4.26.2011

Ask the Audience -- Pornography

What are you thoughts on pornography? Is it good or bad? Is it okay in a marriage? Does it depend on the situation?

Is there a difference between erotica and pornography? Where do you draw the line? Is one okay, but not the other?

Have you been affected by pornography use in your partner? Have you struggled with a pornography addiction yourself?

Are romance novels really just pornography for women?

Should we just expect that most people will look at pornography at some point in their lives? Is it just normal for men to look at pornography? What about women?

How does pornography use affect a relationship?

Do you have a story you want to share? Do you have advice to give?

Comment or email me at alyssamftATgmailDOTcom

44 comments:

  1. I believe that pornography use is dangerous, because it affects everyone around the user, not just him or herself.

    My father is addicted to pornography, and I've known since I was young - maybe twelve. It has not only harmed his relationship with my mother, but his relationship with myself and my sister. It has always felt like the deepest sort of betrayal.

    Sex is beautiful. To me, it is akin to the ratification ceremony in the covenants found in the Bible (and secular treaties in the Late Bronze Age) - that is, it is a serious ritual that binds two people together. It represents a wholeness of relationship and unwavering fidelity. This is the ugliness of pornography - it denies the deep meaning of sex and instead tries to sell it as purely a physical action.

    Of course, pornography use is common among both men and women - but I don't believe this means it is good, or healthy. It fails to show love to one's spouse, or future spouse, and twists the image of true sexuality into one of shallow and fleeting pleasure.

    I think that we should strive to show love to our partner in all that we do, and anything that causes us to stumble, whether that be porn, romance novels, or even something that seems "tamer", should best be avoided.

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  2. I'm really torn here. Don't know what one would consider an adict. I know my husband looks, every so often, but i wouldn't consider him an addict. :(

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  3. does this post connect in any way to your low sex drive post? If some porn increases your libido and makes you want your spouse more then go for it (to a level you both accept), however if porn (like all sex aids) leads you away from your spouse or decreases your libido then avoid it. Love your spouse more than the aid! If I caught my spouse watching porn without me I would feel betrayed, because you don't just "watch" porn!

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  4. Pornography is a terrible thing. There is no other way to say it. It is in no way acceptable or appropriate. It quickly becomes an addiction and, as many pornography addicts have themselves admitted, it is the hardest addiction to recover from. It ruins lives, not only the addicts, but the lives of the people they care most about. It is one of Satan's greatest tools, and one we should stay far, far, far away from. Looking at it physically changes the brain - just like drugs change the brain of a drug addict. It is NOT something to get involved in. It in NO way is healthy, and does not make you want your spouse more. Maybe it feels that way at first, but it very quickly becomes an addiction and something the addicted person usually wants to get rid of. It is never ok to deal with pornography. I think a lot of people are afraid to talk about it, but it's a serious problem and one we should all be aware of. Never, ever view pornography! It will ruin your life.

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  5. I mostly agree with Kelly, and really have empathy for those that struggle with any type of addiction. But I think sometimes our harsh attitudes towards sexual or erotic media can hurt our own sexuality and cause some serious guilt issues. I even think the huge amount of shame and lack of acceptance is what contributes to an unhealthy use of sexual materials. I read some comments on a podcast about pornography in marriage. One commenter, a married woman who was raised in a religious family, said she uses it as "a tool and supplement to sexual relations together." I could relate to her story. She masturbated as a young girl and teenager without knowing it was wrong and occasionally viewed pornography. When she found out it was frowned on, she went through years of guilt and shame and just hid her behavior and even doing it more frequently and compulsively. It wasn't until losing the shame that she could control her actions with more moderation. I think it's important to maintain a healthy attitude about sexual things so stories like hers (and mine which is almost identical to hers) don't happen so often.

    I think there can be lines drawn between pornography and erotica and that erotica can even be beneficial to a relationship when it's not secretive. I'm really curious what other women think. Great post!

