5 lies porn tells


Porn is increasingly acknowledged as the prominent sex-educator of children. Young people are being exposed to porn well before they’ve shaped any sense of understanding or appreciation of sexual intimacy, let alone experienced it in an appropriate context. 

Porn lies. It presents perverse fantasies and entirely unrealistic scenarios as ‘normal’. And many are experiencing this education and degree of desensitisation without a contrary voice to bring perspective and truth. 

Porn lies. 

  • Porn depicts violence as enjoyable and normal. 


These statistics are horrific but they reflect the reality of the content of pornography and the narrative it writes. Aggressive, injurious and demeaning behaviour is met with no resistance or even feined enjoyment. Interviews with teens have revealed unmet expectations from boys and trauma for girls who were surprised to discover that the reality was far different from the movies they had seen.  

  • Porn shows lack of consent as a turn on.

A rise in reported rapes and sexual assaults finds some of its explanation in a genuine lack of comprehension on the part of pornified men of the place of consent. Porn implies that women are ready for sex anytime, any place and that their resistance or refusal is part of the game; the conquest. 

  • Porn asserts sex is a spectator sport. 

Not only does porn depict sex acts in public places or with multiple people present but the increased societal acceptance of porn means that public viewing and sharing has become more common place. Young people’s first exposure to porn can often be on a school bus or train or in a classroom where youth deem it acceptable to not only watch it themselves but include others in the experience. 

  • Porn infers anal sex is pleasurable for females.

Women in porn react affirmingly to anal sex when the reality is that doctors have reported an alarming number of young girls presenting with severe injuries, infections and potential long term damage from untreated wounds. 

  • Porn suggests exposure to porn is harmless. 

Increasingly younger men are experiencing erectile dysfunction and an inability to engage in physical intimacy rather than “virtual intimacy”. Addiction to porn is rife with people reporting spending as much as 8 hours a day watching – leading to loss of sleep and related health implications, ineffectiveness in work or study and for some, loss of employment and relationships. 

To say nothing of the links between the porn industry and sex trafficking, the impact of porn use on spouses and families, legal implications and related consequences. 

Porn lies. 

Don’t believe it. And rise to speak a voice of truth to those susceptible to entanglement in its deception. The hearts and health of our young people require us to help them discern reality from fantasy. Our women demand our advocacy. ADDICTED men and women need our support. 

Read here for a VicHealth issued summary of research findings. 

Read also – why you should hate porn

skin hunger – our need for physical intimacy


I love massages!! Any kind. Feet. Head. Crazy Thai ones where they stretch and contort your body like a pretzel. Soothing oil ones with dolphin music playing. I like getting my nails done. I love getting my hair washed or done. 

I love physical touch. 

It’s a weird statement to make but an acknowledgement of truth that is perhaps more pertinent in context to my status as a living-alone Single. Ultimately, all of those things above are more than just self-pampering, they’re a means to have my skin hunger somehow satiated. 

Skin hunger is a need for physical touch – not necessarily sexual in nature. It is a studied phenomena in psychology. Unmet skin hunger has been associated with failure to thrive in babies and infants, and increased anxiety, depression, stress and sleep dysfunction in children and adults. Each individual will have a different level of skin hunger and consequently, the absence of physical touch will be felt more acutely by those whose need is greater. 

Some stages and styles of life are innately more rich in physical contact. Living arrangements that involve others will almost always include physical touch – perhaps of an intimate or sexual nature, maybe because of the presence of small children being nursed, held and wrestled with, or even in the more incidental contact that happens as people work together in the kitchen or move around each other in the bathroom. Certain work environments are more physical – various fields of medicine and therapy, working with children, or coaching certain sports. 

I crave physical touch. 

Physical touch affirms my presence. It is one thing to grasp my own hand or rub my own neck – but it is different to experience those things externally. It’s a tangible recognition that I hold a place in the physical realm; that I relate kinaesthetically to other people and things around me. 

Physical touch releases hormones that increase wellbeing and decrease stress. 

Physical touch communicates non-verbally a sense of belonging and connection. 

What does physical touch look like for a Single person? 

How is skin hunger appropriately satisfied in non-sexual or romantic contexts?

As I mentioned, I am a physical touch kind of person. I’m likely to grab your arm while I’m talking to you. I will normally go in for a hug and a cheek kiss when greeting someone I know. I love love love (love love) holding babies – especially soothing them to sleep. I love little person hugs and high fives. I even like the absent minded touches kids do when they’re talking to you – playing with your hair or leaning against your leg. I love big hugs from big people – I make sure my Dad gives me a couple every time I see him. For some, pets are a large part of their skin-hunger-meeting regimen. 

