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Addiction & Mind

PORN IS A DRUG AND HAS NO WARNING LABELS

PORN HAS BEEN ONLINE, FREE, AND LIMITLESS FOR MORE THAN 30 YEARS. LISTEN TO THE STORIES OF MEN WHO ARE SAYING THAT PORN IS JUST AS DAMAGING AS ANY DRUG, IF NOT THE WORST DRUG OF ALL

Posted by: Michael

Reading time: 20 minutes

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There are things about porn that people need to know. The men of today – husbands, fathers, workers, leaders – went through adolescence and formative years with unlimited porn available at their fingertips. Porn has been easily accessible and completely free for a full generation, and the men who became addicted to using sexually explicit material can now share their insights on the effects of unlimited porn. From conversations, group meetings, and interviews, these perspectives shine a light on the dark side of porn that not many people understand.

Porn Has No Warning Labels

It is easier to talk about the risks of addiction and using chemical substances than to discuss the risks of using porn. It is simpler to explain that driving while drunk could cause a terrible accident and people could be killed. Or that even just one hit of the wrong chemical could instantly cause a fatal stroke. Many people understand the risks of alcohol and drugs but use anyways. Porn should be understood in a similar way. The negative effects of using porn occur over a longer timeline, like cancer, but these risks are not usually talked about openly. And there are no warning labels for porn.

People did not realize how bad it would get when porn went online, free, and limitless. But the reality is emerging from the men who were drowning in internet porn for more than 30 years, and in some cases, were also addicted to alcohol and drugs. They are saying that porn is just as damaging as any drug out there, if not the worst drug of all.

These are their stories. These are the warning labels.

Some people are not comfortable talking about it. Some people think that porn and sexualization are completely normal these days. These stories will tell about what porn really is, from the men who understand it. These stories will do now what could not be done for them more than 30 years ago. They will tell you what using porn will cost.

Porn is just as damaging as any drug out there, if not the worst drug of all.

1. Porn is a Drug and Turns People into Objects

WARNING: PORN TURNS PEOPLE INTO OBJECTS

After looking at many thousands of pornographic pictures, and watching many thousands of pornographic videos, bodies are seen being used as objects for sex many thousands of times.

Adam W: “I watched people using each other for sex and only sex, and I used their images for sex also. I used people as things to arouse me. When I saw an attractive person in public, I fantasized about using them for sex. It was the same in drug addiction, to look upon someone and immediately decide how to use them. To steal from, score from, or use with. I knew the places to go for getting the drugs I wanted, and I knew the places to go for getting the porn I wanted. Seeking, scoring, using, it was all I thought about, all the time.”

What Objectification Costs

People are more than outer beauty and physical traits. We have traits that are beautiful within, like our ability to show kindness, respect, courage, and honor, yet inner beauty is not important for pornographic images and website traffic. Porn erases the depth of human beings.

Adam W: “I lost my ability to see people at a deeper level, beyond physical appearance. All I saw about a person was their body. I judged people based on how hot they were. If women were not made-up, done-up, and thin with huge breasts, I looked down on them. I condemned myself for not being fit, or tanned, or having a big penis, and hated being in my body.”

This is Your Porn Warning

The consequences of using porn are not immediate and can be hard to see until they have already happened. Know the risks before you choose to use.

Porn focuses on physical aspects and outer appearances, while ignoring the actual depth of human beings. We all have hopes, wishes, things we fear and things we love. Porn disconnects us from knowing the inner value of each other, and of ourselves.

Life Without Porn

Adam W: “Instead of disrespecting others by fantasizing about them, I treat people with respect and see them as people. I will not harm others with my actions or my thoughts, and will protect the honor and dignity of others, in any room that I enter. I understand what inner beauty is – and I can see it in myself and in others. There is appreciation for seeing a man hold a door for someone, for how he treats others, and not for what he looks like. I can feel value for myself and who I am within. For the kindness and respect I show others. Not for how I look.”

2. Porn Is a Drug and Conditions You to Want More Porn

WARNING: PORN CONDITIONS YOU TO WANT MORE PORN

Since the earliest days of the internet, the availability of websites offering thousands of sexually explicit videos and images exploded. Boys that had questions about girls and sex began getting educated with porn. These boys did not realize that the visual stimulation, the dopamine rewards in their brains, and the repetitive actions were conditioning them to want and expect porn sex from porn people. Porn depicted – and then reinforced – the distortion that men are in control of a woman’s pleasure, her desire, and her state, and that women are insatiable sex dolls.

Mark B: “Porn and masturbation were my first addiction, before any sip of alcohol, or any hit from a pipe. I could get online and find any pornographic material I could imagine, and even things I had never even heard of, neatly organized in millions of websites.

