The Pornography Problem: Prevention

December 5th, 2011

Pornography has become so pervasive in our world that it has become almost “normal” to come into some kind of contact with it. The people who are in the business of pornography will tell you it is a natural thing to do; that being human is all about natural, sexual urges. We should embrace pornography, not shun in.

I’m here to tell you differently. And why.

Pornography and sex addictions can destroy lives. Pornography is built upon lust, an unquenchable hunger, and addicts are constantly trying to satisfy that hunger. Sure, not everyone who dabbles in pornography gets addicted, but many do. And just like most addictions, it is never satisfied. The addiction has an ever-increasing need for more stimulation and more drugs, and only becomes progressively worse.

Dr. Donald Hilton is a well-known neurosurgeon and clinical associate professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio and studies the effects of pornography and sex addiction on the brain. He said pornography addictions can be just as damaging as drug addictions. In fact, the chemicals in the brain become unnaturally altered leaving the addict constantly seeking their next fix, just like with drugs.

The brain becomes rewired; normal, sexual relationships may not be possible. Instead, the sexual side is dehumanized and objectified.

In relationships, a pornography addiction is a betrayal of trust. There is no more love in the relationship because the person who is addicted becomes less and less able to love others and to see a romantic relationship in a realistic and healthy way. They become so focused on themselves and their addiction that their marriages and relationships deteriorate.

If so much bad comes from pornography addictions, then how can we avoid this problem? It would be ignorant to think we will never come in contact with pornography. Even if we thoroughly avoid it, it seems to have ways of creeping into our computers and media. The more realistic way of handling the pornography epidemic would be to prepare for how to react beforehand to reduce negative effects.

There are quite a few preventative measures we can take to reduce run-ins with pornography.

  1. Know it when you see it. Pornography is defined as, “Any entertainment that uses immodest or indecent images to stimulate sexual feelings.” This can encompass television shows and commercials, movies, and books. When you recognize something as being pornographic, walk away from it.
  2. Use the computer cautiously. Install computer filters and teach proper internet use. However, sometimes the filter doesn’t always catch everything so be wise about what sites you go to. Also, keep the computer in only open and high-traffic areas of the house so others can be around. If you have a computer in a closed office at work, make sure your employer has good filters and support a strict anti-pornography policy at work.
  3. Keep open communication about human intimacy and media standards. By keeping an honest and respectful home environment, it can be a powerful preventative tool when you stumble on pornography. Because you have already discussed what you will do beforehand and have agreed on moral standards, it will be easier to avoid the temptation if it arises.
  4. Unfortunately, children are starting to be exposed to sex early and it is important to prepare them before they learn about it from someone else. Make sure you teach your children the truths about sexuality and pornography so they can more easily avoid it.
  5. Eliminate curiosity before it starts. Pornography first appeals to curiosity, it can be easy to get hooked right away. What one thinks is a harmless peek can soon become a strong, sexual impression that cannot be shaken until they view it again and again.  A young man who has struggled to overcome his pornography addiction said, “Curiosity led to interest and interest developed into a strong habit.” Make a goal to stop the curiosity now by discussing with your family the dangerous outcomes of pornography addictions so they can be prepared.
  6. And finally, break the emotional connection. Addictive behavior is often connected to stress, anxiety, and depression. Because viewing pornography triggers excitement and pleasure, it can be used as a stress reliever and a way to wind down. Talk to your spouse and children about other, more beneficial ways to deal with stress. Create a safe and loving environment so when feelings of anxiety arise, they feel welcome and protected. You can also make up goals and activities that you can do to ease your stress.

One last (and sensitive) thought about prevention. Research shows that in most instances, spouses don’t develop a pornography problem while they are married. Instead, they bring a pornography problem into the marriage. Most likely, they have not told their spouse about this problem thinking that it would disappear. Is this something that seriously dating or engaged couples can talk about? I think it is imperative that they do (See Couple Talks post). If your potential spouse needs help with a serious problem, make sure they get it taken care of before you marry.

Pornography addictions can be entirely avoided. By being wise and cautious with how you spend your time, you can steer clear of pornography. We shouldn’t have to wait until it becomes a full-fledged addiction to make some changes.

In the next post, I’ll discuss resources for getting help with a pornography addiction.

What are some ways you can think of to prevent you and your family from having pornography in your home?