*Please note: I love Jesus and the result of that love is the source of all of my thoughts, acts, and direction to the best of my mostly inept abilities. However, this post is chock-full of practical advice for those that don’t love Jesus and still hate porn. Please let me know what you think…this blog is our conversation.
Once when I was twenty and had cartilage I chased a young man down the street who was trying to steal from the bar and grill where I worked.
To this day, I’m still not even sure what happened.
Something came over me, I saw some red and next thing I know I’m clawing at his back while he gives a couple of donkey kicks to get me off of him.
As it turned out, he was faster than me. Gaining momentum and dropping the stolen booty, he raced down the street with the cover of darkness hiding his trail.
I did manage to rip the shirt off of his back and pretty sure I got some skin under my nails.
There was something about the wrong that young man committed, and was about to get away with, and the flagrancy with which he did it that ignited an irrational, uncontrollable and raging fire in my belly.
That almost scratches the surface of how I feel about pornography.
I didn’t even pay much attention to pornography until last March when it quietly, but firmly, knocked on the front door of my perfectly manicured suburban home (you can read about this mad mama’s experience here)
Pornography is no longer the monster under our beds that strikes in the dark.
It is the beast that sits at the table with you in your home with its hand around your family’s throat.
You may whisper ‘loco’ under your breath at my strong words much the same way Jose the cook did after watching me chase the thief those many moons ago in college, but you must not deny the lifetime of damage it is wreaking.
Studies are beginning to show that pornography is more addictive and a harder habit to break than cocaine.
Have you ever seen the effects of someone in the ravages of a drug addiction?
Flip that on the inside and multiply it and then we can begin to see what pornography does to a person.
What about a person that is eight? Or nine? Or twelve?
It’s absolutely devastating.
I believe two things with my whole heart:
During my interview with the counselor (listed below) about all of these matters, there was only one time when hot tears pricked the back of my eyes:
‘You have to remember,’ she said softly, ‘the kids who have been exposed to pornography have been wounded. They’re hurt.’
Our babies are hurting.
Not just mine.
Not just yours.
So…I will run all loco-like all day down the street advocating for these children and chasing the thief of our families.
Will you join me?
Let’s get some skin under our nails, friends.
*(gathered from several sources and an average taken from all):
Warning: once you’ve read these…you can no longer say you don’t know and it’s very, very hard to swallow.
*Porn sites get more visitors every month than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined
*30% of all data transferred across the Internet is pornography
*70% of men and 30% of women watch pornography
*66% of young men and 16% of young women view porn at least once a week
*2/3 of professionals have found porn on employees work computers
*1 out of 8 of all searches online are for erotic content
*men are 543% more likely to view porn than women
*2/3 of college-age men and 1/2 of college-age women say that viewing porn is an acceptable way to express one’s sexuality
*The average age of introduction to online pornography is now eight.
*By eighth grade, almost 100% of boys and 80% of girls have been exposed to online pornography.
*The neurochemical dopamine is central to all addictions. The amount of dopamine released in the brain when viewing pornography is similar to using drugs like cocaine.
*The brain actually begins to rewire itself because of the artificial stimulation it receives from pornography.
Sometimes when I go to bed at night, I make a wish that I will wake up and be Ada Ferguson. If you don’t know her, I’m sad. Ada Ferguson is a Counselor and Coordinator for Celebrate Recovery (which covers sexual addictions and pornography) and all-around beautiful human. I had the pleasure of sitting with Ada and to ask her questions about how we can help our families in dealing with this beast.
Me: What would you say about pornography as a whole to parents today?
Ada: Get out of denial. This is a real and present danger in our society. It has to be addressed.
Me: How soon do you talk to your kids about pornography?
Ada: You used to be able to wait. Now the time is as soon as they have access to computers or before you give them a phone. Tell them as much information as they can understand at that level. Each year, build more and more. What exactly is it that they are needing right then? Is it information because they ask a lot of questions? Is it security? Figure that out and have conversations accordingly. As parents, we usually don’t have to give them the whole picture like we think they are asking.
Me: How do we address the situation of stumbling upon porn when the child was searching for something appropriate? How do we convey how wrong what he has found is without shaming him and keeping those lines of communication open to talk about it when it comes up?
Ada: Dialogue will be open as long as the child feels safe and not embarrassed or ashamed. This is key in conversations with women. (80% of communication is through body language and tone and not actual words) When a child sees you have a negative reaction, he thinks, ‘I’m not going to tell you anymore because I see that I’m upsetting you.’
Jesus despised shame. Shame is not from God. Condemnation and shame have no place in these conversations. God shows us right and wrong. He doesn’t say, ‘Bad girl.’ He says, ‘I love you and I want this part of your life to be different because I want the best for you.’ Conviction is sweet and loving. It’s coming alongside your child and saying, ‘I see you really struggled here. I love you and I want to help you.’
Me: What can we do right now to groom our kids to be set apart and to be leaders and not followers?
Ada: Obviously, take a stand against black and whites: we always say no stealing, killing, lying, etc. But there are areas that are ‘gray’. Either we don’t cover them or they come up before we get a chance to. Kids want to be strong, but they just don’t know how or that ‘this is wrong.’ It’s hard for them to discern. Have the answers settled. If they can get this mindset, they will be strong.
My sister has said, ‘We’ve got to make decisions and live our life based on principle and not pressure.’
A note: Ada gave me a handout that I will put a link to a PDF later this week that covers 3 essential principles for Gray Areas and the scripture to back it up. It is good stuff for kids and for adults.
Me: What happens if your child has been exposed to pornography already?
Ada: If they’ve been exposed, parent, take the time to pray with your child. Ask for the restoration of innocence. Your child has been hurt. You intercede for your child. Be disappointed. Be grieved. But this is where healing has to happen or the sad becomes a mad, and eventually…a bad. Stay at the sad and heal it there. (from the sad/mad/bad model)
I’d love to hear from you if you have questions, great ideas or if you’re just as mad as me (maybe even at me) or if you want to know more about that night in Nacogdoches.
Ada Ferguson recommended James Dobson’s website about family education on pornography. Here is the main link but too many articles to choose: