There’s No Such Thing As Free Porn

How’d you find this blog post? 

Statistically, there’s a 25% chance you were looking for porn. And even if you weren’t searching for porn now, there’s a 40% chance you looked for and viewed porn at some point this week. If you’re a man between the ages of 18 and 34, the biggest demographic I speak to, that jumps to 70%. Pastors, you’re not off the hook either: 33% of you admit to visiting pornographic websites. 

And the problem isn’t just one for the guys either. According to a 2009 poll by Christianity Today, a full third of women admitted to intentionally accessing internet porn and one in six women admit to “struggling with an addiction to pornography.” 

These numbers are only growing for women, as many more are falling prey to pornography and sexual addiction. In a recent article entitled “Sexual Addiction Among Women Real and Growing,” psychologist and sex-addiction researcher, Dr. Patrick Carnes states, “We’re seeing women getting into pornography in a way we’ve never seen before...we are seeing the biggest change in human sexuality maybe in the history of our species.”

The statistics tell the story: porn is a big problem. So much so that Dr. Jill C. Manning, an expert on pornography and sexual disorder, states, “Several years ago, I would have considered myself complacent if not down right indifferent about the issue of pornography. Today, I feel an urgency about this issue that often surprises me. As a North American woman and mother, I have a deep, foreboding sense of concern over the impact of pornography is having on women, men, and children.”

An Important Event

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 In our book, Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, & Life Together, I devote a whole chapter to the problem of porn, entitled “The Porn Path.” Additionally, as part of the Real Marriage sermon series, one of the weeks will be on porn and its damaging effects. That sermon will air March 4, and will be available on the Mars Hill podcast and vodcast. 

I will be recording this important sermon at a special event called “Porn Again,” to be held at the Neptune Theatre on Wednesday, January 18 at 7 p.m. PST

Joining me will be Crissy Moran, a former pastor’s daughter who grew up to be a porn star and has since returned to a vibrant relationship with Jesus. I will do a Q&A with Crissy after my sermon, and we’ll be talking about the realities of the porn industry, how it damages women and men, and how Jesus saved her out of the porn industry to help others involved in porn and the porn industry find freedom in Jesus through Treasures.

This event will be targeted to a collegiate crowd, which is why we’re holding it in a theater close to the University of Washington. It’s completely free, and if you’re in college and live in the area, I encourage you to join us. Seating will be limited, so make sure to arrive early, as it will be first come, first serve.

For those who can’t join us in person, we will be live streaming the event. You can visit marshill.com/live to tune in on January 18 at 7 p.m. PST. 

The Cost of Porn

It’s no secret that the Internet is the fuel for the raging fire of porn use. As Covenant Eyes reports, “There are at least 40,634 websites that distribute pornographic material on the internet. About 11% of all internet visits to one of these sites. About 14% of the online population in America visits these sites (17 million Americans), spending an average of 6.5 minutes per visit. About 80% to 90% of these people only access free pornographic material.”

But while the majority of searches for porn are for “free porn,” it should come as no surprise that there is no such thing as free porn. Rather, the cost of porn addiction is high—both in terms of money spent and in the emotional, spiritual, and relational costs.

In terms of money, porn is a $10 to $14 billion dollar industry. This makes is a bigger business than professional football, basketball, and baseball—combined.

Even worse is the cost of pornography on our relationships and kids. According to the London School of Economics, 90% of children between the ages of 8 and 16 have viewed pornography on the Internet, in most cases unintentionally. Furthermore, according to an April 2006 report in Pediatrics, the average age of first Internet exposure to porn is 11 years old and the largest consumer of Internet porn are 12 to 17 year-old boys.

Perhaps the saddest stat of all is, youth with significant exposure to sexuality in the media were shown to be significantly more likely to have had sex at ages 14 to 16.

Practically, I’ve consoled many men and women who are dealing with porn addiction, and some the saddest (and most enraging) stories of failed marriages and broken families have come from these situations where people are enslaved to sexual images. 

Additionally, those addicted to pornography or who even view it casually are enslaved to the god of sex, “Exchang[ing] the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man,” as Paul indicates in Romans 1:23a. In doing so, they are shipwrecking their faith and missing out on or destroying the healthy and beautiful gift of sex that God gave to be enjoyed in the context of a Jesus-centered and God-glorifying marriage.

So, again, there is no such thing as free porn. The cost to you and your family (even your future one) is extremely high.

The Good News

The good news is that as Christians, we don’t have to be enslaved to sex and pornography. As Paul writes, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:18–20). 

You can find freedom from porn through the work of Jesus on the cross and by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. But it takes admitting you have a problem, repenting, and practically, getting some help from godly friends and family.

Further Resources

In addition to this event and the Real Marriage book, here are some further resources to help if your struggling with pornography.

Porn Again: A Frank Discussion on Pornography & Masturbation (free ebook)

Religion Saves: “Sexual Sin” (sermon, February 2008)

1 Corinthians: “Good Sex, Bad Sex” (sermon, April 2006)