The 11th Plague: Pornography

Free CandyOver the years I have mentored and counselled many young men and older-to-middle-aged men on the addictions they have regarding internet pornography.  I am convinced this has to be at the centre of all discipleship discussions and in no way shirked by ministers and anyone in leadership responsibility.

In every case I have assumed it is happening in the lives of these men and I have never been wrong (in this at least)!  The prevalence of shame and guilt linked to this addiction is destroying not just marriages and relationships, but people as individuals.

shame

Pornography is the ultimate locust plague and the newest form of the Golden Calf; the ultimate consumerist need; a dehumanising consumption of humanity – by humanity – on a scale hitherto unknown.

It presents itself as something good, something delicious, but it is not; it may look like a nice cake but it is horse manure wrapped in icing that is laced with despair and brokennness.

Yes I know pornography is as old as the skies.  Yes I know the complexities of the nature-nurture debates and the desire-affections debates and the secret Victorian obsessions and the Canaanite fertility symbols that demonstrate in one way or another this is not new:  mankind is obsessed with sex.  But what we face today as a “postmodern” people in a global world is new.  Something has shifted, and the statistics below merely highlight the beginnings of this new-(but old)-world-order.

We are now beyond the territory of the erotic (marital) sex of the Song of Solomon, and we have walked blindfolded into the horror show of Ezekiel 16 and 23.  Some may say that since this blog is a Christian blog, that I am some sort of lemon-sucking prude, a proper Victorian anti-sex Puritan.  Well I’m not.  The statistics below (from but one country) will contain the detail of what and why I am against this vile trade in people who are made in the image of God.

The Guardian online recently published an excellent article by Laura Bates entitled ‘Rape is not a punchline or a way to sell Christmas presents‘.  She writes,

“In fact, there is evidence of some links between the portrayal of women as sexual objects and attitudes that underpin violence against women and girls. The government-commissioned Sexualisation of Young People review found evidence to suggest a clear link between consumption of sexualised images, a tendency to view women as objects and the acceptance of aggressive attitudes and behaviours as the norm. And the 2010 report by the American Psychological Association on the Sexualisation of Girls detailed links between sexually objectifying images of women and girls in mainstream media and significantly higher levels of acceptance of rape myths, victim-blaming, sexual harassment and interpersonal violence.”

I find it astonishing we need government-commissioned reviews to reach this plainly obvious conclusion.  This runs in tandem with the idiotic advertising strategies of various corporations around the world to suggest and insinuate rape and abuse of women in order to sell their grubby wares!  It should take more than public shock and complaint to realise this; or is the saturation of our minds by advertising companies now so dense that enticements to rape and abuse are the thing that will keep our economies strong?  In fact, “woe to you” if that’s what it takes to run a business in profit, and maintain a strong economy.

BTW, this post is not about anyone’s right “to do what they want” or whatever narcissistic neo-liberal construct of society you choose to adopt (as though anything one individual does is completely independent of anything and everyone around them (whether you are a Christian or not) – what nonsense)!  It is simply about the fallout from this industry that is destroying real lives on an industrial scale.  

Statistics and information on pornography in the USA
* The U.S. Customs Service estimates that there are more than 100,000 websites offering child pornography (which are illegal) worldwide.
Red Herring Magazine, 1/18/02
* Hollywood currently releases 11,000 adult movies per year – more than 20 times the mainstream movie production.
LA Times Magazine, 2002.
* 39 million homes receive the adult channels in scrambled form, while the number of children with potential exposure to such images is about 29 million
Morality Continues to Decay. Barna Research Group, November 3, 2003.
* One in 4 American adults surveyed in 2002 admitted to seeing an x-rated movie in the last year.
National Opinion Research Letter

55%: Percentage of Porn movie rentals vs. non-porn movies in hotels in 2005.
AVN News, State of the Adult Industry
* The average time a porn movie is watched in a hotel room is 12 minutes.
Time.com, 3-29-05

* The average teenager spends three to four hours per day watching television and 83% of the programming most frequently watched by adolescents contains some sexual content.
Gary Rose, CEO of The Medical Institute, as reported by Focus on the Family 7/8/2005

* 1/3 of 13 year old boys in Alberta, Canada admitted to viewing porn.
From a University of Alberta Study, March 2007, as reported by thegatewayonline.ca.

