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Pornography and Virtual Infidelity

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The photograph was invented in 1839, and in just 11 quick years the word “pornographer‚” was seeded into our dictionary — unaware of the Zeus-like power and combustive fury that was to come as virtual infidelity would some day be as close as a harmless-blue Click Here.

Once a loathsome industry of photographing haggard prostitutes with drunken johns, this underground market, now more acceptable and mainstream due largely to Hugh Hefner’s Playboy magazine (first edition 1953), is today an estimated $4.9 billion behemoth. Earlier this decade the domain name business.com was sold for a record $7.5 million, as sex.com was valued at $65 million. Perhaps we should call it the Intercoursenet instead, as an estimated 28,258 people every second, mostly men (72 percent) but also women (28 percent) view pornography. Every 39 minutes a new pornographic video is being created in the United States.

Porn has become so commonplace, even among Christians, that its use has woven itself into the daily lives of countless men and women, disrupting marriages and short-circuiting believers’ effectiveness for God.

Christians Aren’t Immune

Christians aren’t immune. When surveyed, 53 percent of men who attended Promise Keepers said they viewed pornography that week. More than 45 percent of Christians admit that pornography is a major problem in their home. An anonymous survey conducted recently by Pastors.com reported that 54 percent of pastors admitted viewing porn within the last year. In an online newsletter, 34 percent of female readers of Today’s Christian Woman admitted to intentionally accessing Internet porn. One out of every six women who read Today’s Christian Woman say they struggle with addiction to pornography (Today’s Christian Woman, Fall 2003).

If only virtual infidelity were limited to viewing strangers in what was considered a sacred act just a few decades ago. In order to save, heal and protect our marriages from porn, we need to adopt a broader understanding of this pernicious and slippery world, an understanding that currently and unfairly pins most virtual infidelity on husbands.

The fact remains that electronic media, which includes the Internet, hunts both genders. More and more women are not just viewing porn, they are entering anonymous chat rooms and are more likely to act out in real life what others just type about. And as marketers know, it has always been women who have fantasized about relationships with men other than their husbands through soap operas, not to mention romance novels and magazines such as Cosmopolitan and other little sisters of porn of another kind.

The virtual infidelity that separates husband from wife is more than visual, and has been since fantasy, escape, betrayal, and the need to be held, loved, and understood — in a word connected in body and soul, which is a gift from God. Think of virtual infidelity as anything — images, wood pulp with words on it, chat rooms with words in them — that replace your current spouse with someone else in the recesses of the undisclosed regions inside you, where discontent grows and festers into a new, ugly and unintended creation.

Both Genders Are Tempted

As this series explains, virtual infidelity tempts both genders in similar and divergent ways. A husband’s temptation toward visual infidelity is erosive: visible from the outside and easier to spot. A wife’s temptation is more subtle and nuanced, making it corrosive: less visible, attacking from the inside and harder to spot, acknowledge and heal.

This double-bladed sword of virtual infidelity is the result of a good desire, human connection, gone in the wrong direction and missing its mark, which is part of the definition of sin. Deep physical and emotional connection can result in a blessed state of relaxation, escape and elation (the French word for orgasm, La petite mort, means “little death‚” — the loss of consciousness of the world around you). All are God-given, the result of His great love for us. These blessed gifts and connections create a kind of mini-vacation from the usual stress and strain of life that creates mysterious yet real bonds. Unfortunately, virtual infidelity tempts us to take mini-vacations with someone other than our spouse. We need to learn to take them with one another — a sacred and at times difficult act.

Solutions to virtual infidelity pivot from moving from illusion to reality and from a passive to an assertive stance in marriage. Husbands and wives need to bolster their courage and be honest about their intimacy desires, and at the same time, bolster their understanding and be realistic about that they should expect from a gender that is similar but also different.

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Your Teen Needs You Most of All

No parent of teens is perfect and even the best can learn how to better connect with their son or daughter. Get practical action steps to better connect with your teenager in 8 Essential Tips for Parenting Your Teen in this FREE video series!

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
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Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Reconnected: The Digital Experience

Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.

Next Steps: Marriage Assessment

We want your marriage to be thriving and healthy. Take the free Marriage Assessment from Focus on the Family to learn how to strengthen your bond with your spouse and get the tools to help you need to grow closer together. 

Next Steps: Fruit of the Spirit Devotionals for Couples

The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional is a free series of nine short videos to get you into God’s Word and inspire you to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in loving your spouse.

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