6 Reasons Men and Women Are Drawn to Porn

6 Reasons Men and Women Are Drawn to Porn
Written by Luke Gilkerson
I used to watch porn a lot. I hated how much I loved it, because I knew it was slowly chipping away at my soul, my relationship with God, and my ability to relate to women.

What fed my love of porn more than anything was the lie that sex was life. I was single at the time, and I had bought into the lie that sex was a basic, fundamental “need” of which I was deprived. To hear that God wanted me to give up porn sounded like God wanted me to give up life itself. I got angry with God for seemingly creating me with such strong cravings and then depriving me of what I thought was a basic right.

I had to learn that sex, though good and pleasurable, is not life. The desire for sex and intimacy is good, but even the best intimacy in marriage was designed by God to be a reflection of something greater.

Porn Obsession is About Faith
Attractive naked people aren’t the only reasons why porn is so alluring. The power of porn is the story it tells: everything from the setting to the words spoken to the expressions on the actor’s faces tell a story.

We chase after porn because it is promising life to us—or at least something we’ve defined as life. We buy into those false promises and get hooked on the fantasy world.

In his fantastic book, Closing the Window, Dr. Tim Chester identifies six promises the fantasy world of porn often makes to its viewers.

Below is my summary. This is the story porn feeds to us:

1. Respect
If we feel inadequate or rejected, our sinful hearts often crave respect, and porn offers the fantasy of repect. In the fantasy world, we are adored by fantasy women or men. Porn gives us an eroticized world where we are man enough or woman enough to capture the attention of others by our sexual prowess. We enter the fantasy, and for a brief moment, can feel truly valuable.

2. Relationship
We desire intimacy, but we don’t like its risks. We want to be close to others, but we don’t want to be vulnerable. We want a real relationship, but we want to be the one in control. Porn gives us this illusion: we can feel “connected” but not have all the mess of a real relationship. Porn offers a parody of love and closeness.

3. Refuge
In times of hardship or fear of failure, we want to relieve our stresses. When life gets hard we want somewhere to escape. We want to pretend to be someone else or somewhere else. Porn gives us a fantasy world where we are never a failure: you always get to have the hot girl or guy you desire, or you get to be the hot girl or guy. Porn provides us with an erotic escape.

4. Reward
In times when we are bored or when we feel like we’ve made great sacrifices, we often want to reward or entertain ourselves. This sense of entitlement drives us back again and again to the world of fantasy where our overworked minds and under-appreciated egos can “get what we deserve.” Porn showcases its “trophy” men and women across the screen, and for a brief moment, we experience that rush of, “Yes! I deserve this.”

5. Revenge
In times of frustration and anger, we might turn to porn as an act of revenge against another person (like our spouse who isn’t having sex with us when we want) or against God (who isn’t giving us the life we want). Porn is our tantrum at the world that isn’t catering to our desires. Porn is our outlet for saying, “I’ll get what I want, and no one can tell me otherwise.”

6. Redemption
In times of guilt and self-loathing, the fantasy world of porn offers false redemption. If we are feeling guilty, pornography says, “You’re okay just the way you are. Nothing about you needs to change.” If we are mired in self-hatred, porn is our way of punishing ourselves. “This is the shameful life I deserve,” we say to ourselves. Porn is a way to indulge our dark world of self-pity.

These are the false promises of porn, and for each person it is a little different. Just one of these might ring true for some people. For others, several or all of them ring true.

God’s Better Promises
But when it comes to breaking free, we need the better promises of the gospel to trump the power of sin. Breaking free from lust is ultimately about faith: will you believe God or will you believe porn?

Dr. Tim Chester shows us how the gospel can overcome the power of sin.

1. Respect
If we feel inadequate or rejected, we must remember that God is the one who offers us genuine acceptance through Christ. The men or women in the fantasy do not know you. They do not love you. Christ does. We must repent of needing the approval of others (what the Bible calls “the fear of man”), pursue God’s glory above all (1 Corinthians 10:31), and anticipate the glory he promises to those who trust him (John 5:44). His approval is far better than the approval of men or women made of pixels on a screen.

2. Relationship
When we desire intimacy with others but we fear the risk, we need to run to God as a Father who is sovereign over our relationships. Relationships are risky. Hearts can be broken. Emotions are messy. But God promises that everything we go through will work for good for those who love Him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). God can and will take all our relationships—even our failed ones—and use them to conform us to the image of his Son (v.29). Knowing this, we can pursue genuine intimacy with others in a godly manner, not run to the fake security digital sex.

3. Refuge
When we are stressed or when life gets hard, God is our true refuge, our rock, fortress, deliverer, and stronghold (Psalm 18:1-3). No matter what our circumstances are, next to the mountain-shaking, thunder-breathing God, our problems are no match for him (v.7-13). Instead of medicating our bruises with fantasy, we can escape into Him, casting all our cares on Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:6-7).

4. Reward
When we are itching for pleasure and excitement, we should run to God who is our living water. The well of porn is empty, and time will tell how little it satisfies, but God is our fountain of living water (Jeremiah 2:13). Instead of rushing to the quick fix of porn, we should cultivate a life of communion with God through prayer, fasting, meditating on his Word, and worship. We should cultivate a longing for the eternal reward of living with him forever, rejecting the temporary pleasures of sin (Hebrews 11:24-26).

5. Revenge
When we are angry that God is not giving us the life we want, we are like the elder brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:29-31). We consider our sacrifices, our obedience, and our devotion, and we believe God “owes” us something. But God does not relate to us this way: He relates to us as a loving Father. We are not merely God’s servants, but His sons and daughters. When we do not get what we want, we must focus our faith on God who knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows exactly what blessings are best for us in His perfect love and timing.

6. Redemption
In times of guilt or shame, we need to run to God who freely forgives us of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). We won’t find redemption by normalizing our sin or by trying to punish ourselves. We need to look to Christ, our perfect High Priest: “by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14). When we are reminded of our guilt and failures, we must repeat the words Jesus uttered on the cross: “It is finished” (John 19:30).

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