As a thirteen-year-old, Jessica innocently stumbled upon the world of pornography. She was lonely, and the porn chat rooms offered love and acceptance. And yet—similar to the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, pornography was not the harmless fruit Jessica supposed it was. Before long, it took over and threatened to destroy her whole life.

By age 17, Jessica was spending several hours a day, accessing online pornography—then spending the rest of her time trying to prove to everyone that she was perfect. She tried stopping, and she couldn’t. She tried self-harm, and it didn’t work. She even tried getting caught, and it was assumed surely it wasn’t her porn, since she was a young woman, not a man.

In this episode, Jessica and I are walking through her story, and comparing it to the truths from Genesis 1-3, which we’ve been looking at in season 4 of Live Like It’s True. Learn how Jessica broke free from the power of sin and shame, and how can you can, too.

Guest: Jessica Harris

Bible Passage: Genesis 1-2

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Music: Cade Popkin Music 

Jessica Harris

Jessica Harris is a writer and international speaker who talks openly and honestly about pornography addiction among Christian women in order to facilitate healing. She is recognized as a leading voice on the topic of female porn use and addiction in the church, and she has been featured on media such as ABC’s Nightline, the 700 Club, Focus on the Family, and Cru.

What’s the Real Reason Behind Fewer Teen Pregnancies?

On the show, Jessica and I mentioned the plummeting occurrence of teen births, as of late. Here’s an article in the New York Times which says, “Teen births have fallen by more than three-quarters in the last three decades, a change of such improbable magnitude that experts struggle to fully explain it.”

Could it have something to do with the rise of pornography statistics among teens? In a recent article, Covenant Eyes says, “According to recent studies, 95% of teens now have access to a portable X-rated theater—i.e. a smartphone.” Here are some of the staggering stats, shared in this article:

  • 9 out of 10 boys and 6 out of 10 girls are exposed to pornography online before the age of 18.
  • 90% of teens and 96% of young adults are either encouraging, accepting, or neutral when they talk about porn with their friends.
  • The first exposure to pornography among boys is 12 years old, on average.
  • 83% of boys and 57% of girls are exposed to group sex online.

In this conversation with Jessica Harris, she shared another stat, which might tie these two things (decreased teen pregnancy and increased teen porn usage) together. She says,

“One of the hallmarks of Gen Z… is that they value online relationships almost to the exact degree that they value in person ones. So when you couple that with pornography, [Teens are saying], ‘I’m getting all the benefits of sexual pleasure, without any dealing with people.’

So you see porn rewriting this narrative, and making sex even less personal and less intimate, and making it more about my pleasure and the quickest route to my pleasure, whether or not that involves involve another person that I’m with.

You have more and more young people who aren’t sleeping around, more because they aren’t interested in the baggage that can come with that, and they’re choosing other options.”

In other words, teens are being pragmatic. They’re reasoning, Why bother with an in-person sexual encounter, which has obvious consequences, when I can have an online sexual encounter, which has no consequences? And yet there are consequences—both individually, and consequences shared by this generation.

Just like when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, and (by God’s grace!) didn’t die immediately, but began to die, pornography has ongoing consequences. A person who uses pornography, invites a certain rot and suffering into her life, which will affect—among other things—her ongoing relationship (intimate or not), her relationship with God.

How to Break Free From Pornography

Did you hear all of the ways Jessica tried to break free? She tried to keep pornography in her own little box and hide it from everyone. Then she tried self harm, thinking if she punished herself, her body would get the message that pornography wasn’t acceptable. She even tried getting caught, but it was assumed that certainly a young woman wouldn’t be sinning in this way…

Friend, if you are stuck in the addictive sin of pornography or some other sinful behavior that you can’t stop, help is available if you’ll do what Jessica did:

  • First, you need Jesus to be the Savior from your sin, and the Lord over your life. Apart from his power, living inside you, you are a slave to sin, and you won’t be able to break free.
    • Romans 10:9 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
    • Romans 16:15 You are slaves of that one you obey—either of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness
  • Second, you must confess this as sin. Unless you do, it will rule you. Yet God wants you to be free from it! He wants to walk with you, and this sin is between you and him—obstructing your fellowship.
    • II Peter 2:19 They themselves are slaves of corruption, since people are enslaved to whatever defeats them.
    • I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
    • I John 1:6-7 If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” and yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth. If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
  • Third, you must be vulnerable, and bring your sin into the light. Choose a safe, Christian sister who can mentor you through this (or at least point you in the right direction). Friend, freedom is available to you.
    • James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.
    • Galatians 6:1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is overtaken in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual, restore such a person with a gentle spirit.

Do you need help? Please feel free to contact me, and I’ll help you get connected with someone who can walk with you. God, who created you in his image, wants to give you freedom. “For where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” II Cor. 3:17.

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