Higher Ground Men's Conference

internet sexxx, age of pornography
28
Dec

2016: the year we couldn’t stop talking about porn

By Steve Dulaney
President, Prodigals International

There was a lot of conversation about pornography in 2016: its availability and its potentially harmful impact on individuals and families. But what made this year’s conversation unique was this time it didn’t come from the usual religious voices:

Terry Crews pornography addictionFebruary 11: NFL player turned actor Terry Crews receives 32,000 shares and 4 million views of his Facebook video post admitting he went into rehab to recover from his addiction to pornography.

April 8: Gail Dines, activist and professor of sociology at Wheelock College in Boston, and author of “Pornland: How Porn has Hijacked our Sexuality,” declares in a Washington Post editorial her agreement with the Utah House of Representatives that porn is now a public health hazard.

April 5: John Gottman, of The Gottman Institute, publishes “An Open Letter on Porn” citing recent scientific studies that led Gottman to “unconditionally conclude that for many reasons, pornography poses a serious threat to couple intimacy and relationship harmony.”

Time Magazine article about pornographyApril 11: the cover and feature article of Time Magazine declares “PORN: Why young men who grew up with Internet porn are becoming advocates for turning it off

July 11: the GOP announces an amendment to their national party platform declaring internet pornography a public health crisis.

August 3: famed rocker Ozzy Osbourne issues a statement that he’s seeking in-patient treatment for sex addiction after multiple affairs.

August 30: former US Rep. Anthony Weiner’s wife announces they are separating after new reports surfaced that he sent sexually suggestive photos. Again.

Fight the New Drug, a non-religious, non-political organization achieves 1.3 million Facebook and 26K Twitter followers with their “Porn Kills Love”

Fight the New Drug and it's Porn Kills Love Movement

What the heck is going on?

Well, as a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, I have to admit I have a bit of a unique perspective on this.  I think there are two predominant reasons why America can’t stop talking about porn:

  1. We have unprecedented availability and exposure to pornography

While the internet, social media and smart phones have placed a world of amazing information at our fingertips, they’ve also become the primary delivery mechanisms for pornography.

A new study estimates that the average age of first exposure to children of online pornography, albeit accidental, may be as young as 9 years old – for both boys and girls. Additional surveys estimate that upwards of 68% of college men are regularly viewing pornography, and in 2013 The Daily Mail reported that a study into how porn affects men had to be scrapped after experts failed to find any young men who hadn’t watched it.  According to the Time magazine article (referenced above) “At the peak of Playboy’s popularity in 1975, the magazine had a circulation of 5.6 million. Today, more than 100 million people in the U.S. visit adult sites monthly.” And it’s not always “adults” visiting the “adult sites.”

  1. We’ve realized we are all called to be gatekeepers to protect our families

Men – and in particular men of faith – find having any conversations about these topics particularly shameful.

But as 2016 has unfolded, more individuals are coming forward to say ENOUGH.  I need help. My family needs help. Porn is hurting our relationships and it’s NOT OK for our kids to be exposed to this stuff.

To gain the higher ground against this ‘pornified’ culture, we’re understanding more clearly than ever that teens need grace-filled education, men need community and encouragement, parents need help and clergy need resources.

That’s why Prodigals International hosts The Higher Ground Men’s Conference, an annual gathering for Pacific Northwest men* to discuss real tools for the battle for integrity amidst our hyper-sexual culture.

Ours is not a political agenda. We’re not out to deny anyone’s First Amendment rights. Our goal is to raise the conversation, making our community aware of the risks of this potentially addictive ‘drug’ and also encourage men toward a life that thrives with integrity in all aspects of his life.

Our February 25th event will feature speakers and breakout sessions offering tools and insight for:

  • increasing intimacy and passion in your marriage
  • parenting and mentoring our teens for how to be prepared for eventual exposure to porn and how to date with integrity
  • addressing healing and creating go-forward plans for extricating porn from impacted lives
  • guarding against a mid-life crisis, at any age
  • insights on fatherhood, brotherhood and becoming an agent of social justice in our local communities
  • and more…

Gaining the higher ground for a man's integrityGuys – I hope you’ll consider joining with hundreds of men from across the Pacific Northwest Saturday, February 25th at Westminster Chapel in Bellevue, Washington to help us raise the conversation. At Prodigals, we believe we are all designed by God to live a life that thrives with meaningful, authentic intimacy. Let’s join together and not let our hyper-sexual culture steal this birth right.

For more information about the 2017 Higher Ground Men’s Conference visit http://highergroundmen.com

*Higher Ground is designed for men age 13 and older.

Steve Dulaney is a CSAT counselor and President of Prodigals International, a 12-step counseling and recovery ministry for individuals impacted by sexual brokenness.