The Hidden Epidemic Destroying Marriages and Families

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For example, pornography portrays an endless round of thrilling sexual escapades with an endless bevy of breathless, hot-blooded babes and studmuffins. The not-so-subtle message is that these babes and studmuffins are more breathless and hot-blooded if you're not married to them. This is more fantasy than fact.

"Couples not involved [sexually] before their marriage and faithful during marriage are more satisfied with their current sex life and also with their marriage, compared to those who were involved sexually before marriage," says Dr. David Larson of the National Institutes of Health in an unpublished manuscript entitled Behind Closed Doors. Dr. Larson and his associates also found that women who feel secure and loved and who trust that their man is around to stay are twice as fulfilled as women who are promiscuous.

There are physiological reasons why this is so. In healthy sexuality, two special parts of our nervous system, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), work together in harmony to bring about sexual arousal and release. If you give a fearful, guilty or embarrassed meaning to a sexual experience, the SNS will overreact, blocking normal sexual arousal.

Recently, I held a sobbing woman I'll call Jane. Jane stammered out her shame over things she had done in her marriage bed. Her husband stood nearby, hanging his head, saying he had asked her to perform those acts.

He thought they were OK—after all, the women in pornography enjoyed them. But in real life, those sexual practices cause pain. Jane's nervous system overloaded on the shame, fear and pain she was experiencing. As a result, she became sexually dysfunctional.

Pornography can cause sexual dysfunction in other ways. Those who use pornography often develop "sexual anorexia." This means they are unable or unwilling to enter into a sexual relationship with their spouses.

Sometimes this is because shame about the things they have done in secret make them want to hide from their spouses. Other times it's because they are angry with their spouses for not agreeing to act out a pornographic fantasy. Either way, sex is infrequent, and the innocent spouse wonders why he or she is no longer desirable.

Finally, pornography usage can lead to sexual dissatisfaction. Being compared to some unrealistic standard is a real turnoff. Women who clean bathrooms, make lunches and kiss boo-boos can't compete with women who are pumped up, tucked up and air-brushed.

3. Pornography leads to abuse. The myth that women secretly want to be raped is a big part of pornography. Many of our young people believe this myth. A study of 1,700 junior high teens found that 65 percent of the boys and 57 percent of the girls believe it's OK for a male to force a female to have sex if they have been dating for six months.

Pornography also causes more subtle forms of abuse. In pornography, a woman does whatever a man wants her to do. For example, there's one interactive CD in which it's possible to have over a million virtual sex experiences with a woman—you simply program in what you want her to do.

The normal needs of a live woman anger a man who has been used to being in total control of fantasy women. That may be why the states that have the highest readership of pornography also have the highest rates of domestic violence.

Recently, I heard a talk-show host tell a caller that as long as no body fluids were exchanged, she needn't worry about her husband's exploration of Internet porn. The talk-show host was wrong—pornography kills love.

Has pornography hurt your life or the life of someone you love? Don't despair. There are steps you can take to restore what the enemy has stolen.

And you can take solace in God's word to you: "Your Maker is Your husband—and I'm not just any husband. I'm the God of the whole earth, the Lord of hosts, and your Redeemer. I'm calling to you. I know you feel forsaken. I know you're heartbroken. You were wooed and won in your youth. Now you've been rejected and scorned. Listen to Me. I'll tenderly gather you into My arms, and I will have compassion on you" (Is. 54:5-7, paraphased).

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