I was born in 1930 in a small Texas town. The first time I saw pornography was when I was about seven or eight. It was a booklet with pencil sketches. These booklets were sold at local drug stores under the counter. At that early age I didn’t even know what sex was.
In those days sexual language and discussions were unmentionable in decent, God-fearing families except in strict privacy. It was whispered among adults and teenagers because tradition restricted such talk. Consequently curious adolescents with sponge minds usually heard and learned the ugly side of sex from teenage peers and sinful adults outside the family. Male children, being visually stimulated, gravitated to verbal descriptions and visual sketches of explicit sexual acts in pocket-sized booklets.
During the period of 1930-1960 condoms of every description designed to stimulate the sex act were sold in coin-operated machines in service stations and other places with public restrooms. Explicit ugly graffiti and sexual sketches covered the walls and doors.
During my junior high years in 1943-1945 ugly, sexually-explicit, hand-written or typed pornographic stories were circulated like wildfire among thirteen to fifteen-year-old males.
Soldiers in World War II (1941-1945) were exposed to temptations and sinful pleasures they had never experienced. Drunkenness and prostitution were allowed and excused without consequences. The government issued free cigarettes to these men, and they often bought prostitutes with these cigarettes.
The motion picture industry opened the flood gates during this period. The movie Gone With The Wind introduced the first curse word in a film in 1939. Morals were abandoned. The Outlaw starring Jane Russell in 1943 provided enticing glimpses of the female body and suggestive sexual scenes. This set the tone for more brazen and graphic material. A precedent had been set! Motion picture advertising of “coming attractions” emphasized sexual content.
In contrast, I remember something encouraging that I observed during my high school and junior college years from 1945-1950. There were some attractive females with shapely figures that did their best to be discreet, modest, and chaste. They were dignified in dress, make-up, mannerisms, and actions. They did so to avoid attracting unwanted lustful attention from undisciplined males whose leering gazes sought to undress the subject in their minds. The attractive females who met the high, virtuous standards of godly purity and reserve were always respected, esteemed, and rewarded for their beautiful character. They were held in high regard by their teenage peers, teachers, school administrators, and society. They were especially valued by our Christian assemblies. They were recognized as the cream of the best, standing head and shoulders above their class and school as leaders with sound character.
During the Korean War Era in 1950-1953 the sexual revolution continued nonstop. Marilyn Monroe became the object of sensual fantasy with camera technology. Pin-up girls were popular because their sexual attractiveness made them suitable subjects for display.
By the 1960s and 1970s black and white movies had been relegated to the trash bin and replaced by full-color graphic pornography.
Even children were beginning to be encouraged to accept the exposure of the body as a good thing. As I recall, little girls’ Barbie dolls had some scantily-clad clothing and revealing dresses, shorts, and swimsuits.
The evolution of nude art and revealing clothing to excite, stimulate, and sell sex goes back thousands of years. The carved stone statue of the Greek “goddess of love” Aphrodite was nothing but pagan lust and sexual idolatry. When you jump right into modern times you see live models being used for sexual stimulation in all major retail and online clothing stores, business calendars, and in advertising brochures. Now internet pornography is easily accessible to teenagers and adolescents as well as adults of all ages. This material is salacious, lecherous, lustful, and obscene. This onslaught is a violent, intense attack on human dignity and Christians’ spiritual sensitivities.
The world’s debauchery in fashion and dress is morally reprehensible. Clothes are designed to attract lustful looks, desire, and attention. We see skimpy sheer-skin clothing, tight-fitting body apparel, short thigh-high dresses and skirts, and short shorts even in Christian worship services.
Every Christian parent’s responsibility is to be concerned first about the eternal souls of their children. We must teach by word and example God’s truth to our daughters to keep their souls and bodies chaste and virtuous. We must train them to be restrained with simplicity of style. We must prayerfully teach them the godly virtues and rewards of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31:10-31.
We must teach our sons not to pursue forward, unchaste girls and women who flaunt and expose their bodies as a come-on for attraction and sexual attention. We need to teach them to be like Joseph. When Pharaoh’s wife tried to seduce him in Genesis 39:6-12, he ran!
Young men and young women need to understand the differences between the sexes. Their nature and ability to receive stimuli through the five senses vary in degree according to cultural traditions, social and spiritual environments, and mental and physical condition. Men are aroused by sight but women are stimulated by hearing and touching. Men tend to fantasize abut unreal images and illusions but women value touch and actions. There is an old saying that men give love for sex and women give sex for love.
To the disciplined soul of every Christian male: when you see the lustful appearance of God’s female creation, immediately retract your gaze, turn, and focus your attention on other matters and actions in order to prevent lustful thoughts and sinful pursuits. Every normal male from adolescence to eighty or ninety years of age can be enticed, stimulated, or excited by the lustful appearance of God’s female creation.
King David made two bad choices. One was to gaze lustfully upon Bathsheba’s nude body. The other was to complete the act of adultery and have her husband murdered to cover up his depraved sins. But nothing is hidden from God. In the end he was punished by God (II Sam. 12:8-12).
There is a clear warning about the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life in I John 2:15-17. The intentional careless abandonment of God’s design for Christian sexual intimacy by those of the sinful world is worse than Sodom and Gomorrah. But it is incomprehensible that Christian parents, teachers, ministers, presidents and professors of Christian colleges are so calloused, ignorant, self-enamored, and greedy for position and fame that they have compromised God’s truth and endangered man’s eternal security.
Jim Latham