The average single man watches porn for 40 minutes, three times a week. That’s two hours a week, and 104 hours per year. The average male views porn for the first time at age 11, which means by the time he is 30 he will have watched almost 2,000 hours of pornography. For the average man in a relationship it is only slightly different. A married man, or man in a steady dating relationship, will watch porn 1.7 days a week for 20 minutes. Perhaps more alarming, 90 percent of men watch pornography.That is really scary to think about. According to that statistic, 12 out of the 13 men in my small group at church are watch porn nearly 2 days a week.
William Struthers talks about how prolonged exposure to porn affects relationships. In his book Wired for Intimacy, he writes:
Because of these cognitive structures and the ability to store sexual images that are associated with sexual arousal and gratification, the minds of many men become hidden, personalized adult film studios. Any women they have seen and anyone else they can imagine are their performers. As porn and fantasy take control of the mind, it becomes a dream theater that is transposed over the waking world. Every woman they come into contact with is objectified, undressed and evaluated as a willing (or unwilling) mental sexual partner. She is rated on her imagined sexual proficiency and then either stored for later use or discarded as worthless. This mental consumption of a person is a violation of the image of God in each of us.
The frequent use of porn shapes the way a man views and relates to all women, not just those on his computer screen.
It affects the marital relationship too. Women admit that their husbands are asking them to do things in the bedroom that they do not feel comfortable doing, things that their husbands have seen in pornography. Men admit it too. They want their wives to look like and act like porn stars for their own enjoyment. Some men and women even find their marital sexual life boring after prolonged use of pornography.
The reality is, pornography is a problem because identity is a problem. How men view and identify their wives is a problem. When husbands identify their wife as a sexual object they make her a slave to their desires. Self satisfaction becomes an idol. This is just the beginning. The problem then extends to the kids. The children are annoying and irritating, disruptive to the ideal life and taking away from the pleasure of the father. Everything in life becomes a sacrifice to be made at the altar of the man’s desire.
The answer? Of course, it is the gospel. Paul remarks in Ephesians 5,
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
Husbands, we need to understand and believe by faith, that Christ died (layed down his life) for his bride, for us. Understanding the gospel in this way transforms our thoughts and affections. It allows us to serve our wives and esteem them as more important than ourselves. It frees us from the slavery of porn and gives us the joy to love our wives as our own bodies, cherishing her for who she is, and not for who we wish she could be. Understanding who we are, who our wife is, and who Christ is and what he has done is the freedom we need to break the chains of slavery and release our hearts to love God and our wives as we should.