Saturday, March 19, 2005

The Devestating Effects of Porn

The following letter has been edited as noted by the italics for clarity. This letter was taken off of an internet site. The writer self identifies as a liberal, and seems to be disintersted in morality, at least in the way you and I might see it. The letter has some adult content. I hope you feel, as I do, that it was necessary to leave it in to get the full impact. I pray that after you have read this, you will feel the same sense of urgency that I do regarding this subject. Please tell others to come, read, and COMMENT.

Perhaps what many men don't understand is that the
difficulty posed by porn - and more generally - the
constant barrage of 'perfect' women is not only or
necessarily lowered self-esteem but a sense of
isolation and sadness that a woman feels. When I
studied pornography academically, I thought that porn
as a problem was ludricous (excepting in cases of
hard-core or violent porn). I would be the first to
defend it on grounds of freedom of expression, sexual
liberation, etc. For years, I've thought of myself as
a "feminist that accepts porn".

That viewpoint was brought sharply into question very
recently when I discovered that my boyfriend - who is
a dear kind man who says he loves me - both looks at
and masturbates to (soft-core) porn. I really don't
know how much of it is linked to self-esteem: I do not
have the features of the classic porn star but I am
petite and fit and, as far as I understand, physically
attractive to a lot of men including my boyfriend. I
don't feel less attractive as a result of my discovery
but I do feel diminished in a way that I can barely
articulate to myself. I guess the closest I can come
to describing how I feel is that the act of sex
between him and I has now changed from something only
he and I do to something that - psychologically - he
does with other women. And of course, there is also
the sense that these other women have qualities I
don't have and never will (without surgery I suppose)
- though I don't think it's a lowered self-esteem
thing but more a practical observation - ie. "I will
never look like that, so my boyfriend will always look
at that because he won't get it with me.". Because of
this I feel like our monogamous relationship is no
longer monogamous in spirit though it is in letter.

I guess my question to men (and women) who feel that
porn is inconsequential in relationships: is it too
much to ask to be the only one your partner fantasizes
about, at least in the first few years of a
relationship? Maybe it is, I don't know. Of course I
know there are other beautiful women out there and of
course my boyfriend will notice them, but it just
seems like masturbation or actively pursuing pictures
of these women is so much more than just noticing. The
other thing is - I notice attractive men but I don't
masturbate to the thought of them nor fantasize about
them because I love (loved?) my boyfriend.

It's not that I stop myself from thinking these things
because it's morally wrong but just because - being in
love with him - it hadn't even occurred to me to look
at other men in that way. I feel so hurt and I don't
even really fully know why - the consequence of which
is I feel so distant from him and I find it difficult
to love him. So - to sum up - I would ask that rather
than placing blame or criticizing one sex for having
the wrong standards, etc, that maybe we would think
about how this really affects human relationships and
the love that we let ourselves feel - despite the fear
of being vulnerable to another that we all have. If
there is something out there that reduces the sum
quotient of love and caring in the world, why do we
want it?



__________________________________

1 comment:

Eric Snyder said...

I didn't feel the sense of "urgency" you did after reading the post. Being the father of three daughters, I did feel a sadness for the author. I feel certain that if the opportunity ever presented itself to discuss this woman's dilemma with her that she likely would be completely closed minded to consider that she is simply reaping what she has sown.

Porn is certainly not a 20th/21st century issue. Consider the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel's disgust as he was permitted to view pornographic images in the very Temple itself. Porn has been around since humans first learned to put images on paper/walls/stone.

In my opinion, porn is more a symptom of a problem rather than the problem itself. It is a symptom, along with a number of other social ills, whose only true remedy is a growing, developing, and obedient relationship between a human being and their Creator God. Porn, drug addiction, alcohol abuse, gluttony, dishonesty, and lack of moral clarity regarding right and wrong all point to an increasingly "Godless" attitude of individuals, schools, communities, and our nation.

Porn, marital infidelity, fornication, low self-esteem, violence, and lovelessness all can only be solved or resolved by accepting the fact that "Father" really does know best. Our relationships with others will smooth out (never become perfect) once our relationship with God through Jesus Christ is established and is growing. Until then, we will continue to treat the "symptoms" rather than the problem. Women will wonder why men behave the way they do and leave the women feeling used and abused. And men will wonder why the exhiliration of porn, masturbation, and fantasy relationships can only be maintained by more and more perverse behavior only to leave them empty and unfulfilled.

Will believers be bold enough to share the truth we know is necessary to solve the problem rather than putting another band-aid on the symptom?