No More Porn

Let me start by saying I was recently guilty of the behavior I am going to address in this post. More on that later.

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Several months ago, I attended a Man Retreat. It was a weekend devoted to answering the question, “What does it mean to be a man of God?” I was one of a handful of adult chaperones (which, in hindsight, sounds kind of ridiculous!). Although I have written about that weekend before, I want to bring up one of the topics that was discussed once again.

It is time to say, “No more porn.” As we had times of open discussion, the young men in my group talked about how much they hate pornography—the entire industry. Yes! 14-18 year old young men HATE what pornography is doing. They hate the accessibility. They hate the prevalence. They hate how it objectifies women. They hate to think that one day one of their sisters, or cousins, or aunts, or mothers could be involved. They hate that their friends talk about such things as “car porn” or “food porn.”

I walked away from that weekend convinced that this current generation of adolescents will be the group that brings an end to pornography as we know it.

“That’s a bold statement,” you might say. Or you might tell me, “That’s an awfully small sample size to base such a claim on.” And perhaps you would be right.

But I will stand by it. And if I am going to stand by it, I need to act on it. So how can I do that?

First, I need to say, “No more porn.” Sure, I can point to the fact that there are no dirty magazines or movies in my house. But I need to ask if my children see in my everyday actions that I truly hate the way pornography objectifies people. Do I make inappropriate comments when certain actors or actresses are on the screen? Do I watch movies that do not fit the industry’s definition of “porn,” yet would still embarrass me to watch if my parents, or my pastor, or my Savior were present? Am I calling out the destructive portrayal of women that my children witness in the shows they watch? Am I searching out stories that show the value of a person based on who they are, not what they do with their private parts?

Second, I need to stop saying the word “porn” as if it is a neutral word. Calling things “porn” only serves to de-sensitize us to the damaging nature of pornography. Looking at amazing cars is not “car porn.” If I happen to drool over pictures of desserts, I should not call it “food porn.” When we do that, we make it sound like pornography is nothing more than a joke, a humorous yet facile way to describe something. (Huffington Post, I’m looking at you.) But that is wrong. Pornography is destructive. Pornography kills relationships. Did you know that there is now something called “Pornography-induced erectile dysfunction”? And did you know it is occurring in men in their 20s? Stop using the word as if it is little more than a punchline.

Third, I need to stop excusing porn. Every time someone says, “It objectifies men, too,” or “It’s their own choice to be in those movies,” or, “Hey, it’s just a way to make a living,” we are saying we don’t care that women are trafficked and treated as sex slaves so that a few people can get rich off of destroying numerous lives to provide a quick release. Girls are lured into the industry with promises of acting roles and are treated like prostitutes with the movie producers being the pimps. They are used and dumped when they no longer generate revenue. And yes, pornography objectifies both men and women and serves to subjugate sexuality to nothing more than a quick fix. But I cannot minimize the damage the porn industry does to women by saying, “It hurts men, too.” Because when I say that, what I’m really saying is, “Leave my secret sin alone because if you dig any deeper, I’m going to have to come clean.” Instead, say something like, “Yes, this industry is destroying our young women and men and it must be stopped.”

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I said I messed up recently. A friend of mine posted a funny question on facebook about movie titles that could double as porn titles. I read all the comments. I laughed. I even added one of my own.

And then I remembered a small group of high school men I spent time with a few months ago. They had said, “We need to stop laughing about pornography.” THEY said it. Not me. Not the other adult small group leader. The young men. The teenagers. The highschoolers. The ones so overcome with hormones right now they can barely see straight.

Their words convicted me. So I deleted my comment. I didn’t read anyone else’s comment. And let me say that I am not angry with my friend who posted the question. Because he just did what a lot of us do. He is not a mean-spirited person. He is not someone who contributes to the defamation of women. He is a great husband and father. He just asked a question similar to questions I have asked in the past.

Too often, I have treated pornography as a joke. I have pretended that since I am not in the industry I have no responsibility for the damage that is done. And that is wrong.

So I want to change that. I want to say loudly: NO. MORE. PORN.

It ends now.

I will remove the word from my vocabulary, unless I use the word to call it out for the destructive evil that it is.

I will not let it be treated as a joke.

I will not remain silent in the face of mistreatment of women or the misrepresentation of sexuality.

I will allow the words of teenagers to convict me when I am wrong.

I will not let people tell me that young people don’t realize what is going on or that they don’t care.

I will encourage young women and men to appreciate who they are.

I will pray that young women and men have the courage that I so often lack.

We can stop it. We must stop it.

NO. MORE. PORN.

3 thoughts on “No More Porn

  1. Follow-up: #nomoreporn | a second time

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