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What Is Porn?

by Carl Thomas on August 1st, 2016 in Men, Women, Students

xxxchurch - What Is Porn-My wife is a HUGE fan of the show Friends. She owns the DVDs, watches the reruns on TV when there’s nothing else to watch, and jumped up and down when the show recently became available to stream on Netflix. Admittedly, over the years I’ve even developed an appreciation for the show myself. I think it’s the rampant sarcasm that gets me.

Anyway, one of my favorite episodes is one where Monica catches Chandler (her husband) watching what she calls “shark porn.” In case you’ve never seen that episode, here’s a quick breakdown:

Chandler is away from home travelling, so to “unwind” he rents some hotel porn. Meanwhile, Monica decides to surprise him at the hotel, getting to Chandler’s room and opening the door at the very moment when Chandler is wrist-deep into his pants.

Chandler hears the door start to open and quickly changes the channel to some nature show about sharks, but he unfortunately can’t extricate himself from his pants quickly enough. Monica surveys the scene and determines her husband is masturbating to “shark porn.” The rest of this very funny episode centers on Monica’s intervention with Chandler about his “shark porn” problem.

Why am I talking about this? Well, it’s not to get you watching Friends or even because the idea of shark porn is so funny (although it is). I think this episode actually brings up a good question:

What exactly is porn? 

After all, we have hardcore porn, softcore porn, racial porn, gay porn, straight porn, even food porn. There are practically more categories for porn than there are episodes of Friends. So what is it?

I can’t tell you how many times we at XXXchurch have heard this question. It often comes up in our X3groups:

Is [X] porn?
What about [Y]? Is that porn?
If it’s not porn, then is it okay to watch?
And on and on.

We love to put labels on things and classify everything by a type or genre. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple with porn.

Porn isn’t so easily defined.
There is no checklist.

So, here is what I would offer as a practical definition for porn.

Porn is anything you use (watch, read, hear, or imagine) that’s used to elicit sexual arousal outside of your spouse.

In other words, if something gets you excited, then that thing is porn for you. 

So, movies can be porn even if they aren’t rated XXX.

TV shows can be porn even if they are on regular cable channels.

Magazines can be porn even if you don’t have to unwrap them or stand on your tippy-toes to get them off the top rack.

Books can be porn, even if they are called “romance novels.” (Does that ring a bell, ladies?)

Talk radio can be porn even if it’s not on the Playboy channel.

Social media can serve as porn for many.

Your imagination can even be porn.

Now, I don’t say this because I’m trying to label everything as porn or because I want you to go out and sanitize your life of all “worldly influences.” I don’t want you to cancel your cable, delete your Facebook account (although that might not hurt for some people), and throw out your satellite radios. That’s not my point.

I bring this up because there is a better question than “What is porn?” That question is: “What is porn for me?” 

This is the question we need to be asking ourselves.

If you struggle with porn, sex, masturbation, or whatever – take your pick – and you need to ask yourself whether something is porn or not, then there’s a good chance it’s porn for you.

I struggled with porn for many years, and in those days there was a lot that served as “porn” for me that wouldn’t be porn for other people. There were many things that could trigger my desire to go, well, you know.

Thankfully, my boundaries don’t need to be as strict these days. I can watch a movie and not be triggered to act out by a sexy scene. That doesn’t mean I might not look away (and I often do), but that’s a choice, not a necessity.

Stop trying to classify everything.
Stop labeling in an attempt to have super-defined boundaries.

Life isn’t like that. More often than not, we live in the gray, not the black and white, and our struggles are not all the same.

So next time you stumble upon something that stirs those lower regions ask yourself, “Is this porn for me?” Examine your heart, your mind, and your motives, and if the answer is “yes” then shut it off. Even if it’s shark porn.

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  • Fuckballs20

    This whole site is a joke.

    • BYack

      Really? Why? Becuase you don’t like it? Go troll somewhere else.

    • beccad06

      I forgive you!!! I hope others do too!!!

    • Kyle

      This site is saving my life.

  • Bjarki

    “Porn is anything you use (watch, read, hear, or imagine) that’s used to illicit sexual arousal outside of your spouse.”
    Interesting, unintentional (?) spelling error in the sentence. No doubt a Freudian slip–which is when you say one thing but mean your mother.

    • SkyKing

      elicit rather than illicit. Good catch… This article promotes bondage in the name of purity. Been there, done that. The truth sets free. Porn is not the problem; masturbation is neutral, not sinful. A person who feels guilty about masturbation lacks understanding.

      • Mar Komus

        Care to elaborate?

  • Mudangel

    Good article. Another way to judge whether it is porn is dies it follow this verse? “Treat older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. (‭1 Timothy‬ ‭5‬:‭2‬ ESV) am I looking at her in a way I would not look at my mother or my sister? Am I looking at her in ALL purity? Or is there a sexual reason I want to look at her? Some try to claim it is not sexual but ask yourself, If I looked at a guy that way would it be considered homosexual? If yes, then your motives are not in all purity. Treat all God’s daughters with the same respect you would want your own daughter treated.

