With the rapid growth of technology, and more specifically the internet, pornography and related sexual material is becoming increasingly more accessible and is affecting more and more individuals. Pornography use numbs the user’s sensitivity to correct moral standards, healthy relationships, and creates a skewed perception of reality, which in turn cracks the foundation of individuals, families, and societies.
Pornography addiction must be addressed at a primary level in the individual. Although pornography is available to and can affect both genders, men consume the majority. In a study conducted by Jason Carroll and colleagues they found the actual usage rates of pornography: 87% of emerging adult men reported using pornography at some level, with approximately one fifth reporting daily or every-other-day use (i.e., 3 to 5 times a week) and nearly half (48.4%) reporting a weekly or more frequent use pattern (2007). Although some may dispute whether pornography use falls into the category of addiction, neurologist Don Hilton (2009) demonstrates that it involves a long-term neuroplastic change to the brain, typically shrinking the pleasure centers promoting repetitive and damaging behavior the person is unable to stop. This is the epitome of an addiction. When the viewing of pornography rises to the level of addiction, 40 percent of “sex addicts” lose their spouses, 58 percent suffer considerable financial losses, and about a third lose their jobs (Fagan, 2009).
The discovery of a pornography addiction is devastating to any family. In most instances the spouse will say that he or she knew that something was wrong and they just couldn’t put their finger on the problem. Pornography use increased the likelihood of infidelity by 300% (Stack, Wasserman and Kern, 2004). With these statistics, it is no mystery why 56% of divorces in the United States occurred as a result of pornography use (as cited in Manning, 2006). Children of addicts lack stable parental figures, and the probability that children will use pornography in the future is significantly increased. Children and spouses must cope with feelings of anger, loneliness, confusion, guilt, and depression.
The family is the fundamental unit of society. Pornography use distracts individuals from marrying and creating families, thinning society’s foundation. Also, addicts have numbed their sensitivity to moral standards, diminishing their personal capacity to develop positive qualities. Without quality individuals with quality personalities, there will be no quality society. Monetarily, pornography usage affects the necessity of federal welfare programs because it increases the rate of divorce.
Despite the bleak picture this addiction paints for individuals, families, and societies there is hope for recovery. Addicts and the afflicted (spouses, children, etc…) must be willing to attend therapy and support group sessions, to increase their patience with each other, and increase their effort in improving quality relationships. Recovery is a long, hard road, but it is possible.
Pornography addiction cripples everything within its reach. It distorts an individual’s perspective of the necessity of their relationships and cracks the pillars of society’s foundations. It is imperative that as individuals, families, and societies we do not bandage a wound that requires surgery. Pornography is not something that will fade away time, or be selective in who it targets. We must face this evil head on, find our hope, and restore our strength through recovery. When we do this as individuals, families, and societies our wounds will heal, and our capacity to move forward will increase.
Carroll, J. S., Padilla-Walker, L., Nelson, L. J., Olson, C. D., Barry, C. M., & Madsen, S. D. (2008). Generation XXX: Pornography acceptance and use among emerging adults. Journal of Adolescent Research, 23(1), 6-30.
Hilton, D. (2009). He Restoreth My Soul: Understanding and Breaking the Chemical and Spiritual Chains of Pornography Addiction Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. San Antonio, TX: Forward Press Publishing, LLC.
Manning, Jill C. (2006). “The Impact of Internet Pornography on Marriage and the Family: A Review of the Research.”Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity 13:131-165.
Fagan, Patrick F. (2009). “The Effects of Pornography on Individuals, Marriage, Family and Community” Research Synthesis Journal.