This is something that has been on my mind for years. It wasn’t until recently that more solid information came my way that I decided I needed to put this down into words. The way in which our culture is on a downward spiral into destruction needs to be addressed. Looking at this massive and complex issue is akin to trying to solve our healthcare problems. The interweaving of hospital costs with pharmaceutical costs with malpractice insurance with medical insurance with federally sponsored health care with environmental factors with food production with diet and exercise to on and on lead to a hot confusing mess that makes my head hurt. Where does one enter to help stop the merry-go-round of problems?
The problems of our culture in regards to sex are just as confusing and interwoven. Everyone can tell there is a massive problem. Here are some of my thoughts on how this is an interwoven spider web of a mess. In reality, this issue is a bit clearer to me as I can see a hopeful starting off point. Pornography. The sexual revolution did nothing to revolutionize us, but everything to hurt us. Before we even get into the bedroom, the bedroom has been brought out to us. Our children are exposed to and assaulted with sexual images extremely early on. Because of the liberated sexual ethic, sex is used in every way imaginable. We all know the phrase “sex sells” because we have made it true. Sexuality is used to sell everything and anything. Our children are being sexualized earlier and earlier with the clothes they brand to young girls. But why has sexuality become so mainstream and culturalized? To make it normal.
By making sex, the body, and sexuality out of the bedroom and into our faces, we have taken away the hiddenness of our most precious gift to another. We have commercialized, advertised, and trivialized an aspect of us that made us special. By making pornography normal, we have traded our souls for instant gratification. In addition to this, instant gratification has become our bread and butter. Technology is an unstoppable freight train that does not care what passengers it picks up along the way. In the quest for more and quicker everything, porn has jumped on board the train. With technology we now have mini computers in our pockets that do just as much to harm us as help us. Even though in decades past porn was only available in certain stores in black box marked areas and had to be physically accessed by those of age, now it is instant and everywhere. The internet has skyrocketed this into our homes, our work, and our pockets. The porn industry is constantly trying to break in to our lives and hiding under false names, false addresses, and looking for unprotected eyes. Commercialism and media have helped porn like a bouncer opening the door to their friends by bringing this hyper-sexual medium into every image we see. No celebrity is complete without their own sex tape, nude pic, or extra-marital affair. One cannot dress to the nines for an award ceremony without showing one’s birthday suit to match their date’s Calvin Klein suit.
What does this fun technology bring us besides porn? It brings the expectation of instant everything. Instant sales, instant deliveries, no effort, no need to leave the house, no need to try at all. We can now look for sexual partners like a buffet line and simply swipe left or right until we find our craving. We don’t ask for dates or try to get to know one another, we text, we snap, we sext. We can always hide behind a “LOL” or a “jk” if things don’t go well. We are safe behind our screens. We can comment, troll, and bash on whatever we desire and hate people we would never otherwise meet. We can critique and shame people we would never otherwise have the gumption to say anything to.
These two fast paced social changes have forever altered the way in which our children grow up. As ones who were around before the mess, we can stand back and shout words of caution, but these may not prove useful. Millennials who grew up with this attitude toward sexuality and technology cannot picture a world before it. How inhibited, how slow, how ancient! But are all the fruits of this new culture helping us, or hurting us?
Here are some gifts of our pornified culture.
· Immodest dress – Young women especially are inundated with the notion that they must compete with visions of women who mostly do not exist in nature. Men who are visually stimulated (in contrast to women who are emotionally stimulated) are constantly bombarded with sex in every form and for a young woman to get the attention of any man; she must compete with these faceless, nameless displays.
· Low self esteem/self worth – To compete with these hyper-sexualized visions and concepts is to fight a losing battle. Men and women can never feel good enough, look good enough, be attractive enough or get enough sexual attention. Seeking fulfillment in all the wrong ways and areas, this downward spiral leads to more depression, less connection, and higher suicide rates.
· Hook-up culture – With no communication skills, long gone are the days of dates and courtship. Picking a mate is as easy as shopping on Amazon but without the commitment of a Prime membership. Communication is through texts an apps and just as trivial. Once physically in one another’s presence, the skills are not there to engage so alcohol as the great motivator and enabler takes the stage to lubricate the awkwardness. Once inhibitions and concerns have been drunk away, then the need for connection, communication, or care has left the building. Straight to the bed we go to give away and take what was never ours in the first place. We now know, see, touch, and all else things and aspects of another person that we never had a right to in the first place. We did not earn it, we did not get permission to it, we barely got consent if we even know what that means.
