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This causes the individual to experience less pleasure from pornography use as well as other activities that formerly provided pleasure as the addiction progresses, and, in turn, to respond with an increased use of pornography, often increasingly graphic in nature. In addition to the systematic shutdown of dopamine receptors, when addicted to pornography, particularly internet pornography, parts of the brain often experience a sort of atrophy identical to the type of damage seen in those addicted to gambling, alcohol, and drugs.

This takes place primarily in the prefrontal cortex, rendering the addict far less capable of relating to and bonding with other people, as well as greatly damaging his or her ability to moderate social behaviors. The drastic decrease in use of the prefrontal cortex, that is, constant reliance upon parts of the brain used in lower functioning, also impairs logical and moral decision-making, especially involving the ability to project future consequences.

Lucretia Monique Ward, Sarah E. Erickson, Julia R. Lippman, and Soraya Giaccardi

It should be mentioned that not all who view pornography are addicted. There are some who view pornography occasionally, but do not experience the cravings, the overwhelming response to triggers, and the interference in their daily lives that addiction causes. Also, because of the powerful effects of current pornographic material, its cultural normalization, and the ubiquity of material, occasional use can easily become compulsive. So, unless we are given substantial time to work with someone who has reported pornography usage to understand their particular situation, the approach should probably be the same as if the behavior were compulsive or that the individual was soon approaching the level of addiction.

As the addiction process begins, the damage done to the reasoning capacity of the user hinders his or her ability to relate to God. Pornography is a grave offense against chastity and the dignity of the conjugal act, and it violates the dignity of each user, especially the dignity of each individual involved in the production of pornography. It has become increasingly clear that individuals who use pornography are not the only ones affected by their behavior; the effect on the family of the user is far-reaching and devastating.

Individuals using pornography often experience a progressive disabling of arousal capabilities in real sexual encounters with their spouse. This most commonly leads to an experience of marital dissatisfaction and dissociation of sexual relations from emotional intimacy.

These realities correlate to an increase of one spouse pressuring the other to participate in sexually deviant or harmful activities, infidelity, domestic abuse, separation, and divorce. The effects on the spouses of those who use pornography are usually traumatic and devastating, but this is frequently overlooked.


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In addition to feelings of betrayal, anger, and inadequacy, spouses often experience feelings of loss and depression. The divide created in marriages by pornography use is often as damaging as full physical infidelity. Due to the length and breadth of the deception often involved in pornography addiction in marriage, spouses of the addicted often experience lengthy periods of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder upon discovery.

Does Pornography Impact Romantic Relationships? | Psychology Today

Studies show that the greater the length of the marriage prior to disclosure of an addiction, the more severe the experience of PTSD symptoms will be. Typically beginning a few months after discovery, spouses particularly women will experience various symptoms of psychological, emotional, social, and even physical impairment. Children of those who use pornography, are at a greater risk for becoming a user of pornography, and they risk the effects of encountering their parent using pornography.

It also puts children at much greater risk of being sexually abused or objectified. Even if the parent who is using pornography works to hide it well, their capacity to relate on a deep level and provide necessary intimacy will be greatly inhibited. One of the major reasons for the immense impact that internet pornography has had on so many is that there are so many obstacles to preventing pornography exposure:. After an overview of both the effects of pornography exposure and some of the reasons why there are so many who are affected so deeply by this exposure, we move to discussion of what types of healing are necessary and available.

For individuals who are affected by pornography exposure, both male and female, there are certain elements that must necessarily be a part of any successful efforts to provide help and healing. We will now give an overview of the types of healing that are available and help to provide for the necessary elements listed above:.

It has been a relatively recent development in the understanding of pornography addiction recovery that the spouses of those who are addicted need specific and substantial attention, and that they cannot really provide the right kind of support for the recovery of their spouse until they first get help with their own wounds. The great majority of information on this deals with the wives of men who are addicted to pornography. It has been discovered that they often show symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and require professional help to recover properly.

