6 minute read

4 Non-Biblical Reasons Porn Is Ruining Your Life

Last Updated: June 7, 2017

Dann Aungst

Dann Aungst is a recovering sex addict and the author of the book From One Addict to Another. Dann is passionately involved in educating and helping others become free from porn and sex addiction in faith-based recovery. Dann has spoken at men’s conferences and is the president of Road to Purity, a non-profit organization that educates men on authentic godly relationships and understanding true purity, providing tools for recovery in live workshops as well. Dann also does addiction recovery coaching and is in the process of becoming certified through the American Association of Sex Addiction Therapists. Dann lives in Colorado and is a member of a local Catholic church. Like him on Facebook!

Let’s admit it. It seems we constantly hear how porn is ruining your life. We hear how unethical pornography is and how those who consume it are sinning and on their way to hell. We hear it’s bad to look at sex and nude people on the Internet, magazines, or even sexually explicit movies.

Many say this is just the opinion of religious fanatics who “should mind their own business and leave me alone.” To be fair, I should let you know I am one of those religious fanatics, but I believe we need to meet people where they are at in their beliefs. I must admit, if religion or morals were the only case against pornography, then to much of the world we would have a pretty weak case.

4 non-biblical reasons porn is ruing your life

So let’s take God, religion, the Bible, and morals out of the picture. How is porn ruining your life? Or is it?

Let’s address four major areas that porn negatively affects us: brain dysfunction, human relationships, human trafficking and personal success.

Brain Dysfunction

Let’s start with an overview of how the brain works and what happens.

Several chemicals are produced by the brain for the purposes of learning, controlling emotions, sensing cravings, handling cravings, etc. Dopamine is the most significant of these chemicals. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that carries neurological information relating to emotions, awareness of cravings and sense of pleasure. Large amounts of dopamine create a sense of euphoria and ecstasy.

In sexual stimulation and activity, norepinephrine, oxytocin, vasopressin, serotonin and natural opiates are introduced. These additional chemicals are responsible for the bonding to another person emotionally and cognitively, laying down long term memories in the brain, neurological adrenaline, and the wave of pleasure at orgasm.

The book Wired for Intimacy by William Struthers is an excellent resource if you want to dig deeper. Also, several articles provided by the Road to Purity explain these concepts more thoroughly.

When we look at porn, a supercharged amount of dopamine floods the brain and an artificial high is created. The brain’s pleasure center spikes, and we experience euphoria and ecstasy. Repeated exposure to porn causes the brain to be repeatedly overloaded and become fatigued, and the dopamine receptors begin to shut down. When this happens, the same experience does not produce the same result, causing a more frequent and more intense experience to bring the same “high” or euphoric experience. And thus, an addiction is born.

Additionally, with porn, the brain is unable to “bond” to the image on the screen like a real person. The unsuccessful attempt to do so leaves the brain with a “short circuit” type of experience resulting in intensifying the need to try again (increased addictive tendencies) and facilitates the unsatisfied feeling a short time after the sexual release.

The inability to bond to the image on the screen leaves the brain confused in areas of intimacy. We as humans are designed to bond to another person emotionally, relationally, and physically. We call this intimacy.

When the brain relates images to a sexual fantasy or sexual act, it begins to replace the originally wired brain structure of desiring human contact and emotional intimacy with that of the image, hence objectification. The brain actually begins to see other people as body parts for the purpose of our pleasure rather than another person to bond with in a healthy self-giving relationship.

The craving for self-pleasure overrides our logic center and addictive behavior patterns, such as deception and extreme selfishness, take over. We seek the next dopamine dump or “fix” at any cost. Two-thirds of HR professionals have found porn on employee’s computers, demonstrating that the craving for pleasure is so strong that large numbers of people risk their jobs just to get the fix.

This process of supercharging the brain begins to cause degeneration of the frontal lobe and produces multiple negative effects. Negative results include reduced concentration, depression, blurring of reality, anxiety, withdrawal from social activities, reduced willpower and erectile dysfunction just to name a few. With the flood of chemicals overloading the brain, the pleasure center of the brain becomes so fatigued that it becomes increasingly difficult to experience pleasure in normal everyday life.

