5 Ways Pornography Will Ruin Your Life… and How to Break Free
“All men watch porn.”
“It’s just something done in private. It doesn’t hurt anyone.”
These are some of the lies the enemy would have us believe about pornography… especially the last statement.
But the truth is exactly the opposite.
Viewing porn results in a wide range of devastating consequences for you and others, including those closest to you.
Here are five major ways pornography usage will ruin your life—unless you pursue a battle plan to conquer sexual addiction.
Truth #1: Pornography Damages your Brain
A porn addict’s brain looks similar to a heroin addict’s in brain scan. In both cases, you are changing the very structure of your brain.
There are two key points to understand here.
First, your brain is constantly changing in response to your thoughts, actions and experience, creating trails in your brain.
By doing the same thing over and over, you strengthen those neural pathways – the trails in your brain – so that they fire on an automatic sequence. This strengthens porn’s hold on you, making it that much harder to try to break free.
Dr. Jes Montgomery, psychiatrist and addictionologist, shares this in the Conquer Series, a DVD cinematic study that helps men break free from porn:
“The brain will do the thing with which it is most familiar. Addiction provides a powerful pathway from ‘I don’t feel good’ to… ‘I feel magically wonderful.’”
Second, watching pornography bypasses and weakens the prefrontal cortex. This part of your brain is responsible for impulse control and good decision making.
It also sends a powerful jolt of dopamine and other hormones directly into your limbic system – a lower part of the brain where pleasure is experienced and where you act on impulse.
When those chemicals (strong as any drug!) hit, you feel better for a short period of time. However, the desire to watch porn again returns with a vengeance.
Not only that, over time, you damage the brain’s pleasure center so that you are less able to experience normal pleasure.
In short… you need higher and stronger doses of dopamine to get your fix. Often, this leads to men seeking out more extreme forms of pornography, more frequently, as well as indulging in riskier behavior.
What all of this comes down to is: you now have an abnormal brain.
Underactive in some areas and overactive in others, your brain displays this as bumps and craters which can be seen in scans.
Truth #2: Pornography will Thin out your Wallet
“Time is money,” Benjamin Franklin once said.
The time you spend on pornography is robbing you – literally.
There are only 24 hours in a day and it’s how you spend them that count. Unless you are financially independent, you need to put in quality time (not just a lot of hours) in order to make a living.
Men who are addicted to porn have been known to stay up late at night watching it. This means they are showing up to work on just a few hours of sleep (or even as little as one hour, according to one man who was willing to share his experience).
You can imagine what that would do to your work performance that day – and probably for several days after that. That is, if the same thing doesn’t happen again.
Even if you have your own business, you aren’t getting the sales, the new clients, or even the next great idea if you are operating like a zombie.
So we see that what you do in off hours can bleed into your job or business.
However, some people can’t even get through the workday without a fix.
In a 2013 Forbes article, Cheryl Conner noted that 25% of working adults admit to looking at pornography on a computer at work. A Nielsen study put that percentage at 28% in 2010.
Just how long are employees viewing porn during the workday?
The average time spent visiting pornographic websites on company computers is 13 minutes per visit. Employees who view pornography spend about one hour and 38 minutes a month doing so on the clock, according to the Nielsen survey. Those lost minutes add up – to over 30 hours a year on average (per employee) that is devoted to porn on the job. Multiply that by the 25% of the employees a business may have, and you can see that this is a huge loss in dollars and productivity.
Of course, none of this accounts for the risk of losing your job should workday porn use be discovered by your employer. In fact, almost half of all porn addicts will end up getting fired at some point for this very reason, according to the Family Research Council.
Truth #3: Pornography will Destroy your Marriage
No woman can compete with endless images and videos of online porn. Men who view porn tend to have less desire for their own spouse.
“And how can I ever trust him again when he watches women do anything he wants?” asked one wife in a recent Psychology Today article. Her question echoes the concerns of many women whose trust has been eroded by a husband addicted to pornography.
When your wife, fiancée, or girlfriend discovers your porn viewing habits, trust is broken. Intimacy will decrease, leading to either years of rebuilding trust… or losing your wife’s trust and intimacy for good.
