PORNOGRAPHY 101 Matt Raeder, LCSW
On any given day, 65 percent of Christian men and 33 percent of Christian women have an issue with pornography, and yet you never hear anyone talking about it. Statistics say that children, digital natives, as early as age 11 are being exposed to pornography but again, we are not talking about it. That is why I was so grateful that so many of you showed up to our Speaker Series Workshop entitled Pornography 101. Our desire was to start engaging around this issue and all of its many facets. Matt Raeder, the presenter, began by talking about the pornography industry as a whole he said that it generates more than all professional sports combined, about $57 billion a year. He explained that society often thinks that for men, sex is purely physical, when in fact, their emotions are strongly connected to sexuality: they feel more loved, respected and valued when they have sex. So when they’re viewing pornography, they’re getting an emotional need met, but in an unhealthy way. Pornography is easy, available and effective to ease their emotional pain. “Once men remove the pornography from their lives, acknowledge their emotional pain and learn to deal with their emotions in healthy ways, they are able to be free” of the lure of pornography.
Matt shared about the shame cycle of porn-use and how behaviors can escalate into very risky conducts. Pornography use can “destroy relationships,” he said, and distance men from God.. It changes the way they view people, diminishing their value. He shared about the impact on wives and described the following indicators that a man in a relationship is addicted to pornography:
- he stays up later than you
- he is emotionally distant
- he has mood swings,: especially anger
- he is depressed or anxious
- he is self-absorbed and are losing interest in the family
- he has lost interest in sex
- he asks you to do new edgy behaviors in bed , especially ones that are degrading to women
- there are unexplained charges on bills
Matt encouraged members of the audience who are viewing pornography to “tell someone today” that keeping it a secret “just makes it worse.”
Likewise, Matt shared about women who struggle with viewing pornography use but was not able to go into in any depth. He addressed the impact of pornography on children. He said that boys today “learn about sex by viewing pornography.” He shared that they will often ask girls to send them “nudes” and girls will more than likely comply because they feel pressured to fit in. He emphasized the importance of talking to our children about the dangers of pornography and monitoring and setting limits on screen time. He especially emphasized that children should not have their phones in their rooms at night.
Since time was short, he was not able to delve into this aspect of pornography in great depth, however we hope to offer another presentation this summer that will focus more on how to protect and talk to our children. Hopefully our children can be a part of that presentation.