To hammer this idea home, take a look at a study in 1954 by researchers James Olds and Peter Milner. They found that when rats were electronically stimulated in the pleasure center of the brain similar to sexual pleasure, the rats would be so focused on choosing the reward switch that provided this stimulus that they literally starved themselves in effort to be rewarded with pleasure. The rats chose the stimulus over food to the point of death. No, we aren’t rats, but the addiction principle is exactly the same: it blurs the sense of reality and decision making–even in humans.

Relationships

When looking at porn, how many times have you watched a scene and asked yourself: What’s her real name? I wonder what her hobbies are? Does she have any kids? Does she like camping? What’s her favorite food? You get the idea.

No, of course not! You’re thinking how good she looks and picturing yourself as the guy with her. You’re thinking of how much pleasure she could bring you. And when you are done and turn off your computer, she is forgotten. She was merely an object for your enjoyment, no different than a new car or a top end fishing reel–some “thing” to enjoy.

Without realizing it, this perception bleeds to the women you see in daily life. Co-workers, bank tellers, a random woman walking down the street–all become objects.

Here’s a self-test. Are you more interested in interacting with an attractive woman than one who may be a little overweight or a little below average looking? This reveals that you may not be seeing the “person,” but rather an object or a sum total of body parts.

We need to be clear that we all typically first notice certain aspects of a person’s physical appearance. There is still a chemistry component between people, and it is wrong to deny that. However, when you notice the physical aspects of a women, do you move on to wondering who she is as a person? What is her name? Or do you begin to fantasize about physical relations with her, sealing in your mind the images of memorable parts of her body?

If you honestly realize you tend to be more interested in the latter, be aware of this fact. There may need to be a change in how you see and treat women. Let’s be fair, studies show women are becoming more and more prone to the same objectification of men as well.

This objectification isn’t limited to the opposite sex; it tends to dictate how our relationships and interactions are with all people. We first think of what we can get from the other person, rather than having some kind of friendship or relationship with them.

Common behaviors will reveal themselves in marriage by thinking, “What can my wife do for me?” Not just sexually, but from a service expectation. Do you expect her to do the laundry, clean the house, take care of the kids, etc.? Or is caring for her the first thing on your mind?  Do you help around the house because you want to take some of the load off of your bride or do you help because she is nagging you or you expect something in return?

Yes, we are all guilty of self-centered behaviors and tendencies from time to time. However, studies are clear that porn consumption dramatically cultivates a selfish frame of mind rather than one of selflessness.

Remember the symptoms of brain dysfunction: depression, withdrawal, reduced willpower, etc. Do you know of anyone with these symptoms that you’d say is an outgoing, selfless person always willing to please others? The fact is, you can’t give and take at the same time.

Human Trafficking

While on the surface it may seem that human trafficking may not be ruining your life, consider that all women are somebody’s daughters. Do you have daughters or sisters or nieces?

The radical increase in pornography in the last decade has created a demand for porn that the “willing” actresses can’t keep up with. Also with the most popular porn searches being for violent acts and teen girls, the demand for younger and more innocent actresses are in high demand.

The demand has gotten so bad that the term “rape for profit” is now a standard in the industry. Even if you are of the school of thought that it only affects you and no one else, it’s no longer true. The more addicts, the more trafficking.

Personal Success

Personal success is where this will hit many of us. Success is often the foundation of our value system. We simply can’t get away from the impact of the first two points of this article.

First, the side effects of depression, social withdrawal, reduced willpower and reduced ability to concentrate will undoubtedly create road blocks in how successful a person can be. Second, most leaders in business have the ability to make people feel valued and important–something that is difficult to do when your world is self-focused. If you look closely, many successful leaders are either strong leaders because people felt valued and wanted to follow, or they obtained their status by brute force and luck.

Unfortunately, with our culture becoming more and more sexualized, it is difficult to shield ourselves from the overwhelming images. Billboards, television, and even the advertisements in our email bombard us with tempting images. Staying clean and away from temptation is no easy task. Products like Covenant Eyes are critical to keep at least some of the unsolicited images at bay. This is also something that all parents should be educated on to have appropriate discussions with our children. Young brains become addicted much faster than adult ones.

