Thinking Out Loud

October 18, 2012

Should You Marry a Porn User?

Writers like Kevin Leman are known for being somewhat explicit about marriage, and Mark Driscoll doesn’t mince words when he’s preaching or writing about sex. Rachel Held Evans came up against our collective appetite for earthier language in her A Year of Biblical Womanhood, but for the most part it’s the men who dominate the roundtable.

On Tuesday, the name Sheila Wray Gregoire came up in a conversation. Her newest book, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex was somewhat foreshadowed by Honey, I Don’t Have a Headache Tonight, so she’s not a neophyte on this topic. But on her blog — which takes its name from yet another book, To Love, Honor and Vacuum — she asked the question this week, “Should you marry someone who uses porn?”

Stand on a principle on this one, and some say you could be eliminating up to 90% of your prospects. Sheila’s number might be 67%, or two-thirds. Either way, pornography is ubiquitous, even among Christian males (and females). The tobacco addict has yellow fingers; you can smell the liquor on the breath of an alcoholic; and when the gambling addict pulls out his MasterCard to pay for lunch, it’s stuffed full of lottery tickets. But the person addicted to online pornography — in all its many, various forms — often goes undetected.

So here, for those currently dating, those engaged, those in the early stages of a marriage, and anyone else touched by this topic, is a link to Sheila’s Should You Marry Someone Who Uses Porn? …Be sure to also look around the rest of her blog for resources on a host of related issues.

Since it’s been awhile, this is also a good time to mention my own attempt to speak to this issue is still hiding out in a remote corner of the internet where you can read it for free. The Pornography Effect: Understanding for the Wives, Daughters, Mothers, Sisters and Girlfriends, was written in 2007 as a crisis book — in other words it’s not lengthy — and can takes up two full screens in a modified blog page. (The chapters were posted in reverse order so the finished product would read normally; click Ctrl and the plus sign simultaneously if you find the type size hard to read.) Click this link to check it out. If you don’t have 45-50 minutes to read the book, a summary of each chapter’s key points is posted here.

June 20, 2012

Wednesday Link List

The fine print: By reading this link list I agree to actually click a few links and check out the stories, and not just scan the summaries and leave.

March 21, 2012

Wednesday Link List

Click the image above for sourcing; meanwhile, here are the rest of this week’s suggested readings:

  • The Economist catches up to the wind of Evangelical and Charismatic Christianity blowing through the church in the UK.  Yeah, really, The Economist. 
  • I was recently scanning the four youth books that deal with cutting, addiction, abuse and food disorders by Nancy Alcorn, and noticed the books are somewhat of a commercial for something called Mercy Ministries. Then I read this report.
  • Last week while we were linklisting here, Pete Wilson posted an article about all the damage being done by Facebook. Except that Facebook isn’t really the culprit
  • At Internet Monk, Denise Spencer, wife of the late Michael Spencer who founded iMonk, shares some insights she discovered after being lost in a forest.
  • Why do so many Christian blogs have Christian book reviews, and so few have Christian music reviews? Amy Sondova at Backseat Writer is the exception with this in-depth CD review of The Same Love by Paul Baloche.
  • Here’s an intriguing idea: What if we read the directives in Paul’s epistles in the first person? This example from Galatians 3 models what could be an instant small group exercise. B. J. Stockman guest posts at Zach’s. (Chapters one and two are also blogged there.)
  • Here’s an opportunity to wear your Spandex to the Red Sea: Stryper frontman Michael Sweet is leading a Holy Land tour.
  • Why Writers Need Editors: A guy we associate with alternative Christian media doesn’t have much use for mainstream Christian media. Maybe too much so.  He apologizes, sort of.
  • Here’s a short story that will rock your world when it comes to how we tend to view who pays for what when it comes to missions. Not everyone gets a 4-star hotel with M&Ms (red ones removed) either.
  • Texas pastor and blogger Trey Morgan was involved in a house giveaway last week that didn’t involve either Habitat for Humanity or Extreme Makeover Home Edition. It’s the second house they’ve given away. (Here’s more about the first one.)
  • If some are chosen, elect or predestined, why evangelize? Here’s a Calvinist with seven Biblical reasons.
  • Wanna go deep? Here’s an article about the concept that worship is a physical act; there isn’t a higher or purer worship to be experienced; not in this life.
  • Author Linda Mintle talks to CBN News about the “Am I Pretty?” YouTube video disturbing teen trend.
  • And here’s another parenting must-read: Brad Whitt’s 20 Ways To Tell Your Child You Love Them
  • Know someone responsible for worship and/or creative arts ministry in your local church? Tell them about Sunday online magazine.
  • Dave Carrol has a great quotation from Randy Bohlender’s new book, Jesus Killed My Church.
  • Speaking of books, Rick Apperson reviews the new Mike Howerton book Glorious Mess which he found literally too funny.
  • Here’s a blog link just for the sisters; but the guys can read it, too. Sometimes parents exasperate their kids because we think that they have to learn to do a task the way we do it.
  • Hometown (sort of) rapper Chris Greenwood aka Manafest, has a new album, Fighter releasing in April. One of the producers worked with Justin Bieber while another produced for The Newsboys.
  • Don’t forget to have your link suggestions in by Monday night.
  • For our closing picture below, we ask the musical question: Why throw out your old car parts when they can be part of the church stage design on Sunday morning? Click the image for the story link.

