Porn – what’s the big deal?

December 18, 2010

in Sexuality

© photoxpress.com/search-photos-author/dinostock/227434

Note: The article was re-edited 12/20-2012

There has been some discussion about porn in the comments recently, and I promised to cover this again as it has been a while. A few of you will skip this because it is not relevant to you (you are blessed) and more of you will skip this because it is relevant to you and you have no desire to change (your bride is far from blessed). Oh well.

You find folks who say porn is not a problem, and even some who claim it can be a good thing for many relationships. I disagree strongly with these claims. Are there men or couples who use porn for a long time and never have a problem because of it? They may be, but they are the rare exception, and even if they exist, I do not see it being worth the gamble.

Lies about porn:

  • It’s just entertainment: One comment I make regularly about porn is that learning about sex from porn is like learning about physics from Star Trek; most of what you know only works in a fantasy world, and if you try it in the real world it will fail and people may get hurt. I know we think we are too smart and too self-aware to let porn change our minds about sex, but the reality is we are not. Sex educators report that among those raised on porn, sexual ignorance is significant and growing worse. The fantasies and impossible situations one watches repeatedly will gradually replace the few educational sex messages they have had.
  • It’s not changing my thinking: There are thousands of studies that prove what we see and hear does change what we think, and dozens that show this specifically about porn. If you watch it, it will change your sexual desires, and it will result in you being less satisfied with whatever sex you are having. One study shows that men who viewed aggressive porn were more sexually aggressive and more forceful when they had sex.  Exposure to certain acts can create a desire for that act, or greatly increase an existing desire. Some men become unhappy with their sex life because of porn use, and many become less satisfied because of porn use.
  • Women like it too: To be more accurate, women are aroused by it; that does not necessarily mean they like it or really want it to be a part of their sexuality. There has been a real push to get women to use porn over the last decade or so. In part this is driven by money (more customers means more income) but some have also pushed it as an “equality” thing – if men do it, women should do it. I think my mother had a good answer to that – something about my friends and a bridge1. Even on secular sights where women are supposed to at the very least not care their guy is using porn, it is increasingly common to see women complain about a husband or boyfriend’s porn use.
  • It makes sex better for me: Yes and no. It causes arousal, which makes sex easier, faster, and may result in a more powerful climax. However, you being faster is not a good thing for her. Lack of foreplay is a major complaint among woman, as is the guy climaxing too soon. Porn increases both of these problems, and as such reduces her enjoyment – which will usually result in less sex. It is also possible for a guy to start findings it difficult to get a good erection without porn. Even advice sites that are “pro-porn” sometimes list porn use as a cause of a guy having problems with erection and/or climax.
  • It makes sex better for her: Again, yes and no. It will arouse her body, and that means less foreplay and possibly easier climax. It can also create problems in her head that make it difficult to climax, reduce the pleasure of sex, cause her to want to avoid sex, and make her feel less connected to her husband. Women want sex to be an emotional act shared within a deep relationship. Porn strips out a lot of the relationship aspect, making sex a primarily physical act. If all she wants is an orgasm, she does not need you – porn and her hand will get the job done much easier and more quickly. We have talked to a few women who got hooked on porn and masturbation because their guy pushed them to view it. Guilt over what arouses her, and what she feels like doing because of porn, can ruin a woman’s sex life for good.
  • We use it to learn new ways to have sex: Given that the vast majority of porn is faked, this is just silly. “Real sex” is not good enough, and does not film well, so porn is something other than real sex.
  • If it bothers her, it’s just because she is uptight: A growing number of women who have no moral argument with porn are saying they don’t want any part of it, and don’t want a guy who use it. Many “sex positive” women want nothing to do with porn because they understand that porn is not sex-positive for women.  Many women see porn as a betrayal, and some see it as virtual adultery. Do you need her feeling that way? IS her feeling that way going to harm your sex life?
  • I deserve it, or it does not matter, because she is holding out on me: Aside from the fact that two sexual wrongs do not make a right, this is like saying your injured finger is a good reason to beat on your hand with a hammer. Porn can only make things worse between you and your bride sexually, even if she has no clue you are viewing it.

If you are trying to get out of porn, I strongly recommend Be Broken, started by Jonathan Daugherty. While many porn recovery ministries seem legalistic, Be Broken is all about grace. Not grace to keep sinning, but grace for being a sinner. The legalistic approach may give “good results” sooner, but in the long run I think the grace approach has a far better track record of real, long term change. If you struggle with porn, connecting with Be Broken might be the best Christmas gift you ever give your bride. Doesn’t she deserve a husband who desires her, for who she is, rather a man who wants her to be a receptacle for the lust he has built up watching porn?

