Porn Kills Healthy Sex; Healthy Sex Kills Porn

Porn vs Healthy Sexuality Creates A Tug-of-War

      Last week I wrote about the 22 differences between porn-related sex and healthy sex.   

      This week I delve more deeply into the top 3 differences.  I also include a former porn star's inspiring story.  Now, onto how porn kills healthy sex and how healthy sex kills porn.  

     A famous teacher once said that if you have two bosses you are going to hate one and love the other.  Basically, you are going to have to choose which boss you are going to follow or comply with.  You can't make both bosses happy.   Being loyal to one means upsetting the other and vice versa.  Some of you may even have bosses, teachers or even parents that have competing agendas.  And, I'm sure the tug-of-war drives you nuts.  It's an illustration that sometimes in life two paths are incompatible.  To gain one you have to give up the other.      

     There's a similar dynamic when it comes to pornography and a healthy sexuality.  If you choose porn then you give up a healthy sexuality and vice versa.  Pornography pulls you away from healthy sexuality and healthy sexuality can pull you away from pornography.  The main issue is that we are influenced by what we watch especially when you add an orgasm into the mix.  Our brain is able to change and it adapts itself based on rewards.  If sex to your brain = isolated porn and masturbation, experiences outside of that will not "feel right."  For some guys this means erectile dysfunction or delayed ejaculation when it comes to having sex with a real person.  Rewiring your brain to a healthy sexuality requires an intentional process and is not easily done.  (For more on that you can go HERE.)  

     For many guys whose first sexual experience was pornography the idea of "healthy sexuality" may seem completely foreign.  Let me break down some of the major differences between a healthy sexuality and a porn sexuality.

Real Relationships and Real Love vs. Sexual Narcissism 

     Healthy sexuality is about being in a real relationship that requires real love.  Real love is often about setting aside some of your own needs to be able to meet the needs of the other.  Sometimes, it's about communication and finding a compromise that works for both people.  To love someone else you have to learn about them, see them for who they really are and be receptive to the way they view the world.  Love is an "other" oriented experience.  

      The porn experience, on the other hand, is set-up to be a self-focused experience.  You have control over where you click, what you see and what you do to yourself.  You don't like the way that girl/guy looks, simply "click" and find another.  You get bored of that scene, "click," you can just go to the next.  You also set the schedule and decide when and where you want it.  

Narcissus   (1590s) by   Caravaggio

Narcissus (1590s) by Caravaggio

     Pornography creates a sexual narcissism that can't coexist in a healthy relationship.  When your partner is sad because they had a hard day you can't "click" to the next scene.  When your partner is having a bad hair day you can't "click" her hair to the way you like it.  You can't love porn and a real person.  

Giving and Receiving vs. Control 

     Healthy sexuality is about freely giving and receiving.  This can be scary for a lot of people because intimacy is about being vulnerable and not being in control.  As much as we would like to pretend at times that we can control someone else we really can't.  They can break our heart, reject us or even betray us.  But, they can also choose to love us and sacrifice for us in a way that brings an inexplicable joy to our lives.  That's intimacy and that's real life.      

Pornography Is Playing Puppet Master

     Pornography on the other hand is about control.  The porn experience is setup so that you are a puppet master with the people on the screen playing your puppets.  In fact, there's a popular trend in pornography towards live webcams where you can be the writer and director of your own porn film.  You pick the person, the setting and command their behaviors.  There's no risk of being betrayed, no risk of being rejected.  The illusion is that you have all the power and every experience you choose to have will be "successful."  The problem is that it is an illusion.  With each "click" you take one step closer to becoming addicted.  If you become addicted you have lost your choice to choose pornography.  Pornography now has control over you rather than you having control over it.

Equality vs. Injustice

     Healthy sexuality is about equality.  Equality is key because without it there is no freely giving and receiving.  If there is a significant power differential in a relationship coercion and manipulation often follow.  Manipulation and coercion lessen the likelihood that the more vulnerable person is truly choosing to be with that person.  Let me put this on an experiential level.  All of us have seen significantly older men with significantly younger women.  For most people it can create a disturbed feeling.  It more resembles a father/daughter relationship than a peer relationship.  Part of it is that incest is taboo.  But, I think most people are disturbed by it because a father/daughter relationship is an unequal relationship.  In a healthy sexuality each person is able to freely choose the other.  It is more vulnerable but also more amazing to experience someone freely choosing you.  

     Saying pornography is a form of injustice may seem like a big statement but it is true.  Pornography is a symptom of and a contributor to the misogyny (hatred of women) that is part of our culture.  1 in 3 women are sexually abused as children.  1 in 4 women will be raped in their lifetime.  When you listen to former porn stars talk many of them see their time in the porn industry as a reenactment of the sexual and physical abuse they experienced growing up.  (For more on that you can check out the video).  88% of the top selling pornography films depict violence.  94% of the violence was against women [1].  Sex trafficking is also a part of the porn industry.  One girl who was enslaved and tortured made the front cover of the adult magazine, Hustler [2].  To participate in pornography is to participate in a form of injustice.  It is feeding on the abuse of others.  Another reason why pornography and healthy sexuality cannot coexist.

To take your knowledge on this issue to another level check these books out.

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Citations


[1] Bridges, A. J., Wosnitzer, R., Scharrer, E., Chyng, S., and Liberman, R. (2010). Aggression and Sexual Behavior in Best Selling Pornography Videos: A Content Analysis Update. Violence Against Women 16, 10: 1065–1085.

[2] Peters, R. W., Lederer, L. J., and Kelly, S. (2012). The Slave and the Porn Star: Sexual Trafficking and Pornography. In M. Mattar and J. Braunmiller (Eds.) Journal of Human Rights and Civil Society 5: 1-21; U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri. (2010). Woman Tortured as Slave, Victim of Trafficking and Forced Labor. Press Release, September 9. http://www.justice.gov/usao/mw/news2010/bagley.ind.htm

         



Alex Lerza

My goal as a therapist, speaker and writer is to help people experience the gift of sexual and relational wholeness. Currently I work at Christian Counseling Center in San Jose as a Marriage Family Therapist, Intern. Though I come from a place of faith I have treated clients from all creeds and orientations. I completed my Master's degree from Santa Clara University in 2012. Because I felt called to the area of sexual wholeness I became an Associate Sex Addiction Therapist in 2013. However, I quickly learned that trauma is the cause for a significant amount of sexual and relational brokenness so I also became certified in two trauma-reduction therapies--Affect Management Skills Training and Affect Centered Therapy (similar to EMDR). PSYCHOTHERAPIST. Trauma and Sexual Addiction. One of my passions is to help people break free from sexual addiction and heal from trauma. With hundreds of hours of training in trauma and sexual addiction, I provide clients a clear path out of addiction so that they may enjoy healthier relationships and lead more focused lives. Couples. I love helping couples discover the gift of a healthy marriage. I excel at teaching couples how to communicate, how to heal from betrayal and how to deepen their level of passion and intimacy. Teens. Being a teen is tough. I enjoy helping teens who struggle to connect with peers, have questions about identity or want to kick a pornography addiction. I also run a 10 week program for teen guys looking for a band of brothers and accountability with sexual compulsivity. Individuals. I believe that everyone has something to offer the world that no one else can. I hate to see depression or anxiety limit a person's ability to make their special offering come alive. I offer clients the compassion, tools and strategies they need to make their mark and fulfill their personal vision.