’ve heard this exact story from so many college students.

I’ve seen girls cry tears of disappointment because they aren’t enough for a boy who they thought cared for them. I’ve seen boys frustrated over girls who are just using them for nothing more than a one-night stand.

The second concept of this scenario is that Boy doesn’t need Girl (or any girl, for that matter) because porn is satisfying enough. He can achieve his goal through porn, without having to commit, communicate, or pay for dinner.

When Boy starts to think about commitment and everything that is included with loyalty, it just doesn’t seem worth it. Why even have sex with someone and risk their feelings when you can watch porn, achieve your goal, and hurt nobody (except yourself, but that’s an article for another day).

I know this sounds terrible. It makes the human race seem incredibly selfish and sickened me beyond belief while I pursued a higher education. But, for those who are just looking for a relationship to fulfill sexual desire, pornography can do just that. It literally takes the whole purpose of sex, which is to bring two married people together as one, and turns it into the complete opposite.

This wasn’t God’s intention for sex.

So, I’ll say it again, and maybe you’ll hear me out this time: porn is destroying the beauty of a committed relationship for hundreds of thousands of young people worldwide.

The hook-up culture has existed for years, but porn has caused it to reach a new level that is damaging trust and extinguishing the innocence of true love. I completely avoided relationships in college because of this.

Without ever watching porn, I became fearful that just being me would not be enough for a guy. I went on a lot of first dates that ended quickly because it was clear that my date’s intention was far from pure. My idea of commitment shifted from picturesque to terrifying, at a time in my life where stress was already high and my influences were primarily negative.

Based on how I felt and perceived relationships, I can’t even imagine how similarly terrible this is for the rest of the college student population.

I could go on and on about the detrimental effects that porn is having on millennials…casual sex, body image, social media obsession, emotional trauma, anxiety, depression, unexpected pregnancy, STD’s, etc. You’d be stuck reading this post for days if I covered each of these issues.

So, what next?

I’ve given you something to think about, but what can you do about it? How can we as a culture change this trend and help the upcoming generation understand that there is nothing good to be found in porn?

If you’re a millennial like me, I would encourage you to read our ebook: More Than Single—Finding Purpose Beyond Porn. Read the statistics, and let research help you understand how pornography affects your brain.

Ultimately, no matter how old you are, the issue still stands. Young adults and twenty-somethings are increasingly afraid to be in a committed relationship and uncomfortably comfortable with watching porn. This has to stop. And soon.

  • Comments on: Generation Porn: Single and Too Addicted to Mingle
    1. Clay on

      This is a great article!

      Reply
    2. JESUTOFUNMI AWODEIN on

      We’re secretly out of control, nobody knows me
      And my friends all addicted to porn, can’t keep a girlfriend
      Cause the great expectations got all us imitating
      Yeah, we’re secretly out of control and everyone knows

      -Morning in America, Jon Bellion

      Reply
    3. Disgusted on

      I do not BELIEVE that “everyone was talking about it” as you say. NOBODY ever talks about it amongst friends and family or they would be classified as a pervert. Porn is everyone’s secret sin to be ashamed of and is not for public discussion. Anyway, it is utterly disgraceful the government does absolutely NOTHING to restrict it except put men in jail for possession of child porn, as if the ADULT variety is perfectly fine!
      It only gets worse and worse and we have turned into a nation of degenerates.

      Reply
      • Reality check on

        I believe the author’s experience to be true, and it is an indication of how our society as a whole de-values human life and dignity.

      • Michael A Smith on

        Many of my coworkers talked very openly about pornography. They shared videos and pics with one another as a matter of casual conversation. When they went to break or lunch, a group of guys would regularly gather around and watch the latest find…

        It’s not hard for me to imagine many folks, at work and school, talking freely about porn. Probably, only the ones with some sense of shame keep it a secret… and those are likely becoming fewer and fewer these days.

    4. single man, 32 on

      Thanks Moriah for your article, but the issue is more complicated than what you have described.

