Some sarcastically jest that the worst harm porn can cause is a paper cut. They couldn't be more wrong. Pornography isn't a harmless vice. The truth is that society, women, marriages, and individual users all suffer devastating consequences.

Detrimental To Society. Since the inception of Playboy magazine in the 1950s, mainstream society has slowly become more tolerant of pornography, but not without severe consequences. Researchers have shown that regular exposure to pornography can lead to rape and child molestation. In one study, 86 percent of convicted rapists confessed to regular use of pornography, with 57 percent acknowledging that they tried to reenact a pornographic scene during the rape.7 The same study revealed that 87 percent of molesters of girls and 77 percent of molesters of boys regularly used hard-core pornography.8 Another study found that "51 percent of male students exposed to violent pornography indicated a likelihood of raping a woman if they could get away with it."9

In a more general sense, pornography has a detrimental effect on public attitudes about sex. It devalues sex by taking it outside the marital context and stripping it of any emotional connection. It promotes a view of sex that is casual, impersonal, and sometimes violent.

Degrading To Women. Women are regularly exploited in pornography. Countless women have disclosed how they and many others were abused in the making of pornographic films. In many cases, women are coerced into humiliating, degrading, and abusive activities to sexually please the male characters.

Pornography is responsible for spreading the lie that women are available and willing at a moment's notice to fulfill a man's sexual demands. In most cases, it portrays women as mindless objects who exist only to service a man's every sexual whim. It further propagates a demeaning view of both women and men as being nothing more than animals interested in sex.

Damaging To Marriages. Whether a man is married or single, he is in danger of transmitting the infection of pornography into his current or future marriage. Contrary to what some would have us believe, sexually explicit material does not enhance sex between a husband and wife. Pornography creates unrealistic demands about the frequency of sex, specific sexual acts, and the nature of a woman's sexual response, to name just a few. Real life seldom lives up to what is represented in the fake world of pornography. And when a husband demands that reality imitate his fantasy, sex becomes empty for him and degrading to his wife. In the end, both feel resentful and less interested in sex with each other.

Further, pornography doesn't create a desire to be close. It destroys intimacy in a marriage. One researcher found that when men were shown pictures of Playboy models, they later described themselves as having less marital love than other men who were shown non-pornographic images.10

Many men who devour pornography with their eyes compare their wives to what they have seen. And no wife can live up to the youthful, flawlessly shaped, enhanced image of a centerfold. One wife said, "Although I was careful with my clothes and figure, I found that my husband was increasingly critical of the way I looked. . . . I wasn't attractive enough to compete with eternally young, surgically altered models. . . . In the end, he lost all interest in me as a sexual partner. This had a devastating impact on my view of my worth as a woman. It created such despair in me that I began to let my appearance go."11

Understandably, many wives have a difficult time surviving the fallout from pornography. One wife who caught her husband looking at pornography on the Internet likened it to a bomb exploding in her heart and marriage. Another wife felt hurt, used, and degraded after she caved in to her husband's demands to watch and reenact a pornographic video. Her struggle to forgive and to believe in him is enormous. Learning to trust her husband again is a long and bumpy process.

Destructive To Users. Pornography corrupts the minds of its viewers. Emotionally and sexually exciting images set off a physical chain reaction, which burns images that can remain etched in a man's mind for years.

Pornography also teaches men to dehumanize women by viewing them as sexual objects.  Men who repeatedly look at pornography lose their ability to give women the respect they deserve. Instead of enjoying the mind and heart of a woman, they focus on her body--undressing her in their thoughts and picturing what it would be like to have a sexual encounter with her. They can mistake a woman's innocent, friendly smile as a flirtatious come-on of a centerfold model. In many cases, they find it difficult and uncomfortable to imagine themselves being involved with a woman in any other way than physically.

As pornography pollutes the mind, it often turns into an enslaving sexual addiction where there is a "continual lust for more" (Eph. 4:18-19). This is why the Old and New Testaments of the Bible tell us that sexual sin captures the body and soul. The book of Proverbs reminds us that "the evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast" (Prov. 5:22). This is precisely how men feel who are in sexual bondage.

Men with an addiction to pornography will identify with one or more of the following statements:

I regularly seek out pornography.
I often spend parts of the day looking forward to viewing pornography.
I feel out of control and unable to stop.
I often compare my wife or girlfriend to the women in pornography.
I often choose to look at pornography rather than be sexually intimate with my wife.
I refuse to tell others that I struggle with pornography.
I tell lies to cover my struggle.

Looking at pornography has led to serious problems in my life (such as a threat to or loss of job or marriage, financial debt, promiscuous or criminal behavior).

The extent of addiction can range from a category one addiction (mild) to a category three addiction (severe). In a category one addiction, a man no longer has a mere casual interest in pornography--he's obsessed with it. He's gone from occasionally running across it to making a conscious effort to seek it out. In a category two addiction, he attempts to bridge the fantasy world of pornography to the real world. It's not uncommon for a man to try to recreate in real life what he's seeing in pornography. He may try to enact with his wife what he has seen, with or without her knowledge or consent. As his problem deepens, he may hire prostitutes or try to pick up women for "one-night stands."

Many men live in a category one or two addiction for years and never progress any further. If men progress to a category three addiction, and there are plenty who do, they get involved in more severe forms of pornography, including child pornography. They also move to serious criminal behavior such as rape and child sexual abuse.

An addiction to pornography doesn't happen overnight. It sneaks up on a man over time, and there are multiple factors involved.


I recommend the book by Merlin Carothers called " What's On Your Mind?"