Blogger’s note: This is part one of a two-part article about the devastating affects of pornography use and pornography addiction on men. Over 50% of all divorces cite pornography as a primary reason for the marriage’s failure and still porn remains a multi-billion dollar industry. We now have an entire generation of boys and men raised on a steady diet of cheap easily accessible sex. Today the average age of a boy’s introduction to porn is just eleven. It’s a growing epidemic blind to race, age, creed, or economic background and if this trend is to ever change, I’m convinced it will need to be women who lead the way.
Men, inherently, don’t talk about their problems. For the vast majority even the thought of mentioning a struggle or challenge to another be it personal, relational, or professional is no less than an admission of defeat. It would be like replaying the VHS tape of that day on the ball field at eleven years old when we dropped the fly ball or missed the touchdown pass while everybody looked on in stunned disappointment. It’s a reminder of the embarrassment of past failures and shortcomings and the wish to, once again, go hide under a rock. None of us, most especially men, want to be humiliated as it makes us feel isolated, alone, defenseless and given the alternative most of us gladly accept the loss of an arm than ever be reminded that we can’t live up, perform, or excel. Much of this feeling comes from a culture that glorifies success, a corporate America that does not accept failure, and lessons learned growing up from men around us.
The modern man’s modus operandi, when faced with a serious problem or crisis, is to keep his mouth shut and work it out on his own. He rarely seeks advice and never asks for help; he allows his ego and pride to view any appeal as waiving a white flag surrendering his manhood. And the women in his life know this phenomenon all too well. They’ve experienced the frustration and helplessness of seeing him disappear in that infernal cave as he pulls away distancing himself while he figures things out.
It’s estimated that 70% of men look at pornography on a regular basis and 25% or more view it daily with 10% being admitted pornography addicts; but given the propensity of men to down play any personal defects I’m convinced these numbers are much higher. Pornography is arguably the most significant character crisis facing men today and young women are beginning to feel the affects of dating and marrying a generation of men raised on a steady dose of easily available pornography. In the January issue of GQ Magazine a twenty-something woman humorously and graphically retells her experiences dating men who are unable to separate sex with a keyboard from sex with a real person.
A man looking at pornography is nothing new. Since the days of ancient Greece and Rome when brothel and bathhouse walls displayed artist renderings of couples in various sexual positions like an erotic menu of sorts allowing a bashful ‘John’ to simply point to what he wanted.
With the topic of pornography slowly moving in from the fringe of our cultural conversation the debate seems to center on the ‘why’. Why are men so drawn to pornography? Many say it simply reaffirms that we are visual creatures by nature while others claim it’s a better alternative than cheating with both bearing witness to men’s seemingly genetic disposition for sexual variety. But that really doesn’t answer the ‘why’ question. I believe a better one is addressing what men are actually doing when looking at porn. Maybe the answer is just too obvious to even mention or possibly it’s too embarrassing for anyone to admit, either way the answer boils the viewing pornography down to really nothing more than a means to an end. Men don’t watch porn like they would ESPN or CNBC. Men are viewing porn with intention and purpose, not some haphazard time waster. The images provide the necessary stimulation to generate a desired outcome. It follows the same logic behind why guys don’t window shop, if you’re not going to buy something what’s the point?
Some professionals have declared pornography to be no less addictive than crack cocaine or crystal meth, and I agree. Amidst all of the data, reports, and surveys conducted around the who and where of pornography what isn’t being discussed is the depravity that can ensue the more we view it. Much like the druggie who starts out as a casual user, eventually the addiction takes hold and she now requires stronger stuff to achieve the same high. For the porn addict who started out casually watching soft core as a way to spice things up a bit it eventually turned to hardcore because, like the drug addict, the images must now be harder and more shocking to reach the same euphoria. And if left unchecked the depths to which a porn addiction will take someone can be startling. Just like most junkies didn’t start out on heroine, most men aren’t intrinsically drawn to fetish porn such as rape fantasies – it happens over time.
Serial killers Ted Bundy and Gary Bishop both claimed pornography addiction was the primary driver behind their heinous acts. Bishop, when interviewed shortly after his conviction said:
“Some of the (pornography) material I received was shocking and disgusting at first, but it shortly became commonplace and acceptable. As I continued to digress further into my perverted behavior, more stimulation was necessary to maintain the same level of excitement.”
Bundy said hours before his execution:
“You are going to kill me, and that will protect society from me. But out there are many, many more people who are addicted to pornography, and you are doing nothing about that.”
This certainly shouldn’t be seen as an indictment that every porn user will eventually become serial killers but both men’s stories point to the highly addictive nature of pornography and how its consistent use can take men down paths never imagined.
And it’s on those dark paths that a porn addiction begins to manifest itself outwardly in the relationships around him. Since he has become so mentally and visually desensitized by the ever-intensified streams of explicit images and stimulation, real sexual relationships can soon fail to satisfy his needs. His partner is not able to please him sexually, because she doesn’t represent the necessary fix he has grown accustomed. Marijuana doesn’t have the same affect on a habitual heroine user as it once did. So to compensate he attempts to merge his sexual fantasy with his sexual reality by asking her to participate in and be what he sees online.
Click the link for the conclusion to Confronting him about his pornography addiction.
This is an excerpt of the final interview with serial killer Ted Bundy in 1989 just hours before his execution in Florida’s Maximum Security Prison. His words are elegant and articulate but his warning, regarding pornography, is dire and frightening.