What Makes Porn So Harmful?

Pornography is never easy to talk about… it just makes everyone uncomfortable.

Maybe that’s because we all know that it’s wrong. Sometimes guilt is a good thing – in this case, it reminds us that we shouldn’t be doing something that we keep on doing! At the same time, let’s not allow our shame over pornography keep us from discussing a difficult topic. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more to pursue Christ, who purifies our hearts and gives us strength to resist temptation.

A lot of people might think, “What I do in private isn’t hurting anyone. Don’t tell me what to do.” That’s fine, except it’s not true. Porn causes harm. It rewires your brain and can be as addictive as heroin. It breaks relationships and changes how you view people of the other sex (whether you’re married or not, this is a very bad thing!). It can also lead to other emotional and mental problems, especially loneliness and depression. All those things aside, it is well documented that many of the women featured in pornographic videos have suffered physical and emotional abuse.

Shh

So what makes porn so harmful?

1. It’s addictive
There are more and more studies proving how porn changes a rewires your brain. Fight The New Drug – How Porn Changes the Brain has a great page dedicated to showing the addictive power of pornography (linked above). Researchers have discovered that the brain literally gets rewired, so the more you view porn the more “triggers” will make your brain crave porn. This isn’t simply a matter of another bad habit. Hormones and neural-pathways form in your brain that cause you to crave more and more porn. The article linked above explains this more.

Think of it this way: The more you feed the sumo the bigger and stronger he gets. If you keep on feeding him, the more food he’s going to need. If you want to defeat the sumo, you need to starve him so he shrinks and gets weaker until you can kick him out for good. Easier said than done, but overcoming pornography addiction is possible… and it’s worth the discipline and self-denial.

Ultimately, porn addiction causes your mind to constantly be thinking about sex. Every little trigger, every cute girl, every simple phrase can be turned into a trigger to cause your mind to run down a sex-filled fantasy. That’s no way to live! Christ wants to capture your heart and direct your mind so that you can live in a way that honors God and serves others.

2. It destroys relationships
Even if you aren’t married, there are obvious ways that porn changes relationships. Slowly, over time, others can begin to exist for your pleasure. Of course, it may all be in a silent and secret fantasy-world… but the way you begin to view people is based on how they are there to please you. Whether you’re married, dating, or single… this is no way to build any healthy relationship.

Get the Facts… porn changes you, and not for the better.

3. It eats away at your self-image
You can begin to think that this secret defines you. Tim Challies gives 7 Good Reasons to Stop Looking at Porn Right Now. It’s a fantastic article for those of you who want to reclaim your identity as a son/daughter of God. In case you’re wondering: yes, this affects women too (nearly 1/3 of porn addicts are female).

4. It participates in abuse
Take a minute to read Walt Mueller’s blog where to addresses the link between pornography and human trafficking… then tell me that porn doesn’t cause any harm. Pornography and abuse of women go hand-in-hand. We may not want to admit it, but every click only feeds that abusive cycle further.

What do I do now? 

  • Repent and commit yourself to God. Claim the forgiveness that is yours through the forgiveness of sins. Sin is stubborn and isn’t easily overcome. Confess and repent as often as you need to… repentance leads to salvation. 2 Corinthians 7:10
  • Make a plan to follow through on your repentance. Again, Tim Challies is really helpful here: The Porn-Free Family Plan. If you won’t make a plan, have you truly repented?
  • Talk with someone you trust who will help you. Sin loves to remain a secret. Bring it into the light and bring someone else into the fight with you. James 5:16 has more to do with bringing your sin into the light so you aren’t fighting sin alone than it has to do with someone else needing to forgive you.

Finally, here is a resource for parents I strongly recommend downloading and reading through.
A Parent’s Primer on Internet Pornography

The following video gives a good overview of what makes porn so harmful.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/77837115@N00/3194950746″>A World without Words</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

3 thoughts on “What Makes Porn So Harmful?

  1. Steve October 16, 2015 / 6:54 am

    Thanks for posting this! You’ve put a lot of effort into this article and is very useful. It’s also all very true!

    • Pastor Mike October 16, 2015 / 7:33 am

      Thanks Steve! It’s a really awkward conversation to initiate, but so important.

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