In recent times, sociologists and psychologists have joined religious and political groups in voicing their concern on the adverse effects of pornography. Their argument is that pornography is drastically changing traditional sexual tendencies and transforming sexual relationships. Their concerns are not without reason too. A study undertaken by ABC News has shockingly revealed that about 11 million people or about 6% of all people using computers are addicted to Internet, either for chat or pornography (Puckett, 2002). For men porn is something like it is for a woman to go through a fashion magazine.
However there is a huge diference between the two. Woman don’t masturbate while going through a fashion magazine, although some may salivate. Men masturbate while lookng through porn and it is almost impossible for man to look at porn and desist from masturbating. For men, pornography is a major cause of misguidance on sex, as it is one of the most important sources of sex information for them. Their understanding on sexuality soon begin to be built on these information. It is not fully understood as to why men take to viewing pornography when they have available and cooperating wives.
Men are motivated by several factors to get hooked to Internet pornorgaphy. They strive to keep this activity, unknown to their wives. Married men get addicted to Internet pornography just like drug and alcohol addicts. Some married men sense the ‘Peeping Tom’ effect when they watch porn. For them even passive viewing and masturbation provides greater sexual satisfation in a safe way, without their wives knowing of their hidden sexual fantasies. (Schwartz, 2008). Sometimes a sense of insecurity and fear of shame drive men to get hooked to Internet porn.
For these men having a solitary sexual gratification is safe and without any concerns, compared to having sex with their own wife. Men have varied and extreme sexual thoughts and fantasies which raise apprehension in them that their wives woudnt approve of these. These men thus turn to the Internet for safe and secure gratification of their fantasies. Sex therapist Lounne Cole Weston attributes three main reasons as to why people take to pornography. They would like to act on their fantasies, avoid intimacy or just to facilitate masturbation. Sometimes people take to porn to fill up the gaps in their own sex life.
For instance a person who loves oral sex and has a partner, who hates it, would like to look at pictures of oral sex. Weston adds that there are also people who are too embarrassed to reveal what they really like to participate and so they go there secretively, never revealing to their mate what they would like to try. Addiction Phenomenon Pornography addiction may be easily understood than defined. It may be defined as an addiction to sexually explicit material in any form, associated with a recurring failure to control that behavior, despite significant negative consequences (Goodman, 1998).
The hypersexual behaviors associated with porn addiction can occur due to organic pathology. Pornography today is a wide spread phenomenon with more number of people taking to it each day. Therefore when most people admit that they are addicted to pornography, it would be Internet pornography, although other types of pornography like books and magazines may still be used. With the advent of Internet, there has been a steady increase in the progress of pornography addiction. Internet facilitates huge amount of unlimited pornography, catering to various interests and levels of graphic content.
When sought regularly, Internet porn addiction reaches increasing levels for an individual within a short time. Very quickly the individual would be browsing the Internet looking at things he never expected to find. It is not only the Internet, as all types of porn including movies, billboards and magazines have a considerable negative effect on an individual. With time, the level of porn demanded by an individual is gradually increased. With addiction levels increasing, higher graphic content and more explicit levels of content are sought.
With the body demanding more extreme content, it would never be fully satisfied with the currently viewed content (NLH, 2007). Thus when an individual views porn content, there is a constant expectation of a higher level content. As sexually gratifying acts like masturbation are always associated with pornography viewing, these are actually the start point of self satisfaction from where it gets worse developing negative behavior and habits. Pornography addiction has its own physical and mental health effects. The process of addiction generally occurs in a series of five stages.
The early exposure stage when guys get exposed to it even as they are young. They realize that there is something called porn and begin to get acquainted to it. The exposure stage develops into addiction stage where one keeps longing for it, making it a regular aspect of one’s life. From addiction one moves to the escalation stage where there is a longing for more graphic and extreme content. In this stage the individual would be exited by content that at one point of time would have been disgusting to the individual. In the subsequent desensitization stage, the individual fails to find the material exciting.
