“How do I know pornography depraves and corrupts? It depraves and corrupts me.”

– Malcolm Muggeridge

“Flee from sexual immorality.”

– Bible

Of The New York Times top 10 bestsellers in Paperback Trade Fiction at the time of this writing, five of them are advertised as being “erotic” (read pornographic).

The pornography industry is larger than the revenues of the top technology companies combined: Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix and EarthLink.

Child pornography generates $3 billion annually.

Many medical experts believe that pornography is just as addictive as drugs, and for basically the same reason; even though the stimulus is different, the impact on the brain is the same. Once hooked, it’s hard to get unhooked. And the consequences of being hooked are severe.

One of the most destructive forces tearing marriages apart today is pornography, both written and pictorial. Consider the following adult Internet pornography statistics:

• Men admitting to accessing pornography at work – 20 percent.

• U.S. adults who regularly visit Internet pornography websites – 40 million.

• Christians who said pornography is a major problem in the home – 47 percent.

• Adults admitting to Internet sexual addiction – 10 percent

• Breakdown of male/female visitors to pornography sites – 72 percent male; 28 percent female.

Pat Fagan, in a paper entitled “The Effects of Pornography on Individuals, Marriage, Family, and Community,” published by The Family Research Council, has the following conclusions:

• Pornography is a major threat to marriages, the family, and the society at large.

• Married men who are involved in pornography feel less satisfied with their conjugal relations and less emotionally attached to their wives.

• Pornography use is a pathway to infidelity and divorce, and is frequently a major factor in these family disasters.

• Couples affected by one spouse’s addiction usually experience a loss of interest in sexual intercourse and good family relations.

• Both spouses perceive pornography viewing as tantamount to infidelity.

Gene McConnell and Keith Campbell, in an article published by Focus on the Family, suggest five stages of addiction:

• Early exposure. Most guys who get addicted to porn start early.

• Addiction. You keep coming back to porn. It becomes a regular part of your life. You’re hooked.

• Escalation. You start to look for more and more graphic porn. You start using porn that would have disgusted you when you started. Now it excites you.

• Desensitization. Eventually, you start to become numb. Even the most graphic, degrading porn doesn’t excite you anymore. You become desperate to feel the same thrill again but can’t find it.

• Acting out sexually. At this point, many men make a dangerous jump and start acting out sexually. They move from the paper and plastic images of porn to the real world.

Now that we know that pornography is pervasive and destructive, how do we resist it?

Society in general seems to be bent on making all kinds of pornography acceptable. Internet, movie, TV – sex is everywhere and extremely accessible, with just one click on the mouse or the channel selection button.

Even the ads on the sports programs use sex to sell their products.

All of this emphasis on sex leads to more deviant forms of sexual expression: soft and hard pornography.

Our first step in avoidance is to make sure our values clearly define what is acceptable, and what isn’t.

I suggest the Bible as a good foundation.

The obvious next step is careful implementation of those values on a continuous basis – relentlessly.

We must be aware of the universal presence of pornography, and be alert to avoid it where possible, particularly in protecting our children.

Filters on the computer and on the TV are a big help.

Admit that it attracts and run from it.

Confess and get help if needed.

Finally, fill your time with good things: time with the family, friends, healthy hobbies, fulfilling work, community involvement, activities that enhance your values, e.g. prayer, Bible reading, church involvement.

Keep those relationships healthy; it’s the best protection from pornography.

The Family and Marriage Coalition of Aiken, Inc. (FAMCO) provides resources for you to succeed in your marriage and families. Roger Rollins, Executive Director, FAMCO, 803-640-4689, rogerrollins@aikenfamco.com, www.aikenfamco.com.