There is an episode of Friends in which Joey and Chandler have free porn that they watch constantly. The episode ends with Chandler coming home confused about a “really hot” female bank teller that didn’t ask to go “do it” with him in the bank vault. Joey responds equally perplexed with, “Same kind of thing happened to me!” Joey goes on to explain that a woman delivered a pizza to him, took the money and just left! Chandler asked, “What? No nice apartment. I bet the bedrooms are huge...?!”
After watching porn incessantly, these men were confused because their encounters with women didn’t turn into the same kind of sexcapades they saw on their TV. While the sitcom was trying to entertain with humor, it was tapping into a real phenomenon.
Porn does this to men. I know that porn is a significant problem for women too, but I can’t speak from experience how porn impacts a woman’s psyche. Sadly, I can speak from experience as to how it impacts a man, and Joey and Chandler were not far off. During the time in my life when I was actively looking at porn, I can remember something like a normal elevator ride with a woman turning into a mental vanity fair. In fact, any close encounter with an attractive woman would send my mind to perverted places. Because of the sex-free-for-all that porn offers, you assume the feelings and thoughts are reciprocated. It’s sick. I was sick. If you’re actively looking at porn, you are sick and need to get help. I don’t say that to discourage you; I say that to push you to get help.
Consider porn as a school for rape. That might seem like an unreasonable jump to you, but it’s not. You are taking a woman who has not granted you permission, and you are using her for your own pleasure. Now, someone might argue that by taking the pictures or making the video, she has granted permission. False. It’s simply not true for a few reasons. One, it assumes that she was not under duress in making that decision. Two, it’s a very dangerous line of thinking because it can lead you to believe crazy things like: If a woman dresses provocatively, she is trying to provoke you to come on to her, or that her dress is your permission. It’s not. Porn is training you to want a variety of partners and a slippery slope of all kinds of sexual acts. You are feeding an appetite for sex that cannot be satisfied in a mutual, monogamous relationship.
I’m not surprised by all the sexual harassment stories popping up. Actually, I’m confident it is just the beginning. The seal has been broken, women are empowered to speak up, and they’re doing so. I imagine a woman’s biggest fear is being abused by a man, and report after report of men abusing women will feed that fear. I am not writing this to, in any way, make excuses for the abusers. There is nothing that justifies sexual abuse of any kind. I am writing this to make sure we are all aware of an underlying issue and are all doing our part to help. The problem is the sexualizing of our culture. Whether its sit-coms, reality shows, music, or pornography, we have fed a machine. We’ve normalized perversion.
I hope that if you are disgusted by the sexual harassment stories, that you will also be disgusted by songs that hint toward date rape, objectify women, and teach you that sex is just for fun. Don’t just bob your head or appreciate the beat; know that you are learning something. Likewise, if you hate sexual harassment, I would urge you to HATE pornography. It is evil. It is hurting our society.
Lastly, I’d encourage you to consider what you put in front of your eyes. What do you watch and why? Where does it take you? Do not tolerate the sexualizing of our culture. Sex is a gift from God for one man and one woman, for a lifetime. If that seems like an old-fashioned idea, it is. It dates all the way back to a time before men were abusing women for their enjoyment.