The need for instant gratification crushed a relationship and sent Skylar Smoot into greater isolation.
For years, pornography haunted Smoot, a junior studying construction management, but he said he wanted to live a more meaningful life.
“I found relationships in my life were being destroyed,” Smoot said. “Usually, with addictions specifically, pornography takes the place of emotional relationships. I found myself needing and wanting instantaneous results out of relationships.”
The Idaho House of Representatives passed a resolution declaring pornography a public health risk on March 2, and it was presented to the State Affairs Senate Standing Committee on March 9 where it now sits for awaiting approval, according to the Idaho legislature website.
Sixty-five legislators favored the resolution and three legislators voted against it.
Once the State Affairs Committee passes the resolution, it will not force any action but will encourage local governments to implement policies to remove and block access to pornographic material through their internet connections, according to the Idaho legislature website.
Rep. Lance Clow of District 24, who originally introduced the resolution, said there is a need for pornography education, intervention and policy changes in the community; however, the resolution does not have the force of law to stop anyone from consuming pornographic material.
“It encourages the people of Idaho to pay attention to what is going on with their families, their kids and their businesses,” Clow said. “It is reminding all Idaho government, all political subdivisions in Idaho to think about what their internet practices are; the accessibility of their internet; whether or not the people get access to this obscene material.”
Clow said three legislators voted against the resolution because they felt it was against freedom of speech, focusing on the portion of the resolution that would remove access to pornographic material in government and state facilities.
The resolution states, “pornography can negatively impact brain development and functioning, (and) contribute to emotional and medical illness,” and pornography harms the family unit, encouraging infidelity and hindering marriage.
“I found myself being incredibly introverted because of (pornography),” Smoot said. “And with all that being said, I just kinda gave up on building anything super strong with my parents or my siblings or my friends and, especially throughout my life, with girls. I had such a strong massive dose of this instant gratification — porn — for so long that it just didn’t do me well; it killed my desire, my ability to have relationships.”
Smoot said he has now avoided pornography for over a year. He has tried many different programs, but what brought him the most relief was the 12-Step Addiction Recovery Program run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Addiction Recovery Program has collaborated with Alcoholics Anonymous and uses gospel principles to help participants on the road to recovery, according to the Addiction Recovery Program handbook from LDS Family Services.
“There are a lot of groups and programs that have that attitude of, ‘We’re amazing, we’re going to kick trash, we’re going to do all these amazing things,'” Smoot said. “And though it helped me with my addiction, I feel like I had a harder time calling upon God and His power to effectively help me in this battle. Probably one of the most effective things that has helped me is the principle of humility.”
The National Review listed possible causes and effects of pornography addiction.
“Instant gratification is porn’s mission and purpose,” according to National Review. “The very moment that the gratification is less than instant, there’s always a new form of porn out there, ready to give the user (their) next high.”
Smoot said he goes through his day striving to avoid any form of instant gratification. For example, instead of making quick freezer foods and watching Netflix, he takes his time to make meals.
“An alcoholic (trying to overcome an addiction) isn’t going to be hanging out in bars,” Smoot said. “You need to find yourself in more moral situations.”
Smoot said he has cut out most forms of media from his life, and he is finding more wholesome activities to occupy his time.
Krista Gillson, a senior studying art education, said she feels free and relieved after overcoming pornography.
“Without porn in my life, I feel capable,” Gillson said. “I’m not afraid to be myself around others, to be honest, to want to seek happy friendships and relationships.”
Logan Dally, a senior studying psychology, said he thinks the issue has become more relevant as access to pornography has become easier.
“It used to be that if a person wanted to view pornography, they had to seek it out,” Dally said. “Nowadays it seems to find you instead. It can have the potential to lead to serious problems for that person. I think some judicious regulation would be beneficial to the general public.”
According to inc.com, some businesses, including McDonald’s and Starbucks, are filtering their Wi-Fi, preventing users from watching pornography at their establishments.
Smoot said he agrees that the resolution would be a great first step in changing our perspective of pornography and its negative effects.
Smoot advises others who are struggling to be as open and honest as possible.
“I found a lot of shame and guilt are taken away from life as I’ve been able to open up about my addiction,” Smoot said. “(I’ve found) a lot of acceptance and love.”