8 Reasons You Don’t Want to Look at Pornography

Trust me, you don’t want to look at pornography.

Preparing the final for my Mass Communications class, I thought I should share some of what we studied about one of the biggest players in the media today: pornography. Let’s count the reasons you don’t want to look at pornography.

1. You don’t want to be addicted.

A brief look, especially for guys, opens hormonal valves that make it hard to stop, because it dumps chemicals in your brain that demand more and more (the excellent “Fight the New Drug” website explains.)

Deciding to take a quick look at pornography is like deciding to open an airplane window for a second. To do so yanks you out of your world into its world.

2. You don’t want to support the pornography industry.

The pornography industry is an unhappy place. Look at the statistics: Women in pornography are much more likely to have been child victims of sex abuse and from foster care situations than the general population. They are more often depressed, more often in abusive relationships, more often the victims of sexual assault in adulthood, and more likely to be living in poverty.

“I work in this business and I know how many girls end up in the hospital suffering from brutal scenes,” wrote one man on an adult DVD industry website. “I know how many of these teenage girls have to go to an emergency room or a 24-hour clinic with chronic [e-coli-like] infections.”

Do you think it’s wrong for the industry to take advantage of people this way? Well, it’s just as wrong for you to take advantage of them through the industry.

3. You don’t want to kill your soul.

Let’s say it: Sin is a real thing, and it really kills your soul. “Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself,” says the Catechism, No. 1861. “If it is not redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ’s kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back.”

For a sin to be mortal you need three things, says the Catechism: The act must be gravely wrong, and you must choose it with “full knowledge” and “complete consent.” Pornography is a “grave offense.” When you supply the other two conditions, it’s mortal.

4. You don’t want to be unable to form lasting bonds with real people.

Pornography users have a much harder time forming real, lasting, mutually satisfying bonds with real human beings. Patrick Fagan’s excellent research showed that.

As Pope John Paul put it, the opposite of love is use. To use another human being to please yourself is worse than hating them — and the more you use human beings to please yourself, the more incapable of love you become.

5. You don’t want to be creepy.

Men who are habitual users of pornography stop seeing people: They see parts. The pornography use trains them to think of people in a creepy way. They become creepy in ways that bother them, driving their self-esteem downward.

Davy Rothbart’s R-rated New York magazine piece demonstrates that.  The headline says it all about the porn addict: “He’s Just Not That Into Anyone.” But the quotes in it — for instance from John Mayer — make it clear that pornography brings people to a very creepy place.

6. Women, increasingly, hate it.

As Rothbart’s piece demonstrates, there may be a bit of a generation gap here — some women imitate pornography. Many also use it, as Patrick Fagan’s research points out. But in religious circles, a wife’s discovery that her spouse is using pornography is psychologically just as damaging as a wife’s discovery that her spouse is involved in an affair. Peter Kleponis, who works a lot with pornography addicts and assists dioceses in fighting the addiction, explained to me the “trust wound” they feel.

In Iceland, feminists are behind a push to ban online pornography and the sex industry. Feminist Gail Dines explains that especially now, pornography is far from empowering to women. Pornography increasingly is not about showing women enjoying themselves, but showing behaviors that are debasing; Gail Dines’ presentations are not for the weak-hearted.

7. You don’t want to change to suit your pornography habit.

Pornography draws users into stranger and stranger places, according to the studies Pat Fagan cites.  It also makes them less committed to their spouses, more likely to have lenient views of rape, and, as several news stories pointed out recently, makes them more open to redefining marriage.

It makes sense. As my students learn: We imitate what we see. And we are what we choose.

8. Pornography is the opposite of beauty.

Beauty is ennobling. It draws you toward goodness and truth. It inspires you to be better than you were, more loving, more caring. Pornography apes the appeal of beauty, but  — since its appeal is chemical, not spiritual — it twists it and warps it.

A friend of mine says it’s only a matter of time before the Left, which currently is accepting of pornography, turns against it. Oprah has. Salon, along with lots of pro-pornography articles, occasionally publishes pieces that ask questions like, “Did Porn Warp Me Forever?”

So, you don’t want to look at porn. You want to look at beauty. Here is a place to start: I consider this video (which includes a non-pornographic naked guy briefly) the very opposite of pornography. Let it teach you how to appreciate the vast wide world outside your computer screen.

For more information …

www.FighttheNewDrug.org is a great, dynamic site with lots of facts and testimonials.

www.flrl.org/TrueFreedom.htm offered by the Archdiocese of New York, this site includes many helpful Catholic resources for breaking free from pornography.



Categories:Culture Marriage New Evangelization

  • Tim

    Isa god truly does love you and your life will get better every day. Thank you so much Tom for this article! I am a conservative wholesome guy. But i started looking at porn and it does take over u. It is all true. It messes with your brain and you look up dirtier and sicker things each time. You always want more. I have stopped looking at it and plan to avoid it for the rest of my life. Life is better without porn. It will make you less outgoing and confident as well. one tip is that boredom can lead to porn so keep busy and productive.

  • http://www.cosmicclan.com Cameron

    I never did watch porn but sometimes I was like “I want to”. But, to your reasons, I shall now stop. Thank you so much!

  • VLB

    As a sex industry survivor I completely agree with this article. Porn is a horrible industry and truly does kill your soul. It’s bad for both the consumers and participants. Great article!

  • http://www.myhousekcsj.org Dino Durando

    For readers near the area where Tom Hoopes lives (the Kansas City area) there are great initiatives to help men and women get help and to support families trying to counteract this serious attack on healthy family life. In the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, MO there is http://www.myhousekcsj.org and in the Archdiocese of Kansas City, KS there is http://www.loveisfaithful.com. If you live elsewhere check with your diocese as there are many places throughout the country where the Church is taking this epidemic seriously and providing help to the faithful.

  • Addict

    This article is so true. Pornography can rip you apart. come a compulsion, where they can’t control themselves and move to more and more disgusting things until finally you move on to things beyond porn. I thank God that I was able to get help from Sexual Addicts Anonymous (SAA), a counselor, and a spiritual director. Had I not gotten help, I almost certainly would have had an affair and likely ended up divorced. Porn addiction is more serious and widespread than people realize. Look up “the great porn experiment” on youtube if you want some shocking scientific information about what it does to your brain.

    If you’re a young man struggling with porn (i.e. you want to stop, but can’t) please get help. You are not a terrible person and you can find healing. Most of the men who attend SAA or similar groups are married men who want to stop watching porn because they were doing it compulsively at work or it led to affairs. They are some of the nicest, least judgmental people you’ll meet and they can help you. You are not alone and you can break the habit.

  • http://Catholicvote Isa

    When I was 8 years old i was molested by a 15 year old cousin who had free access to porn, but that was not enough for him, he sent two other persons to molest me also. Because of these acts done to me, I grew up thinking I was worthless, used goods, not worthy. I thought God did not love me. Every point here spoken is true, it does happen.



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