Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Pornography: Where's the Harm?
disconnection from reality
Pornography and sexual fantasy are often used to escape from reality, to cope with the stresses of life. But avoiding life's problems ultimately leads to more, not less, stress. And coming to believe, through porn's false messages, that unfeeling and exploitative sex is okay and even good, is a serious and dangerous disconnection from reality.
disconnection from normal human relationships
Pornography, by its nature, objectifies and dehumanizes the people it pictures. It portrays human beings as objects, mere props for the sexual gratification of others. The chronic porn user will inevitably buy into that. This will decrease his ability to have normal, healthy relationships with his wife, children, and others.
distortion and perversion of personal sexuality
We all have particular things that “turn us on.” Sex expert Dr. Patrick Carnes describes this range of attractions as our “arousal template.” Its formation is a complicated process, involving genetics, culture, family history, experiences (especially abusive ones) and sexual history.
Recent research shows that sex while fantasizing with an image distorts and perverts one's “arousal template.” Carnes writes, “We see more and more people whose arousal templates are being altered as a result of cybersex experiences … It's amazing how suggestible people can be and how quickly a previously unknown behavior can become part of a person's arousal template.”
Many men drift into viewing pornography out of curiosity, the lure of the forbidden, and/or for psychological and emotional reasons. Carnes notes that “The Internet can provide a way to …discover unacknowledged parts of the arousal template.” But it can also fan the spark of a nascent interest into the flames of a fullblown obsession.
A further harm of using pornography is chronic shame. Many people who look at pornography know it is wrong and inwardly despise themselves for viewing it. But they may feel driven by forces seemingly beyond their control. Fortunately, recovery from porn use is possible.
~ from In the Shadows of the Net, by Patrick J. Carnes, PhD