We live in a day where pornography is in constant news somewhere. Currently there is the Presidents alleged past digression with a “Porn Star.” I must say I do not like the term ‘porn star.’ To me there is no star in porn. But that is my own thoughts, and I do understand why they use the term (They have there own awards annually). Understanding what the word porn exactly means can be tough today. As what was porn back in 1980 (playboy), is not really thought of as porn today by a teenager’s standard. In talking with Jr. High kids in my city I will ask them if they think sexting is pornography. The answer is usually, more often than not, a resounding NO!
There are obscenity laws that are on the books to supposedly guide the country on the very issue of what is really porn or not. Is porn obscenity? If it were deemed so then I guess you might call a porn star an obscenity star too. But that’s if they are seen as one and the same. The reason I bring this up is because when we discuss porn with others (if at all) we tend to use porn as a generalized term to describe sex on film or picture (usually). But the problem I find is this generic word, “porn,” when used tends to steer our conversations away from what really matters in talking about sex, sexuality & sensuality. Discussing these issues with a person properly means first listening, then understanding, but not simply being reactionary to the word porn. Though this is tough to do for many! When the word porn comes up in a talk with a parent and teen, or a husband and wife, just using the word porn in the conversation can hurt one deeply. The word is a negative as obscene is, especially in serious conversation.
In Miller Vs. California (1973) the term obscenity was redefined from something that had no redeeming quality at all, to that which could potentially have some kind of scientific, literary, artistic or political value (but it is legally phrased as, “that which lacks,” those qualities.) What would be obscene to me in Arizona would more than likely not be too obscene to those in New York, California or Las Vegas. I for one do not see any scientific, artistic or political value in the watched or popular porn in the world. But I understand this too; Obviously not all porn is alike. Just as there are different kinds or levels if you will of the obscene. Over the years of my research on the subject, there is no doubt in my mind this is true. I find it quite interesting when I read today of porn being a public health issue; for this reason: What kind of porn are they referring to? For many opponents of the industries existence this question is irrelevant, but for me it it one that we need to discuss. Why? Because understanding the kind of obscenity watched matters in our important conversations.
When finding porn on a teen or adults device, you had better be aware of the kind of porn that they are watching. We all should realize that watching child pornography is different from watching consenting adults. Another example is the difference there is between reading sexual fictional books and the sexual literature in the Bible. Just because the topic of sex is brought up should not cause the same reaction from and in us. We should be asking what kind of sex are we discussing? What unites the examples i use is that all of them have a common denominator; sex. But when needing to discuss sexual media of any kind with another, we should be asking the question; what kind of sexual information were you involved in watching, reading, listening too etc… Of course it is not the only question that should be asked, but it is a major one. How would you react to your son, if he found male homosexual pornography on the internet…and liked it? Or your daughter was into Hentai video’s? I realize that it is quite hard to stomach this kind of research on your part. You probably never wanted to to know about it at all! But the younger generation is one that is linked with an online world, that unless there are laws to limit what is on the world wide web in a major way then you will have to keep up with what your youngsters already know about sex & pornography. And it could be quite a lot! Never assume they know, because they might not. But then again, they could. At Running Light we are always discussing our culture through our blogs and podcasts. Listening or reading them now and again will help you stay somewhat current. Peter and I are always trying to use discretion when discussing pornography. This is one reason Running Light Ministries is it’s own non-profit ministry. We desire for these discussions to have a proper place in Church culture, but not necessarily on a Sunday or Wednesday evening Bible Study. We understand the topic is delicate to the religious culture.
Remember that as technology continues to move forward, and there will no longer be any need for real life women and men to be in the “porn industry!” That’s right! There replacements? A.I., V.R. & Holographic porn. Has anyone seen the the movie Ex Machina? Is this movie a picture of our future in A.I. technology? What a trip if it is! It really is an eye opener to how people could utilize A.I. technology for there personal desires. But as of today, video pornography is still the numero uno source. So until we step into the Brave New World (porn style) we will have to understand, the best we can, that today’s porn comes in many styles & genres. And it’s free!
