On Monday, during my routine stops between FB and twitter, I spotted a link to a post by Matt Walsh entitled "Married men: your porn habit is an adultery habit". I knew as soon as I read the title, exactly what it was going to say. What I didn't know what how well it was going to be said. If you have not had the opportunity yet, I would strongly encourage you to read it. From where I sit, Matt nails it straight to the wall.
However, this is really more about it being the post I did NOT want to write. For many reasons. First, it requires a LOT of thorough research and proper link-backs to write a blog post worth reading. I used to do that every single day and to be honest with you, my life is a lot easier not doing that anymore. I design all day long and it's a peaceful, solitary, rewarding thing. Blogging takes a lot more time and mental dedication. Second, it's a subject that makes me want just go all old-school and slap the living snot out everyone guilty and/or by association, condoning and supporting of the sexual exploitation of women (and children). Now, that's not very nice or Christ-like, is it precious? No, it's not but it's the button this subject pushes. Third, it's a subject (you know, the S word?) that I don't want to talk about because a.) I'm old and stuck in my ways, b.) I'm a female Christian blogger and we don't talk about that stuff (right?) and c.) sex is dirty and makes you go blind. Anyway, that's what someone's grandma once told them and since grandma's know everything, it must be true.
As today progressed though, I couldn't stop thinking about a couple of different things associated with Walsh's post. I'm going to ignore the secondary thing for now, but I want to focus on the first thing that stood out for me.
First though, before I begin on this point I want to make it perfectly clear that the very issue of pornography is so unbelievably prevalent in modern society that it seems like you cannot avoid it no matter how careful and guarded you are. IT. IS. EVERYWHERE. From news, to music vids, tv, movies, gaming, social media, etc. It's literally, everywhere. If you're among the blessed who haven't seen it, heard about it, read about it or who's kids are asking about it, you're wrapped in a glorious bubble that might be sparing you from the filth but is also essentially sticking your head in the sand. Dangerous ground friends, especially if you have kids growing up in our digital world where this trash is around every stinking corner. I find it disturbingly alarming how frequent my husband and I have conversations these days about the seeming increase in porn, child rape (I don't call it child porn because that's not what it is, as "porn" is legal between consenting adults and child rape is, well, child rape by evil, wicked people, period), overt sexual exploitation of younger and younger boys and girls and how the they're are connected, and the direction our culture is headed. It's horrifying, and maddening, and enraging but it's where we are in society. I'm not even entirely sure how we got here (I do have a theory but that's a different subject all together) but we are here and now as parents and Christians and responsible, law abiding citizens of this rock we call Earth, we have to do whatever we can to protect, speak out, stand up, and TAKE a stand for what's good and right and all that awesome stuff. All that being said, I make no claims about being any kind of professional, scholar or anything else along those lines. I'm just a mom, that pays attention to what's going on, and these are my observations from where I sit.
Okay then, the #1 thing that stood out to me from Walsh's article: How to Deal With It. I must warn you, I'm a Christian so this comes from a Christian, Biblical worldview. It is also my opinion only, and I realize I could be way off the mark but I don't think I am. Your mileage may vary, as your convictions, traditions and education may vary wildly from my own.
In his article, Walsh linked to this study on the Psychology Today website written by Kevin B. Skinner, Ph.D. entitled "Is Porn Really Destroying 500,000 Marriages Annually?" After a brief skim of his bio, I already like this guy. Why? Because perspective is everything (while still subjective of course, but it most definitely gives you a broader view) and because he and his wife have seven daughters and one son. My own husband Kevin and I, have six daughters and one son. When you're giving 150% raising responsible, respectable, compassionate human beings, it matters what you see, what you see happening around you and how you prepare them to enter into adulthood equipped to be awesome and wonderful. Of course all parents make mistakes and have blind spots but you goal is still the same. In any event, this man writes in his article something that my own hubby and I have talked about.
In his article linked he says "The problem is individuals, couples, and our society does not know how to deal with porn yet. It has entered our lives and our homes like a tsunami and we are ill-prepared to talk about it in a meaningful way."
The statement that we are ill-prepared to talk about it is what really stood out to me and begs the question WHY? I believe I have the answer to that, but those who reject the words of God in Scripture will totally blow this out of the water no matter how much sense it makes, and trust me, IT'S THE ONLY THING that does make sense. To me, anyway.
