On many blogs that talk about porn addiction, the advice that many people offer is simple: do not date or marry a porn addict. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as that. The Huffington Post says that 90% of boys and 60% of girls are exposed to pornography before the age of 18. Also included are these statistics:
- Eight in ten(79%) men between the ages of 18 and 30 view pornography monthly
- Two-thirds (67%) of men between the ages of 31 and 49 view pornography monthly
- One-half (49%) of men between the ages of 50 and 68 view pornography monthly
- Christian men are watching pornography at work at the same rate as the national average
- One-third (33%) of men between the ages of 18 and 30 either think that they are addicted or are unsure if they are addicted to pornography
- Combined, 18% of all men either think that they are addicted or are unsure if they are addicted to pornography, which equates to 21 million men
As you can see, a majority of men regularly watch pornography, and 18% of all men either believe they are addicted to porn or are unsure if they are: that is 21 million men! It is safe to say that most men have at least watched pornography and there are still a lot who actively watch pornography monthly. Does it make these men bad people? No. It makes them human. We are all human beings and the only one who is perfect is God. We all have our vices, bad habits and things about us that may annoy or hurt others. But I believe these struggles are a blessing in disguise. It teaches us about ourselves and what we have to do differently in our daily lives. Even though it is still a struggle with G, he is learning what he has to do differently. He is learning about what his triggers are, what websites to avoid, and what he can do in his free time that is healthy. You can turn a bad habit into a healthy obsession. Exercise, healthy diet, sex, reading, writing, a glass of wine/an alcoholic beverage, etc., are all healthy obsessions. Porn, excessive drinking, smoking, doing drugs, etc., are unhealthy obsessions.
When you do something that feels good, the brain recognizes that feeling and it builds something called “muscle memory”, also known as brain plasticity. Even if it feels lousy afterwards, it feels good in the moment so the brain remembers this. It is why it is often difficult for an addict to break an addiction. There may be withdrawal symptoms, like shaking, pain, and thinking about the addiction. Many addicts also suffer from problems like anxiety, depression, and use their addictions as a way to cope with life.
We all use things to cope with life, just some of us get addicted to those things and don’t know how to deal with the bad in life without something comforting. For people like G who don’t even masturbate and who eat and look at porn to feel some sort of comfort and control, it is understandable why it is difficult to break bad habits. Habits like porn and eating follow us throughout our whole lives, and it is hard to break away from something that is short term medicine.
But life is not about self-medicating on large doses, but rather about facing life head on without medicine or a band-aid. People as a whole feel insecure. We feel we have no control over our lives, so we push ourselves beyond our limits in order to get a rush and feel in control. Viewing porn and eating food stimulates our minds and makes us feel good, even temporarily. Some days are better than others because we are humans and we are also unpredictable. But attempting to control one’s own life in a healthy way is better than doing things that are harmful to themselves or other people.
Addictions aren’t just things that hurt you, but they hurt others. Whether it is because of the pain of watching someone you love self destruct (my brother is an alcoholic), or whether it’s because the thing they are doing hurts you personally (when my boyfriend watches porn it hurts me), the pain is unbearable for others. Think of how your behavior affects those closest to you before you act.