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  6. I completely disagree with most of the comments above. Yes, pornography can become addicting and ruin lives but it doesn't happen with every case. I think the anti pornography campaigns have led people to believe it is addicting from the first time you look at it. It is my belief that a lot of people view porn regularly and most are not addicted to it.

    I know this because both my husband and I occasionally view pornography (both together and separate). I never had an orgasm before I watched porn and although I don't need it to reach one now... I know it helped me to get into the right mindset in order to achieve one. I know this will be extremely unpopular but it's the truth. It has been a couple years since we started watching it and we are both still very intimate and it has in no way ruined our relationship.

    With that said, everything is good in moderation. My husband and I talk regularly about our use so we can monitor how much we view it. If anyone is considering starting to watch it as a couple, I would recommended watching one that is like a full length movie with a plot (like Pirates).

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  7. I give pornography two thumbs down.

    Do my husband and I have "perfect sex"?

    We think so, and that's all that matters! We don't need to compare ourselves to anyone else, and we certainly don't need a video to tell us how it's done.

    Why invite harmful comparisons in?

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  8. I have a hard time buying into any industry that pays big bucks for a human being to degrade him or herself. And it is degrading when people are being paid to commit sex acts with someone who they met on set 5mins ago. Sex is not only a connection between man and woman, but a connection with the divine. Sex is a form of pleasure, but also a means to creation, when it's exploited, misused and misrepresented it's probably the greatest form of abomination that any human being can be involved in. We live in a society that enslaves young people to these false ideals of love that teaches that sex is just for pleasure, oh and sometimes a baby is just a by-product of that, so just use a condom or get on the pill and enjoy yourselves. I can tell you it's not. My husband suffered from a pornography addiction that started at a young age. Has his road to recovery been long and painful? Yes. Is it something that causes us both to approach things differently? Yes. Do I feel inclined to bring that kind of material into my home to get him more excited to be with me? No. Would I recommend that anybody use it? No. Is it a hard addiction to recover from? It's on the same scale as crack, so I'd say yes. Pornography enslaves and defiles, causes a dulling of the senses that requires the viewer to delve deeper to keep getting the "high" associated with watching it. Our world is full of child sex-slaves who have been sold into this industry under the noses of "watchful" adults. They say you can judge if something is good/bad based on the fruits of it. I'd say that it's not hard to guess that the fruits of pornography are nothing short of bruised and wormy. No, I won't be subscribing to any of it. No, I won't teach my kids that it's bad and keep it hidden in my closet. No, I won't teach my daughters to think it's okay for a man to view it, or that it's a "healthy" part of a sexual relationship. I love my husband and I've loved him through some very painful and trying times that have been the fruits of this addiction. I wouldn't wish it on anyone, it nearly broke us. There is something beautiful about keeping yourself completely clean and pure sexually, even after marriage. If more of us don't take a stand against pornography, more of our children are going to be adversely affected by it, and in turn their children, etc... That should weigh heavily on our minds, and if it doesn't then maybe we aren't mature enough to be having sex in the first place. Because sex isn't just for pleasure, and children are not meant to be a by-product of regrettable lustful moments. Let's all grow up a bit and start living up to the divine potential we were born with, and teach our children to live up to that too.

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  9. I don't understand how any wife could be okay with their husband looking at porn with or without them. To me that would hurt me and make me feel like I'm not good enough for my husband to seek out images and movies of other women.
    I do not agree with porn at all and do not think that any good comes from it, especially in marriage.

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  10. Because pornography/masturbation is totally done for selfish purposes and to satisfy a sexual need that should only be satisfied through the coming together in a marriage between man and woman...i'd have to say it's a sin. It's not what God intended for marriage. If you have sexual issues where you feel like you need pornography to help your desires, I urge you to pray and ask the Lord to help you in that area. After all, He did create your body & He is the designer of marriage & sex.
    Using another persons body, even through porn is self seeking and does not mirror the beauty and purity that God intended. Sex within a marriage should feel safe and bring deep intimacy.
    I'm sorry to all of those who have been affected by pornography and the consequences that follow it.