It absolutely goes against our God-created nature to talk about it with or in front of anyone, that is not the person we share that ONE act of intimacy with. It isn't because someone's freaky, misguided grandma made up some story about going blind, or because we're ashamed of how much we like physical intimacy or anything else like that. It is simply because sex was designed by God to be the ultimate, intimate, uber-personal, special, protected, private expression of love and commitment and one-ness between a husband and a wife. It was designed, by God, to be private and shared between husband and wife, alone. Those couples who have this kind of God-designed marital relationship know exactly what I'm talking about. They know that they can talk about things between the two of them, and feel completely uninhibited. They can tell each other what they like, what they don't like, their fears, their hopes, and more. These are people who, engaged in the most intimate form of expression of love toward their spouse, are not afraid to be themselves, no matter what kind of weird sounds that might include, or giggling, or anything else associated with what the physical act of intimacy inspires. During this time of supreme intimacy, they expose their true selves to their spouse and that's the most brutally honest expression of personal trust and vulnerability rolled into one. In short, it's sort of a magical, fantastic thing that no one else on the planet has except these two people, together. And no one else should ever know about, because it's the magic glue that holds these two people together.
Even kids, no matter what age they are when we attempt to have "the talk" with them feel uncomfortable and awkward about it. Why is that? Why are these very small or young people who have essentially zero life/societal influence feeling creepy when mom or dad has "the talk" with them about the birds and the bees? Isn't it obvious? It's an ultimately personal thing that feels so, so, so awkward being discussed with anyone what isn't actually the person you're being intimate with. Of course as kids, they don't realize this yet, they just know, inwardly, somewhere deep down inside, it's not a subject they're comfortable with because it's so innately private and personal. It was exactly designed this way, by God. You don't even have to know that, or believe it, but it's the truth and almost all people are to some degree become uncomfortable by public discussion (or display) of such personal things. Even the non-believers in this world will jokingly make the "get a room" comment when they see a couple displaying affection in a public place. Why do they say that? Simple, because sex is supposed to be private.
We (society) can ignore this all we want, but the fact of the matter is, sex was never intended to be discussed at length (in news articles, blogs, church groups, etc.) or put on public display by moronic pop stars or the porn industry. Sinful culture has corrupted it, made it public consumption and no matter if you reject it's original purpose, reject God and reject propriety, there is still something deep inside of most people (who have not seared their own hearts) that tells them it's a hush-hush thing. That "thing" is the truth about what sexual intimacy was designed for. Sadly and ironically, now we (as a culture) have to discuss it and do so in a meaningful way, because so many have taken what God intended for good, and turned it into a cheap, disposable, unimportant commodity to be traded on the open market. Somehow, God willing, we have to elevate it once again to that beautiful, wonderful, magical, silly, hilarious, private, intimate expression of oneness between husband and wife that no one else on the planet gets to know about but is that sacred thing we only reveal our true selves to, with the one person we've vowed to remain with until death do us part.
Frankly, I do not believe things will get better, but instead they will get worse. I do believe some God fearing couples and parents will take a strong, pro-active stand for themselves and their kids (and thankfully, produce awesome young adults who in turn, take a strong stand against sexual deviancy), but the more our culture slips gleefully into depravity and away from God, the more depraved things we'll all see. It's already quite evident in 2013, if you just read the news from around the world.
Bottom line is simply this: you cannot change the wicked, evil world. You can however change you, influence those under your care and stand for what is good, pure, lovely and right. You can do that, and if you do, you'll inspire others to do the same. You'll also be a lifeline for those who are struggling with this wickedness and you may even be operative in changing or saving someone's life for the glory of God.
Individual people can make a difference, and they're doing it all the time. Don't let the headlines fool you into thinking otherwise.
(I'll be honest in closing and admit that I am reluctant to post this because I know there are all kinds of people with all kinds of different opinions that will vehemently disagree with me, and possibly be very nasty about it. It's happened before, and I don't look forward to it in the least. I will go ahead and post it though, because I want to encourage other moms and dads and younger folks that might be reading. This subject is not going to go away, so we have to equip ourselves on how to best deal with it.)