The Poison Of Porn
I have a good friend who is a chemist. In his home laboratory he has a bottle of cyanide. It is one of the most deadly chemicals: it can kill a human being in seconds. Yet, when you uncork the bottle and smell it, you find that cyanide has the aroma of almonds. In fact, it is one of the sweetest smelling of all chemicals.
I could easily change the label on that bottle, replacing the words 'Deadly Poison' with 'Sweet Almond Juice', but the contents would remain just as deadly. Changing the label would not change the nature of what is inside, or its inherent danger.
The human body was not designed to imbibe certain substances. Some things in this life are deadly to us, whether we admit it or not.
What is true in the natural realm of life is also, I think, true in the emotional arena. Pornography is more than a harmless pass-time. It is a form of emotional, moral and social poison.
The word 'pornography' comes from a Greek word that literally means, 'the writing of prostitutes'. We should reject pornography for the same reason most people reject prostitution - because porn, like prostitution, reduces people to something lower than they really are. It transforms those who feature in it; they become merely physical entities that exist for the pleasure of others. It also demeans the people who look at it and feed on it.
Emotional and moral poison will always do three things: it will take us further than we wanted to go; it will keep us longer than we wanted to stay and it will cost us more than we expected to pay.
Pornography does take people further than they wanted to go - on a path of growing dependence and distorted realities.
When convicted serial killer Ted Bundy was interviewed hours before his execution in a US prison, he described how his predilection for sexual assault and murder began with a taste for porn magazines. The influence of a very good family was not enough to stop him wanting more and more of the arousal porn brought with it.
In the end, he said, 'It's like an addiction, you keep craving something harder and harder….You reach the jumping-off point where you begin to wonder if maybe actually doing it will give you that which is beyond just reading about it or looking at it.'
Pornography also keeps people longer than they wanted to stay. As Bundy suggests - and as reputable studies attest - it can quickly become addictive.
How does any addiction work? Scientists know that addiction is a physiological dependence. People do not set out to become addicted to something. The substance - or behavior - offers them a pleasant physical sensation that they seem to get from nothing else. Because they like the sensation they go back for more - and more.
Sadly, they soon need increasing doses of the same substance or activity to produce a similar level of 'high'. Before long, their dependence has taken over other areas of their lives.
Pornography also costs people more than they wanted to pay.
Hugh Hefner founded one of the world's most famous porn empires, the Playboy empire. Some would label Playboy an example of 'soft' porn. Yet there is no such thing as 'soft' poison - there's only poison and non-poison. In the same way one drug can lead to heavier addictions, a steady diet of so-called 'soft' porn can leave us wanting something more, something heavier.
Hefner was once asked in an interview, 'Would you want your daughter to become a Playboy bunny or pin-up?' He reportedly replied, 'No, I wouldn't. And I hate that about myself!'
As much as he may hate to admit it, Mr. Hefner perhaps knows more than most parents about the terrible price people - especially young people - pay for their involvement in the porn industry.
Pornography also carries a price in terms of relationships. It makes meaningful relationships more difficult to achieve because it replaces rounded, whole connections with distorted, single-faceted liaisons built on physical or sexual sensation alone.
There is a price to pay in self-control. According to the writer of Proverbs in the Christian Bible, self-control is like a wall that protects the inner 'city' of our emotions and thoughts (Proverbs 25:28). If we break down that wall in one corner, we expose the whole 'city' to attack. Once our self-discipline begins to be eroded by exposure to pornography, we may find it increasingly more difficult to keep out other, potentially more dangerous habits of thought.
There is a price to pay in terms of our sexual identity, too. Really pleasurable and fulfilling sexual experience requires a high level of trust, a willingness to be vulnerable. Trust is built not on taking, but on giving. Sexual experience that truly enriches our lives is built on a determination to discover, over time, the hidden riches within the heart, mind and soul of a committed, life-long partner.