Porn – is it worse than you think?

Porn - is it worse than you think?

In 2014 the UK Government forced the tobacco industry to start warning people about the dangers of smoking, by reminding people that “smoking kills” and “smoking causes cancer” on the front of their packets. This was followed in 2014 by the graphic depiction of the inside of a smoker’s lung, or a clogged artery, printed on the inside of the cigarette box, a surefire way to make even the steeliest smoker gag. You see, there is something innate about the human race that suggests that even when we know that something is bad for us, until we see what it is doing to us on the inside, whether it be physically, emotional or spiritually, we still continue to do it. Most smokers know that smoking is bad, but they continue to do it. By showing them exactly what it is doing, and the implications that it has, the Government hopes it may prevent the habit. 

I was thinking about all this recently and was considering how similar this is to people’s fascination and addiction to pornography – a secret sin, a very private thing, something that most would admit is uncomfortable to talk about, or even shameful. I’d say that most Christians would see pornography as a sin, yet still it persists as an issue for so many Christian men and women. Like smoking, the addictive nature and pleasure of pornography seems to outweigh the feeling of conviction that comes from partaking in it. The Bible talks about sexual sin being a sin against our own bodies – 1 Corinthians 6. When I was a teenager, porn was something that I grappled with. It wasn’t until I realised what pornography was doing to my mind and spirit, and the greater effects on the people involved, that I had no problem walking away from it. 

I want to just outline for you a few things I discovered:

1. Porn creates an emotional bond with an artificial world

All people have a critical need for human intimacy and emotional connection with others. When someone views pornography, they end up creating an intimate bond with an artificial, fake world and can actually lose the ability to bond with real people.

2. Porn is unfulfilling

Using pornography to feel pleasure and escape feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety, boredom and frustration creates a gateway for addiction. When the rush of pleasure disappears, the feelings a user is trying to escape from reappear stronger than ever, and they are compelled to repeat the cycle. Over time, their brain chemistry is altered and a full-fledged addiction occurs.

3. Porn is just an imitation of the real thing

With pornography, we use sex as a substitute for nurture, intimacy, and love. Sex is no longer a wonderful source of connection between our deepest selves and a spouse; it becomes a commodity used to avoid intimacy and masks needs that should be met through human connections. The Bible very clearly tells us that sex is something that happens between man and wife – when we go looking for it in other forms, it does not satisfy.

4. Porn will re-wire your brain

Porn is fantastic at forming new, long-lasting pathways in the brain. In fact, porn is such a ferocious competitor that hardly any other activity can compete with it, including actual sex with a real partner. That’s right, porn can actually overpower your brain’s natural ability to have real sex! Dr Norman Doidge, a researcher at Columbia University, suggests that porn creates the perfect conditions and triggers the release of the right chemicals to make lasting changes in your brain. 

5. The porn industry is dark, really dark

There have been countless accounts from women (and men) who have escaped the porn industry who have testified to the evil nature of the industry. Stories of people contracting sexually transmitted diseases, taking drug overdoses and even suicide are not uncommon and many share of being manipulated, coerced or even threatened into their jobs. Many of the actresses leave the industry feeling abused, violated and traumatised.

Every time someone watches porn, they are feeding into this industry.

In summary, I chose to write this article because I feel for some men and women that this may be the only way for them to flee the grasp of pornography. The Bible talks about the truth setting us free, and my hope is that when we fully understand the truth of porn and the consequences of watching it, we may be enabled to leave it behind. 

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