Does Siri know you better than your friends?

Who are you connecting with?


 

Did you know that the average person checks their phone 110 times a day?*

 

I was in a bit of disbelief when I heard this, until I paid attention.

 

It didn’t matter if I was in a conversation, eating dinner, watching a movie, or just hanging out- I noticed that people we’re always on their phones. (I wish I could say I was exempt from that group, but I can’t.) But why? The obvious answer would be the plethora of distraction. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest, Temple Run, Candy Crush- the list goes on! But why? Are we really that bored and lethargic that we’ll open Instagram 3 times in less than a minute just to keep ourselves occupied? Or is there something else going on?

 

I think, sometimes, it’s easier for us to be numb than to be sad. Sometimes, instead of dealing with the stress of bills, we watch a show we don’t even follow. Sometimes, distraction is easier than confrontation. Sometimes, instead of calling a friend and asking how they are doing, we check out their Facebook and decide for them. If we’re not careful and we remain unaware of this problem, “sometimes” will lead to “all the time,” and we will find ourselves scared, isolated, and alone.

 

Community matters. Having people in your life that know about the details of your life- the fears, the victories, the struggles, the relationships, the hurt, the promotions- matters! Living on your own, isolated and independent, will only get you so far. You need people who can love you through your messes and celebrate you in your victories! You don’t need 20 people to know everything and having one person is better than no person, but 3-5 is healthy and realistic. Plus, with numbers, you gain the variety of perspective and experience.

 

So, who knows you? Besides Siri.

 

– Anna Weygandt (Intern)

 

* Woollaston, V. (2013, Oct 08). How often do you check your phone? The average person does it 110 times a day (and up to every 6 seconds in the evening). Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2449632/How-check-phone-T…

Finding Freedom in Community

I Am Not Alone


 I’m in the men’s purity group in the church. I didn’t start going because I was struggling with a pornography issue that I couldn’t control, I went because the way that I had chosen to “control” my sexuality was to not acknowledge my feelings and shut them down. I went because what I needed was to connect to my heart and my emotions. I have a need to connect and feel, but that can be scary when I don’t know how to do that.

The men’s purity group is not about getting guys to not look at porn as much as getting guys to connect with their hearts and break out of their isolation. The group had a method that said: “If you want to look at porn, call someone.” I started to learn to connect to my emotions by not isolating myself and, instead, reaching out for an emotionally safe connection. I don’t just call anyone; I call someone of the same sex who is walking with me through life and will embrace me, not try to fix me. I can’t stand it when someone labels me with my struggles and gets more concerned with trying to fix me than connecting with my heart. Walking in purity always requires me to be vulnerable but it’s up to me to make sure that the people I walk through life with are safe and want to know my heart and not my “disorders.”


“I started to learn to connect to my emotions by not isolating myself and, instead, reaching out or an emotionally safe connection.”


I learned an easy acronym called H.A.L.T. which stands for Hopeless, Angry, Lonely, Tired. I found that generally when I want to isolate myself and self-medicate, I usually feel one of these four ways. This gave me power. Instead of getting trapped and falling victim to my feelings, I can do something about them — I can go connect and explore them with someone else. Living a life where my feelings are my friends and I don’t have to be afraid of them is kind of weird, but that’s where I am. I really don’t care about what Christian circles say about living “the right life” if that means I can’t be real with myself. I am holy and clean because of God, not myself. God says I’m clean, and the more I’m me, the more I will naturally deconstruct the things in my life that contradict that. The “perfect” life of performance will always tell me I’m dirty. I am not trying to fix myself; I am getting to know how incredible I am, and the powerful God-made hearts of those around me.

– Andy, 27, Colorado, US

 


Freedom from Porn

Isolation Never Helped Anyone


Like a family relative you keep locked in the basement, porn was only let out when no one was home. 


Growing up poor as the chunky pastor’s daughter in a very liberal, small town set me up for failure pretty early on. I loved people, but had very low self-esteem and no Christian friends to gain strength from. Isolated and lacking vision for my life, I sought refuge from pain.

The first time I saw porn was in the third grade. I was exposed to this crippling vice, which took years to conquer, through a friend who later grew up to have a million kids, all with different baby daddies. As I grew up, different emotions and needs would trigger my need for porn: comfort, adventure, education, control, risk. Porn could supply it—or so I thought. Like a family relative you keep locked in the basement, porn was only let out when no one was home. I hid it and hid it well. It wasn’t until my twenties that God revealed His desire to bring me out of this destructive pattern, which only led to loneliness and shame.

