I like Frederick Buechner’s words: “Lust is the craving for salt of a man who is dying of thirst.” Pornography only creates more thirst, and quenches nothing, damaging our ability to be intimate with anyone. Sex is a beautiful concept. It is sacred; there’s nothing casual about it. But it has been twisted into insatiable thirst.
Even though pornography is not a source of lasting satisfaction, people who view it usually do so because they’re looking to fill a deep intimacy need. Pornography is a cheap substitute for what they’re really seeking — intimacy. And porn just leaves you more thirsty.
For many guys, an image is easier to relate to than a young woman with a heart, mind and emotions. An image has no expectations. You don’t have to impress an image or deal with any of the awkwardness that comes with relating to a real person.
Moving into the context of marriage, sex between a husband and a wife is giving yourself completely to your spouse. Those who masturbate to pornography, are engaging in sex with self. Masturbation is giving nothing. Masturbation can take a man into a fantasy world where he can be with anyone he wants and do anything he wants. That’s why married men can get caught up in pornography; it’s a low risk, self-centered way to get that “chemical pop” or rush. But something is lost, intimacy is lost, when we handle our sexuality in this way.
Pornography viewing can begin with something seemingly harmless: airbrushed photos in a magazine or a click on the Web. Soon you’re desiring more graphic material and falling more often. Pornography, a closet addiction, grabs you when you’re weak and holds you in its clutches. Planting seeds of alienation, it attacks and destroys relationships and robs you of self-respect.
Some things that we need to know before we click on those images and masturbate to pixels on a screen are offered by Steve Arterburn.
1. Attraction to a person of the opposite sex is natural.
2. Sex is exhilarating and it is God-given. God made sex beautiful; we have twisted this gift from God.
3. Sex is a slippery slope. Little compromises turn into bigger compromises.
4. God has sexual standards for His creation. To “lust” for something is to have “an intense desire or need” usually to the point that you’re willing to violate God’s word or use another person for your own gratification. Lust must be gratified now at any cost. Again, I like Frederick Buechner’s words: “Lust is the craving for salt of a man who is dying of thirst.” Lust is never satisfied.
Scripture illustrates this. Genesis 19 records the perversity of Sodom. Judges 16 tells of Samson’s fatal flaw. 2 Samuel 11 tells of David’s voyeuristic rooftop lusting that led to sin. Perhaps, one of the saddest pictures of lust comes from 2 Samuel 13 where Amnon rapes Tamar, his half-sister.
The NT speaks against homosexual relationships (Rom.1), incestuous relationships (1 Cor.5:1,5, 9-11) and immoral relations (1 Thess.4:3-7). Contrast all of this with the story of Joseph in Genesis 39 who showed restraint and control. So lust can be controlled, and Joseph shows us that we have to literally flee in some cases.
5. God’s love endures through our failure to keep His standards.
6. There is a devil and he will exploit this area. Before marriage, Satan does everything he can to get you to have sex with your boy/girlfriend. After marriage, he does everything he can to keep you from having sex with your wife. One of his ploys is pornography. It sets you up for temptation and moral failure. It degrades people, children, and undermines families. It normalizes immorality.
I may be sharing more on this. But for now, get yourself sexually sober, allow God to show you true intimacy, and rebuild your interior life over the holidays. What a great gift to give to those people who you truly want to be intimate with. If you are married, take ALL of your sexual energy to your spouse and recover true intimacy. What a great Christmas present!