Skin hunger is connected with our need for intimacy and equally needs to be met in healthy and helpful ways or we will find ourselves seeking to satisfy it inappropriately. Identifying the degree of skin hunger we feel is important to being able to manage it intentionally. 

What does that look like for you? Or for those in your world? 

why you should HATE porn 


The harmful impacts of porn on those consuming it, those creating it and those affected by the consequences of addiction ought to cause a degree of alarm. The ready availability and ease of access to pornographic material requires intentionality to stand against the insidious nature of its reach and consequences. 

  • It makes public what should be private 

Pornography makes ‘entertainment’ out of activities that ought to be personal and private. It is so counterintuitive to have doors on bedrooms, curtains on Windows and do not disturb signs on hotel rooms and then watch by choice the exact actions we would deem necessary to discreetly protect. 

  • It turns real people into mere objects 

Most porn depicts women as existing for the pleasure and gratification of men. As porn access and use escalates there is an increasing dehumanising of all involved. It trains watchers to disconnect from any sense of empathy, care or interest in the people as people (someones’s sister or friend) and to see them only for the functions they perform. The societal impacts of this are being documented as devastating. 

  • It promotes sex without intimacy

Sexual exploration and enjoyment is designed to be an expression of intimacy and a catalyst for deeper intimacy between loving, committed adults. Pornography is such a perverse distortion of this design intent, depicting sex entirely devoid of relational connection or love and often without consent. 

  • It normalises rape and sexual violence

Over 88% of pornographic content depicts acts involving violence or force. Non-consensual sex and aggression (inflicting real pain) against women is not only condoned but portrayed as enjoyable for the women. Doctors report an alarming number of young girls presenting with severe anal damage and associated complications as a result of rough and inappropriate sexual activity. 

  • It is a common but poor sexual educator 

Young people are viewing porn before they have even had their first crush or kiss and well before any formal education from schools (or even parents). They are exposed to an insane level of sexual learning before their brains are even able to process what they’re seeing or the reactions it illicits in them. It is shaping the sexual appetite and expectations of people who are often without a counter-message about the truth of healthy sexuality and intimacy. 

  • It is as addictive as any drug 

Addiction to pornography is a well-documented, life destroying scourge. Research reveals impact on job retention, financial security, educational success, family/relational health and general mental and physical wellbeing as the result of an all-consuming obsession with watching porn. Like any drug, an increasing amount or level of stimuli is required to achieve the same degree of arousal, enjoyment or release. Some youth have reported watching more than eight hours of porn per day!

We should HATE porn. For the gross distortion it is of something innately precious. For its numerous negative and destructive consequences. For the themes of dishonour and abuse of power. 

This website is a useful resource for education, advocacy and also practical support to fight sexual/pornographic addiction. Check it out – fightthenewdrug.org   

how far can I go?


“How far can I go?” Easily the number one question – spoken or not – of Christian dating couples in relation to physical intimacy. “How far is too far?” Or asked another way, “What is the absolute most we can get away with without actually sinning?”

I’ve heard all manner of answers to it, from the ‘click and whistle’ approach (cause you can’t get up to too much if you’re hands are clicking and your lips are whistling!) all the way through to justifying everything outside of vaginal intercourse (which leaves a whole lot of options!).

It reflects the natural bent of the human heart – but particularly the young person as they explore their emerging independence and self-governance – to know where the boundary is so that we can run right up close to it. How close to the fire can we stand without getting burnt? How far can I go?

It’s the wrong question. 

We don’t ask it with some other boundaries.

When standing on the edge of a very tall building we’re more likely to ask ‘how far BACK from the edge do I need to stand to be safe?’ And only the brave (or stupid) would venture too close. Because we know that the consequences of finding out where ‘too far’ is would be dire!

We need a better understanding of sexual intimacy. 

While they may be true, ‘God says’ or ‘the Bible says’ are not adequate boundaries. They’re a good start but ultimately unsustainable without a greater sense of purpose and intent. An understanding of why God wants us to honour our own and one another’s sexuality (including His intended design for us to experience and explore our sexuality in covenanted marriage, the preciousness of our physical person and His desire to keep us from heart-wounding) is needed to carry beyond the legalism to a deeply held desire for God’s best for us and for the other.

Externally imposed rules and boundaries are no match for internally determined desires, goals and intentions. A deeply held understanding of and a conviction around God’s best is needed to make good personal choices and also to process any sense of falling short. 

God desires that we would not be wounded sexually through abuse, rejection, confusion or manipulation. He doesn’t intend for sexual intimacy to be a thing of comparison or competition. God doesn’t want us to carry the heart burden of sexual regret or remorse as well as other potential physical consequences.

God designed us as sexual beings and, as with everything He made, it works best when experienced as He intended for us. God’s love for us compels Him to draw a boundary around our sexual exploration and engagement.

