Pornography: An Epidemic

It’s awesome – that silence when you mention porn in a sermon or even in casual conversation. In fact, if I bold the word PORN here… many men will immediately feel they need to hide their computer screens so no one sees the word in an article they are reading regardless of the fact this article is anti-PORN. I think I’ll capitalize it every single time from now on so you and I can thumb PORN in the eye and dispel its mysterious aura of shame trapping millions and millions of people… right now.

That incredible awkward silence received when mentioning this rampant problem is pretty telling in and of itself. The power of PORN is not just in its addictive nature, but in its ability to silence any partaker of this awful compulsion. It’s like the fight club where the first rule of fight club is don’t talk about fight club. But the truth is that talking about PORN is absolutely the way to conquer it. So if you’re done hiding your computer screen, let’s look at some serious data that will tear at your heart, open your eyes, and God Willing, open your mouth about PORN.

  • 70 percent of men aged 18 to 24 visit a porn site at least once per month.
    This means that your son’s college roommate is actively watching PORN. Or maybe it’s your child.
  • The average age of first viewing porn is estimated by some researchers to be 11.
    Please note that PG-13 is now… irrelevant.
  • 93 percent of boys and 62 percent of girls are exposed to pornography before age 18.
    If you have a child, your assumption should be that they’ve been exposed to PORN. If they deny this, they are probably caught in the shame cycle. Consult trusted friends and spiritual leaders on how to get past the denial and shame cycle. Speaking of spiritual leaders…
  • 57 percent of pastors and 64 percent of youth pastors admit to have viewed pornography.
    According to the statistics, where two or more pastors are gathered… PORN has been viewed by one or more of them. Please note that this doesn’t mean they are regularly watching porn though the testimonies on this are also alarming.

Maybe you are now willing to concede that many people are watching PORN occasionally. How much is this really happening though? What is the extent of the problem? Well let’s think about it in terms of something pretty rampant such as… internet usage. Quite a few people are using the internet nowadays, like everyone.

  • A major free porn site boasted that in 2015 it received 21.2 billion visits and “streamed 75GB of data a second, which translates to enough porn to fill the storage in around 175 million 16GB iPhones.”
  • Porn sites get 450 million unique visitors per month. That’s more than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined.
  • One of the largest free porn sites streamed six times the bandwidth of Hulu in 2013.
  • 12 percent of ALL Internet websites are pornographic.
  • 25 percent of ALL online search engine requests are related to sex. That’s about 68 million requests per day.
  • 30 percent of ALL data transferred across the Internet is porn.
  • 35 percent of ALL Internet downloads are pornographic.
  • 40 million Americans are regular visitors (in their own estimation) to porn sites.

40 million Americans is more than the entire population of Iraq, Saudia Arabia and about double the amount of people in Syria. It is 8 times more than the population of Israel! Imagine every person in Israel plus 7 of their international friends watching PORN regularly! A couple last examples to put the 40 million Americans watching PORN regularly into perspective. 40 million is more than every single person in all of California. It is more than the ENTIRE population of Washington D.C., Virginia, Maryland, Colorado, Massachusetts and New York… combined!

Okay, so PORN is extremely rampant. But is it really negatively affecting anyone? Let’s start with the obvious.

  • Female partner’s self-esteem decreases as her male partner’s porn use increases.
    I think we all know how obvious it is that when a husband uses PORN to stimulate himself, the wife feels bad about herself.
  • Porn consumers were less likely to intervene if they observed a sexual assault taking place.
    It’s like kryptonite to our inner hero!
  • A recent meta-analysis of 22 studies between 1978 and 2014 from seven different countries concluded that pornography consumption is associated with an increased likelihood of committing acts of verbal or physical sexual aggression, regardless of age.
  • This is not surprising considering that “88 percent of analyzed [porn] scenes contained physical aggression”

It’s fair to say this rampant sexual perversion is negatively affecting society. Speaking of society, a study showed a doubling in the percentage of males aged 20-24 that had either no interest or even an outright aversion to sex with another person. In just two short years from 2008 to 2010 it rose from 11.8 percent to 21.5 percent. Almost one in every four people was not interested or disinterested in sex! “Notice how this growing disinterest in real-world encounters coincides directly with the onset of the current digital pornography boom, which began in earnest in 2008.”

Maybe I’m being cynical, but I’m pretty sure sex with another person is important to the continuation society and propagating our human existence.

There is also a new phenomenon among youths with a type of PORN called sexting. In this catchy cute phrased combination of sex and texting, terrible things are happening. In essence, sexting is when someone sends pictures of themselves to their “friends”, boyfriends, and prospective boyfriends. One report says that “receiving texts like ‘send me a picture of your [boobs]’ is an almost daily occurrence for many young girls.’” Even more egregious, when an 8th grade girl was asked, “How do you know a guy likes you?,” she replied: “He still wants to talk to you after you [give him oral sex].”

Since the vast majority of these adolescent relationships go sour, it is not surprising that petty boys will intentionally share the sexting and other explicit materials collected during the course of the “relationship” in order to humiliate their ex-girlfriends. In fact, this “revenge porn” has been linked to several suicides and has been used to blackmail and sexually exploit minors.

In case I’ve used the male pronoun too often, please note that fully one-third of all Internet porn users are female.

The data and stories above can be depressing. Where to begin addressing this? Well, it turns out that one thousand Christian leaders met in Greensboro, North Carolina, to tackle the growing pornography epidemic. The Set Free Global Summit, which took place April 4-7, 2016, explored the social, psychological, neurological, and spiritual impact of pornography.

Government is also trying to make a dent. Both houses of the Utah legislature recently passed a resolution declaring pornography to be a “public health crisis.”

More must be done though by spiritual leaders to raise awareness of this epidemic, especially among the pastors in Israel. We need to see the data coming out of America and realize this epidemic is hitting our shores… now. Indeed, data collected informally in Israeli congregations thus far shows the epidemic is already upon us. We need to aggressively pursue a unified course of action so that the fabric of society does not unravel on us.

Ironically, the most popular day of the week for watching PORN [in America] is Sunday. What does that say about the effectiveness of the church in America? Let us be more effective. I for one will not stay silent.

If you made it this far into the article without feeling ashamed of reading the word PORN 17 times in capital letters, maybe you are also prepared to take the first step in solving this epidemic. Maybe you’ll open your mouth and speak up about this to friends, neighbors, pastors and anyone else who will listen. Let’s boldly discuss porn until there is no longer an awkward silence, but rather an emphatic eagerness to talk about all that God is doing in bringing down the strongholds of this world.