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  11. Pornography really makes me sad. It defiles something that is holy and good and absolutely spiritual. Why invite others, mentally, into the marriage bed? You are made one with your spouse (or whom ever you have sex with) - body, mind, soul. Sex should build oneness in a marriage. I just think that porn, even if mutually enjoyed, brings a wedge between the oneness you are building with your spouse. If you're in a Christian marriage porn should be avoided at all costs.

    There are other resources that can teach a person how to orgasm.

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  12. i agree with the above comment fully...there are appropriate ways to learn how to orgasm. when the husband and wife are willing to unselfishly work together (and sometimes that's exactly what it is...WORK!) you can both experience the highest gratification in sex and orgasm.

    my husband's father introduced him to pornography at a tender age of 12, telling him it was OK and normal for men to look at. it affected him for years and it sometimes still does. he is very open with me about his experiences with it and will honestly admit it became an addiction...one that took complete control of his mind, actions, and thoughts without even trying. he will admit that for years it affected his self esteem and his view of sex in a negative way. he will tell you that all it takes is one look for your mind to crave more.

    i admire, respect, and thank god every day for his persistence in overcoming his addiction. more than anything, i grateful he overcame the addiction before we were married. i know it was a sincere struggle for him. now that is has not been a part of his life for years, he will honestly and humbly tell anyone who chooses to indulge in the practice of pornography that it will destroy and alter your mind and spirit, give you a distorted view of sex, and ruin a relationship with your spouse or significant other.

    i respect and honor the opinions of others. as a wife of a wonderful, humble man who has been directly affected by it, i truly believe the physical, mental, and spiritual relationships of those who participate in pornography would be taken to a level of satisfaction they never knew possible if they were willing to remove such practices from their lives, marriages, and relationships.

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  13. I feel that porn/erotica can be a healthy ingredient to an already healthy sexual relationship between a husband and wife. Not everyone that looks at it is addicted. Not everyone that looks at it is a bad person. I know many couples, including my own with my husband, that occassionally view porn as a couple. It hasn't caused any bad things to come of it. It has only strengthened and spiced up the relationship in the bedroom.

    It isn't for comparing purposes, either. People who watch are just watching, not comparing or anything like that.

    I suppose that it could become dangerous for someone with an addictive personality to begin watching porn. Or for someone with an unhealthy relationship to begin with.

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  14. So addressing Alyssa's question, I think there's definitely a difference between porn and erotica. I agree that porn is bad, but I don't think all depictions of sexuality are porn. I think it depends on the content and the intent of the viewers or readers. I bet if every woman who reads this blog was interviewed we'd all have a pretty different definition of what's bad porn and what's okay erotica. I think a nude painting can be beautiful and even arousing. I bet some would think the same painting is slightly inappropriate or even filth. I could see a couple benefitting from an instructional or erotic video where another couple may not need that. There's a huge variation of content out there and considering it all as harmful or evil or bad just because it's sexy or erotic demeans a lot of the beauty and good about sex. I think being and feeling sexy in the right context is very good and that context will vary from couple to couple.

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  15. What is the difference between porn and erotica?

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  16. I used to think that porn was bad any way you looked at it but my perception has changed. My husband and I were in a rut so he bought us some how-to sex ed videos. I had no idea sex could be that awesome! At first, I really hated that watching other people having sex could make me so turned on but after being completely open with my husband and discussing our concerns we decided that it was okay for us to watch it together occasionally. I was worried that once we started watching these spicy romantic movies that it would lead to more and more raunchy trash that I didn't want in my home. Turns out, I don't even like the raunchy stuff, we like the more romantic, soulful stuff. Another concern was that my husband would become addicted. I completely trust him but I check his computer every now and then and we have honest talks about how things are going and if there's anything that we need to work on. He's told me that the best part about watching those movies is how turned on I get, he's more interested in my reaction. It has completely taken our sex life to the next level and from those "fruits" I'd say that's a good thing... for us. But not all men are like my husband. I think it's a personal and private decision for a couple to make and use with discretion. And sex can be fun and exciting, it doesn't always have to be serious and spiritual.

