'smoke' photo (c) 2010, Dean McCoy - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/I read a really interesting article yesterday (it’s darn long, but it was good) by Mary Eberstadt on the similarities between porn and smoking.

Think about it: in the 1950s, most people smoked. They didn’t really moralize against it. They didn’t think it caused much harm.

But slowly but surely people began to realize there was something fishy about all these smokers getting lung cancer. And study after study showed that it was indeed hazardous.

So people stopped smoking, and our society is now so anti-smoking that we really do moralize against it. People think smoking is evil. In my home province of Ontario parents are no longer allowed to smoke with their kids in the car. Smoking is now reserved almost for the fringes in society: the poor, the young, the addicts.

What about porn? Back in the 1950s, when people would have been smoking, they would have felt that porn was morally wrong. That’s changed now. It’s everywhere. And most people think it’s pretty harmless. Indeed, my husband, when he was in med school, was taught that if you’re ever counseling a couple with sexual difficulties, you should recommend they watch porn together. Yeah, like that’s going to help their marriage.

Anyway, it’s now so easy to get that it’s widespread. Almost everybody does it (thankfully not everybody, but it really has infiltrated a lot of our culture). It’s mainstream. But what if we start to realize the harm it really does? What if the studies that show that pornography wrecks a couple’s sex life actually become widespread and well-known? What if divorces increase so much that we need to start actually getting to the root cause?

I pray that porn will become the next smoking. What the smoking campaign showed us is that if people are committed to stamping something dangerous out, it will get stamped out. So what can we do to get people committed to stamping out pornography?

We need to talk about it. We need to tell our friends the truth: pornography causes impotence. Because it does. The more you get aroused by what you see on a screen, the less you will get aroused in a relationship. It destroys sex in the relationship. It is the same as an affair. And it is highly, highly addictive.

Also, making love in the proper context between two people has several aspects: physical union; emotional union; spiritual union. But with porn it’s all about the body. It’s not about the relationship or the spiritual side at all. So the only way to get the next biggest high is to try something even more outrageous. It’s to push the envelope.

When you’re in a committed relationship, the real high doesn’t necessarily come from the physical. It’s from that amazing feeling when you’re totally drawn into one another. It’s a spiritual and relational thing. And you don’t need to do strange things to achieve that. You don’t need to keep pushing the envelope.

I’m not saying we can’t have physical fun when we’re married; I’m just saying that there’s something far deeper and more meaningful. And porn can’t provide that. I pray that our attitudes will change, and the truth will come out. Porn is not harmless. It wrecks marriages and it wrecks souls, let alone wrecking the lives of those involved in the business. We need to fight against it.


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