We want to believe pornography is harmless. Pornography is everywhere in one form or another and more is done to encourage it than confront it. But think for a moment: What are the actual, solid benefits of viewing pornography?
How strong are the arguments in favor of it? Excuses that run along the lines of “It doesn’t hurt anyone”, “It’s natural to explore your sexuality”, or even – when grasping for the really thin straws – “It’s legal, so what’s the problem?”
The problem is our selfish desires. The problem is the perversion of sexuality. The problem is the destruction of intimate relationships.
“Come on now,” you may be saying to yourself. “It’s not that big of a deal.” Is it?
In each of us is a sex drive. This is a great thing. Our sex drives not only steer us towards procreation and intimacy, but even stoke our creativity, playfulness, and adventurous side. But in our attempts to satisfy our desires, we can fall into the habit of turning to lesser things that indulge us for a moment, but never fully quench our thirst. Pornography is guilty of the same false sense of gratification that alcohol, drugs, or any other form of addiction offers us.
Pornography is often used as a filler or a distraction. It is used when someone is waiting for marriage and feels stifled in their sexuality. It is used when someone’s sex life is stale or on hold. It is used when someone is empty or stressed and wants some form of escape from their reality. And it works, but only for a very short period of time. Maybe only a day, or even just a few hours. That’s when a pattern evolves and an addiction forms. Someone longs for the distraction it brings; for the high their imagination gets from it.
The high from pornography, however, is something completely different from the satisfaction of sexual intimacy. Pornographic highs are caused by lust. Lust cannot be cured, it can only be fed. And sooner or later it will, in fact, demand to be fed. It will not stop despite the status of your sex life. When you are married and have a great sex life, or when you feel content and satisfied as things are, the lust that has been fed will still seek you out.
In addition, an addiction to pornography cannot be cured by marriage. Although some people think that they’ll just play with pornography until they get married, the truth is that most people who get addicted to pornography before marriage continue to look at it after marriage. This is a huge cause for divorce. According to a meeting by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in 2003, two-thirds of the divorce lawyers that met said the internet had a heavy contribution to their cases, with pornography relating to half of those cases.1
In reality, viewing pornography is an attempt to fulfill a selfish desire instantly, avoiding any human intimacy or responsibility. Michael Leahy, whose family was torn apart by porn and sex addiction, addresses this in his book, Porn University. He writes to his sons, “It was all about me. I made it that way. In fact, I was so into me that after awhile, I hardly noticed you or your mom at all.”2
The desire to have sex is not wrong; the act of finding a way to satisfy it outside of marriage is. This goes for many things: pornography, premarital sex, romance novels, racy magazines, or even television programs. All these can pervert or distort the view of sex, and in turn, it lessens the gratification of pure sexual intimacy. It doesn’t matter if the people in these forms of pornography are real or not. The destructive feelings are. The destructive patterns and distorted views of sexuality is what makes pornography harmful. It takes the beauty of sexuality and turns it into a selfish indulgence, free of real intimacy or commitment.
No one was ever cured of loneliness, a bad sex life, or sexual frustration by viewing pornography. It is not created to assist society in any way; it is really only out for money. The workers behind pornography will never take responsibility for– or even feel sympathy towards– what happens to your relationships or life due to an addiction problem. Pornography is not interested fulfilling your desires. It is only interested in fulfilling its own.
But we are not guiltless when it comes to the equation. We are the ones guilty of handing over our money, along with our intimate relationships, our self-control, and our pure and powerful sexuality.
Pornography is not harmless. It is as dangerous and destructive as any other kind of addiction that sinks its teeth in us.
1 “Divorce Statistics: Pornography.”California Divorce Online: Orange County Divorce: Do It Yourself. Divorce Wizards. Web. Aug 2011. <http://www.divorcewizards.com/Divorce-Statistics-Pornography.html>.
2 Leahy, Michael. “A Letter From Dad.”,Porn University: What College Students Are Really Saying about Sex on Campus. Chicago: Northfield Pub., 2009. Print.