Hot Topics: The Problem of Pornography

Hot Topics, Part 2

Pornography has become a major issue in our world with the help of modern technology.  You can see anything with just a few clicks, in the privacy of your own home, at any time.  This message looks into the problem of porn, how it is affecting us, and how to escape it’s grasp.


Hot Topics Series

The Problem of Pornography

Dave Spooner – Mosaic Rockford – Aug. 30th, 2015



  • Jesus told us to Love the Lord our God . . . . and love your neighbor as ourselves . . . and we are told by Peter to love each other deeply from the Heart.
  • God wants us to have a good and satisfying life and a huge part of this is relationships with the key relationship being to our spouse. God wants us to have strong and lasting marriages.
  • We are to be away of the Devils schemes and one of the ways the enemy it destroying us is with pornography. Porn feeds lust and lust never satisfies . . . you always want more . . .
  • Pornography has become a monumental iceberg that has ripped a gaping hole in the ship of our lives and we are taking on water and sinking fast. It is affecting us way more than we realize and we need to take a serious look at what is happening, how it is harming us, and how we can fix the problem.
  • Not coming at this to shame or harm anyone, but to offer help and healing . . .
  • Through the year I have read many books on the subject and talked to lots of people about pornography. As time goes on more and more research is being done to help us understand pornography and its affects.
  • A very helpful web site that I used as a primary source for this talk is org
  • So we need to talk about how we came to our modern state of Sexual Saturation
  • In 1948 Dr. Alfred Kinsey published a controversial but extremely popular book on sexuality known as the Kinsey reports. He was heralded as one of the first scientists and writers to talk openly about sexuality. As a result, his books went flying off the shelves.
  • Capitalizing on this trend, Huge Hefner published his first issue of Playboy magazine in 1953. To maximize sales, he had to change porn’s image; instead of being thought of as something your friend’s creepy uncle might have, porn needed to look mainstream. To do that, Hefner put pornographic photos next to essays and articles written by respected authors. In Playboy, porn looked like a “gentleman’s pursuit”.
  • The next big shift happened in the 1980s, when VCRs made it possible for people to watch movies at home. For porn users, that meant that instead of having to go to sleazy movie theaters on the wrong side of town, all they had to do was go to the back room at their local movie rental place. Sure, they still had to go out to find it, but porn was suddenly a lot more accessible.
  • And then the Internet changed everything. Once porn hit the Web, suddenly there was nothing but a few keystrokes between anyone with an Internet connection and the most graphic material available, and the online porn industry exploded.
    • The size of the porn industry worldwide is $100 billion.
    • Porn revenue is more than the combined revenues of ABC, CBS, and NBC ($6.2 billion).
    • Porn revenue is larger than all professional basketball, baseball, and football franchises—combined.
    • Every second the online porn industry makes over $3,000.
    • Every second nearly 30,000 Internet users are viewing porn.e
    • Nearly 2.5 billion emails per day are pornographic, which is 8% of all emails.
    • Nearly one in four Internet search queries is about porn. That’s 68 million a day.
    • Worldwide in 2013, had over 14 billion hits. That averages to 1.68 million visits per hour
    • Over 35% of all Internet downloads are pornographic.
    • There are around 42 million porn websites, which totals around 370 million pages of porn.
    • Porn makes up 30% of all the data transferred across the Internet.
    • On average, 50% of hotel guests order porn on their televisions.
  • And porn hasn’t stayed behind the computer screen. Now that porn is more available, affordable, and anonymous than ever before, more people are becoming addicted and its influence has soaked into every aspect of our lives. Popular video games feature full nudity. Snowboards marketed to teens are plastered with images of porn stars. Even children’s toys have become more sexualized.
  • Television shows and movies have been impacted too as producers and writers have upped the ante with more and more graphic content to keep the attention of audiences accustomed to porn. Between 1998 and 2005, the number of sex scenes on American TV shows nearly doubled. And it’s not just happening on adult programs. In a study conducted in 2004 and 2005, 70% of the 20 TV shows most often watched by teens included sexual content and nearly half showed sexual behavior.
  • And the more our society becomes sexually saturated, the more porn makers pump out harder and harder material to make sure they stay on the cutting edge. Hardcore pornography now explores the world of perversion, while softcore is now what hardcore was a few decades ago …. The comparatively tame softcore pictures of yesteryear … now show up on mainstream media all day long, in the pornification of everything, including television, rock videos, soap operas, advertisements, and so on.”
  • And not only is there more porn to watch, but also there are more ways than ever to watch it. Today, not only do we have high-speed Internet, we’ve got it on tap for devices we have with us 24 hours a day. Families have gone from having one shared computer to often having multiple personal laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
  • As porn’s availability has risen, so have its devastating effects on people relationships, and society at large. As therapist John Woods recently wrote, pornography addiction “is no longer just a private problem. It is a public health problem.”