· Contraceptive mentality – How dare we ever think that our actions may have repercussions. We are in this for instant gratification and personal pleasure. We are able to do whatever we want, whenever we want, with whomever we want and it is our right. We don’t care what sex was designed for or when, we want the good parts without anything else. Condoms are distributed like candy on Halloween and there’s always pills and Plan F if all those fail too.
· Sex as a Commodity – Its part of the date right? Why else would we go out? I have heard from numerous young people that sex in some form is expected after a date. He paid for dinner right? She agreed to go out right? This is a simple transaction. We all get what we want. We need to have sex and find out our “compatibility” that way first, then I can tell if I like you, or perhaps we could have feelings for one another.
· Unfulfilling Sex – Confusingly, sex is not as exciting as it is on the screen. Porn has brainwashed the culture into thinking that everything is one exciting orgasm. When real life does not match the constant barrage of staged and scripted sexual misconduct of the screen, people feel confused, depressed, and unfulfilled that leaves them worse off than when started. This leads to less self worth and more problematic behavior.
· Teen pregnancy – While I could remark about even more issues that lead to this little gem, the pornification of our culture has bled to our youth at alarming rates. Now the average age that a boy sees his first pornographic image is down to AGE 8! By the time their bodies are able to match what their minds are telling it to do (which is earlier and earlier), they physically do the things that their little immature minds are not capable of handling. With sex comes responsibility forced upon them when A + B = BABY. Teen pregnancy and all the possible repercussions of it are something that can fill many more pages than this.
· Abortion Buffets – Especially with all these teen pregnancies, we can’t have lives ruined. So we need to convince ourselves that little defenseless human aren’t human any more so we can kill them off and not feel bad about it. Sex as a commodity needs protection against buyer’s remorse. And if it’s expected at the end of the date, the only thing we want to take home is some food in a tin foil swan. (Not to mention a little burning as we pee).
Where does all this lead us to? It leads to the destruction of the American family; the last frontier of protection and safety. While the parents are frantically trying to stay ahead of the curve and be aware of the next threat coming, the enemy is tricking you with smoke and mirrors to get you looking in the wrong place. Our kids are inundated with internet, movie, music, TV, and magazine dangers, while the parents are convinced that the adult nature of their entertainment is not poisoning them as well. Unplanned and out of stable marriage pregnancies lead to absentee fathers and continued broken homes. Throw in some drugs and alcohol for good measure and watch Rome burn all over again.
How did we get here? Is this all really because we thought that the morality and social norms of the 40’s and 50’s were too prude? That stable manners, courtesy, love, and respect were too old fashioned, or perhaps too slow? Perhaps too unfair to those who didn’t get what they wanted from whom they wanted? Perhaps we let a pervert in a smoking jacket convince us that putting bunny ears on a woman was not insulting. Perhaps some men whose mother’s didn’t teach them to respect women enough have redefined what power really is. It seems as though power is now to take away another person’s dignity in the name of personal happiness.
But isn’t porn harmless? One study that caught my attention is a new one from Princeton University by Susan Fiske. They found that in analyzing the male brain, when shown pictures of scantily clad women, the brain shuts down the area that saw to woman as human and having intentions and feelings. But the parts that lit up like a Christmas Tree were the areas associated with tools and first person action verbs like “I push, I grasp, I handle.” This reversal rarely happens in the mind, the scientists noted. When viewing women in this way, the women became merely objects; nothing more than a means to an end. All personhood ended. When a person is no longer a person, they are merely an object. This object can be used, sold, traded, bartered for, or abused.
What is the reality? Porn (and all variations of it that lead to its source) destroys lives. It destroys marriages. It tries to be a substitute for real intimacy, but can’t. Porn damages the brain. The neuro-chemical cocktail of endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and more destroy the brain and the ability to feel real happiness and connection. Much like heroin, more and more will be needed just to feel normal. Porn does not make us healthier. It does not help our relationships; it does not give us a good drive in life.
All right, that’s enough. I’m getting off this merry-go-round. I’m sorry of this post was too much doom and gloom. There is hope. There is a way to get out of this vicious circle and live the life that God intended for you. In living a life of love, chastity, purity, and sanctity, there is real happiness. If you are caught up in this culture, if you are feeling the inevitable let down of this free love ethic, there is still hope. Come to Christ. Come to Church, lay bare all that you have and all that you are and you will walk out of that Confessional booth cleaner and shining brighter than you could imagine. Take that spirit forth into the world and use it to recognize the evil and the smut and be able to stay away from it. Beware, it is pervasive, it will assault you from every angle, but forgiveness and love can conquer all. Keep your chin up, we know how this story ends. The enemy can try all he wants, but in the end, light always conquers darkness.