June 2, 2011

Which Pornography Is He Looking At?

Today’s article is quite explicit, but it involves a topic that many marriages and families are dealing with.  If that’s not you, feel free to skip this one and return tomorrow for something different…

A few months ago I said I would occasionally post chapters here from The Pornography Effect in order to give it wider exposure than it gets hidden away online.  For about a week now, I’ve been wanting to look at the third chapter which deals with the escalation of pornography viewing; not in the sense of spending more time, but in the sense of moving from soft porn to hard porn, or skewing tastes away from mainstream porn which no longer satisfies to something more extreme.

Rather than reprint the chapter, I want to do a rewrite on it right here and now.  The chapter begins with this analogy:

They say that laughter is actually a surprise emotion. I find that watching comedies on TV, if I can guess where the humor is going, I don’t laugh because I’m not really surprised. It takes some really quirky lines, a plot twist, or a truly funny delivery to make me laugh out loud. Laughter is partly surprise.There’s a parallel here between the comedic form of entertainment and the pornographic form of entertainment.

After a little while, the internet images can get stale, and the purveyor of porn is looking for something new. In a 1960’s hit song, Kicks, Paul Revere and the Raiders said it best

It’s gonna seem like kicks just keep gettin’ harder to find
And all those kicks ain’t bringin’ you peace of mind…

I want to do something different here than I did in that version of chapter three and make a rather outrageous statement:  “If all your husband, or boyfriend, or son, or father, or brother is looking at is pictures of naked women, that could be the least of your worries.”  I’m not saying this to minimize the dangerous effects of pornography.  But I’ve found in discussions with people that when they say something like:

My husband looks at pornography.
My son downloads porn online.
My brother has a collection of porn.
My boyfriend is totally addicted to porn.
My father watches porn all the time.

…when people say those things, they are picturing someone looking at online pictures of naked women.  And I’m sorry, but that’s not all they’re looking at.

If porn is your drug of choice, you eventually will get to the point where you’re looking for harder stuff. That’s why some men’s tastes might skew towards something they weren’t expecting like masochism, or same sex sites, or what are called fetishes, which I won’t list here because if you know what that means, I don’t need to, and if you don’t, believe me, ignorance is bliss. Of course, not every guy goes that route, but the preponderance of evidence including the number of sites themselves, and the way that the visual sites are marketed would indicate that for the vast majority of men, tastes skew in only one direction: young.

At least that’s how I wrote that four years ago.  But let’s be more direct here and just say it:  After the initial exposure wares off and the laws of diminishing returns kick in, the person so innocently described as just looking at pictures at naked women, would be better described in sentences like these:

My husband looks at shots of people being tied up and whipped.
My son downloads videos of people urinating.
My brother collects pictures of people having sex in public places.
My boyfriend is totally addicted to gay teen pornography.
My father is always watching pictures of young naked girls.

I know that’s not the usual fare you expect to read here, but it needs to be said.  In fact, read it again and let it sink in.  The second set of sentences is similar to the first, but also so totally different, and I don’t even have space to consider the text equivalent of the themes listed, or to even mention the female porn addiction which is so rapidly growing.

The second set is a window into what kinds of things are really going on online, that is so different from the somewhat generic image of a guy looking at something that could be out of a pornographic magazine circa 1975.  Things have changed, and it’s gone far beyond that in 2011.  Furthermore, the guys viewing this stuff are your neighbors, your co-workers, your extended family, the clerk at the market or fast food restaurant or gas station.

And the second of sentences is statistically closer to the truth; it’s where it all, eventually leads.  Tastes skew.  Addicts look for greater kicks.  And the worldview changes it brings are massive.  And, as I said in an earlier chapter, it means that the guy in question never again looks at any female the same way.

Link to The Pornography Effect — Though set up on a blog, the chapters were posted in reverse order so you could read it like a website; pretend the “previous entries” tab at the bottom of the page actually means “next chapters.”

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