Column: Real consequences to a real problem

By Brandon Ramsey

Just as I thought, as soon as I mention a controversial topic like pornography, everyone wants to talk about the article.  I have been pleasantly surprised with the support that people have given me in dealing with this subject.  Especially how I am trying to broach the subject in a way that would not offend anyone if their teenager was to pick up the article and read it.  In the last week, I have discussed this issue with many individuals from multiple sides of the issue.  Many to most individuals are affected by pornography in some way, whether they know it or not.

Some people are affected directly.  It could be an immensely overwhelming problem in their relationship, or it could just cause some small insecurity in a life.  The horrible thing is that even if it is not a devastating realization at first, it has overwhelming consequences in a relationship.  Every woman that I talked to this week and in my years of counseling experience has disclosed to me how degrading pornography makes them feel.  Even a small brush with magazines, movies, or websites can allow even a miniscule amount of doubt into a spouses mind.  “Am I good enough?  He/She must need something more.  What is wrong with me that he/she needs to seek that?”  It is not always the huge in your face tragedy that kills a relationship.  Doubt and self consciousness are more of a slow and painful death for a relationship.  This is also the type of deteriorating breakup that will have lasting effects on the individuals involved.

So what about those who say it is an individual action?  That it is not hurting anyone as long as my spouse does not know about it, or I’m just looking and not acting.  Well, the best argument is what pornography does to your way of thinking and your expectations on an intimate relationship.  By indulging in pornography, you are objectifying human beings and the act of intimacy in general.  The acts going on in that video or the people on the pages of that magazine become as much an object as the videos and magazines themselves in your mind.  They become pornography, so inversely does the act.  This leads you to unrealistic expectations on your relationships from that point on.  By intimacy becoming just another act, we separate the emotions and responsibilities that are essential for a healthy and thriving intimate relationship.  We begin to believe that the act is the most important thing, and that no matter what is going on in our relationship, it should not affect our intimacy.  When that happens, it will definitely affect your spouse.  The unfortunate thing about this phenomenon is that the one involved in pornography is so busy trying to hide it and to play out their unrealistic fantasies that he/she does not realize that their actions with their spouse have changed until it is too late.

There are many that believe that bringing this into the relational bed is a good idea.  So let us think about what that is saying to your spouse.  Remember that what happens in the bed is the most intimate act that you and your spouse can partake in.  It takes complete openness, trust, and acceptance.  So by bringing this in, you are saying, I can not do that with you out of love and based on our relationship; I need to revert to what society says is attractive and arousing.  This brings the opportunity for doubt and self consciousness to creep into your relationship.