Porn: Stop licking the knife

CULTURE | Brian Tome | 7 mins

Porn____ .com just planted a knife in the snow.

Want More?

Get another perspective delivered to your inbox each week.

Subscribe

Share with others

It’s not a game. It’s not entertainment. It’s not “boys will be boys” or “girls will explore.” This knife will cut you. You will bleed out. And you will die.

COVID-19 is changing our world. One obvious way is how it’s transferring much of our lives into the digital space. Each work day, I spend more time on a screen than I ever thought possible. I know people having digital game nights with neighbors and online viewing parties for their favorite Netflix shows. First-run movies are going straight to streaming services and many musicians are doing Instagram Live concerts from their living rooms. (Pink’s acapella songs on Instagram are gold!) But not all content is created equal.

I’m going to trust you with some information.

Trust can be respected or it can be abused. What you do with this is on you. But in hopes of helping you avoid the knife, you need to know this. The world’s largest website, one of the top purveyors of online pornographic content, is giving away free premium memberships during the coronavirus crisis. All the digital sex you can watch, for no cost. But hear me loud and clear: this is a knife in the snow.

This decision brings to mind an Inuit parable I once heard. Life in northern Canada is harsh. It’s frigid. Snow is on the ground most of the year. Food is hard to come by. It’s a kill or be-killed environment where only the tough survive. Although the Inuit call this region home, the wolf is king here. The ruthless and bloodthirsty animals run in packs, ensuring their survival. When a wolf becomes a problem for the human population, there’s only one answer: kill it.

But Inuit hunters know, because wolves run in packs, you never challenge a wolf head-on. Should you be injured in an encounter with a wolf, the tide can turn quickly. Because blood signifies life and a potential food source, it drives the animals wild. Much like a shark, blood for a wolf means game on.

The best way to deal with a wolf problem is to set a trap. An Inuit hunter would dip the cutting end of a blade in blood and then bind it to an immovable surface, like freezing the handle in a block of ice. The trap set, wolves would catch the scent and come running. The smell of the blood would set the pack to licking the blade, but each lick did damage, shredding the tongues and mouths of the beasts. Famished, and unable to differentiate between the taste of their own blood and the blood on the blade, the wolves would work themselves into a frenzy. By the time they realized they weren’t getting any nourishment, it was too late. Some wolves would bleed out. Other wolves, in their frenzied state, would turn on the most vulnerable in their pack and resort to cannibalism. Either way, the pack would be greatly diminished and sometimes, even completely destroyed.

This is exactly what pornography does.

It’s a trap that will destroy you. Maybe it won’t take your life physically, but it will absolutely murder your relational well-being, your emotional health, and your spiritual fervor. I’ve counseled countless numbers of couples being destroyed by a partner’s porn addiction (it’s not just the guys anymore). Every download, every minute streamed, is another lick of the blade. Each one cuts deeper, exposes more of your own blood, and drives the addiction to fever pitch. Just like it does to the wolves, it either kills you or drives you to relational cannibalism, learning to value humans solely for their sexual usefulness.

At the peak of my raging hormones, viewing pornograpy required going to an adult bookstore and buying it. Thankfully, those extra steps and the risk of being seen kept me away. The rise of sharable content and the easy-access of the Internet has changed that. It’s literally harder to avoid pornographic content online than it is to find it. I’m grateful I’m not a young man in this day and age for that reason. And yet, I’ve used porn more recently than I care to admit.

A wife recently told me, “I look into my husband’s eyes and he isn’t there. He won’t address the problem and he doesn’t care. We aren’t connecting. We aren’t intimate. He thinks this is normal behavior that everyone does and I shouldn’t be upset.”

No. He is licking the blade and death is just around the corner.

We don’t watch porn to expand our mind or to get helpful tips. We watch to masturbate. And no one, after this sort of ejaculation, pumps their fist and says, “Yeah, that was great!” Afterward, there is a feeling of emptiness. We bleed out when we have sex with ourselves. We lose our sensitivity when we rub ourselves to the image of another. Porn cuts us and it cuts those we love.

A sex therapist friend tells me the biggest area of growth in her practice is seeing more men in their 20’s and 30’s. They can’t get hard with a real woman because of stress produced by consuming so much porn. They’re stressed they won’t perform as well as their prototypes on the screen. (They won’t.) They’re stressed their wives won’t be as good-looking as the porn star. (She won’t.) The lies of porn have put them in a tailspin. It’s like going to a hand surgeon after voluntarily sticking your hand in the garbage disposal. We know it isn’t good, yet too many of us do it anyway.

Studies on this topic are very clear—pornography has never helped a relationship.

Instead, it’s created sexual partners who are mere consumers. It’s created men and women who can’t orgasm without a screen in front of them. It’s created men who have masturbated so much, they can’t release without their hand. This isn’t the opinion of some Puriticanal, sexually-repressed preacher man. It’s researched, scientific fact…

-A study of 1,500 young adults in 2018 found that frequent porn viewing was associated with “lower sexual satisfaction.” Notably, under no circustamces was viewing pornography associated with an increase in sexual satisfaction.

-Another study concluded, “When porn becomes a how-to manual… it does a bad job. Its innacuracies lead to low-quality sex and infrequent orgasm, especially for females, and one-dimensional, unsatisfying sex for males.”

-A final study of 1,200 participants found that loneliness and pornography feed each other in a dangerous two-way relationship. The researchers found that for each “Unit of porn used, loneliness increased significantly by a factor of 0.20.” Porn may provide temporary relief from loneliness, but it’s a drug that wears off, leaving the user in a worse state then before.

There is a blade out there, buried in the snow, with your name on it. The temptation is real. The increasing loneliness we all feel from this crisis is real. The sexual drives you have are real. If you’re married, they’re meant to push you to your spouse. If you’re single, they’re meant to create strength of character as you choose to wait until their proper fulfilment. Your sexual drives weren’t meant for a screen and your hand.

Porn____ .com has set a trap. I’m drawing a line in the snow. Don’t fall for it.


Struggling with porn addiction? Check out another article. Want to read up on the research I cited? Find summaries and titles here. Seeking a support group? Learn more here.


Every other Friday, thousands of people get unfiltered encouragement and challenge from me delivered to their inboxes. If you enjoyed this, subscribe for more at the bottom of the page or at briantome.com. To quote the great John McClane… “Welcome to the party, pal.”


Written by

Brian Tome

Guiding you to the adventurous life you were made for. Adventurer, Author, Senior Pastor of Crossroads Church. More about Brian Tome.

Published on Apr 2, 2020