A recent article in the evangelical magazine, Relevant, described our society with an interesting word, “Pornified”. What is a pornified society? The word “porn”comes from the Greek word, “porneia”, which has to do with sexual immorality, or illicit sex. I think we would all agree that our culture and society has become increasingly more obsessed with sex. It’s ubiquitous on the magazine racks, internet ads, and even regular non-cable TV. From shows like Desperate Housewives to provocative billboard ads with 10-year olds posing, sex is everywhere. Some of my more liberal friends would say that it’s just a product of society finding liberation from overtly religious, conservative, and prudish constraints. In many respects, what we’re seeing is the natural result of sexual “freedom”.
But these friends of mine haven’t sat with someone racked with hurt and pain because of a relationship that was ruined by sex outside of lasting and enduring commitment. They haven’t counseled engaged couples and seen the pain on one partner’s face – the look of betrayal and devastation – as a past sexual history is confessed and revealed. The insecurity of knowing your partner for life will always have someone else to compare you with – whether in fantasy (based on what they’ve seen in porn or other media) or in reality (based on prior sexual history) – is a tough starting point for any marriage. In reality, “Friends with benefits” quickly turns into Acquaintances with regrets, and baggage with pain.
I have seen and experienced the increasing devastation that our over-sexed society is wreaking on the relationships of the next generation who are entering into the season of marriage and hopes for the future. The result is that while most single Christian men will immediately say that godliness is the first quality they’re looking for in a wife, the way that our society has influenced us is that if they’re really honest, they want their women to have the character of Ruth, but the sultriness and hotness of an Angelina Jolie. Maybe it’s the results of what the article defined as “hyper-sexualization”.
“Hyper-sexualization” refers to images that communicate to the reader that the person in the image desires sex. Sociologist Erin Haden said: “We don’t necessarily think it’s problematic for women to be portrayed as ‘sexy.’ But we do think it is problematic when nearly all images of women depict them not simply as ‘sexy women’ but as passive objects for someone else’s sexual pleasure.”
I have also seen countless students hang their head in shame and give up their kingdom passions and dreams because they think that their sexual sins/addictions have disqualified them. They reject their God-given calling and mandate because they think that there is no salvation for them…and this is freedom!? But this only affects a few weak-willed young adults, you argue? Not according to this related article on Relevant that says that 80% of evangelical young adults have engaged in pre-marital sex. 80% 8 out of 10…meaning that 24 out of the 30 or so college students I relate closely to will have sex before they’re married.
The question I want to pose is how are we to really fight our pornified society? The article just gives a rally cry to respond, but doesn’t talk about how. How must we respond? How do care for and encourage and restore and revision the next generation of moms and dads to live for the kingdom against or even in spite of the pornification of our culture?