The “Right” Kind of Porn

People have described me as “edgy” at times when I speak, because I’m not afraid to talk about the uncensored truth. I’ve even offended a handful of ultra-conservative individuals when I shared my talk, “Sex Isn’t Naughty,” using scriptures like Proverbs 5:18-20 to teach the unedited truth about God’s design for sex.

But when I read articles like last week’s piece about Internet Porn and Body Image in the Huffington Post… my “edginess” might be put into perspective. Especially when psychologist and author Vivian Diller, Ph.D. proposes a “right” versus “wrong kind” of porn.

I encourage you to read the whole article, so we don’t take her words out of context. It’s a thought-provoking article suggesting that pornography today has distorted sex to become something unhealthy and harmful, influencing how girls view their own maturing bodies, and shaping their perspective on what’s arousing to others.

But, having just co-written a Youth Culture Window article, posted yesterday, about the rise of sexual TV programming and the regrettable consequences young people experience, I can’t help but chuckle at Dr. Diller’s hints that Playboy’s centerfolds are just not that big of a deal. Diller goes on to describe the HBO series Girls as “refreshing” because…

“…while highly graphic and out there sexually… the male and female stars are not only far from perfect physically, they don’t even seem to care that much. Perhaps, from a certain perspective, writer and producer Lena Dunham is leading teens toward what might be called ‘politically correct porn,’ a healthier, more realistic vision of sexuality that in the future may support, rather than undermine, their authentic sense of self.”

Now don’t get me wrong—I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater here. I actually agree with Diller’s conclusions about how so much of today’s porn is harmful to our girls self esteem and sexual perspective. But I think it’s a giant leap, and even a little bit irresponsible, to give Playboy or HBO’s series Girls a nod of approval. Porn has indeed grown more perverse and out of control; but is it possible that softporn like Playboy is a stepping-stone to the harder stuff? Most research emerging on this topic (and the topic of porn addicts becoming impotent) reveals that porn leads to more porn and dirtier porn. Unfortunately, what might have started with just glimpsing at pics of Victoria Secret models, becomes thumbing through topless photos, then full nudes, then hardcore. And now, with porn just a click away on the internet, males especially are commonly becoming addicted to the dopamine releases they get browsing through the endless supply of pornographic images.

Funny, we were all twisted up in this game even before technology. About 2,000 years ago early Christians were tempted by the availability of pagan prostitutes and what were basically giant orgies in the “high places.” Maybe that’s why the Apostle Paul tells us to literally “flee” sexual immorality (I Corinthians 6). Paul knew its lure!

I’m not going to call it a “slippery slope.” I’ve seen too many people start becoming Pharisaical on the issue, becoming more obsessed with the rules than the truth behind it all. These people often lose sight of the fact that God created sex and that sex is an amazing gift for a married couple to enjoy.

So on one end of the spectrum we have some pretty liberal thinking, labeling some porn good, as long as it doesn’t go too far. On the other side we have some sexual prudes who only have sex with their spouse with the lights out so they don’t accidently sin.

The truth lies somewhere in the middle, understanding sex as a wonderful gift… while extremely aware of its lure when perverted.

I walk that line.

MORE FROM JONATHAN ON THIS SUBJECT:

Shhhhh! Don’t Talk about Sex

Telling Teenagers the Explicit Truth about Sex
Four Facts about Sex We Just Can’t Keep to Ourselves

Promiscuous Programming Promotes Promiscuity

Lust or Love in Today’s Music

I’m to Sexy for My… Costume?

BRING JONATHAN OUT TO SPEAK ON THE SUBJECT

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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7 Responses to The “Right” Kind of Porn

  1. Charlie says:

    This is an eye opening discussion. We were just talking about this in our marriage class (with some young singles in it). The questions was “Why would a wife have trouble being visually stimulating for her husband?” (because men are visual). Some older ladies said they always heard sex (and nudity) were wrong so it still felt wrong in marriage. Some younger ones brought up trying to have a “perfect” body. Another young person later mentioned how sex isn’t a big deal for the younger generation (“it is like drinking a soda”). So it seems we went from one extreme – it is really wrong – to the other – it is not a big deal – and we missed the original plan of God as you stated.

    • It’s interesting to see that kind of “polar” input from the younger and older generations. It’s great that you have a venue where people can speak candidly about it. Keep up the good work!!

  2. Greg says:

    Blessed John Paul II was all over this issue when he taught the Theology of the Body. It’s incredibly liberating stuff. For anyone interested in continuing Jonathan’s excellent observations I’d suggest checking out ChristopherWest.com (he does an outstanding job of making JP2’s Theology of the Body understandable and practical).

    • Sandy says:

      I agree 100% and so do many people–both Catholic and non-Catholic! John Paul II’s groundbreaking teachings on the beauty and purpose of human sexuality cannot and should not be overlooked. Few have keener insights into the topic. Far from being prudish or inordinately staid, his teachings highlight the absolute profoundness of this gift (our sexuality) from God.

  3. Tonya Berry says:

    Would somebody PLEASE start to acknowledge that girls get just as addicted to this as boys do? I live in Columbus – not even the ‘inner city’, the suburbs, and I see girls being as into this sort of thing as boys are. And if people don’t think girls or women are visual, then why is there a magazine called PlayGIRL that has always been as huge as Playboy? As a youth leader I have overheard a lot of conversations that weren’t supposed to be overheard, and trust me – they’re talking about boys’ bodies…

    My friends and I were ‘boy crazy’ when I was a teenager back in the 80’s. When we talked about boys we weren’t like, “Oh look at him I bet he can earn a lot of money someday and make me secure and loved!” LOL No, we were talking about physical attributes. When we went to the mall, we didn’t look for guys who looked like they liked to cuddle. This wasn’t just me, it was also all my friends. And girls today – every single one of them that I meet – are either outspoken about this or reserved about it, but they all focus on physical attributes when choosing a boyfriend.

    It’s not just girls who were molested who get addicted to this kind of thing either. The internet is for everybody, and to say that it’s only boys who look at this stuff would be remiss. I think that society has just influenced girls and women to put on an act and pretend like we’re pure as the driven snow – even though most of us are not.

    • Tonya… girls definitely do struggle with porn too. And yes, girls can be very attracted by “visual.” But studies show that guys struggle with porn much more than girls do. Does that mean we shouldn’t address it with our girls? Not even close. It needs to be addressed with both sexes.

  4. Patrick Melton says:

    Keep walking that line and you will fall off.