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  17. Is this a religious blog?

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  18. I have been affected by pornography.

    I like many others know people that are addicted to it.

    My father was addicted to it. My family knew it. Even as young girls, my sister and I could walk in to use the computer only to find inappropriate images left open. The most disturbing part of this to myself, was that there were images of my mother mixed in. I still don't know to this day if the addiction started because of some "game" he and my mother played or if including her pictures somehow made this addiction alright.

    My first serious boyfriend in college was addicted to it as well. I did what I could to delete it as fast as I could find it. Of course, I denied that I ever did anything. Eventually, we discussed the situation and he promised to try. I promised to try too. We eventually bought a video to share the experience. It never helped, it actually only caused more issues.

    Now that I've had more experiences and am finally married, I have discussed my "issues and concerns" with my husband. He understands me. I have laid down my expectations. He has accepted them. We made agreements that if one of us needed something more, that we would experiment together, only to the comfort level of the other. He understands the consequences. We remind each other of them often and I think that it has only made us stronger.

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  19. The way I see it, things aren't usually as simple as saying it's ALL good or ALL bad. I really feel for people that went through real struggles because of pornography, but part of me wonders if some of those struggles (some not all) where a lot worse than they needed to be because of overly rigid attitudes about sex and sexual issues. What one couples sees as a devastating "addiction" and "betrayal" another couple sees as an occasional "bonding experience" or a way to "spice things up" once and a while. When we hear stories of how devastating it was to a couple, could a lot of that be caused by wrong attitudes about sex? I think there are real consequences to porn and erotica. Some are bad - for example some people are exploited, some people view violent or degrading acts, your sexual template can change. Some effects are good - you can see healthy sexual behavior modeled, it can teach you new things to add to a long-term relationship, it can be an exciting experience shared as a couple, it can help with arousal or dysfunction problems.

    I liked the "fat" analogy above. So often with erotic things we hear the horror stories and then use those as reasons to despise all sexual media. It's akin to constantly emphasizing the effects of consuming too much fat such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Surely we wouldn't call all fat bad and say fat will ruin our lives. It certainly can ruin our lives. But like fat, I think SOME erotic media is beneficial to SOME people. For the record, I think our media is overly sexualized like in commercials, mainstream TV, and music, but that doesn't mean there aren't appropriate places for sexual content.

    Erotica is used all the time in scientific research to measure arousal and study human sexuality. Many sex researcher, whose research has contributed greatly to overcoming sexual dysfunctions and added to our scientific understanding of sex, recorded and studied explicit sex acts. Many people have learned about their own sexuality from educational or tasteful demonstrations of sex. I think it's so important to understand the real effects, both positive and negative and make informed decisions based on that knowledge instead of overgeneralizing the issue so much.

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  20. i believe that pornography is damaging to male and females souls. it takes something away from a relationship...that energy ought to be given to your partner. same thing for those romance novels. even the best of guys can't hold up to the "hero" in those books...so it harms expectations and feelings and it's best to not go there.

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  21. In my own personal experiences, pornography is a slippery slope. While my husband and I have watched a few during our marriage together to get "in the mood," what always ends up happening is I start comparing myself. Am I doing it as good as she is? Is he imagining he's with her? Ugh, it's awful.

    And then, of course, there is him watching alone. I found out a year and a half ago that my husband is struggling with an addiction. I came across some bank statements where he had been paying obscene amounts for online memberships, he would clear the computer history because he'd look at it all day, he'd lock the door when I was gone so that he would have a "warning" before I came in, he even had it on his phone. I felt so entirely betrayed.