So if you’re not religious, don’t care about ethics, or you’re ok with brain damage, bad relationships, and the trafficking of young girls, then by all means–indulge.

The Porn Circuit ebook

  • Comments on: 4 Non-Biblical Reasons Porn Is Ruining Your Life
    1. Robert B on

      To say anybody is going to hell in general is an unrighteous judgment and I have been addicted to p*** but by the grace of God I’m giving that care to him because he can carry it and I can’t I do appreciate your ministry but please please be careful how you word things that people don’t want to hear the truth God’s ways are his ways and if you don’t line up with his ways you won’t be with him for eternity

      Reply
      • Dann Aungst on

        I appreciate your concern. Look at how it is stated. It refers that it is a belief that we hear, not that I have.

    2. Roger on

      That was a great read thank you.

      Reply
    3. Helen on

      Great information but I was concerned with your ending. I would never say to someone with this to go ahead and indulge. That is scary! This addiction is perverse and selfish. Thank you and God Bless you!

      Reply
      • Brent Porter on

        He wasn’t being sincere, but making a good point that if you want to continue on in a lesser form of living that is selfish, indulgent, and absolutely destroying you and many others physically and spiritually — then go right ahead! Your choice.

      • Jeremy g on

        In Corinthians they were told to let Satan have His way with a guy who was involved in a sexual perversion life.
        Since this sin won’t kill you physically but spiritually, it may be better to learn the hard way, experience.
        Something will happen where God allows him to have an embarrassing moment and he will stop.

    4. Art Rutherford on

      I’ve sought the help of the Holy Spirit with this to not let me say, or do, or think anything stupid.

      I’m not always successful. But
      I keep trying.

      Reply
      • Chris McKenna on

        Art, keeping the issue out in the light, as you’ve done here, is so important. Yes, we seek the help of the Holy Spirit to lead us into righteousness, avoiding sin, but God’s grace is fresh every morning. Press on! God is for you.

        Peace, Chris
        Covenant Eyes

    5. Jeff on

      Very well written! I have been porn free for sometime, and my marriage had been restored. Keep up the fight and turn to Jesus and others who have had victory.

      Reply
      • Chris McKenna on

        That is fantastic, Jeff. Victory is possible! It’s not easy, but definitely possible. Blessings on your marriage.

        -Chris
        Covenant Eyes

      • Gabriella on

        What an amazing detailed information of this addition. In our time it has been pushed down the throughts of every human being that is connected to the web. It is a serious plague that we must fight for the life of our bodies, emotions and souls. Moreover, we need to be at war with pornography for the sake of our children, marriages, and society in general. The battle is a spiritual one
        In which the casualties are the lives of human beings,bodies and souls. We must fight with spiritual weapons Jesus gave us: Faith, Repentance, Confession, the Holy Mass, Communion and daily recitation of the Rosary alone or as a family. These weapons have proved to be supernaturally effective because we don’t fight alone. God is the only one that can free us from every chain, slavery, or addition. God loves each one of us most perfectly and always meets us where we are.
        Rely on Him. Read Mathew 7-7

    6. Carol on

      This is such important information to have access to…thanks for taking the time to provide this detailed explanation of what goes on with porn use and how damaging it is.

      Reply
    7. MKM on

      Do you know of any rehabs that you would recommend. I am the wife and worried it’s happening again. Would appreciate your help and recommendations please.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Hey there.

        My suggestion would be to find a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT) in your area. That person should be able to help your husband find a good option in your area, and also provide good continuity of care for him before and after rehab. If his case is serious enough to need rehab, then he will definitely need ongoing care afterward as well.

        I would also recommend that you find a counselor just for you, to help you process your own emotions and consider healthy boundaries. So many, many times I see all the work and resources going into the husband’s recovery with very little attention being paid to the wife, who often meets the criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). So, whatever happens with your husband, you make sure to take care of you.

        Blessings, Kay

      • Hgu on

        Yes. Kill porn.now.

      • Judi on

        Celebrate recovery has resources.

