The Next Big Challenge for Clergy
The temptation of online sex sites seduces evangelicals
BY: Lauren Winner
When political candidates are willing to talk about web porn, they usually talk only about children. And even then, they are not taking a forceful enough stand to satisfy some Christians. For the most part, politicians want to put the responsibility on parents, but that's not practical, because parents have their own problems with web porn, Watters says.
Watters has developed a website calledPure Intimacy
. Many Christians tackling the problem of web porn, says Watters, are worried about the supply side. "They approached it by saying, 'If we can just regulate the amount of porn that people have access to.'"
But Watters took another tack: he wanted to know "What drives people to porn? Can we redirect that drive to something healthier?" Like Fry, he believes people turn to pornography because they are looking for intimacy.
Focus has run two ad campaigns (on the LookSmart search engine) and spent almost $40,000 in advertising. The ads popped up whenever users typed in "sex," "porn," or some other related word. Both campaigns, says Watters, "were very successful--generating 5-10% response rates against an industry average of less than 1%." Since Pure Intimacy launched last summer, over half a million people have visited the site. Many of them stumbled onto it by accident.
"Numerous visitors have e-mailed to tell us that they were looking for porn when they saw the ads and were drawn to our site," says Watters.
The website tells porn users that healthy intimacy is found with two partners: one's spouse, and God. "People need to build a healthy marriage. But even a spouse can't meet all of someone's needs. Only a relationship that applies intimacy with God to intimacy with a committed relationship" can be fulfilling, he said.
Paul M. seconds that. "It's like someone who overeats when they're unhappy," he says. "I am learning now not to turn to pictures of naked women when I'm lonely, but to turn to God."