By Brianna Hawke
Experts tells us that “…upon discovering their partner uses pornography, many women question whether their partner loves them or is still committed to them and the relationship, that both men and women see online sexual activity as an act of betrayal, and that Internet pornography is significantly correlated with emotional infidelity.”
Woman, in particular, have a difficult time understanding and coping with the discovery of their husband’s participation in pornography. Trust is deeply shaken and that love that you first had for your spouse can become harder to give and receive. Pornography is a form of emotional infidelity, and like physical infidelity it has the ability to deteriorate the core relationship in a marriage and in a family. This breakdown in the relations can hamper parent’s ability to be a good role model of a united couple; and their children, who might see that mom and dad are struggling, will not understand why. This can contribute to a belief that marriage is an impossible relationship, impacting their children’s ability to form stable marital relations in the future.
In a recent study it was found that “18- to 26-year-old college students showed that 87 percent of male respondents and 31 percent of female respondents reported using pornography at some level.” This indicates that pornography can be a problem for both men and women, but it is certainly the biggest challenge for men, manifesting itself at a relatively young age. Some studies liken pornography to tobacco. Tobacco and pornography have become the norm in our society and have become such a “constant that it rarely even occurs to you to wonder what life might be like without it.”
A world without pornography… Marriages would be stronger, more faithful, and trust would be more plentiful in committed relationships. Women would feel more confident and less self-conscience with their body image. The ideal man or woman would be the one you are legally and lawfully wedded to. There would be less comparison to other body types because we would not be openly exposed to every body type out there. Just imagine… The reality, unfortunately, is vastly different. A 2009 study found that “Pornography is the single most searched for item on the internet and also the most profitable.”
Is porn really such a problem?
Some men and woman may believe that this is not a problem to their marriage and families because they see it as a personal matter. It is driven by the belief that the things they do will not affect others. The husband might see it as something all men do and will not feel ashamed at all. A woman might feel that it is just fine for her to look at men and see them as objects instead of human beings. This is seen to some as a personal activity that only affects the self and it is usually done for self-gratification.
Some see it differently, however. A recent article described how some studies purport to show positive attributes coming to both the individual and to couples. “Two other studies provided results suggesting that some women do not see pornography use as having any negative effects on their romantic relationships, and that men and women who use pornography believe doing so has mostly positive effects on their sexual relationships. Further-more, the increasing use of pornography in modern society suggests that individuals may see it as beneficial in the process of sexual expression or to create an erotic climate.”
But there is a growing body of research that points to the harms that come to couples that have allowed porn to become a part of their lives. “Increasingly, online pornography is identified as a major factor in divorce cases. Though the public is swayed by the media campaigns of large for profit industries to view it as harmless, studies show pornography usage clearly tends to give way to more frequent use, hard-core material, and risks for sexually acting out fantasies, i.e., with anonymous sex, prostitutes, affairs, and so on.”
One way couples can guard against pornography is to install internet filters such as K-9 on their home computers and other devices. Frank discussions of the dangers of pornography and questions about involvement need to be a regular feature of every marriage relationship. Ultimately, the best way to fight this threat is to create and maintain an internal moral compass.
Marriage needs to be a safe haven where couples can openly trust each other and one of the best ways to keep your marriage and your future together is to avoid the betrayal of pornography use.
Brianna Hawke is a Child Development major at Brigham Young University-Idaho. She will be graduating in December and hopes to become a Child Life Specialist in the near future. She married her sweetheart, Jared, in May of 2012. Brianna is a strong advocate for the family, especially on the threat of pornography.