Let's Talk about Pornography 

Yesterday evening we held our first ever TEEN FOCUS event looking at how porn effects our brain.

We learn about sex and relationships from Porn both consciously and un-consciously. The conscious effects are offten talked about, that is, we know that the material being watched is being performed by actors and it is therfore an unrealistic representation. However, un-consciously, as we expose our brains to this kind of material it begins to create a road map on how we understand relationships and releases hormones (such as Dopamine) which actually rewards this way of thinking. This process makes it very difficult to break away from the porn path and to form emotionally healthy and rewarding relationships. What is perhaps most concerning, and has the biggest effect on real life relaionships, is that with continued exposure our brains reward system begins to 'wear out'. This has lead to trends in erectile dysfuncion, young people choosing porn over real relationships and physical symptons worryingly similar to depression and anxiety. This stuff has to be talked about, especially as the average age a boy is first exposed to pornography is between 9 and 11 years old.

John 10:10 says "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full", a narrative is being learnt that is stealing young peoples innocence, killing their natrual sex drive and destroying relationsips. Jesus however offers a new narrative, one of life and freedom. Together lets turn to Him, the author and creator of sex and relationships and learn from his blueprint.

There are a number of excellent rescources to help us navigate through this issue:

- Website and book by Gary Wilson (Your Brain on Porn)
- Romance Academy Booklet, (A Parent's Guide to: Talking about sex with your teenager) by Jason Royce & Sarah Percival. I have copies of this avaliable to purchase for just £3!!
- Book (Great for those working with boys): Man (Dis)connected by Philip Zimbardo
- Book (Although this doesnt unpack the porn issue, this is a great handbook for parents and those working with young people) The Teenage Brain by Frances Jensen.

Porn addiction forums, support and accountability sites.
- https://www.reddit.com/r/NoFap/
- http://www.covenanteyes.com (Great blog and Ebooks as well as accountability software)
- http://x3watch.com (Great accountability software)

Online Parenting and young person advice websites and videos
- www.bishuk.com
- www.vodafone.com/content/parents.html
- www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/share-aware/
- https://youtu.be/gRJ_QfP2mhU

Suggested Actions
- Write to your local school asking them to include conversations about pornography within their sex and relationship education.
- If the school is local to CCR, feel free to mention that you know a youth worker who would happily give assemblies or classes.
- It really should be a legal requirment for internet providers to block these sites by defult and then for over 18's to choose if they would like to opt in. You may like to write to your local MP about this issue, there is a great petition HERE as well.