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Was Porn Your Teacher?

God’s design for sex includes your questions and desires and hopes. But, if pornography was your sex-ed teacher, you absorbed imagery and ideas that changed your brain.

On top of that, your heart is probably holding onto shame too. 

We live in a world where pornography is literally at our fingertips. If you started watching it as a kid, we hope the message is clear for you to stop blaming yourself for that early exposure. Those visuals should never play the role of teacher.

In fact, trusted adults are meant to be God’s provision to help kids begin to understand what sex is all about.

We hope this episode encourages you to ask God to untangle the good from the bad so you can walk more fully as the man or woman God designed you to be today.

Highlights:

Far too many of us have been shaped by porn in such a way that it’s changed our sexual templates.

Porn is highly addictive for adults. So, it’s all the more so for kids whose brains are still forming.

Parents need to own that giving a kid digital device is too heavy a responsibility because pornography can be so easily accessed on it.

Extras:

Treading Boldly through a Pornographic World: A Field guide for Parents by Josh Glaser and Daniel Weiss

If you want to learn more, check out Josh’s latest musing on this topic at, What Billie Eilish Didn’t Say

Click for Full Podcast Transcription

So recently 19 year old singer Billy Eilish shared in an interview that she had been exposed to porn when she was 11 years old. And that in the subsequent years, she kept going back to it watched a lot of watch a lot of violent porn, which, sadly, is, is much, much more common than it was when many of us were younger. And she even said that the violence in the porn the abuse in the porn, she believes gave her night terrors and nightmares. In addition to that, she also talked about it messing up her brain, she said that porn messed up my brain, and, and led her to do things when she became sexually sexually active that she wished she hadn’t done. Because she thought that’s what she was supposed to be attracted to. One of the sad things about this whole story is that this is what porn does. It changes the brain of people who view it. It shapes kids idea about what sex is supposed to be like, and what feels good in the way that they’re supposed to be treated in the way they’re supposed to treat others, and what people want and what they want. And far too many of us today have been shaped by porn in such a way that it’s changed our sexual templates, it’s created something far from what God intended, when he designed sex to be between a husband and wife. I’m also glad she brought it up. As a young woman. I think that’s helpful for a lot of women who have felt like they’re the only ones. You know, this is just a guy’s problem. I think there have been too many, especially in the church, who have always talked about this as something that guys struggle with, but not something that girls struggle with. The truth is that 33% of females ages 13 to 24, are viewing pornography, at least monthly 33%. And almost 70% of males in that same AGE RAGE, that same age range are also viewing porn. One 2006 study of college students concluded that if participants in that study are typical of young people, that exposure to pornography before 18 is a normative experience. Now, here’s what’s crazy about this and what I want to talk about, especially today, it’s become so normative, that we typically as a society, we typically don’t even blink when we hear about it. And we might lament for Billy Eilish, or others like her who have been negatively impacted by it. But the fact that she was exposed to porn at age 11, are that it’s the normative experience for most people under 18, or at least for a good percentage of people under 18. That’s shocking. Why is it shocking? Well, if you were to take a kid, someone under 18, and and invite them over to your house as an adult and show them porn, that’s a form of sexual abuse. Kids do not have the development in their brains, they do not have the judgment, they do not have the power, they do not have the ability, the capacity to judge for themselves what’s right and wrong. They don’t have the capacity to say no to something like that. I mean, porn is highly addictive for adults. So it’s all the more so for kids whose brains are still forming, usually not fully formed until age 25, or their mid 20s. What’s more problematic is that kids who are exposed so often blame themselves for what they’ve stumbled upon for what they started watching. Billy Eilish was 11. And nowhere in any of the articles that I’ve read, nowhere in the interview itself, is there any any mention any outcry about like, wait a second, what happened at age 11, that you were exposed to porn? And I think the reason of course, is because it is so normative, it’s so accessible in our digital devices, it’s all around us. Could have been another kid at school could have been one of her siblings. Could have been that she just stumbled upon it when she typed in the wrong word. All those things are possible. Sure, absolutely. They’re all that’s all possible. But even so, pornography is too heavy a burden for any 11 year old to bear. It’s just too much. And adults and parents need to own in the 21st century, we need to own that. Giving a kid a digital device or access to a digital device is just too heavy responsibility because pornography can be so easily accessed on it. Now, the point of this podcast is not to not to point the finger at parents. It’s not I’m not even really trying to talk to parents. Although if you’re listening to your parent, please, we got it. We