Looking back, I can see that I was a scared and insecure kid that didn’t know how to make friends, but I never had to face any of that. I could spike my mood with a shot of dopamine whenever I wanted. Looking back over the years at how much I used porn, it wasn’t just entire evenings spent online, bouncing from site to site and link to link. I would be on my phone a hundred times a day, scrolling through every naked picture I could get. Whenever I was alone, I used porn, and I wanted to be alone all the time. It was like my brain expected the constant drip of visual stimulation. Drug addiction was the same. Hunting, scoring, building up, and then the hit. Then do it all over again. Stopping was never an option. I completely conditioned myself to keep using.”

What Conditioning Costs

Look at the longer timeline of porn. Millions of young boys were educated, conditioned, and indoctrinated by the distortions of porn at developmental points in their lives. Messages of power, beauty, and joy were shown in narrow view, and then reinforced with neurochemical rewards. These perspectives became part of the belief system of these boys, who are now men, contributing to communities, economies, and societies, believing that women are nymphomaniacs and men are competition. Look at how the messages of porn have infiltrated business, politics, and media by the men who have carried distorted beliefs since boyhood.

Mark B: “I lost my freedom of will. I thought I was making my own choices, to use drugs or not, to use porn or not. It happened so gradually that I didn’t notice, but at some point, my addiction was choosing for me. My addiction told me what was beautiful, or desirable, or powerful. My addiction told me to keep using, that everyone does it, that it’s no big deal, that I’m not hurting anyone.”

“I lost my freedom of will.”

This is Your Porn Warning

The consequences of using porn are not immediate and can be hard to see until they have already happened. Know the risks before you choose to use.

Porn shows limited perceptions of sex, beauty, and power, in repetitive and conditioning ways. Much like any form of propaganda, your belief system can become distorted from using porn.

Life Without Porn

Mark B: “My free will has returned. The constant sexual thoughts had ruled my mind for many years, but when I understood the brainwashing I could let them go. It took some time, but those constant thoughts began to lose their grip. They weakened more, and then even more. It helped when I understood that I did not have to live my life thinking about sex every three seconds. Thoughts of fantasy and objectification still arise, automatically, from using my brain in that way for so long. Now with my freedom of will, I can choose to follow them, or I can choose to let them go. I can choose.”

3. Porn Is a Drug and Disconnects you From Reality

WARNING: PORN DISCONNECTS YOU FROM REALITY

Women are mostly, if not entirely, subservient and exploited in porn. With such distortion about what women are really like, and about what mutual relational sex actually is, many men have not learned how to make connections with women based upon honor and respect.

Ryan D: “Most of my interactions with women during my adolescence were with pornographic pictures and videos. I did not have girlfriends and struggled to make friendships. Even now, as a grown man, I am struggling to connect with people. Whether it was for drugs or sex, I would say whatever I needed to say, or do whatever others expected me to do, in order to get what I wanted. On the outside I was like a character playing a role, to hide what I was really thinking or feeling.”

What Disconnection Costs

The disconnections that are reinforced by porn are in both how we understand ourselves, and how we understand each other. Men are holding themselves to standards of power, fitness, and virility that are not reasonable. Men are holding women to standards of beauty and prowess that are not reality. Porn influences which aspects of life are important, and what we should value. Men that are addicted to porn lose connection with themselves and lose their ability to ask themselves what they actually value.

Ryan D: “I have spent much of my life feeling alone, and never understood how much I suffered from my inability to connect with others. When I said something or did something that did not match what I actually thought or felt inside, other people could sense the deceit. I could never build a deep, lasting relationship of trust, because no one could ever trust me. It took many years of work, and much help from others, to understand the difference between the self that I portrayed on the outside and my true self within.”

Porn influences which aspects of life are important, and what we should value.

This is Your Porn Warning

The consequences of using porn are not immediate and can be hard to see until they have already happened. Know the risks before you choose to use.

You can be twisted with distortions about what sex and women really are. You can be stuck in delusions that you are not hurting anyone because you keep all your thoughts and feelings inside and buried. Your actions affect others, and ignoring this fact only makes things worse. Porn can get you lost in a fantasy world, disconnected from other people and from reality.

Life Without Porn

Ryan D: “Life with porn cost me a lot. I lost much, suffered much, and caused much pain. With a lot of help from others, I have learned about the parts of life that I missed, or never experienced, because I had become addicted to porn. I have deeper connection to my wife, and greater love for her, which brings me more fulfillment than anything I ever had in addiction. Any friendship or relationship that I had was only surface level, because that is all I ever bothered to share. By sharing what I really think, and how I really feel, I am letting other people know who I really am. I never understood how deeply isolated I had become until I started connecting with other people in real relationships.”

