Playboy and Bubble Gum

Playboy and Bubble Gum

The New York Times had an article this week about a major shift for the magazine Playboy. In case you missed it, the infamous commercial icon for sex will no longer have nude women in its magazine. Yes, you read that right. And to clarify, I’m quoting an article from the New York Times, not The Onion.

You’re probably wondering why Playboy would make such a dramatic move. Consider the following insights from the article.

  1. “Playboy’s circulation has dropped from 5.6 million in 1975 to about 800,000 now.” Also, “the United States edition loses about $3 million a year.” We might think this is just an objective business decision.
  2. Cory Jones, the chief content officer of Playboy said, “Don’t get me wrong, 12-year-old me is very disappointed in current me. But it’s the right thing to do.” We might think they had a moral realization which led to a change of heart as a company.

But these aren’t the actual reasons for it.

The real reason is “You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passé at this juncture.”

That’s a quote from Scott Flanders, the company’s chief executive. And it’s a staggering observation about the nature of sex in our culture today. Whether it’s the stereotypical image-based porn or the often overlooked emotional-based porn, the reality is that we are all faced with it constantly.

In chapter four of my book Redeeming Pleasure I spend a section on pornography. The following is one of the illustrations I use. If you are currently struggling in this area, please allow me to encourage you that you are not alone. Help is available. Grab a copy of my book or talk to someone you trust to begin working through this temptation and allowing yourself a different kind of freedom than you may have ever thought possible.

“Porn is the bubble gum of sex. It tastes sweet and gives you something to chew on, but it doesn’t fill you up. It can’t. Worse yet, it convinces you that you are eating something while you die of starvation. It’s like watching a person go from one piece of gum to the next, complaining about their hunger despite their fatigue from chewing. No amount of new gum will fill the craving they have for food. And imagine the paranoia they’ll experience if they actually swallow the gum and then have to figure out how many years it will take to digest it! Contrary to popular belief, most people can digest gum just fine. But gum won’t fill you up. The solution is to stop chewing gum and start eating food.”

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Jeremy Jernigan

This is the personal blog of Jeremy Jernigan. Husband to Michelle and father to Gavin, Madsen, Adelyn, Aiden, and Abel. Author of Redeeming Pleasure and Lead Pastor at Abundant Life Church in Portland.

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