Posts tagged lust

Best of 2012: Pornography, Bravery, and Freedom

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Best of 2012This was the seventh most viewed post of 2012 and was originally published on August 14th. This is a topic that is very dear to my heart because I see the pervasiveness of pornography, cavalier sexual attitudes and sexual addiction present in so many lives. The consequences of removing sexuality from it’s proper context and desacrelizing is monstrous. Yet, there is always hope. What better time of the year to be reminded of the hope we have over the things that so easily entangle and beguile? It is my hope that this post will provide someone with hope and push them into taking action. Merry Christmas!

I hope you found that video both sobering and heartbreaking. Sexual addiction/pornography addiction has become pandemic. It can no longer be ignored. It destroys marriages, families, friendships, careers, and lives.  Let me share some statistics with you.

  • 50% of Christian men and 20% of Christian women are addicted to pornography
  • 70% of porn visitors online admit that they keep it secret
  • Ages 12-17 are the largest consumers of internet pornography
  • 62% of parents with teenagers are unaware they have accessed objectionable website
  • 90% of children ages 8-16 have viewed pornography on the internet
  • 1 in 3 porn viewers are women
  • 70% of men, aged 18-24, visit porn sites in a month
  • 12% of websites on the internet are pornographic
  • Nearly 25 million pornographic sites are in existence
  • Every second, over $3,000 is spent on internet pornography
  • Over 28,000 internet users are viewing porn every second
  • 40 million Americans are regular users of porn sites
  • 25% of all search engine requests are pornography related
  • 68 million searches are conducted a day that are pornography related
  • 35% of all internet downloads are pornographic
  • There are 116,000 searches for child pornography daily
  • The average age at which a child first sees porn online is 11
  • Every 39 minutes a new pornographic video is being created in the U.S.

Most people have no idea how addictive pornography actually is. They think that it is just looking at pictures or videos. How can looking at pictures be addictive? The addictive process is multifaceted. The more one continues to view pornography he or she becomes behaviorally conditioned to continue doing so. The sexual drive is a natural drive that God created and it is extremely powerful. The brain also chemically reinforces the addictive process because the use of pornography provides the brain with potent chemicals. Eventually the use of pornography is the brain’s primary way of getting its needs met, and the addiction becomes extremely ingrained. The addiction to pornography is also promoted through a social context. Many would say this is part of “being a man” and that it is perfectly healthy. All of these factors coalesce into a powerful addiction.

So just how powerful is the addiction to pornography? One experiment was conducted where rats were habituated to the drug Heroine. The rats were then given the option to receive a dose of Heroine or an electrical impulse that stimulated the sexual pleasure centers in their brains. The rats chose the electrical impulse every time. That is extremely telling.

So why has pornography become such a problem? Because the addiction is rooted in shame and shrouded in secrecy. No one wants to come out and admit they have a problem. The shame and secrecy actually feed the addiction. The only way to break free is to take the first step and admit it is a problem to someone else.

You probably noticed from the statistics that the church is heavily impacted by this addiction. Christianity clearly teaches that lust and pornography are wrong. Pornography is prohibited along with every other form of sexual aberration. So with the Biblical proscription against pornography, why is it such a raging problem? Could it be that people are afraid to approach the church with this problem because they are scared of being condemned and judged instead of helped and loved? Have we created an environment in church that actually feeds the problem? What if the church promoted the teachings of Christ? That people are broken and desperately in need of some loving people to hold their hands and walk them through dark nights of the soul. Maybe more people would find the strength to be removed from the bondage of pornography if Christians would create an atmosphere of safety in churches, where we promote the idea that we are all sinners. Where we take off the masks instead of pretending like our outer Sunday best is a reflection of what is inside.

Parents, did you notice the statistics about kids? Don’t bury your head in the sand and assume that your child would never look at pornography. On the contrary, the weight of the evidence says that your child will look at pornography or be approached to do so. Talk to your kids about this topic. Let them know the dangers. Give them the freedom to come tell you when they mess up. Don’t punish them for being honest. Instead, praise them for their bravery to admit there is something in their life that shouldn’t be there.

Chances are extremely high that someone reading this struggles with pornography. Let me promise you something. You will never kill this monster on your own. It is like fighting a nine-headed hydra. Cut of one head and two grow back. I have worked with enough people to know this is a fact. Do not lie to yourself and tell yourself you will stop or that you can quit. It will not happen. Instead, tell someone. It is the brave thing to do. Know that there are probably people you know that struggle with the same thing. Maybe if you are brave they could be too. Would you take the first step and tell someone? Would you do yourself a huge favor and deal with this immediately? I hope you will.

