24 Aug Pornography: Do you still have a choice?
By Rachel Soderquist
Jim had been married for five years. He and his wife had two little girls. They were happy. In the last year, their relationship had spun way off course. It started quietly, almost unknowingly. Jim spent more time at work; he was a little bit more tired when he came home at night. He started interacting less with the girls. Little acts of kindness and reaching out began to dwindle and affection stopped all together. He was caught by the poison that plagues many of our families and society: pornography, an utter disregard for the sacred.
At every second, 28,258 people are viewing pornography. That means that if these 28,258 people represented different individuals every second, it would only take 59 hours, a little less than 5 days, before the entire world population had been exposed. Pornography changes the way the brain thinks. It is an addiction. Many addicts don’t realize the actions they are taking until after it has happened. They are no longer in control and cannot act on conscious or heart. Their values are changed and they don’t even realize it.
When Jim first met his wife, he was head over heels in love.
Jim looked forward to the opportunity to provide for her and spend the rest of his life working to make her happy. She was his world. As pornography took over his life, that pattern began to change. The results of one study showed a consistent pattern of value changes in exposed individuals. Those individuals who were exposed to pornography were more likely to be unfaithful to their partner, have a decreased desire to have children, and have a lower opinion of marriage and family in general.
Pornography consumption is also affecting the overall value society places on the family unit. What does a pornography addict value most? I can assure you it is not their family. This research confirms that individuals exposing themselves to pornography are self-focused. When an individual’s heart is set on their ‘relationship’ with pornographic images, all other relationships have a tendency to fall to the wayside. Everything they used to hold dear loses meaning.
Jim can’t love his wife anymore. He doesn’t have a choice.
The sad part is this ‘relationship’ isn’t even real. Pornography distorts the consumer’s view of reality. This distorted reality makes it more difficult for the viewer to create and maintain real loving relationships. “Porn teaches that both men and women aren’t worth anything more than the sum of their body parts and how much sexual pleasure they can offer.”
Imagine for a minute the images of actors, athletes, models, and others you see in the media. They seem perfect in every way. Hair that glimmers in the sun, clear skin, pearly white teeth, toned arms. Everything flawless. Real people are not like this. We each have our quirks, imperfections, impossible opinions. Once the consumer gets used to this ideal relationship, where there is no talking back, no consideration for her needs, no hard work, no apologies, etc., it becomes difficult to snap back into a real relationship. As a result, thousands of marriages fail.
Now let’s look at it from the consumer’s point of view. Pornography is an addiction. The brain is rewired to think the addiction is a necessity. Often the addiction becomes so natural that even before the addict realizes what they are doing, they relapse. And with each exposure, the dependency on the product becomes deeper, perpetuating the problem.
Jim ended up leaving his family, to the heartbreak of his wife.
His little girls will have no memory of him as the supportive father and husband he used to be in their home. The choices we make affect those around us, those we love the most. Pornography is one of those choices that hurts the consumer and those closest to them.
Rachel Soderquist is a current student at BYU-Idaho, majoring in Marriage and Family Studies. She hopes to continue using her education to promote homes and families across the nation, by sharing research in a way that people can understand.
 Paul, P. (2007). Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families. New York: Henry Hold and Co., 80; Mosher, D. L. and MacIan, P. (1994). College Men and Women Respond to X-Rated Videos Intended for Male or Female Audiences: Gender and Sexual Scripts. Journal of Sex Research 31, 2: 99–112.