Talking about pornography and sexual fantasies

Tosin's Bible Blog:  Talking about pornography and sexual fantasies

Guilt and Shame
Guilt and shame are completely useless and timewasting emotions for us as Christians. I don’t want anyone to succumb to feelings of guilt or shame as you are reading this post. That is not the point of this post, or even the point of this blog at all. The point is to acknowledge whatever you may be doing, rise up and put it right if necessary. Then move on and forget about it.

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This post has come about as a result of my posting a link to an article onto my Facebook wall. Apparently frequently watching pornography potentially causes detrimental physiological effects for men. The reason why I was especially happy to post a link to that article in particular is because it was apparently written from a “neutral” scientific perspective, rather than a Christian perspective.

That article is available here. Well, as a result of my posting that link, a few voices requested that I myself should write an article on pornography. I guess I should have seen that coming, but I genuinely did not, otherwise I might not have been so quick to post the link! So here’s the requested article. These are my initial reflections, as I have not had much time to pull together thoughts on this issue.

First and foremost…
I am going to hijack my own post for the sake of asking this question, which I must admit that I have considered often whenever pornography has been discussed. Simply this: Does every man struggle with this thing – or the overwhelming majority of men? Even my holiest, purest, most prayerful brothers, full of fire and spiritual vigour – do they struggle with pornography as well? Does this then mean that any potential husband of mine will also be struggling with this, no matter how holy he is and aspires to be?

To my future husband, I would like to say this: if this is your struggle, then I want to let you know that this does not diminish you in the slightest in my eyes. I still respect you so deeply and I would still be so deeply honoured to spend the rest of my life with you. Yes, I have made a big deal about how I am striving for Christ and pursuing holiness in all that I am and all that I do. However, that does not mean that I have not had my own struggles, and continue to struggle in certain ways, and I appreciate that similarly “Huggie-Wuggie” will also have his own struggles, in which he is crying out to God. Yes, I do have quite demanding criteria for my husband, as I expect he will also have for me. However, chief among these criteria is the idea that my husband will genuinely be striving for holiness, and be striving for Christ-like character, and be wanting to be given over to God in everything that he does. If this is you, and you are also huggie and deep, then I would definitely want to get to know you more. If we are to be together and pornography is your struggle, then I hope we would be able to face it together.

If you don’t feel comfortable telling me or discussing it with me, then that is absolutely your decision and I hope I would never force the issue in any way. However, if you did feel comfortable about telling me, then we could fight this together. However it would probably be best for you to wait until we are actually in a relationship, or engaged, or married, before confiding in me. If you are a male friend who struggles with this, and you would like to confide in someone, then please understand that it is probably wisest not to choose to talk to me about it, because I am a girl. I do think it is useful to find or establish accountability partners and I encourage you to do this, but in wisdom, so that you don’t actually drag one another deeper into this thing. By writing this post I am not in any way asking or needing to find out this detail about your lives.

Obviously though, any future husband of mine does not need to wait until we are actually together to start dealing with it. Reading some of the physiological consequences of porn usage made me feel a little aghast, as, well, one has been cultivating certain marital hopes and expectations, and erm, well, I think those physiological consequences would dent my expectations somewhat. So, my future darling Huggie-Wuggie, please start dealing with it now, if you have not already done so – please?! Please?!

You know what? This has not been my own struggle. However, it would be so dishonest of me to pretend that I have not had my own struggles regarding sexual purity, and continue to fight for sexual purity in my own life.

In fact, a few months ago on my other blog, I promised to write a post on the subject of my own struggles with sexual fantasies etc. But then, oh look!, I decided it was probably a little bit more prudent to leave this subject altogether, and I accidentally-on-purpose pushed the idea to the back of my mind. However, the only reason I would have wanted to talk about this in the first place is because I knew that it might help other people who might be struggling in similar ways. And then the porn thing came up… and here we are now!

Yes it is a sin!
While I am trying to be gracious to other people as well as myself in this post, let us not deceive ourselves; yes it is a sin! Seeking sexual gratification outside of marriage is a sin. Jesus tells us that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart (and vice-versa with looking at men, clearly): Matthew 5v28 I believe that this goes beyond mere sexual attraction to cultivating selfish sexual desires. The acts of watching pornography and fantasising sexually are definitely lust. Furthermore, both pornography and dwelling on sexual fantasies have the potential to be very dangerous sins. It is the same as with any other thing: when we think and think and think on these issues then the potential is that at some point they can completely take over our minds until we are essentially helpless and can barely control our actions any further. I remember that there is some compelling statistic that demonstrates that men who commit violent sexual crimes have almost invariably been addicted to pornography beforehand. (Link to a Google search, so you can make your own mind up!) This was bad enough with pornography before the days of the internet, where some effort had to be applied to access pornography and/or pay for it. Now however, because of the internet, it is widely, effortlessly and freely available to pretty much anyone with the slightest curiosity about it. As I was walking around today, I was asking myself how many of the people I was interacting with may have had addictions to pornography which may have reached dangerous levels. I can’t help wondering what kind of sexual-violence time-bomb society might be storing up for itself. So on one hand yes, it is a sin, and yes, it can be dangerous and even deadly beyond physiological issues. Even if for instance like me you are a woman, and not very likely to attack someone else, it might still contribute to adultery or premarital sexual activity. On the other hand, though…

