Men Like to Look At Naked Girls On The Internet. Here’s Why They Should Stop That.

I had a bit of a personal crisis when I saw this link from The Huffington Post titled, “Research Suggests that All Men Watch Pornography.” My first thought was that they could not have possibly talked to all men. I know this, because I do not watch pornography. This made me suspicious that the link was tied to a pornographic Web site designed to trick me, the last man standing, into accidentally seeing pornography in order to validate their research. (Or, more disturbingly, it could be that I am not actually a man because I do not watch pornography.)

Do not mistake my assertion for some kind of moral high ground. I have seen pornographic images before, and my mind is fairly full of sexual imagery that I have stored from various fantasies; I don’t really need pornography to qualify as a pervert. I do not think that this makes me abnormal, as the sexual drive is a gift from God. It’s just that I believe pursuing pornographic fantasy is like driving a car at high speed down the wrong lane.

I discovered that the title of the article was a bit misleading, as it suggests that all men currently watch porn. In fact, the research documented that they could not find any man who hadn’t seen it before. And that I can believe. It is possible that there is not a man in the United States over the age of 20 who has never seen pornography.

So how is a Christian man or woman supposed to respond to this research? I suppose that we could act shocked, as if we did not previously know that men like to look at naked women. Or we can pretend that a curious, 18-year-old boy with an Internet connection and no supervision would always refuse to click on that flashing picture of a buxom woman that popped up in the advertisement section of his e-mail account.

But the reality is, for a multitude of reasons—from our creation as sexual beings to the result of the fall and sin—men today like to look at naked women via pornography. We know why they do it, and we know that they do it. The question is why shouldn’t they do it?

The research shows that there is little reason for men not to indulge:

“Not one subject had a pathological sexuality,” he said. “In fact, all of their sexual practices were quite conventional.
“Pornography hasn’t changed their perception of women or their relationship, which they all want to be as harmonious and fulfilling as possible,” he added.

Before I can take this statement at face value, I have to wonder what “pathological sexuality” means. I wonder how they know that watching pornography hasn’t changed men’s perceptions of women or their relationships. Really? Their perceptions haven’t changed at all by watching pornography? Their expectations for sex haven’t changed? I find that difficult to believe.

Gary Wilson gave a great talk at TEDs titled “The Great Porn Experiment” on this very subject. (I highly recommend this talk to you. Highly, highly recommend it.) He used the information gleaned from this study, but he came up with a different answer: Porn does affect a man’s relationships, and it affects his ability to even have sex at all. But asking the man about it isn’t helpful. Why? Because asking a man who looks at porn about the negative influence it may be having is like asking a fish about water. It’s all he knows. Wilson goes on to say that “of all activities on the internet, porn has the most potential to become addictive.” And Gary Wilson is simply looking at this from the science side of things, not from a Christian perspective. (He may be a Christian, I have no idea. But that is not the nature of his talk here.)

The Bible, it turns out, is not trying to put a damper on our sexual enjoyment. Pornography inhibits in real life relationships. It causes people to suffer emotionally and physically. Sex was designed by God to be intimate, not anonymous. It was designed to cause us to value our lover, our spouse, as one with whom our pleasures are fulfilled. God knows that real skin, real kisses, real sex with our covenant partner is so much sexier than digital images that can never embrace us.

About Brad Williams

Brad is the pastor of a Baptist church in a small town in Alabama. Brad has a lovely wife, two children, two dogs, a cat, a turtle, and five bee hives. Besides the incredible fact that he managed to persuade his wife to marry him, he is proud that he served six years in the Army National Guard, managed to graduate college with an English Lit. degree, graduate seminary, and finish the original Bard's Tale as a youngster by making maps on graph paper.

  • http://lovesubverts.com M. Joshua Cauller

    Great stuff, Brad. Yeah. It’s good to call out the present-tense of the Huffington Post article. As a man who has been free from port addiction for about a year and a half now, I’m more and more confident that it can be something that we can be free from, even though it feels like an endless pit. And while it’s never a permanent solution, it’s always helpful to start with blocking one’s own access. God knows self control doesn’t come naturally for alcoholics in recovery. Why would it be that way for pornoholics?

    Thanks again for taking this subject on. More Christian men need to be talking about porn, it’s effects and helping one another get free of addiction to it.

  • Jamison

    This reminds me of the line from the movie Juno where Juno discusses how absurd the phrase “sexually active” is because it implies that sex is a switch you can’t turn off. Thanks Brad, good thoughts.

  • Chris

    With Joshua, I’m a former porn user/ addict. We are the people that Huffington should have interviewed, not guys who are currently using porn. I’ll testify to this: my wife loved and prayed for me and supported me throughout my entire time of addiction. AND despite all that, our sex life was FAR inferior then to what it is now. Porn use DOES DOES DOES affect men’s sex lives. That’s just one of many things I could say about this. Thanks for bringing this up for public discussion. What lots of Christian men who are using porn need is for this to become a less “private” topic.

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  • Bill Macmillan

    As a recovering porn addict, I can personally testify that porn has an adverse emotional and mental effect. And believe me, it is very addictive..

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  • Anna

    I don’t think it’s true that every man over the age of 20 uses porn. Not every home has an Internet connection; what about Amish and Mennonite communities that don’t have computers or TVs in their homes? Unless they obtained porn “the old-fashioned way,” they don’t really have a way of accessing these images. I agree that it’s untrue that every man currently looks at porn, but I also think it’s untrue that every man over the age of 20 has viewed porn.

