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Looking for that perfect mate is a proverbial problem that has paved a way for profitable businesses. From shows like Millionaire Matchmaker to online dating websites like eHarmony, single men (and women) are looking for love. But even with a myriad of matchmaking tools and avenues, finding the right one hasn't been more difficult as it is today.
Men are simply staying single longer than they ever have before.
Not only is the percentage of married Americans at its lowest since 1920, the marriage age is also at its highest ever - 29.5 years old on average for men according to a February 2017 Pew Research Center report.
In other words, less men are tying the knot and by the time they do, they're almost 30. At first glance, you might think: "That's not so bad." However, when you examine the developing trend much closer, you'll realize there's something more alarming to these statistics.
So, what's the reason men are staying single longer?
In November 2014, a study released by The Institute for the Study of Labor (ISL) in Germany analyzing over a thousand surveys of men aged 18 to 35 found that porn makes marriage less attractive to men, who are able to find "low cost sexual gratification" via other avenues.
How can this be?
Dr. Judith Reisman, author, historian and activist who won a lawsuit against Playboy, likens the phenomena to that of the gypsy moth in a late 1960s experiment.
Real vs. Synthetic Attraction
"Years ago, someone had the clever idea to establish an amazing new silk industry in the United States, so they brought in gypsy moths [to mate and] create [it]," explains Reisman.
Instead, they ate our trees. The effects were disastrous. It was time to destroy the moths before they destroyed our forests, but pesticide after pesticide didn't do the job.
"Finally, somebody came up with the very creative erotic concept... to have synthetic but intense smells of the female moths put into little pellets." said Reisman.
At mating time, the male gypsy moths would seek after the smell of the female gypsy moths.
All around them were females fluttering, waiting to be chosen, but the male gypsy moths would continue to float all around, looking for that perfect mate... and finding no one.
"She's all over the place, but he is not finding her," said Reisman.
He didn't find her, because the natural female scent couldn't compete with the synthetic lab-created smell they had been exposed to.
"Eventually, they couldn't mate [and] they died, because that smell never equals what she's got," concluded Reisman. "In essence, that is exactly what has been happening with pornography."
Porn reduces the desire to marry... and stay married
Marriage used to mean sexual gratification. Today, that is found elsewhere.
This, in turn, affects the marriage rate.
Men who are 25 to 34 years old are six times more likely to never have been married than they were in 1970. And men 35 to 44 are four times as likely to never have been married, according to the ISL study.
Think you are in the clear if you are already married? Think again.
Viewing X-rated films was associated with unhappiness in marriage, a decreased satisfaction with and lower frequency of intimate relations, and a higher likelihood of having an affair and getting a divorce, the ISL study found.
To top it off, wives are more likely to equate porn use with infidelity.
Even more disturbing... the study pointed to a claim that 87% of young men use porn. That means a vast majority of young men are growing up with porn and learning to attach to that which is synthetic. Can you imagine what kind of impact that will have on society for years to come?
But why? The chemicals that drive us
According to experts, Dr. Weiss, Executive Director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center and Dr. Tim Jennings, neuroscientist and author of The God Shaped Brain, there are some chemical reasons that men become embroiled in pornography... and can't let go.
"Whatever a man looks at, at the point of orgasm, he will attach to." Says Dr. Weiss.
Neurochemicals as powerful as drugs flood the brain when you watch porn.
Bonding hormones, such as oxytocin and vasopressin, which are normally released when a man and a woman are skin to skin with each other are released when a man watches porn.
These neurochemicals were designed by God to give us pleasure within the right relationships and by performing the right actions, but when they're done outside of God's will they create addictions and a cycle of shame that accompanies their behavior.
"Addictions decouple the higher cortical functions. When we do that through pornography... [it] surges dopamine into the pleasure circuits in a very similar way that drugs do, and it... damages those areas of the brain," said Jennings. "So over the course of time, as you do this, the dopamine circuits of the brain become less responsive to normal pleasure."
So Godly pleasure is no longer pleasurable.
Strawberries aren't as sweet
Jennings points to a strawberry analogy to help explain.
"If you are really starving, ravenous, and hungry and there is a fresh bowl of perfectly ripe strawberries on the table, how would they taste?" Jennings asked. "They would taste sweet, and you'd get pleasure... it's good."
In your brain, your nucleus accumbens is activated and you are getting dopamine surges.
However, if you look at those same strawberries after eating a Snickers bar, they don't taste so sweet. In fact, they can taste downright sour to you.
It's not the strawberries that have changed... it's you.
"You've artificially overstimulated your taste receptors with a high concentration of manmade sugar product, because you can't go pick a Snickers bar off of a tree." concludes Jennings.
Finding Our Way Back into Love
So how do we as individuals and as a society return to what is real?
There are ways to reset a brain that's hooked on porn. It doesn't involve willpower or simply trying harder.
It takes time and the creation of new neural pathways in the brain.
"Telling a man to try harder is only tightening the noose," explains Dr. Ted Roberts, former Marine Fighter Pilot, pastor, and host of the Conquer Series
which has helped over 450,000 men to overcome porn addiction. "Our goal with the Conquer Series
is to give men a battle plan for purity. We've got a great tool here that will change lives."
Reisman, Weiss, Jennings and Roberts are among the many experts featured in the Conquer Series
6-disc DVD set who provide amazing insight that helps set men free from pornography and sexual sin, while providing practical steps and biblically based principles to live in purity.
Learn more about the Conquer DVD series here