DOES PORN HELP RELATIONSHIPS?

Harmony (Dust) Grillo Blog, Help for Spouses, Sex & Porn Addiction, Spouses Related Articles, Straight from Harmony's Heart, The Truth About the Sex Industry Leave a Comment

The first time I was exposed to porn, I was 3-years old.

 

I didn’t fully understand what I was seeing, but the pink fleshy images on the Television screen were burned into my mind.

 

I didn’t make the choice to watch porn until many years later. I was in an abusive relationship and watching porn made him happy. It was actually one of the only times he seemed happy. The rest of the time he was so moody, anything could set him off. Not enough ice in his Mountain Dew. Too much ice in his Mountain Dew. Cold French fries. If the house wasn’t clean enough. If I made too much noise while I cleaned it.

 

But when he watched porn, he didn’t care about all of that. He seemed so enamored with the women and I remember wishing he would look at me that way.

 

I never wanted to start stripping.  And when it got to the point where I didn’t see any other options and finally agreed that I would audition at a local strip club, I wanted to get in and out of the industry as fast as possible.  As much as I didn’t like the idea of stripping, there was also this part of me that hoped that by becoming a stripper, I could get my boyfriend to look at me the way he looked at the women in porn.

 

It never worked. Instead he started sleeping with my co-workers and getting them to give him their money too. We didn’t seem to notice we were all being pimped. (READ THE FULL STORY HERE)

 

Back when I was in the industry, it seemed much more taboo to watch porn. Not a lot of people talked about it and it was much harder to access before the days of the Internet and smart phones.

 

Today, a lot more people are watching porn. A LOT.

 

In fact, according to research, 68% of young men and 18% of young women watch porn at least once a week. The numbers aren’t that different in the Church, where 64% of Christian men and 15% of Christian women say they watch porn at least once a month. (http://www.covenanteyes.com//pornstats/)

 

And how about the wording on this…

 

The National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families states that approximately 40 million people in the U.S. are sexually involved with the Internet. (http://iamatreasure.com/about/stats/)
Can you imagine that Facebook relationship status?

 

Sexually involved with the Internet.

 

But for some people who have exchanged true intimacy with another person for porn, I guess it is pretty accurate.

 

After I finished my Master’s Degree at UCLA, I entered into an academy to become a Social Worker for the Department of Children’s Services. One day, we had a guest speaker share about her experience as a therapist. She mentioned that she often suggests that couples struggling with sexual intimacy watch porn together as a way to break through their inhibitions and spice things up.

 

As someone who has a history of sexual exploitation and has seen the harmful effects that the sex industry can have on those involved, I was surprised to hear an educated professional share this view point, especially to a group of future therapists and social workers who would specifically be working with vulnerable populations.

 

But the therapist is not alone in her theories. Many people turn to porn as a way to “spice” things up and believe it to be a healthy way to explore their sexuality. The idea is that porn is just fantasy involved consenting adults and that watching it will help couples avoid bedroom boredom. No harm done.

 

So, does porn really help couples?

 

First of all, most people who watch porn (67%) watch it alone. As for porn’s impact on relationships, the research consistently shows that prolonged exposure to pornography leads to things like:

 

  • a diminished trust between intimate couples
  • an exaggerated perception of sexual activity in society
  • the belief that promiscuity is the natural state
  • the abandonment of the hope of sexual monogamy
  • cynicism about love or the need for affection between sexual partners
  • the belief that marriage is sexually confining
  • a lack of attraction to family and child-raising

(Journal of Adolescent Health)

 

Not to mention, it is becoming widely noticed among medical professionals that many men who watch excessive porn report experiencing Erectile Dysfunction and are finding it difficult to have sexual intimacy with a real person.

 

Not surprisingly, it is this last issue, not the previously mentioned ones, that has some men choosing to quit watching porn.

 

Whatever it takes to decrease demand, I guess.

 

But there are others out there, men and women, who have chosen to give up watching porn, not because of it’s impact on their attraction to family and child-raising, or the idea that it causes cynicism about love and the need for affection, but because they have a revelation of the humanity of the people on the other side of the screen. They come to realize that they are not just sexual objects to be consumed for pleasure, but real people with pain and challenges, hopes and dreams.

 

Last year, when my husband was making calls to say “thank you” to some of our donors, he asked each person he spoke to about what prompted them to give to Treasures. Several of them said that they had once contributed towards the demand for the commercial sex industry, and today, the want to put their money to better use.
It has been my prayer for 13-years that funds previously used to fuel the demand would be redirected towards organizations like Treasures that are doing work to bring restoration to the women involved. It looks like we are finally seeing that happen.

 

We have yet to see the full impact that of a culture of people that are “sexually involved with the internet” in such large numbers will have. It will take time to uncover the full scope of the effect it will have on individuals, families and our overall ability to have real, human relationships.

 

My hope and prayer is that people will begin to see the reality of the sex industry and that more and more men and women decide to stop participating in the demand, knowing that it will lead to deeper levels of personal health as well as freedom for those who work in it.

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