      I am a 32-year-old single man who has been struggling with pornography for 12 years, but has never even kissed a girl in his entire life. I have always been religious and did try to date girls, mostly at church, but also outside (at uni etc.). I dreamed about marrying and having children and, whenever approaching a girl, this intention would be very clear on my eyes. If I had managed to find someone, it would have certainly helped me in my addiction: I would feel less lonely and more encouraged to resist porn. But it didn’t work out that way…

      I have been used by girls, most of them church-going girls. My commitment intentions were clear; yet they allowed themselves to get close to me, received a lot of care and attention from me, just to suddenly – and for no rational reason – walk away… And when I tried to openly ask them about what was going on, they replied that they had been just being “nice” and didn’t know (really…?) that I was trying to become their boyfriend. And if it had not by itself been enough yet, my feelings of frustration would become even worse whenever I saw the most beautiful church-going women dating non religious guys, who everyone knew didn’t have similarly strong commitment intentions, didn’t treat them as nicely and were most likely not making any attempt whatsoever to resist porn…

      It should be obvious by now how all these years of frustrated attempts to (christianly!) love – and be loved – have fueled my porn addiction. Society’s view of marriage and family expects men to be monogamous, but seems to have forgotten that this is not our natural (biological) way of being – just like with any other mammals – and therefore it takes a lot of inner struggle and self-denial to remain loyal to a single woman one’s entire life. Church itself has not been reinforcing this aspect over the last decades neither demanding from women any sort of counter-sacrifice when it comes to dating, namely: choose their partners by reason, rather than by passion. Religious guys will never be able to compete against non religious ones when it comes to self-confidence, as most of theirs is based upon proud and arrogance, whereas we are constantly being pressured by our own sins – including pornography consumption.

      One of the reasons why the Church, for so many centuries, expected the parents to choose the daughter’s husband was precisely to avoid bad guys – more attractive – taking precedence upon good guys. But in this case it is not possible to track back the (un)success of a relationship to the (lack of) merit of the couple; furthermore, often the parents did not choose based upon the best interests of their children, but rather on family businesses… Hence it is good that this system was abolished; but now the responsibility of choosing the right man lies on the woman’s shoulders and even the religious ones are not making the self-sacrifice of resisting the most attractive in exchange for the most correct. I myself – thank God – have lived in four countries, spread across three continents and spamming four different western cultures; have a fixed job, with a good salary; speak four languages; hold an engineering degree and am now doing my PhD etc.; but it all seems not to be enough to convince (pretty, I am forced to admit…) young women within the nearby parishes to give me a chance to be their boyfriend.

      Finally, giving this is such a painful topic (especially for us men, who account for most of the addicted ones), I advise CovenantEyes to always ensure that articles are cowritten between one female and one male author. So they can portray a balanced view of reality.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Single Man,

        You are blaming women for your choice to look at porn.

        You feel somehow entitled to “pretty girls,” as if they should have no autonomy, no choice of their own.

        Despite your admitted pornography use, you somehow see yourself as superior to the “bad guys” out there.

        In the end, you blame Covenant Eyes for allowing a woman to have the audacity to speak without a man riding herd on her opinions.

        Women can spot an entitled misogynist from miles away, no matter how carefully coated in church-going behavior.

        I’m sorry for the pain in your life, but blaming and disrespecting women will never solve the problem.

      • single man, 32 on

        [trying to submit my replica again, as the first time — September 05, more than 1 month ago — seems to have got “lost”…]

        Kay, your reply hurts me deeply… If my consumption of pornography was a mere ‘choice’, I would not be paying for software like Covenant Eyes to help me get rid of it. I cannot express in words how ashamed I feel about my addiction: it is the number one topic in my confessions and prayer intentions, but they are not enough to heal it. I wonder whether you yourself (has ever) struggle(d) with porn.

        I wrote “pretty, I am forced to admit…” precisely because I acknowledge my 50% share of responsibility on my pain. I would like to feel attracted to women entirely for what they are inside, without any consideration whatsoever for her appearance; but I can’t… No men can. Even Covenant Eyes itself recognizes this: in its current advertising videos, the wife of the super-hero (the main male character) is an extremely beautiful woman. The difference between the religious and the non religious men is that the former do not consider beauty enough by itself: I will not go into a relationship if her faith in Jesus is absent, no matter how pretty she might be.

        No adult owns another one anything; a woman can date whoever she wants. But we all owe to God, who is more than just another human being and who will judge us for the wisdom and purity of our choices in life. On the other hand, from a purely rational point of view, the minimum we can expect from any person is ‘coherence’: if you want to use your autonomy to be with someone who — you know — does not give to Jesus the same (if any) importance you do, do not complain later if things go wrong. But that’s not what we see in society, with so many cases of domestic violence, where men are portrayed as monsters (by the mainstream media, and sometimes even inside the Church itself), as if they all had forced their partners to go live with them.

