There once existed a now-outlawed form of execution in China called, Ling Chi, or slow torture. This form of execution was given to the worst of offenders with this idea: none of the wounds were fatal, but they were all powerful when added together.
Sadly, we’ve given our society a different sentence, with the same execution. A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that “regular porn users are more likely to report depression and poor physical health than nonusers are . . .” Why?
If sex is only a biological urge, how on earth does looking at naked pictures eventually make you sick and depressed? Maybe the reason goes much deeper than you think.
A headline on CNN’s website caught my eye: “The Demise of Guys.” The article was co-written by a psychologist named Dr. Philip Zimbardo, a professor emeritus at Stanford University, whose research sounded the alarm about what pornography and video games are doing to young men today.
According to his research, the young men who play video games and use porn the most “are being digitally rewired in a totally new way that demands constant stimulation,” causing a condition he calls “arousal addiction.” He explained that while traditional addictions cause a person to crave more of the same substance (more cocaine, more alcohol), people addicted to porn and video games need more of something different: games that are increasingly more intense, or porn that is increasingly darker.
Cut by cut, this obsession causes many to sacrifice their schoolwork and relationships in the pursuit of their need for a buzz. Not one of the games or visits to a porn site were the demise of these young men — but added together each event contributes to a life spiraling out of control. Death by a thousand cuts.
Over time, exposure to pornography makes you incapable of being sexually turned on without it. Our world calls it “innocent”, “normal” even. What most don’t see is what it does on the inside.
An April 2016 cover story in Time magazine explained how many young men (and women too) in America believe porn has wiped out their ability to have actual intercourse with a person right there in front of them.
Porn doesn’t make sex better; it makes it worse. You can’t spend hundreds of hours looking at thousands and thousands of naked, airbrushed, artificial, young bodies, and then expect to be satisfied with one real, imperfect, aging person when you get married.
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If you are hooked on pornography when you’re single, you will bring your addiction into your marriage, and it will rot out your relationship from the inside out.
Of course, this wasn’t God’s design for our sex lives. He’s not trying to keep us from the pleasures of sex, in fact it’s quite the opposite: He wants us to have amazing sex!
But unfortunately, when you take what God has told you not to touch it can keep you from experiencing what He wants you to have.
Instead, we must “make a covenant with [our] eyes not to look with lust” (Job 31:1 nlt). It’s not “no” it’s just “not now” if you aren’t married yet.
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The good news is that despite choices you may have made up to this point, from this day forward you can make a commitment to strength and honor. Your current present will someday become your past, make it one your future self will thank you for.
Levi Lusko is the pastor of Fresh Life Church (a multisite church in Montana and Utah that he and his wife Jennie pioneered in 2007), and the founder of Skull Church and the O2 Experience. He is the author of the new book, Swipe Right: The Life-and-Death Power of Sex and Romance and Through the Eyes of a Lion: Facing Impossible Pain, Finding Incredible Power. He serves as host for Greg Laurie’s Harvest Crusades and travels the world speaking about Jesus