I love the internet, I seriously do. For a guy who likes to just know things, because, you know, it’s fun to know things, the internet is a wonderful tool. “Wow, a stone in weight is equal to fourteen pounds! Thanks, Google!”
That is a dramatic reenactment of a real thing that happened today.
Unfortunately, like so many other good things in the world, people have taken it and exploited it to serve the basest of cravings and make money from it. It’s not an uncommon practice anywhere, but the internet serves as a particularly potent host, as this debauchery is available to anyone with a decent internet connection and a web ready device at anytime, anywhere.
I am, as you may have guessed, talking about pornography.
I’m going to try and stay away from phrases like “I hate the pornography industry” or “pornography literally makes me sick to my stomach”, because I don’t want to convey judgment to those who watch it, especially those who struggle with knowing they shouldn’t, but do so anyway. But let’s just settle on the complete understatement, “I’m not a fan of pornography”.
Now, I’ve been meaning to write you a letter about pornography for a while. Not because I think you’ll be particularly weak against it, and not because I think your sisters will be immune to it, there are women who struggle with pornography like many men do. I’ve been meaning to write you specifically because it’s just a fact that men are significantly more likely to succumb to the allures of pornography. So, as much as I hope that things are different when you are reading this, it’s my thought that you absolutely need to be prepared for this.
But, I didn’t just sit down today and think, “Okay, now’s the time to write my son about this!” Something triggered my need to write this, and it is something that was outright appalling to me.
It’s this article here, that discusses the analytics of a popular pornography site for 2014, showing that the word “love” is the most used word in their comments, and other shocking statistics.
There are so many disappointing things that this article reveals, not the least of which is just how much the porn industry is growing.
But it’s the subject of the article that I really want to touch on, as I have come to the same conclusion the author has.
It is an absolute insult, a veritable tragedy, that “love” would be the word most used when discussing pornography.
Now, I get that it was most likely that people used it to say things like, “I love this”, the same way I would describe my affection for bacon or baseball. But it still needs to be said that few things are farther from real love than pornography.
Braxton, pornography absolutely destroys real love.
This may seem like an exaggeration, but it’s more real than people would like to admit. And it’s certainly more real than anything that exists within porn.
Pornography is all about self gratification. There is no sacrifice, no exchange, absolutely no love. All it does is lie to the watcher, tell him or her that this is what sex is like, it says that this is how people should act when it comes to sex, and it, therefore, completely demolishes healthy sex lives.
That’s right, porn doesn’t help sex lives. It ruins it. It’s addictive, and like any other addiction, there needs to be a continual escalation to satisfy, until finally, real world sex just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Son, this may sound weird coming from your dad, but I want you to have an outstanding sex life someday. I want you to share physical love with your wife in a way that only real love can produce. And when people allow the pathetic substitute for love that is porn dominate their lives, they can’t have that.
Okay, I need to take a breath…
Look, if it sounds like I’m passionate about this, it’s because I am. I just want you (and everyone, really) to know the type of real, passionate, intimate sex that only real love can produce. And what’s real love? Real love is absolute commitment to your spouse and your spouse alone.
I know how this world works, and unless something drastic happens in the next few years, pornographers will only become more and more cunning and sly when trying to lure people into their trap. You will be tempted. Expect it and be ready for it. And, as awkward as it may be, know that you can absolutely talk to me about it. I write you these letters so I can communicate things to you as I think them, but that doesn’t mean we can’t discuss these things, man to man.
Braxton, do you want to have real sex someday? Do you want fulfilling, satisfying, real sex?
Then stay away from pornography.
Porn kills love.