A 2016 Science Magazine study revealed divorce rates double when people start watching porn.
A groundbreaking article in Time adds:
“Previous studies have found that porn has an accelerating effect on a deteriorating marriage: husbands in poor relationships tend to consume more sexually explicit material, and consuming more sexually explicit material also leads to poorer relationships.”
If your marriage is on shaky ground already, viewing pornography will only speed its demise.
Further, porn usage can lead to increased risk of infidelity… which is another major cause of divorce.
The Psychology of Popular Media Culture notes, “If pornography consumption leads to more positive extramarital sex attitudes as the results of the panels suggest, pornography consumption may be a contributing factor in some divorces via extramarital sex behavior.”
Truth #4: Pornography can have Devastating Effects on your Children
A study by the Marriage and Religion Research Institute notes, “The impact of a parent’s use of pornography on young children is varied and disturbing. Pornography eliminates the warmth of affectionate family life, which is the natural social nutrient for a growing child.”
Research presented in the academic journal Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity adds other losses and traumas related to the use of pornography when a child is young include:
- Stumbling upon pornographic material a parent has acquired
- Encountering a parent masturbating
- Overhearing a parent engaged in “phone sex”
- Witnessing and experiencing stress in the home caused by online sexual activities
- An increased risk of children becoming consumers of pornography themselves
- Witnessing and being involved in parental conflict
- Exposure to the commodification of human beings, especially women, as “sex objects”
- A greater risk of parental job loss and financial strain
- Higher risk of parental separation and divorce
- Decreased parental time and attention—both from the pornography-addicted parent and from the parent preoccupied with the addicted spouse
Pornography usage can ruin your life and the lives of your children.
Truth #5: Pornography Leads to other Sins
You almost got caught, so what did you do?
You lied your way out of the situation.
Maybe your wife walked in and you had to quickly shut down your computer screen while hastily offering an explanation other than the truth of why you were online. Maybe you viewed something you shouldn’t have at work and had to change computer settings that were against company policy. Maybe you make sure to grab the credit card statement out of the mailbox first or delete the email before your spouse can see it, working to cover a trail of sins.
In the midst of an addiction, a man can do insane things that he never thought he would do and tell lies that he never would have told just to get a “fix” of his drug of choice.
Pornography is a sin that leads to many other sins. Among these are lying, misuse of financial resources, and marital infidelity.
And most importantly…
In addition to these five truths, the most damaging impact is in your relationship with God. He sees every click of the mouse and every touch of the screen. Every second viewing porn is a second lost in fellowship with the Lord.
“In my addiction, I frequently had days where I felt that I had spent more time seeking porn than serving Christ,” says one former porn addict.
Porn use is so pervasive in the church that it’s virtually indistinguishable from the world on this issue.
In a God News article, Josh McDowell of Josh McDowell Ministries shares that most people are unaware of how pervasive pornography is in the church:
“Basically there’s two types of men in the evangelical church — those that watch pornography and those that lie.”
It’s an “epidemic” declared McDowell.
“‘At least 78.8% of men who attend evangelical churches are watching pornography,'” shared McDowell in the article. “’Probably 80% of all evangelical youth pastors also watch pornography, and now, the greatest increase is among women and young ladies.’”
Imagine the revival the Church would experience if the time and energy spent on porn were to redirected to serving the Lord!
Pastor James Reeves of City On A Hill Church DFW has successfully tackled porn addiction in his church and has a more dire warning. He tells us:
“This problem is going to sweep through the Church like a tsunami wave of destruction and we’re not prepared for it.”
So How Can I Win the Battle with Pornography?
Pornography has serious consequences. However, there is a way to freedom.
The Conquer Series was specifically designed to prepare you to win the battle for sexual purity.
This powerful cinematic DVD series includes biblical principles and daily practices to help men overcome the temptation to consume porn. The host, Dr. Ted Roberts, former Marine Fighter Pilot and pastor, hosts the series, which includes battle reenactments to help men understand what they are facing.
You can join the 450,000 men in 65 countries who have learned to move beyond “not watching porn” to start living a transformed life.