I've mentioned it before that anything that hinders you from being able to love is an evil. I have held off writing about this topic for a long time, but there are few things that hinder the ability to love more than pornography. Therefore, it needs to be talked about. Effects and how to treat them.
Now it's not often I watch a TED talk as they can be nonsensical, but this one was actually meaningful and easy to follow. Pornography is an interesting problem in that it is everywhere in society despite being frowned upon. So is the "social stigma" non-existent? Is it only in the workplace where it has any effect because of how bad it impacts the company (via viruses and low productivity)? I liked this video because it talked about the effects psychologically and socially. While I disagree with the "free sex" advocacy at the end as it undermines his arguments against porn, he's got good points the rest of the talk.
He talks about how boys dream about how to love a girl before porn. After porn, the desire shifts to simply releasing. In addition, porn makes sexually stimulating things that are definitely not acts of love. Beating a woman is not love. Watching a woman make out is not love. A more true act of love would be feeling sorry for the women involved.
Socially, I must agree again. Why must a teenage girl try to be sexy? In fact, I recall reading an article a long time ago that little girls wanted to be "hot" more than they wanted to be princesses. These are little girls that are getting these messages. My wife told me that in her schools, sex while an adolescent was bragged about by guys. One time, I went to a hospital and saw a man reading a porn magazine in the lobby. I was more shocked when I saw the magazine belonged to the hospital!
When I visited Japan, I saw the situation is really bad as porn magazines are right next to children's comics. It's like that in convenience stores, book stores, even advertised in the trains! What's the result? How about like that one kid from England who raped his little sister? That TED video made a good analogy about the music show and it's impact on him and how porn would do the same. So if the kid is watching violent sex stuff, he'll think it, eventually talk about it, and then do it.
Another thing the video talks about is the impact it has on the women involved. Not only are more trapped, enlisted, or kidnapped to fulfill the demands, they are likely to die at an early age. The one thing I was surprised he didn't mention is that once they lose their beauty, they have nothing else. I'm surprise when they last more than 10 years. Even if they maintain their attractiveness, they will not be able to find another job. There are stories about ex-pornstars working at a school when a kid found out and harassed her to do it for him. Since these videos are online and freely available to watch, there is no way they can be forgotten. They are stuck being sex-slaves because that's exactly what they are. The only way they can be freed is when someone like Jesus comes along and gives them a chance. By watching porn, we contribute to the demand, which means more people will suffer this fate. Porn doesn't help society, it hinders it greatly and should be illegal. Otherwise you give people like Donald Trump enough money to be able to run for President and actually get far.
But what about the women who do it willingly? In that case, surely porn isn't entertainment at their expense. Actually, it still is. It is entertainment for you at the expense of their human dignity. From my previous paragraph, you might have noticed that these women are no longer considered human. Instead they are sexual objects solely to please you. Once they stop pleasing you, they get tossed out. In addition, it impacts how you see other girls as well. This is how sexual objectification grows in today's world.
Now perhaps you have wanted to quit but are struggling due to its nature as an addiction. It's unfortunately common that little kids are exposed to this stuff not by choice. Some curious kid may find a magazine in the trash. Some may find it by searching for images of their favorites characters on Google. Some are exposed in order to be sexually abused. Something I find common is that they don't like it the first time, but they are trapped.
The Art of Manliness has an article about dealing with that with lots of tactics and advice. The trust method is certainly a good one and you may notice that porn tries to destroy that. I had a friend come to me and ask me to help him. I would occasionally check up on him and ask his status, encourage him, make sure his bedroom door was open if he was on the PC, and also held a password to his parental controls. That last one is important as it allows him to access stuff when he needs it, but first needs to convince me that he wouldn't use it to look at porn.
One note I want to make is that porn has a trick up its sleeve. It tries to convince you that you'll never be free from it and so you must watch more of it. However, if it had such a strong hold on your mind, you shouldn't need to watch more. You may feel like you need to watch something new, but you don't. It's the addiction that needs the "food" in order to grow. Therefore, abstaining from watching porn is a very important step in overcoming it. You also need to avoid anything that's sketchy in pop culture (like a lot of music videos as the TED talk mentions and TV shows) as they are sexually charged and may entice you to relapse. That's difficult, I know. This is also why you need to find good friends who will want to support you. But that's a benefit actually. You find good friends and you only need 1 or 2 to be happy with your life.
Of course, it isn't enough to simply not look at porn. Among the articles I've read on Art of Manliness, the advice of doing something beneficial when the desire is aroused is great. If you are dating someone, writing a love letter can not only help you focus on love rather than lust, your beloved will love you more after receiving it. Note that you probably won't be able to draw as your imagination will be dominated by pornographic images. You need to do something abstract or physically demanding. Eating chocolate (dark chocolate is best) might help quell the passion for a while too. That's what I do when I want to make love with my wife but she's not around. However, if you need a lot of chocolate, then you should find something else. Trying to replace one addiction with another is not a good idea as you end up with 2 addictions.
Speaking about having sex, taking a cue from the guy's argument in that TED talk, do the opposite of what porn videos do. Make romantic gestures like caressing, hugging, and kissing. In fact, do them after sex as well. A sign that you are in love and not simply lusting is that you are willing to hug and kiss after sex. I found that after sex is when my brain becomes most rational, but it's also the time that I'm probably the most in love with my wife. We can talk about many things, her smile becomes brighter and more beautiful, and I feel joy as well.
I have to also advocate saving sex for when and with whom you are actually married. This is important for a few reasons. First, I believe dating is when you are supposed to learn how to say "I Love You" without sex. This is important because you do need to know that you are loved even when you cannot have sex. Second, when sex is part of the equation, you can lose track of other things that are important to you and not discuss them. Third, one of the core purposes of marriage is that you cannot back out of it. If you do not hold that third point, then your marriage will always fail, unless one of you dies before it can. Was it difficult to abstain for me? Yes, it was, but my wife and I did it over the long course of courtship despite both of us being very physically attracted. Our primary love language is physical touch and that makes it very difficult to avoid sex, but we succeeded. As a result, my wife said she knew I truly loved her and she was happy that we worked so hard. I love seeing her smile.
There's something else you need to know. You will never be cured of pornography. Like alcoholism, you will always be "recovering" and have a scar. It's partially why it's so important to never open that Pandora's Box. It can takes years before you can hold off the habit for just 1 month because of the willpower required. The longer you are in its snare, the harder it becomes to be free. However, the result is worth it. When you realize how bad you are addicted, it's depressing and immobilizing. But when you are able to overcome it for a few months, then you feel joy. Your self-esteem rises and you are happier overall.
Do your best,
N. D. Moharo