Honour as a boundary. 

Whilst boundaries around the where, what and when of physical intimacy are helpful and accountability to them necessary – the greater value of honour will ultimately fuel the kind of self-control and determination required to succeed. Honour of God’s will and heart for us, honour of our own sexuality and the gift it is intended to be in its created context and honour for one another – a deeply held sense of protection and preservation of the other’s dignity, purity and heart. 

Instead of “how far can I go?” other questions to ask …

What do I hope for in a potential future marriage relationship – how can I protect that now? How do I best honour the other person? Is this in line with God’s design for my sexuality and for sexual intimacy? How can I manage my own lust and desires? How far back from ‘the edge’ should I stay to keep from falling? What decisions do I need to make and practices should I put in place that will set me up to win?

 

single – it’s a real thing!


One of the challenges of youth is that you start making decisions that can dramatically impact your future when you are least likely to be legitimately considering your future! It’s biologically true (in relation to brain development) but also just reality that without a very long personal history a young person’s capacity to consider their future is limited.

When dealing with these decisions that come up, I like to ask young people to try and picture what they hope their future holds because it’s really only in light of this that they can make choices that are heading them in a positive direction. What kind of person do you want to be? What activities would you be doing? Where would you be working? What kind of people would be in your world? … and which of these choices you’re considering would make that future more possible?

Everyone I do that exercise with imagines that they’ll be married. Everyone. Depending on age and how far into the future we’re projecting they might also be considering children. But even those who are not particularly interested in dating right now or still believe the opposite sex has ‘germs’ – when asked to picture their future, expect it to include a spouse.

It’s part of the narrative of life. It’s how humanity was created to continue. Attraction that leads to intimacy and oneness in marriage that leads to offspring who are attracted to others and get married and have offspring. It’s the ciirrrrrrrcle of liiiiiiiiife! (You sang that, I know you did!)

While that may be exactly how the future plays out for most – it’s not a guarantee for all. And even if it is in the future for our young people – it will not be the only or necessarily most significant part of what their future holds. And even if it is to be a significant part of their future – that may be some time away. So what about now? What about between now and then?

We need to develop a theology of Singleness.

EVERYONE is born Single. EVERYONE will remain Single for a significant portion of their lives (marry at 20 and live to 80 and you’re looking at 25%!!).

SINGLENESS IS A LEGITIMATE THING!

  • Created for relationship 

As sexual, relational beings (these things are not just switched on as a preparation for marriage) everyone is called upon to appropriately manage these desires and needs in their time of Singleness – however long that may be. The wrestle of youth is a volatile mix of raging hormones, developing emotions and relational immaturity. They are difficult times to navigate. But, also for the older Single, these needs and desires are God given – how are they to be met and managed when you’re not (or not yet) married?

  • Singleness is a valid life status

Paul, in 1 Corinthians 7, advocates for Singleness. He says Single life is less complicated than married life (no need to amen that loudly, married people!!). He acknowledges that Singleness allows for a singleness of focus on God without the innate energy, time and heart-focus a married relationship requires. You don’t have to be Einstein to know that he’s right. I don’t believe Paul is saying NO ONE should be married (because he’s a smart guy too, he understood the circle of life even before Disney released the Lion King) but he is saying if you’re not there are some specific freedoms, privileges and graces that are part of that season. There’s some things you can do now that you might not be able to if you marry. A different kind of freedom in your time, finances, decision making, focus and availability.

  • Singleness is a season to be embraced

Ultimately, Singleness is one of many seasons that will make up a person’s life. Ecclesiastes 3 speaks about there being ‘a time for everything and a season for every activity’. Across a life time a person will experience all manner of seasons – times of preparation and study, times of success and achievement, seasons of ‘plenty’ and seasons of ‘lack’, times of ill-health, times of grief, times of celebration and exploration … you get the idea. Every season has its own lessons to teach us, pros and cons, opportunities and challenges. Given that life is just a collection of these seasons – end to end and overlapping, long and short, repeated or forgotten – in order for our life to be lived to its fullest each season must be embraced and maximised. Singleness is no exception.

It’s completely valid to desire marriage – God asks us to bring Him the desires of our hearts. I think we’d serve ourselves, one another and our young people well to let some of these thoughts about Singleness pepper our conversations, our prayers and our expectations.

 

why we MUST embrace conflict

I really don’t like conflict. In fact, I don’t think anyone does. 

Those who say they like conflict are either bullies who love a good fight OR are actually referring to the outcomes of conflict rather than the conflict itself. 

I love what healthy conflict accomplishes. 

Conflict achieves better results. 

Conflict ensures that all aspects of a decision, event or direction have been fully considered. When ideas are up for debate and discussion we refine and clarify them for best outcomes. Conflict means that we haven’t just settled for the easiest way or the idea that was presented first or loudest. 

