Pornography is everywhere. No longer is it just reserved for magazines. Pornography is found on the radio, the Internet, smartphones, television, in books, in emails and in ads and billboards that are all easily accessible to adults and children alike.
Some may argue that it's, "No big deal," or, "A healthy and normal way to learn about our bodies and sex." Not only are these assumptions false, but it is actually a toxic situation - not only for the users of pornography, but the people around them.
Pornography affects the viewer (both men and women) in numerous ways
Due to its highly addictive nature, pornography actually changes the brain. A Cambridge University neuropsychiatrist, Dr. Valerie Voon, recently found that men who are addicted to porn, have a change in the reward center of the brain, just as it changes in drug addicts. Voon says, "When an alcoholic sees an ad for a drink, their brain will light up in a certain way and they will be stimulated in a certain way. We are seeing this same kind of activity in users of pornography." (Porn Addiction: Study Says It Changes Your Brain)
Additionally, it can result in the loss of sexual ability and normal sex life, the inability to have real relationships and a need for new, different and more intense forms of pornography - including violent sex acts and child pornography. It also changes views of monogamy and procreation.
Other possible problems, as listed on healthysex.com.
Sexually objectifying other people
Engaging in risky and dangerous behavior
Unhappy intimate partner
Neglecting important areas of life
Addiction to porn
Pornography can lead to acting out on others
A recent heartbreaking news story told of a 13-year-old boy who raped his 8-year-old sister after viewing porn on his Xbox. He stated that he wanted to "try out" what he had seen. There are many more cases similar in nature. Children do not fully understand what to do with pornographic images they see. They may feel bad about having seen it or acting on it, but their brain is not ready to process the fullness of it. Click here for age appropriate ways to teach your kids about sexuality. It is important to talk to your children about pornography and set up guidelines and rules pertaining to media. You must safeguard your children against pornography.
Unfortunately, children are not the only people who may choose to act out what they see, or have a distorted reality of sexual desires. Rape, incest, sexual abuse and prostitution are all prevalent in society. The victims span from children, family members and students, to adults, the elderly and acquaintances or strangers. Sex trafficking is not talked about that much, but is another perversion stemming from pornography. While some of these crimes may occur without the use of pornography, it still remains a large factor.
Infidelity is often a result of pornography
Because those who are addicted to porn cannot find full satisfaction in a healthy sex life, they will often seek "excitement" elsewhere. Often, this leads to extra-marital affairs. The results can vary: divorce, more indiscretions, sexually transmitted diseases and children born out-of-wedlock. Sometimes, laws are broken (prostitution, underage partners) and jail time results. In these cases, the victims range from the spouse to innocent children.
Help is available
There are many places to help with pornography addiction - either in person or via the internet:
Online recovery programs
For those who are victims, there is also help available
If you have been sexually abused or otherwise hurt, there are counselors, church leaders and others that can help you through the pain or help you find the help you need. Don't be afraid to ask. You do not need to suffer alone or to carry this heavy burden.
Pornography is easily accessible anytime, anywhere and by anyone. Understanding the harmful effects of porn can help individuals and families to seek help to recover from addiction and to make strides to protect their homes from this pernicious vice. Through education and understanding, the number of victims will decrease and those who are suffering can get the help they so desperately need.