Audio Transcript

We’re honored to be joined again by author and speaker Paul Tripp on the Ask Pastor John podcast. He is the author of the book Sex and Money. Paul, we recently polled DG readers on their use of technology. 8,000 of our readers responded, and among those who admitted to ongoing use of internet pornography, it was clearly a particular struggle among men. Women struggle at a far lesser rate. But for both men and women, the struggle is stronger the younger the person. And almost 50% of men 18–29, the youngest demographic we polled, almost 50% of men here, who read desiringGod.org, admit to ongoing struggle with porn. Also interesting is that most of those men have accountability structures in their lives — so this is not a surprise to others. What would you say to Christian men who are stuck and trapped in this powerful sin?

The first thing I would say — and I think this is very important: It is a cultural analysis. I don’t think we do these kinds of cultural analyses as much as we should. You have to understand you now live in a porn-ified world. Pornography is western culture. It is everywhere. You will never safely escape the pornographic influences of the surrounding culture. You just can’t. You can’t look at your computer, follow the news, watch television, go to a movie, read a magazine, go to the mall without having your morals assaulted. So you have to understand the world that you are living in. Don’t be naïve to think that somehow you can purify your environment to the place where it won’t be a problem for you. We are all going to be faced with the temptation. We just need to get a grip.

The second thing is, I think that we haven’t talked about why so many Christian men are addicted to Internet pornography. And I want to say it this way: If I have accepted — and I think many, many Christian men have done so without knowing it — that sex is fundamentally about my pleasure, that it is, let’s say in marriage, a legal means for me to get pleasure, and that is what drives me in marital sex, then when I am in bed with my wife, I don’t care about her. I don’t care about God. I don’t care about loving and serving her. All I care about is getting off. All I care about is my satisfaction.

Now what that does is it reduces sex and reduces my wife to an object for my pleasure. I am going to say this: She becomes little more than a tool of my masturbation. It is totally anti-relational sex. It is not about relationship with God. It is not about relationship with my wife. In fact, the physical relationship, my love relationship to that person, almost doesn’t exist in that moment. It is just my body getting what my body wants. If that has happened and she has now been objectified, I have little defense against the computer which offers me the same thing, because it is all about me. And, in fact, the computer may be a more efficient tool of sexual climax than my wife is. What defense do I then have?

But see, if it has been about God, if it has been about relationship, if it has been about loving her and loving God and wanting this relationship to be what God designed it to be, the computer is weird, strange, and out of place. And so I think that what is being revealed is not a problem with the computer. What is being revealed is a problem that exists in our marriages — it exists in our low view of sexuality in marriage that sets us up to be defenseless against this temptation.

So singleness is an opportunity to die to the lie that sex is selfish — a lesson we will need in marriage.

It is a key place where contemporary singles can submit to the fact that, in all areas of boundary setting, God is smarter than I am.