Age Verification to prevent children under the age of 18 from accessing online pornography is set for rollout in the UK. The House of Lords approved the final piece of legislation relating to guidance for the new UK Age Verification system this week (Dec. 11, 2018), with final sign-off from the House of Commons poised. Enforcement is anticipated to begin in early 2019.
Here are some common questions and issues that are being raised.
By Eddie Capparucci, LPC, CSAS, CSRRS, CCSAS, CPCS
The question I’m
asked often by married men is masturbation “wrong”.
My answer is three-fold. First, masturbation leads to lustful thoughts. I have yet to meet a man who claimshe can masturbate without the aid of sexual thoughts. So, let’s stay here for amoment. I think we would all agree, men who struggle with pornography or sexual addictions should not be focusing on sexual thoughts or fantasy. In fact, we train them to do the opposite and learn to control compulsive sexual thoughts.
Scripture tellsus focusing on sexual thoughts is not healthy for our relationship or ourselves.
“Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that could defile the body and the spirit, and thus accomplish holiness out of reverence for God.” 1 Cor. 7:1
Notice the words in bold. Unhealthy sexual thoughts lead to erosion of men. Strike One against masturbation.
The second part of my answer is masturbation is pseudo intimacy. Sex is an amazing and wonderful gift designed by God to help married couples enhance their emotional intimacy and connection. In his book, Sacred Sex Tim Alan Gardner points out:
“Sex is comforting,and naturally reduces anxiety,” he said. “These are wonderful byproducts of healthy, marital sexuality. Sex is not meant, however, to be used like a drug.”
And when we masturbate that is how we use sex – like a drug. We use masturbation to help us distract from emotional/mental distress or obtain an adrenaline rush. That is the same as having a little too much to drink with the exception that it doesn’t produce a hangover. Instead sex is an activity we are to share and enjoy withour spouse.
The third and final point is this, clinical studies have been indicating masturbation can lead to a host of sexual dysfunctions including erectile dysfunction and retarded ejaculation.
So, to answer the question, is masturbation wrong? The answer is yes, in that it shifts true intimacy away from a couple and moves it to pseudo intimacy for an individual. The answer is yes, in that it results in men turning to fantasy for lustful supposes instead of turning to their spouse for mutual enjoyment.
As you know, we don’t cure sexual or pornography addictions, instead, we learn to manage them. To assist us, the following are 4 steps we should take when temptations hits.
Don’t React. Respond.
This is a critical step. If you don’t get this one you will not be successful. Slow everything down. The key is to not rush off and act out but instead to sit with the emotions that have been activated by the triggering event. Find a place to be alone with your thoughts and feelings.
Every year the conversation in our home surrounding what to sacrifice for Lent is pretty entertaining. Each individual throws out an idea, while other family members counter argue why they believe it is not a true sacrifice. It’s always the usual list including sweets, bread, or electronics. In reality, all are good ideas and serve the purpose of denying oneself over a period of 40 days.
Last year I proposed men make a sacrifice that could have long-term and healthy outcomes for themselves and their relationships.
Sometimes it is difficult to determine if someone is dealing with a sexual addiction. A man who views pornography a couple times a year may be acting inappropriately and hurting intimacy between him and his wife, but it doesn’t mean he is a sex addict.
A sexual addiction is diagnosed when sexual activity has a negative impact and effect on other parts of a person’s life including relationships, finances, health, safety, employment, and/or relationship with God.
The following is a brief assessment to help you get an initial read if you are indeed struggling with a sexual addiction. Check each one that applies to you.
Does your mind wander with sexual thoughts throughout the day?
“I don’t know what you are so upset about. Every guy watches porn. It’s no big deal so why don’t you just leave it alone.”
I am blown away by the number of men I meet in my counseling practice who have uttered those words to their wives to justify their pornography addiction. In fact, many men believe watching pornography is as harmless as watching football. In their minds, since “every guy watches porn,” then it’s a harmless activity.
But they’re wrong.
Viewing pornography is far from harmless, especially to the emotional well-being of our wives. When we watch porn, we are sending extremely hurtful messages to our spouses.
While we may not intend to communicate self-worth eroding messages, nevertheless these messages are coming through loud and clear. Here are three of them.
Readers, the following first appeared on the website ThePornEffect.com. It is a letter written by a young woman who spent time in the pornography industry. For those men – and even some women – who think there is nothing wrong viewing pornography, you need to read this.
Dear Porn User,
I want you to know that I don’t write this with any hostility to you. Maybe you watch porn but don’t want to. Maybe you watch porn and don’t want to stop. Either way, thanks for reading.
