A secular University wanted to do a study on pornography. More specifically, they wanted to study men that had never watched or saw pornography. Their goal was to see, in this day and age when it is so readily available and accepted by many as a norm, what caused a man not to be exposed to it. Not knowing what the conclusion might be, they set off to find, study, and interview men that had never been exposed to pornography.
Their conclusion was quite shocking. In the end, they had to cancel their research because they were not able to find any men who had never been exposed to porn.
I had the wonderful opportunity to give a workshop on the topic of pornography to 50 male teenagers in high school that were attending a week-long retreat.
As I led my workshop, I shared with them research that states that the number one users of pornography are males ages 14-18. I pointed around the entire circle of guys and said one word: “You.”
Before the internet and before the world of mobile devices, finding pornography was a little more difficult. Now, with everyone having smart phones, iPads, and laptops, it is easier to find pornographic material than it is to find drugs and alcohol.
After sharing a little about my own experience and talking about why men should not be engaged in look at pornography, I went on to share 5 practical strategies that can help a guy protect themselves from it.
- Beware of gateway porn. Sometimes, guys look at images online that are not porn, say, images of Victoria Secret models or girls in bathing suits. Those types of images don’t quite have the same affect on guys as pornography. However, they can lead guys with a desire to want to see more. Before he knows it, he’s looking at porn.
- Don’t take your smartphone, laptop, iPad, iPod, or anything else that has internet connectivity alone in your room. That is the time that guys are most vulnerable. I know some families that do not allow any devices or computers in bedrooms. These items can only be used in common areas, like the living room or kitchen. That may mean you need to use something other than your phone for an alarm clock, but it is worth it if you want to stay away from pornography.
- Create securities on your browsers. Yes, a guy could easily change the securities if they wanted to see pornography, but it creates one more step that just might discourage a guy from looking at it, knowing that he has to go through the hassle of disabling the security he created for himself.
- Find a male accountability partner. Choose a male friend who can challenge you to be a better man. If I know that my accountability partner is going to ask me whether I’ve looked at pornography in the past month, I’m even more convicted to stay away from it. Anytime I bring something out of the darkness into the light, healing can begin.
- Pray to God about your temptation. Talk to a priest. Go to reconciliation. The temptation to view pornography is not something that guys can solve on their own. I need the grace and mercy of God to help me through this temptation and the many other challenges of life.
By now, you’re asking yourself why I’m writing about pornography on my blog. I admit, it’s a topic that is a little out of character.
The reason is that, for something that affects so many guys, including Christian guys, churches do not talk about pornography enough (if at all). The church needs to respond to the pastoral needs of their community. Having workshops like the one I gave to the 50 male teenagers on retreat is necessary.
Scripture talks about the need to bring what is in the darkness into the light. Pornography is an unspoken and real darkness in the lives of men. As leaders, you and I need to consider what types of ministries are needed for the men of our community.
Question: What are some specific ways that you might be able to minister to men in your church?