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

If you read this and know that you struggle in this area but are too scared to tell someone you know, would you send me an email? You don’t even have to give me your name. Just start there. I would love to give you some information, resources, and ideas of where to go from here.

Pornography, Bravery, and Freedom

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I hope you found that video both sobering and heartbreaking. Sexual addiction/pornography addiction has become pandemic. It can no longer be ignored. It destroys marriages, families, friendships, careers, and lives.  Let me share some statistics with you.

  • 50% of Christian men and 20% of Christian women are addicted to pornography
  • 70% of porn visitors online admit that they keep it secret
  • Ages 12-17 are the largest consumers of internet pornography
  • 62% of parents with teenagers are unaware they have accessed objectionable website
  • 90% of children ages 8-16 have viewed pornography on the internet
  • 1 in 3 porn viewers are women
  • 70% of men, aged 18-24, visit porn sites in a month
  • 12% of websites on the internet are pornographic
  • Nearly 25 million pornographic sites are in existence
  • Every second, over $3,000 is spent on internet pornography
  • Over 28,000 internet users are viewing porn every second
  • 40 million Americans are regular users of porn sites
  • 25% of all search engine requests are pornography related
  • 68 million searches are conducted a day that are pornography related
  • 35% of all internet downloads are pornographic
  • There are 116,000 searches for child pornography daily
  • The average age at which a child first sees porn online is 11
  • Every 39 minutes a new pornographic video is being created in the U.S.

Most people have no idea how addictive pornography actually is. They think that it is just looking at pictures or videos. How can looking at pictures be addictive? The addictive process is multifaceted. The more one continues to view pornography he or she becomes behaviorally conditioned to continue doing so. The sexual drive is a natural drive that God created and it is extremely powerful. The brain also chemically reinforces the addictive process because the use of pornography provides the brain with potent chemicals. Eventually the use of pornography is the brain’s primary way of getting its needs met, and the addiction becomes extremely ingrained. The addiction to pornography is also promoted through a social context. Many would say this is part of “being a man” and that it is perfectly healthy. All of these factors coalesce into a powerful addiction.

So just how powerful is the addiction to pornography? One experiment was conducted where rats were habituated to the drug Heroine. The rats were then given the option to receive a dose of Heroine or an electrical impulse that stimulated the sexual pleasure centers in their brains. The rats chose the electrical impulse every time. That is extremely telling.

So why has pornography become such a problem? Because the addiction is rooted in shame and shrouded in secrecy. No one wants to come out and admit they have a problem. The shame and secrecy actually feed the addiction. The only way to break free is to take the first step and admit it is a problem to someone else.

You probably noticed from the statistics that the church is heavily impacted by this addiction. Christianity clearly teaches that lust and pornography are wrong. Pornography is prohibited along with every other form of sexual aberration. So with the Biblical proscription against pornography, why is it such a raging problem? Could it be that people are afraid to approach the church with this problem because they are scared of being condemned and judged instead of helped and loved? Have we created an environment in church that actually feeds the problem? What if the church promoted the teachings of Christ? That people are broken and desperately in need of some loving people to hold their hands and walk them through dark nights of the soul. Maybe more people would find the strength to be removed from the bondage of pornography if Christians would create an atmosphere of safety in churches, where we promote the idea that we are all sinners. Where we take off the masks instead of pretending like our outer Sunday best is a reflection of what is inside.

Parents, did you notice the statistics about kids? Don’t bury your head in the sand and assume that your child would never look at pornography. On the contrary, the weight of the evidence says that your child will look at pornography or be approached to do so. Talk to your kids about this topic. Let them know the dangers. Give them the freedom to come tell you when they mess up. Don’t punish them for being honest. Instead, praise them for their bravery to admit there is something in their life that shouldn’t be there.

Chances are extremely high that someone reading this struggles with pornography. Let me promise you something. You will never kill this monster on your own. It is like fighting a nine-headed hydra. Cut of one head and two grow back. I have worked with enough people to know this is a fact. Do not lie to yourself and tell yourself you will stop or that you can quit. It will not happen. Instead, tell someone. It is the brave thing to do. Know that there are probably people you know that struggle with the same thing. Maybe if you are brave they could be too. Would you take the first step and tell someone? Would you do yourself a huge favor and deal with this immediately? I hope you will.

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

If you read this and know that you struggle in this area but are too scared to tell someone you know, would you send me an email? You don’t even have to give me your name. Just start there. I would love to give you some information, resources, and ideas of where to go from here.