Conflict refines our character. 

No one wants to be told that they’ve behaved inappropriately or that they’re being received in an unpleasant manner – but surely we’d rather the chance to change that through awareness and assistance rather than persist in ignorance? Conflict is necessary to acknowledge our sharp edges and give us the chance to smooth them down. 

Conflict strengthens relationships. 

Conflict builds trust. In relationships where hard conversations are lovingly navigated, misalignments recalibrated and, ways forward together are negotiated intimacy and trust are grown. Willingness to identify and endure conflict communicates a depth of commitment. Pressing in through the tough times is what forges strong relational connection. Ignoring issues over fear of conflict creates emotional distance, mistrust and, ultimately, separation. 

So how do we conflict well? 

HEALTHY CONFLICT – 

  • Debates issues not people.

Finding the best outcome means separating an idea from the person who presents it – otherwise we have to go with the decision that belongs to the person we like most or are more afraid of upsetting. We also have to be okay with our idea being trumped by a better one or refined by other thoughts without taking it personally. 

  • Is best when invited. 

Creating an environment where conflict is welcomed – through invitation and self-control in our responses – can diffuse some of the tension and apprehension. Giving others permission to speak frankly, critique honestly and call us to bigger and better in our behaviour and ideas won’t make conflict fun but will make it more healthy and edifying. 

Barrabool Hills Baptist Church – Aug 30 2015

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It was great to be at Moolap and Barrabool Hills Baptist Church on Sunday across all three of their services.

Seated in one of the services was a lady who had recently lost her husband … and when I say recently, I mean super recently … 4 days earlier! She was there with a girlfriend who had come to stay with her – clearly still in that numb state of shock and disbelief that can often accompany grief and loss. But they were both blown away by the sovereignty of God to have her sit under a message about the importance of community and family for the Single person. Her girlfriend was challenged to understand the new needs and challenges that were ahead of this newly widowed lady. They bought a copy of the book for them both to look at in the weeks and months to come.

What do you say to someone who is processing such grief and loss? She was so convinced of God’s timing and provision of this message (& the book) and we were able to agree and affirm that God clearly had her number. While everything else ahead of her is uncertain right now – she can be sure that God is right there with her in it.

You can listen to the message HERE

How far can I go?

When it comes to the topics of “Sexuality and Relationships” and youth and young adults the two most frequently asked questions are “How will I find ‘the one’?” (refer last week’s post on making decisions) and the big one “How far can I go?”

How far can I go? It seems like a pretty reasonable question. “Where is the boundary? Where is the line that I shouldn’t cross? Tell me what I can and can’t do – define it for me and then I can manage my behaviour accordingly.” Continue reading

What about … Intimacy?

At iGnite 2 weeks ago I brought a message titled “What about … Intimacy?” – addressing issues of sexuality, relationship and intimacy from a Biblical perspective and with a heart to see a healthy culture in our church family at WBC around these issues. The link to that message is here.

I am regularly asked to speak to different churches, youth groups, parent nights and leadership teams on these issues as the Church continues to try and ‘reclaim’ a Biblical understanding of our sexuality and design for intimacy amidst the brokenness we experience in our search for love and in a world that values very little in respect to purity and honour.

Here is an excerpt from an article out of the Fuller Youth Institute in the States that gives some tips for parents looking to address these issues with their teens …

If you’re a leader or parent who finds it challenging to talk to young people about sex, try some of the following tips that have worked for me:

  1. Start by asking about friends’ behaviours and attitudes. If it feels too challenging to ask a young person about their own practices or attitudes, ask about “other kids at school” as a way to start the conversation.
  2. Use media, current events, or other resources as a springboard. Maybe even start the conversation by using the content of this blog as a door-opener.
  3. Choose the right time. Much of conversation with teenagers boils down to timing.
  4. Share about your own experiences. One of the themes in our Sticky Faith research is that wise parents share (not lecture!) about their own experiences in natural and organic ways. Without divulging every detail of your sexual past, perhaps your young person is ready to hear a bit about mistakes you made, or what you wish you’d done differently.
  5. Invite your young person to talk to another adult. If you’re a parent and it’s just too challenging to talk with your young person about sex, then figure out with your kid who they might be able to talk to.

Often there’s more happening sexually in young people’s lives and thoughts than we might realize. May this new study be a catalyst for better conversations about tough topics.

The full article can be accessed here.

We desire to be a support and resource to your families as you seek to navigate these tricky issues with your young people. Please do not hesitate to engage us in any way that is useful to you – pointing you in the direction of other resources, connecting your young person with a leader or mentor, chatting things out with you, connecting you with other parents who are a little ahead of you on the journey … however we can assist.