February 25, 2010
Give Up Porn For Lent
By Mike McManus
Catholics, Lutherans and others traditionally “give
up” something for this season of Lent, such as liquor or desserts.
However, I have an unconventional suggestion to 70% of American men, and
a surprising 30% of women who regularly look at pornography.
STOP watching it. Can you stop for the remaining
five weeks of Lent without a peek? Did your Lord die for you so that you
could gaze at naked people having sex? Jesus said, “I tell you that
anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery
with her in his heart (Matt. 5:28).”
A growing percentage
of people are addicted to porn, spending hours gazing at this stuff,
especially since it is so available on line.
like atomic energy, is a powerful agent for good if channeled well, but
for ill if not. Healthy societies maintain their stability by
channeling the sexual energies of young adults into marriage, an
institution that legitimizes sexual intercourse, protects the children
that are the fruit of intercourse, and channels the giving and receiving
of sexual pleasure in a way that builds up rather than tears down
society. Sexual taboos are one set of the normal mechanisms of social
control of the sexual appetite. They are analogous to the control rods
of a nuclear reactor plant: they block the sexual from straying off
course and into destructive pathways,” writes Dr. Patrick Fagan,
Director of Marriage Research at the Family Research Council.
He reports that when
viewing porn “rises to the level of addiction, 40 percent of `sex
addicts’ lose their spouses, 58 percent suffer considerable financial
losses, and about a third lose their jobs.” Why is it so dangerous for
marriage? Only one-third of couples maintain an interest in sexual
relations with one another when one partner was engaged in `cybersex.’”
In fact, porn users
increasingly see marriage as “sexually confining.” Steven Stack of
Wayne State University report that porn use increased marital infidelity
by more than 300 percent. I regularly see invitations on my computer to
meet with “cheating wives.” While men are six times more likely to view
porn as females, 80 percent of women who “meet on-line companions” had
real life sexual encounters with them, while only a third of males do
The National Council
on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity estimates that 6 to 8 percent of
Americans – 18 million to 24 million people – are sex addicts. People
dive into porn to escape feelings of low self-esteem, shame, isolation,
or pressures of life, work or relationships. It is a place to get lost
and feel wanted, imagining the perfect partner who always desires them.
In 2008, Nielsen
Online reported that a quarter of employees use the Internet to visit
porn sites during the workday. Online porn sites report their highest
usage is between 9 am and 5 pm!
Even more shocking, a
fifth of all Internet porn involve children, according to a 2003 study.
And one study of those convicted for distributing child pornography
found that a majority of them had also committed real life sexual abuse
of children. Similarly, 83 percent of rapists are current users of
hard-core pornography, what the law calls “obscenity.”
Most porn users are
not criminals, but these numbers are red flags showing the genuine
danger of becoming addicted, and what it can lead to – divorce, loss of
What can be done? I
have several suggestions. The simplest is to stop cold. If Lent gives
you a reason to do so, great. Second, to remove temptation, install an
Internet filter that will keep pornography off your computer screen.
Every man should do so. You can get such a filter from AFO.net. You
must protect your eyes and brain, and those of your family, and
If you need more
evidence, go to a new website, PornHarms.org, which is packed with
research, articles and commentary and was my source for this column. It
was created by Pat Trueman, who directed Justice Department prosecution
of obscenity under George Bush I.
If you are addicted,
you need to seek help. The best place to start is Sexaholics Anonymous,
where you can meet people who have found a way to stop their destructive
behaviors. Go to SA.org and learn how to overcome your lust. You will
find SA groups near your home, where you can get genuine help to
overcome your addiction via a 12-step program.
Finally, it is
essential to prosecute the creators and distributors of obscenity. Hard
core porn is illegal. More on that next week.