1 Corinthians 1:4
So there’s this premise that our kids will want the best thing available to them, and that the consensus is that the best thing in terms of love and sex will be a long, happy, deeply spiritual connection with another human being that lasts until they are parted by death… BUT… I worry we’re creating a culture that causes more and more of us to not see that as a worthwhile journey. In your letter you do qualify it by saying “if you want x…,” but my worry is that we paint marriage as this marathon- an event that I’m convinced people only participate in so they can feel accomplished and pat themselves on the back, all while complaining that the training was hell, their knees are giving out, their back is shot, but for reasons they can’t explain, they loved every moment and they can’t wait to do it again! Most people think marathon runners are crazy, and I’m worried that people are trending toward thinking the same about people in lifelong exclusive relationships, because we talk about it in this way that makes it seem like a balance beam over a pit of snakes, where not dying is its own reward. Marriage is fun, and pretty easy most of the time. I know this comment deviates from your main point about pornography- but I just wanted to address the qualification it came with. More and more people just don’t want that type of love, because we make it sound like a huge chore for some reason. I think people hear it like “If you want this open heart surgery tomorrow, you can’t eat for 12 hours beforehand, or this massively invasive and painful procedure is gonna suck even more.”
I think this has to be one of the reasons many men in Japan have just traded sex away for porn. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/11362306/Why-dont-Japanese-men-like-having-sex.html) “Love” just isn’t as attractive an outcome as it once was.
Your letter definitely got me going on a Tuesday morning, Steve. Hahahaha.
I get what you’re saying, and I don’t outright disagree, but I don’t completely agree, either.
You’re right that too often people want to address the struggles that must be overcome to have a successful marriage. I realized that when I amended “The Work of a Team” with “Adventurers“. Marriage isn’t as difficult as it would seem if you only read blogs about marriage (admittedly, mine included). And it may very well be that people are being frightened by the prospect of marriage because of that.
But I would also say that a large part is played by a culture and time of technology that has almost eliminated the phrases, “anything worth having is worth working for”, and, “nothing worth having comes easy”.
These days, lots of things come easily. Groceries delivered to your house, movies streamed to your television, cars purchased online and driven to your home, and, of course, virtual “intimacy” brought to any screen you want. Most of these aren’t bad things, in fact, a lot of them are very good, but it has still perpetuated a culture that thinks anything worth working for is worth not working for and getting something that’s half as good.
And I don’t think that painting marriage as easy is going to help that situation. Sure, maybe they’ll be more willing to get married, but once there, they’ll face a challenge and want an easy way out, or they’ll realize a past habit has made their marriage significantly more difficult.
Yes, marriage is usually much easier than the average blog lets on, but I still think our kids should be prepared for the realities of struggles in marriage and the realities of struggles that may effect a future marriage, and that’s why I write letters like this.
I don’t think we have to “paint” marriage one way or another. I just think we choose to. Exclusive companionship is this thing that a vast majority of people innately crave, but all of the sudden people are rejecting it (which has caused the divorce rate to plummet). My opinion is that rejection comes from a combination of people being shown marriage is bad (through the boomer generation divorce rates) and told by the remaining couples that it’s one giant, albeit “worthwhile” for reasons untold, struggle.
That being said, The topic was pornography and that stuff is at best a misguided supplement to a marriage relationship- at worst, a relationship killer.
Don’t you think people have different experiences with marriage? Some find it easy, and some find it difficult? Marriage isn’t a thing that stands alone apart from two people. If two people are extraordinarily difficult , then their marriage will be extraordinarily difficult.
And in my experience, most people (myself included) are extraordinarily difficult.
Is this meant for me or Steve? Either way, everyone is the exact same in every way all the time Ryan. Interchangeable parts that came off God’s iHuman conveyor belt.
Not sure who you’re asking, Ryan, but I would wholeheartedly agree with you. Marriage can be difficult because it involves people, and people can be difficult.
And, Ralph, I hadn’t thought of it before, but that’s a really interesting thought and one that (with more hard statistics) I think I would agree with.
What if they don’t wish to get married?
I spoke of marriage because that’s what Ralph mentioned.
Even if they don’t wish to get married, if they want a (real) sex life of any sort, porn would still be a huge danger. Statistics clearly show the damage pornography addiction does to sex lives, whether within or without a marriage relationship.
Though I will encourage my children to only have sex within a marriage relationship.
Reblogged this on mkogg.