So be honest...
Have you have grown weary of my recent rants on teens, sex, and their long-lasting impact on future relationships? You’re probably not alone. For all you parents of preschoolers out there, hang on for just a few more posts. We’ll circle back to other family issues soon. But don't check out entirely. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
One Friday night when Jenifer and I were in the middle of our “Let’s Talk About Sex” series, we encountered a middle-aged couple at a restaurant. They had heard our first talk and were looking forward to the rest of them. Specifically, they were anxious for direction on how to put some parameters on their son’s dating relationship.
I assured them that we would cover that, but that we would also address some other issues related to sons…issues of a “self-gratification” nature. (I can’t use the “M” word or your internet filter will block me.)
Their immediate reaction was to say something like, “Well, we’d rather he do THAT than be intimate with his girlfriend.” While I understand their sentiment, I absolutely don't agree with them. Habitual “M” is potentially just as risky, especially as it relates to the effects it might have on him long term.
Most boys get their first taste of explicit material when they are young: somewhere between 10 and 13. Many get hooked immediately. And they stay hooked. While the effects of this long-term addiction may manifest themselves in behaviors at the time, my greatest concern is what the effects will be once they enter marriage.
This is why I am so passionate about these issues. They do not go away once you walk down the aisle.
Imagine, if you will, a young man who learns to gratify himself via explicit images at 14. He makes a normal habit of this for 10 or 12 years. He learns, though experience, that sexual satisfaction requires nothing of him. The girl is always interested. He can find immediate satisfaction whenever he wants. It is easy.
Then, imagine this young man entering a covenant marriage relationship. He soon discovers that the girl requires something of him. For intimacy to happen there must be time, love, attention, romance, and an investment into the relationship. It’s more work than he has ever had to do before. And once the honeymoon is over, he may decide that it’s just not worth the effort.
Does this sound extreme? It's not. At least it isn’t to the regular stream of couples I encounter who tell me that this is exactly why their marriage is unraveling.
Want to see it up close? Check out the honest story of a married couple at Relevantmagazine.com this week. You can read their personal testimony as a young Christian couple who have everything going for them...except for his past. This is powerful stuff.
A few weeks ago at Johnson Ferry, youth researcher Chap Clark said that 60% of teen boys in America are addicted to porn. He defined addicted as 3 visits per week at one hour per visit. He also suggested that in upper-class areas where internet access was highly prevalent, the number might be as high as 80%.
This is an issue affecting our kids, not just somebody else's.
If I knew that 60-80% of the teenagers in my community were addicted to meth or heroin, you can bet that I would be aggressively militant in my attempt to help my kids stay clean. We would talk about it. Often. But I would probably get a police-trained drug dog as our family pet. There would be random drug tests several times per week. I would take this threat very seriously.
We must take the porn issue just as seriously. We must get comfortable talking about it. We have to tell our boys (and girls) that it has the power to destroy their lives. We also must put some safeguards in our homes. I'm particular to bSecure. A friend I trust is fond of SafeEyes.
Jesus tells us that lust is a serious sin.. Like every other sin, it has significant consequences on our relationships with others. It’s about time that we started believing Him.