Tag: sexuality

Book Spotlight: Sex is Not the Problem

sexisnottheproblemSex is Not the Problem (Released also as Not Even a Hint)
by Joshua Harris

Target audience: Everyone

Most readers know Joshua Harris for his book I Kissed Dating Goodbye, a book that reopened the discussion of courtship for a generation dominated by the dating scene. With a refreshing boldness, Joshua Harris addresses the topic of lust and sexuality in Sex is Not the Problem (Lust Is). This book goes beyond the usual pulpit “don’t have sex until marriage” speech, and instead celebrates sex and sexuality for what they truly are: a gift from God.

But in a fallen world, there are a lot of temptations and sins that distort the original design of sex. Harris not only teaches on the beauty of sexuality, but also how to deal with the pitfalls and snares of unholy lust.

Topics covered:

  • What lust is and what lust isn’t
  • God’s design for sexuality
  • The differences in the male and female sex drives
  • Dealing with masturbation
  • Fighting against pornography and other media temptations
  • Biblical truths on lust

Corresponding study guides for both men and women are available for purchase for small
groups or individuals.

 

Fifty Shades of Pornography

shadesThe Fifty Shades of Grey books are currently some of the most popular books on the market. It’s disturbing how popular this book series has become in such a short amount of time.

For those of you who don’t know what Fifty Shades of Grey is, it’s an erotica series that involves some pretty graphic sexual encounters, including B&D and S&M. Yet people talk about it like it’s a Harry Potter book – completely innocent, really fun, and something everyone should read. Do you know where I found a shelf of Fifty Shades of Grey books? Next to the preteen section. And if that’s not enough, I even found cleverly disguised erotica books for teenagers hidden in the bookshelves.

Why are we okay with this?

Pornography is traditionally thought of as something visual, such as pictures and movies. And since books aren’t visual – they’re based on the imagination – we don’t consider them to be in the same category as pornography.

We’re wrong to think that. Very, very wrong.

Think about this: men are typically visual, and are statistically the main consumers of internet pornography. But what are women the main consumers of? Steamy romance novels; stories that play out sexual fantasies, much like internet pornography does for those who are aroused visually.

Pornography comes in many different mediums, not just in internet pictures and in x-rated movies. “Romance” novels are just as much a form of pornography as pictures are. They cultivate lustful desires in the mind in the same damaging way that internet pornography does. The difference is that romance novels target the emotions instead of the eyes, and in doing so, they dodge the pornographic label.

There is nothing innocent about pornography in any form. It destroys marriages, it destroys relationships, and it destroys lives. I don’t say that to be dramatic – it’s a fact. (There are links below if you’d like to see the facts for yourself.)

Psalm 101:3 says, “I will set before my eyes no vile thing.” Vile doesn’t come just in the form of pictures – it can come in written form as well. So what are you putting before your eyes — written or otherwise?

Verses to think about:
Romans 8:5-6
Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

Job 31:11-12
For lust is a shameful sin, a crime that should be punished. It is a fire that burns all the way to hell. It would wipe out everything I own.(Emphasis mine.)

1 Corinthians 6:18
Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.

Related articles:
Social Science Research on Pornography
Harmless Pornography
Pornography Statistics

Speak

micro2I watched a news program recently that interviewed a pastor who said he made it a point to steer clear of the topic of sex, abortion, or same-sex marriage. He said that he didn’t want to “separate people;” he just wanted to stick to “what he was called to.”

As a pastor, you’re called to teach God’s truth. All of it. Even if you don’t necessarily like it; even if you don’t feel comfortable with it. You don’t worry about what other people think, you worry about what God wants to say.

But he’s not the only pastor I’ve found guilty of avoiding such touchy subjects. Even just the first of these topics (sex) is something I’ve watched pastors skip over, as if it is too dangerous a subject to expand on. But sex is everywhere. Adultery, fornication, lust– these things are ruining people’s lives on a daily basis. If Christians– who have access to God’s blueprints for sex– don’t stand up and speak the truth of its brilliant design, who will? Sex is not a secret. It’s a gift from God. He’s designed it Himself, and has blessed its purpose! And yet, sometimes it feels like the church sees it like a dead animal on the side of the road that no one wants to make direct eye contact with.