* 42% of songs on ten top-selling CDs in 1999 contained sexual content, 41% of which were “very explicit” or “pretty explicit.”
Family News in Focus, July 2005

* “Last year, Comcast, the nation’s largest cable company, pulled in $50 million from adult programming. All the nation’s top cable operators, from Time Warner to Cablevision, distribute sexually explicit material to their subscribers. But you won’t read about it in their annual reports. Same with satellite providers like EchoStar and DirecTV, which is owned by Hughes Technology, a subsidiary of General Motors.
How much does DirecTV make off of adult product?
“They don’t break the number out. But I would guess they’d probably get a couple hundred million, maybe as much as $500 million, off of adult entertainment, in a broad sense,” says Dennis McAlpine, a partner in McAlpine Associates, who has tracked the entertainment industry for over two decades. “I would think it’s probably more than what their overall profit is. The other areas are losing money. That’s making money.”
Then there are the big hotel chains: Hilton, Marriot, Hyatt, Sheraton and Holiday Inn, which all offer adult films on in-room pay-per-view television systems. And they are purchased by a whopping 50 percent of their guests, accounting for nearly 70 percent of their in-room profits. One hotel owner said, “We have to have it, our guests demand it.”
From a CBS News Special Report, November 2003

* “The porn industry employs an excess of 12,000 people in California. In California alone the porn industry pays over $36 million in taxes every year.”
Bill Lyon, a former lobbyist for the defense industry turned lobbyist for porn, as quoted by CBS News November 2003.

* In a Kinsey Institute survey, respondents were asked “Why do you use porn?”
72% said they used porn to masturbate/for physical release.
69% – to sexually arouse themselves and/or others.
54% – out of curiosity.
43% – “because I can fantasize about things I would not necessarily want in real life.”
38% – to distract myself.
* “Most girls who enter the porn industry do one video and quit. The experience is so painful, horrifying, embarrassing, humiliating for them that they never do it again.”
Luke Ford, quoted by CBS News

* A study of university networks by Palisades Systems found searches for child pornography at 230 colleges nationwide. The research revealed that 42% of all searches on file-to-file sharing systems involved child or adult pornography. The study also found that 73% of movie searches were for pornography, 24% percent of image searches were for child pornography, and only 3% of the searches did not involve pornography or copyrighted materials.
April 1, 2003 – Des Moines Register

* 87% of university students are having sex over webcams, instant messenger or the telephone.
Reuters, Ontario Canada, February 16, 2006.

* Queen’s University in Belfast conducted a survey of 350 businesses in the U.S., U.K. and Australia for the porn-filtering firm SurfControl. 28% of those questioned said they had downloaded sexually explicit content from the Web while on the job. U.S.-based employees were slightly less likely to do so than workers in other countries. The survey also found abuse to be slightly higher in organizations with more than 500 employees. Of the 31 percent of employees who distributed sexually explicit material from work, 36 percent worked at companies larger than 500 employees; 27 percent worked for companies with 20 employees or less.
MSNBC 9-6-04

* In May 2004 Businessweek printed the results of a ComScore Networks survey where 44% of U.S. workers with an internet connection admitted to accessing an X rated website at work in the month of March 2004, as compared to 40% of home users and 59% of University users.

* More than 30% of 1,500 surveyed companies have terminated employees for inappropriate use of the Internet, while only 37.5% of companies use filtering software.
Websense Incorporated and The Center for Internet Studies, 2000.

* 17% of all women struggle with porn addiction
* 1 of 3 visitors to all adult websites are women
* 9.4 million women access adult websites every month
Internet Filter Review

* 38 percent of adults believe it is ‘morally acceptable’ to look at pictures of nudity or explicit sexual behavior
Morality Continues to Decay. Barna Research Group, 3 November, 2003.

