Here at Integrity Restored, we have been hearing about and seeing the effects of pornography addiction daily. As I was reading an article this morning, “Inside a porn addiction clinic with patients as young as EIGHT” published in the UK’s Daily Star, it dawned on me how society is not fully aware of the harms, addictiveness and devastating outcomes of pornography addiction. The article (not linked here because of the graphic images on the Daily Star website) outlines the wide range of intense damage resulting from porn addiction.
The team here at Integrity Restored recognizes this problem and we wanted to share some salient points with all of you from this article as well as our own experiences.
- The average age of exposure to hardcore pornography in the US is now 8 years old.
- Pornography addiction is a chemical, physical and emotional addiction.
- Pornography addiction will lead you into darker and darker places in the quest for the next “buzz”.
- This is not a “no consequence” addiction, the consequences are often catastrophic and range from divorce, estrangement, physical injury, job loss, and even incarceration.
Find out how you can combat pornography’s destructive effects in our culture!
According to Dr. Peter Kleponis, our Senior Advisor and Director of Clinical Programs here at Integrity Restored:
I agree with the author that pornography addiction is an epidemic that will only get worse in the future. Because of early and consistent exposure, people are becoming addicted and younger ages. My youngest client is 12. The effects of pornography addiction on individuals, couples and families that are reported in the article are also found in the U.S. We need more programs in the U.S. like the Innisfree program in England.
There are two parts of the article that Dr. Kleponis does not agree with and warns us about:
1) The author states “lots of people watch pornography healthily in their lives.” I do not believe this is possible. Pornography presents the message that it’s okay to use others for one’s own sexual pleasure. This is selfish and exploitive. In addition, the type of sex portrayed in pornography is most often not healthy. It usually portrays one or more men using a woman in a sexually violent way. This does not portray a healthy image of sexuality.
2) The author also states, “you can’t stop one’s physical need for sex and masturbation.” Here it’s important to understand that sex is not a need. It is an appetite. Food and water are needs. If one does not have them he or she will die. Sex is not such a need. If a person were no longer able to have sex, it might be a difficult cross to bear, but it would not kill him. Rather, sex is an appetite, and as such needs to be fed properly. For example, I have an appetite for chocolate cake. However, if I eat it every day, I will get tired of it and possibly sick. However, if I reserve it for its proper place, occasionally for desert, it will remain special and I will appreciate it more. This is true with sex. When it is reserved for its proper place in a healthy marriage, it retains its special meaning. Those who are not able to be sexual (priests, religious, single people, etc.) are challenged to meet their needs for intimacy in non-sexual ways. While this may seem like a harsh punishment, those who practice healthy chastity can find complete fulfillment in life even without sex. Even those who are married understand that they are often not able to have sex whenever they want. They are also challenged to grow in healthy intimacy in non-sexual ways. Thus, while one may be tempted often to be sexual with others and/or masturbate, those who are able to abstain when necessary have greater control over their lives and their sexuality. They are able to live lives of healthy moral virtue.
This article from the UK is worth a read (fair warning, some of the content is shocking), and certainly should provoke some deep thinking on our part here in the States. We need programs to help people break free of this addiction and to prevent it from happening in the first place. We need to start treating pornography addiction like any other – alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc. – and stop viewing this as a moral failure on the addict’s part. The pervasiveness of the “product”, (online porn) continues to grow and that’s why we as a Church and society need to do something about it.
We at Integrity Restored are blessed to be able to help in our own way in this classic “David vs. Goliath” battle, through education, training and resources, but the need is so great and the resources few. We could really use your help to continue our mission and provide more resources for our clergy, families, spouses and those struggling. Please consider making a life changing gift today. We hope you will prayerfully consider making a gift today, and as always if we can help in any way, please let us know.
May God bless you and those you love…