Porn Is Rewiring a Whole Generation, Christians Included

Can sexlessness and erectile dysfunction really be growing phenomena among men in their twenties? Over the last ten years, the percentage of American men between the ages of eighteen and thirty who reported not having sex in the preceding year exploded from 10 percent to 28 percent.

In the three decades this statistic has been kept, this is by far the most significant percentage increase. At an age when young men’s sex drives are highest, this generation of young men is having less sex than ever recorded. But this doesn’t mean that these men have no sexual desire. For a growing number of men alive these days in our “pornified” society, their sexual desire for real women is being replaced by a desire for images and fantasy. Researcher and Sociologist Dr. Mark Regnerus blames porn for this new development:

The quality of porn and masturbation may well have reached a level significant enough to satisfy many men, such that the pursuit of real sex with real women… seems no longer a benefit worth the costs of wooing… They may not declare virtual sex “great sex,” but they may conclude that it’s good enough.

Musician John Mayer raised eyebrows in an interview when he admitted preferring fantasy and masturbation to sex with a woman. In the interview, he said that during sex, he is actually masturbating in his mind and fantasizing about someone else than the person he is with. Through watching porn, he has rewired his brain for what arouses him.

Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction (PIED)

Porn’s rewiring of the brain is behind the phenomenon of PIED among young men and teenagers. In 2016, TIME magazine ran a cover story entitled, “Why Young Men Who Grew Up with Internet Porn Are Becoming Advocates for Turning It Off.” The article shared the stories of several twentysomethings suffering from PIED.

They all expressed the shock of discovering that porn usage has hampered their ability to have sex with a physical partner. The article reported that before internet porn, only five percent of men under forty had erectile dysfunction. Today, 33 percent of men under forty report some degree of ED. Surprisingly, this is an issue we are seeing more increasingly among teenagers. A 2016 study of Canadian adolescents showed that 45.3 percent admitted to problems with erectile function. This age group teeters between prolonged addiction and early intervention.

While many pornified young men are moving toward isolation and self-sex resulting in sexlessness and PIED, others are moving toward increased hookups and adultery. Married couples who watch porn are 318 percent more likely to have an affair than the porn-free couples. With the rise in porn use, we’ve also seen a big jump in the hookup culture. Those who use porn regularly are more likely to view hookup sex in a positive light. A national survey of over 15,000 adults asked respondents when they first had sex in their current or most recent relationship – 32 percent of men under forty reported they had sex with their current partner before the relationship began!

Porn is Pervasive

The porn pandemic is engulfing the Christian world as well. The Barna Group discovered there is virtually no difference in the monthly porn use of non-Christian men (65 percent) versus Christian men (64 percent). Porn use is even worse among the younger Christian generation. In 2019, the Freedom Fight conducted a survey of more than 1,300 Practicing Christian college students from over thirty different campuses across the country. The men and women we surveyed were involved in a campus ministry, and they considered their faith in Christ to be very important to them. Many of them were leaders in their ministries. What we found was alarming. Eighty-nine percent of the Christian men surveyed watch porn at least occasionally. Sixty-one percent view it at least weekly and 24 percent watch porn daily or multiple times a day. Fifty-one percent of these men said they were addicted to porn. These are our future Christian leaders, husbands and fathers.

But this is not just a guy’s problem. Porn use is also plaguing women in Christian colleges. Though growing in Christ is very important to these young women and many of them are in leadership in their campus ministry, pornography remains a part of their lives. Fifty-one percent of this group watch porn at least occasionally. Seventy percent of them either watched porn or had a sexual hookup in the last 12 months.

To compound pornography’s pervasiveness, the “easy out” of porn surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. The already unparalleled amount viewed increased by 12 percent in just the first three weeks of the lockdown. The Christian porn problem is getting worse not better. Our future Christian leaders, spouses and parents are having their hearts and minds captured by porn, and the impact is devastating.

The Bible is clear when it says, “fleshly lusts wage war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11). The spiritual attack of fleshly lusts like pornography is able to be measured and countered. Sociology professor Samuel Perry researched the impact of pornography use on a group of 3,000 people over a six-year period of time. His peer-reviewed research shows that porn use wages war in at least three areas.

See Also

Spiritual Growth

Dr. Perry’s research showed that “Any porn use…is associated with declines in religious commitment and behavior (i.e. attending services, prayer, etc.) and an increase in religious doubts. So, think about it. If you wanted Christians to be less committed to praying, going to church and reading their Bible, and wanted them to doubt more, just get them to watch porn.

Marriages

Married couples with one spouse watching porn are two to three times more likely to divorce in the first two years of marriage than porn-free couples. One of the best predictors of divorce for a person is the depth of their porn habit. And the younger generation has a deeper porn habit than any generation before.

Kingdom Service

The study found that the more frequently someone uses pornography the less likely they are to serve in their congregation. More porn = less service.

But There is Hope

When most people recognize the destructive power of porn, their efforts to stop often aren’t effective because they find they are addicted. Porn stimulates the brain like any other addictive drug. It is enslaving a generation. But there is hope for freedom and we are seeing it. This is why I wrote The Freedom Fight: The New Drug and the Truths that Set Us Free. Combatting this issue in the Church with real solutions that are biblically-based, scientifically informed and gospel-centered isn’t just a responsibility but it’s an opportunity for revival and growth.

If someone is going to overcome a porn addiction, they must outgrow it by developing in areas that address the roots of their addiction. How does someone outgrow porn? They must grow and develop in the following areas: personal holiness, renewing their minds and building new neurological pathways, breaking isolation by developing authentic relationships/accountability, learning to process emotions not medicate them, living out of an identity in Christ instead of a shame identity and replacing lies they have believed with truth. God’s truth is setting people free. Before it sets them free, it changes them. And because it changes them, the freedom lasts.

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