Porn Addiction, Part Three: What Porn Does To Your Soul – 2 of 2


Most Recent Edit: May, 2017
– My book on quitting porn addiction is in paperback for only $7.99 and e-book for 3.49 on Amazon! It’s been officially endorsed by Craig Gross of X3Church. It has been updated and expanded in 2017. It contains this entire series of posts plus brand new info, fully updated with research, with specific steps to quit.

The Process of Porn

Porn is degrading to both the user and the industry because it caters to the base animal nature of all of us. If you think that’s prude or close-minded, wouldn’t it be more open-minded to call it what it really is? If it’s not prostitution, it’s pretty close.

But I understand the “moral argument” does not always persuade, much less motivate, to quit porn. For the hundreds of sermons I’ve heard vilifying alcohol, drugs, clubs, Internet, indulgent eating, laziness, or video games, none of them ever sustained a change in behavior. Because all of them spoke only to behaviors, not the basics.

If you’re addicted to porn, you’re most likely after something else. As much as the hipster contemporary all-aware self-aware blogger will tell you that masturbation sometimes “just happens,” we know that a variety of factors gets us there. Sex between two people doesn’t just happen — even casual sex requires multiple variables to align before happening.

Something is happening when a guy has sex with himself while watching two random people have sex. There are impulses, drives, forces, desires, biology, psychology, philosophy, and mental schemas at work that motivate a person towards (and away from) self-worship.

What porn does to a soul is automate a lot of these drives so that porn becomes a first-option for relief, comfort, pleasure, time-filler, reward, escape, and rebellion. The same cultural automation that has occurred with porn, that creeping acceptance of its casual use (covered in the previous part of this discussion), is a larger picture of what happens in the individual soul. You can ask someone who just began drinking alcohol why they are doing it: most times they will know. Ask a full-fledged alcoholic why and they won’t always remember how they started drinking: it’s become the normative function of their lives.

It’s probably an over-statement to say that porn slowly steals your soul, just like any other addiction. But why is it an over-statement? Most could agree that ingesting substances or casual sex with strangers or binging on junk food are unhealthy behaviors, but somehow porn floats beneath the radar. The very fact that it has avoided honest discourse among secular and spiritual establishments shows its own slyness: that we prefer a seemingly victimless visual high and can call this a better alternative to other forms of destruction.

“It’s just porn,” we can say. While the alarming amount of evidence shows it’s harmful to the brain — that’s objectively, without moralizing it — we are still dancing around porn usage because it’s hijacked a part of us that delights in self-sabotaging privacy. We like our secrets, even when they kill us. Somehow we’ve given in to that without much resistance.

Finite Infinite Soul.

If you can imagine for a moment your soul as a finite structure with limited resources while the soul itself has a bottomless appetite for indulgence, then you have the essence of humanity. In other words, you make money to buy food and things (limited resources) to get pleasure, feel secure, and have meaning (unlimited appetite).

When we assume the opposite — unlimited resources to do anything with limited appetites that can be pleased — then that makes an animal. In other words: it’s the guy who works like crazy like he’ll be satisfied at being a millionaire, but always wants more at the expense of his family and well-being. Or the wife who sleeps around (treating men as unlimited resources) like that will satisfy her emptiness (treating herself as satiable). It’s a very human mistake to fall for the animal lie.

If you think you have all the time and money in the world to look at porn while at the same time believing porn will satisfy you, you could say there’s an addiction. That sort of thinking will inevitably grip other areas of thinking.

1) Objectification. You’ll look at women as sexual objects and look at marriage as a license for sex. Every woman is a fantasy in your head, sometimes instantly. I get nervous with new church staff because if they’re addicted to porn, they’re inevitably looking at the women in church as potential sex toys. Without sounding like I’m profiling, I can almost always tell when a man is addicted to porn simply by how he looks at a woman. The way he stares at her features, the way they talk at her instead of with her. Women know when a man is staring at her breasts. Men, you don’t hide it that well.