can’t do everything. We can’t protect our kids from everything but we can do so much and We should do what we can. And shameless plug if you have not picked up a copy of the book I co authored with Daniel Weiss, treading boldly through a pornographic world, please do because it’ll help you and it will certainly help your kids. But the point I want to bring up in this podcast is this for those of you who started viewing pornography, when you were a kid, 1112 1314 1516 1718 years old, I want you to hear this. If you are blaming yourself, for early exposure to pornography, I want to encourage you to stop blaming yourself. You live in a world where pornography has become way too easily accessible, and that is the fault not of you as a kid. That’s the fault of that’s the fault of adults. That’s dolts who, who didn’t stand guard who allowed this to happen. It’s the fault of, of principalities and powers that adults didn’t even realize they’ve been active in this realm. And, and it’s it’s left you left, it left you vulnerable to being exposed. And yes, in some cases, it was the fault of adults in your life, either or maybe older kids, either because they directly expose you to it, thought it was helpful, or fun, or just, you know, didn’t want you to be prudish and wanted to, you know, be the cool adults, or because they didn’t stand guard and let you have access in their home or around them either to their pornography, or to digital devices that could access pornography. Now, why is this important that you stop blaming yourself, because kids who are exposed to pornography will often blame themselves and when they blame themselves for both the exposure and for the destruction that follows the addiction that follows the fact that they keep going back to it again and again. And again. When kids blame themselves, it increases their shame and increases the secrecy. And so the problem becomes compounded, and they are more likely to to develop an addiction. So if you developed an addiction, if you developed a habit to pornography, when you were still a kid, I want to encourage you to reexamine your story. Because if your story has been for all these years that you are a nosy kid, and you were looking where you weren’t invited to look, or you were you were a kid who was just kind of wanted to see sexual stuff. And so you looked it up. I want to encourage you to reexamine your story. Was that the truth? Is it truly your fault that this problem started in your life? Or were you just a curious kid, and you stumbled upon it? Where you just a kid, like every other kid with questions about sex, and some adult in your life, didn’t guard the door. And you and you found what they left behind? Unaware at that point that it was just going to be way too much for you to bear. Every kid every kid has questions about sex. Every kid is curious about sex. Every kid becomes desirous of naked bodies, they want to see naked bodies, they want to see something having to do with sex. It’s a normal part of childhood development. Every kid has insecurities about their own bodies, and just wants to know like, what does this mean? You know, what is this about? Every kid who hears sexual terminology when they hear the word penis or vagina or breasts, or sex, or 69, or masturbation or you know, the list goes on, and I could get a lot more detail than that. But every kid hears those things and doesn’t know what they mean gets curious and wonders. What do they mean? And when they go looking for answers, and adults have left doors open for them to find pornography. It’s not the kids fault, that pornography became that burden that place where they sought out answers. Every kid really in this day and age. And in the last 2030 4050 years every kid needs loving, trusted adults, who are go twos for them, who are safe people safe environments they can go to with their questions, curiosities and insecurities about sex. trusted adults are, were meant to be God’s provision to help their kids begin to understand what sex is all about and what they as sexual beings are all about. Unfortunately, pornography for so many of us has become that go to or that stumbled upon or that available resource and, and pornography has become way too much of a sex educator for way too many kids. And if pornography was a sex educator to you and you became addicted to it, reexamine your story. Stop carrying that burden. It was too much for you then and it’s too much for you now. instead, reclaim the innocence that you had at 1112 1314 1516 year old reclaim that you are just a curious kid, begin to see yourself through a different lens and allow Jesus to to bear into his body on the cross, what you’ve labeled or understood yourself to be for all this time. Because who you were, then is who God made us closer to who God is really calling you to be as as a as somebody who is curious, interested, desirous of sex, yes, all those good things. And let him untwist the bad from the goods that you can walk more holy as the man or woman you’re designed to be today. If you’ve got questions about any of these things, please reach out to us. We would love to walk with you. We’ve got coaches on our team, who would love to have a conversation with you and help you better understand your story. untwist the good from the bad so that you can become increasingly the man or woman God designed you to be Jesus. We want to own our own responsibility for the sin in our lives. But Lord, free us from owning that which is not our responsibility that we could more fully and more freely walk as you’ve designed us to walk. I pray this down the name of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Amen.

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