  • Jimbobbillyjoe

    I don’t know. The particular Huffington Post article is poorly written, says very little about the study done, and I feel it creates a straw person for Brad Williams to knock down. Also while the TED talk mentions some possible negatives of porn-watching, porn also may have positive results for people.

    For example, Williams says “Pornography inhibits in real relationships,” but I’d note that many couples watch pornography together as a means of improving their sex lives. Other people may not have access to their partner (partner on lengthy trip, long-distance relationship, or worse parter could have died) and some people are single. In these cases, it may not help much to say “relationships are better than porn” because a relationship may not be on the horizon. Some teenagers are told “no sex before marriage,” and in an age where marriage quite often doesn’t happen until the late 20s (or later), we might expect them to either ignore the “no sex before marriage” rule, embrace porn (or likely both).

    In short I suspect pornography has benefits and costs for its users, for relationships, and for society as a whole. I would rather see a more thorough discussion before I come to a conclusion about porn. I think the issue is a lot more complicated.

  • Loreo

    Porn is easy.

    Real sex with a real person in a real relationship is hard.

    The sex drive is fairly constant throughout our lives.

    So when real relationships become troubled, porn is always there. It can be a scapegoat for poor communication, it can be an excuse not to communicate, it can be mistaken for an inherently evil act, but I think it’s foolish to see “He’s watching porn and I don’t like that” as something which is always a cause rather than a symptom of a troubled relationship.

    In any case, this overgeneralizes the role of porn in loving relationships. One couple can decide that porn is off limits, while another can decide that porn is fun and totally within their own boundaries. It CAN be a problem, but it also CAN be a fun hobby.

  • KamiSamaNoGenkiMusume

    I am very ashamed to admit publicly that when I was in 5th grade (I am now an adult), my father left porn up on the computer, and I saw it. I got addicted. I masturbated in class- that is the hardest for me to admit of all the sins I have committed. I have never talked about it until this post.
    I got over my porn addiction once at 16 years old, but it came back a few years later. I am not married nor do I have a husband (Although God has shown me the future and VERY unpredictable parts of the prophecies He gave me have come true, so I know from this I’ll be married someday). I have never really lived life without porn. I want to know how it can negatively affect a person and their relationship with their spouse, so that I have more motive to quit. I must admit that just the motive of “It’s bad” doesn’t help much. If you tell a child not to touch a hot stove, they’ll be like “Why?” and touch it, and it burns. But if you tell them it burns, they’d be more likely not to touch it.

  • Happy

    I saw that there are a lot of pornography addicts that posted here. Great for you to realize that porn does nothing to help and everything to hurt. To people that are talking about using porn as a couple or in the absence of a relationship, you don’t know what you are talking about. This is totally in opposition to God’s plan for us and if you are not in a current relationship, it doesn’t give you permission to ignore God’s plan for healthy relationships. Also, as you can see by other comments, pornography is very addictive due to a lot of chemicals that are triggered. If you encourage someone to veiw pornography just because they are not in a relationship, what will happen when they are in a relationship. It is not something you can just drop. As far as viewing pornography as a couple, you are still only seeing parts of people in unrealistic situations to the point where I can’t believe you aren’t dissatisfied with you own sex life and paranoid that your spouce thinks less of you because of what you know they see as you view together. Finally, for those looking for a way to get out of the addiction to pornography from a very Christian perspective, I encourage you to join ReClaim (reclaimsexualhealth.com) or from a more secular perspective Candeo.

  • Gg

    There are immodest women in the Ted footage. Granted, it is a talk on porn but really, I expected it to be completely free image wise. Just a heads up to my brothers and sisters who struggle with images and such. I am not whythetalk would be recommended but no one thought to mention the pictures. Some of us have contaminated our brains so severely that a bikini clad woman can cause new struggles. Thanks for the article though.

  • Bob

    Throught history and prehistory, sex and marriage began at puberty .. that was the case even with my parents generation in the 1950s (thank God for teen parents, else I would not be alive today) .. it has been extended artificially as we have kept people in school well into their adulthood. So, one can argue that in the past there was less need for pornography – but today what alternative is there? The sane alternative, I think, is to roll back on our ever inflated requirements for education (which was a side effect of cheap, government-subsidized higher education) … do we really need a 4 year college degree to dress dept store window mannequins? (Yes that is now the entry requirement now for visual merchandising .. when my wife started in the late 1970s, the job did not even ask for a High School diploma .. and visual merchandising is actually much simpler now, since, unlike the more creative 70s when each store created their own unique windows, all name brands send precise instructions for setting up prefab displays). So yes, I am postulating that there is now a need for pornography as a side effect of society’s over focus on only one aspect of a well-balanced life: that of education.

  • Will

    “as the sexual drive is a gift from God”

    More like a curse from God, actually.

  • Chris

    Addiction is a serious condition. Comparing even obsessive preoccupation with addiction is like comparing a paper cut to child birth. Certainly both are painful and have real life physiological issues, but they are not on the same level of severity at all. Gary Wilson is many things, a psychiatrist is not one of them.
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/inside-the-criminal-mind/201102/the-overuse-and-misuse-the-word-addiction


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