This article is the first of a new set of articles on pornography myths. It is my hope that by debunking these commonly believed myths the church will begin to see the dangers of pornography and the need to step up and guard against it.
When I’m reading a book and encounter a word I don’t know I Google that word in order to find a definition. I’ve been writing about pornography for a little over a year now and only just realized while writing this post that I’ve never actually seen a definition of “pornography”. So I Googled it and here’s what I found:
“printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings.”
Based on that definition, pornography is literally everywhere. Pornography has infiltrated televison through shows like Game of Thrones, whose season five finale had eight million viewers this year. On the printed page we’ve seen pornography expressed in written form through 50 Shades of Grey, whose series has sold over 100 million copies since its release, and visually through Playboy magazine, a magazine that is still going strong after 62 years of publication.
Despite all of this, there are still some out there that believe that pornography is an uncommon problem among men and women, Christians and non-Christians. The statistics, however, suggest otherwise.
The invention and further development of mobile, smartphones has allowed porn usage to increase drastically. Statistics show that 20% of mobile phone searches are for porn and that 1/4 of smartphone owners have pornographic material on their phones. Phones have also allowed for “sexting” (nude texting) to become a thing with 19% of 18-24 year olds having sent one. Speaking of those 18 and over…
Nearly 70% of men and 18% of women 18 years or older use porn at least once every week. Not only that, but 67% of young men and 49% of young women believe that viewing porn is an acceptable way to express one’s sexuality. Half of the men and 32% of the women interviewed said that their first exposure to porn was beforethey hit their teenage years (meaning that they were 12 or younger when they saw porn for the first time). This last statistic brings us to young children.
90% of boys and 60% of girls are exposed to pornography before the age of 18. In other words, most men don’t even make it to the age of 18 without having seen one or a multiple of people naked. Add to this the fact that 83% of boys and 57% of girls have seen group sex online and 69% of boys and 55% of girls have seen same-sex intercourse online and we have a generation of kids with a warped sense of what sex truly is.
The previous statistics were just in reference to general audiences and non-Christians. When we turn our attention to Christians the numbers become even more staggering. The statistics show that 64% of Christian men and 15% of Christian women watch porn at least once a month. This is also a problem for preachers with 51% of preachers saying Internet pornography is a very real temptation (all statistics were gathered from Covenant Eyes).
To believe the myth that porn is an uncommon problem among people today of all genders and religious beliefs is to ignore mounds of evidence that clearly show otherwise, but that’s not all. The belief and promotion of this myth not only ignores the evidence, it also pushes those that have this problem back into the shadows.
The Problem With Believing This Myth
Anyone who has struggled with pornography addiction knows that opening up and confiding in someone is difficult. When we promote the myth that porn addiction is an uncommon problem we push them further back into secrecy. Those with a porn addiction already have to deal with the fact that we tend to stigmatize the sin of pornography, they shouldn’t also have to feel like they’re freaks and statistical outliers because they’re the only ones looking at porn especially when the facts show that most everyone in the world is looking at it.
As this series will show, we’ve got to be very careful about what myths we believe and promote when it comes to the topics of pornography and pornography addiction. Instead of trying to minimize the issue of pornography addiction by ignorantly saying that it’s an uncommon problem, let’s minimize the issue by letting those who struggle know that they can come to us for accountability and come to Jesus for forgiveness.
In our next article we’re going to discuss the myth that all people who look at porn are perverts. To make sure that you don’t miss that post or any of our other posts on pornography addiction, like our Facebook page and be sure to tell your friends about us.