How Online Porn Causes Spiritual Struggles

(Image by eartotherailfotos)
(Image by eartotherailfotos)

There was no sense of shock, just a mild dose of nostalgia when Playboy magazine announced it would stop featuring nude women in its magazine.

“That battle has been fought and won,” Playboy CEO Scott Flanders told the New York Times in what amounted to a concession speech to the online pornography industry.

“You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free.”

But as the secular culture marches on in its acceptance of pornography, one group of Americans is not finding it as easy to adapt, research indicates.

The widespread access to graphic sexual images may be particularly damaging to religious individuals. Many find themselves caught between the teachings of their faith and the same basic desires that have turned online porn into a multibillion-dollar business.

Religious individuals who reported going online for porn spent just as much time viewing pornography as less religious individuals, according to one set of studies.

But there is a major difference: Religious users who also expressed moral disapproval of pornography were much more likely to view their habit as an addiction.

The finding, researchers indicated, may be more telling of the religious respondents’ spiritual struggles than an accurate assessment of their behavior.

Another study revealed that the more time religious parents spent watching porn, the less time they were likely to spend talking or reading about religion, God and spirituality with their children.

“Findings suggest that increased pornography consumption itself might threaten the transmission of religious heritage from parents (and particularly fathers) to children,” researcher Samuel Perry of the University of Oklahoma reported in the journal Sociology of Religion.

Breaking bad

Several studies suggest that the importance of religion in a person’s life and religious practices such as attending services generally discourage pornography use.

But an emerging body of research is finding a flip side for religious individuals who believe pornography is morally wrong, but still seek it out.

In some cases, what could be a simple case of adolescent exploration or a natural impulse to taste readily available forbidden fruit can lead to more serious mental health issues.

The added burdens of shame and guilt associated with pornography use also lead some to withdraw from the religious communities they would normally depend on for social support. They may also distance themselves from those closest to them.

“Its use could be a source of increasing tension, shame, and cognitive dissonance among religious spouses and parents, influencing them to disengage from religious interaction due to shame and scrupulousness, or perhaps just be too preoccupied with their pornography habit to interact with others,” The University of Oklahoma’s Perry reported.

Unlike addictions to food, or even alcohol, drugs or gambling, porn may seem particularly difficult to admit or talk about in religious communities that place greater emphasis on sexual sins, researchers state.

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SOURCE: The ARDA, Ahead of the Trend
David Briggs

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