“Every Teen Is Doing It, Aren’t They?”
by Tracey Bickle
Is watching porn so common that every teen is doing it? These are some of the real thoughts and questions I am asked by young adults on a regular basis concerning the issues of pornography use:
Does it really matter?
I don’t know a boy who isn’t using it so may I just look the other way?
I love the Lord and He hasn’t helped me to stop so it must not bother Him.
All my friends watch it.
If I only do it every couple of weeks that isn’t a “real” problem, is it? Why should I quit?
I can stop anytime I want.
We girls are just doing what the boys have been doing for a long time.
Nothing has worked to stop me so I’ve just given in.
I can’t tell anyone—they’d be shocked that I’d even clicked on and by how much I use it. I can’t tell my parents, as they will take my phone and computer away which I don’t want that to happen.
I’ve been looking at it for so long that I can no longer remember the first time I saw it. My dad uses it and he has a good marriage.
Is it really that bad for you?
Such heartfelt statements and questions are often laced with confusion, shame, and a sense of hopelessness, along with a real desire to find answers to what has become an epidemic of monumental proportions in our society. Though we know that God has the answers, they often seem to be clouded by the many factors of each situation. That very cloudiness becomes one of the numerous reasons pornography is not addressed within friendships, romantic relationships, families, and churches.
Remember the Kindness of the Lord
Let’s first look at the narrative in our heads on how we think God sees us in our weakness and/or brokenness. This truth will help us determine our way forward, because if we know and understand that the Bible teaches us that God loves us in our weakness, we will have a greater tendency to move toward Him when we fall.
If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (1 John 2:1)
Jesus will be our Advocate in finding and walking in freedom in these areas. He is forever pleading your case before the Father in heaven. That’s a beautiful truth to connect with while working out those broken areas.
We watch that played out in the examples of such prominent biblical personalities as David (the godliest man), Samson (the strongest man), and Solomon (the wisest man). They were all vulnerable to sexual brokenness. Furthermore, the Bible highlights sexually broken women for whom Jesus advocated wholeness: the woman at the well and Mary Magdalene, just to name two. This can bring us courage on how Jesus handles the hearts and behavior of ones dealing with sexual brokenness. We too can come before Him with those places in our lives that assail us and problems that seem insurmountable.
As we walk out this issue, we must first understand God’s kindness toward us, and only then can we seek to connect with the effects of pornography in our lives.
Look first at this anonymous testimony of a young person who received freedom from a life of shame. Then read on here the confirmation that science gives.
Science Weighs In
Neuroscience now show us that willpower is a function of the prefrontal lobes of the brain. Scientific studies have also confirmed that acting out an addictive behavior over and over actually reshapes this area of the brain, literally eroding our willpower and our moral compass.
When our prefrontal lobes are working normally, without addictive behavior—pornography, for instance—then we have what is called executive control over the processes going on in our brains. This is where we do our abstract thinking, make goals, solve problems, regulate behavior, and where we suppress emotions, impulses, and urges.
Which means every time we click on pornography, it affects not only our ability to say no the next time and but our ability in general to walk life out well. Porn is like meth to your sexuality, it hijacks entire your system at a biological and psychological level and brings it to a place God never intended it to be.
Just think about God’s original intent for your sexuality: He designed you to be naked and unashamed with a person all the days of your life. You were meant to erotically connect, visually and physically, with one person in that beautiful covenant of matrimony! However, in one session of pornography use, you can sift through hundreds of images in a matter of minutes. We make fun of Solomon and his harem of a thousand “wives,” but are we all that different when connect ourselves to a thousand illusory, high definition, erotic images in porn? Painful. This deadens your heart towards the Lord and others in relationship and you no longer can offer yourself as a good gift—body, soul, and spirit.
What Do We Do?
- One of the wisest things we can do is tell on ourselves to a trusted leader/friend and get accountability. A trusted person matters, because someone who does not hold confidences will tell others and you will harden your heart towards sharing again. We all need accountability in our lives—walking through life together is the way God designed it. Click here to read a testimony from a young person who has found relief from their addictions.
- Get a good filter for your smartphones, tablets, and computers. Yes, they do work if it’s a good one. Another person is the administrator of that filter, not you. If you have a hard time handling your smartphone, get a dumb one for a six–month period or until you can take control of your technology, because for many, their technology has control of them.
- Exchange your time spent online with other activities like working out, being with people, or other various activities. There are many things. Men especially need an outlet for that holy, but frustrating, testosterone!
- Choose to not watch movies that trigger your desire to click onto porn.
Read the Word of God in a more consistent manner. In the context of exhorting husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the Church, Paul states that God cleanses us and washes us with the water of the Word (Ephesians 5:26).
I have worked with many, many, many men AND women in this area and have seen much freedom come to those who don’t quit and don’t give up trying. If you quit trying and say it’ll never work, it won’t work. We press in until we see complete freedom. I encourage you to stand steady in this and see the goodness of the Lord in your life as you walk into freedom.
Do you want to get free from watching porn? What step(s) can you take to find freedom?
Fascinate, our high school conference, is a great place for individual teens and entire youth groups to grow their identity in God and find their calling in life. (Fascinate is included with ATC High School 1). Learn more about Fascinate »
- Pastoral Support: Director of Restoration and Recovery
Tracey Bickle serves on the senior leadership team of the International House of Prayer of Kansas City, where she has been the director of Restoration and Recovery in the Pastoral Support department for the past sixteen years. She teaches and equips others to walk in freedom from all manner of brokenness. Tracey has three married children and is a delighted grandma to five. Her heart is to help remove all that hinders love in the lives of people. Tracey is the author of Chaos Beneath the Shade: How to Uproot and Stay Free from Bitterness.