The Effects of Internet Pornography
Internet pornography’s accessibility, affordability and anonymity have helped the porn industry reach a whole new level. People no longer have to drive to an adult store to get porn, for it is readily available at the click of a mouse. Porn has been normalized to the point where most men are not hiding their liking of porn, but embracing it. Some women have even become addicted to viewing porn on the web. As pornography is more common because of the Internet, it has taken a larger role in our lives. Some have been hurt by it, some have been able to entertain more fantasies because of it and some have even made a fortune from it.
Pornography and relationships
Internet pornography hurts marriages. Wives feel betrayed by their husband’s need to go online to be sexually satisfied. Nine months after her wedding, Donna found out her husband never stopped viewing online porn as he had promised. She was stunned and hurt. Describing her feelings about it she said, “I blamed myself–I wasn’t attractive enough.”
Another woman described her feelings towards her husband’s online pornography habit this way, “It makes me feel fat and ugly, like he’d rather masturbate to those images than have the real thing.” Oftentimes the wife is hurt when she discovers her husband’s addiction to cyberporn because she feels she is not enough to fulfill her husband’s sexual fantasies. Some wives blame themselves for not having a body sexy enough to satisfy their husbands. According to Ana Bridges et al. in the article, “Romance
Partners’ Use of Pornography: Its Significance for Women,” “In her eyes, his involvement [in internet pornography] implied that she must be physically unattractive, sexually undesirable, worthless, [and] inadequate as a wife.”
Erotic images are more available than ever, and according to comScore, which measures Internet traffic, 66 percent of Internet-using men between the ages of 18 and 34 look at online porn at least once a month. Porn–gazing can become an explosive issue for a couple, corroding intimacy and diminishing sexual connection. Some may think that only chronic porn surfing can negatively affect a marriage, but they are wrong—even casual porn gazing can become an obstacle in a marriage.
Two-thirds of divorce lawyers say that the Internet has played a significant role in divorces within the past year, with excessive interest in online porn contributing to more than half of such cases. According to Richard Berry, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, “Pornography had an almost nonexistent role in divorce just seven or eight years ago;” its significant role now is “clearly due to the Internet.” Online pornography has evidently devastated the relationship between husband and wife, sometimes shattering it completely.
Pornography and children
Internet pornography has become an issue for parents and their children. With younger people being more technologically inclined, parents who are not up-to-date with technology are not able to control their children’s activity on the web. Seventy percent of 15-to-17-year-olds said that they had accidentally come acrosspornography online, according to a 2001 poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Many wonder about the consequences of viewing pornography at a young age. Are children becoming more sexual? How does this affect the mentality of boys and girls? In another poll, 59 percent of 15-to-24-year-olds believe that seeing porn on the Internet encourages young people to have sex before they are ready; 49 percent said it promotes bad attitudes toward women and encourages viewers to think unprotected sex is O.K. The web is shaping the views and values of children, sometimes even more than parents, whether we like to admit to it or not. Sociologist Diana Russell, who has written several books on the subject of web porn’s influence on children, claims: “Unfortunately for many kids growing up today, pornography is the only sex education they’ll get.”
Pornography and the church
Perhaps surprising to some, Internet pornography has become an issue within the church. It is a personal problem for 40 percent of American pastors. According to Christianity Today, 51 percent of pastors admit that looking at Internet pornography is their biggest temptation. In a case at the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Desoto, Texas, no one suspected that Pastor Bernie Anderson, 36, was secretly spending hours looking at porn on the web. He was a firm believer in the literal word of the Bible, a happily married man and father of three. He was compassionate and loving, always there to lend an ear. But he felt like a hypocrite. Johnson and Schenfeld describe his struggle:
He tried to stop, but the images flickered again. After one porn binge, he decided he could no longer live with himself. He called a fellow pastor and confessed: “I’m a pastor addicted to porn.” The response startled him. “You’re not alone.”
Later, Anderson enrolled in a five-day treatment program, where ministers gathered in groups to talk about the issue. Reminded of God’s grace and complete forgiveness through Jesus Christ, he learned to forgive himself, and says he has stayed clean.
Internet pornography has become a big enough issue that the Christian church has taken initiative to help people stop. XXXchurch.com, Pureonline.com and Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker’s Every Man’s Battle are just a few helpful tools in the battle for sexual integrity.
“Online pornography was something in my life I felt chained to. I needed forgiveness and freedom from the guilt. Jesus gave me that,” said a man who has stayed clean for years. Jesus Christ offers complete forgiveness and true freedom. God sacrificed his son Jesus on the cross to die for all of our sins. No matter what we’ve done or how much guilt we may feel, Jesus gave up his life for us so that we can be completely forgiven. He rose from the dead after three days and offers us the gift of grace—ultimate freedom from any guilt, pain or addiction.
He offers you that same gift of freedom. As Rusty Wright said in his article, “Dynamic Sex,” “Jesus offers forgiveness from every wrong—no matter what—that we’ve ever done because He died on the cross in our place, bearing the punishment we deserved. Anyone can be completely forgiven if he or she will come to Christ. God can cleanse a person’s mind of all past guilt. He can restore the freedom of mutual love and trust in a relationship.”