I agree that sex is somewhat delicate and private, and should be handled in such a way that does not stir emotions before their time. But people want to know about sex. They’re curious about what God has to say about it. And God has not only told us how sex can destroy our lives, but He’s also told us how to have the best sex there is. Without guidance from God’s word, people are trying out sexual boundaries for themselves and finding the results “satisfying enough” to settle for. They don’t even know there’s something better than what they have. But the church can be hesitant to be joyful when it comes to sexuality. Christians have the reputation of seeing sex as inappropriate discussion. But sex is holy. Since when has something holy ever been inappropriate?

God didn’t create rules for sex to make people “more spiritual.” He created the rules because He wants people to enjoy an awesome sex life, without remorse or regret. But people won’t know that unless we tell them. And we should, because we’re cheating people out of the very best if we don’t. It’s our job to speak the truth. All of it. Because the truth expresses the real, authentic love God has for us which is the overwhelming reality that truly changes lives.

Verses to Think About:
Psalms 78:4
We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders.

Psalm 119: 43
Do not snatch your word of truth from me, for your regulations are my only hope.

Jeremiah 9:3
“My people bend their tongues like bows to shoot out lies. They refuse to stand up for the truth. They only go from bad to worse. They do not know me,” says the Lord.

Matthew 22:16
They sent some of their disciples, along with the supporters of Herod, to meet with [Jesus]. “Teacher,” they said, “we know how honest you are. You teach the way of God truthfully. You are impartial and don’t play favorites.

John 8:32
And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Harmless Pornography

computerWe want to believe pornography is harmless. Pornography is everywhere in one form or another and more is done to encourage it than confront it. But think for a moment: What are the actual, solid benefits of viewing pornography?

How strong are the arguments in favor of it? Excuses that run along the lines of “It doesn’t hurt anyone”, “It’s natural to explore your sexuality”, or even – when grasping for the really thin straws – “It’s legal, so what’s the problem?”

The problem is our selfish desires. The problem is the perversion of sexuality. The problem is the destruction of intimate relationships.

“Come on now,” you may be saying to yourself. “It’s not that big of a deal.” Is it?

In each of us is a sex drive. This is a great thing. Our sex drives not only steer us towards procreation and intimacy, but even stoke our creativity, playfulness, and adventurous side. But in our attempts to satisfy our desires, we can fall into the habit of turning to lesser things that indulge us for a moment, but never fully quench our thirst. Pornography is guilty of the same false sense of gratification that alcohol, drugs, or any other form of addiction offers us.

Pornography is often used as a filler or a distraction. It is used when someone is waiting for marriage and feels stifled in their sexuality. It is used when someone’s sex life is stale or on hold. It is used when someone is empty or stressed and wants some form of escape from their reality. And it works, but only for a very short period of time. Maybe only a day, or even just a few hours. That’s when a pattern evolves and an addiction forms. Someone longs for the distraction it brings; for the high their imagination gets from it.

The high from pornography, however, is something completely different from the satisfaction of sexual intimacy. Pornographic highs are caused by lust. Lust cannot be cured, it can only be fed. And sooner or later it will, in fact, demand to be fed. It will not stop despite the status of your sex life. When you are married and have a great sex life, or when you feel content and satisfied as things are, the lust that has been fed will still seek you out.

