Written by Michael Johnson (MJ), co-founder and Dean of Dating at Future Marriage University and guest blogger at Covenant Eyes.
Several years back, I got a call from a friend. He had slipped up again that week. He got caught in the porn trap. I could sense the helplessness and hopelessness in his voice.
I recognized the feelings, because I had felt them myself. Many times. I remember the irresistible pull of porn; like I couldn’t look away; couldn’t deny my passions. It seemed like I simply couldn’t help myself.
And so I’d help myself.
Which, frankly, never proved very helpful.
Tempting the Click
So there was no judgment for my friend. Only encouragement to get up and try again; to keep striving for purity and freedom from porn. A goal which, though high, was never-the-less attainable.
I knew it was, because when this conversation was taking place I hadn’t sought out or stared at porn in over two years. In fact, the last time I did was in 2001.
I wanted to encourage my friend to believe that, though the temptation would always come around, he could one day resist. Consistently. I wasn’t stronger or holier than him, and we believed in the same God. So if I could do it, he could too!
In fact, just that very week I had experienced the temptation to go where I knew I shouldn’t go, so I shared with him.
I was on the Tennessee Titans’ website looking up the game schedule and there it was: The Cheerleader Button.
Easily the best looking button on the entire page.
And so the conversation ensued.
On one side, I heard a voice say, “That’s not porn. No one’s going to be naked. Everyone is going to be fully clothed [relatively speaking, of course]. There’s not going to be anything you’ll have to confess later.”
Then there was another voice that said, “But you won’t be satisfied. You’ll want to see more. And chances are, you’ll look for more. And find it. And then you’ll give up your years of freedom, all for the Titans cheerleaders.”
And so I closed the web page.
My friend was silent at the end of my story.
“You still there?” I asked.
“Dude,” he said, “I didn’t tell you how my mess up began. [pause] I was on the Houston Texan’s site [pause] and I pressed the cheerleader button.”
He pressed the button and I didn’t. And it made all the difference in the world.
What’s Your Button?
How about you? What’s the thing that leads you to porn—the choice before the choice to indulge? What presses your button? Psychologists call them triggers.
Is it the cheerleader button?
The swimsuit edition?
That one TV show or movie? (Or perhaps several of them?)
Is it staring at the magazine rack at the checkout counter?
Or that one billboard on the way home from work?
Or is it the music that you’re listening to on the way home from work?
Or the YouTube videos you watch late at night?
What presses your button?
Maybe it seems harmless, or maybe you know it’s a little edgy, but still miles away from actual porn.
However, it preps you for porn none the less. It’s like foreplay. Only for porn.
What presses your button?
Be honest with yourself, identify it and don’t go there. Look away, RUN away. Don’t FREE temptation. FLEE temptation. Don’t press the button that’s going to press your button.
We’re not talking about legalism here. (“Don’t do this. Don’t look at that!”) We’re talking about logic (“When you do A, then B naturally follows.”)
More than that, we’re talking about freedom. TRUE freedom. And when you’ve had it for a few years you might find you’re like me. It’s so good, it’s worth not ever pressing another cheerleader button again. You’ll even look away from the game when the camera is trained in on the cheerleaders.
So what presses your button? Will you trade it for freedom?