Internet Pornography: Eroding the Minds, Hearts, and Relationships of the Next Generation..

 

It just didn’t make sense to me. Here I was sitting across from a young and attractive married couple that had come to me for counseling. They were both meticulously dressed, well groomed, and could have easily passed for high fashion models. When I spoke to the wife over the phone, she was vague and wouldn’t tell me the nature of their visit.

As they now shared their situation, I watched the wife’s painful, betrayed facial expressions and listened as the husband told of the sexual addiction he had developed over the last seven or eight years that had recently created an enormous rift between he and his wife; His body language spoke volumes; head lowered, eyes filled with tears, and words coming in choppy, broken sentences. He said that he had relied on pornography exclusively to achieve sexual gratification before marriage, never thinking it would be a problem once he got married. What he discovered, however, was that after their marriage, his wife couldn’t compete in real life, with what he had become accustomed to through his Internet addiction. As this first session came to an end, they thanked me for listening and let me know they would call to set up their next visit. As they walked out the door, I was pretty confident that they would not’t return. Unfortunately, I was correct.

Since that day in the office, I have counseled many other couples going through similar struggles. Most of the troubles and difficulties pornography cause in relationships are the same. Couples will usually experience difficulties creating and maintaining sexual and emotional intimacy in their marriage. Additionally, feelings of shame, guilt, betrayal, and mistrust actively attack the cords of commitment that are so necessary for a healthy marriage. In a real sense, pornography addiction can have the same devastating effects on a marriage as an affair; with porn playing the role of the other man or woman.

It would be easy to point the finger and place all blame on those individuals that struggle with pornography abuse. Inevitably, they often do end up paying a considerable price for their unbridled habit; feelings of shame, embarrassment, and guilt that is often carried in secret. If you look at the target audience of the pornography industry, however, it is composed of young males aged 14 to 25 years old that have little or no clue about the strong addictive nature of porn.

It is my belief that one of the greatest dangers that Internet porn poses is the accepted status it enjoys within our society. It is seen as one of those activities that has become almost expected as a “rite of passage” among young men. I haven’t seen any real attempts to inform or warn pornography users of the potential dangers of continued indulgence. There are very few organized efforts to educate the young male population regarding the psychology of sexual addiction. The abuse takes place in a synthetic self indulgent environment which often takes its victims one by one, isolating them, holding them captive, and eventually establishing a repeat customer that will return again and again and again.

Currently, I teach some of the greatest senior high school students around. When the topic comes up in our Marriage and Family class, you can feel the atmosphere change in the classroom. Some students lower their heads and look away, while others snicker and sneer. I try to help them to see that Internet porn is not victimless. I let them know that they are establishing patterns of sexual gratification in their lives that will probably follow them into their marriage. I tell them that their wives will end up competing against another woman that never requires anything from them; a sexual partner that never gets sick or asks them to go to the store. This cyber-lover lover will always look perfect, always perform, and never ask for anything in return.

I try to use the moments I have with these young men and women to let them know that love and marriage is a give and take relationship that demands effort, hard work, and commitment. They need to know that the habit of Internet porn that has occupied them through adolescence will not let them move on to a real relationship without a fight. I know that for some of them, they know all to well and it has already become a battle they are not winning. I can see it in their lowered gazes. For the others, I hope that there will be greater education and prevention regarding this societal problem, and a sincere effort to begin the dialog that will lead to greater awareness and stricter access.

I believe it is finally time that someone stand up and tell this next generation that the pornography they indulge in today threatens to form the chain-links of addiction they will wear tomorrow if they don’t develop the proper self control and restraint required to walk away from this vice.

 
 

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