By Lisa Bondarenko – Mind Heart Body
Pornography is destructive. It’s that simple. For years, we have seen sexual images integrated into our everyday media—from advertisements, to TV shows, movies and even books. Seeing porn has come to be seen as just a “normal” thing that all consumers of media will use. But for many families the new “normal” is devastating.
Studies continue to explore the negative sides of viewing porn, and the results are not pretty.
I was recently out for dinner and the subject came up about kids, namely boys having access to pornography and the general consensus was “they are boys – they all do it!” I could feel my blood pressure rising. What a social construct?
And let me say from the get go this epidemic is not gender specific. The problem is that in 2016….because of technology our kids have access to the most vile and disturbing content at the press of a button. I see 14, 15 year olds who are refusing to go to school, addicted to “gaming”, lack motivation, vision , concentration and within moments of our discussion divulge that they have been watching porn for 3 + years….and their symptoms confirm.
And then there are the relationships and marriages that are at crisis point due to this addiction.
Simply put: It changes the brain.
Watching porn rewires the arousal pathways in our brains. The most important condition is the release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that gives us a feeling of exciting pleasure, which porn triggers. The more often you watch porn and get the dopamine hit it delivers, the more the activity and the sensation become entwined in the brain.
And addiction is born….
Porn destroys trust.
It stunts the ability to have meaningful and satisfying real-life relationships. Since most people try to hide their usage, and make often elaborate rituals, patterns and plots to get their “hit” without being caught. And when it unravels, trust is the first casualty.
Porn leads to isolation.
It can make you feel bad about yourself. Porn usage can very easily and very quickly spiral out of control and hijack a person’s self-image and self-esteem. The incongruity between values and beliefs, and actions can cause intense stress. It affects and effects healthy relationships, intimacy and mental health.
For parents. I cannot stress enough how “onto” it you need to be. To find out years down the track one of your children has been experiencing pornography without you knowing can be devastating and a slow road back to recovery. The average age that boys (especially) are seeing it for the first time is 11 years old. SAY WHAT??? Sure, I understand we can’t control it everywhere they go BUT. If you suspect, get rid of smart phones, an old Nokia brick receives calls and texts. Turn wifi off after certain times, do spot checks on all of their technology. But mostly we need to talk and even use the word “PORN” – most parents I deal with are horrified and embarrassed at approaching the subject. Trust me, its not a fun conversation but it is a worthwhile one for their future health, happiness and relationships.
For couples, the sense of shame that they can’t “live up to” what their partner wants in the bedroom or the fact that they are looking elsewhere is soul destroying. We need to discuss. We need to communicate. We need a new approach. Don’t wait for it to be beyond repair. Remember dopamine is one of the issues….and if pornography rewires the brain…it can be rewired back….
Porn…don’t let it win…