I remember reading a few years ago a minister’s account of counseling a man with a pornography problem. The advice amounted to ‘Get married and have sex with your wife.’ The advice may have been ironic; but if not, it is surely dangerous. The use of pornography is not simply a result of overactive glands than need some relief; it is a form of sin which is complex in origin and manifestation. Simply finding an outlet for legitimate physical relief of sexual urges does not begin to address the deeper problems. To quote Butterfield (p. 83): “What good Christians don’t realize is that sexual sin is not recreational sin gone overboard. Sexual sin is predatory. It won’t be ‘healed’ by redeeming the context or the genders. Sexual sin must simply be killed. What is left of your sexuality after this annihilation is up to God. But healing, to the sexual sinner, is death: nothing more and nothing less.” That has profound pastoral implications, one of which is not seeing marriage as the cure for sexual incontinence.
Men turn to pornography as a sexual release outlet precisely because they’re not otherwise getting the sexual release they desire. It’s a sinful choice, but it’s certainly understandable. Paul, inspired, told us in Scripture that ‘It is better to marry than to burn’ (and in that chapter encouraged spouses to meet each others’ sexual needs, to not defraud each other); what does Pastor Trueman know that Paul didn’t? How is marriage not a solution?
(It reminds me of how Alcoholics Anonymous argues that alcoholism isn’t caused by excessive, uncontrolled drinking of alcoholic beverages, but stems from various moral failings, and that ‘liquor is but a symptom’ of the ‘real’ issue, a ‘spiritual disease’; from this, they argue that merely being ‘dry’ doesn’t solve such.
Which is bullshit. While people may turn to excess drinking in response to various stresses in their lives, etc., which may still remain even if they quit their drinking, the fact is, quitting drinking will return to them a greater degree of control over their lives, and then they can start to tackle various other problems in their lives. And the problem with alcoholism is drinking too much; not what led to that, which is a separate matter.)
Seems to me that some folks want to make hills into mountains. No doubt it helps pastors and ‘Christian counsellors’ sell books / counselling sessions, theological conferences, etc. (Oops; how uncharitable of me…)