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It all seemed so simple the first time you flipped through the pages of a porn magazine or clicked a link on the internet to see a video. You thought, "This can't be a bad thing. I'll only look for a few minutes."
But then a few minutes turned into an hour, then an afternoon, and then a whole day. Then another day. Before long, you were hooked. Porn became a consuming desire that was almost always on your mind.
But nobody told you where your porn usage would lead. They didn't tell you the high price you would pay in so many areas of your life. And they certainly didn't tell you about all the devastated lives that resulted from producing and watching porn.
Here are 5 things that you probably wish you knew before you started watching porn.
1. It changes your brain
When you're watching porn, it is not simply your eyes that are involved. Chemicals and circuits within your mind spring into action. They begin to form pathways in your brain that become more embedded with each piece of porn viewed.
Author Luke Gilkerson explained,"Multiple problems happen when porn is used. First, instead of forming a deep connection to a person, your brain ends up "bonding" to a pornographic experience. Your brain remembers where the sexual high was experienced, and each time you desire sexual stimulation, you feel a sharp sense of focus: I've got to go back to the porn."
Dopamine is one of the powerful chemicals that drive the reward center of the brain. Viewing porn causes dopamine levels to rise and fall, creating the desire for more stimulation.
Gary Wilson, author of Your Brain on Porn, noted, "When dopamine receptors drop after too much stimulation, the brain doesn't respond as much, and we feel less reward from pleasure. That drives us to search even harder for feelings of satisfaction--for example, by seeking out more extreme sexual stimuli, longer porn sessions, or more frequent porn viewing - thus further numbing the brain."
2. It will affect your relationships
You may think your porn viewing is only affecting you. Unfortunately, it changes your relationships with your children, family, friends, and many other people. Especially your wife.
Research shows that porn usage is a major contributing factor in about half of all divorces in the United States. Porn breaks the bond of trust, isolation, and sets unrealistic standards that your wife feels she must meet to compete with the women you are viewing.
But all of your relationships will eventually suffer. Author John Buckingham noted in Relevant Magazine,"Sexual addiction is not a thing to be taken lightly. It is a destroyer of relationships and a corrupter of the body of Christ. Satan uses it against us to crush us and divide us one from another as we cover our shame with lies and half-truths."
3. This was not the actress' or the actor's dream job
So you may think those actors and actresses in the porn videos have a great job, right? That's not what some porn insiders have described.
Former porn star Shelley Lubben, who is the founder and president of The Pink Cross Foundation which ministers to the sex industry, said,
"The California pornography industry is a destructive, drug infested, abusive and sexually diseased industry which causes severe negative secondary effects on female and male adult industry workers as well as the general public."
One male porn star who has been in 600 films confirmed Lubben's claim about the rampant sexually transmitted diseases (STD), "Every professional in the porn-world has herpes, male or female."
Lubben stated,"We hate every minute of it. We're traumatized little girls living on anti-depressants, drugs and alcohol acting out our pain in front of YOU who continue to abuse us."
4. It can lead to erectile dysfunction (ED)
Researchers are discovering that porn can cause erectile dysfunction in men. According to The Daily Mail, the Naval Research Center of San Diego noticed "a strong association between regularly watching porn and suffering from a lack of sexual desire and erectile dysfunction."
The vast amounts of pornographic images that are easily and quickly available today are a main cause of porn-related ED.
Author Matt Fradd wrote,"Online porn viewing is, among other things, novelty-seeking behavior: constantly clicking, multiple tabs open, always looking for the next girl, the next sexual buzz. A real woman--no matter how she looks--is only one woman. A brain trained for constant sexual novelty won't find her arousing."
Gabe Deem told The Globe and Mail that he realized he had a problem when he was 23 years old.
"Ultimately it desensitized me and rewired my brain to my computer screen to the point where, in real life, I couldn't feel anything in an intimate situation. My generation was told growing up that porn was cool because it was 'sex positive'. But what can be more 'sex negative' than being unable to perform in bed."
5. It changes the way you view the opposite sex
Porn usage dramatically impacts how a man views women. The fantasy world of porn replaces reality and leads men to disrespect women and can even lead to violence when trying to act out what was viewed.
A recent study found that 88 percent of the hundreds of porn scenes they analyzed depicted violent behavior towards women.
Marriage Today reported,"Research has proven that just two sessions of one hour exposures of R-rated sexual entertainment changes men's attitudes toward women. They begin to objectify women and no longer see them as individually unique or valuable. The reason is because of the demeaning manner in which women and sex are portrayed."
It's time to learn the truth about porn
To help men struggling with pornography, churches around the world are running a powerful cinematic course called the Conquer Series
this Fall. In the series you will learn vital - and truthful - information about how you can have victory over your porn usage. The series uses compelling testimonies, teaching, and exciting video clips to inform and challenge you.