Why is porn use so shameful?

Once again I find myself pondering deep questions and concepts and this seems to be a good place to hash some of this out.  So bear with me, if you will.

In a discussion pertaining to pornography use and the shamefulness we see in those who partake and who are addicted, someone suggested that it’s the Church’s (universal church) response to sexuality that has made the use of porn so shameful.  Which sort of had me scratching my head; even those who were raised in a-religious homes and with little-to-no religious instruction find shame in porn use.  To the point where porn magazines are covered in paper on the newsstands, porn shops and strip clubs are in different (generally more run-down) parts of a city, and it’s generally not spoken of in “mixed company.”  Even the very topic is one spoken of in whispers, more often than not.  Premium movie channels on cable generally run skin-flicks late at night (notice the theme of darkness here?), and it leads me to wonder which came first: the shamefulness of illicit sexual activity or the whispering about illicit sexual activity that brought about shame?

One astute friend said that he thought it harkened back to the Garden of Eden and the original sin of Adam & Eve.  When they had disobeyed God, the first thing they did was *hide* – Scripture says that they hid because they recognized their nakedness and were ashamed of it (Genesis 3:7-10).  Notice: there was no Church there to shake a finger and say, “Tsk, tsk, tsk… you were naked!”  The shame they felt was innate.

Does shame help a porn addict?  Absolutely not.  Shame encourages the sin to remain hidden, covered, kept out of the way and out of polite conversation with mixed company.  But that also permits it to flourish.  Shame and sin that produces shame thrives in the dark and it dies in the light.  In the light of day, we recognize that we’re not the only ones who struggle with sin-issues – pornographic or not.  In the light of day, we can find cameraderie, companionship, and grace to walk with us down the long, hard path to sexual sobriety.  But in the dark… oh, in the dark, these things aren’t so evident.  And we are easily duped in to believing that no one would like us if we were honest.  That we would be rejected again, and again, and again.  And so many people (men and women) remain in the dark of their addiction.  They might have glimpses of hope here and there, but it’s never quite enough to entice them out in to the light where God’s grace and the kindness of others can lift them up and help them walk the narrow path.  And all the while, their wounds continue to fester and ache, and the porn habit becomes an addiction that feeds on itself and the soul of its victim.

Sounds insidious, doesn’t it?  I suspect you know it is.  If you’re struggling with pornography addiction, you’ve experienced it first-hand.  If you’re married to someone who is addicted or whom you suspect is addicted, you’re walking out a path of fear, doubt, and mistrust.  And that has led to a piece of your spirit dying painfully every time you find one more small bit of evidence that confirms your fear & mistrust.

The good news is that THERE IS HOPE.  There is more than just condemnation from those in the Church.  There are those who understand the struggle, the pain, and the ache.  And there are those who are willing to put aside their preconceived notions and judgemental attitudes in order to walk alongside you on the path.  I’m reminded that it doesn’t matter how many times one falls on the path to sexual sobriety – it matters how many times one gets up *after falling*.  As long as the number of “pick yourself up and dust yourself off”-episodes is +1 from the number of “falls,” you’re making progress.  And therein lies the secret to success.  God’s help is amply available to those who desire it and to those who seek after it (Jeremiah 29:12-14), but we have to be wiling to walk out of the darkness, embrace the light, and ask for His strength and help.

There are resources listed on the lefthand sidebar of places to seek and find help.  Some are groups where you can find accountability and encouragement, others are places to begin to understand that you were created for more than your addiction.  All are places where God’s grace runs freely and love is available to encourage you along the way.

If you are addicted, these words from Mark Driscoll at Mars Hill church in Seattle might encourage you:

You are not an animal. You are the glory of God.
You are not a pervert. You are the glory of God.
You are not an addict. You are the glory of God.
You are not a victim. You are the glory of God.
You are not a fool. You are the glory of God.

You were created for more than your slavery to sexual sin.  There are those who are willing to walk with you down the path to sexual sobriety.  Reach out.  Ask for help.  And accept it when it comes.  God’s love has not been wasted on you – you are worth the price He paid for you.  Full stop.

May the peace that this Christmas season brings be something you understand, even if for the first time this year.  Reach out and take my hand.  We’ll walk the path together.

His and his,
~Cori.

This entry was posted on 192139H Dec 2008 and is filed under Anger, Forgiveness, Marriage Building, Path to Healing, Pornography, Sexual Assault, Sexual Brokenness. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

  • Neko-chan

    You always come through for me, Cori… when my heart is full of trepidation and doubt and hurt, and I ask God to show me something to tell me I’m not alone… many times, He leads me here, and to something you have written that I need so much…
    Loving someone who has a sexual sin addiction is hard work and serious business… and it can wear you out.

    Thank you for reminding me that the battle belongs to the Lord and not to me. I can only be (as you have astutely said on occasion) a shield-maiden and a prayer warrior.

    Thank you for being obedient to the Lord and so honest about your struggles. You have helped me more than you could ever know. <3

  • http://www.covenanteyes.com/blog/ Luke

    I agree wholeheartedly with your thoughts about porn addiction. While I don’t believe shame is bad per se, I do believe that our natural, sinful reaction to shame is to stay hidden, and thus shame becomes bad. The Bible speaks of how far gone people are when they lack all shame for their sin, however, it is equally bad when someone continues to plunge themselves into chronic shame and never turns that shamefulness over to God and seek forgiveness.

    I love the Mark Driscoll quote. His free e-book, Porn Again Christian, is a great resource for men who are struggling with pornography.

    http://www.covenanteyes.com/blog/2008/11/12/porn-again-christian-new-free-e-book/

  • cori

    Neko-chan –

    i was just thinking of you and praying for you the other day as the Lord brought you to my heart. how are you feeling and when are you due? know that you have my prayers…

    Luke –

    thank you so much for posting that link to Driscoll’s e-book. i downloaded it but couldn’t remember where and of course, as you recognized, that’s where the quote came from. Driscoll tells it like it is and i’m thankful for his contribution to men’s lives and his ministry.

    His and his,
    ~Cori

  • Neko-chan

    Cori~
    I’ll be having a c-section next Tuesday on the 30th! It’s exciting and a bit scary all together… Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers! That touches my heart in a very deep way and I appreciate you taking the time to include me in your prayers.
    It’s a long road… it’s been long, and still there is miles ahead… I am so grateful that I can follow you on your journey, because it gives me the strength to move forward on my own. <3
    Neko

  • cori

    Neko-chan –

    congrats on the upcoming birth of your baby! don’t be worried about having a section – i found it easier to heal from that than the surgery to remove my gallbladder when i was 6 weeks postpartum. just take it easy and remember that the house will always have chores, but the baby won’t always be small and you won’t always be sore. 😉

    count on my prayers next week!

    many hugs from over here to over there … <3

    His and his,
    ~Cori

  • http://poeticrebirth.blogspot.com Heidi

    What a sweet and powerful blog you’ve got here!! I’m the other Christmas ‘stealth knitter’ from TMB. I had to come and check out a fellow knitter. 😉

    Keep up the wonderful work you are doing! What a blessing it must be to people.

  • http://www.sensuouswife.com Sensuous Wife

    Beautifully said!

    You are not an animal. You are the glory of God.
    You are not a pervert. You are the glory of God.
    You are not an addict. You are the glory of God.
    You are not a victim. You are the glory of God.
    You are not a fool. You are the glory of God.

    Love it! Love it! Love it!

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