Positive talk about sex help Christians confront porn crisis

Positive, age-appropriate conversations about God's gift of sex should begin early with children rather than waiting to have an awkward discussion about the birds and the bees when they reach puberty, a counselor asserts. (Photo/ CC0 Creative Commons)

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ARLINGTON—In light of pervasive pornography in society at large, Christians need to develop a theology of sin and sex so they won’t be blindsided by how younger generations interact with sexuality, counselor Jenna Mountain told a Texas Baptist workshop.

Mountain, director of the counseling center at First Baptist Church in Richardson led a breakout session during Texas Baptists’ Family Gathering in Arlington.

Jenna Mountain, counseling center director at First Baptist Church in Richardson, said churches must take a better approach to confront the use of pornography.

Sex is good because it is a gift from God, but it falls short of what it should be because of sin, explained Mountain, who also serves as part of Texas Baptists’ Counseling Services.

When churches help people in areas of sexuality, the conversation should carry a beautiful and positive message—not a negative and shameful one that focuses on the distorted view of sex as presented in pornography, she added.

“They are being told (pornography) is a sin, and they agree, but that is really not inspiring change,” Mountain said.

Begin early

A positive conversation about sex needs to start early, she noted.

“There needs to be a conversation on how it is good that sex is pleasurable,” Mountain said. “Early on, children need to understand how the brain needs to be engaged properly in order to direct feelings and sensations.”

Otherwise the problem will persist, and churches will continue to play catch-up with the porn epidemic, she noted.

“Pornography is affecting you, even though you’re not using it,” she said.

Because of technology, pornography is more accessible to increasingly younger generations, Mountain reported. Previously, children’s first exposure to pornography occurred around the ages of 11 and 12. Now, children between ages 6 and 8 are experiencing their first exposure to pornography, she said.

Technology has made pornography affordable, accessible and anonymous, Mountain said.

Detrimental impact of pornography

Exposure to pornography can cause detrimental effects on those who view it and affect how a person relates to others, she said.

Since initial interactions with pornography by children and teens are related to curiosity or the desire to learn about sexuality, churches should provide better resources for sex education, Mountain said.

If young men grow up with pornography, then they will have an erroneous expectation of what sex should be like, what they need to communicate to their partners and how women are to be treated, she explained.

“The things they see in porn are staged,” she said. “They are made of unusual people during unusual circumstances doing unusual things.”

Pornography conveys the message to men that they are Neanderthals whose desires cannot be controlled, and therefore they must seek sex, she said.

“We don’t realize porn is throwing an insult towards men,” she stated. “It says that you (men) cannot do better.”

Need meaningful conversations

The conversation about pleasure, respect, boundaries and discipline has to start early, Mountain said.

“The sex talk begins when (children) are born,” she asserted.

At the latest, these conversations should happen by the time children start middle school, she said.

In order to have better conversations about sex, Mountain said, churches must engage with scientific research so they can have a better understanding on the human body and its behavior.

A fuller understanding of the human body and how it functions enables Christians to talk about how sex is beautiful and wonderful, instead of just giving a list of what not to do, she said.

 

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