Saint Pope John Paul II once made this memorable comment on Pornography, “the problem with pornography is not that it shows too much of the person, but that it shows far too little.”
We live in society where sex sells. Models, showing too much sex appeal and wearing far too little clothes, are used to sell everything from toothbrushes to cars. “Why should a scantily-clad model want to make me buy an item of everyday use?” you may ask? Well, there you have it – sex sells. Marketers will tell you that people shop more with their feelings/emotions than with their head/logic. Get the blood to stop pumping to their brains and you’ve won.
It isn’t uncommon to find foreign lingerie stores in malls with exotic lingerie on mannequins in mood-lit shopping windows. Families strolling through malls have to embarrassingly look the other way when they go past one (even though everyone’s thinking the same thing). How many of you have been embarrassed when you have gone to the movies with your family and an ‘item number‘ begins? You fervently wait for the song to be over as soon as possible and then breathe a sigh of relief…and then go home and look for the same song on YouTube. (Lol)
What’s even more alarming is how children (I mean girls) are being introduced to sexualised clothing at a young age. Parents may think, what’s the big deal, it looks cute on them, and they don’t even know what they’re wearing. True, but that’s now. Soon they get used to these clothes and continue to wear them even when they’ve grown up. I’m not being a male chauvinist here. Boys need to dress up properly as well. Use a belt, guys…no one wants to see your ugly butt-crack.
What has all this to do with Pornography? Our attitudes and social practices go a long way in defining our body image and how we look at it. And pornography is a large part of that. When we define beauty as how we look on the outside, we descend into superficiality and separate the body from personhood. We become shallow and objectify ourselves. Physical beauty fades with time, but inner beauty, the beauty of who you are lasts forever.
People argue today that the Church is too Victorian in her attitudes towards sex and sexuality. We need to chill out about this. There’s no harm in dressing up (or dressing down if you prefer) if you are comfortable in your skin and it’s no one’s business to tell you otherwise.
I’m completely ok with this, provided we respect our bodies and live our sexuality in a chaste Christian way, as God intended for us.
We were told once in catechism class that the best way to remember the sixth commandment was to remember that ‘six’ sounded like ‘sex’ and that meant ‘adultery’. Funny, but I still remember the sixth commandment that way even today. Most of us may think that the sixth commandment doesn’t apply to non-married people. But you’re wrong. ‘Adultery’ here is to be read as ‘sexual incontinence’. The word is ‘lust’.
Jesus himself made things clear when he said in Mt 5:27-28:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
When I reminded a young man about this recently, he said jokingly “Well father, if that’s the measuring scale, who then can be saved?”
True, and the danger is that because pornography is so widespread today and because everyone’s looking at it, we begin to think that it’s perfectly ok to indulge in it. What’s the harm in looking at a little pornography anyways? The harm is already done because you have begun thinking like this. When a society begins to justify a sinful practice as normal, the danger lines have been crossed. After some time, society may begin to say that it’s not necessary for married couples to be chaste to each other.
Allow society to draw its own moral rules and the decadence begins. 55 percent of all marriages in New York end up in divorce within the first three years of marriage, I am told. And that’s only for those who DO get married. The others are just living together till they like. Half of all catholic families in London are single-parent families.
Why is pornography harmful? Well, there is lot’s to be said on this topic but it’s best left to another write-up. More importantly, what must I do to get out of the slime pit of lust, pornography and masturbation? I realise that most people want to sincerely get out of this, but are struggling. Well, try the following steps:
1. FIRST, pray about it. When you pray, get down on your knees and ask God to help you. Tell him how much you are struggling with this. We cannot fight evil without His help.
2. Remove circumstances that will cause you to fall into sin. Install a filter on your laptop or pc. And work on your pc in the living room when everyone’s around. This may sound weird but it helps. Anything that helps discourage you when you are feeling tempted should be tried.
3. Get rid of the stash you’ve accumulated. Many hours of hard work may have gone into it, but it’s well worth that single ‘delete’ click.
4. Develop healthy relationships with people of the opposite sex. Being part of a large healthy group of friends, will open your mind to how beautiful people are on the inside.
5. Take one day at a time: Remember, this is a battle that takes time. Don’t set your goal in weeks and months, fight it one day at a time. Wake up each day and set yourself a goal of getting through the day without falling. You may fall some days but you will realise that slowly the ‘pure’ days keep becoming more and more.
6. Be pure online: Stop posting sexually appealing and beautiful pictures of yourself online (this goes for both sexes). I know they get you the most ‘likes’ but remember, people slowly begin to see you as nothing more than what you are on the outside. And if someone is posting sexual content in your group, tell him or her that it’s not ok.
“Guys, viewing pornography doesn’t demonstrate the man you’ve become but, instead, reveals the boy you still are. Ladies, pornography does nothing to enhance your own beauty, it only skews your perception of what true beauty is . . . and the true beauty that you are.” – Mark Hart