Will Porn Be the New Smoking?

'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.


Comments

  1. LauraLee Shaw says:

    >Wowzer, Sheila. This is great stuff. I live in a suburb where I reach out to my neighbors a TON. I can’t tell you how many of the women are into porn with their husbands, and swinging too. It breaks my heart in two, and I pray for God to intervene and change hearts every day.

    Write a book on it, will you? WOMEN need to hear this! :D

  2. >I have mixed feelings on this issue. I honestly do not believe that Porn is the downfall of marriages. I think it’s just an excuse. I mean we can watch videos with violence and know that’s its not real life…women get aroused by romance. I can watch many a romance movie and wish those things happend to me but I also realize that my husband will never be like that, it will never be real life….so I believe that men need to do the same with porn. It’s not an excuse to cheat or to want something else…it’s fantasy and should be left as that.

    Jen
    http://www.afterthealter.com

    • With all due respect, Jen, I have to disagree with you… As I explained to my teenaged sons, the effects of porn on a man’s sex life may not be all that noticeable when he is in the early years of marriage, because then he is at a point in his life where almost *anything* will get him going (and face it, we women are generally at our most physically enticing….). Give it 10-20 years, though, and the dynamic…um… changes…shall we say!
      I’m not a slouch in how I look after myself; we have four kids, and I feel it is important to continue to be attractive both for my husband and for myself! And that goes for both insides and out!

      …yet my hubby has always struggled with porn (since exposure to it at about ten yrs old – found magazines in the bushes at *church*!). We have an otherwise healthy marriage, and he is committed to overcoming this (currently working thru the devotionals/program at http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com ….but it is a very real battle, and tremendously addictive…and for him porn is not (nor has it been) an all-consuming thing, for which I am thankful. I can only try to imagine what life looks/feels like in a home where your spouse is a real fanatic…
      K

  3. MommyDesiree says:

    >wow….

    This really hits home for me. My DH has been know to surf around at night, and our bed has been mostly cold since our last baby was born, she’s about to turn one.

    Our youngest two are VERY close in age so he blames it on that, but I completely agree with you. I miss the intimacy package, not just the sex. My only question is besides prayer how do I change it…. (my speaker is broken but when it’s fixed I’ll listen to the podcast)

  4. Shaun and Holly says:

    >Porn hurts people, period! No one benifits from it.

    I love it when people are brave enough to “tackle” the hot topics. Bravo, Shelia!

  5. >thanks so much for this post and bringing this to light. it certainly is the thing that’s hidden and not talked about as wrong. or, if talked about, done in a flippant way that denies the destructive nature of it.

    my husband has been a part of a group at our church that’s all about sexual purity, they’ve used every man’s battle as a text. but, he really enjoyed the study at setting captives free.com (the way of purity). it’s an online study about sexual addictions, it’s free, and it’s so Biblical.

    anyway, for you or any of your readers, you might enjoy the resource.

  6. Anonymous says:

    >Thank you Sheila. I have a friend whose husband has a problem with porn. They’re both Christians but he claims that his addiction has nothing whatsoever to do with her – yet from what she has shared, I know it’s causing untold heartache. As you said, porn causes a lot of harm – it ruins marriages – it ruins lives.

    However, Jen’s comment about women and romance is an interesting one. Several years ago I read an article targeted at teens that said romance novels were the teen girl’s equivalent of porn. They read these novels and expected the males they knew to act in the same way, and it just didn’t happen. When I read this I was able to identify the source of some of the dissatisfaction in my own marriage: I was expecting my husband to act like the hero in a romance novel! I stopped reading romance novels and learnt to accept those loving gestures that my husband did make.

    Keep writing posts like this. We need to hear it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    >I recommend “An Affair of the Mind” by Laurie Hunt for women whose marriages are affected by porn. It was a lifeline for me!

  8. Anonymous says:

    >correction: the author is Laurie HALL, not Hunt!

  9. Anonymous says:

    >Thanks for writing that! An issue that so clearly needs to be addressed! I can relate to one of the comments as well… my bed was cold for a long while too after having our first baby… and I knew there was more to it then my husband’s convenient excuse of the new babe… In the past couple of years, God has fully gotten a hold of him, he’s actually come clean, and now uses accountability software to remove the temptation. When I couldn’t trust my husband, and knew that nothing I said helped, I came to the point where I just needed to trust God to be at work in his life. And praise God He was and my husband is more open with me about his dreams, desires, fears, the whole bit… the intimacy is back on all levels. I waited a long time, but now on leave with our 3rd, I am thankful that life is nothing like it was after our 1st! It’s wonderful but was a difficult lonely road, as who can you talk to when your husband is known as a Christian leader? I felt like it wasn’t my secret to tell… Thanks for bringing it out into the open.

  10. >I am blessed that my dh stays away but we have countless people in out lives that think that it is harmless! I pray that it will be considered “morally wrong” again

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