Is Porn A Problem?

I must have been about 14 years old when we bought our first household computer. It was a clunker of a thing, and when you were on the Internet you couldn’t use the phone. I played my fair share of video games on there, and did a fair share of school work on there. And I also looked at porn on there.

Flickr - Tony Alter
Flickr – Tony Alter

I felt terrible about it at the time. I figured it was wrong because—well, I’m not sure that I fully understood why I shouldn’t be doing it. I remember praying and begging God to forgive me for what I had done. And when somebody else would talk about it, I would want to run and hide from the shame I felt.

Was I right to think that there was a problem with porn? Or should I just have shrugged it off as the result of unnecessary religious guilt? I mean, it’s not like I was directly hurting anybody. So what’s the big deal?

In thinking about this question, I’m reminded of a question that somebody once asked me: “What is the opposite of love?”

“Hate” is a good guess. But it’s something else, he said: the opposite of loving someone is using someone. If I use someone, I’m violating their dignity as a person; I’m treating them as less than a person.

Does anyone like being used?

When the supervisor at work gets on your case and threatens to fire you, not because you’re a bad worker, but because your kid was sick and you had to take the day off—how does that make you feel? That supervisor is using you. He is just thinking about you as a worker—using you for your labor—instead of treating you as the mother or father who has to be with their children when they’re sick.

When an ex-boyfriend or spouse cheated on you with another girl, how did that make you feel? Pretty angry, probably. We don’t like the feeling of being tossed aside for someone “better.” It’s not right. We don’t like being used, and for good reason.

So what happens when I look at a woman—either on the screen or in the parking lot or wherever—with the intent of using her solely to get pleasure? That is also using a person.

But how could it be a problem to use a person if the other person doesn’t even know that you’re using them?

It’s a problem for the same reason that lying is a problem. If I lie—and if I’m a good liar—the other person won’t know that I’m lying. But it’s a stab to my own character. And if (when?) other people find out about my lies, I’ll have destroyed one of the most precious things in the world: trust. But even if no one finds out, I’ll have destroyed one of my biggest assets: my character. I won’t be able to trust myself.

The same goes with using a person through pornography. It chips away at character, and corrodes trust in a relationship. If my wife knows that I depend on porn for my sexual satisfaction, how does that make her feel? And how does that make me feel?

There is a better way: the way of authentic ecstasy. As I noted before, the word ecstasy literally means “standing outside yourself.” It’s talking about the joy that we receive when we give all of ourselves in love to another person—when we go outside of ourselves to really discover and love another person. Authentic ecstasy is the opposite of selfishness; it is the result of a love that gives everything.

Yes, if I use a person through porn, I may experience a sexual high. But it doesn’t last. One journalist interviewed over a hundred men, and discovered that the more porn they viewed, the more difficult it became to get a high. It’s just like any drug. It offers a false ecstasy, an ecstasy that doesn’t last. And it doesn’t last because it’s disconnected from love. Like an animal, lust consumes sexual desire until there is nothing left. But love is a thing of the human spirit, and the more love I share with my wife, the more love multiplies.

I have a wife and two sons that light up my world. My wife trusts me, and I trust her. She knows that my sexual desire is totally fixated on her, that I am totally hers. The love that we share for each other keeps growing and overflowing, and the trust between us is thicker than blood. I’ll take that over porn any day.

David

David lives in Ohio. He is writing a book with his wife, Amber, about young adults’ stories of forming relationships and families. David is a part of I Believe in Love because he thinks that we are stronger when we stand together, and that together we can achieve our aspirations for lifelong marriage and family.
David

Latest posts by David (see all)

Written By
More from David

Let’s Take Back Dating For Our Generation

“Would you give me the honor of letting me get to know...
Read More