March 7th, 2012
Masses of young people—and adults for that matter—have bought into the notion that there’s no harm in looking at pornography. To give you an idea just how many people are looking . . .
- 90% of 8 to 16-year-olds admit to having viewed pornography online.
- One out of two Christian men and one out of five Christian women admit to being addicted to pornography.
- A study of multiple college universities’ online activity revealed that 73% of all movie searches are for pornographic material.
Should we be concerned? Absolutely! Why, you ask? Because, among numerous destructive repercussions, viewing pornography causes brain damage. Literally. Consider the following:
When we look at pornography, our body is flooded with an excessive amount of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that activates the pleasure center of the brain. This creates euphoric feelings and a natural “high” of sorts. However, when the pornographic stimulus is removed, dopamine levels crash and drop below normal, leaving a person feeling depressed. Keep in mind, crack and other hardcore drugs affect the brain this same way. The end result is a neurological craving to look at porn again, only this time dopamine levels will not produce the same level of euphoria; that is unless we take in even trashier imagery, which brings us to our next point . . .
2. Pornography leads to increasing depravity.
Consider these staggering findings:
- One in four image searches made by college students is for child pornography.
- 85% of those charged with possession of child pornography are also found guilty of abusing a child.
We read statistics like these and wonder, how does a person become so depraved? The answer is that pornography leads to increasing depravity on a neurological level. Viewing porn causes a depletion of dopamine, and, as previously stated, this causes a person to feel down and depressed. Looking repeatedly at the same pornographic images only causes dopamine levels to rise slightly, if at all. If a person is going to experience a neurological “high,” he or she must continually view increasingly vulgar imagery, thus leading a formerly healthy individual to seek out all kinds of depraved and even criminal sexual stimuli.
In a brain scan, it’s difficult to tell the difference between a person who has experienced physical trauma to the front of the brain—in a car accident, for example—and a person who is addicted to porn. That’s because over stimulating the pleasure center of the brain causes the frontal lobe to atrophy and shrink. The frontal lobe is where we reason, make judgments and regulate emotion. When damaged, a person becomes impulsive (acts without thinking), compulsive (must have object of desire at all costs), and experiences drastic mood swings and impaired judgment. In light of this information, it’s easy to see why so many marriages end as a result of porn addictions.
Recovery is possible. However, the path to healing is usually difficult and the withdrawal symptoms can be on par with someone recovering from hardcore drug use.
We’ve Got to Do Something About This!
Pornography is a cancer on our society, a growing tumor that destroys families. If, like me, you can’t stand the idea of sitting back and doing nothing about this epidemic, here are some proactive ways to make a difference:
First, be honest and get real about what’s going on with you and your spouse (if married). If one or both of you have an addiction to pornography, the key to kicking it is admitting it, repenting for it and getting help from a biblically-sound support group and/or counselor. Click here to watch a helpful video along those lines. Click here to take a look at a recommended book.
Second, talk to your kids about the dangers of pornography—and by kids, I mean teens and elementary-age children! The average age of first exposure to pornography is nine years old. Beginning the Path to Purity aids parents in discussions with younger children.
Third, the Parent Purity Project DVD study is under production and will be available soon. There’s an entire one-hour teaching devoted to the topic of pornography and the media. The four-part series is designed for groups of parents to view the presentations together and discuss the topic, then have effective parent-child conversations at home. This is an awesome way to rapidly spread the word about the dangers of pornography. (The series also includes presentations on sex and premarital abstinence, dating and homosexaulity.) Stay tuned—when the Parent Purity Project is available, I’ll let you know!
Father, You did not design our minds to take in pornographic images. Please help me to explain this to my child and cultivate convictions about guarding his or her eyes and ears from sexually stimulating media. Help (my spouse and) me to walk upright before You and resist the entrapment of pornography. (If repentance and rehabilitation is necessary) Forgive me/us for dishonoring You and give me/us the courage to get help and submit to accountability. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
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