Sorry if I have to bring up this topic. But we cannot deny that, nowadays, this addiction to pornography is getting widespread. It is now all over the place, even affecting little children. We have to do something drastic about this problem that is eating away the strength of the people, and weakening the spiritual and moral fabric of our society.
We have to know more about the bad effects of this addiction if only to be more wary about it and be more ready to protect ourselves from it. Pornography, like drugs and alcohol, creates a certain state of euphoria which the addict longs for, yet which never completely satisfies him.
There are studies that show that pornography strongly affects the brain, such that the addict gets an irresistible attachment to pornographic images. It somehow modifies the workings of the neurons that can even lead to the diminution of the grey matter of our brain that can impair our decision-making.
Over time, a compulsion can develop when the addict needs more of it, and even more hardcore versions. What may start as a way to achieve pleasure can become later on as an irresistible urge to pacify whatever anxiety or negative mood the addict can have. The urge can be so strong that the addict would still resort to it even if no pleasure can be derived from it anymore.
This addiction will obviously affect the addict’s understanding of sex, love and relationships. It can even dramatically affect the addict’s sexual preferences. He loses his sense of autonomy and his ability to relate to others properly. He can tend to see others merely as objects of pleasure. From here, other forms of perversions can emerge.
The addict would likely be dominated by whatever sexual inclination he happens to have—heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, etc. And this will start the move to legalize certain practices that normally are considered sinful and immoral.
In this addiction, unlike some other addictions, there is no such thing as a moderate or temperate use. The usual experience is that it leads the addict toward a downward spiral, as the normal stimuli of sex become substituted by exaggerated ones that can lead to violence.
This addiction can affect even the so-called holy and pious people who are not sincere in their interior struggles during their confessions and spiritual direction, or worse, who refrain from seeking help. Things would be much worse for them since their double life and hypocrisy can become almost invincible.
And yet, in spite of all the bad effects of this addiction to pornography, not everything is lost. There is always hope. That’s because the same process which shaped the brain’s addiction can also form the mind in healthier ways.
Just as wayward cravings grow stronger over time when acted upon, such desires also become weaker if they are not acted on. A repetition of virtuous acts can create a positive ‘virtuous cycle’ that can lead the person toward higher ideals.
For this to happen, we may launch a campaign of building positive atmospheres, fostering positive freedom in the face of instincts and opening new horizons. The bottom line here is not so much just a matter of leaving this addiction behind as re-centering the focus of our life on God, of faith and piety.*