In addition, an addiction to pornography cannot be cured by marriage. Although some people think that they’ll just play with pornography until they get married, the truth is that most people who get addicted to pornography before marriage continue to look at it after marriage. This is a huge cause for divorce. According to a meeting by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in 2003, two-thirds of the divorce lawyers that met said the internet had a heavy contribution to their cases, with pornography relating to half of those cases.1

In reality, viewing pornography is an attempt to fulfill a selfish desire instantly, avoiding any human intimacy or responsibility. Michael Leahy, whose family was torn apart by porn and sex addiction, addresses this in his book, Porn University. He writes to his sons, “It was all about me. I made it that way. In fact, I was so into me that after awhile, I hardly noticed you or your mom at all.”2

The desire to have sex is not wrong; the act of finding a way to satisfy it outside of marriage is. This goes for many things: pornography, premarital sex, romance novels, racy magazines, or even television programs. All these can pervert or distort the view of sex, and in turn, it lessens the gratification of pure sexual intimacy. It doesn’t matter if the people in these forms of pornography are real or not. The destructive feelings are. The destructive patterns and distorted views of sexuality is what makes pornography harmful. It takes the beauty of sexuality and turns it into a selfish indulgence, free of real intimacy or commitment.

No one was ever cured of loneliness, a bad sex life, or sexual frustration by viewing pornography. It is not created to assist society in any way; it is really only out for money. The workers behind pornography will never take responsibility for– or even feel sympathy towards– what happens to your relationships or life due to an addiction problem. Pornography is not interested fulfilling your desires. It is only interested in fulfilling its own.

But we are not guiltless when it comes to the equation. We are the ones guilty of handing over our money, along with our intimate relationships, our self-control, and our pure and powerful sexuality.

Pornography is not harmless. It is as dangerous and destructive as any other kind of addiction that sinks its teeth in us.

 

1 “Divorce Statistics: Pornography.”California Divorce Online: Orange County Divorce: Do It Yourself. Divorce Wizards. Web. Aug 2011. <http://www.divorcewizards.com/Divorce-Statistics-Pornography.html>.

2 Leahy, Michael. “A Letter From Dad.”,Porn University: What College Students Are Really Saying about Sex on Campus. Chicago: Northfield Pub., 2009. Print.

Trick

tv“…The Devil’s best trick is to persuade you that he doesn’t exist.” -Charles Baudelaire, The Generous Gambler

The last time I went to go pay my phone bill, I observed something interesting. While I was waiting in line, I took notice of the two TVs on the wall next to me. On one TV there was a fun, childlike documentary on arctic animals in comparison to human beings. On the other TV was a typical soap opera full of sex, drama, and violence. One of the TVs had sound, the other didn’t.  Want to take a guess at what show they thought everyone would be more interested in?  The soap opera, naturally.

In reading this line from the story The Generous Gambler by Charles Baudelaire, I immediately thought of the hold the media’s view of sexuality and relationships has on society. Dramas, soap operas, sit-coms, and reality shows have seemed to influence what society claims to be okay when it comes to relationships and sex.

It’s almost as if we look to these shows to define our morals. No longer does the Bible define sin, but we do. We decide based on what we watch, who we know, and our own logic what is and isn’t sin, and then we go out into the world and destroy our relationships and our lives.

In watching that soap opera for ten minutes I learned these common media lessons: wear as little clothing as possible to be attractive, treating someone you love like dirt is okay if you’re having a bad day or they deserve it, sex has no other value then entertainment and personal satisfaction, and self-control gets in the way of really living. All these lessons ruin our marriages, our relationships, and our families.

What really defines our morals? What defines our sexual sins? It’s almost as if we erase the devil to justify destroying ourselves and the relationships around us. Our families don’t matter. Our marriages don’t matter. The purity of our sexuality doesn’t matter. All that matters is doing what we feel is right and giving in to any temptation we come across. And in doing such, Satan wins his game and we know nothing better of it.

If we want to really live, we have to stop justifying destroying our lives. How can we enjoy life after tearing apart our relationships because of our logic influenced by the media and society around us? We need to remember who Satan is and how he influences the world around us: he taints our sexuality, he feeds our selfishness, and he works at making our marriages and relationships to fall apart. We need to remember what defines our morals and stick to that source in order to save our marriages, our families, and ourselves.

Verses to Think About:
Ephesians 4:19
They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.

Proverbs 14:12
There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

Proverbs 14:9
Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation.

Colossians 3:5
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.