        The fact that I struggle with pornography addiction does not automatically make me less worthy in Jesus’ eyes: he wants people to endeavour to be his disciples; not to give up, no matter if you fail 70 times a day. This is the difference between the (truly) religious and the non religious person. It is something hard to achieve, and — in my case, as a man — the love of a woman is one of the highest sources of motivation you can get to remain on the path of the narrow door. However, seeing those same women (especially the most beautiful ones, which make us sigh) giving their love to guys that — for any reason; it is not on me to judge, but only on God — are not straining to fight the good fight, is one of the most demotivating things we could experience…

        The internet is full of places where people can post their opinions without any supervision. But Covenant Eyes is a place created to be a safe heaven for people struggling with pornography addiction: a place where addicts (mostly men) can go for consolation, when we are feeling tempted, sad, or even after failing (acting out). However, if even in the middle of your shame you stumble across content that hurts you even more, precisely when you needed help the most… This is why I suggested the co-authorship scheme.

        Finally, in my text — the first one I have ever published about my story — I avoided using adjectives to label (groups of) people. But you directly called me “entitled misogynist”… I wonder what the girls I tried to approach throughout my life may have thought of me (when I was trying to get to their hearts): perhaps too shy, unassertive, bland etc. But ‘misogynist’, after so much politeness, solicitude and chivalry…?

        Never wonder the world in general, and the relationships in particular, are today as they are: while women insist on feeling like victims, refuse to acknowledge their 50% share of responsibility on problems (including the sex videos being produced everyday), react so defensively when criticized (to the point of offending someone who had not offended them) etc… Just as I reminder: the issue of pornography started on the 60-70s (just like feminism) and has been growing since then, precisely the same period of time which saw the “empowerment” of women. Chronological coincidence? For good ‘understanders’, half word is enough…

      • Kay Bruner on

        It is really, really popular here at Covenant Eyes for men to blame women for their porn use.

        If men want to recover, they have to stop blaming women and take responsibility for themselves.

        Yes, this behavior occurs within a cultural context where men are taught to deny, repress, and ignore their emotions (big boys don’t cry, be a man) while then being told that they will inevitably act out (boys will be boys, locker room talk). Both purity culture and porn culture support these narratives, and yes, that makes it hard for men to have the emotional development necessary to deal with their distress and pain without turning to porn.

        However, blaming women for this will never solve the problem, and supporting these dysfunctional narratives does not help anyone.

        We are not here to be “safe” for entitlement and misogyny.

        We are here to point the way to true recovery: taking responsibility for oneself, and doing the hard emotional work necessary to be truly mature and capable.

        Just as a point of historical accuracy: pornography did not begin in with feminism in the 60’s and 70’s. There are pornographic Roman mosaics.

    5. M_Collins on

      @single man
      “the issue of pornography started on the 60-70s (just like feminism)”

      @Kay Bruner
      “Just as a point of historical accuracy: pornography did not begin in with feminism in the 60’s and 70’s. There are pornographic Roman mosaics.”

      And another point of historical accuracy, feminism did not start in the 60s and 70s. It started with Eve when she rebelled against Adam’s headship and God’s commandment in the garden of Eden:

      And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. (1 Timothy 2:14, NASB)

      Reply
      • S_Walton on

        M_ Collins,

        Adam was just as guilty as Eve. He fell into transgression by eating the fruit AND for not exercising his precious headship. He stood there doing nothing while Eve was tempted by the serpent! Lack of interest and engagement in family and relationship matters is the main reason wives don’t respect their husbands. Adam was given full dominion in the garden (Gen 1:8). He should have shut the serpent’s mouth. He failed to protect Eve and didn’t use the authority God gave him.

        When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, WHO WAS WITH HER, and he ate it. -Genesis 3:6

        Most women don’t respect a man who doesn’t lead.

    6. MC3712 on

      @S_Walton

      I am attempting to explain where feminism came from. I am not trying to argue that Eve is a greater sinner than Adam. It appears, however, you are trying to argue that Adam is the bigger sinner than Eve. Are you one of those feminists who believe in the moral superiority of women over men? (Re: Kay Bruner)

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Feminism is about equality. Neither gender is superior to the other.

        However, the tradition of male superiority and the oppression of women does mean that those who continue to support the patriarchy and its inherent violence against women do have a moral problem to deal with.

        That’s not about females being inherently morally superior; that is simply about men taking responsibility for the fact that oppression of women is inherent to the patriarchy, and repenting of that evil, which means changing from oppressing women to recognizing their inherent equality.

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