Marriage Monday: Dirty Little Secret.

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“You can get a large audience together for a strip-tease act-that is, to watch a girl undress on the stage. Now suppose you came to a country where you could fill a theater by simply bringing a covered plate on the stage and then slowly lifting the cover so as to let everyone see, just before the lights went out, that it contained a mutton chop or a bit of bacon, would you not think that in that country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food? And would not anyone who had grown up in a different world think there was something equally queer about the state of the sex instinct among us?” – C.S. Lewis

To say that the appetite for sex is indulgent within our culture would be a gross understatement. The distortion of sexuality could rightly be labeled a pandemic. Being a pastor and counselor, I have worked extensively with people and families who have felt the destruction that comes from viewing pornography. It ruins marriages, distorts minds, contributes to abuse, disrupts families, leads to premature sexualization in children, and causes spiritual fragmentation. I cannot exaggerate the danger of viewing pornography. It is something that must be addressed in marriages (and families) across America.

First, some statistics:
-1 in 3 porn viewers are women
-70% of men, aged 18-24, visit porn sites in a month
-12% of websites on the internet are pornographic
-Nearly 25 million pornographic sites are in existence
-Every second, over $3,000 is spent on internet pornography
-Over 28,000 internet users are viewing porn every second
-40 million Americans are regular users of porn sites
-25% of all search engine requests are pornography related
-68 million searches are conducted a day that are pornography related
-35% of all internet downloads are pornographic
-There are 116,000 searches for child pornography daily
-The average age at which a child first sees porn online is 11
-Every 39 minutes a new pornographic video is being created in the U.S.

Sexuality is sacred, but it has been distorted, defamed, and massacred. I believe it is tempting to think that surely, these numbers can’t be representative of a Christian population, but research shows that at least half of men sitting in the pews of churches struggle with the use of pornography. No one is immune. Everyone is capable of having their sexual appetite fed with the poison of pornography. From my experience, I would suppose the percentages of Christians consuming pornographic material to be much higher than 50%. It is such a habit plagued by guilt and shame, which individuals do not want to readily admit that they struggle in this area. It is also an area that isn’t dealt with as often in church.

Though we might not want to think that we or our spouse could struggle with pornography, this issue must be dealt with in marriages (and families). There must be open dialogue about this topic.  Have you discussed the potential problem of pornography with your spouse? Are you taking safeguards in this area? Need I remind you that 7 out of 10 men and 3 out of 10 women struggle with pornography? Should I point out again that 50% of Christian men struggle with pornography (although I argue this
statistic is much higher)?

Let’s not live in denial. We must not be passive. Let’s chop off the snakes head before it continues to grow and devour. Pornography is a difficult addiction. It thrives in secret. Sexually explicit material is readily available. One need not even leave their home. It meets a physical drive that is powerful. It forms a behavioral ritual that is commanding. It releases chemicals in the brain that also feed into the addiction cycle. Pornography is a savage beast that is indifferent to the plight of your marriage and is extremely difficult to escape from, but it can be done.

Are you struggling with pornography? Do not think that you can beat this alone. There is no way around asking for help. First things first, tell someone else. Get some information about sexual addiction. Have several people hold you accountable. Remove any source that can feed your addiction. Participate in marriage counseling and get to the root of the problem. It will not go away without drastic intervention.

Have you and your spouse had a discussion about pornography? My wife and I are not so naïve as to think it could never develop into a problem in our marriage, so we take proactive steps. Internet history is always there for the viewing. We have one another’s passwords to every account. I do not flip through channels haphazardly at night. We have an open relationship that I could go to my wife if I ever felt temptation in this area. I have also pledged to my wife that I will tell her should I ever view pornography. We guard one another’s hearts and eyes. Devon doesn’t watch anything on television that could lead to lust.

Our marriages are too valuable and sexuality too sacred to be destroyed by this vicious beast. As long as it remains a “dirty little secret”, it will continue to thrive. If left untreated, it will be your ultimate undoing. Choose to sin, choose to suffer. Let’s keep the lines of communication open about this topic with our spouse.

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

Best of 2011 – Number 5

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Since it is the last week of the year, we are counting down the most viewed blog posts of 2011, beginning with the fifth most popular post.This was part of the Facebook Friday series entitled “Have Your Private Parts Become Your Public Parts.”

