I’ve had conversations with a lot of people who watch porn/masturbate on a regular basis. Some of them see nothing wrong with habit. They’ve the internalized the idea that it is a normal healthy human behavior, even though observation and basic reasoning indicate that it goes against human nature—which is to reproduce and connect with others—and is largely facilitated by modern technology.
Understanding Pornography Addiction
Most people I’ve talked to, Christian AND unbeliever, acknowledge porn/masturbation to be an unhealthy habit. Almost no one I’ve ever talked to is genuinely proud of it, even those who are inclined to promote it and make light of it. At the very least, most people think of it in terms of a weakness, even if they see it as a weakness common to many people. It doesn’t add any lasting value to life. Have you ever respected a man for watching pornography and pleasuring himself?
Yet others, like myself, take a long view and can identify the harmful psychological, physical, relational, spiritual and societal consequences.
Today, I want to introduce the idea that if we watch pornography regularly, and we know it isn’t good for us, then we are probably addicted in some way. See the following common definition of addiction cited by Wikipedia.
Addiction is a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse [bad, unhealthy, harmful] consequences.Wikipedia
Even if it’s every other day, once a week, or once a month, to routinely and compulsively engage in a habit that we know is destructive, is the textbook definition of addiction.
Addiction is a serious thing, and that’s how we should view all habits that qualify as such.
However, there is another sense in which we are NOT addicted.
When people think of addiction, they think of powerlessness. The truth is one may be addicted to pornography, but not powerless against it.
Let me illustrate: If your mother or grandma or sister were in the room, I would bet my bottom dollar that you wouldn’t click and you wouldn’t reach for the lotion. It doesn’t matter if they were in that room for 3 months straight, you still wouldn’t do it because of the respect you have for them and the respect you have for yourself. You might get irritable, you might have cravings, but at the end of the day, you would be fine.
Today, let’s acknowledge the seriousness of our toxic habits, but not use it as an excuse to keep practicing them.