The first step in getting help was allowing God into every area I had kept hidden. Letting God hear your pain and accepting His love is an ongoing process. You need to become transparent and intimate in a healthy way with healthy people. Bring things into the light with those who have conquered these issues as well. It takes a huge amount of risk, and you’re not going to feel like doing it, but I promise there is freedom from the isolation you’re in. Face the pain, and it will lessen in time. On the other side are genuine, transparent relationships that God has intended for you all along. Resolve in your heart that you will no longer be passive when it comes to sexual content of any kind: movies, commercials, Internet, etc. There are resources available if you look for them. No one can do this for you, but God is all for you.

— Liz 33, North Carolina 

 


Top Porn FAQs

WHAT ABOUT PORNOGRAPHY?

Pornography, the new drug of our time, affects nearly every household in the western world. If you’re looking for information on pornography, including why it’s so prevalent and pervasive, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to find answers to the most frequently asked questions about pornography.


 WHAT IS PORNOGRAPHY?

Pornography is the visual portrayal of sexual activity (by actors and actresses) for the purpose of sexual stimulation, usually through the forms of video or pictures.

WHY DO PEOPLE LOOK AT PORNOGRAPHY?

There are many reasons why people choose to look at porn. Some common examples include, but are not limited to: curiosity, boredom, comfort, a need to feel powerful, peer pressure, needs for intimacy, escape, fantasy indulgence, needing to feel, coping and self-medication and sexual arousal and masturbation.

HOW COMMON IS PORNOGRAPHY USE?

With the launch of the internet and with increasing popularity of smartphones, porn has now become a 5 billion dollar world wide industry. 7 out of 10 men and 5 out of 10 women view porn regularly; this statistic is true in and outside of the church. Sex is the number 1 topic searched on the internet.

IS IT NORMAL THAT I WANT TO LOOK AT PORNOGRAPHY?

According to our sex therapist, “It is very normal to find pornography enticing and interesting as God has given us all a sex drive. Most guys and many girls have some issues around dealing with pornography because of the nature of how enticing it is and how available it is. So, in that respect you are very normal. It just means that you are a sexual being. It is not okay to look at pornography, but it is normal that you are interested.”

IS PORNOGRAPHY USE HARMFUL?

There are many statistically noted harmful effects of pornography. Listed below are some, but not all, of the destructive consequences of porn use:

addiction, isolation, increased aggression, distorted beliefs and perceptions about relationships and sexuality, negative feelings about themselves, and neglecting other areas of their lives.

These negative consequences often carry over into other aspects of their lives, especially family and couple (married) relationships.

Within a couple’s intimate relationship, pornography can have negative impacts in the following ways:

User faces difficulty becoming sexually aroused without pornography.
User loses interest and engages in fewer sexual experiences with partner.
Partner may view pornography use as infidelity and a betrayal to the relationship.
Partner feels sexually inadequate and threatened by pornography use.
Partner may feel that certain sexual activities desired by user are objectionable.
Both user and partner experience a decrease in relationship sexual satisfaction and emotional closeness.
Relationship trust decreases due to dishonesty and deception about pornography use.
One or both partners may be concerned about children’s exposure to pornographic materials.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M ADDICTED TO PORNOGRAPHY? HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE A PROBLEM?

To be addicted means that one is physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance, and unable to stop taking it without incurring adverse effects. If you find you are involved in compulsive engagement and are unable to stop, you are most likely addicted to pornography.

HOW DO PEOPLE GET ADDICTED TO PORN? HOW DO PEOPLE BREAK FREE?

Great question! We’re so glad you asked!

What we have seen at Moral Revolution is that most oftentimes, people get stuck in cycles of addiction without even knowing it. People do not wake up and decide to be addicted to porn. There is always a reason or a trigger or an unmet need that causes someone to initially seek porn out. What people do not understand is that they are not in control of the chemicals released in their body when engaging in sexual activity. (Yes, using porn is engaging in sexual activity.) These chemicals cause you to not only feel pleasure, comfort, loyalty and belonging, they cause you to bond to whatever you orgasm to. Furthermore, these chemicals are incredibly addicting and stir you to repeat the activity. Some of these brain chemicals are as addictive as crack cocaine. This is why those struggling with a porn addiction may feel strangely loyal to their habit while hating and feeling trapped by it. But, we have great news for you- freedom is absolutely possible!