    And it had a HUGE negative impact on our sex life! He was so busy taking care of himself however many times a day that he had nothing left for me. And the whole time, I thought it was me. I put on a few pounds from the stress of working full time, going to school full time, and raising our three year old. Was he no longer attracted to me? Then I start freaking out that maybe he's having an affair! It was horrible. He wouldn't initiate with me and I got shot down ever time I tried to initiate. I tried everything I could think of, and he had zero interest.

    And I found out later it was because he was spending all day taking care of it on his own. How incredibly selfish! And, when I caught him and confronted him, he acted as if it was "no big deal. It's just some nudie pictures on the internet." But, it was SO much more than that, on so many levels. Some of the stuff he was watching just made my skin crawl. Is that what he wanted?! Was I no longer good enough?

    He promised to stop, but in the past year and a half I have caught him nearly five more times. He said it has gotten to the point where he's not even turned on by it, he just feels like he NEEDS to watch it. How am I supposed to compete with something like that now?! He won't go talk to anyone because he's embarrassed or too proud or whatever...says he can handle it himself.

    So, needless to say, I think that if a couple wants to experiment together, and porn is a way that they do that, fine. But there should be some guidelines and rules about "watching" alone. Because, as someone stated above me, you don't just "watch" porn.

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  22. I could be wrong, but I think erotica is more like what is on late night cinemax. There is usually some semblance of a plot, and the sex scenes are short and somewhat tastefully shot - not so graphic. Closer to an R rated movie maybe?

    I think a lot of those romance novels with Fabio on the cover fall into the "erotica" category, even though most women don't like to admit it.

    I haven't decided on this topic myself, and I am interested to hear what others think (including the author of this blog :) ). I suspect that what might be ok for one couple won't be for another. It completely depends on the individuals involved. My husband wanted to watch a spicy movie on late night TV once, and I resisted because I had the same concerns that others have had (being compared, getting addicted etc). I eventually agreed and I had fun. It's not something we do often, but every once in a blue moon it's a fun way to switch things up. just my 2 cents.

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  23. If anyone is interested in putting a good filter on the computer, google Safeyes. We got it to block pornography and so far its worked.

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  24. We really like K9. It's free and can be customized and have an administrative password and we can check the history.
    www.k9webprotection.com/

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  25. Another PerspectiveApril 28, 2011 at 10:35 AM

    My opinion is that sex can be a very strong force for good in a marriage. Besides creating children, it can deeply bond spouses together. Since I think sex is so good, I have a difficult time saying all sexual literature or depictions of sex are bad since some may cultivate a greater understanding, excitement, and appreciation for sex.  And I think that would enhance a couple's sexual love for each other.  

    I feel like you need to understand the effects, or "fruits" as someone said above, that consuming sexual material will have. I don't think that porn is bad because some religions say so; I think religions say it's bad because they understand its effects and want us to have great marriages and sex lives.  

    I personally think that probably most of the mainstream pornography is aimed solely at titillating and does not try to emphasize the beauty, love, and sincere thrill of sex. But I think that there are many expressions of sex that emphasize its higher and truer purposes and can improve a couple's attitude and perspective on sex.  I would personally consider that erotica and not pornography.

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  26. I think asking if Pornography is a good or evil thing is just like asking the same question about Religion. I can find just as many good and bad things in both.

    Pornography can depict the good things about sex and ultimately be shared with your spouse. And there is a bad side to it as well - mostly just the impact is has to those who are in the pornography industry.

    Religion can be about good things like providing shelter for those in need of physical, spiritual, or mental help. However, it is also the breeding grounds for bigotry, inappropriate conduct with children (as polite as I could put it), and intolerance.

    That said, I would say Religion is a better force for good in this world, but I think labeling something in black and white is dangerous.

