Consequences of Porn on Our Culture

A recent study by The Barna Group titled, “The Porn Phenomenon: A Comprehensive New Survey on Americans and Pornography” was released recently and it revealed what is stated to be a “cavalier” attitude towards pornography and pornography use particularly among teens and young adults.  I would not disagree with these findings based on my years of pastoral work and my marriage and family therapy work with couples and families.  We could argue all day about the merits and findings of such a study, who is to blame, etc. but I would rather think that in the end of those discussions, we would realize that we still need solid solutions.

Do these teens and young adults have such a cavalier attitude?  It would appear such from the study.  However, if you spend time with this age group after having built trust with them as individuals, it is my experience you find something much different. Having spent over 25 years working with these age groups and being a leader in helping sexually addicted individuals, I have found that the cavalier attitude is more shame based and culturally influenced, but down deep in their souls they struggle with guilt and shame.  Something inside of them understands that there is a problem with such behavior.   Now let me say that this does not apply to 100 percent of the culture but my experience says it is more often true.  We are told in Scripture that God’s principles are written into our conscience and I have found this to be true.  Sadly, the culture is working hard to sear one’s conscience to these and other things.  And yes I know that my views are considered out dated and old fashioned according to the current culture.

1 Peter 5:8 says we are to “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”  It is stated that porn has no negative consequences but research reveals something quite different.  Even interviews with ex-porn stars and sex addicts reveal a much different story.  I encourage you to watch the testimonies and teachings of Christian leaders on the Pure Passion TV show.  You will find a quite different message.  So what are the consequences of porn use on future relationships and in particular marriage?

 

Research bears out some interesting findings

  1. Relationships free of pornography have lower rates of adultery. A study by Amanda Maddox and her colleagues found that people who did not view any pornography had lower levels of negative communication, were more committed to their relationship and reported higher levels of sexual satisfaction and relationship adjustment.
  2. Watching pornography weakens commitment in marriage. Research reveals that watching pornography opens the viewer up to options sexually and this leads to lower levels of satisfaction with one’s spouse. Thus commitment weakens.
  3. Porn use increases fantasies which lead to actual adultery. Watching pornography increases the possibility of adultery as the viewer seeks to act out their fantasies they create from viewing pornography.
  4. Porn use leads to the objectification of one’s partner. I have seen this so many times over the years. Men tend to use their partner’s body as an object to act out their fantasies.  These women report that they feel like an “object” and that they are not valued and loved.
  5. Pornography sets unrealistic standards for sex in marriage. Men use porn about twice as much as women according to varying studies. These spouses feel like they have to compete for their husbands love and affection.  Thus, to these wives, porn use feels like adultery.  And I would argue in some ways, it is.
  6. Pornography destroys trust in a relationship. How does porn use violate trust? It breaks trust because violates the love and intimacy in the relationship.  This hurt as I said earlier feels like cheating.  The spouse wonders what is wrong with them that their partner needs pornography to satisfy one’s needs.  Thus, studies have revealed that porn use is mentioned in more than half of the divorces in the USA.
  7. Pornography use progressively gets worse over time and can become more perverse. Much like the alcoholic who has to have more alcohol in order to get them same intoxication experience, porn addicts have to have more and harder types of porn to get the same effect.  In the mental health field this is known as Tolerance.  It was said once that the alcoholic and drug addict crave “more” while the sex addict craves “different.”

 

As you can see the effects of porn use on relationships and marriage is devastating. We run a sexual addition ministry in our office where we work with the male sex addicts, their spouses, and on healing their marriages.  Addicts find it hard to attach in healthy ways and recovery is about developing healthy relationship attachments with one’s spouse, rather than one’s addiction.

Porn never satisfies.  It leaves one longing for more.  Sadly, as one delves deeper into pornography the more they will isolate and withdraw.  And long term effects of sex pleasuring can also effect one’s body’s ability to be aroused in healthy ways.

 

Dr. Richard Marks is a licensed counselor and pastoral minister specializing in marriage and family with Live the Life Ministries. He and Louella have been lovingly married 31 years and have 3 adult children and he can be reached at www.livethelife.org.

Richard Marks :