I was a “porn star” for only six months but featured in over twenty films. I’ve been there, I’ve done that, and I’ve seen the reality of what the porn industry is really like. I think many people believe falsehoods about porn. Falsehoods which, if they knew them to be such, would probably try harder (or try at all) to stop watching porn.Continue reading “So You Think Women Enjoy Being in Porn? Think Again.”→
When a married man gets caught abusing sex, he is immediately faced with two serious challenges. The first is learning to overcome his sexual addiction and work to become a man of sexual integrity. The second challenge is starting to re-building trust with his wife. And for many men, that process can be more difficult than dealing with their own sexual indiscretion.Continue reading “Let Her Grieve Your Betrayal”→
Great article by Garrett Kell on being upfront and transparent with our wives about the struggle of sexual sin. This article originally appeared on the website “For The Church’. Read and take the advice to heart. One of the biggest issues facing couples in this situation is the husband lacks the courage to be honest and open. It is a BIG mistake and only leads to further pain and mistrust.
Many of my clients have utilized Backpage to solicit sex. Backpage is a form of solicitation that is also widely use by pimps and sex traffickers. They are not afraid to post the image of young girls they have tricked, abused and forced into prostitution. Below is an excellent article by Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times demonstrating the severity of the problem. If you are using Backpage to find sexual hook-ups are you any different than the pimps who use it as a marketing tool? No! You are just as guilty of exploiting young girls and women.
By Nicholas Kristof, NYT
We as a society derided the Roman Catholic Church as an accessory to child sexual abuse, and we lambasted Penn State for similar offenses.
Yet we as a society are complicit or passive in a similar way, by allowing a popular website called Backpage.com to be used to arrange child rape. Consider what happened to a girl I’ll call Natalie, who was trafficked into the sex industry in Seattle at age 15.
“It was every parent’s nightmare,” Natalie’s mother, Nacole, told me. “It can happen to any parent. Fifteen-year-olds don’t make the best choices. I dropped her off at school in the morning, I was expecting to pick her up after track practice in the afternoon, and then I didn’t see her for 108 days.” The girl ran off to a bus station, was found by a pimp, and within days was being sold for sex on Backpage.
Backpage has classified ads for everything from antiques to boats, but it makes its money on escort ads. It has about 80 percent of the U.S. market for online sex ads in America, mostly for consenting adults but many also for women who are forcibly trafficked or for underage girls. Children in at least 47 states have been sold on Backpage, by one aid group’s count.
“We were an everyday, average family,” Nacole said. “Our children were involved in sports. She played the violin. She was on the soccer team. And she made a stupid decision one day that forever changed her life. And Backpage facilitated it.”
e girl was eventually rescued by the police, but by then she had been beaten and threatened by her pimp and endured innumerable rapes. “She’s forever changed,” her mom said. “Her siblings are forever changed. Today she struggles with life.”
If there were a major American website openly selling heroin or anthrax, there would be an outcry. Yet we Americans tolerate a site like Backpage.com that is regularly used to peddle children. We avert our eyes, and the topic tends not to come up in polite society.
“I had no idea how much juvenile trafficking goes on until my family became a victim of it,” Nacole said.
Thousands of children are trafficked for sex each year in the United States, but there are no solid numbers. What is clear is only that it’s a big problem that gets minimal attention; it’s essentially never mentioned in the current political campaign.
Yet a few forces are coming together to put pressure on Backpage. One is a lawsuit in Washington State against Backpage by Natalie and two other girls who at age 13 were also sold on the website; one of the 13-year-olds said that she was raped 20 times a day.
Then there is the prospect that the Senate this month will adopt a Contempt of Congress resolution, the first by the Senate in 21 years (the last involved the Whitewater investigation), and this time it’s bipartisan and the target is Backpage. The aim is to force Backpage to comply with subpoenas from the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which is looking into the company’s role in sex trafficking.
Senator Rob Portman, the Ohio Republican who leads the panel, told me that he expects the Senate to vote next week on the resolution and he doesn’t know of anyone planning to vote against it.
At a time when Congress seems gridlocked and dysfunctional, it’s nice to see the Senate moving in a bipartisan way to address an issue that affects America’s most vulnerable.
The subcommittee has already uncovered disturbing information about Backpage, including the way it edits ads to reduce law enforcement scrutiny and does not retain photo data that could be used to find missing children. And Senate investigators uncovered an instruction to the Backpage staff that seemed to suggest erring on the side of letting girls be sold: “only delete [ads] if you really very sure person is underage.”
The Senate panel found that Backpage was worth hundreds of millions of dollars and in 2014 had an Ebitda margin, a measure of profitability, of 82 percent, compared with an average of 9.3 percent for online services companies.
Whatever we think about the presidential race, whatever our political party, we should be able to agree to act to stop the exploitation of children. It’s wrong when the Catholic Church hierarchy looks the other way, when Penn State averts its eyes, and also when we as a society do the same thing.