  • Harry Douglas

    “Porn is anything you use (watch, read, hear, or imagine) that’s used to illicit sexual arousal outside of your spouse.”
    …. So if you’re not married then is nothing considered porn?

    • beccad06

      Even if you are not married I would think this issue would carry into a maariage. It is not easily stopped. Also you are coveting or lusting over someone else. Just my thoughts.

    • Mudangel

      If you are not married them everything is outside of your spouse, since you do not have a spouse.

    • Nathaniel Wells

      lets add future spouse bro.. and look at it again again..

  • This dude on facebook

    I watched porn of all kinds As a young man and well into adult hood. Even when married I visited a XXX Convention. Today, after 10yrs of marriage i can happily say my wife and I are all the porn we need. She’s never watched it but she is happy being my porn star. We do nothing depraving but it sure is fun acting like fools pretending to be in a scene and I’ll suddenly say something like “this is absolutely impossible! How did they make this work in the video?” In the end, my point is this, porn is safe and fun when taken into context. Both men and women need to learn to differentiate between fantasy and reality. They also need to apply that to fantasy and reality in the bedroom. Peeps need to stop blaming porn and look within themselves and ask why does it affect them the way it does, and furthermore, is it affecting them in a positive or negative way.

  • Mar Komus

    I think if we define porn this way, though, it does leave a few stones unturned.

    First, I don’t think 1 Timothy 5:2 is an adequate way to handle this since, when any married man started thinking about dating the woman to whom he is married to now, wasn’t exactly treating said woman as a sister or mother. Would you date your sister? Would you date your mother? Would you marry your sister? Would you marry your mother? And when I say, “date,” by the way, please don’t say, “Sure would. I used to go out to eat with my mom or my sister all the time.” There’s a difference between a date and a date. Let’s not equivocate. 🙂 The point of a date with a woman outside of your family members is clearly towards an end: seeing if they’re someone you’d like to invite into the closest of family relations: husband and wife (unless you’re from Arkansas). One can date without it leading to sexual immorality. But I highly doubt there’s a man or woman on this earth who has never gone out on a date with someone they were interested in who didn’t also think about the fact that someday they might go to bed with this person. And didn’t, at some point, get aroused. Reality check.

    Second: singles. I can understand some nuances of the idea of cheating on one’s future spouse, but what about when a single is looking? If I date a woman that I never marry, have I cheated on my future spouse? Or have I caused her to cheat on her future husband? I think that’s just plain vanilla dumb because no one can ever know for sure that the person they’re currently dating is going to be the one they marry (Oh, I’m sure some nut out there will say, “I knew it from the moment…” blah blah blah. You got lucky…er…I mean…blessed). What if some guy is just SOOO convinced that Suzy Q over there is the one he’s going to marry? What if they’re engaged? Then, tragically, she gets hit by a Mack truck and dies. Well so much for Suzy Q! And now that guy is guilty of cheating on his future spouse because he even asked that girl to marry him?! Tsk, tsk! Maybe his future wife should save them the trouble and serve him divorce papers when they first meet? So enough with the whole “cheating on your future spouse” thing.

    Third, the scripture which we haven’t seen mention of in the article (come to think of it, there isn’t ANY scripture cited) that is the primary text from which we address this question is Matthew 5:27-32. I’ve lumped adultery and divorce together (the same way Jesus did) in order to show a point. The word that’s used for “lustfully” (NIV) is a cognate of the family of words that we translate as coveting (when used negatively) and strong desire (when used positively, as in 1 Tim 3:1). Jesus says that the man who ogles a woman has already committed adultery in his heart. We should note this is in the context of defining adultery, which always involves at least one married person. In other words, one or both of the parties involved needs to be married in order for this to actually stick. We could argue it doesn’t apply to singles because single people are still looking and it’s fine to have an intense desire for someone–AS LONG AS THEY DON’T ALREADY BELONG TO SOMEONE ELSE and as long as the intent is higher than a meaningless romp.

    As for how this connects to divorce: if we go with a whatever-affects-your-nether-regions approach and read that into the grounds for divorce–WHICH GROUNDS ARE NOT SIMPLY ADULTERY, BUT SEXUAL IMMORALITY OF ANY KIND–then we have some real problems, don’t we? Or…at least, that’s what the original language seems to imply. After all, the word porneia is used there and means “sexual immorality.” Of any kind. Not just adultery. That’s dangerous, isn’t it?

    Finally, I would recommend that the real problem isn’t porn per se. Porn is simply a manifestation of sexual immorality. Sexual immorality, in turn, is the robbing of sex of its fullness and function. It’s turning sex into something it was never meant to be–however that manifests. But about marital sex, there’s a LOT of good stuff in the Word! Proverbs 5:17-20; Song of Songs; a few other places. ENJOY! 🙂

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