The TV show MythBusters is known for taking popular myths and showing if they are true or not.  More often than not, true to the show’s name, myths are “busted,” shown for the falsehoods they really are.  I hope this article serves as a buster for two popular myths single men and women follow:

  1. I’ll stop looking at porn when I get married.
  2. My porn and lust aren’t harming anyone because I’m not married.

Often singles believe because God gave them a sex drive, it means they must be sexually active.  If being sexually active isn’t feasible, or they’ve made a decision to wait until marriage, porn seems like a natural replacement. In fact, porn can almost feel like an act of righteousness for some singles—their way of making sure they aren’t having premarital sex. A Christian single man recently told me he has to look at porn because it’s his way of making sure he doesn’t have premarital sex.

Underneath this mindset is the idea that if and when a single person gets married, they’ll be able to simply turn off the porn switch since they can now have sex with their spouse.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Sex in Porn Is Much Different Than Sex in Marriage

I’ve written about this extensively before, so I’ll sum it up in a nutshell here: the sex in porn (and lust) is of a totally different substance than the sex God designed within marriage. Porn is a smorgasbord of unlimited, perfectly-shaped bodies who have no problems and who “want” you. Your spouse is not going to be a smorgasbord; they are one person.  They will not have a perfect body, even if they have one when you get married. They will have problems. They will not “want you” every second of the day. In other words: they are a human being.

Porn conditions us to be attracted to something that isn’t human. Stop and digest that for a moment. That fact alone ought to make us flee from porn as we know in the depths of our being that we are created to be in sexual union with human beings, not objects of any kind.

God’s sex and porn’s sex are apples and oranges–two totally different substances. If you’ve created an appetite for oranges, apples aren’t going to satisfy you. This shouldn’t shock anyone as millions of married men and women continue to struggle with porn, so why do you think marriage will be unique for you? It won’t be. Your spouse will be a human being, and you need to condition your mind now that sex is about human beings, not objects. Not only for your future marriage, but for yourself and all those around you.

What If You Don’t Get Married?

In addition to this strange infatuation with non-humanity, porn conditions us to turn people in real life into objects.  Here’s where the rubber really hits the road: you may never get married.

If marriage is your Plan A to stop looking at porn, will you simply look at it endlessly if God decides you will remain single your entire life? The myth that such a life doesn’t do any harm to anyone is destructively flawed. While you may never get married, you are called to be in community with other believers.

If you’ve been conditioned by porn to turn other human beings into sexual objects for your consumption, then by no means do I want you around my wife or my daughters! Honestly, this is a scary situation to be in as a man when you can’t be around women in your church because you can’t stop yourself from lusting over them. And this is absolutely true for single women interacting with men in community as well, the lust knife has no gender preference.

The Stakes Are Too High

Sure, the stakes with porn are high in marriage. You can break the heart of the one you love, and sometimes, lose your entire marriage and family as a result. But those high stakes by no means diminish the stakes single men and women face every day. It’s not an either/or, it’s a both/and. The situation for single people is different than for married people, but we all serve the same God who designed sex and humanity the same way for all of us.

The irony is, both married and single people alike look to porn to give them what only God can give. Too often, the advice given in porn conversations is “look to your spouse to satisfy your sexual desires, not to porn.” Or single people are told, “Look to your future spouse and save yourself for them.” Both of these bits of advice are flawed. They are flawed because they put a spouse (or a hypothetical spouse) in the place of God, assuming a spouse can give us what only God can give. This is called idolatry. At the end of the day, no one needs to have sex. It’s true. You won’t die without it.

What we all long for from sex, porn, and romantic relationships is to be told we are valuable, approved, and desired.  No one, married or single, will ever truly find these things from another person (or a depiction of a person in porn), but the great news is that every Christian has already found these things from Jesus.  When we each live into these truths in the specific context we’ve been given by God, whether that be singleness, a bad marriage, or a good one, we’ll find we need nothing else to satisfy us.