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Miranda Writes: Porn Doesn’t Have to Be the Norm, Part 1




by Omar Miranda



Lately I have been answering a lot of e-mails and posts from teens that tell me they’re afraid that they’re addicted to pornography. In my regular “Omar” style I want to have an informative but straightforward talk with you about this issue. Now, as a teen you won’t make many earth-shattering decisions that will totally change your life, but I think that looking at porn is one of them. It will totally hook you and keep you hooked—and not in a good way!

As many of you know, I am a recovering sex and pornography addict. What does that mean? Well, simply put, it means that I no longer knowingly and purposefully look at pornography or have sexual relations with anybody other than my wife. It does not mean that the temptations stop, but it does mean that when I’m tempted, I am able to make the choice not to engage in those sinful, damaging, and dangerous behaviors! Praise God! It is through a daily connection and relationship with God and through the power of His Holy Spirit that I am able to overcome.

Why do people become addicted? Addiction happens, in part, because of chemical changes in the brains and bodies of those who are engaged in these behaviors, but at its core, before this happens, the addictive attitude and motivation is one of distrust in the comprehensive provision of God. Basically, people become addicted to things because they don’t trust that God ultimately has their back.

You see, addicts at their core are distrustful and selfish, and they feel that they must meet their own needs. They do not have a proper respect for God. They don’t believe God when He says that He will take care of them. Many times they act this way because they’ve experienced a flesh-and-blood human being—such as a parent, friend, or other important person in their life—fall down on the job and not come through with their promises.

The reasons people get addicted to sex and pornography are too numerous to mention here, and this article is not meant to be a comprehensive explanation of that process or the factors that lead to it.  For more information on the specifics of sex and pornography addiction, I refer you to five great resources:

1. Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker, with Mike Yorkey, Every Young Man’s Battle: Strategies for Victory in the Real World of Sexual Temptation (Colorado Springs, Colo.: WaterBrook Press, 2002).

2. Mark Laaser, Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004).

3. Freedombeginshere.com. Specifically check out a couple resources called “The Personal Toolkit” and “Father+Son: Talk About Sex.”

4. Freedomeveryday.org. The best daily accountability format for getting free and staying free from sex and pornography addiction.

5. Illusionsprogram.net: A presentation dealing with the issues of pornography addiction. There’s even a presentation for your parents, too!

Here’s the basic outline for our time together: First, we’ll talk about the bad news, and then we’ll talk about the good news. We’ll start with a discussion of the depth of the actual problem of sex and pornography addiction. I’ll share some alarming statistics, we’ll look at the addictiveness of pornography, and we’ll look at the process of addiction. Next time we’ll talk about the dangers of porn, female sexual addiction, how to know if you’re addicted, and how you can stop and stay clean.

The cold, hard numbers

First, the statistics. These will shock and astound you—hopefully, for some of you, this will help you to start making some changes:

• 25 percent of total Internet search engine requests are for porn.
• One in seven youths report receiving sexual solicitation online.
• 42.7 percent of Internet users view pornography.
• In 2006 porn revenue was estimated to be $97.06 billion worldwide—more than the revenues of Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo, Apple, and Netflix combined.
• 70 percent of women keep their cyber activities secret.
• Women are far more likely than men to act out their behaviors in real life—having multiple partners, casual sex, affairs, etc.
(Source: Jerry Ropelato, “Internet Pornography Statistics,” http://internet-filter-review.toptenreviews.com/internet-pornography-statistics.html.)
ChristiaNet—an online worldwide Christian community—conducted a survey of visitors to its site regarding their personal sexual conduct. Here are some of the findings:
• 50 percent of Christian men and 20 percent of Christian women are addicted to pornography.
• 60 percent of the women who answered the survey admitted to having significant struggles with lust.
• 40 percent admitted to being involved in sexual sin in the past year.
(Source: http://christiannews.christianet.com/1154951956.htm.)

Aren’t these numbers crazy? There are, of course, no statistics on how many teenagers are addicted . . . trust me, I’ve scoured the Internet in search of them. But what we do know is this: many kids and teens are consuming porn, and with the invention of the Internet, the time from first exposure to full-blown addiction is an astounding two months! And addicted teens make addicted adults. And addicted adults are persons who are not connected to their spouses, their kids, their church, their jobs, or their God!

Addictiveness of porn

Pornography is addictive because it simulates the sexual act, which is a pleasurable act. When we have sex, see people having sex, or see naked people, our brain produces natural drugs called endorphins. They make us feel good, and we want more.

But porn is not sex; porn is a cheap substitute for the beautiful act of sex between a husband and wife, and we have the devil to thank for it! All this feels real good, and your brain gets programmed to look at this stuff again and again to get that same high. When this happens, watch out!  You’re in for the fight of your life. Research studies done with rats, mice, and other animals have proved that animals would rather receive the pleasurable feelings related to these brain chemicals than eat—and they end up dying! Now, I’m not saying that you will die, but you could end up connecting with porn rather than connecting with your friends or your God.

Process of addiction

The process of addiction is no surprise. In fact, it makes a lot of sense. This is the way we get used to anything. Let’s take a look.

When we continue to look at this stuff, we can become:

1. Interested: This is where our problems begin. Remember we said that porn is a cheap substitute? We will naturally be drawn to sex because God gave us a sex drive, but when we let our curiosity get the better of us outside of the confines of marriage, we’re in for some serious trouble!

2. Addicted: Remember, with consistent and purposeful exposure to this stuff, you can get addicted in two short months—and then you will struggle with this stuff for a lifetime!

3. Desensitized: The more you look, the more you look. The more you look, the more you want. As with any addict, the first time is always the greatest! I can remember the first time I looked at something: it was like somebody shocked me with an electric current. I remember it running down my spine and into my arms and legs! But the next time I looked at pornography, I needed to look at it longer to receive that same feeling. I ended up having to find stuff that was new and different, and ultimately I started looking at some really weird stuff! The Bible talks about this pretty clearly in Romans 1. But that wasn’t enough; I ended up going to the next stage . . . and so will you if you continue this habit! If not with a real person, it may be over the phone, or in a chat room, or worse still, you may decide that you want to start having sex with people . . . by force (that’s called rape!). If you are feeling as though the stuff you’re looking at is boring to you or that you need to start acting out with live people, please get help today!

4. Acting out: This is the ultimate end to the problem of addiction. When you reach this stage, the sky is the limit. I’ve met teenagers who have reached this point and have ruined their lives, the lives of their parents, and the lives of other people as well. If you are presently having sex that started with a pornography addiction, please get help. Your life may depend on it!

I hope that this has been informative and interesting for you. Next week we’re going to talk about the dangers of porn, female sexual addiction, how to know if you’re addicted, and how you can stop or how you can help a friend or family member to stop. God wants you to be totally focused on having a saving relationship with Him. If you’re involved with porn, your attention, focus, and ultimately your allegiance is split. And if your heart is focused on something or someone else, that greatly affects God’s ability to use you. The bottom line is that if you think you’re addicted to this stuff, then you probably are. But take heart—Jesus died to give you and me freedom! With Him, people addicted to porn can gain victory over it! We’ll talk about overcoming this porn problem as we wrap up this discussion next week.

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor
Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.





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