The material is no longer exciting and there is an urge to seek more extreme content (McConnell and Campbell, 1996). The addiction then reaches the final and most dangerous stage where one attempts to act it out personally. They desperately try to replicate what they have seen in the pornographic material. The very fact that an individual spends increasing amounts of time looking at porn or wanting more graphic and explicit content is an indication of the growing influence of pornography. There is always a constant worry that others might discover their pornographic interest.
Pornography and masturbation addictions compliment and facilitate each other, only enhancing the progression of both. One cannot be stopped when the other is going steady. If porn cannot be viewed for any reason, masturbation would still continue, by recollecting the images stored in the brain. When a considerable amount of time is spent without pornography and masturbation, there is an urge for sexual gratification and the individual begins to seek porn. Pornograhy linked disorders Psychologist Gary Brooks identifies five main disorders mainly associated with soft pornography like Playboy.
In his book ‘The Centerfold Syndrome’, he mentions voyeurism, objectification, validation, trophyism and fear of intimacy as the main disorders arising from pornography (Brooks, 1997) a) Voyeurism happens when a man glorifies a woman’s body, promoting unreal images of women. These men develop an obsession for looking at women’s body but don’t want to interact with them. By distorting the physical reality through visual stimulation, the individual ventures away from every aspect of normal psychosexual relationship. b) Individuals may also take to objectification where one begins to rate women through their physical features.
The individual resorts to sexual fantasies about women whom he is not going to access and but spends his emotional energy fantasizing on them. c) Validation is another disorder arising from the use of soft pornography where an individual validates masculinity through the beauty of woman. Women with perfect bodies are held in esteem as long as they are able to retain their shape and mystery. Men feel themselves in low esteem or even being cheated when they have absolutely no chance of having sex with their dream model. )
Men are drawn to trophyism looking at women as collectibles. They begin to mentally consider women’s bodies as trophies, something which is a pride to win and retain. Such attitude is damaging during adolescent period and very destructive during adult life. e) A fear of intimacy develop in men, where they are unable to develop any true intimacy with women, despite being alone. They lack the ability for nonsexual relationships with women. Pornography while enhancing the sexual needs doesn’t develop sensitivity to intimacy. Effects of Pornography Viewing
Spending more time on Internet or frequently using it doesn’t necessary mean one is addicted to pornography. People involved in playing games, stock trading and online auction services too spend considerable time with the Internet. However trouble is when excessive time spent online is getting out of control, making one to skip family chores and related responsibilities, which are signs of pornography addiction. Major changes in behavior and personal routines, anger and frustration when questioned about online activities are indications that porn use is getting out of control (Watters, 2001).
Attempts to hide facts by resorting to lying, demanding privacy, declining sex interest and disruption in sleep patterns are also signs associated with discrete pornographic activity. When an individual is addicted to masturbation, there is only a bonding with self fantasies. Masturbation produces a sense of guilt and shame which makes one unconfident and with low esteem in the presence of their partner. The negative and problematic effects produced by pornography addiction soon become evident. Some women may consider their partner as cheating them when they watch porn and masturbate, because they look for sexual gratification without them.
Masturbation may result in not wanting to make love with their partners as their sexual urges has been satisfied by masturbating (Kirshenbaum, 2007) As the female partner doesn’t have any control or ways to monitor the activities of her partner, there isnt much she can do help him out of the habit. It is therefore important to look for signs of pornography addiction in their partners. The negative effects of pornography include thinking of porn even when not using it and a sense of shame and guilt after using it.
When pornography addiction reaches extreme levels it might become impossible for the individual to control it. Efforts at stopping or reducing porn usage would be highly unsuccessful (UTD, 2008). Addiction can also lead to neglect of ones responsibility, becoming less focused on their work or studies. Loss of relationships and development of emotional barriers with close people, result from extreme use of pornography. A sense of shock, shame and hopelessness develop within an individual who may require treatment or rehabilitation.
