Did you realize—actually I hope not—that pornography, along with gambling, are among the biggest money-making schemes on the internet?
Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #72 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.
Years ago, I made the unprovable claim that unforgiveness was the #1 sin in the Christian Church. It might be and I could be correct, but it’s not the kind of thing one can measure.
Now, though, with the development of the Internet since the late 1990s, the #1 sin in the Christian Church might just be pornography. That’s right, looking at salacious pictures. Christians? Yes, Christians and just about everyone else.
Common sense, and certainly moral values, tell you pornography is insidious. It is beguiling, alluring, treacherous, and it entraps both the willing and the unsuspecting because it keys on otherwise normal human curiosity and inclinations regarding sexuality. “Brain scans have shown that pornography has the same effect on the brain as cocaine.” So, yes, pornography is insidious.
Pornography is now also ubiquitous, meaning it is virtually everywhere, and via the Internet, accessible 24/7 to anyone with a smart phone.
It is also increasingly in our face, in print or billboard advertisements, in media commercials, in online popups, in entertainment like cinema, television, plays, videos, online games, and more.
When I was a kid, guys would sneak around to buy what we called “dirty magazines” at the newsstand. Then they’d have to find somewhere to look at the pages and, even more challenging, figure out where to discard the magazines so their mothers would not find them.
Needless to say, this anecdote is from the Dark Ages. Fewer people than ever buy “dirty magazines” because the porn they are after is available on thousands of websites on the World Wide Web. “Porn sites receive more website traffic in the U.S. than Twitter, Instagram, Netflix, Pinterest and LinkedIn combined.
More than a dozen states in the US declared pornography a public health crisis in 2019…Hollywood produces about 3,000 movies a year; the porn industry films around 12,000.”
- 28,258 users are watching pornography on the internet.
- $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography on the internet.
- 68 million search queries related to pornography- 25% of total searches- are generated.
- 116,000 queries related to child pornography are received.
How Online Pornography Affects Americans:
- 40 million American people regularly visit porn sites.
- There are over 42 million porn websites, which totals around 370 million pages of porn.
- The porn industry’s annual revenue is more than the NFL, NBA, and MLB combined. It is also more than the combined revenues of ABC, CBS, and NBC.
- 11 is the average age that a child is first exposed to porn, and 94% of children will see porn by the age of 14.
- 56% of American divorces involve one party having an “obsessive interest” in pornographic websites.
- 68% of church-going men and over 50% of pastors view porn on a regular basis. Of young Christian adults 18-24 years old, 76% actively search for porn.
- 33% of women aged 25 and under search for porn at least once per month.
- Only 13% of self-identified Christian women say they never watch porn—87% of Christian women have watched porn.
- 55% of married men and 25% of married women say they watch porn at least once a month.
- 57% of pastors say porn addiction is the most damaging issue in their congregation. 69% say porn has adversely impacted the church.
- One-third of porn viewers are women.
- Daily, 2.5 billion emails are sent and received containing pornographic material.
- Over 35% of downloads on the Internet are related to pornographic materials.
- People addicted to porn watch pornography at least for 11 hours per week.
- Percentage of men and women who view porn while at work is 20% and 13%, respectively.
With the increase in porn consumption in the workplace, it translates to lost productivity, and in some cases, lost jobs and lost careers.
Pornography is not just harmless titillation.
Viewing porn leads to addiction, warped ideas about sexuality and women, a decreased ability to maintain healthy relationships, and an increase in teen pregnancy, the pursuit of degrading, uncommon or aggressive sexual behaviors, and a loss of self-control and self-esteem.
The cost of pornography to society is immense. “In the US alone, the porn industry is a huge industry that estimates $16.9 billion each year…Porn can affect the mental well-being of kids, adults, families. Families can face problems like infidelity, material dissatisfaction, separation.”
In just the past seven years, subscription sites have been developed “that enables content creators to monetize their influence," according to one site itself. “It is a platform that allows creators to upload their content behind a paywall, which can be accessed by their fans for a monthly fee and one-off tips.”
This means sex workers, entrepreneurial girls and women, actresses and models, who want to make money from their pictures and videos, can now create their own homepages, charge what the traffic will bear, interact with their fans via direct messages if they wish, and profit directly from their posts.
Typically, the content posted on these subscription porn sites goes far beyond what is currently permissible on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc. These social media sites are often used as places to post teasers to entice viewers to access the subscription sites.
One the world’s most popular subscription pornography sites (a name I’ve chosen not to use on this podcast) “claims 28.5 billion total visits. That’s 81 million a day, almost 4 million an hour, 56,000 a minute.”
America has become not just a sex-saturated but a porn-saturated society. And this rapid embrace of the dark side has had its effect.
“Young Americans do not think pornography is a negative thing. When they speak about pornography with friends, 90 percent of teens (ages 13 to 17) and 96 percent of young adults (ages 18 to 24) say they do so in a neutral, accepting, or encouraging way. Only one in 20 young adults and one in 10 teens say their friends think viewing pornography is a bad thing…Teens and young adults say, ‘not recycling’ is more immoral than viewing pornography.”
“Most teens are ‘sexting.’ While you probably think your Jesus-loving child is keeping things kosher when you aren’t looking, you’re likely wrong. Sixty-six percent of teens and young adults have received a sexually explicit image via text and 41 percent have sent one. More girls than boys have sent explicit images.”
“Porn is not just a ‘male matter’ anymore. While men have traditionally consumed pornography at a much higher rate than women, it appears that females (particularly younger ones) are starting to catch up. Thirty-three percent of women ages 13 to 24 seek out porn at least once per month.”
“Efforts to decrease the use of porn have gone nowhere in recent years, and instead its use has skyrocketed due to the internet… It’s estimated that 91.5% of men and 60.2% of women consume porn. In 2019, for the first time a majority of Democrats said they found it ‘morally acceptable,’ 53%. Only 27% of Republicans do.”
In his ebook, Your Brain on Porn, Luke Gilkerson concludes, “Pornography is essentially wrong because of its message: it rips sexuality from its relational context and presents human beings not as creatures made in God’s image, but as sexual commodities—something to be bought and sold.”
Pornography has also become even raunchier. Sexual intercourse was once considered “hardcore pornography.” Now, graphic sexual intercourse is mundane and the term “hardcore” is applied to sadomasochistic activities, violence fetishes, and other perversions and books and movies like “Fifty Shades of Grey” normalize degeneracy.
Since pornography is insidious and ubiquitous, it can overwhelm us. But we should remember, porn is also iniquitous.
It is sinful because it twists the human sexuality God designed for enjoyment and procreation in lifelong monogamous marriage into something rude, crude, and lewd.
Porn debases both the producers and the consumers. It inevitably, it leads to other sin, and it destroys what it touches, hearts and minds, relationships, marriages, careers, reputations, self-respect.
Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com.
And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2023
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