This post has been updated as of October 2020.
As a Christian, and as someone who regularly speaks out about the evils of pornography, I am often accused of being anti-sex.
This is an interesting but extremely faulty generalization to make. Historically, there have been segments of the Christian church that have viewed sex as a necessary but nonetheless depraved pleasure. This is certainly not where I am coming from.
Porn Is Commodified Sex
I was struck by a recent quote I heard from Gail Dines, a noted feminist speaker and recent author of Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality.
One thing people often ask me: ‘Are you a prude?’ Well let me say something. If I was speaking against the fast-food industry, if I was talking about the obesity and the health issues with fast food, would you accuse me of being anti-eating? So why, when I talk about pornography, am I accused of being anti-sex? It’s the same thing. Pornography is the industrialization and commodification of sex. It’s not sex: just as fast food is not just food. It’s the commodification and the industrialization of it.
To be anti-porn is to be pro-sex. Because we believe sex is a good thing, we hate to see it commercialized and reduced to pixels on a screen. Pornography trains men and women to be consumers when it comes to sex. It trains us to see sexual pleasure as something on-tap and made-to-order.
Porn Is Exploitative Sex
In a recent interview, my friend Noel Bouché, VP of pureHOPE, talks about what pornography actually is:
If you look at the etymology of the word, “pornography” comes from the Greek “pornographos,” which means writings about prostitutes. So when we’re talking about pornography, we’re talking about a very specific form of sex, indeed, illicit sex, and a type of sex that is illegal throughout most of the world. It’s the prostitution of human beings.
To consume pornography is therefore to consume the fruit of an act of prostitution, of sex-for-hire. Pornographers are pimps by another name. Porn stars are prostitutes, plain and simple. Having a camera in the room doesn’t change the nature of the act.
Porn Is Cheap Sex
Pornography makes a guy feel like a man without requiring him to be one.
Dr. Mary Anne Layden, Director of Education at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Cognitive Therapy, wisely says,
I have seen in my clinical experience that pornography damages the sexual performance of the viewers. Pornography viewers tend to have problems with premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. Having spent so much time in unnatural sexual experiences with paper, celluloid and cyberspace, they seem to find it difficult to have sex with a real human being. Pornography is raising their expectation and demand for types and amounts of sexual experiences at the same it is reducing their ability to experience sex.
Porn requires nothing from the viewer except the ability to access it, which today is nearly effortless. Romance and face-to-face intimacy is not a prerequisite for the pixellated women on the screen. And thanks to the Internet, the viewer has the ability to jump from one model to the next, training their mind to get off on variety and novelty, not the familiarity of one committed relationship.
Free Ebook: Your Brain on Porn
In my ebook, I weave together a biblical understanding of sex and lust with scientific observations about the damaging effects of porn. It is called Your Brain on Porn: 5 Proven Ways Pornography Warps Your Mind and 3 Biblical Ways to Review It.
It is a pro-sex-approach to why pornography is harmful. It is also a beginner’s guide to those who want to stop looking at porn but don’t know where to start. I hope you find it helpful.