A Real Look at Pornography: Part 2
Images affect us — both positively and negatively. It’s dumb to think that the things we see and hear don’t affect us. We all admit that good music, good movies and good books add a lot to our lives. They can relax us, educate us, move us or inspire us. Obviously, good images do good things to us. It’s not a far stretch to believe that bad images can do negative things to us.
Images can also persuade us. Businesses know that if they can get a persuasive image of their product in front of you during a highly emotional moment, it will sink into your subconscious mind. The advertising scientists are very deliberate at what they do, and they do everything they can to persuade you to buy their product if you see their ad.
Sometimes, viewers don’t even see the name of the product. Reeses Pieces paid a huge price just to have their candy shown for a few seconds in the movie “ET,” and sales of Reeses Pieces skyrocketed. Why? Because the emotions connected with watching that small boy reaching out to the alien were transferred to the visual image of the candy. If a split second view of a product — even when it’s not the center of attention — can affect people’s behavior, imagine the effect of a movie that keeps your attention glued to the screen for an hour and a half with sexually explicit images.
What effect can this have on a man?
What kinds of ideas is porn putting into our heads? If the wrong things keep getting dumped in, your mental environment can get polluted enough to raise problems in your life. One of the most vital parts of mental environment is a healthy idea of who we are sexually. If these ideas are polluted, a critical part of who we are becomes twisted.
Addiction–The Pull of Porn
Not everyone who sees porn will become addicted. Some will just come away with toxic ideas about women, sex, marriage, and children. However, some will have some kind of emotional opening that allows the addiction to really grab hold. The porn companies don’t mind at all if you become completely addicted to their product. It’s great for business.
Dr. Victor Cline has divided the progress of addiction into several stages; addiction, escalation, desensitization, and acting out. For porn addicts, I’ve found that there is another stage that comes first — early exposure. Let’s look at these stages:
- Early exposure. Most guys who get addicted to porn start early. They see porn when they are very young and it gets its foot in the door.
- Addiction. You then keep coming back to porn. It becomes a regular part of your life. You become hooked and can’t quit.
- Escalation. You start to look for more graphic pornography and start using porn that disgusted you earlier. Now, it excites you.
- Desensitization. You start to become numb to the images you see. Even the most graphic porn doesn’t excite you any more. You become desperate to feel the same thrill again, but you can’t find it.
- Acting out sexually. This is the point where men make a crucial jump and start acting out the images they have seen. Some move from the paper and plastic images of porn into the real world, with real people, in destructive ways.
Am I Addicted?
If you see any of these patterns in your life, you need to put the brakes on right now. Is porn becoming more and more in control of your life? Do you have trouble putting it down? Do you keep going back for more?
What Can I Do?
The first thing to do is admit that you struggle with pornography. Believe me, you are not strange or unusual if you do. Millions of men are at various stages in the struggle with porn. It’s really not surprising.
The porn industry has spent billions of dollars trying to snare you. Is it really shocking that they have succeeded? For some of you there may also be issues in your past, such as abuse or sexual exposure, that makes porn addiction even harder to shake. There is only so much you can do in fighting addiction without help.
You need someone to help you break this addiction. Overcoming the secrecy is absolutely vital. You probably can’t escape addiction without it. That doesn’t mean everyone has to know you’re struggling. Pick someone you can trust who counsels men who are having problems with addiction — a counselor, youth group leader or pastor. Someone you can completely trust, feel safe with and has experience in the area of addiction isn’t going to be surprised.