* 59 percent of adults believe it is ‘morally acceptable’ to have sexual thoughts or fantasies
Morality Continues to Decay. Barna Research Group, 3 November, 2003.

* 38 percent of adults believe there is nothing wrong with pornography use
Morality Continues to Decay. Barna Research Group, 3 November, 2003.

* 42 percent of surveyed adults indicated that their partner’s use of pornography made them feel insecure.
Marriage Related Research, Mark A. Yarhouse, Psy.D. Christian Counseling Today, 2004 Vol. 12 No. 1.

* 41 percent of surveyed adults admitted they felt less attractive due to their partner’s pornography use.
Marriage Related Research, Mark A. Yarhouse, Psy.D. Christian Counseling Today, 2004 Vol. 12 No. 1.

* March 20, 2007: At a men’s summit in Oregon before 2,000 men, Shelley Lubben of Shelley Lubben ministries challenged those who were struggling with porn addiction to stand. 30% rose to their feet. She immediately challenged them a second time, with the result that some 70% were standing.

* March, 2007: At a small Christian conference in Austria, 75% of the 25 men in attendance admitted to being involved with porn; 50% within the past 6 months.

* April 6, 2007: 70% of Christians admitted to struggling with porn in their daily lives. From a non-scientific poll taken by XXXChurch, as reported by CNN.

* August 7,2006: 50% of all Christian men and 20% of all Christian women are addicted to pornography. 60% of the women who answered the survey admitted to having significant struggles with lust; 40% admitted to being involved in sexual sin in the past year; and 20% of the church-going female participants struggle with looking at pornography on an ongoing basis.
From the results of a ChristiaNet poll reported by Marketwire.com
* In December of 2000, the National Coalition to Protect Children and Families surveyed 5 Christian Campuses to see how the next generation of believers was doing with sexual purity:
48% of males admitted to current porn use
68% of males said they intentionally viewed a sexually explicit site at the school
* Roger Charman of Focus on the Family’s Pastoral Ministries reports that approximately 20 percent of the calls received on their Pastoral Care Line are for help with issues such as pornography and compulsive sexual behavior.
* A 1996 Promise Keepers survey at one of their stadium events revealed that over 50% of the men in attendance were involved with pornography within one week of attending the event.
* In 2000 Christianity Today survey, 33% of clergy admitted to having visited a sexually explicit Web site. Of those who had visited a porn site, 53% had visited such sites “a few times” in the past year, and 18% visit sexually explicit sites between a couple of times a month and more than once a week.
* Out of 81 pastors surveyed (74 males 7 female), 98% had been exposed to porn; 43% intentionally accessed a sexually explicit website
National Coalition survey of pastors. Seattle. April 2000.

* In his book, “Men’s Secret Wars”, Patrick Means reveals a confidential survey of evangelical pastors and church lay leaders. Sixty-four percent of these Christian leaders confirm that they are struggling with sexual addiction or sexual compulsion including, but not limited to use of pornography, compulsive masturbation, or other secret sexual activity.

* In his book “The Sexual Man”, Dr. Archibald Hart revealed the results of a survey of some 600 Christian men, on the topic of masturbation:
61% of married Christian men masturbate
82% of these have self sex on an average of once a week; 10% have sex with self 5-10 times per month, 6% more than 15 times per month, and 1% more than 20 times a
month.
13% of Christian married men said they felt it was normal.

* 34 percent of female readers of Today’s Christian Woman’s online newsletter admitted to intentionally accessing Internet porn in a recent poll.
* In March of 2002 Rick Warren’s (author of the Purpose Driven life) Pastors.com website conducted a survey on porn use of 1351 pastors: 54% of the pastors had viewed Internet pornography within the last year, and 30% of these had visited within the last 30 days.
* 47% percent of families said pornography is a problem in their home.
Focus on the Family Poll, October 1, 2003.

