This is a rather frank post on porn, so proceed, or not, with that in mind.
Porn is a problem. It’s a personal problem for many and a cultural problem for all. You may think you have not been affected by porn, but you have because it’s embedded in the surrounding culture. The staggering size of the pornography industry, its influence upon the media and the acceleration of technology, paired with the accessibility, anonymity, and affordability of porn all contribute to its increasing impact upon the culture.
Pornography affects you whether you’ve ever viewed it or not, and it is helpful to understand some of its negative effects, whether you are a man or woman, struggling with watching it, or simply a mom or dad with a son or daughter. There is a plethora of research on the detrimental effects of pornography (and I do not think that what follows are necessarily the worst of them), but here are seven negative effects of porn upon men and women:
Anti-pornography activist, Gail Dines, notes that young men who become addicted to porn, “neglect their schoolwork, spend huge amounts of money they don’t have, become isolated from others, and often suffer depression.” (Pornland, 93). Dr. William Struthers, who has a PhD in biopsychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago, confirms some of these and adds more, finding that men who use porn become controlling, highly introverted, have high anxiety, narcissistic, curious, have low self-esteem, depressed, dissociative, distractible (Wired for Intimacy, 64-65). Ironically, while viewing porn creates momentary intensely pleasurable experiences, it ends up leading to several negative lingering psychological experiences.
In a similar vein regarding porn’s effect upon the brain, Naomi Wolf writes in her article, “The Porn Myth,”
Sex becomes self-serving. It becomes about your pleasure and not the self-giving, mutually reciprocating intimacy that it was designed for.
This occurs from hard-core to soft-core pornography. Pamela Paul, in her book Pornified, quoting the research of one psychologist who has researched pornography at Texas A&M, writes,
Paul references one experiment that revealed a rather shocking further effect of porn: “men and women who were exposed to large amounts of pornography were significantly less likely to want daughters than those who had none. Who would want their own little girl to be treated that way?” (80).
It becomes about your pleasure and not the self-giving, mutually reciprocating intimacy that it was designed for.”
Again, it needs to be emphasized, that this is not an effect that only rests upon those who have viewed porn. The massive consumption of porn and the the size of the porn industry has hypersexualized the entire culture. Men and women are born into a pornified culture, and women are the biggest losers. Dines continues,
Wolf, in her own blunt way, confirms this,
It makes real sex and even the real world boring in comparison. It particularly anesthetizes the emotional life of a man. Paul comments,
Dines records how porn tells a false story about men and women. In the story of porn, women are “one-dimensional”–they never say no, never get pregnant, and can’t wait to have sex with any man and please them in whatever way imaginable (or even unimaginable). On the other hand, the story porn tells about men is that they are “soulless, unfeeling, amoral life-support systems for erect penises who are entitled to use women in any way they want. These men demonstrated zero empathy, respect, or love for the women they have sex with…(Pornland, xxiv).”
- BJ Stockman
David Jee [Eternity Bible College]
My desire and prayer for you is that your life and ministry have a radical flavor. The flavor of risk, sacrifice, love, simplicity, joy, freedom, and precarious adventure.
In 1939, Howard Guinness, one of the early founders of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, wrote a little book called Sacrifice. He was trying to do then what I am trying to do now. He wrote,
Where are the young men and women of this generation who will hold their lives cheap, and be faithful even unto death, who will lose their lives for Christ’s, flinging them away for love of him? Where are those who will live dangerously, and be reckless in this service? Where are the men of prayer? Where are the men who count God’s Word of more importance to them than their daily food? Where are the men who, like Moses of old, commune with God face to face as a man speaks with his friend? Where are God’s men in this day of God’s power?
Indeed, where are the pastors who say with the apostle Paul, “I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24)?
Where are the pastors who say with Joab to his brother Abishai, when surrounded by Syrians and Ammonites, “Be of good courage, and let us play the man for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him” (2 Samuel 10:12)?
Where are the young women—single and married—who say with Esther, when the life of her people hung in the balance and Mordecai asked her to risk her life, “I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16)?
- John Piper gave this plea in his 2008 message at Together for the Gospel
David Jee [Eternity Bible College]