Pornography and Choice
Our world is full of options, and we pick and choose what best suits us. We expect these options quickly, efficiently, and exactly the way we want them. For instance, let’s say I’m looking for a burger. In a ten-mile radius from my apartment I can name probably 20 different places to find a good one, and then I could round that down even further. Do I want a gourmet burger with some sort of fancy cheese, or do I just want a greasy patty covered in sauce? Either way, I can have one in my hands within thirty minutes. Now this efficiency stuff isn’t so bad when we talk about arbitrary things like burgers, but what happens when we take that same mindset and apply it to something more intimate? What happens when we use the pick-and-choose method for, let’s say, our sexual experiences? Pornography gives its viewers that power to pick and choose, and it creates quite a few problems for those involved.
Sex is meant to mutually fulfill both of those who are involved, but porn positions its viewers to expect an experience that is all about their own wants and needs.
It Objectifies Sexual Relationships
When watching porn, the viewer has the power to pick and choose whatever they like and dislike sexually. They browse through endless categories and videos and searches, giving themselves complete control over what they take in. However, this kind of system objectifies the sexual experience, causing there to be a gap in the real world relationships of those who view porn. It also sets up certain expectations sexually: I want this, and I want it now, and you should give it to me. That kind of mentality does not work in the real world because real world sex is not about one person’s wants and needs, but rather it is about two people becoming one together through love. Sex is meant to mutually fulfill both of those who are involved, but porn positions its viewers to expect an experience that is all about their own wants and needs. When we make sex a mere object of enjoyment that we are capable of experiencing alone, we limit the true joy and purpose of it.
It Only Makes You Hungrier
Much like how looking at an image or video of a bacon burger will not satisfy my hunger, watching porn causes the viewer to long for something more than what is offered, and in that way never actually satisfies any desire at all. It just eggs the desire on. In fact, there’s even scientific evidence to back that up, collected in this free ebook called The Porn Circuit.
In the book, Sam Black talks about the neurological make-up in our brain and points out that there are two different systems for pleasure: the exciting and the satisfying. The exciting system deals with anticipating something or craving it. It’s an appetite, while the other system offers a calm and fulfilled type of pleasure.
When someone watches pornography, they are only feeding the exciting system while they starve the satisfying one. The satisfying system can only be filled through actual physical touch and by connecting with not only another body, but another mind and soul as well. Without the physical factor, it’s simply counterfeit intimacy.
The satisfying system can only be filled through actual physical touch and by connecting with not only another body, but another mind and soul as well.
It Makes It Harder To Get Excited
These days, I’m no longer satisfied with a happy meal burger from McDonalds. They were nice for a time, but as I grew up, I started craving more: a burger with bacon and different cheeses with grilled onions. The same thing happens when watching porn. The viewer starts out small, maybe still pictures or simple videos, but as time goes on the appetite stops being fed by that. So what happens?
The viewer starts to search for more content, deeper content, new things that will feed the appetite or the “exciting system.” Because the neurological system that enjoys porn is fed off excitement, the simple will not satisfy forever because the simple does not remain exciting. This can have massive repercussions in real life relationships.
When marriage and real intimacy comes, the bedroom may not be enough. Maybe you’re thinking, “that’s not going to be me. Watching porn only makes me excited for the real stuff.”
Our brains are wired in such a way that they follow these sensitized neural pathways that essentially cause the brain to get excited by certain cues associated with whatever it is that’s making it excited. Our brains get used to a routine. They enjoy the entirety of that routine so much that something outside of that routine, even though it may be similar, will not bring the same kind of satisfaction. The routine of porn involves searching, browsing, clicking between videos, the control over arousal, and the ability to do all of this alone. Real-world sex does not give the participants these same options, thus it does not satisfy the craving for pornography in any way.
Wait For The Real Thing
Our design as humans is simple, but we tend to complicate it. Sex is awesome, and it was created so that relationships can grow fruitfully and intimately. If we share those experiences with anyone other than our spouse, we take something special away from our marriage. Hebrews 13:4 says, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled.” Likewise Jesus says in Matthew 5:28, “I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent as already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Think about the impact porn can have on your heart and your relationships. Ask yourself: is it worth defiling the marriage bed to enjoy something that is so fleeting and unfulfilling, something that’s not even real? The picking and the choosing may be fine when looking for a burger, but sex is not as simple. When we try to make it that simple, we objectify it through porn, forcing it into something that it’s not, which causes us to crave more of the fake stuff while taking away the goodness of the real thing.