* In a survey of over 500 Christian men at a men’s retreat, over 90% admitted that they were feeling disconnected from God because lust, porn, or fantasy had gained a foothold in their lives.
As reported in an article on Pastors.com by Kenny Luck.
In March 2005 Christianity Today published the results of a study called “Christians and Sex” in their Leadership Journal. 680 pastors and 1,972 laypersons were surveyed, with the following results:
* 44% of churchgoers want to hear more scriptural teaching from their pastors on the subject of sex.
* 22% of pastors feel they should spend more time on the topic.
* 85% of pastors say they speak about sexual issues once a year, while 63% of churchgoers say their pastors do so. Among those churchgoers who say they want their pastors to preach more about sexual issues, 47% say their pastor speaks about it once a year, an even bigger difference of opinion. A CTI analyst was quoted saying “Perhaps this desire for more biblical exposition on sexual issues exists because pastors are not speaking forcefully or clearly enough, while exposure to sexual images and messages in today’s media is ever more heightened.”
* 57% of pastors say that addiction to pornography is the most sexually damaging issue to their congregation.
* Almost 9 in 10 pastors reported counseling a layperson on sexual issues once a year or more.
I had a hard time believing that half the men in the church would really be accessing porn, so early 2004 I asked the church where we attended at the time if they would be willing to take a survey. They agreed, and in the survey we asked the men “when was the last time you looked at pornography?” The church was made up mostly of young families, and the idea that many of the husbands and fathers I sat next to every Sunday were dabbling in porn… I couldn’t comprehend it. Surely, I thought, the numbers would be lower. It can’t be half, not in my church.
Of those who responded, here’s what came back:
25% had viewed porn within the past month
44% within the past 6 months
61% within the past year
Pornography is corrupting the church and destroying our nation; without action the problem will only get worse.

The following statistics, from both secular and religious sources reveal that porn is now as American as Apple Pie, and has found a place in every corner of our society, including the church. The statistics on porn use among Christians are near the end.

* At 13.3 billion, the 2006 revenues of the sex and porn industry in the U.S. are bigger than the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball combined. Worldwide sex industry sales for 2006 are reported to be 97 billion. To put this in perspective, Microsoft, who sells the operating system used on most of the computers in the world (in addition to other software) reported sales of 44.8 billion in 2006.
Internet Filter Review

* US Sex Industry breakdown for 2006:
Video Sales and Rentals: 3.62 billion
Internet: 2.84 billion
Cable/PPV/In-room/Mobile phone sex: 2.19 billion
Exotic Dance Clubs: 2 billion
Novelties: 1.73 billion
Magazines: .95 billion
Total – 13.3 billion.
2005 Sex Industry sales – 12.62 billion
Internet Filter Review

* 60% of all website visits are sexual in nature
MSNBC Survey 2000

* The No. 1 search term used at search engine sites is the word “sex”. Users searched for “sex” more than other terms such as “games,” “travel,” “music,” “jokes,” “cars,” “weather,” “health” and “jobs” combined. The study also found that “pornography/porno” was the fourth-most searched for subject.
Alexa Research

72 million: The approximate number of unique visitors to adult websites in 2006, per month, worldwide.
420 million: Total number of porn pages.
40 million: The number of U.S. adults who regularly visit porn websites.
Internet Filter Review

* A 2000 MSNBC.com survey found that as many as 80 percent of visitors to sex sites were spending so much time tracking down erotica on the computer that they were putting their real-life relationships and/or jobs at risk. “Until they discovered cybersex, most of these people had no problems with sexual addition”, according to the survey’s author, Al Cooper, a sex therapist at the San Jose Marital Services and Sexuality Center in San Jose, Calif.

* 77% of online visitors to adult content sites are male. Their average age is 41 and they have an annual income of $60,000. 46% are married.
Forrester Research Report, 2001

* In 2001, in a study of 7037 adults, two thirds of those who visit websites with sexual content say their Internet activities haven’t affected their level of sexual activity with their partners, though 75% report masturbating while on line.
Divorcewizards.com


Source: http://www.blazinggrace.org/cms/bg/pornstats

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