      • Cindy on

        Me too. My husband is addicted but won’t admit it. I’ve talked to therapists but all they say is “it’s not about you.” Then why do I feel beaten up, like a loser all the time. I’m overweight but food is my only pleasure because of porn, my husband has erectile dysfunction. Those TV whores took my husband away. I’ll never trust him again and wish I could leave but I have no place to go. I really want out but don’t want to hurt him. I’ve tried to turn it over to God but I don’t think I’ll ever trust as man again, certainly not mine.

      • Kay Bruner on

        You feel beaten up because porn addiction is a betrayal of the emotional heart of the marriage. Rather than turning toward you, he’s turned toward porn. Many women will meet the clinical criteria for PTSD when faced with the kind of situation you’re describing.

        Of course you don’t trust him; his behavior is not trustworthy!

        I would agree with the therapists: his choices are not your fault. However, his choices do have a deep impact on you, and in that area you’re the person who can decide what boundaries are healthy for you. You might want to find a counselor who’s devoted to helping YOU process your emotions and build healthy boundaries. A group would be great. And you might appreaciate the online resources at Bloom.

        No matter what your husband chooses, YOU can choose to be healthy and whole.

        Peace to you,
        Kay

      • Kristi on

        RU out of Rockford Illinois has an excellent rehab program. It’s 6 months but it literally saved our marriage. I would recommend it for anyone serious about quitting porn and needing to actually attend a rehab facility. My husband is almost 3 yrs clean now and a completely different man then the one that left for rehab!

    8. Steen Skytte on

      How do you become a CSAT? Thank you.

      Reply
    9. Judy Brown on

      I married a man after my late husband passed and his wife had passed as well of cancer. He was a preacher as well as my late husband. He’s 60 yr old. We’ve been married 5 years. I’m just finding out he has been addicted for 16 yrs. He pastored a church for some 25 years and no one ever knew. So I married a liar and pervert it seems. He doesn’t think counseling is important and I’m the one to constantly have to remind him if he has an appointment. He said he was doing great for 4 months. I caught him at it again. He thought because he chose to look at nude women art on eBay and it had no sound or movement he was ok. I’m now dealing with double the pain in a short time. This man tells me and our pastor he can’t have a human relationship. He just needs 5 minutes and he’s done. I’ve finally left for a few days to sort through this. With him still being deceiving I’m not sure if forgiveness is the answer. I wish I knew what to do at 60 yr old. We are in counseling with our pastor but not on a regular basis I just met with pastor and told him I thought my husband needed ICU care. I could no longer be responsible for his actions and him getting help.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Hey Judy. Thanks for sharing your story here. I’m so, so sorry for the pain you’re experiencing right now. I’m really glad you’ve been able to create some healthy boundaries for yourself. You are so right that this is your husband’s responsibility, not yours.

        Sadly, this inability to relate to real people is the deepest damage that porn does, in my opinion. When porn becomes a persistent habit, and an outlet for all emotions, that’s what you end up with. It would require a great deal of work on his part to not just stop looking at porn, but to dig into the real pain of his life and deal with that–and then to be able to relate to you in a healthy way that’s emotionally caring and trustworthy. I think he needs to see a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT), if he’s really going to recover.

        Whatever he chooses, I hope that you will get help for yourself, with your own counselor and a good support group. Pastoral care is really great, but I’m afraid many pastors aren’t equipped to help with the trauma that women experience in situations like this. I hope you’ll take good care of yourself–that’s the best thing to do at any age!

        Let us know how we can help, Kay

    10. Sue Regan on

      What can we do about the porn that is presented to our vulnerable children as “sex education? Not every family has the resources to put the kids in a private school or to home school..

      Reply
      • Chris McKenna on

        Hi Sue – is your question coming from a situation you’re dealing with where you don’t approve of the sex ed curriculum? Or from a fear based on things you’ve heard? Before I respond, I just want to be clear. Thank you.

        Chris

    11. Douglas Risley on

      Great article. I can’t seem to find anyone to be an accountability partner. Suggestions?

      Reply
      • Chris McKenna on

        Hi, Douglas – as a starting point, have you investigated online options? Like with Doug Weiss, or any other online support groups?

    12. Dean on

      I am just wondering if the minds and the chemicals in the brain are ever restored once someone has been away from porn for a period of time, or is that pleasure and intimacy completely lost?

      Reply

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