Porn “And Stuff”

by Tyler Ingalls on September 4th, 2013 in Students

As an unashamed, former addict who overcame porn and became a youth pastor, cabin counselor, and small group leader, I have the porn conversation pretty often. In our groups, it starts with a few comments about respect to each other’s story, then I tell my story of struggle and freedom. This usually leads to a time of confession and place for openness. It’s great!

The problem for students is this: while it’s easy to say “porn,” it’s a lot tougher to confess to masturbation.

Hence: “Porn ‘and stuff.'”

Like, really. . . what else could “and stuff” be?

Researchers are finding through the field of neuroscience that porn is really bad for our brains and for our culture, but let’s be real: masturbation is the same thing, yet even more hidden! As teen guys, looking at gorgeous girls is a popular thing to do, while masturbation is hidden and embarrassing – and intensifies feelings of guilt and eventual loneliness.

While there are many differing opinions on masturbation, habitual masturbation will almost always lead to more pornography – that’s the thing with this “stuff”: we always want more and we always want something we haven’t had before! So let’s stop pretending that “and stuff” isn’t an issue, let’s get real and honest!

Now, I’m only 23, but have worked with hundreds of young men through this “stuff.” The battle is big and we need a lot of support – but the relief and freedom that flood over a young man when he confesses that, maybe, just maybe, there is a bit more to the story than just “I looked at porn once or twice when I was younger” is intense. And at XXXchurch.com we are all about freedom!

And of the hundreds of students I’ve worked with, I’ve never heard a story of when they confessed to a father, brother, or mentor, that the other person loved them any less. In fact, it’s always been the opposite – the relationship always got more real, which is what we are searching for in the first place! Masturbation and porn are just ways we try and feel love, so replacing them with a true, real relationship is one of the powerful things we can do in our battle!

In light of this truth, let’s get honest! Tell someone who you know loves you! Then have a cookie, give yourself a high five, or grab ice cream with a friend. As you begin to fight the battle of masturbation and porn, celebrate your victories and know that we are cheering and joyful right along side of you!

One last word of encouragement. As you consider confessing and getting open (check out Craig Gross’s new book Open) do not feel guilty for not having the guts to do it right away. As much as we push openness and honesty, sometimes failure at this honesty actually leads to more guilt – ignore it! Confession or not, we still care about you and are rooting for you!

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