1 – “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?”

11 comments
Amanda
Amanda

I just stumbled upon this post and I am truly grateful for it, and see this as God answering a prayer. My question to you, as a wife, is how do I approach this subject with my husband? How do I bring it up without coming across as accusing or belittling him? Especially since my personal beliefs with porn have changed since we first got together.

139658742
139658742

I have been a follower of Lori's website for years - love her daily messages, and often she passes along something from you, which is always a blessing. I think this piece is REALLY great, but could you go through and fix the many, many, many grammatical errors? Sorry if that sounds like a grammar snob, sincerely - I'm not even that great when it comes to these things myself! It's just that all of the simple mistakes that were made are taking away from the wealth of wonderful information you've shared here.

Jennifer
Jennifer

I have been with my boyfriend for 3 years. We have a son together, when I was 8 months pregnant with him I discovered he had been deleting the internet history every time he used the internet. I am not unfamiliar with these kinds of suspicous acts so I called him out on it. He confessed that he's an addict and that he had been looking at playboy even before we were together. It was the most painful experience I have ever been through. I prefer physical pain to that level of emotional pain. I told him that if it ever happens again-it's over. I know that this behavior is wrong and many people think that I should have ended it right there, but love is a funny thing. It's been about a year and a half and he's in the clear as far as I know, but there is a significant amount of trust that was lost in that battle. He stated when he confessed that I was holding out on him. This dumbfounded me-I was 8 months pregnant and didn't feel very attractive. I hated the fact that he was blaming me for his use of porn. Very hurtful. Nevertheless, I do love this man, but it's a constant struggle being reminded of the past. But it's a struggle I'm willing to deal with to keep us together, unless it happens repeatedly- I couldn't handle that. When I question his loyalty afterwards, he usually gets upset because I don't trust him. But that just makes me want to shake him because he doesn't understand what it feels like to be in my shoes. Does he honestly expect me to trust him completely when he cheated on me for the first year and half of our relationship?! Whew! It feels good to get that out. :)

Brandon
Brandon

Tried to write a reply but it says I am tripping the spam filter. Learn2program.

Brandon
Brandon

Don't you think your obvious affiliation with God is skewing your opinion on this matter? Given the whole "lust" part of porn and what Jesus says about infidelity, it's obvious you would condemn it. Do you have anything positive to say about porn? I think most of what you're saying (essentially, "porn creates unrealistic expectations) can be applied to a ton of situations in our every day life. For example romance movies. I know many women who have issue with their men because they aren't as romantic as Tom Hanks. You also push a strong emphasis on MEN or COUPLES in this article. Never women alone, really. Women like porn. Yes, some do. A lot of women I know do. But what about sex toys? Do sex toys create unrealistic expectations regarding penis size? Does masturbation itself for a man or woman not create it's own habits and expectations? Does Twilight not create unrealistic expectations that a vampire man is going to want you to live forever with him? I'm just saying... unrealistic expectations are a part of our every day life. Even the burger you buy at McDonalds never looks like the picture. It's about the person. The industry isn't to blame. The product isn't to blame. The marketing isn't to blame. I don't think porn is to blame for someones expectation of sex. It's the persons intelligence and awareness that is. A world where unrealistic expectations are not a part of our daily life will never exist. [Last sentence, unrelated to the above, was removed]

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@juan215 - I understand what you are going through. I started looking at porn at age 7, and by 7th grade I was viewing daily. I stopped in 9th grade, but the images and thoughts were still in my mind. The good news is it does fade. When you stop feeding it, it gets; weaker. As you get better and better at stopping the thoughts quickly, it gets better. I would note that porn and "a love of sex" are not necessarily connected. While porn certainly pushed us to have sex, and can grossly change how we view sex, a strong desire for sex is a pretty normal thing for a guy, and one need not have used porn to want sex with one's wife "all the time". I say this because neither you nor your bride should think that the intensity of your sex drive is to be used a a measure of how well you are doing in dealing with the porn issue. You have my prayers.

juan215
juan215

i been looking at porn 4 a long time since 13 till i give my life to christ and porn made my life crazy and my girlfriend of 16yrs now im married to her and she tells me cuz of porn and my love of sex make us fight im trying to live wite out it and its hard i something remember movies that i seen in the past and when im in church i think of sex too im pray to god to help me wite this .....

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