sex-love-male-female(This is a reprint from my Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner article on Examiner.com).

According to a recent report from Aleteia, at the fall annual assembly of U.S. Catholic Bishops in Baltimore, scheduled for November 16-19, there will be a vote to issue a general statement about pornography as a “pastoral crisis”. The purpose of this general statement is to educate clergy, parents and young people about this crisis for families and society.

The fact that porn is being addressed as a problem for all communities is the beginning of hope by exposing this addiction to the light of day. It will be interesting to see how the U.S. Catholic Bishops approach this problem plaguing the modern family. According to the Aleteia report, the bishops commissioned a study to help inform this general statement.

Over the past decade of studying the impact of cyber technology on family life, this examiner has observed that porn is not the enemy. Rather the enemy that keeps porn a “family secret” is shame, which inspires people to hide and continue doing things that cause harm to the soul. Think about the first time you experienced shame as a child; the first time you saw a nude or sexually explicit photo. You probably did not run home and tell your parents about it. More than likely, you experienced shame and were inclined to keep it secret.

Confronting the role of shame in pornography addiction

Dealing with shame in a healthy way is and always has been a major challenge for the human condition. Knowing this from our own experiences, it seems that in order to address pornography addiction as a trend, we must learn how to respond to shame with mercy – as individuals, families and communities. It will take a forgiveness and grace mindset to have open dialogue with loved ones who are hooked on porn, and to overcome the undue influence of sexually exploitative images and messages in popular culture. Below are some talking points to consider for family conversations about the porn epidemic:

  • When the human body is perceived as a tool for self-gratification, this is a form of exploitation that devolves the human person as something to be used, not loved or cherished in relationship. So the problem with porn is not sex. Rather it is the manner in which human sexuality is portrayed as self-gratification. It is the mindset of taking rather than offering and then receiving. It is a deep form of human exploitation and harms the soul.
  • Whereas engaging in sex as making love in marriage, a committed relationship, involves a mutual offering of the human body as a living sacrifice to connect and nurture the soul. Making love is not about pleasuring oneself; it is about giving yourself to consecrate a trust bond. There is an intimacy in making love that is more than the flesh (as there is sex appeal and pleasure involved). The act of making love engages the body, mind and soul into one living body.
  • Fear inspires power and control issues in the world which include bullying, addiction and exploitation. So it is no surprise that pornography was the first industry to set up shop with the advent of the internet. For a long time, the URL for the White House was a porn site. Porn appeals to the primal forces of the flesh (sex appeal) and the visual stimulation can alter the brain chemistry, much like a drug. Internet porn snares many people young and old into an addiction that will never satisfy. Unchecked, porn distorts the value of sexuality as a precious gift of humanity, and this addiction disrupts the capacity for relationship intimacy essential to nurture the soul.

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ABOUT:  Banana Moments Foundation is a non-profit education center founded in Roseville, CA to strengthen the parent-child bond in a hyper-connected world. The BMF mission is to restore families with the mustard seed of faith that declares liberty already belongs to the soul because one God, the Creator of all humanity, grants every human being intelligence and free will to choose what to believe, and that is power that can never be taken, but is easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device. To that end, ten percent of all BMF proceeds are donated to prison ministries. Your Donations are greatly appreciated.

Joanna Jullien (Photo: Christi Benz)

Joanna Jullien
(Photo: Christi Benz)

Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her new book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.

As the Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner, my personal mission is to educate and inspire parents from all walks of life and social settings to realize their inherent authority to govern the home and educate the child about their own power; the personal power that comes from the spiritual resilience of your chosen faithAnd so I write for Examiner.com to express the passion of my mother heart to a diverse audience.