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Is Porn Killing Men’s Desire for Marriage?

According to a recent study by the Barna group, at least 70 percent of single, self-identified Christian men view pornography on a monthly basis. Many Christian women probably look at this statistic and fear being stuck with a husband who’s more aroused by his smartphone than her. But I’m more worried many of these men will never get married at all.

Here’s the thing: As a general rule, men want sex, they want it regularly, and if necessary, they will sacrifice a lot to get it. This ought to be good news for the church, because you’d think it would naturally drive the celibate, single men in our congregations to get hitched. But if a man is regularly taking care of his sexual desires with the help of porn, one of his top incentives for getting married naturally decreases.

Like a single, non-Christian guy said to me recently, “Why should I get married? Women are so desperate these days; I can get laid whenever I want.” The celibate Christian man is having a similar experience; he’s just getting it from porn. Then he goes to church on Sunday morning and sees a number of naturally attractive bachelorettes waiting to be asked out, but he doesn’t notice them. And no wonder — his visual palate has been warped by thousands of images of silicone-enhanced fantasy girls who always say yes when he wants a sexual encounter. The world of normal beauty seems boring, bland.

That guy is looking for something else, something that complements his fantasy world — and eventually, he’ll sacrifice everything to get it.

How it All Starts

According to the Barna study, 15 percent of Christian women view porn at least once a month, and I’m sure those women empathize with the temptation to look for sexual fulfillment in porn. Many other Christian women are disgusted by the thought of using porn, but the thing they need to understand is that for most men, porn is a taste that’s acquired very early on.

It usually starts during a middle school spend-the-night party or when a hormonal, 12-year-old boy does a not-so-innocent internet search. One image eventually leads to another until suddenly, the boy’s brain is lit up like a Christmas tree, and he discovers he’s got superpowers he didn’t know existed.

When it’s all over, something may feel wrong about the experience, but the boy can hardly help himself — he’ll do anything to get another high like that. So he inevitably returns to the source and begins his years-long, intimate relationship with pornography.

Killer Turkish Delight

Like the boy Edmund Pevensie in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the porn-using young man has met the White Witch, a gorgeous, authoritative woman who calls herself a queen and promises to make him a king. And he’s spellbound because he has eaten a box of her enchanted Turkish Delight, a poisonous candy that leaves him with a voracious appetite for more.

As Edmund sits in front of the Witch, looking like a fool with candy all over his face, she flatters him and lures him into visiting her house. She promises him “whole rooms full of Turkish Delight” and says that if he comes, he will wear a gold crown and “eat Turkish Delight all day long.” But there’s just one catch: He only gets more candy if he brings his family members, whom she fully intends to kill.

The spell works its magic on Edmund as he discovers that after eating Turkish Delight, he’s unable to enjoy the pleasure of a home-cooked meal or the company of his siblings. He wants the Witch’s food more than anything, and in the end, he betrays his family to get it. But by the time he realizes what a fool he has been, he’s in the Witch’s house, and it’s almost too late.

Selling Out our Families

Like Edmund, the porn-using single, Christian man believes he’s got things under control, that he’s only having a little treat. But if he’s honest with himself, he knows that he always needs just one more bite of the enchanted candy that’s been giving him a high for years. Ironically though, his repeated pursuit of fantasy sex leads him further and further away from getting the real thing from a real wife, who could’ve raised real children with him.

Basically, he’s running the risk of killing off his family before it ever gets started. And all the while, there inside the Bible the young man supposedly believes, is a desperate plea for his sanity: “Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death” (Proverbs 7:26).

When you consider the potential damage that fantasy sex can do to a man and his hopes to have a wife and children, it becomes painfully clear: “Many are the victims” indeed.

A Change of Appetite

If you’re a young man who’s snacking on cheap, poisonous sexual gratification, it’s time to recognize what’s really going on here: You’ve declared yourself lord and king over your sex life, plain and simple.

You can claim that you agree with Jesus’ teachings about sexuality, but your actions say you don’t really care whether you’re committing adultery every time you gawk at a naked woman who isn’t your wife (Matthew 5:28). This callousness to Jesus’ commands certainly provides the short-term thrill you want on a lonely Friday night, but it will eventually mature into all kinds of unforeseen death in your life (James 1:14-15) — most obviously the death of your healthy sexual desires.

You don’t want that.

You want to be the kind of man who can meet his future wife and fully appreciate her beauty without subconsciously comparing her to porn stars. But if that’s going to happen, you’re going to need to make some immediate and dramatic changes to your visual diet. For example, you’ll need to cut off your access to porn, which may require you to go to extreme lengths to reduce the amount of time you spend alone on the internet (Matthew 18:9,Mark 9:47). You’ll also need to get help from close friends and a support group like Celebrate Recovery, because it’s practically impossible for you to get free on your own (if you could, I’m sure you would’ve a long time ago). And most importantly, you’ve got to renounce your lordship over your sexuality, return it to Jesus, and ask Him to lead you into wholeness in every area of your life.

Reclaiming the healthy sexuality you’ve been repressing for so long will not be easy, nor will it guarantee that you’ll even get married. But it may just be the beginning of a more intense “hunger and thirst for righteousness” in your life, and that kind of appetite comes with a promise from Christ: “[You] shall be satisfied.”

Statistics used in this article are from the 2014 ProvenMen.org Pornography Addiction Survey (conducted by Barna Group). This article originally appeared at Boundless.org.

One Comment
  1. Graeme Phillips #

    Very valid points, though I say there are lies, damned lies and statistics. American Pie 2 (a horrid film from my unconverted days) pointed out that if a man gives a number of sexual relations, divide by three to get the real number; with women, multiply by three to get the real number. Societies across the world have very wrongly valued chastity in women more than in men: – take the statistics with a pinch of salt!

    Like

    March 9, 2015

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