November 20, 2020
The New Drug
February 18, 2021 | Darrin Simpson
Hey Families, Darrin here.
There is a new drug in town. Actually, it’s not new at all. It’s been around a long time. The heart of it comes from lustful desires, but it’s an easy foothold for the enemy and it’s one of the hardest addictions to remove. I’m talking about pornography. I hope you don’t immediately dismiss this conversation. Whether you have this addiction or not, I can guarantee you know someone who does and educating yourself could prove highly valuable to you in the future.
Porn is a highly controversial topic in the church. I believe we have a societal crisis right in front of us with the most secretive and widely used drug addiction. Dopamine and oxytocin are at work in your body when porn is involved. This addiction often starts preadolescence and sticks with you for the rest of your life. As adults or leaders of families, it’s time to take life back and live your true potential, without the secret sin of pornography in your life.
I often find families struggling or even shocked when they find out about porn addictions within their homes. The attempted fix is a simple discussion and often limiting their access to exposure, but anyone with an addiction to porn can tell you that it takes more to find freedom from this addiction. Eliminating exposure does not suppress urges.
The average age of initial exposure is eight years old, and sadly getting younger. The average age a student addiction starts varies, but sources say between 9-11 years old. It starts out as innocent-curiosity but rapidly spirals out of control. Sources are still working on what the long-term effects are for porn addicts, but it covers a very wide range, from focus issues to attitudes, disorders, failed marriages, and even suicide. No one would give a cigarette to an eight-year-old, but free access to the internet has the potential to do them even more harm. It doesn’t leave you as you get older. A staggering statistic from The Barna Group back in 2016 – 64% of Christian men look at pornography at least once a month. I would naturally assume this percentage is only increasing as society and technology evolve.
Pornography itself has evolved as well. It’s not just the guys. It’s rapidly growing among young women, as well. Porn companies are intentionally targeting younger age groups. Access is at the easiest levels it’s ever been, and content is getting increasingly crass. As I studied the history of porn, I’ve found gaps in human thinking. When discussing the concept of pornographic exposure with a friend who is in his 80’s, I had an epiphany. The only access he had to porn was if someone bought a magazine off the racks at a gas station. Other options didn’t exist that he knew of.
As society rapidly progressed, and technology along with it, porn moved into video production. As a millennial teenager, I was able to explore the darker side of dial-up internet. It was easily accessible, but I had to go out of my way and it still was not in my pocket. Today, porn has the potential to be at everyone’s fingertips.
To make matters worse, young curiosity is highly vulnerable. If an innocent, curious child searches basic anatomical names like “butt” or “boobs” in the web browser, they will get highly explicit video content, not an innocent photo or a biology professor explaining anatomy. It will spark more questions than answers, and they will keep looking. We have a problem. Technology is a fantastic tool, but it can also become your greatest enemy if total freedom is granted.
If you have a kiddo or teenager, realize phones and computers are privileges, not rights. They have high consequences if mismanaged. Have them sign contracts, create random check-ins, lock-down opportunities for exposure, and install accountability software. It is critical; hold them accountable. Don’t assume they can handle that kind of responsibility without accountability.
As we get older, it stays with us. Different circumstances come into play. We use it to deal with the insanity of hormones in our bodies. Students grow up assuming that the types of behaviors they watch are normal and thus expect them in marriage, objectifying their spouse, still unable to see past their desires. Or they keep it a secret and justify it if their partner struggles to connect. This secret sin goes on for years behind closed doors and leaves users feeling shame, isolation, and lonely only moments after getting their fix. Some couples even justify it within their marriages. Justified sin is still sin. I would never recommend that kind of condition to any relationship that’s struggling within this realm.
So, what do we do? The Bible is pretty clear on sexual sin, lust, and desires of the flesh. Here are a few verses to help spark conversation and a few simple steps and resources to get things started. I truly believe no one is too far gone for Jesus to intervene and change their hearts and minds.
My youth pastor growing up would tell us to take 1 Corinthians 6:8 quite literally. “Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.” If sexual immorality is among you – start running! The reality is, we need help. We have to manage our thoughts, powerfully address shame and guilt, make wiser choices, and build in accountability.
- Tell Someone - The first thing you have to do is tell someone you trust that you have a problem, and you need help. We call this accountability, and it can work wonders. I often tell users to find someone of the same gender to remove vulnerability and have healthy boundaries. One solid resource for adult (male and female) accountability is with Small Groups Online. They are a part of Live Free Ministries, which is specifically for men 18+.
- Remove Exposure Opportunities - The second thing that is most helpful is to remove exposure points. A simple one – don’t take technology into the bathroom or always leave your bedroom door open so anyone can walk in at any moment. Lock phones down with passwords and get yourself a 3rd party program that monitors your activity and sends that info to your accountability partner. Ever Accountable is a great option. Get rid of the access and slowly rebuild responsibility on technology.
- Seek Counsel – Romans 12:2 tells us to be transformed by the renewal of our minds. We need a rewiring. Counseling and potentially therapy are amazing for helping give tangible training to remapping urges. Think of it this way, you’ve hardwired your brain to this addiction. It’s time to get help.
We desire God’s best for you and for our students and we are here to help and support in any way we can. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.
Here are some resources to check out!
- Ever Accountable – Internet/Mobile Device Accountability
- Covenant Eyes – Internet/Mobile Device Accountability
- X3Watch – Internet/Mobile Device Accountability
- Fight The New Drug – A movement/resources to help fight porn addiction
- BrainHeatWorld – A 3-part, free video series on the effects of porn
- Your Brain on Porn – A free e-book about 5 ways porn warps the brain and how God’s Word can change that.
- X3Pure – Online video series to help you discover freedom from porn
- The Stages of Porn Addiction – A series of articles from Focus on the Family mapping out porn addiction
- XXXChurch – Men and Women who are struggling with Porn Addictions
- XXXChurch (Students) – Resources specifically geared towards students
- Small Groups Online – Accountability groups for men, women, and students
- Safe Families – Online resources to help parents keep children safe online
- 10 Keys to Breaking Pornography Addiction – Ebook