4. Porn Is a Drug and is Betraying Your Partner

WARNING: PORN IS BETRAYING YOUR PARTNER

Regular use of porn sexualizes other thoughts and feelings. Many men describe their minds as being constantly overrun with sexual thoughts, fantasies, and scenarios, and attribute this preoccupation to regular porn use. Even without the betrayals from affairs, online relationships, or using prostitutes, a man that is addicted to porn will often visualize himself doing whatever he wants, to whoever he wants, whenever he wants. Many wives of porn addicts speak of the heartbreak and rejection they feel when they understand how often and how deeply their husbands fantasize about having sex with other women.

Jason L: “For the years that I was using porn, I believed that although nobody talked about using it, everyone used it. Porn was such a normalized way of life for me, that even after I got married, I still didn’t stop using it. Now I can look at a few hours lost to scrolling through naked pictures as time that I could have spent planning a weekend trip for us, or something. This is just as cruel as spending money on drugs, money which we did not have to spare, instead of contributing to building a life together. I regret disrespecting her, but there are no words to describe how ashamed I feel for fantasizing about other women, and imagining myself in sexual scenarios with other people, when I had committed myself to her. I used to think that everyone fantasizes about others, without realizing the effect this would have on my wife. In my mind, with my desire, I chose other women. She knew that I used porn, but she never knew how I used it. When we got married, I told her that I would choose her, and only her, but then in my fantasies, I chose others. Even if there was never an affair, or never a prostitute, there was still a promise broken from using porn. It was still betrayal.”

What Betrayal Costs

Porn can easily become an obstacle in a marriage. In a healthy sexual relationship, a couple can share their fantasies, and perhaps even fulfill them together. Sex between a couple that is committed to each other can be fun, exciting, and passionate – if each person communicates their wants and needs. Porn is almost always used in secret, and a wife can feel rejected, unloved, and betrayed when her husband chooses porn instead of coming to her for what he wants.

Jason L: “The deception of why I used porn, and how I used it, cost me every speck of trust that I had with my wife. Our relationship began with a commitment to each other, and only each other. She thought we had a special bond, and that I was a special person. I ripped everything out from underneath her. I broke our commitment, broke her heart, and broke her spirit. I can’t possibly describe how much shame I feel for treating her like that. There are no words to explain the depth of pain she has suffered from me.”

“The deception of why I used porn, and how I used it, cost me every speck of trust that I had with my wife.”

This is Your Porn Warning

The consequences of using porn are not immediate and can be hard to see until they have already happened. Know the risks before you choose to use.

The amount of time you spend using porn, and also the way that you are using it, can be dishonoring and disrespectful to your partner. A line that is crossed cannot be un-crossed. Porn can destroy your relationships.

Life Without Porn

Jason L: “I am earning trust, by doing what I said that I would do. To prove to my wife that I fully regret all the pain I caused her, I told her everything that I had done, and unloaded every single secret that I had kept. It was brutally painful, but now I live my life with nothing to hide, and carry no dark secret from the past that could hold me back or weigh me down.”

5. Porn Is a Drug and Creates Demand for Sex Trade Workers

WARNING: PORN CREATES DEMAND FOR SEX TRADE WORKERS.

Drug use escalates because the novelty wears off. Drinking or drugging might be fun at first, but soon gets boring. Then drinking and drugging at the same time might be fun for awhile, but then also gets boring. Add some MDMA. Then combine MDMA and LSD at the same time. And on and on.

Porn use escalates too, because one type of material gets boring, and so you seek out more. Eventually all porn gets boring, and the escalation goes on and on, from watching something on the screen to participating in it ourselves. First magazines, then videos, then phone sex, or cyber sex, then strippers, then massage parlors, then prostitutes.

Billy M: “I told myself that I would never hire a woman for sex. I would never exploit another person like that, I would never cross that line. But every time I got closer to a line, it didn’t seem like it was that bad. Or that everyone else does it. Or what’s the big deal anyways. And then the line was crossed, with a new one drawn, that I told myself I would never cross. Eventually I crossed that line too. My using escalated because I never looked inward to resolve my reasons for using. Instead of facing and dealing with any feelings of anger or fear or loneliness, mine came out sideways, projected out, onto others. In using prostitutes, my anger, my fear, my rejection, became theirs.”

What Escalation Costs

Billy M: “I am ashamed to have used people like they were things. I had the delusion that women wanted to be in porn. I had the delusion that women wanted to work in massage parlors, otherwise they would find another job. Now I understand that because of the behaviour of men like me, women are forced or manipulated into doing things that they would not choose for themselves.”

