24 Sep Private Behavior has Public Consequences
Technology is such a powerful tool. We’re able to communicate with someone clear across the globe, send texts instantly, provide a means for understanding what is happening worldwide, and learn new information with just a click of a button. It has become a useful medium for allowing us to explore many avenues, but it has also presented an avenue for pornographic material to enter our homes right through the front door.
We find ourselves surrounded by different forms of pornography everyday through the media, telephones, internet access; sometimes even billboards are plastered with pornographic images. What most people don’t talk about though is the impact that it has on relationships, individuals, marriages, and families.
Pornography is extremely destructive to families. It plays a significant role in the breakdown of families and marriages. Research has conducted many studies that indicate that the effects of pornography on the family aren’t positive. Pat Fagan lists many “key findings on the effects of Pornography”. Here are some of them:
- Married men who are involved in pornography feel less satisfied with their conjugal relations and less emotionally attached to their wives. Wives notice and are upset by the difference.
- Pornography use is a pathway to infidelity and divorce, and is frequently a major factor in these family disasters.
- Among couples affected by one spouse’s addiction, two-thirds experience a loss of interest in sexual intercourse.
- Both spouses perceive pornography viewing as tantamount to infidelity.
- Pornography viewing leads to a loss of interest in good family relations.
This list gives support to the idea that pornography is creating a demoralized society that is impacting families. Spouses viewing pornography aren’t finding satisfaction with their spouse, which eventually leads to the long-term negative effects of infidelity and divorce. The use of pornography fosters an atmosphere of suspicion, lack of trust, and contributes to a society with no moral compass.
According to the article “Use and Harms of Pornography” mentions that” the common course of unchecked porn addiction advances from addiction to escalation to desensitization to acting out.” As the consumption of pornography goes up their ability to act logically lessens. They become desensitized and as pornography consumption goes up that studies have shown more aggressive behaviors, desensitized attitudes towards rape, and causes distorted ideas of sexuality This is presenting itself in the homes of families and it is becoming a struggle that affects families physically and psychologically.
The desensitization of those who are viewing pornography can cause rifts in the marriage relationship. As mentioned earlier “married men feel less satisfied with their [wives].” This leads to neglect and eventually leads to divorce. According to Geoff Steurer a licensed Marriage and Family therapist, men who are addicted to pornography will “begin to slowly change into someone who becomes more self-centered, irritable, moody, and impatient. He will spend less focused time with his family, seek out more distractions, begin to mentally and even verbally devalue his marriage, become critical of his wife’s body and character, feel more spiritually empty, and experience more internal stress. He will become more dissatisfied with his work, become easily bored with things that used to interest him, and feel restless. He will also become more resentful and blaming when things don’t turn out the way he hoped.”
Often wives, based upon their husband’s behavior, react in a negative ways. Women often second guess the relationship and blame themselves for the disconnect in their marriage. Physically the stress of this experience plays a significant toll on the women’s health and can present less sleep, eating disorders, and become “hyper-vigilant by checking computer histories, cell phones, and obsessing over details related to his pornography use.”
Not only is it extremely harmful to the family, but pornography is extremely harmful to the individual. It is very addictive. ‘“Pornography acts as a harmful ‘drug.’ Physiologically, viewing pornography commonly triggers internal, endogenous drug production. An image in a person’s head acts as an electrical signal for no more than a few seconds can leave a trace that will last for years.” This impact can be strenuous and has a very negative long-term effect.
Many believe that pornography is nothing more than a personal choice and that that choice impacts only the person viewing the pornography. In reality this matter affects more than just the individual; it is affecting families and society as a whole.
“Many arguments in defense of pornography have been perpetrated by the industry in attempting to protect its financial interests by minimizing opposition to graphic sexual depictions. As standards of decency decline, the treatment of women and children deteriorate as well. Marriages and families break down and sex crimes increase. The victims of pornography verify that it is not merely a ‘private matter.’ Private behavior can have public consequences.”
What can be done?
The government does protect and enforce laws with child pornography, but there are still many different forms of pornography that are not governed by law. We need to be clear in the expectation that society as a whole rid itself of this scourge. Clearly, it is our responsibility to protect ourselves and the institution of the family against pornography. Some of the ways we can do this is through teaching our own families and taking the necessary precautions to provide filters for computers, keeping your computer in an open area where everyone can see, being involved in family life, and being open to talk about the issue when it is appropriate. This can be a very sensitive and difficult thing to discuss but understanding and teaching about the precautions related to pornography will only help strengthen the family unit and help us to be better advocates for the family.
Jessika Tweedy is a BYU-I student working toward a degree in Marriage and Family Studies. She plans to pursue a career in Marriage and Family Counseling with the goal of serving others and strengthening families. (Jessika is on the right)