Transition: Pornography harms in three ways: Pornography affects the brain, Pornography affects relationships, Pornography affects society


Pornography affects the brain

  • Porn is like a drug
    • To your brain, porn has the same effects as drugs.
      • Describing porn’s effect to a U.S. Senate committee, Dr. Jeffrey Satinover of Princeton University said, “It is as though we have devised a form of heroin … usable in the privacy of one’s own home and injected directly to the brain through the eyes.”
      • The way substances like cocaine and opioids make users feel high is by triggering the reward pathway to release high levels of dopamine without making the user do any of the work to earn it. Porn does the same thing
    • Porn hijacks the reward pathway in the brain.
      • Porn rewires your brain – “reward pathways” – The reward pathway’s job is to help keep you alive by doing exactly what its name promises: rewards you, or more specifically, rewards you when you do something that promotes life, such as eating food or achieving something you’ve worked hard for. And the way it rewards you is by releasing chemicals in your brain—dopamine, and oxytocin. They help us feel pleasure and to bond with other people, and they motivate us to come back to important activities that make us happy.         The problem is, the reward pathway can be hijacked.
      • And that surge of dopamine is causing more than just feelings. As it goes pulsing through the brain, dopamine helps to create new brain pathways that essentially lead the user back to the behavior that triggered the chemical release.
      • The more a drug user hits up or a porn user looks at porn, the more those pathways get wired into the brain, making it easier and easier for the person to turn back to using, whether they want to or not.
  • Just like drugs, you build up a tolerance so you need more porn for the same effects.
    • Over time, the constant overload of chemicals causes other brain changes as well. Just like a junkie will eventually require more and more of a drug to get a buzz or even just feel normal, porn users can quickly build up a tolerance as their brains adapt to the high levels of dopamine that porn releases. In other words, even though porn is still releasing dopamine into the brain, the user can’t feel its effects as much.
    • That’s because the brain is trying to protect itself from the overload of dopamine by getting rid of some of its chemical receptors, which act like tiny catcher’s mitts that receive the dopamine released. With fewer receptors, the brain thinks less dopamine is there and the user doesn’t feel as strong a reaction. As a result, many porn users have to find more porn, find it more often, or find a more extreme version—or all three—to generate even more dopamine to feel excited.
    • Thanks to the Internet, porn now mixes the most powerful natural dopamine release the body can produce with a cocktail of other elements—endless novelty, shock, and surprise—all of which increase the dopamine surge. [ And because Internet porn offers an endless stream of variety, users can flip to a new image every time their high starts to fade, keeping dopamine levels elevated for hours.
  • Withdrawal symptoms can occur when you try and walk away.
    • And once a porn user becomes accustomed to a brain pulsing with these chemicals, trying to cut back on the habit can lead to withdrawal symptoms, just like with drugs.
  • Porn changes the brain
    • Watching porn lays down new neuro-pathways in your brain. Neurons that fire together, wire together.
    • The more you use, the stronger the neuro-connections and the more difficult it is stop.
    • That doesn’t mean you can’t stop. You can rebuild those path¬ways by avoiding pornography and seeking healthy alternatives.
    • of paths through the woods
    • Once addiction sets in, the user has a whole new set of problems, because addiction damages the part of the brain that helps you think things through to make good choices—the brain’s limit setting system. For more than 10 years, studies have shown that drug addictions can cause the brain’s frontal lobes to start shrinking, it’s the part of the brain that controls logical problem solving and decision making.
  • Porn affects your behavior
    • Porn users tend to think that what they see in porn is normal and even expect it from their partner.
    • Habitual users have more accepting attitudes of violence and report feeling less empathy for rape victims.
    • Many porn users find themselves getting aroused by things that used to disgust them or that go against what they think is morally right. And once they start watching extreme and dangerous sex acts, these porn users are being taught that those behaviors are more normal and common than they actually are.
  • Porn addiction escalates
    • Most users start on free porn, but it doesn’t end there.
    • You begin to need more extreme versions of pornography and more often to get the same effects.
    • Turning to porn becomes the users preferred solution to stress.


