By Eva Bell
In this morally challenged world of today, when casual sex has become just another physiological function to be enjoyed indiscriminately, it is rather surprising that a section of society settles for a ‘virtual high’ called pornography. Pornography today is a lucrative business. It is lining the pockets of the peddlers while destroying lives of people from all walks of life. There are more than 70,000 websites churning out porn, which titillates both old and young, destroys relationships and eventually turns them into addicts. It is a sort of witchcraft that controls the mind of the vulnerable both young and old, promising pleasure without commitment, to be enjoyed at any time or place. Trolling the virtual world for cheap thrills becomes an obsession, while true happiness becomes elusive.
Porn stars themselves may be victims of abuse as children. They may be drug addicts or alcoholics, or be allured into the profession from broken or poor homes. Even little children are not spared. Child porn – little girls dolled up, painted and strutting around pretending to be sexy women- has a world a worldwide clientele. Sometimes parents themselves are responsible for the sexualization of their children.
What is Pornography?
The description of explicit sexual activity either in a picture or a video, film or books, which make people respond erotically is called pornography. There is no person-to-person relationship with the people who act in these pictures. So, no emotional feelings are involved. It is at best, a “counterfeit sexual experience,” but with immense potential to turn a vulnerable person into an addict.
Pornography is a close cousin of voyeurism, where a person derives sexual pleasure by secretly observing the sexual activity of other people.
Pornographic addiction is also different from sexual addiction, where a person is obsessed with sex to the extent that he becomes dysfunctional in other areas of life.
Pornography provides unhealthy sexual experiences that make the person unable to form meaningful relationships with the opposite sex, and therefore remains a sexual cripple.
Pleasure is a subjective feeling and varies from person to person. But no pleasure can be right if it adversely affects the life of the person who indulges in it. Pornography is one such pleasure, and when it becomes an addiction, it proves as difficult to overcome as drug or alcohol addiction. When a person does something wrong for the first time, it bothers him. He has a guilty conscience. But it becomes easier the second time. Hesitation gives way to pleasure, then gradually becomes irresistible.
How to discover if you are an addict
As one Greek philosopher advised, ask yourself “Am I possessed by it? Do I control it or does it control me?”
• Are most of your waking hours controlled by pornography?
• Are you neglecting your work, family and relationships so that you can spend more time on porn?
• Are your family and friends suffering because of your habit?
• Does your conscience bother you from time to time, making you more secretive about your preoccupation?
• Can your actions bear the scrutiny of God?
These are some of the points to alert you if you are heading towards addiction, if not already there.
Stimuli may come through pictures, films, videos, erotic books or blogs, suggestive lyrics of songs or through sexting. These stimuli create a big chemical rush of dopamine in the brain. It makes one feels very good, with yearning for more. But pictures cannot be turned into reality. Healthy sexual activity becomes impossible. It prevents a person from forming a meaningful relationship with the opposite sex, and having a real-life romance.
Some predisposing causes:
1.Early exposure to porn or sex in childhood or adolescence, through adults or peers.
2.Sexual abuse by family members or friends.
3.Hostility and neglect in the home. For the lonely, abused and neglected child, pornography seems like a sedative against pain.
4.Growing up in an atmosphere where women are not respected; where all they see is contempt for women of the family. They grow up believing that women are mere playthings and that they can be bought like merchandise, tortured, humiliated, enjoyed and discarded. They even believe that women enjoy rape. The feminist Andrea Dworkin says “Pornography is a tool by which men control, objectify and subjugate women.”
Catherine McKinnon helped to draft the Minnesota Ordinance which did not outlaw porn but allowed victims of rape and other social vices, to sue pornographers for damage under the logic that porn supports sexual violence and crimes against women.
5.Children with disabilities who are left alone for long periods of time and have no social intercourse with others.
7.Too much money to squander..
How to overcome addiction.
• Recognize that you are an addict. Do not rationalize your problem.
• Accept the fact that you need professional help.
• Confide in someone you can trust like a priest, counselor, psychologist or dependable friend.
• Delete all pornographic websites from your computer. Cut of your sources like books, films, videos or music.
• If bored, cultivate hobbies to keep your mind occupied. As it is said, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”
• Expend your energy by outdoor activities like walking, running, playing tennis or badminton or cycling.
• Become more sociable. Cultivate friendships and take part in joint activities.
• Find a good girl friend. Improve your interaction with the opposite sex. Move into the real world.
• Avoid being alone for long periods of time.
• Don’t get dejected if you have a relapse. Try to start over again and work on your daily routine.
• Put your trust in God. He will de-sensitize you to the pleasures of pornography. What once excited you will begin to disgust you. Pour out your heart in prayer and make God your refuge.
“Junk the junk food of your mind,” says someone who has overcome addiction by affirming, believing and working towards his rehabilitation from pornography.