Demand for porn creates demand for sex trade workers, which results in an industry of human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of women – and children as well – whether we acknowledge it or not. By participating in the demand for porn, we give the entire industry of sex our permission to escalate. The cost of this damage to other people is immeasurable.

By participating in the demand for porn, we give the entire industry of sex our permission to escalate.

This is Your Porn Warning

The consequences of using porn are not immediate and can be hard to see until they have already happened. Know the risks before you choose to use.

Porn depicts men and women in narrow, specific ways. People become traits, which become commodities, that are bought and sold at the mercy of dark markets.

Life Without Porn

Billy M: “In learning from everything that I have wrecked, or lost, or came close to losing, I understand what really matters to me, and what does not. The way that I appear to others does not matter to me. Meaningful connection with my wife does matter to me. Emotional, mental, and spiritual intimacy with her does matter to me, just as much as physical intimacy. Taking responsibility for my demand for pornography and the sex industry does matter to me. Sharing what I have learned with others, to help even one person spare themselves such destruction, does matter.”

6. Porn Is a Drug and Wastes Your Time and Energy

WARNING: PORN WILL WASTE YOUR TIME AND ENERGY FROM DOING OTHER THINGS.

50 years ago, porn was a magazine hidden in a drawer. 40 years ago, porn was a videotape hidden on a closet shelf. 30 years ago, porn was any computer connected to the internet. And for the last 15-20 years, porn is every mobile device in every pocket. Accessibility is immediate, availability is anywhere, cost is zero, and a lot of men have sunk a lot of minutes of attention into using porn. Think of all those minutes of attention that have been given to viewing sexually explicit material, added up over the years, and now think of the opportunity lost to build something, fix something, teach someone, or help someone.

Tyler D: “As a drug addict, I lost much of my life. I wasted so many days, months, and years, using drugs, seeking drugs, thinking about drugs. I lied to people’s faces. Stole money. Stole drugs. Hurt people in ways that I cannot take back. As much time and energy that I lost to drugs, I lost even more to porn. I started using porn way before I started using drugs. I used porn more often than drugs, and I fantasized about sex more often that I fantasized about drugs. Thinking about how all those minutes using porn add up to hours, many hours, over many years, I wish that I didn’t waste such a colossal amount of time. There is so much that I could have built if I focused my time and effort into something creative or productive. I could have mastered any skill, run a business, made more friends, helped others who were struggling.”

What Waste Costs

The cost is hard to measure, of how many men lost time that could have been spent becoming loving husbands, stronger fathers, or inspirational leaders. There is only one way to know what we are missing from the men that gave so much to porn. Ask them to give it up and walk away. Ask them to invest in developing themselves and become the best they can possibly be. Tell the users of porn that by choosing to not use, they are helping to prevent the suffering of their relationships and of the individuals that are directly hurt from the porn industry. This improves the world, and helping others learn about the damaging effects of porn will improve the world even further. In this helping and protecting of each other is tremendous power that is available to all of us.  

This is Your Porn Warning

The consequences of using porn are not immediate and can be hard to see until they have already happened. Know the risks before you choose to use.

Porn is a drug because it releases you from coping with life as it is. Relying on porn, sex, fantasy, and objectification to spike your mood builds your habits of avoiding and ignoring. You can become so skilled at distracting yourself that you completely lose your ability to cope with different situations and experiences.

Life Without Porn

Tyler D: “If I could go back in time, and never start using drugs, of course I would choose that. I feel the same way about porn and wish that I never started. I cannot change my past, all I can do is learn from it, and change my present. I wish I could have learned these lessons without causing so much pain. I’m happier and more fulfilled showing honor and respect to myself, and others, treating people as people. I know that I’m already making a more positive impact in the world, just me, as an individual, by choosing to not participate in the demand for porn. Sometimes I wonder what the world would look like if just 5% of the men that currently use porn decided to recognize that it was ripping our world apart, and they were not okay with that. Then I wonder what the world would look like if 20% of men decided that. Or 50%.”

A Final Word

To the men that are stuck in the indoctrination of using porn, that the behaviour is acceptable, and that you are not hurting anyone by using it, know that you are imprisoned in your own mind. And know that it is completely within your own power to break free. Other men have done it, and transformed themselves, their marriages, their families, and their entire lives. Other men can help you do the same.

Men that choose to not use porn are earning deep respect and honor. By your decision to protect others that might be hurt from the industry of sex, you prevent much suffering in yourself, your partners, your families, and people that you will never even meet.

Michael is the Lead Sobriety Coach and Head Blogger of Addiction Reality. 

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