Pornography affects relationships

  • Porn kills love
    • Pornographers pretend that what they’re selling is Love 2.0. It’s like love, they say, but easier.
    • You see, in real life, real love requires a real person. And a real person has thoughts and ideas and talents. Maybe they’re quirky and fun to be around; maybe they’re a great listener and always take time to hear how you’re feeling; or maybe they’re awesome at karaoke and being with them gives you the courage to get on stage too. Every person is a unique mix, and it’s that awesome blend that we fall in love with.
    • Of course, pornographers can’t offer any of that, so instead they capitalize on the fact that the real people that real love requires come with some complications. In real life, there’s a chance your partner will be having a bad day or a bad hair day. Maybe they’re tired or under a deadline, so they don’t have time to do exactly what you want. And they have needs of their own that need to be considered.
    • In porn, all of that can get edited out: any physical flaws can be quickly Photoshopped away and no matter what’s happening to them, the people on screen can be made to look like they’re having a good time; and no one seems to have any needs of their own, opinions, or feelings to consider. Besides, if anyone fails to immediately satisfy, there’s always someone new to click to.
    • For those in a relationship, using porn can take things downhill fast. Research has found that after men are exposed to pornography, they rate themselves as less in love with their partner than men who didn’t see any porn. On top of that, another study found that after being exposed to pornographic images, people were more critical of their partner’s: appearance, sexual curiosity, sexual performance, and displays of affection.
    • Over time, those who consistently use porn often may even lose interest in finding love altogether. Frequent porn use is associated with feeling cynical about love in general, less trust in romantic partners, and with feeling like marriage is confining.
    • Porn doesn’t do any favors for the user’s spouse, either. Since so much of men’s porn is only about what the man wants while ignoring anything about what’s good for a woman or a relationship, wives and often end up feeling like their partner doesn’t really value them. Many partners of porn users end up depressed, anxious, and feeling like they can never measure up.
  • Porn is a lie
    • In porn, everything from the way people look to how and why they have sex is a lie. Porn users often get so obsessed with chasing something that isn’t real that they miss out on actual relationships.
    • Thanks to teams of plastic surgeons and some help from Photoshop, the women in porn don’t offer anything close to a realistic picture of what women in real life look like—particularly since we all get older, but pornographic images never age. As a result, people that are regularly exposed to porn are more likely than others to feel poorly about how they look. And after looking at even softcore porn, users feel worse about how their partner looks.
    • And the fiction is more than skin deep. In most porn, a person is only worth the sum of their body parts; it doesn’t matter whether they’re funny or smart, kind or interesting. All they are is a tool for sex.
    • Even sex itself gets completely warped. A typical 45 minute porn flick takes three days of filming to produce, but leaves the viewer with the impression that everything they just watched happened without a break. Porn also makes it look like no matter what a man does, the woman he’s with is thrilled, even though the majority of sexual acts shown are degrading or violent.
    • Porn is full of ideas and beliefs that are completely opposite of what real relationships, real sex, and real love are like. Healthy relationships are built on equality, honesty, respect, and love. But in porn, it’s the reverse; interactions are based on domination, disrespect, abuse, violence, and detachment.
