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We millennials often get a bad rap. There is an endless number of bad (but also sometimes accurate) stereotypes about us. From the humorous ones about our avocado toast addictions to the less becoming ones about the fact that (some of us) still live in our parents’ basements, we certainly give the world plenty of fodder for making fun of us. 

Unfortunately, though, one of the most common stereotypes about millennials is one that is also fairly accurate: we like things to come easily.

Now before you freak out on me about this, here is a full disclosure: I am a millennial. Almost all of my friends and siblings are millennials. And, in my twenty-something years on earth, the majority of my time has been spent alongside other millennials. So, while I realize this stereotype probably doesn’t apply to every single millennial, for the sake of this article, please realize that I am generalizing here.

Now, at a glance, there isn’t truly anything wrong with wanting things in life to come easily. After all, very few of us enjoy the difficulties of life. Who honestly finds pleasure in sitting in traffic, having to go from store to store just to find the right item, or figure out how to build an IKEA table?! We millennials prefer to work smarter, not harder. And, there’s nothing wrong with that. 

But, there are a few areas of life where taking the easy way out isn’t the right choice.

One of them is our romantic relationships.

It wasn’t that long ago that almost every average twenty-something-year-old American had a similar start to life. They met someone, fell in love, got engaged, soon after got married, and then had kids. Millennials though aren’t really doing that...like at all. They’re out of college, living with their parents (or alone), and instead of getting married and starting a family, they’re watching porn. 

It sounds shocking, but it’s true. 

If you don’t believe me, here are some statistics for you:

From The Washington Post: “Over the last ten years, the percentage of American men between the ages of eighteen and thirty who reported not having sex in the preceding year exploded from 10 percent to 28 percent.” 

From Bustle: “70 percent of male-identified participants (millennials) watch porn on a weekly basis.”

From Vice: “Growing up, millennials had easier access to a greater variety of porn than previous generations did, and they've grown into porn-consuming adults” and “there's little doubt that millennials' lives are in some ways being affected by porn”. 

In short, what we can take away from those findings is that millennials are replacing romantic relationships with pornography.

Still don’t believe me?

Instead of taking my word for it, read about this study. In short, they summarize that: “The rise of free online porn has created not just simply a correlation with the decline in the percentage of young males who are married, but that it is actually contributing to the trend.”

Now, before we go any further, I realize that millennials find themselves in a tough spot for many reasons. The price of a college education has sky-rocketed, so the majority of us are drowning in debt before we even get a “real” job. Many of us struggle to meet our future spouses because our communities aren’t tied together like they used to be. The majority of us come from broken homes where there was a daily example of marriage, or serious relationships in general, not working out. And, we’re living in a culture that tells us that sex means nothing and there should be no rules that govern it. 

I know this because I am a millennial and I’m right here with you.

But, I'm also here to tell you what maybe nobody else in your life will: none of it is an excuse to watch pornography. 

I’m not going to get into all the nitty-gritty reasons why porn is harmful to you (and also for the people on the screen). I’m also not going to dive into all the reasons why watching pornography is sinful. 

I know you have already heard all of those things multiple times.

You know already know that it will destroy your current (and future) romantic relationships, seriously mess up your sex life, lead you to a truly perverse understanding of human sexuality, and also lead you, whether you like it or not, to start viewing people as things and not unique human beings made in the image of God.

You also know that the pornography industry is one of, if not the number one, most corrupt industries in the world. Pornography thrives off of human trafficking and abuse and treats human beings as products for profit (and, we millennials are supposed to be so aware of human rights issues, hah!). 

And, of course, you know, as a Catholic, that watching pornography is never acceptable, and to do so puts your soul in a state of very grave sin.

You already know all of this. And yet, you watch it anyway.

One of the reasons you do is because you find watching pornography much easier than taking the time and effort to form a romantic relationship with someone.

Again, I’m generalizing here. But, the fact of the matter is, we have a generation of young adults who are choosing to watch perverted videos online by themselves rather than invest in a serious relationship.

Now, before you get offended and insist that you’re only watching pornography because “nobody likes you” or because you’ll be “single forever”, let me ask you this.

Which is more likely; the idea that there are now suddenly hundreds of thousands of singles who are unable to get married because they are unlikeable (when no previous generation had this issue and they didn’t even have Tinder), or that there are now suddenly hundreds of thousands of singles who are simply too lazy or too nervous to actually commit to a relationship? 

As painful as it is, I think we can all agree that it is the latter.

Now for some more painful truth: as easy and as tempting as pornography is, it will never replace a real relationship for you.

I know you already know that. But, I think a gentle reminder is in order. So, what are we to do?

Besides the obvious, which is to install a filter such as Covenant Eyes and quit watching porn forever, I challenge you to this:

Be counter-cultural. Go on dates. Fall in love. Do the hard things a real relationship requires. Don’t give up on each other. Be chaste. Get married and start your future together.

I know that sounds like a lot of work. But, take a note from the generations who came before us. They grew up knowing that “nothing good comes easy” and as cliche as that may be, it really is true.

Our generation is missing out on all of the best things that life can offer, not because they aren’t attainable but because we aren’t willing to work hard enough to get them. Don’t fall into that trap. 

Be willing to take the risks that most of our generation isn’t willing to do. I promise that you won’t regret it.

Resource
Ally Covenant Eyes

Covenant Eyes: Screen Accountability™

Description

Be the best version of you.

Covenant Eyes Screen Accountability is designed to help you live with integrity on your devices by sharing your activity with a trusted friend.

Audience: Adults and supervised minors 
Language: English
Resource Type: Software 
Cost: $15.99 / month.  

Kateri Bean is a cradle Catholic living in New Hampshire with her husband. She is passionate about sharing the Catholic faith, especially through writing and social media. She’s worked with a variety of organizations to grow their social media following and create engaging content. When she isn’t working, she can usually be found exploring the Granite state with her dog, enjoying an iced coffee, or working on plans for the house she and her husband are building.