God is bigger than our sexuality! (Including our sexual failings)
This is what gives us hope even in the midst of our struggles. The fact that God is bigger than our sexuality. Within the last year I have cried out to God, telling Him: “Lord, this thing is bigger than me!” But then I remember that while it may feel bigger than me, it is certainly not bigger than God. This is why He is God. He is bigger than everything. This is why He is all-powerful. Because He has the power to break these chains which might otherwise seem to be inescapable. I believe that the same is true of pornography, of fantasies, and also of homosexuality and other sexual prisons. All these things are real and powerful and seemingly insurmountable by our own efforts. But God..is God!

Insincere struggles
I think that this is one of the big reasons why it might feel so difficult to escape this. Because deep down you don’t really want to let go of this sin.
This is a conversation I’ve had with God countless times:
“Lord, I know that this thing is wrong. I know that it displeases You. I know that it is desperately evil. But to be candid, I don’t really want to give it up. I enjoy it too much!” (And then the excuses start flowing) “But God, I’m single! Everyone else is married! And here I am taking solace in a few meagre fantasies! God, I feel as if I’ve been so patient! And this annoying man is seriously taking his time. And it’s not as if I’m actually doing it! Lord, it’s not that I’m complaining; it’s just that…” Do any of these excuses sound familiar?!

And here is another thing. Does anyone else recognise this? The feeling of not wanting to be caught. So on one hand, I’m thinking “Lord, I’m single!” (Shrug!) On the other hand, I’m thinking “Lord, no-one must ever know! (If nothing else Lord, I write a couple of hard-hitting blogs…I have a reputation to protect!!!!)” So yeah, there’s that too, especially as Christians. This if anything is usually a big incentive to deal with the issue. But then in my wiser moments, I think to myself “Even if no-one would ever find out, even my future husband, even if I could be guaranteed to “get away with this” forever, I have to be pure before my God. My heart has to be totally holy” I know that whenever I give myself over to sinful sexual fantasies, then I make myself an instrument in the hands of the devil.

Well I have finally come to the point of realising that I have to make up my mind cry out to God that He might give me the necessary determination to be utterly pure hearted before Him. The truth is that I have made up my mind in determination myself so many times. Now I have no choice but to cast myself upon God’s mercy. The Bible says that it is God who “works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure” Philippians 2v13. This means that even the will to be sexually pure can come from God Himself when we are lacking. I guess I’ve come to the end of my own attempts to exert all my own effort. So now I am finally at the point of saying “Lord, please give me the determination. Please give me the will. Help me to do whatever it takes to be pure before You!”

So if this is you then I encourage you to do the same thing. Even at times when you catch yourself sinning, even in those lowest moments, I encourage you to pray even then. This might sound a little strange. However this is the logic: if you are also praying, even in those moments when you are sinning (let’s call it what it is!) then you are not totally giving yourself over to sin. You are still staking a claim for the Lordship of Christ even in those lowest points of your life. And then I encourage you, each time you disappoint yourself in this, to get up, to fling off the temptation to lose yourself in guilt, and to declare “I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!” 2 Corinthians 5v21 If you succumb a thousand times in one day, then those same thousand times, get up, and declare it to yourself “I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!” Say it loudly, so that you believe it: “I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!” What the devil wants to do is to wrap you in shame and helplessness and hopelessness and make you think that there is no use even fighting it. But remember, this is why we believe in an all powerful God. There is nothing whatsoever that we go through that fazes God. And this is who we are: the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, even though we continue to struggle with sin in our lives.

And then we also have to ask God to give us the determination to fill our hearts with purity, and with genuine selfless love towards our would-be partners, so that we genuinely seek to serve and honour them with our bodies, rather than to lustfully grab our own pleasure at their expense.

There is so much more that could be said on this topic, and I feel that I need to reorganise this post itself to make it more user-friendly.
However I will stop here for now.

But remember that no matter what, God is bigger than it all. Don’t give yourself over to hopelessness, and remember that God has a huge plan for your life, despite your struggles with sin. If God did not use anyone that struggled with sin, then He would never use anyone at all! No matter how low you may have descended, in your thoughts, in the things you’ve looked at or watched, or in actual actions, even if you have done things that would warrant going to prison, God still loves you and He still wants you in His Kingdom.

Bible Verses: Philippians 2v13: For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

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PHOTO CREDITS Photo of leaves by Greyerbaby on Pixabay

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