Image by Kaley  Dykstra

SO, WHAT'S WRONG WITH PORN ANYWAY?

So, what’s wrong with porn anyway? It doesn’t hurt anyone, right? It’s just me and the computer or my fantasy, right? Isn’t looking at porn just part of my natural human expression? Isn’t that what we hear over and over today?

I could just simply say that’s wrong, but it goes way beyond that. Porn is critically damaging to yourself, to society, to relationships and most of all to your eternal soul. 

Below is just a partial list of problems that porn causes:

PROBLEMS WITH PORNOGRAPHY

Human Dignity

Simply put, pornography destroys human dignity and God’s gift of sexuality. Every person has value and is worthy of great respect and is entitled to be free from slavery, manipulation or exploitation. The simple act of “using” another person for personal gain or satisfaction puts that person beneath the abuser. Simply put – slavery. Proof of this is that the profession of being a female porn actress has the highest suicide rate of any profession in history as they are reported to feel like slaves and have no way out. Looking at pornography, invites this slavery and exploitation because the financial gain of the producers is so high and the demand is skyrocketing.

Erectile Dysfunction

Yes, you read this correctly. Porn use can cause erectile dysfunction. How? Dopamine activates the sexual centers in the hypothalamus, which sends signals to the erection center in the spinal cord, which sends signals to cause an erection. In the same process that causes pornography to be addictive, the overloading of dopamine receptors causes these receptors to shut down. When this happens, erections are more difficult to maintain. A second factor is that the average time spent on a porn scene or image is 18 seconds. This trains the brain to be sort of “ad/hd” and requires constantly changing images to maintain the dopamine flow in the brain resulting in erection. Additionally, the process of masturbation creates a sensory training in the penis so that only self-stimulation will produce an erection. So, in a nutshell, 1). pornography trains the brain to prefer images on the screen to a real person, 2). a need to change the image (or person) every 18 seconds, and 3). self-stimulation to obtain and maintain an erection.

Spiritual Desolation

Porn is lust and lust is a major sin. As Jesus stated in Matthew 5:28 “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart”. The basis of porn is lust, so we can infer from Matthew 5:28 that Porn IS Adultery. Porn, lust, adultery are all serious sins and these sins separate us from God resulting in spiritual desolation. This can be rectified!Rectified through confession and forgiveness. For Catholics, the beautiful sacrament of Reconciliation is necessary. On a personal note, as a Catholic Christian I have found that the sacrament of reconciliation (confession) to be the most wonderful part of the Church. The lifting of sin and receiving the grace of forgiveness from God is an experience that is second to none. For non-Catholics, confession to God and to another person in accountability is an absolute for removing darkness from the behavior and eventual freedom from enslavement.

Human Trafficking

Human trafficking and sex slavery is heavily linked to pornography. There are countless stories of girls being coerced into having sex behind the camera. Fake modeling advertisements are used to lure teen girls (many under age) across state lines only to realize when it’s too late that the job is having sex in front of a camera. The U.S State Department reported in 2014 that there were over 2,000 internet sites on child rape and torture sourced in the Unites States. With pornography growing in epic proportions and fueling the growing demand for prostitution, the demand translates to a billion-dollar industry for pimps and porn producers who are willing to do anything, commonly selling young girls, into sex slavery for profit. In 2012, the international Labor Organization estimated that there were 20.9 million human/sex trafficking victims worldwide. The National Human Trafficking resource center reports that sex trafficking is a 150-billion-dollar industry. The Polaris Project, an organization that advocates against human sex trafficking, reports that in 2018, over 10,000 women and girls were rescued as a result of their hotline. And that’s in the U.S. alone! Imagine how many were NOT rescued. Polaris also estimate that there over 9,000 illicit massage parlors in the U.S. (basically whore houses).

Isn't Just a Little Ok?

