I really, really, really don’t like to write about current events scandals. Most often, I feel like it would look like I am “capitalizing” on someone’s bad situation.
But since Josh Duggar, former reality TV star and family values advocate confessed today (after the Ashley Madison hackers exposed that he had two different paid accounts on the site extra-marital affair site) that he is addicted to pornography and has cheated on his wife Anna, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. And I feel compelled to speak out.
(And can I say, poor Anna? She has a newborn baby at home, their 4th child. I am PRAYING for that girl. Lord, comfort her!)
Josh Duggar did wrong, and he called himself “the biggest hypocrite ever” in his confession. (Read it here.) I will not argue either of those points. He is to blame for his wrong doings, his choices, and the consequences of those choices. I shudder to think of the crazy emotional damage this will do to his wife and his children for years to come.
Although Josh himself solely bears the blame, I do believe there were two likely catalysts that sent him down this road of sexual self-destruction. And those two things, my mom friends, are the reason that Josh Duggar’s porn addiction and adultery are every mom’s problem. They are, simply stated, the church’s silence about sex and the unregulated internet access we give our kids. These two things can be as destructive in the lives of our own kids as they were in Duggar’s.
We don’t want to talk to our kids about sex, but we have to. We don’t want to bring it up because it’s uncomfortable, it’s weird, it’s embarrassing, and? Because we don’t want them to think it’s ok to go out and do it, like, anytime soon. So in our haste to keep them chaste, we make sex seem dirty, shameful, and possibly all the more exciting. We teach them that sexual feelings are to be hidden away, and that if they have questions or struggles in those areas that they shouldn’t talk about them because they will be harshly judged. We send them, with our silence, with our fear, into the dark corners and closets where what is forbidden becomes enchanting, and sought after.
And then!!! We enable them with unlimited access to computers, tablets, phones, iPods and TVs where easily accessible, mostly free, highly addictive pornography is available in the time it takes to type one word into the keyboard.
Mamas, please, please listen to me: You have to talk to you kids about sex and consequences. About God’s design for sex. About it’s place IN THE CHURCH. About all the goodness and none of the shame. About when it is and isn’t appropriate, yes, but also about what can be confusing and upsetting about it. Talk to them about how to handle a situation when they feel like they might lose control. And be a safe, safe place for them to come to with questions.
And then. Get the strongest internet filters you can get. The kind that send YOU an email telling you what sites your kid has visited. Check their phones and computers on a daily basis. Be up in their business, so they don’t get addicted to porn. Because it doesn’t take much to get addicted, and it always leaves one wanting more.
Wanting more than just a “regular” woman. Wanting more than a loving, committed, monogamous sexual relationship. To get so addicted that the drive to have sex in different ways with different people is so powerful it would cause you to throw away a career and a family with a lovely wife and four children.
Porn is ripping marriages apart. Christian marriages. I personally know Jesus-loving people who have struggled and fought with this. And I will bet YOU DO TOO. Being a Christian does not makes us exempt from sin, mamas. Let’s not kid ourselves. We are not immune.
I can’t imagine the pain that Josh Duggar’s parents feel over this. But I know one thing for sure: if I don’t talk to my kids about sex and do everything in my power to shield them from porn, one day I will be the grieving parent whose child’s life — and grandchild’s life—has been ripped apart by porn.
Talk to your kids. Don’t assume they aren’t thinking about it, struggling with it, or haven’t already seen it. Let’s protect their future from porn by protecting their present.