    Additionally, what a lot of people just assume if they don't like pornography that everyone else likes a fairly vanilla sex life like them. I am pretty tame myself, but I know many people who would be considered pretty deviant by most. But the thing is... both of the people in the relationship are very happy. And that's what's important right?

    To the comment earlier about watching a porno film with her husband and constantly comparing herself to them... I could say the same thing about reading a romance novel - a real guy won't measure up. And I think that's part of the fantasy in both instances.

    However, if pornography is getting in the way of your marriage or taking away from your husbands desire to spend time in the sack with you then it is negative to your relationship. But the same could be said if your husband was atheist and you were away at church multiple times a week without him. Both instances take away from your relationship - regardless of the medium.

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  27. This also leads into an important topic which is probably at the heart of Pornography and marriage: is it okay for your spouse to masturbate alone?

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  28. I think erotica can be useful for learning to enjoy sex and see how erotic and exciting it can be. But moderation is important.

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  29. It is absolutely okay for my spouse to masturbate alone. I don't want him around every time I do it!!

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  30. I thought this was really was really interesting. Dr. Angela Chestern, a sex therapist, said:
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    Porn can have a detrimental affect on the marriage, or it can have an overwhelming positive affect – depending on the couple.

    Couple 1: They like to be different, daring and live by the rules that they put in place. Society can’t dictate how they will live their lives.
    Couple 2: Traditional values. Religious to a degree. Live their lives in most cases, by the rules of society.

    Porn to couple 1 is used as a sexual appetizer. This is a part of foreplay; getting each other “in the mood.” It can be viewed alone or with the other partner. They feel that porn has no long term negative affect on them whatsoever. Porn to couple 2 is not allowed. They feel that it’s a slap in the face to their belief system/values. Participating in such acts brings about the same feelings as cheating.

    Now, if each couple decides that they will shift their paradigm, together, the couples will still be in harmony. The problem only arises when one person goes outside of the agreed upon mode of living in either scenario.

    Many women are offended that their husbands would want to watch another woman having sex while others could care less what he watches. The long term hurt happens when the couple can not agree on what is “healthy” for them as a couple.

    In a time when “traditional” values are being pushed to the side more and more, couples are having to decide what works for them. One goal of any happy couple should be to take care of the other person’s heart.

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  31. I don't have a problem with my husband occasionally masturbating alone as long as he doesn't mind that I do it alone when the urge arises and he's not around.

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  32. My hub and I sometimes watch pornography to spice up our sex life. In fact, we've been watching it together the whole span of our relationship (we've been together 25 years now, since I was 15. But I think I was 16 before we watched our first vid.) It's a once in a while thing and it's only enhanced our chemistry, not hurt it.

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  33. Sorry I haven't been to visit lately, I have been out of town and vowed to spend quality time with out the computer!

    I am very very very passionate about this topic. I am completely against pornography. I believe it is the fundamental reason for eating disorders. I also believe that it can destroy a marriage, cause woman to be nothing but an object and can re-wire the brain. I believe it is a gateway to other sexual perversions. It serves no good to any single human being except the pure fact of immediate gratification.

    I do not watch Sex in the City, but I do watch a lot of things on the E! Network. One day I left the TV on while I finished something around the house and when I came back it was a scene of a man masturbating to pornography in the bathroom while his wife was in the other room. To me it showed how one, this has become an ok thing in our society, and two, even though it was all fictional it too destroyed their marriage.

    I have a friend who struggled with a heroin and pornography addictions. He went through rehab became clean of heroin and is still sober, he talks about the pains of withdrawals and how his body had to let go of all the toxins. He then wanted to give up pornography, the only thing that he would share with me about this "rehab" is "I would rather go through heroin withdrawals then pornography. This is harder then any addiction I have ever faced." I believe it is because it changes the way you view things, and people. That you can only find satisfaction through the new wiring. Nothing becomes good enough.