Here are some practical suggestions to get you started:

Ask for help: tell someone you trust, seek out accountability, join a purity group.
Seek out healthy resources: books, blogs, teachings, podcasts.
Do a spiritual detox: listen to worship music, read your Bible and memorize scripture
Get in community: surround yourself with great people who will help meet your relational needs
Be wise: have a plan for your free time, avoid things/places/people/music/movies that would tempt you, get rid of the data on your phone, use a program like Covenant Eyes on your computer, leave your computer in a common area at night.
Take care of yourself: get yourself on a healthy sleeping schedule, eat the right foods, drink enough water, exercise
Schedule fun into your life.

And lastly, be kind to yourself! You’ve never been here before, and you are climbing a huge mountain…but it’s going to be worth it. God is with you!

If you feel you need more than the above, please prayerfully consider seeking out a professional counselor in your area.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M FREE FROM A PORNOGRAPHY ADDICTION?

The amount of time you abstain from looking at pornography and masturbating is definitely not the only indicator of freedom from your addiction. We think that freedom and power go hand in hand. For us, free people are in charge of their choices and make decisions from their convictions. Free people have the ability to say “no” when tempted. Free people know how to say “yes” to the right things and “no” to the wrong things.

Oftentimes, people go through stages as they walk toward their freedom. First, a person must recognize they are addicted. Second, they begin practicing sobriety (abstaining from porn usage). Then finally, they wake up one morning and realize that they are no longer stuck in an addictive cycle. Practically, this looks like your “yes” to the right things getting bigger and bigger each day, until porn use is no longer an option for you. Breaking any addiction is going to take you applying your will, keeping your vision in front of you, inviting other people into your process, staying vulnerable, and asking for help.

Being free, doesn’t mean that you are no longer tempted. It means that you know how to handle the temptation and you are aware you have power over it. You are not a victim to your temptation any more.

I’VE STOPPED USING PORN, BUT I’M STARTING TO DESIRE IT AGAIN. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

The real question you need to be asking is, “Why am I desiring porn again?” If you’ve already abstained for a time, or found a measure of freedom, your desire probably means that you have a need and porn feels like a solution.

Ask yourself: What emotion am I feeling? Why am I being triggered? Why am I trying to return to old habits? Why do I feel powerless against my current challenge, that I would need to self medicate? Have I shut down my imagination? Am I feeling stressed? Am I bored? What am I truly longing for?

Finding your “why” is the key to getting your power back. Once you know what you need (excitement, adventure, comfort, intimacy, relief, passion, creativity, etc.) you’ll be on your way again.

IS IT OKAY TO USE PORNOGRAPHY AS PART OF THE SEX LIFE BETWEEN CONSENTING SPOUSES?

We do not recommend it. Marriage is between a man and a woman. The Bible is very clear that anything outside of that is adultery, including what happens in the mind. Using pornography in a marriage is like inviting another person(s) into your bed. It is clearly unbiblical and a breach of the marriage covenant.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT PORNOGRAPHY?

The word “pornography” has it’s root in the greek word pornos. This word is used in
Hebrews 13:4: “Marriage is to be held in honour among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled: for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” The root word for “fornicators” is pornos. Therefore, pornography is rooted in fornication. This explains Matthew 5:27-28 (MSG): “You know the next commandment pretty well, too: ‘Don’t go to bed with another’s spouse.  But don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices – they also corrupt.”

The good news is, forgiveness and restoration are abundantly available. God has already made every provision for freedom accessible through Jesus. All we have to do is ask.

DOES GOD HATE ME BECAUSE I USE PORNOGRAPHY?

The reason why God is vehemently against pornography is because he knows what it will cost you and what is a stake if you indulge in it. He knows that it’s going to hurt you, rob you and harm your future. God doesn’t hate you. He hates what sin does to you. God poured out all of his wrath on Jesus. God satisfied his need to have sin taken care of through the cross. He is no longer mad. God’s not looking for a sacrifice any more. He’s looking for your surrender.

Your sin and your struggle do not surprise God. There is absolutely hope for you, so don’t let the enemy lie to you and keep you isolated and hiding in shame. God is a good father and he loves you. He is waiting with open arms to walk you into wholeness.

HOW DO YOU HEAL AND RESTORE A MARRIAGE WHEN THERE HAS BEEN PORNOGRAPHY USE OR ADDICTION?

