Porn. What is it? How is it used? How does it affect me and others?
These are the questions we need to ask ourselves before we, all too quickly, jump on the internet and type in this four letter word.
Viewing porn has become an accepted and encouraged craze for those looking to satisfy or explore their sensuality and sexuality. The modern western culture of North America views this as a good thing. However, what if studies show that porn can actually put yourself and others at risk of months, years, or decades of disappointment, all for a moment of pleasure? What if studies show that you can harm yourself mentally and physically by watching and masturbating to porn. What if studies show that porn fuels sex trafficking and prostitution? What if porn is actually so much bigger than just your so-called "need."
Would you still watch porn?
For many of us, the answer is...YES. Because, even though most of us subconsciously already know these things to be true—even without studies proving it—in severe cases, porn becomes an addiction.
Let's take a moment to talk about what addiction looks like and one cause for addiction to porn.
The word "addiction" is derived from the Latin word addicere which means "enslaved by" or "bound to" and exerts a long and powerful influence on the brain that manifests in three distinct ways:
1. craving for the object or feeling of addiction.
2. loss of control over its use.
3. continued involvement with it despite adverse consequences.
Without getting into the science of it all, in short: the brain registers all pleasure in the same way, whether it is with a psychoactive drug, monetary reward, satisfying meal, or a sexual encounter. Realistically, anyone can become addicted to anything that produces pleasure. It would, then, be self-righteous for someone to assume themselves immune to all cases of addiction. I say this not to bring condemnation, but awareness to the reality of being human. Relating to porn specifically, in a culture that is overly "sexualized" and where hypersexuality is promoted, we are highly susceptible to becoming porn addicts.
What then is a main cause of addiction to pornography?
What happens is, porn exposes us at such young ages to a luring intensity between two people and to the orgasmic feeling it gives us. This has given pornographers (producers of pornography) an advantage, as porn is often first exposed to an age-frame that is easily persuaded. Pornographers create ads and viruses which inevitably pop up that broadcast sexually explicit content and ingrains porn into our minds before we even know what's happening. 11 years is the average age, in North America, where a child is exposed and enticed into being defiled. Since we grow up watching it, it becomes a source of comfort and relaxation—an escape from reality. So, as we grow older, we allow our brains to be rewired into thinking it is healthy and harmless to fulfill what is now a selfish need/want.
No one is blaming you, though, because most of us are in the same boat, or have been, and feeling guilty about something only drives you back to the very thing that causes the guilt (which is a whole other topic). Guilt is not the goal of this article. The goal is to bring awareness and to liberate ourselves from the continued subjection of those who produce and force porn into our communities; to reawaken our senses through humility and truth of what porn is, how it is used, and how it affects everyone.
See, porn stole something from you...your innocence.
Even as I write this, I can feel the countless nights where my innocence was tainted, and so I mourn and sympathize with those who have viewed or view porn, whether you do it reluctantly or freely, as neither viewpoints dissolve it of its truth.
But just because you can't go back and stop yourself from clicking on that add or un-live that moment, does not mean you have to continue to experience the harmful effects of pornography. That's not to say it won't be a process, but you can hop on the road to recovery. I implore and encourage you to either prevent yourself from becoming addicted or to break free of addiction and help prevent it from happening to others who don't know better. We do not need to be stripped of our innocence by the porn industry.
Let's start talking about porn in a healthy way. We can change our community and the demand porn has placed on those in first and third world nations.
I wish you all a happy, porn-free life that is full of deep and meaningful love! <3 xoxo
(Side note: this was simply an introduction, I understand this article does not explicitly answer all of the questions I presented)