The following is an excerpt from Your Brain on Porn: 5 Proven Ways Porn Warps Your Mind and 3 Biblical Ways to Renew It.
Introduction: Porn is Everywhere
“It seems so obvious,” says Damon Brown, a regular writer for Playboy. “If we invent a machine, the first thing we are going to do—after making a profit—is use it to watch porn.” In the last 150 years, pornography has ridden on the heels of new technology, from the camera to the film projector, from VHS to DVDs, from the World Wide Web to smartphones. “You name it,” Brown says, “pornography planted its big flag there first, or at least shortly thereafter.”
We’d like to believe Christians are immune to the prevalence of pornography, but Paul Fishbein, founder of Adult Video News, is right when he says, “Porn doesn’t have a demographic—it goes across all demographics.”
Pastors agree. In March 2005, Christianity Today published the results of a study called “Christians and Sex” in their Leadership Journal. Out of 680 pastors surveyed, 57% said addiction to pornography is the most sexually damaging issue to their congregation.
We are only beginning to see the effects of mass-produced porn on our culture. The Internet generation—those who have grown up with online media in the home—are only just now entering adulthood. Surveys from young adults confirm it: many saw pornography for the first time when they were very young, and today consuming Internet pornography is a weekly, or even daily, affair for many college-age men and women.
Does this really matter? Some people would say there is no documented research showing the damaging effects of pornography. Some people don’t believe pornography can harm us.
Those people would be wrong.
The Great Porn Experiment
In the early 1980s, Dr. Dolf Zillmann of Indiana University and Dr. Jennings Bryant of The University of Alabama wondered whether continued exposure to video pornography had any impact on people’s sexual beliefs and their attitudes towards women. For their experiment, 80 male and 80 female college-age participants were divided into three subgroups, and each group was shown 4 hours and 48 minutes of media.
- The first group, called the “Massive Exposure Group,” was shown 36 non-violent pornographic films over a six-week period.
- The second group, called the “Intermediate Exposure Group,” was exposed to 18 pornographic films and 18 regular films over a six-week period.
- The third (control) group, called the “No Exposure Group,” was shown 36 non-pornographic movies over a six-week period.
Later, these groups were asked a variety of questions ranging from their personal preferences to social issues. The results are interesting not only from a psychological perspective, but also because of what the Word of God says about the nature of lust and sexual immorality.
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Read this next: “Finding #1: Watching Porn Decreases Sexual Satisfaction“