This deeply affects their self-worth and often leads to depression. These women need to hear that it really has nothing to do with them, but this is a hard truth to understand or believe. Professional help is a must, and group support can be extremely helpful, either in person or by phone.

It seems that having the phone option is important since many husbands would rather their wives not share their struggles with anyone, and it can be more difficult for women to be regularly away from the house, especially if they have young children. The children of those who are addicted or who live in the household of those addicted will need special attention, as well.

It is extremely important for clergy to receive some education not only regarding the effects of pornography, but also what it does to the spouses and families of those who are affected. Because of how quickly these dynamics have developed over time, many clergy struggle to relate to the powerful effects of internet pornography, especially for the young. There are some resources that provide strategies for clergy, especially in the Sacrament of Confession and in spiritual direction where most of the conversations about pornography usage and addiction occur.

Sean Kilcawley, Director of the Family Life Office of the Diocese of Lincoln, is a nationally respected authority for helping priests understand the nature of the effects of pornography and strategies for aiding in the recovery process. Although the constant growth of the numbers of individuals and families affected by pornography is overwhelming, our hope that God can provide the needed healing and wholeness is strengthened by the knowledge and strong resources that have been made available to us in recent years.

Many are receiving the necessary help that only the Church can provide, and it is our hope that our efforts in this area will make it possible for more structures of support and healing to be established and strengthened. We trust that God will continue to provide both the guidance and the resources necessary, and we will continue to offer our prayers for those who are being called to serve in this capacity and for those who are in such deep need of help. David Dawson, Jr.

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Jude Halphen , Diocese of Lafayette Fr. Home I'm New Welcome! Examination of Conscience Why Confession? Pornography Help. Effects The effects of pornography use range from the biological and neurological to the psychological and sociological. Obstacles to Prevention One of the major reasons for the immense impact that internet pornography has had on so many is that there are so many obstacles to preventing pornography exposure: The first is the constant, exponential growth of technology and new internet material.

My sexual thoughts drove me mad. Then I realised it was OCD - Rose Bretécher - Comment is Free

Availability of internet access has grown to the point of being a constant need. Not only are smart phones and tablets made increasingly more affordable, they have become seen as a cultural necessity for functioning in society, and since most functions apps utilize internet access, there are an ever-growing number of ways to access sexually explicit material both intentionally and non-intentionally. Ikeda, T.

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The effects of exposure to filmed sexual violence on attitudes toward rape. Journal of Interpersonal Violence , 10, Allen, M. Pornography and rape myth acceptance. Journal of Communication , 45, Hald, G. Pornography and attitudes supporting violence against women: revisiting the relationship in non experimental studies. Aggressive Behavior , 36, Monto, M. Focusing on the clients of street prostitutes: a creative approach to reducing violence against women.

Final report for the National Institute of Justice. Available at www. Stack, S. Social Science Quarterly , 85, Malamuth, N. Rape fantasies as a function of exposure to violent sexual stimuli. Archives of Sexual Behavior , 10, Barak, A. Journal of Psychological and Human Sexuality , 11, Bonino, S. Rabaglietti, E. Use of pornography and self-reported engagement in sexual violence among adolescents. European Journal of Developmental Psychology , 3, 3, Brown, J.

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How pornography influences and harms sexual behavior

X-Rated: Sexual attitudes and behaviors associated with U. Communication Research, 36, Vega, V. Predicting sexual aggression: The role of pornography in the context of general and specific risk factors. Aggressive Behavior, 33, — Boeringer, S. Pornography and sexual aggression: Associations of violent and nonviolent depictions with rape and rape proclivity.

Deviant Behavior , 15, Social incentives represent reasons for social integration and acceptance. LaRose, Lin, and Eastin describe self-evaluative incentives as rewards intended to leave individuals with a general sense of self-satisfaction that is derived from accomplishing an activity that meets desired standards.