Sunday, October 05, 2008

A great article on the effects of porn


If you are a man, or if you know a man, you need to read this article. If you are a lady, or you know a woman, you need to read this article. Read this article. This article comes from the Husbands and Dads Blog.

Written by Chris Diggins, professional counselor (LMHC). You can check out his practice and blog by visiting Relationship Counseling Seattle.


Pornography is sometimes viewed as “normal” or an “art form.” A person might say, “What’s wrong with it?…I am not hurting anybody….everybody does it.” Those who promote, want to use, or can’t stop using porn, often have this perspective.

Here are some of the harmful consequences:

1. Porn often leads to more harmful sexually addictive behavior; e.g., compulsive masturbation, fantasy, promiscuity, exhibitionism, soliciting prostitutes, pedophilia, and rape. The user tends to gravitate toward the type of porn most being observed.

2. Porn by its very nature isolates an individual-making him more intent on satisfying selfish needs even at the expense of his marriage, family, financial stability, and career.

3. Porn stimulates a very powerful sexual desire followed by sexual release, most often through masturbation. Unfortunately, the release provides only momentary satisfaction, then an escalation of the behavior is required in an attempt to maintain a high level of sexual arousal.

4. Porn has the ability to control the user where he cannot stop. The fantasies occur more frequently as the addiction progresses.

Of the two pleasure centers in the brain, one is high impact, thrilling pleasure stimulated by pornography, erotic fantasies, or new sexual encounters. The other is a steady, less intense pleasure realized by walking on a beach, making love with a long term partner, helping a child with homework, experiencing deep feelings (painful or pleasant) and sharing them in a significant relationship.

A man doesn’t have to act out in dramatic ways to create harm in his life. Satisfaction can be achieved in small ways and still be detrimental. A beginner gets tastes of the high impact pleasure and slowly starts to integrate fantasies, images, and desires into everyday thoughts and behaviors. Even if he does not graduate to more involvement, this infiltration will still have a negative impact.

Supermodel Christy Brinkley’s family was destroyed by pornography. She and her husband, Peter Cook, had viewed porn together and considered it harmless. Then she discovered he had been masturbating via a web cam over the internet and had an affair with his 18 year old secretary whom he had groomed for sex since she was 15. She then pursued a public divorce trial to openly display his shameful behavior. In the settlement she was awarded full custody of the children. These severe consequences are just one example of what can happen to people.

People who stimulate the high impact pleasure center too often rarely get enough satisfaction. Porn can generate this type of pleasure with little effort. Once a man is hooked, he will have an extremely difficult time transitioning to healthy, more stable pleasure.

In my psychotherapy practice, couples enter therapy where the man has been caught using porn or acting out sexually. His wife is shocked, dismayed, and extremely angry about the betrayal. More often than not, they both believe it is about willpower and if he could only stay away from the computer, the prostitutes, or the porn, everything would be okay. They fail to realize that the sexual behavior is the symptom not the problem.

This is not like a substance addiction where a user can avoid a drink, a pusher or a drug. This compulsive behavior is lethal, since a man cannot simply avoid erotic thoughts. Especially in our culture, provocative images are everywhere. The underlying problem is that he is addicted to high intensity pleasure and does not know how to experience pleasure from everyday, ordinary life situations; such as, spending quality time with his family or having intimate talks and sharing with his wife. Frequently, neither partner knows how to enjoy these simple pleasures, therefore, it is not just the man who needs therapy. The marriage needs an overhaul where both have to address emotional issues.

I inform the couple, “this unfortunate, painful event can be used to open your eyes and turn your marriage around…you can end up with a wonderful marriage, one you never knew was possible. Yes, your husband betrayed you and he is responsible to repair the damage done to you…and his behavior is indicative of a person who is unhappy, bored, anxious, even depressed in his marriage. He did not know what to do to address his unhappiness. If he is so unhappy that he is willing to endanger his marriage, then more than likely you also are in an unsatisfying marriage….at some point you both will look back on this and the porn will no longer be an issue…in fact you will even be grateful that he got caught.”

The couple needs to learn to replace the depression, loneliness, anxiety and the high intensity pleasure with the everyday pleasures of delight and wonder for their marriage and their family life.

With the clinical evidence rapidly mounting against pornography use, the question remains: how can couples explore intimacy and their sexuality with suffering the negative effects of pornography?



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9 comments:

Little Wifey said...

Great posting! This is really amazing, and I am so glad that you touched on this subject! It's a growing problem, and as a Marriage & Family Therapist, it's important to get the truth about pornography out there. Thank you!

shane said...

Is porn the problem or is it the consequence? Hunger attracts you to food, but I don't think it is purely pleasure that attracts you to sex, although I agree, its a major factor.

No I think porn is an 'aspirin' for a failing or unsatisfying relationship. Or the absence of one. Either way the aspirin will do in the lean times.

Sex is traded within relationships. It's used as currency and loses its power to create intimacy and warmth. Without these, the sex is about pleasure, and aspirin is a very cheap access method to the pleasure.


Not taking the medicine is far more damaging!!!

To solve the porn problem, people need to work on cultivating genuine intimacy and warmth. Being able to look into your partners eyes without saying a word for at least 5 minutes is a start.

moe said...

porn is art. the beauty of sexuality is the greatest experience offered to mankind.Somewhere in there you people need to decipher what you really mean when talking about individuals in a subjuect.Individuals will vary in personal behaviors.Mainly cause individualism plays a part.lmao.
I think you need to look at the people in general outside of thinking pornography is what made the individuals become who they are.That is far out left field.........

mmd said...

For those who posted a comment defending pornography after the article was read; reread the article! Many times if you have to. It is almost as if nothing was comprehended concerning the article. Thanks.

lee said...

great form lots of good information i enjoyed reading it, and for those who act like there is nothing wron with porn your down right stupid an should really do your research. porn addiction is a disease caused by a chemical in your brain that craves certain chemicals to obtain a certain high an satifaction.porn effects people in so many ways as stated in this artical for those of you that is against this post should really reread it an think about it. coming from a former porn addict i can say i actually thought about acting out on such acts an im glade i did not and my moral values kicked in because if not only god knows what would of happened. just saying reread and think about it.

Unknown said...

This is True, But often there are alot of underlying issues and personal problems, be them physicilogical, emotional, physical, or behavioural, that cause someone to turn to pornography, or makes them unable to turn away... to someone with an eating disorder the cause isnt food. likewise to someone with the problem of a pornography addiction the cause isnt porn, its the symptom. the problme lies deep inside of you...

mrclm said...

to Unknown,

There is a big difference with eating disorders and porn addiction though. We have to eat to live. And that changes a lot. Sure there are contributing factors, but it isn't the same discussion.

Brandi Gray said...

I'm currently writing a research paper on Pornography and its long-term effects. Do you have any peer-reviewed sources to back up these statements that I could refer to?

mrclm said...

Brandi - Ed Stetzer @ EdStetzer.com has some blog posts with cited data as does Tim Challies Challies.com. I'd start there.