King Solomon once asked, "Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?" (Proverbs 6:27). Knowing how pornography affects our brain chemistry and actually rewires the brain, does it even seem reasonable that you could repeatedly bring sexually arousing images into your head without consequences? Psychologists argue that those images can be “burned” into your mind. Emotional arousal causes the release of a hormone called epinephrine in your brain that chemically burns the pictures into your permanent memory. This effect is heightened if you combine pictures with masturbation. Consider a study conducted by Dr. Dolf Zillmann of Indiana University and Dr. Jennings Bryant of the University of Alabama. Over a period of six weeks, the researchers worked with a controlled group of 160 college-age students, 80 men and 80 women. They split the participants into three groups and each group viewed a total of five hours of content. Group 1 was shown 36 pornographic videos. Group 2 was shown 18 pornographic and 18 non-pornographic videos. Group 3 was shown 36 non-pornographic videos. The study found a direct correlation between the amount of pornography viewed and the decrease they experienced in satisfaction with their sexual real-life partners. In the group that was shown the only pornographic videos, participants noted a significant reduction in how they perceived the physical appearance, affection, and sexual performance of their partners. They also became aware that they compared their partners to the images of the porn models. After viewing the pornography, study subjects reported that they began to prefer sex without emotional involvement devalue marriage devalue the importance of children place reduced the importance of faithfulness view casual sex with increased acceptance Viewing a mere five hours of porn over six weeks produced this pivotal effect on their perceptions of the opposite sex and their moral belief systems! As you can see, the effects of pornography on the brain and moral systems are very dramatic. Dr. Donald Hilton with the American Board of Neurological Surgery states, “The underlying nature of an addiction to pornography is chemically nearly identical to a heroin addiction.” Additional studies also show that the neurologic effects of pornography are nearly identical to cocaine! Would you think cocaine or heroin is perfectly fine if consumed just a little?

Destroys Relationships

Consuming porn is purely an act of self-gratification. The neuroscience of porn re-writes the neural pathways of the brain in such a way that it attempts to bond to images on the screen or inanimate objects. This trains the brain to see women (or men) as objects rather than people. The brain sees body parts, not a person. The naturally designed act of sex is to completely give of oneself to another. This emptying of self (to a spouse ideally), creates an intimate bond and union between the two people (the neuroscience behind this is explained in the “Your Brain on Porn” chapter). This bond is necessary for a lasting and healthy relationship. Even watching porn with your spouse is damaging. The simultaneous act of attempting to bond to an image or scene on a screen causes the brain to connect that self-gratifying experience directly to your partner resulting in training your brain to see your partner specifically as an object for your enjoyment. Even though unintentional, this is a violation of human dignity and is a form of slavery.

Addictive

The neuroscience of pornography demonstrates that it is highly addictive. Addiction is progressive in nature. The dopamine receptors are overloaded causing them to shut down requiring more of the substance or behavior to create the same effect. The results with pornography that in time the user needs more explicit images, more quantity and more intense images and in some cases leading to violent tastes and desires. Ultimately, images are not enough. Prostitution, affairs, massage parlors etc. are natural destination of the addiction.

Side Effects

Because of the neuroscience of sexual activity and the unnatural neural activity during the act of watching pornography and masturbating, the brain chemistry is altered causing a host of side effects. Just a few are: Anxiety, Depression, Alteration of sexual appetite and tastes, Reduced I.Q., Isolation, Distorted view of the opposite sex, impedes self-confidence, impairs pleasure experiences in basic day to day life, promotes narcissism, distorts authentic intimacy, Leads to feelings of rejection, abandonment and despair, and potentially violent behavior. Of course, not everyone experiences all of these effects but the majority experience some of these at varying levels of intensity. The more time spent viewing pornography, the greater the incidence and intensity of these effects.

Porn is a Rehearsal for Prostitution

Due to the additive nature of the dopamine, and other natural chemicals released during sexual arousal, the brain craves more of the experience and eventually more risky and illicit flavors of behavior just to serve the addiction. The mere fact that there are over 9,000 illicit massage parlors in the U.S. and also over 1 Million prostitutes in the U.S., demonstrate that there is an insatiable demand for sexual promiscuity. It’s the natural law of supply and demand. This demand has grown from somewhere. Additional studies show that the number of massage parlors and increase in prostitution has grown by nearly 500% since the introduction of the internet with high-speed video streaming capability and smartphones.