Our sex therapist writes: “I would encourage you to talk to someone who can help you formulate a discussion with your spouse about what you want to see happen and who can provide wise counsel and support for you through the process. Then, either join a group for spouses of sex addicts – even if your spouse is not an addict, there would be similarities that would help you – and/or get therapy yourself. It does not have to be someone who understands sexual disorders but that would be great if you could find someone like that. Working on yourself is the only thing that you can change and keeps you from feeling powerless. This will help you heal and get stronger so that you will be able to make decisions about your relationship and your life from an empowered place.”

MY BOYFRIEND HAS A PORN ADDICTION. WHAT SHOULD I DO? HOW SHOULD I PROCEED? SHOULD I PROCEED?

In regards to dating someone with a porn addiction we cannot tell you what to do. Only you can decide that for yourself. However, we would highly recommend that you consider if this is something that you want to live with. You cannot change him or heal him or fight his battle. He needs help. He needs a covering from a spiritual dad or mentor or close friend who will help love on him and pull him out of this. But he has to want out and needs to seek help. This does not just go away. He should be connected to a small group or support group and work through how and why he keeps returning to this.

There are deeply rooted issues in men and women that view porn. Porn has a crazy wild draw that will lure you in and keep you trapped. When viewing porn, it is an escape and it is easy, free, accessible and you can keep all your secrets in the dark. People are able to have intimacy with no commitment, heart connection, effort or risk rejection. He needs help.

As for you, you’ll have to decide how you want to proceed in this relationship. We personally would not recommend that you continue to expose yourself to devastation and pain, if he is not pursuing his healing. You two are only dating. You are not engaged. You are not married. We also would not recommend getting engaged to someone with a porn addiction, who is not actively seeking help and on their way toward wholeness, if not already there. There are many things at risk with trust, heart connection, intimacy, healing, etc. that you would not want to carry into your marriage.

I HAVE STRUGGLED WITH PORNOGRAPHY.
WHEN AND HOW IS A GOOD TIME TO TELL MY FUTURE WIFE?

Our sex therapist writes:

”I personally think that if you are dating someone who you see as potentially being your future partner, then the sooner you communicate your past and choose to be vulnerable, the better. Lack of communication and honesty can definitely damage a relationship and is actually a common cause of divorce. However, the first few months of getting to know someone, in my opinion, should be in a group setting where you can find out enough about them to know if you want to consider dating or not. Your past struggles should definitely not be talked about at this point. Let’s say you start dating after 3 months of hanging out in a group, for example; a good time frame to communicate your past struggles might be within those next few months, after you’ve made the decision to date exclusively. It probably wouldn’t be fair for her to find out 6-12 months in as by this point it would be something you are hiding from her. Your past is your past and you can’t change that, you can only model where you are going by your vulnerability and openness with her.

I think there is such honor and privilege in being able to create a safe environment of trust and authenticity in a relationship. Once you have set the standard it allows the other person to feel safe and be open and real. It can, however, be a lot harder for guys to share experiences that may reveal weakness, as pride can sometimes stand in the way. It is a choice to be vulnerable and I think most girls would agree that honesty and vulnerability are way more important than your history. Where you are going is a lot more important than where you have been.”

WHAT IS BDSM? WHY AM I ATTRACTED TO VIOLENT PORN? HOW CAN I GET HEALING?

BDSM includes a number of violent sexual activities that play on the desire to control or be controlled, releasing a sense of power. BDSM is commonly practiced through bondage and discipline, domination and submission, sadism and masochism. It is depicted in violent pornography.

A curiosity or desire for BDSM may be an indicator of deeper needs that need addressing. It is not uncommon for a trauma survivor to turn to violent porn to reenact the trauma that happened to them. According to our sex therapist, “they do that because they are unconsciously trying to desensitize themselves to the sexual violence that happened to them in hopes the pain will go away or they watch hoping for a different ending than the one they experienced. Unfortunately, it can dull the pain momentarily, but it causes more problems in the long run. It does even more damage than what was done to them initially. Watching porn is an attempt to cope with the trauma, so in a sense it is a coping skill – but it is an ineffective and ultimately more damaging coping skill.”

“Part of healing for a trauma survivor is learning new ways of coping that are redemptive and empowering. I would strongly encourage you to see someone who can help you begin to heal from what has happened to you. Having someone who can walk alongside you is really invaluable.”

In other cases, violent porn may be attractive to those who are no longer turned on by regular porn and are looking for a higher high and/or greater rush.