    I am against it in our marriage. Mostly for religious believes, but also because that is were we draw the line. We have zero tolerance for it in our marriage.

    Again, I believe it is a perversion, that it is a gateway and parasite to our society. Not one drop of it should be tolerated. Even if you don't have a religion it can't be comforting to know that your husband doesn't find you perfect or attractive... especially because almost all woman struggle with their physical appearance and figure. I know I do! And I plan one day to cosmetically change some things, and if I felt my husband found sexual gratification from woman who are designed to be perfect it would break my heart.

    (I wrote too much... had to do two comments)

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  34. (I wrote too much.. had to do two comments)

    I also believe that pornography takes away the beauty of love and a marriage. That it takes away the beauty of a family and the original design and purpose. That by having children is no longer a virtue or a desire.

    Any woman who is against it should not feel obligated to stand for such a thing in her relationship. If it is not ok, then it is absolutely not ok! Pornography in any which way is wrong, because it objectifying woman, and belittles the actual beauty, purpose, and meaning of the female figure.

    As for the romance novel, I personally believe anything that stimulates me with out my husband is not appropriate. However I am not a reader of books so I feel like this isn't an issue for me. But here are my two cents; if you have an issue with your partner getting sexual stimulation from something he or she reads, then should you be doing it? Does it keep you from valuing your partner and his or her figure? Do you wish your partner would change something about their appearance or sex life ? If any of these are answered yes, then stay away from things that lure you from what you and your partner really want, and communicate anything and everything to your partner. When you communicate especially in your sex life the bond and growth will amaze you.

    I want to make sure that I let you know that I strongly believe in being open and communicating. I think one of the issues with pornography is there is a sense of shame, and repression. I feel like these things can ruin a human being and all their good characteristics. It actually can be anything... it doesn't have to be pornography. But how many people really feel great about them selves and their relationship if they have to hide anything... actually who feels great and takes pride in participating in pornography? That is a good enough reason to indicate that it is good vs. bad.

    I know that was a lot to write, but I warned you I was passionate about this hahaha.

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  35. hahahha Just remember a funny thought for Romance Novels. I had a guy friend who couldn't stand Twilight, for more then just one reason. Anyways this is what he said with light heatedly and just making a joke "Twilight is emotional pornography!!!" Even through his hilarious loud tangent I found truth in that. That woman began to fantasize about this unrealistic and unhealthy image of love and what love should be. So even if you don't get sexually stimulated by romance novels, is it sculpting your ideal romance? I believe that this can cause woman to hold out on a good relationship because they have been reading the counterfeited versions of love.

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  36. Porn isn't right or wrong depending on whether its effects are perceived as a negative or positive. It is wrong because its effects are always negative - though perhaps not in a obvious way. After all, a little spice can seem like a boost to a relationship. But the question is, if you need or want that 'spice' or 'jump start', what are you missing that should otherwise drive that desire?

    Marriage and being one is driven by much more than physiological reaction to sensual stimuli. it is a whole-heart desire to express and share your totally uninhibited affection with another whole person's body/mind/spirit in a completely unselfish way. If you don't have that, you should pray for it together, and not settle on being stimulated by the site and thought of private acts of others.

    Other dangers of porn include establishing norms and methods for your arousal that your spouse cannot fulfill - or that your spouse does not enjoy doing in that manner. Meaning that you struggle to be aroused simply by thinking about, looking at or being with your own husband or wife and doing the activities he or she desires to share. This happens because you've allowed other people to set the standard for sexiness instead.

    As for self stimulation...I think it should only be done when you cannot be together because of physical separation of a time. And even then, it should be shared as much as possible - phone, messages, whatever. The chemicals released in your brain at climax are akin to a heroine high. Sex was literally created by God to make you addicted to your spouse! Marriage glue. To the extent you are having solo sex, you are becoming addicted to the thoughts and habits that revolve around your solo sex, and not to your spouse.