On most occasions men continue with their pornography addiction even after marriage. They gradually begin to associate pornography with their actual sex life. Researchers have noticed important changes relevant to sexuality, resulting from overuse of pornography. Men begin to view sex as being unrelated to love or commitment to marriage, rape as a lesser crime, and that the most gratifying forms of sex are the most bizarre ones. They develop dissatisfaction with sexual relationship they have with their partners and their care and trust for their partners begin to diminish.
Apart from psychological health, pornography addiction can lead to lost jobs, failed marriages and broken families. Internet pornography is spreading at a rapid pace because all sections of the people are vulnerable to this addiction. There are several reasons for people to get attached to pornography. Some take refuge in pornography to escape the realities of life by using it for self medication or sexual appetite. By taking to such addictions, a sense of satisfaction is obtained through the production and release of chemical substances by the brain and the body.
The chemicals released by the brain and body include adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), epinephrine, adrenaline, norepinephrine noradrenaline, and testosterone. When they are not accessing pornography for a considerable time, their sexual arousal is hindered and they begin to suffer withdrawal symptoms (Tayder, 2006). The withdrawal symptoms drive the porn addict to seek porn desperately even making the addict act inappropriately to satisfy his sexual urge. Addiction and Marriage Intimacy Pornography may be sought by men to sexually arouse themselves before love making.
The porn stars appearing in any of the porn videos would only peform upto a particular age, ie. , between 18 and 28 for females and between 21 and 32 for males. Thus these stars would always be young in all their videos. When men resort to pornography to arouse themselves, they don’t give the oppportunity to be aroused by their wives. Wives age with time and naturally become less appealing with time. As time passes, it would become increasingly difficult for the wife to sexually arouse the husband, who begins to require the always youthful porn stars for sexual arousal (Wilson, 2005).
Arousal by the wife is always a wonderful experience, which should be developed, not killed. Porn stars have abnormal body features like bigger breasts. The wife begins to feel herself as being ugly or with unattractive features because porn stars have these, which get her husband excited. An individual addicted to porn doesn’t just use it to escape reality. Porn for him is a substitute of genuine intimacy. Sexual addiction is perhaps the most personal of all addictions because of the intense mental feelings it arises.
Porn addiction creates an illusionary relationship with a very strong emotional attachment. Sometimes the partners of such addicted individuals may feel something lacking in them, which had driven their partners to porn (Zychik, 1999). However they need to realize that their partners had been running away from intimacy, well attached to his own fantasies, and therefore they needn’t feel guilty for the actions of their partners. To better understand the role of sex in marriage, it is essential to understand marriage intimacy.
Marriage intimacy is wrongly perceived as sexual intimacy, when actually sexual intimacy is only an aspect of it. Marriages are not done for sex but sex is a symbol of commitment and sharing between man and woman. Sex is a gift of pleasure to the couple and an expression of closeness among them, not only physically but also mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Sexual intimacy may be described as the ultimate form of intimacy where two bodies express an intention to unify into one. However the sanctity of this intimacy is lost when they take to porn, even as a couple (All about Life Challenges, 2002).
Porn can stimulate sexual feelings among the couple, particulary if one or both of the partners have such routines that sex is the last thing in their mind. Today’s hectic lifestyle and the challenges it brings, might make it difficult to find the mental or physical urge for sex. However pornography can induce the urge for sexual gratification and bring back the elusive sex ito the lives of couples. Also, when the male has arousal problems with his wife, and finds her no longer desirable, he takes to porn with which he has no arousal problems.
He convinces himself that he has no reason to feel guilty as the wife is also with him watching it. Thus his wife too finds it arousing, and with greater arousal in them, the partners engage into love making with an higher desire and sexual urge. The porn has therefore helped the couple to increse their sexual pleasures. Partners coming together to view porn is something more acceptable than men taking to porn alone (Wilson, 2005). When couples watch porn together, either before or during their love making, porn defintitely plays a positive role by enhancing each partner’s sexual desires.