Co-writer of the impactful movie “Fireproof” once said: “Pornography is a parasite, because it steals your emotions, your focus, your time and your energy from your spouse.”
It may seem self-evident, but I wanted to remind us about the definition of a parasite:
According to dictionary.com, a parasite is:
- An organism that lives on or in an organism of another species, known as the host, from the body of which it obtains nutriment.
- A person of thing who received support, advantage or the like from another or others without giving any useful or proper return, as one who lives on the hospitality of others.
- A person who receives free meals in return for amusing or impudent conversation, flattering remarks, etc.
Time and time again, as I work with both kids and parents who are dealing with a pornography addiction, I encounter this parasitic impact. Initially, the user just senses the excitement and stimulation pornography can afford; they see the short-term benefit of masturbation and experience the pleasing sexual release. But because pornography can be so addictive; because it does appear to appease and flatter sexual desires for a moment, it begins to take a more dominant place in the lives of those who encounter it.
The kids I work with tell me that, at first, they just occasionally looked at pornography because they were curious about sex. Their thoughts, however, kept returning to the pornography they had seen, and they got to a place where they could barely go a day, and even sometimes an hour, without looking for a new pornographic thrill. One teen that we interviewed for the Internet Safety 101 Program I worked on with Internet safety organization Enough Is Enough described how he couldn’t even go to sleep without looking at pornography—it truly began to consume his thoughts.
One of the fathers that I spoke with recently described another sad impact of pornography addiction; he no longer was able to enjoy a sexual experience with his wife without fantasizing about the pornography he would seek out during the day. Additionally, pornography was beginning to encroach on his productivity at work—he would sneak in masturbation and pornography sessions using his smartphone or by bypassing his company’s Internet filters. Sometimes he would sneak out to his car to masturbate to pornography on his smartphone. As he shared with me, he lost the ability to focus on his children, his desire for his children and his desire to provide financially—he could think of little else than pornography.
These are stories that I hear all too often. Initially, people believe they can tuck their pornography use away in a box, keep it private and only use it when they choose too—eventually, however, they begin to see that pornography is a taker, an addictive influence that infects their mind and body with a desire for more and more. Pornography makes so many of those I work with literally feel sick.
If you are struggling with a pornography addiction as an adult, I hope you will consider taking a step towards accountability and counseling. We have a number or resources on this site to help. Additionally, if you are a parent who wants to protect their child from this parasite, I hope you will consider using parental controls and a strong Internet filter on all Internet-connected devices in your home today. Also, begin talking to your kids about healthy sexuality and the dangers of pornography—for information to help, visit the parent resources section of the site.