2) Endorsement. The industry itself is an abusive mess. There are enough statistics on porn, but rarely do we get a look inside the multiple suicides, drug addictions, sex trafficking, group rape, and psychological slavery. Women lured to a set with promises of money are quickly raped by multiple men and paid little. About half the trafficked sex slaves are filmed, meaning plenty of porn is illegal and forced. Most women in pornography are on multiple drugs and drinks to get through their scenes. There are enough stories to make your stomach sick. (For further reading, Dirty Little Secret and Eyes of Intregrity by Craig Gross, Porn Again Christian by Mark Driscoll, and Porn Nation by Michael Leahy.)

There’s a common misconception of the glamorous pornstar who transitions to Hollywood or stays famous in the adult film industry, but most by their own admission want out. Watching porn is endorsing an industry that abuses women. You might say, “It’s their choice,” but you would be surprised at the heavy psychological abuse that draws vulnerable women and traps them. And rather than sneer at them for this, we should be gracious to them (just as Jesus is) and not contribute to the vicious cycle of such an enslaving business.

3) Confusion and Lower Sex Drive. Porn creates an unrealistic expectation of women and sex. It’s much like the socially constructed paradigm of body image that has driven countless women into eating disorders and dangerous weight loss programs.

If your idea of a woman is a constantly horny, balloon-breasted, oily tan tall high-heeled supermodel, then anything else cannot trigger your normal sex drive. Married men entangled in porn lose interest for their wives. Unmarried men seek a ridiculous standard of “beauty” along with the already too-high standards of chemistry and status. And addicted men can’t help but spout off flirtatious one-liners full of innuendo and sexually charged language. Inevitably, this sexualized pornstar appeal will be confused for real romance.

4) Isolation. Dating is difficult. The nervousness, anxiety, rejection, budget, games: all these can be burdensome to a man, but they’re particularly burdensome to a man who can use porn as an alternative.

Porn addicts eventually prefer a plethora of virtual women over interaction with a real date. For some, it’s easier and less stressful. But that destroys the reality of people: that socially interacting is always going to entail challenges. The guy who hides in porn is really selling himself short.

There is a point when an addict prefers staying home to masturbate as opposed to hanging out with real people. Some say, “Who could blame him? People suck.” But escaping the responsibilities of being a normal human being — you know, with friends — is exactly what it means to lose your soul.

It feels safer to have a treasure trove of pornstars waiting at home, but this short-circuits dealing with the heaven and heartache of actual relationships. It’s much like the argument of having a real live professor versus a projected image, or a pastor preaching at his church versus the video of the pastor on a giant screen. You lose something there. With porn, it’s your humanity.

The path of the addict is also discussed here.

All that to say …?

Before we talk recovery, we need to know why it’s so important. A person who self-worships such as a porn addict is by default losing a part of himself and what it means to be human. Even the casual porn user has elected to call it “casual.” Porn has become an acceptable norm in society exactly for this reason, because a culture of compromise exists in every generation that is willing to indulge the soul at the price of the soul itself. If we are animals, so be it, but we are not. We are created and redeemed from sin for something more. Even the non-spiritual non-Christian can contend to our unique nature. So then, we fight.

Upcoming installment
I Want To Quit Porn — How?


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12 thoughts on “Porn Addiction, Part Three: What Porn Does To Your Soul – 2 of 2

  1. The rush to reclassify some behaviors as treatable conditions is driven in part by business interests: Treatment centers pop up. The pharmaceutical industry offers pills as remedies.

    Also what is out-of-bounds sexual activity varies by culture, Sex in the United States is a very odd phenomenon. We are probably one of the more sexualized societies in the world and also one of the most puritanical, You wonder, if Tiger Woods was a French golfer, whether this … would have been such a big deal.