    • Even the experience of using porn is the opposite of what real romantic relationships are like. A real romantic relationship is about being with a person and falling in love with them; it’s about emotional connection and trust. In real relationships you can feel a person there; you can smell them and hear them laugh. The physical pleasure of sex is connected to sharing a whole relationship. With porn, however, sex is about being alone, watching other people do things. It’s about constantly searching for something new, constantly being shocked and surprised.
    • The more a person buys into the porn experience and its ideas, the harder it will be for them to have a real loving relationship or even a real sex life
  • Porn ruins your sex life
    • Porn promises a virtual world filled with sex—more sex, better sex. What it doesn’t mention, however, is that the further a user goes into that fantasy world, the more likely their reality is to become just the opposite. Porn often leads to less sex and less satisfying sex. And for many users, porn eventually means no sex at all.
    • It doesn’t take much porn for things to start heading downhill. In one of the most comprehensive studies on porn use ever conducted, researchers found that after being exposed to softcore sexual material, both men and women were significantly less happy with their partner’s looks, their partner’s willingness to try new sex acts, and their partner’s sexual performance. Even being exposed to porn just once can make people feel less in love with their significant other.
    • When a person starts looking at porn, they first create and then strengthen brain pathways linking feeling aroused with images of porn. Meanwhile the pathways connecting arousal with things like seeing, touching, or cuddling with their partner aren’t getting used. Pretty soon, natural turn-ons aren’t enough, and many porn users find they can’t get aroused by anything but porn. and for many users, over time, even porn isn’t enough.
  • Porn leaves you lonely
    • From a business perspective, the porn industry has a pretty clever racket going. Their product offers users temporary relief from anxiety, depression, and loneliness in exchange for making these same problems much worse in the long-term. That works out really well for pornographers, since the worse their customers’ anxiety and isolation grow, the more reason they have to turn back to porn. But for the user, the end result isn’t nearly so nice.
    • “Any time [a person] spends much time with the usual pornography usage cycle, it can’t help but be a depressing, demeaning, self-loathing kind of experience,” says Dr. Gary Brooks, a psychologist who has worked with porn addicts for the last 30 years.
    • As a result, many users start feeling like something’s wrong with them; they don’t know how to be turned on by a real person, much less form a deep personal connection with one.
    • Studies have found that when people engage in an ongoing pattern of “self-concealment,”—which is when they do things they’re not proud of and keep them a secret from their friends and family members—it not only hurts their relationships and leaves them feeling lonely, but also makes them more vulnerable to severe psychological problems. For both male and female porn users, their habit is often accompanied by problems with anxiety, body-image issues, poor self-image, relationship problems, insecurity, and depression.
    • Porn teaches that both men and women aren’t worth anything more than the sum of their body parts and how much sexual pleasure they can offer. Whether porn users like it or not, those perceptions often start creeping into how they see themselves and other people in real life. The harder it becomes for the user to see themselves and others as anything more than sexual objects, the harder it is to develop real relationships.


