Pornography: from searches to shackles
Worldwide, pornography is a $97.06 billion industry that is rapidly growing. In fact, the industry is larger than the revenues of the top technology companies combined: Amazon, Apple, eBay, EarthLink, Google, Microsoft, Netflix and Yahoo!, according to www.familysafemedia.com.
To keep up with pornography’s increased popularity and demand, producers are creating more extreme videos and photos to satisfy the addict.
Every second, $3,075.64 is spent on pornography and 28,258 users are viewing pornography. Additionally, 25 percent of all search engine requests are pornography related, which is 68 million a day, according to www.unitedfaimiliesinternational.wordpress.com.
So why are these statistics so alarming when millions of people see pornography as an acceptable part of society?
With the growing trend of pornography, there has also been new research verifying that pornography is extremely addictive and has negative psychological impacts.
According to “Synaptic Plasticity and Addiction,” written by J. A. Kauer and R. C. Malenka, addiction represents a pathological and powerful form of learning and memory in brain cells, which is called “long-term potentiation.” This alters the brains processes and rewires itself to support an addiction, as it does with pornography.
Dr. Norman Doidge, a neurologist at Columbia, described in his research how pornography rewires the brain. He described the men in his study as “uncannily” looking at pornography and constantly searching for the next fix. He also noted that pornography is a much more active process neurologically than it is in other addictions like drug addictions.
Viewing pornography can cause a depletion of dopamine in the brain, which can cause simple things to no longer seem pleasurable. This is the reason pornography addicts continually search it, according to the book “He Restoreth My Soul,” by Donald L. Hilton.
“Pornography addiction is frantic learning, and perhaps this is why many who have struggled with multiple addictions report that it was the hardest addiction for them to overcome,” Doidge said.
Additionally, pornography impedes ability to connect emotionally with others, can escalate to other deviant sexual behaviors, can thwart focus in real world activities, and can lead to poor expectations and inappropriate sexual habits, according to the “Understanding Pornography and Sexual Addiction Manual — a resource for LDS parents and leaders.”
A student on campus shared her personal experience with pornography:
“I didn’t realize pornography was such a serious problem until I found out my fiance had a serious addiction,” said Breanna Greenwich (names were changed for privacy’s sake). “My fiance was a devout member of the church, faithfully served a mission and always lived righteously.”
Greenwich said her fiance told her repeatedly about the problem and even though he had seen the bishop several times he had always relapsed.
“The problem was that he didn’t know pornography was that serious,” Greenwich said. “He thought it was natural and that it was appropriate after marriage. This is not the case, and viewing pornography is never acceptable. Ultimately, it ruined our relationship.”
Greenwich said even people who may seem like they would never have a problem with pornography can struggle with the addiction.
“It’s something you should talk about in a relationship and deal with as a couple,” Greenwich said. “Serious problems with [pornography] can really affect a marriage.”
Greenwich said that she worked with him on getting over the addiction, but because of his misunderstanding on the seriousness of pornography, she felt it was best to break up with him.
“If we fail to understand the implications of pornography’s ability to reprogram the brain structurally, neurochemically, and metabolically, we doom ourselves to continue to fail in treating this formidable disease,” Doidge said. “However, if we accord this powerful natural reward the appropriate focus and emphasis, we can help many who are now trapped in addiction and despair to find peace and hope.”
Both men and women struggle with pornography. Pornography can come in the forms of erotic novels, pictures, videos, movies, video games, internet chat rooms, erotic telephone calls, music and even lustful thoughts.
People who struggle with pornography are not lost and can overcome the addiction, but the first step is realizing and admitting that there is a problem.
Some other ways to deal with the addiction include putting parental-blocks on computers, becoming constantly involved in other activities, setting personal boundaries and goals, and finding a therapist if the situation is a serious struggle to overcome.
There are also resources for students and community members to overcome addictions on the BYU-Idaho campus such as the Counseling Center.
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