Apparently this is big news, judging by the amount of coverage it’s getting on TV, news websites, social media, etc. Starting in March 2016, Playboy magazine will no longer include pictures of nude women. It will still include provocative pictures, but there will be no more nudity.
The reaction to this has been interesting. I heard one news commentator describe it as, “Halloween with no candy.”
I heard another say, “Your father never thought this day would come.” Apparently the assumption is that our fathers all subscribed to Playboy, and apparently they didn’t read it just for the articles.
This move is being made because the prevalence of internet pornography has decimated the sales of Playboy. They’re going in another direction in hopes of boosting sales.
But out of all this hoopla, one comment really sticks out to me. Playboy’s chief executive, Scott Flanders, said, “You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passé at this juncture.”
He certainly didn’t intend to do this, but in this one quote, Scott Flanders told us exactly why pornography is so deadly. It changes the way we view sexuality. It takes it out of the realm of passion and it makes it passé.
This was not what God intended when He created human sexuality. Even a cursory reading of the Song of Solomon in the Old Testament will tell you that. God created sex to be fulfilling, exciting, creative, passionate, and wonderful. And when sex is expressed within the covenant of marriage, it is exactly that.
But when sex becomes a commodity to be marketed, it loses everything that God intended it to be. This is why many people with porn addictions can no longer find any sexual fulfillment in their marriage. The mystery and wonder is gone. After all, like Scott Flanders said, “You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free.” It’s cheap and easy and always accessible. It’s no longer special. It’s no longer treasured. It’s no longer valued. The damning effect of the porn culture is that it rips marriages and families apart.
The real irony here is that Playboy is now suffering from the culture it created. Playboy is widely heralded for spearheading the sexual revolution. And it’s now seeing what happens when a culture becomes saturated with pornography. Sex becomes “passé.” And passé doesn’t sell magazines.
But here’s the good news. God shows us a different way…a better way. If you are married, His desire is that the sexual relationship in your marriage be vibrant and special and deeply satisfying. Porn will rob you of that. Guaranteed.
If you’re not married, you are living in one of the most difficult cultures in history to remain sexually pure. But the odds are very good that you’ll be married someday, and the choices you make now will have a profound and lasting impact on your marriage. Many people come into marriage broken by the effects of porn, and it damages the marriage right from the start. It takes many marriages years, even decades, to move past it. And there are many that never most past it, ever.
I fully understand the difficulty of navigating this culture. People assume that it must be easy for me because I’m a pastor. Wrong. I’m a pastor, but I’m also a guy. I know how hard it is to chase after purity in a world that is spiraling further and further into darkness. But it’s worth the fight.
It’s worth the fight because God has something better in mind for you than our culture does. He always has, and He always will.
But we’ve all fallen short of God’s will for our lives (see Romans 3:23). And for many of us, that means we have fallen short of His will for our sex lives. But the gospel isn’t good news for perfect people. It’s good news for screwed up, messed up, sinful people.
When Jesus is involved, sin doesn’t have the last word. That means that lust, pornography, and sexual brokenness don’t have the last word. There is hope available. But you’ll never realize it if you don’t seek help. Confide in a trusted, godly friend. Let a church leader pray over you. Seek counseling. Just do something. Doing nothing will keep you trapped. God works through His people. He brings healing and restoration through confession and accountability.
This Scripture really is true. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)
When we confess our sins to each other and pray for each other, the door to healing swings wide open.
There is absolutely nothing in your life that Jesus can’t heal. And that means that there is absolutely nothing in your sex life that Jesus can’t heal.
And there’s nothing “passé” about that.
Mike Edmisten is Senior Pastor at Connect Christian Church.
Connect Christian Church meets at the Holiday Inn Eastgate hotel in Eastgate Ohio in Clermont County — a church near Amelia Ohio, Batavia Ohio, Anderson Ohio, Milford Ohio, and Cincinnati Ohio.