How recognizable is this picture? The “ever so casual, hold my camera from above, and lean over a bit, exposing my cleavage, but not focusing exclusively on said cleavage, so people will find me attractive, but not overly trashy” shot. If I had a dollar for every time I saw a picture like this on Facebook I could afford to have my own Island built somewhere in the South Pacific and stocked with a never ending supply of pastries (bear claw anyone?) and Diet Coke.

We get it. You have breasticas. Just like the other 3.5 billion women in the world. Just because you have them does not mean everyone wants to see them. I wish we could all understand the chasm that divides love and lust is vast. Ladies, you do not have to show skin to get attention. Guys, our lustful lust is crippling our ability to truly love and have a true connectedness with women. I work with so many men all the time having to untangle problems in their relationships because they never figured out how to love. They only learned how to lust. Lust promises something big and under-delivers in a colossal way.

I wish I could say it is only adolescents (with their crazy out of control hormones) that post pictures that devalue themselves. I wish it was only the teenage guys that have a lust problem. Truth is, this post applies to people of all ages. But surely Christians don’t struggle in this area? I wish that were the case. Brothers and sisters, lets get this whole love/lust thing figured out because it is killing our capacity to truly loved and be loved.

Speaking as a guy and a counselor, I know so many men that desperately struggle to keep their hearts pure. I can’t count the guys I have talked to who deleted their Facebook account because women (yes even Christian women) were posting pictures of themselves that made it easier to lust. Sure, when a man lusts it is his choice and his problem. I get that. But please don’t make it easier. My wife knows not to bring cheesecake home if I am trying to watch what I eat. It is my choice if I eat it, but that would be setting me up for failure.

Guys, what if we gave women the respect they deserve? What if we related to them as sisters. What if we worked to keep our eyes straight, our minds clear, and our hearts pure. What if we served women instead of serving ourselves?

I realize women lust too (as a matter of fact 17% of women struggle with a pornography addiction) but again, I am speaking as a guy. So ladies, please keep your private parts just that, private. Guys, don’t let your eyes linger. Maybe if we fixed this love/lust problem our lives would be different. Our relationships stronger. Our walk with God closer. Our ability to truly love intact.

Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. – Ephesians 5:3

Walk Good. Live Wise. Be Blessed.
Josh

Disclaimer: I felt dirty posting this picture.

Facebook Friday – Have Your Private Parts Become Public Parts?

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How recognizable is this picture? The “ever so casual, hold my camera from above, and lean over a bit,  exposing my cleavage, but not focusing exclusively on said cleavage, so people will find me attractive, but not overly trashy” shot. If I had a dollar for every time I saw a picture like this on Facebook I could afford to have my own Island built somewhere in the South Pacific and stocked with a never ending supply of pastries (bear claw anyone?) and Diet Coke.

We get it. You have breasticas. Just like the other 3.5 billion women in the world. Just because you have them does not mean everyone wants to see them. I wish we could all understand the chasm that divides love and lust is vast. Ladies, you do not have to show skin to get attention. Guys, our lustful lust is crippling our ability to truly love and have a true connectedness with women. I work with so many men all the time having to untangle problems in their relationships because they never figured out how to love. They only learned how to lust. Lust promises something big and under-delivers in a colossal way.

I wish I could say it is only adolescents (with their crazy out of control hormones) that post pictures that devalue themselves. I wish it was only the teenage guys that have a lust problem. Truth is, this post applies to people of all ages. But surely Christians don’t struggle in this area? I wish that were the case. Brothers and sisters, lets get this whole love/lust thing figured out because it is killing our capacity to truly loved and be loved.

Speaking as a guy and a counselor, I know so many men that desperately struggle to keep their hearts pure. I can’t count the guys I have talked to who deleted their Facebook account because women (yes even Christian women) were posting pictures of themselves that made it easier to lust. Sure, when a man lusts it is his choice and his problem. I get that. But please don’t make it easier. My wife knows not to bring cheesecake home if I am trying to watch what I eat. It is my choice if I eat it, but that would be setting me up for failure.

Guys, what if we gave women the respect they deserve? What if we related to them as sisters. What if we worked to keep our eyes straight, our minds clear, and our hearts pure. What if we served women instead of serving ourselves?

I realize women lust too (as a matter of fact 17% of women struggle with a pornography addiction) but again, I am speaking as a guy. So ladies, please keep your private parts just that, private. Guys, don’t let your eyes linger. Maybe if we fixed this love/lust problem our lives would be different. Our relationships stronger. Our walk with God closer. Our ability to truly love intact.

Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. – Ephesians 5:3

Walk Good. Live Wise. Be Blessed.
Josh

Disclaimer: I felt dirty posting this picture.

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