I’ve been watching Finding Nemo with my kids a bit of late. And I’ve been thinking about the scene with the angler fish.
You know the one; Marlin and Dory have headed down into a deep part of the ocean where there is very little light. They’re looking for that elusive scuba mask. They get enchanted by this light that slowly heads toward them, only to find a very large, sharp-toothed angler fish inconveniently (for them) attached to that light.
I’ve been thinking how porn functions in a similar way in the lives of many young people, and especially young men. Their lives feel bleak and dark. They’re struggling at school or uni or work. Their relationships are battles. They withdraw further and further away from people and from the world.
And for those people, porn can feel like a light in the midst of the darkness. It makes them feel good. It provides comfort where others can’t. It makes them feel, even if just for a moment, that they are attractive. It provides an outlet of escape from the darkness in their lives.
Yet lurking behind that little light are those big angry teeth.
One of the ironies behind porn is that people run to it in order to escape the darkness, but don’t realise that so often porn is a major cause of the darkness. It’s a reason people feel shame and guilt and as a result they feel worthless. That fleeting moment of comfort or pleasure dissipates and the light proves to be attached to some pretty sharp teeth.
Dory and Marlin needed to see what was behind the light. People need to see what is lurking behind the attractive and alluring mirage that is porn. Like the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, porn might look pleasing to the eye, but behind it lurks pain and darkness.
Just because something looks good, and even makes you feel good, does not mean it’s good for you. If anything, it could be that you’ll be slower to realise that sometimes we don’t always see the full picture, like Marlin and Dory, to begin with.