November 14, 2005
It used to arrive in a plain brown paper wrapper. Schoolboys lucky enough to find a hidden copy would sneak off to share it at school… a perfect way to win points with their friends.
In the span of one lifetime, the plain brown paper wrapper has been recycled to make in-your-face glossy catalogues and wall-sized murals of nearly naked teens suggestively posed by Abercrombie and Fitch. MTV puts the photos to music. And video games draw you into the fun.
Fully fusing porn with American family life, last May, hometown burger king, Carl’s Jr. gave Dads something to watch with their young boys. Paris Hilton, barely clad in a thong bikini, “with hoses shooting up everywhere,” writhed in suds atop a Bentley…seductively licking her lips over a hamburger.
As Pamela Paul writes in Pornified, “Today, pornography is not only planted in people’s psyches; it’s everywhere in our culture….We’ve become ‘pornified’—that is, the culture, values, standards, and language of pornography have infiltrated our daily lives, shaping how we view sex and how our sexual and romantic relationships play out.”
And just like the consequences related to sexual promiscuity, the consequences of our porn addiction are beginning to take a toll on marriages, families and our children. Psychiatrist Jennifer Schneider studied ninety-one women and three men, “all of whom had spouses or partners seriously involved in cyber sex.” She found they all shared feelings of hurt, betrayal, rejection, abandonment, humiliation, jealousy, and anger.
But Schneider’s study points to something not so widely known about addiction to porn. As Paul reports it, more than one in five of those surveyed by Schneider, “had separated or divorced as a result of their spouse’s cybersex addition. Half reported their spouses were no longer sexually interested in them, and one-third said they were no longer interested in sex with their partner.”
Men interviewed by Paul tell it best. “Kenneth, a married man and father of three, began to have trouble relating to women in the real world. ‘I objectified them,’ he explains… ‘If you meet someone and you’re preoccupied with women’s anatomy because you spend time looking at porn, then in the real world, you spend a lot of time looking at women’s anatomy.’”
Another father addicted to porn, Liam tells Paul, “It takes a three-dimensional human being with feelings – someone who could be your daughter, sister, or mother – and basically says, this is a creature that is only intended to satisfy your sexual desires. It becomes your natural way of thinking.”
Even as married fathers like Kenneth and Liam struggle to overcome their addiction to porn, teachers in our classrooms are witnessing its impact on our youth. Dana spends five days each week in the classroom talking about sex with teens. She and the kids cover the physical, emotional and relational reasons for abstaining from sex until marriage.
On the last day of class, Dana brings up the subject of porn. “I can see it in their eyes,” she says. “Half of the kids in the class look down at their desks. They’re involved with porn, and they’re embarrassed.”
Dana has a hard job in a culture that mixes porn with simple television commercials for hamburgers. She must help students understand the damage of an impure thought. She must lead them through the natural consequences of linking a beautiful expression of intimate sexual love to the heartless eroticism of porn.
We train our bodies with our minds. And the irony of training our minds with porn is that we destroy our ability to enjoy the natural physical sexual pleasures that sustain a marriage between husband and wife. Our libido is no longer satisfied by natural sexual activity. And our intimate emotional connection with our sexual partner is destroyed.
“It’s really a shame that today, people are actually afraid to admit they are opposed to pornography,” Paul says. “It’s time we realized that this line of thinking – fed to us by the pornography industry – doesn’t have to be our way of thinking. The reality is that using and accepting pornography has negative effects on our lives.”
The brown paper wrapper existed for a reason. Its existence acknowledged the harm that can come from an impure thought. And for the teens who meet Dana each week, this is a message that can’t come too soon.
Read More About the Impact of Porn
Pamela Paul, PORNIFIED: How Pornography Is Transforming our Lives, our Relationships, and our Families, TIMES BOOKS, Henry Holt and Company, September, 2005.
October 29, 2004 – Food for the Brain
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