    Sorry if I'm preachy. I'm very convinced that God has a great desire for us to have an amazing sexual and intimate relationships with our spouse because it is one of the gifts he gave me as part of a renewal of my faith. Before that event, I might have agreed that some porn or erotica is ok, or at least not harmful.

    As far as porn vs. erotica or romance lit. I think it become s a matter of the heart. An image of a naked person in a non-sexual manner is just an image. You can choose to see a desirable sex object, or as a doctor sees his/her patient. If Adam and Eve had not sinned, would we not all still be walking around naked? And no one would have inappropriate thoughts about their brothers and sisters in Christ - because they would have desire only for their mate whom they know and are attracted to the whole person package, and are not attracted to merely an physical image.

    As for steamy literature, I think again, it is a matter of the heart. Song of Solomon is pretty steamy - but in a sinless way. If steamy literature is portraying a pure and redeemed relationship and you are not playing a movie in your mind of anything you shouldn't watch on a screen...ok. I just don't know if that exists! In general though, I guess I would hold reading material to that biblical standard.

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  37. Good post. I'm wondering how transparent you should be with your spouse about your desires and thoughts on erotica?

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  38. I would like to know how to find good, marriage-friendly erotica... Erotic stories taught me how to have an oragasm too... but I don't want to feed my brain some of the twisted things that are on the internet. Does anybody have movies or websites that they recommend depicting a man and woman in love (nothing kinky!!!)

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  39. I don't want to step on any toes, but the only people I have known who are addicted to pornography have been religious people who were taught it was dirty and shameful. I also have to wonder if "addiction" is a bit of a hyperbole.

    I have LOTS of very close male friends, and male family members. I have read stories of men getting addicted to pornography and having to watch it every single day, or spending hundreds of dollars a month on it, not being able to orgasm with their wives/girlfriends, etc. None of this has happened to my friends who are casual about and ok with pornography. If anything, a lot of them find it cheesy and lame. There is no "forbidden fruit" aspect of it, and there is no shame, so if they want to watch it they do, but it's not overtaking their life.

    I have to wonder if all the guilt, shame, and cultural context language of it "destroying one's soul" and "damaging marriages permanently" doesn't simply serve to reinforce a negative feedback loop- "oh no, I looked at porn!! I must be a sick pervert. I probably won't be able to have normal sexual relations now, from what I've been told..." guilt/shame pile on, and then the thought might just be "well,I'm so damaged why stop at all?". Just a thought.

    Cortney

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  40. It seems my comment was deleted- I'd love to know what I said that merited deletion? I was simply surmising on the possibility that the value system from which one approaches porn might affect the way one reacts to porn. I read all the comments before I posted to make sure I used the right tone, given the subject.

    Frankly, I'm confused. I made virtually the exact same comment on the blog of a very devout LDS girl, whose blog I love, when we were having the discussion about pornography, so I don't know if I offended you as a religious person, or just you in general.

    Cortney

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  41. Hi Cortney,

    While I monitor the comments to be ensure a positive conversation, I rarely delete comments. I haven't deleted any comments lately. Is it possible your comment didn't save? Sorry about the confusion. Please feel free to re-write your comment.

    Thank you so much for your participation. Differing viewpoints on topics such as these provide valuable learning opportunities. Again, I apologize for any confusion.

    xoxo,
    Gwen

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  42. Gwen- I know it posted, but I think it was lost when Blogger was down for a day or two (I heard some people lost comments as well as some posts).

    I love your blog and I just wanted to make sure I didn't offend you! :)

    Cortney

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  43. I occasionally look at it, sometimes for instructional purposes (I’ve gotten some very good ideas about how to give and receive sexual pleasure from erotica) and sometimes as a means of jumpstarting my libido. Both of those things are, in my opinion, good things. But I recognize that these are particular to me, my tastes, my needs, my personality.

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  44. To the other women that said they use it sometimes for a jumpstart: Do you have some recommendations for good erotica?

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