John got into porn fairly early in his life; he must have been 12 or 13. First with magazines, then VHS tapes (does anyone know what that is anymore?) and later online.
Easy access made it part of his daily routine. He was hooked on porn before he even realized it.
He was never really comfortable with it. Even though he always saw it as generally benign and every media medium told him it was part of being a teenager, John knew that it had affected the way he saw girls. He would fantasize about them, many times utilizing the hundreds of poses and scenes he had experienced in porn magazines and videos. He didn’t like that at all—especially when thinking about someone whom he really liked. He tried to push the images away, but there was no use.
You can’t unsee pornography.
Yet he always felt it was all temporary. He thought that once he got married, he wouldn’t need pornography at all. He wouldn’t need to self-gratify himself; he’d be able to have sex “all the time.”
But soon after his marriage, John found out how naïve and wrongheaded that thought was. He thought he would leave the porn behind as he left his studio apartment to move in with his bride. What he discovered was that porn had shaped his whole worldview.
His marriage suffered a great deal as a consequence. He had all of these ideas engrained in his mind of what he and his bride’s sex life needed to be and he put immense pressure on his wife to act accordingly, something he deeply regrets now.
He was not being selfish. Interestingly, the problem in his mind was that he was not doing enough for his wife. And no matter how much she told him that he was fulfilling her, he didn’t believe her.
John wanted her to act like the women he had had relationship with all thorough his teenage years in his porn fantasies. After some tense interactions on the subject, he dropped the issue altogether and went back to his regular use of pornography behind his wife’s back. Now, even while engaging with her, he often thought of other women in his mind. That made him feel horrible.
He became severely depressed and that, coupled with a combination of other factors, finally brought the marriage to an abrupt end a few years after his wife discovered his secret.
This story, with innumerable variations, is tragically common. Pornography is the proverbial pot boiling the frog. It is a cancer destroying men from the inside since their youth, leaving only a trail of wrecked families behind.
One study using data from 20,000 adults who had been married at least once found that those who watched pornography were more likely to be divorced, have an extramarital affair, were less likely to say they were happy with their marriage or happy overall. It found that “for men, pornography use reduced the positive relationship between frequency of sex and happiness.” And concluded that “the negative relationship between pornography use and marital well-being has, if anything, grown stronger over time, during a period in which pornography has become both more explicit and more easily available.”
Though many continue to view efforts to tell the truth about pornography as an attempt to “censor,” the science and peer-reviewed research on its numerous harmful effects continues to grow. Scientific research has found that continued use of pornography can even decreases the brain matter in areas of decision-making and motivation.
Just like tobacco use was once thought to be harmless but with more scientific research we were able to identify its detrimental effects on the body, much of the research on the use of pornography points to an alarming number of harmful, life-altering effects that demand serious consideration.
If you are a young man starting to dip your life into online porn, I beg you to consider the evidence and the many casualties, like John, left on its path.
Take a look at this effort called Fight the New Drug where people just like you are raising awareness about this important issue that may cause great harm in your life if you continue to ignore it.
Freedom from pornography will allow you to discover pleasures untold. One of the beautiful things you discover after many years of marriage is how extraordinary the sexual act can become when a husband and wife explore each other in heart, mind and body. What you discover is that pornography actually sells you short. They don’t oversell the beauty of God’s gift of sexual relations, they under sell it. They distort it.
Pornography hinders you from discovering the full pleasures of God’s gift hidden within the parameters of a lifetime commitment in marriage. Don’t be fooled. Don’t be a victim.
Fight. Your life is worth it.
Mario Diaz, Esq. is Legal Counsel at Concerned Women for America, the nation's largest public policy women's organization. His book Be Spent: Winning the Fight for Freedom's Survival is available now on Amazon. Follow him @legalblurbblog on Twitter.
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