As all kinds of porn is allowed and accessible so easily, we should not be very surprised that as a society there would be a normalizing of a behavior and also a equal demonizing of the porn industry out of fear. I was reading in the book, Big Porn Inc, how sexual predators of minors show porn repeatedly to children in order to make the sexual content seem like normal behavior. The point is that the minor would go from being disgusted by the porn to, over time, warming up to it, finally seeing it as normal behavior. Much of the porn sex available is certainly not normal sex in real life. Forgive me here, but what I mean is that anal sex, or what is called “the money shot,” in porn is not normal in real life is it? Most of us do not know the sex life of our neighbors and nor do I think we need to know. But what is good sex anyway? Or normal sex?
Regardless of what you think of porn, porn sex is done by human beings, so it is a reflection of us. The seemingly odd sex that is on display in porn is certainly from the hearts of men and women, but that does not mean that it is commonly practiced. I’m not saying that this odd behavior in porn is not tried in sexual relationships across the globe, but I am thinking it is not highly practiced in week to week sexual life. The normalizing of such sexual behavior that is in porn will likely make more people say, “hey, maybe we can try that out!?” This is no doubt true as there are sexual acts that we do today that seem very normal, but years ago, they would be seen as risky or perverted immoral behavior, even in a monogamous marriage! So we need to be careful not to simply demonize a sex act primarily because it is not normal to us. Sex acts that a parent finds normal, there teen might find common amongst his/her culture! So I make the point that we need to be open to discuss what is being watched, admired & desired.
With this kind of understanding I would want to approach a conversation with the word porn in it with intellect and not just emotion. Without it, there can be some monumental damage that you do to another. You could demonize there sexual ideas or desires without discussing them. This is quite a path most taken, but it is certainly shallow and lame do to it’s results. People will and simply go online to find a person to talk to about intimate subjects if you are not willing to take the leap to discuss porn. There are millions of online puedo counselors that all have seen Dr. Phil and stayed at a Holiday Inn! And many of them have a different world view than your Christian one. I am hoping to prevent you from doing exactly what your Christian values tell you not to do. “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, & slow to wrath, for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God,” James 1:19. Does the person you are talking with about pornography born again? I don’t mean do they attend Church, but are they born again Christian’s as defined in John 3? Why are they wrong in watching porn or liking it? On what grounds are they wrong? Have you taken the time to talk about there relationship with Christ (if they even have one), before launching into the hurt you have? I do understand how hurt you might be, and how hurt you are. So take a breath and let’s trust the Lord in the lives of those we love.
Our desire for our loved ones to know Christ must be valued over our own personal hurts. Is that the goal of your relationships? Or is there underlying ulterior motive? Secret motives that lay hid away, deep in the heart? When dominated by them we will succumb to our emotions (rooted mostly in fear and pride), and the conversation will be about us. We will not be compassionate but angry. Instead of faith we will react to our fears. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Church history is riddled with it, to the point of murdering of one another in the name of Christ. So we are not alone by far in our struggles to discuss serious topics or ones that are particularly confusing in our culture as porn or sex. As those in the Church, we must seek to ask Christ to live his life through us if we are to move forward. To us Christians, Jesus is the only way to move forward.
Why do so many young people finally give up on the Church? Maybe we are struggling to discuss things in there world. We simply do not want to. It is scary to us. Why is it so difficult for us to talk about sex! My heart truly breaks for those that do not have a place in the Christian Church to discuss such an elementary topic to us humans. When I get to the root of answering these questions for myself, I find a fear deeply rooted. Do you?
It is enjoyable weekly to meet with men to read, pray and talk about these topics together. There is a special healing in it. It might be that we are not there primarily to fix one another, but to encourage one another. Let us encourage one another daily as long as it is called today.