"Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned?"

- Proverbs 6:27

In the January 23 issue of The Nugget, T. Lee Brown stressed the importance of healthy male touching. Overall, the content was well-intentioned and helpful. She cites pornography as a hindrance to healthy touching, stating, "Some porn addicts lose the ability to become aroused with real partners...Even non-addict porn users often develop social and relationship issues."

This is important and correctly identifies a huge problem. After all, according to the Huffington Post, more users access porn sites every month than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined.

However, her solution utterly fails to address the problem when she suggests, "Reduce online porn consumption for better chances at real-life intimacy..."

"Reduce" your porn consumption? As in, "Just manage it; try to cut back (and definitely don't get caught.)" This is terrible advice. It's like she's treating porn like eating donuts: "just reduce your consumption." Unfortunately, porn treats the brain less like donuts and more like heroin.

According to an article published in 2013 by the Witherspoon Institute, entitled, "The New Narcotic," neurological research has revealed that the effect of Internet pornography on the human brain is just as potent - if not more so - than addictive chemical substances such as cocaine or heroin. According to psychiatrist Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, "...the delivery system for this addictive stimulus [Internet pornography] has become nearly resistance-free. It is as though we have devised a form of heroin 100 times more powerful than before, usable in the privacy of one's own home and injected directly to the brain through the eyes. It's now available in unlimited supply via a self-replicating distribution network, glorified as art and protected by the Constitution."

This is bad news. We're talking about an "addictive stimulus" that's "nearly resistance-free." This isn't some sugary treat you should merely reduce: it's an evil drug that you should avoid at all costs.

So how does porn affect the brain? Again, citing the aforementioned article, "The same parts of the brain react to both illegal chemical substances and sexual arousal. Dopamine, the chemical triggered by sexual arousal, is also the chemical that triggers addiction in the brain. Exposure to pornographic images develops pathways that, over time, become more and more 'well-paved' as they're repeatedly traveled with each exposure to pornography. Those neurological pathways eventually become the pathway in the brain by which sexual interactions are routed. Thus, a porn user has unknowingly created a neurological circuit that makes their default perspective toward sexual matters ruled by the norms and expectations of pornography."

The more you watch, the more you want, and so on - until your sexuality is warped, perverted, and lost. This is the essence of addiction.

We do not come to this topic to judge and assert superiority. We simply have witnessed the pain and addictive power of pornography in our society and as husbands and fathers are laboring to show our families a better way.

If either of our sons were to come to us and say "Dad, I saw some porn and I feel bad about it," neither of us would say, "Just be mindful of your consumption and try to reduce it." In the words of the Apostle Paul, when it comes to sexual sin, we would tell them to "flee." To stay away from porn is to fight it.

There's hope, there's forgiveness, there's grace for the sexually broken, but the way to receive healing isn't to normalize unhealthy behavior; healing begins with a conviction that our sexuality won't be free from shame until it's submitted to the God of the universe who created it.

As the great Richard Foster said, "Conformity to a sick society is to become sick."