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My Love Letter to Pornographers
Oh, how can I begin to thank you? I sure love what you've done for society, marriage, men and women. I have never seen such speedy results (and at a profit nonetheless... way to go!)
You somehow managed to take young women -- some barely in their teens -- and convince or coerce them into believing the lie that their worth is measured in the commodity of sex. Such brilliant strategy. Sure, maybe long ago they dreamed of being a nurse or a teacher or an engineer. Those sure were some crazy aspirations, weren't they?
I'm guessing that everyone who knew them then -- knew them as a sweet third-grader or a shy seventh-grader -- is thrilled they have chosen a different career path. After all, what parent doesn't envision their tender newborn someday becoming a porn star? That, of course, is what everyone eagerly wants for their little girl. This is why they can't wait for December to roll around -- you know, so they can mail their Christmas letter and share the exciting "career" news with all their friends and family.
While I'm at it, I must give you props for all the progress you've made with so many men. (Wouldn't want the girls to get all the spotlight). Who would have thought that the days where boys and men treated women with respect could be decimated so quickly? Those were just a bunch of old fashioned ideas anyway.
Can you even believe that there used to be a time when a man would stand when a woman walked in the room, would protect a woman's heart and body with his very life, and would readily open doors for his wife, sister, mother or grandmother -- or any woman really -- because that's what he was taught from the time he was a toddler at his father's feet? I sure am glad those days are dwindling. That kind of chivalry wasn't good for anyone, least of all our society.
It is so refreshing to see so many of your customers treating women as mere objects -- their sole purpose to gratify the sexual urgings of men. Just how did you pull that off so smoothly? It's hard to fathom now, but at one point, young men prided themselves in behaving with integrity and honor. Ludicrous I tell you.
I suppose there just aren't enough words to thank you for what you have done for the economy. Fabulous. You have all these people working in your industry who are so talented. And to think they could have wasted those talents on things like capturing the beauty of God's creation in nature or conveying the capacity of the human soul to improve our society. Whew! That sure was a close call. What would happen if all these talented folks behind your cameras, in your editing rooms and at your computer screens chose other jobs? We definitely do not need that pool of talent getting all mixed up in other industries.
Last but not least, I would be remiss if I didn't make note of all the good you have done for marriages. I am so glad you got these married folk thinking that authentic and honorable sexual intimacy just isn't worth the effort. Short cuts are always more effective. Can you believe that the Bible actually talks about a husband and a wife enjoying sex only with each other -- and regularly nonetheless?!! That book is so outdated.
Your way is really a much better approach to strengthening a covenant relationship. I mean, seriously... all these wives out there must feel so much better knowing their husbands are looking at the breasts of other women and watching other people have sex.
After all, that is what every woman thinks happily of on her wedding day... "I just can't wait until he secretly steals away in the basement, staring at naked gals on our computer screen. Maybe he'll even want to go to some of those live shows! This is just going to be sooo good for our marriage. I think it will make me feel beautiful and cherished."
Rumor has it that your customer base of women is growing too! Way to go! Remember when even your industry leaders didn't think that was possible? Look how far things have come.
I also have heard that some circumstances seem to fuel your bottom line. You're capitalizing on those, aren't you? I mean, you have so many men who think porn is no big deal, and there are so many women who think nurturing sexual intimacy in their marriages is one big inconvenience. It's like a cocktail of sexual indiscretion just waiting to happen. Good thing your "open" sign is hanging out there 24/7, huh?! You get 'em at all hours, don't you?!
Certainly all of the above accomplishments are noteworthy. Stellar, I tell you. But I just can't stop there. I'm not sure how you did it, but some way and some how, you managed to get nearly all your customers and employees convinced that this is the only life for them. What was your go-to method for that?
Did you use the shame card? Man, that one is money, isn't it?! Or maybe along the way you've suggested that a different way of life would just be plain boring (or impossible at this point).
At any rate, I think you must be steering them clear of that Jesus dude. I tell you what, He's always going on and on about things like grace and true love and dying on the cross for our sins. Yada. Yada. Yada. Who does that guy think He is anyway?
I can't pat you on the back enough. You have done wonders on so many fronts, it is really hard to capture them all in one letter.
"Not a Customer, but Can See Why You Have So Many"
The truth is that when we stand back and see the toll pornography has taken, we do not applaud, do we? We grieve. Pornography has taken something precious -- the gift of sex -- and skewed it beyond recognition (yet, at the same time, made the skewed version unbelievably mainstream).
Am I out to vilify pornographers? Not really. They too were once someone's newborn baby. Am I out to remove all responsibility from those who willingly participate in pornography? Not really. The face of sin and weakness is universal, even if it doesn't always show up in the area of pornography. We are all sinners in need of the Savior.
I am no expert in the area of pornography addiction and the life-altering negative consequences of pornography. But I am not naive either. I don't think there is anything "casual" about porn. Call me old fashioned. Call me a one-flesh fanatic. Call me a Christian wife who hears from plenty of wives living in the fall-out of pornography wreaking havoc on their marriages. Call me an unabashed advocate for authentic sexual intimacy.
Plain and simple, there's nothing appealing about a husband or wife regularly entertaining sexual images of other people. If we think those images can't seep into the covenant fabric of marriage we are fooling ourselves.
As I look at the landscape of sexuality, I cannot find one redeeming quality of pornography. I see instead broken lives, devastated marriages, and growing appetites for more explicit material. Enough really is never enough.
Though the road is not necessarily easy, there is indeed a road out of pornography and toward authentic sexual intimacy. Such a road begins with Jesus, I'm convinced. Fortunately, He has equipped some helpers to encourage those people embarking on such a journey.
There are so many resources out there -- too many for me to list here (if you know of some, please throw them into the comment section). I humbly recommend Route1520, because these are normal everyday people who have walked what they are talking about. They know. I appreciate Traylor and Melody Lovvorn, who have an amazing story of marriage lost... and marriage redeemed. Traylor guest posted for me on restoring intimacy after betrayal.
I also was fortunate to stumble across Dirty Girls Ministries and Crystal Renaud, who is valiantly helping women out of pornography addiction.
You may also want to check out Joseph Ryan's site Freedom from Porn Addiction.
Getting out of something destructive takes courage, support and a willingness to take one breath at a time. No one resource probably has all the answers. But starting somewhere is at least starting.
And if you are married to someone who is entrenched in porn -- but doesn't want to take a different course -- I encourage you to get the support you need to navigate such pain.
My love letter to pornographers? It is drenched in my deep, deep sadness.
Copyright 2011, Julie Sibert, Intimacy in Marriage Blog.