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  2. You’ve got an interesting focus on males as the users of porn and women as the objects or damaged pornstars. Is there any reason for this gender divide? I would imagine that there are women who suffer this addiction as well. Do you feel that men don’t suffer in the porn industry?

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    1. Thank you for pointing that out. You are correct in your observations. Besides my lack of knowledge, I focused on the “gender divide” for brevity. To be honest I wish I knew more on the flipside; if space allows, I will research more and try to cover both. I do believe men suffer in the porn industry (stats show they suffer often worse than the women) and there is a sizable portion of women who are sex addicts.

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  3. One thing I find interesting about pornography is that it highlights the challenges we all face about sexuality. The tragedy for men is that the complexity of sex and sexuality isn’t being discussed openly. I’d say that pornography could play a very different role, if the subject of sexuality wasn’t so shameful.

    What if there were “pornography” that helped the viewer see the difficulty, frustration, joy and pleasure that happens between two people – the fact that there are two individuals involved is what makes sex so awesome! When I have sex, I’m with someone else, someone with a mind of their own, desires and emotions of their own, goals, attractions, feelings… and they enjoy the fact that I’m a real person too, with my own feelings and desires, thoughts and emotions. The truth is that in our society, it isn’t just pornography that makes people look like objects. People are constantly being dehumanized.

    Pornography only exists as a dirty subculture (and tell stories of a “dirty subculture”) because, as a culture, we don’t want to have a challenging conversation. If we wanted wholesome “porn.” We would have to explain sex has the biological purpose of creating more of the species. Abstinence avoids pregnancy, however it does not remove the biological drive to have sex. And sex for propagation sake doesn’t help people understand the drive we feel to partner with others. Perhaps the biggest problem is that without sex being a part of our natural and public discourse, we have is that we don’t have a realistic context for sex.

    So hell, without an understanding of the true complexity our sexual desires, sex might as well be something that happens when the handsome plumber arrives early while the hot lady is still taking a bath.

    – Davis

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    1. Problem is that humans are programmed to experience relationships firsthand. Also, try to tell me a straight face that a vast majority of guys would prefer “educational porn” over hardcore “cut to the chase.” Even if they did, they would just fast forward to the sex scenes. Furthermore, porn is an arousal addiction regardless of whether you think it is moral or immoral. It literally decimates the frontal cortex and one’s reasoning ability. “Even if flesh is dressed in silk, it is still flesh” -old Persian Proverb

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  4. Wow! This article is filled with glaring generalizations. Your article would have credibility if you actually interviewed some of the major producers of porn in this country. It is no secret; these companies are well known. Their executives are available for interview. Their porn stars are available for interview. In fact, I read an interview with one such female porn star. Guess what, she is married! And porn stars come in all sizes and shapes.

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    1. You’re right that I picked a specific viewpoint in the porn industry to highlight those who have been harmed. Perhaps there are some who are satisfied with their work or handling as well as possible. I don’t doubt that exists.

      However, that does not debunk what the industry has already done and continues to do. Yelling “generalization” does not erase actual history. Your other assumption is that an interview with a porn producer will yield a fair answer. Of course it wouldn’t; no porn producer would speak against their own business. I might as well ask a politician point blank if there is any corruption in DC. You also assume one interview with one married porn star is a redemptive spotlight on the industry. Isn’t that a generalization?

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  5. To mrjames;

    As someone whose marriage was destroyed by my ex’s addiction to porn, I welcome any and every attempt to educate the public us just how the structures pornography is to individuals and their loved ones. If this means making a few generalities, so be it!

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  6. What’s with the singalism? So if someone is single and not dating you assume they are porn addicts? Rediculous…by your logic Tesla, Albert Einstein, Capernicus, Galileo, and every great mind and soul in human history is a porn addict. This topic is to fresh to write about…we have a sexualized society but we also have the most humane…without catharsis the dissipation of violence does not occur, it is acted out….not advocating porn per say…or even masturbating…just stating psychological facts.

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