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10 Ways Porn Destroys a Person

Updated Dec 08, 2017
10 Ways Porn Destroys a Person

Though you may find conflicting research regarding the harm of pornography, I can tell you from first-hand experience it has the power to ruin your life. From middle school and into his married years, my husband consumed porn. Over time, it changed how he viewed himself, the world, our marriage, and me. It threatened to take over more and more aspects of his life until he finally admitted something had to change. He realized that what he was trading in exchange for porn was too valuable.

You may think you have the power to restrain porn’s impact on you, but my husband thought the same thing as well. Porn has the power to destroy anyone, often growing insidiously, until one day you realize your whole life has changed for the worst.

1. Porn destroys your ability to view people as human beings.

1. Porn destroys your ability to view people as human beings.

The basic premise is this: You’re using the actions of people on a screen to fulfill your own personal desires. You don’t stop to think that these people may be victims of sex trafficking. You don’t know if their producer allows them to use condoms. You don’t know if they are making a living wage or if they’re sharing STDs. You don’t know if they’re doing drugs to get through a scene or if they are comfortable with the acts they are expected to perform. The people on the screen become almost non-human, simple tools for you to use when you need them.

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2. Porn destroys your ability to develop intimacy.

2. Porn destroys your ability to develop intimacy.

Why risk entering into a real relationship when you can get your needs met with a hand and a computer screen? Who needs the drama of having to love sacrificially or opening yourself to being vulnerable with an actual person? Or, when things get hard in the relationship you already have and your partner’s not wanting to be physically intimate, why press through to the other side for resolution of the emotional issues that concern your spouse when you can get your physical needs on your own? Intimacy is built with trust, love, and grace. It grows by overcoming hard things together and assuring each other by your actions that you’re fully committed. Porn divides the heart and your affections. You can’t create intimacy when you’re running in the opposite direction of your partner.

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3. Porn destroys your ability to perform sexually.

3. Porn destroys your ability to perform sexually.

Porn is a supernormal stimulus. When you view porn, neurotransmitters release (dopamine, for example) and flood the body, creating a high. Over time, it takes more and more porn (and often darker forms) to create the same high. When you compare the pornography to “regular” sex with a partner, “regular” sex does little to nothing to excite you. And when your brain isn't excited, it doesn’t send the message that it’s time for you to perform sexually with your partner. For men in particular, this can leave you with erectile dysfunction.

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4. Porn destroys your ability to prioritize.

4. Porn destroys your ability to prioritize.

If we look at porn as a stimulus like many drugs, we know that drug users often begin to constantly look for their next fix. As you continue to consume porn, achieving their next high becomes their top priority. If you continue to consume porn, you will notice that things that used to occupy the top slots in your life (your family, your friends, your relationship with God, your hobbies, your professional life, etc.), are superseded by your desire to use porn.

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5. Porn destroys your partner’s trust.

5. Porn destroys your partner’s trust.

John Eldredge, a counselor and prolific author, says that every man and every woman have a central question. For the man, it’s “Do I have what it takes?” For the woman, it’s “Will I be chosen?” If you are looking at pornography, you are answering “No” to your spouse’s primary question. It may not be intentional. You may not realize you’re doing it. But your spouse is hearing you loud and clear. When you use porn, you’re sending a message to your spouse that what they have, you don’t want, even if currently you draw no connection between your relationship with porn and your relationship with your partner.

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6. Porn destroys your brain function.

6. Porn destroys your brain function.

God wired our brains for sex, not for porn (and yes, sex and porn are actually two different things). When you choose to engage with pornography, you’re effectively choosing to rewire your brain. A brain chemical called Delta-FosB builds up, triggering specific genes to make changes in your synapses. You become super-sensitized to porn and desensitized to pretty much everything else.

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7. Porn destroys your ability to work.

7. Porn destroys your ability to work.

If your employer finds that you’re using company time to look at porn, they can fire you because you are effectively stealing from them. Stealing time, productivity, WIFI bandwidth. Even if you don’t get caught, most likely, you’re not going to give your best work when you’re mind is continually desiring porn.

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8. Porn destroys your ability to be selfless.

8. Porn destroys your ability to be selfless.

Addictions drive us toward the desired substance and away from the people around us. We become captivated by what we think is filling us, helping us cope, or bringing us to the high we covet. Our objective is to make ourselves feel better and this obscures the needs of the people around us. When we are consumed with our own needs, not only do we not recognize other people’s pain, suffering, or needs, but we also have reduced capacity to empathize with them or meet the legit needs they have. 

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9. Porn destroys your ability to be honest with your kids.

9. Porn destroys your ability to be honest with your kids.

It’s very difficult to teach your kids with the “do as I say, not as I do” method. Actions always speak louder than words. No matter how hard you try to keep your porn use a secret from your kids, there is a reasonable chance they will find it or find out. Plus, when we keep things secret, by nature, it means we don’t want to talk about the subject. But, conversations about sex and porn and addictions are something we absolutely must have with our children. They need more than superficial commands that tell them “just don’t do it.” We have to go to the level to which they are willing to go with their honest questions. And we need to have the convictions to back up our answers. Kids are good at sniffing out inauthenticity.

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10. Porn destroys your ability to be honest with yourself.

10. Porn destroys your ability to be honest with yourself.

It’s true that sometimes a person gets addicted to porn because they were bored one day and started a habit that got progressively worse over time. But it’s also true that people get involved in porn because of deeper issues—wounds—and that porn became a way to self-soothe or self-medicate the pain borne from these wounds. If we cannot take an honest look at the things and people who have hurt us in the past, we cannot begin to heal. We will be destined for a life of numbness. And not only will we be numb to the pain, but we will also be numb to the joys of this life. We are unable to pick and choose which emotions we want to squash. We squash one, we squash them all. When we hide from our wounds, run from our pain, and inhibit our ability to feel and show emotions, we leave no room for honesty about who we are. And how can we ever allow ourselves to be fully loved if we know we are not fully known?

But here is the good news: God is a God of restoration. He’s in the business of making all things new. He already knows us fully and loves us fully. There is nothing that surprises God about your porn addiction. You can go to Him and repent. Forgiveness will be yours. You can go to Him and ask for help. He does not expect you to do this without Him or a community of people around you to support you in your endeavor to be free and healed. God freed my husband and He healed our marriage—not without hard work on our part—but anything worth having is worth fighting for. I promise.

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Jen Ferguson is a wife, author, and speaker who is passionate about helping couples thrive in their marriages. She and her husband, Craig, have shared their own hard story in their book, Pure Eyes, Clean Heart: A Couple’s Journey to Freedom from Pornographyand are also creators of the Marriage Matters Prayer Cards. They continue to help couples along in their journeys to freedom and intimacy at The {K}not Project. She’s also a mama to two girls and two high-maintenance dogs, which is probably why she runs. A lot. Even in the Texas heat.

Originally published Friday, 08 December 2017.