By: Mitch Young
During a recent training seminar for my full-time position as an Intact Family Case Manager, I was reminded why pornography is such an important issue to tackle through my job as a professional counselor. My fellow trainees and I were sitting in a room discussing various cases that could potentially be safety issues within the family. As the case examples filed through, we eventually came upon a fictional case (we’ll call it the Bobby case) where a teenage boy (“Bobby”) was fearful of his father because his father stated he had physically punished Bobby, a 13 year old male, and was not finished with him. Why? The son had been caught looking at Playboy magazines. My trainer led into the case by stating, “Ok, let’s look into the ‘Bobby case,’ whose parents won’t let him be a boy.” Needless to say, I was shocked because of three basic assumptions that can be deduced from such a perspective.
1. Male homo sapiens are on this planet to be pleased immediately, despite what boundaries or structures are in place to prohibit certain behaviors.
If such a view is true, why must an individual still be 18 years of age to purchase adult magazines? Why do adult websites (although grossly unprotected) still have a warning page telling minors to turn back? Why is adult material not sold at every grocery store, drug store, and 7/11? The answer is because society has decried, through law and policy, that such behaviors are NOT appropriate for minors. They may be inappropriate to adults as well, but let us leave that for later.
2. Boys are allowed to take part in illegal activity.
Why shouldn’t they? Viewing pornography is defended as a harmless crime where nobody gets hurt. Please, by all means, tell that to the wife whose husband divorced her because of pornography. Tell that to the daughter, who found out her father is being arrested because he was looking at pornography of girls that were her age. Tell that to the individuals that are in inpatient programs because they had the strength to admit their weakness. Tell that to the church congregations or church constituents whose trust has been obliterated because their pastor or political representative was caught viewing pornography while on the job.
3. Women’s bodies are not worthy of respect and affection, but are simply there for pleasure, admiration, and lust.
Nakedness is indeed beautiful. I am not stupid to the point of saying otherwise. But what must be understood is that viewing nudity is an extremely intimate experience. Yet pornography is one-way intimacy. Instead of women sharing is this intimacy, it is a man, viewing, wishing, desiring, and judging a woman who is simply a picture on a page. Yes, she may have been paid a great deal of money, but the overwhelming percentage of women in the porn industry are not making big bucks. Instead, they’re shelling out cash for medications, surgeries, abuse shelters, and legal fees.
I often compare pornography to smoking marijuana. Many people will consider both to be harmless activities. I argue they are similar for two fundamental reasons. First of all, they can be enjoyable activities, but the enjoyment is seldom satisfied by just one experience. This leads to the second issue, that both often times are gateway actions. As marijuana often times leads to eventual usage in harder, more dangerous substances, so soft pornography often leads to harder, different, or potentially unnatural pornography.
For this reason, I treat Pornography Addiction VERY seriously. Within treatment, clients can expect the following:
1. Patience, Encouragement, and Accountability
2. Establishing healthy and appropriate coping techniques that can be implemented throughout the day
3. Assistance searching for and establishing support networks that can be used to receive accountability and strength outside of the therapeutic setting
4. Answers to “What is missing that has been filled through viewing pornography?”
The process towards recovery starts with acceptance. That does not mean acceptance has to be obtained before entering therapy. If you have a nudge or if you know of a loved one that is struggling, the road to recovery is a simple phone call away. I look forward to coming alongside you in your moment of weakness in order to regain strength and hope.