Why Porn Is Bad For You

Though we do not talk about this in any public or constructive circles often, pornography is a pervasive issue in the lives of men. Pornography is not positive for society. According to the porn accountability site Covenant Eyes[1]:

  • One in five searches on smartphones is for pornography, and 25% of mobile users view porn on their phones.
  • The porn industry generates $13 billion in income each year.
  • 90% of boys and 80% of girls are exposed to born before age 18.
  • 65% of divorces involve one spouse having an obsessive interest in porn (nearly always the husband).
  • 88% of porn contains physical violence against women.
  • 9 in 10 porn users only access free pornographic material.
  • Regular porn users tend to be urban, of higher than average income, younger in age and have a higher degree of education.

Despite the statistics related to porn, the reality is that 64% of all men—about two-thirds—view porn at least monthly. When divided by age, 80% of men ages 18-30 view porn regularly, with 30% of those being daily viewers. The numbers do not vary between Christian men and those who are non-religious. Which means, in all likelihood, as you read this yourself you are grappling with the fact that you regularly view pornography.

Though these numbers are disturbing, I don’t believe statistics are a means of convincing you that you should remove pornography from your mind. Instead, let me ask you to read on and discover a few reasons beyond the impact on society that pornography is not good for you, personally. And I would only ask that you consider these facts, pray about them, and ask God to help you deal with pornography if is an indeed a factor in your life.

Porn is not holy. The first question one may ask is whether or not pornography is sinful. The answer is clear with even a casual glance at Scripture. A Christian, first and foremost, should lead a life of holiness. To be holy means to be set apart for God. Throughout God’s Word we are told what it means to be holy. The Bible says in Galatians 5:19, “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality…” Further, 1 Thessalonians 4:3 says, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality…” Clearly God desires us to free ourselves from images, videos and experiences that are sexually immoral, sensual or impure. These things are sin. Porn is designed to illicit sexual arousal in our flesh, which is lust, and sin. Lust as a result of viewing people engaging in sexual acts, which are often grossly distorted or perverted, is sin. Because all pornography is immoral in this manner, all pornography is sin. (For further reference see Hebrews 2:15, Habakkuk 2:16, Matthew 5:28, James 1:14-15, 2 Corinthians 12:21 and 1 Corinthians 6:13.)

Porn skews your sexual experience. A common thread of justifying pornography in your life is that it doesn’t harm anyone. The reality is that it does harm at least one person—you. As you view pornography, your own sexual thoughts go far beyond what you may experience in a loving marital relationship. You view scenes that are improbable, impossible, and immoral. The actors on the screen perform in a manner that would never occur with your wife in a natural and exclusive sexual relationship. In many cases, to heighten the sense of arousal, you will be exposed to verbally and physically abusive acts. None of this was what sex was meant to be in a monogamous relationship between husband and wife, which is the only form of sex that God endorses. The images of porn fixed in your mind skews what you believe your role as a sexual partner with your wife should be, and what her actions and response to you physically and emotionally should be. Pornographic sex is not real, yet it can become the only real sex your mind recalls as you become transfixed on it.

Porn reduces your arousal with your wife. The objective of viewing pornography is physical arousal. Virtually all porn is viewed for the purpose of masturbation. When you view videos and images, and use these them to bring about sexual satisfaction in your own body, over time you reduce the physical satisfaction that comes from actual sex with your wife. Worse, you may create a situation where simple sexual pleasure with your spouse is nearly impossible, because it lacks the aggression, speed, strength or sensation that pornography produces. Researchers have shown a strong connection between porn use and low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and trouble reaching orgasm. Simply put, regular porn viewing will seriously and negatively affect the sex life you have with your wife.

Porn can become both addictive and twisted. Research by Dr. Normal Doidge at Columbia University found that porn can produce chemical reactions in your brain that actually rewire, or make lasting changes, to your brain chemistry[2]. Over time, it may become impossible for any other activity to compete with pornography for sexual stimulation, including sex with a real partner. Pornography affects that area of the brain which makes you feel good when you do something healthy, like eating a great meal or getting a good workout. As you develop a tolerance for this chemical reaction by regularly viewing porn, you may need an escalation of behavior to get a physical reaction—that is, viewing “regular sex” pornography starts to seem boring. So you need more material and more hardcore material to regain your level of excitement. In this way porn becomes like a drug, both in its addictive capacity and in your increasing need for it[3]. Creepy, edgy, fantasy acts become your norm; things you would have never considered in real life, but now their shock level is greatly reduced because of your need for arousal.

Pornography is not real. Sex is God-given and normal. Porn is a product, and its producers are adept at driving traffic to their websites. They know very much how to make their product eye catching. The lighting, the makeup, every detail makes sex look wonderful and glorious on camera. Our reality is that husband and wife are flawed people with imperfect bodies. We must learn how to give physical pleasure to each other, to look past our flaws, and enjoy the gift of sex that God gives us. Further, no matter what the man does on screen, whether degrading, painful or violent, the woman likes it. Certainly this is never true in a consenting and loving marriage relationship.

Pornography can result in tremendous loneliness. “The more one uses pornography, the more lonely one becomes,” says Dr. Gary Brooks, a psychologist who has worked with porn addicts for the last 30 years[4]. “Any time [a person] spends much time with the usual pornography usage cycle, it can’t help but be a depressing, demeaning, self-loathing kind of experience.” The worse people feel about themselves, the more they seek comfort wherever they can get it. Normally, they would be able to rely on the people closest to them to help them through their hard times—a partner, friend, or family member. But most porn users aren’t exactly excited to tell anyone about their porn habits, least of all their partner. So they turn to the easiest source of ‘comfort’ available: more porn.”

If you have read this information and after contemplation believe that you are ready to remove pornography from your life, consider an accountability organization to help you kick the habit. Even casual pornography consumption is an addiction, and any addiction needs a safe and helpful treatment track. Because pornography is an addiction of the mind, carried out on your electronic devices, I recommend a simple and threefold approach to combating it. One, have your devices monitored, including software to block pornographic material entirely. Two, report to a trusted friend. And three, have conversations about pornography within a safe and private forum. One non-profit organization that does just this is Covenant Eyes. It costs between $12 and $16 a month for their monitoring service, which includes access to all of their education resources. I don’t make any money from them or have any direct association with them—they are just a good resource I have recommended for years for those dealing with the constant temptation and addiction to pornography.

[1] http://www.covenanteyes.com/pornstats/

[2] https://fightthenewdrug.org/3-reasons-why-watching-porn-is-harmful/

[3] https://fightthenewdrug.org/how-porn-affects-the-brain-like-a-drug/

[4] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1072016059093365