Pornography affects society

  • Porn’s dirty little secret
    • The pornography industry works hard to keep up a glamorous image, but behind the camera is a reality of violence, drugs, and human trafficking.
    • With some editing and off-screen coercion, pornographers can make it look like what’s happening onscreen is being enjoyed. But the un-cut version is a different story. Porn actors are constantly threatened and emotionally and verbally abused by agents and directors to force them into doing things they don’t want to do.
    • Not only do pornographers crop out the severe physical and emotional pain actors experience, but in many cases they also hide the fact that some “performers” aren’t given any choice at all.
    • Given that pornography makes prostitution and sexually exploiting others look normal, [8] it’s not surprising that there’s a strong association between pornography use and going to prostitutes. In fact, men who go to prostitutes are twice as likely to have watched a porn film in the last year compared to the general population. [10] It’s also not surprising that when these customers show up, many come ready with porn images in hand to show the women they’re exploiting—many of which are human trafficking victims controlled by pimps—what they’ll be forced to do.
    • In the end, porn fuels prostitution; and porn and prostitution are the products the sex trade exists to deliver
  • Porn warps ideas about sex
    • While porn is often called “adult material,” many of its viewers are well under the legal age. Whether they want to or not, the majority of teens are getting some of their sex ed from porn. And just like cigarette commercials show healthy people puffing away instead of the cancer-causing reality, porn is offering a completely warped idea of what partners, sex, and relationships are really like.
    • In porn, sex with strangers is made to look normal —and more often than not, it’s more than one stranger at a time. And the kinds of sexual acts pornographers get on film are often degrading, dangerous, or violent. “A competitive market means that pornographers are trying to outdo each other to come up with the most extreme images,”
    • As a result, studies show that people who view porn are far more likely to think things like group sex or dangerous sex acts are more common than their non-porn–watching peers.
    • They also cut out the consequences of the kinds of sex shown. In porn, no one contracts sexually transmitted infections; there are no unwanted pregnancies, no cervical cancer, no intestinal parasites, and no skin tearing or bruises. And no matter how rough a person treats their partner, in porn, nearly everything looks like it feels good.
    • In fact, in the study of popular porn videos, in nine scenes out of 10, a women was being hit, beaten, yelled at, or otherwise harmed, and the result was almost always the same—the victim either seemed not to mind or looked happy about it.
    • As a result, consistent porn users wire their sexuality to looking at virtual images of unrealistic, surgically altered bodies. Instead of learning to build relationships with real people, it often feels more natural and arousing to them to be alone in front of a computer.
  • Porn hates families
    • Most of us have an idea of what we want to do in life, and for the majority of people, that plan involves having a family. In fact, more than 80 percent of young adults say that getting married is an important priority in their life plan. And considering married people are far more likely to say they are “highly satisfied” with their lives, it’s probably not such a bad goal. The problem for porn users is that healthy marriages and porn don’t mix well.
    • Research has found that marriages in which one person has a porn problem or sexual compulsion are often plagued by less intimacy and sensitivity, as well as more anxiety, secrecy, isolation, and dysfunction in the relationship.
    • In fact, many people—see looking at porn as a serious threat to being able to stay married at all. Why? For one thing, when a partner is using porn often, it takes away time they could otherwise be spending together. On top of that, many partners consider it cheating—or close to cheating—when their partner is using images of someone else’s body to get aroused.
    • And virtual cheating isn’t the only thing user’s spouses have to worry about. Studies have found that married porn users are more likely than non-users to have sex with someone other than their spouse, and men who look at porn are also more likely to go to prostitutes.
    • And even if a user never goes that far, people who look at pornography are also more likely to be more sexually permissive—such as being OK with having lots of sexual partners and dangerous kinds of sex—which is associated with having less stable marriages later in life.
    • In a recent study 62 percent of the divorce attorneys surveyed said that obsession with porn had been a significant factor in divorce cases they had handled in the last year.
    • Whether or not a porn user’s marriage falls apart, their spouse isn’t the only one affected. Children are often victims, too, either by being directly exposed to pornographic images or by being neglected by a parent who uses the time they could be spending with their kids to instead sit alone in front of their computer.
    • Most people want to be happy and to have a happy family as well. And the more we learn about porn and its effects, the clearer it becomes that a porn habit makes both of those goals harder and harder to reach.



  • How to help
  • Help people with pain and shame . . . with grace and love
  • How to interact with people


Phil 4:8-9

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.


James 5:16

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed