The Secret Christian Porn Crisis

Sex, Love & Intimacy |

The Secret Christian Porn Crisis

By Dave Willis

My wife, Ashley, and I were walking off stage at a marriage conference recently when a distraught woman came up to us. With tears rolling down her cheeks, she told us that she needed prayer and guidance. Through her sobs, she shared a tragically familiar story. Her once happy marriage had slowly been poisoned by pornography.

Her husband had fallen deep into his addiction and now, what he had once seen as harmless entertainment, had stolen almost everything from him and shattered his wife’s heart.

Ashley and I have served together in full-time Christian ministry for many years and the majority of our work has been in marriage ministry. In our years of working with couples, we’ve watched pornography devastate marriages. In fact, we’re convinced that there is no greater enemy of intimacy than pornography. We’re also convinced that it’s a secret among Christians that needs to be dragged out of the darkness and into the light.

Nearly every time someone approaches us with a marriage crisis, porn is part of the story. I vividly remember the moment when I finally understood how widespread this crisis has become, even in Christian marriages. I was at a marriage event at my own church, but this time, instead of just sharing statistics, I wanted to help everyone visualize the real people behind the numbers.

According to Barna (the most trusted name in Christian statistics), 62% of men claim to be Christian and yet view pornography at least once a month. Let that sink in for a minute. 62%. That’s a clear majority. It’s nearly 2 out of 3 men.

I asked all the men to stand whose birthdays were in January, February, March, April, May, June, July or August. These standing men made up approximately 62% of the total men in the room. I was shocked to see a real representation of this statistic with my own eyes.

There were hundreds of men standing and I found myself speechless as I surveyed the crowd and reflected on the devastating statistic these men represented.

The majority of Christian men are actively committing a mental form of infidelity by Jesus’ own standard. He said, “…to look at a woman lustfully is to commit adultery in your heart.” (Matthew 5:28)

As the men stood all around me and I saw what 62% actually looks like, this staggering statistic became so much more than a number. I was looking at the faces of husbands, sons, fathers and grandfathers. I was looking at faces of friends and leaders I know and respect. In that moment I realized the obvious truth; we are in the midst of a Christian porn crisis.

This isn’t just a male problem. Barna’s research shows that more than 15% of Christian women view pornography at least once a month and that number is on the rise. That percentage also doesn’t factor in the countless women who regularly read erotica and steamy romance novels which essentially depict pornography and create pornographic, extramarital fantasies for the reader.

From the nationwide study commissioned by the Reagan Administration in the 1980’s to the research being done by XXXchurch.com, Fight The New Drug and other Christian and secular organizations in our era, the studies are revealing what Scripture has taught all along; any form of lust is harmful. The objectification of human beings and extramarital fantasies create long-lasting scars in our minds, our souls and our marriages.

I didn’t need the studies to show me that porn is harmful. I knew it from personal experience. I was once part of that 62%. A secret porn habit haunted me from my teenage years into the early years of my marriage. There were long seasons where will power would keep me away, but then I’d fall back into that same pit of sin and cycle of shame. I know from experience that porn is no more a form of entertainment than rat poison is a form of food.

I’ve seen the heartbreak in my bride’s eyes when she discovered the awful truth. I’ve known the feeling of losing control of my thoughts because of the reels of filthy images that would play on repeat in my mind. I’ve known what it feels like to be addicted and trapped by porn. I have lived this story.

I have also lived a story of grace. I’ve known the forgiveness of a Savior who gave His life to set me free from all sin and shame. I’ve known the love and forgiveness of an amazing wife who helped me, even while healing from her own wounds that were caused by my sin. I’ve known redemption and freedom and you can too!

As followers of Christ and believers in God’s sacred plan for marriage, I believe that all of us should be on this crusade together to get porn out of our lives and out of our marriages. The solutions are more complex than can possibly be addressed in one article, but for starters, we need to be willing to call this a sin and repent of our use of it or our indifference to other people’s use of it.

We need to have healthy conversations about porn and purity in our churches, where tragically, so many are suffering with this sin in silence while the church pretends it’s not a problem. We need accountability. We need to be in same-gender accountability relationships. We need transparency and trust in our marriages. We need to reclaim God’s original and still-perfect plan for sex and marriage.

If you are currently struggling with pornography, please know that you’re not alone and there is help and hope available. Your first step is to confess your sin to your Savior and embrace His forgiveness. Next, confess your sin to your spouse and work to rebuild the trust your actions have damaged. Third, actively pursue accountability and porn-blocking-and-tracking software on all your devices through services like Covenant Eyes or X3Watch.

Finally, keep growing in your relationship with God and your relationship with your spouse. Your best days are ahead of you! We have plenty of resources and events right here at MarriageToday to help you on your journey.

Dave and Ashley Willis have built a strong following, reaching millions of married couples through their blogs, books, and videos. Get Dave and Ashley’s most popular resources for couples and groups. Their mission is to create resources focused on building Christ-centered marriages and families. They have four young sons and live near Augusta, Georgia.

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