Pornography is a touchy subject and there are many sides to any debate involving porn. Well known experts are have bee a part of recent discussions. But what are the experts saying? And, who are these experts? What is their agenda, and who is left out of the list of "experts"?
What about what "people" say? Ordinary people in traditional relationships - husband and wife? What are wives saying about their husband's pornography use (or abuse, depending upon your point of view)? What are the clergy saying? What about sex addicts, those who have lived through the total destruction of a marriage or relationship?
"What about the people? What about the countless horror stories where pornography has destroyed marriages and families have been torn apart?"
We know what the experts are saying, and have said, and probably will continue to say... but what about those who's lives and relationships have been destroyed? Do these people care what the experts are saying? I don't think so.
Although it is very interesting to read what the experts are saying about porn, do we really need to know what they are saying? Isn't the negative experience telling us enough?
As you read the article below you may experience a lot of different feelings and emotions. One emotion that I experienced is "disgust". I really could not believe what I was reading. However, I found the overall discussion and dialogue, along with the final conclusion, educational. It's hard to believe that the "experts" are really the experts. I believe the ordinary people, people who are invested into a relationship or marriage, are the best to judge this subject - and who cares what the eggheads think?
"In fact, use of pornography by one partner leads the couple to have far less sex and ultimately reduces relationship satisfaction.” Dr. Gottman
Original post found on PsychologyToday.com by Kevin B Skinner, Ph.D. on May 21st, 2016.
Recently there has been much discussion about the effects of pornography on relationships. This week I had an up-and-coming therapist come to my office to discuss my approach to therapy. She was very confused about working with individuals and couples who are seeking therapy for pornography-related issues.
She had attended a lecture by Dr. David Ley who believes that there is no such thing as pornography or sexual addiction. You can read his article, Pornography Is Not the Problem--You Are. She also works at a center that espouses this same idea. They believe that pornography is not the problem, but that our attitudes about pornography are creating problems. They believe our perception about pornography being addictive is wrong.
"pornography damages attachment bonding. In her attachment-based model, she believes that solo pornography use significantly alters the natural attachment bond in couples." Dr Susan Johnson
In his same article David Ley wrote, “Porn can affect people, but it does not take them over or override their values. If someone watches porn showing something they find distasteful, it has no impact on their behavior or desires. He further argues that research indicates that “Across the world, and in America, as men have increased ability to view Internet erotica, sex crimes go down. Believe it or not - porn is good for society.” This argument should get everyone’s attention and make us all ask important questions. Are we as a culture over responding to pornography? Should we just relax because viewing pornography is a natural, healthy activity? (is this guy serious, or does he have a personal agenda? Has he been living under a rock?)
As I listened to my therapist friend, I could tell she was clearly confused. I invited her to consider a few other voices in this discussion. Recently, I had the chance to interview Dr. Susan Johnson, the founder of emotionally-focused therapy, author of Love Sense and Hold Me Tight. She is a world-renowned Marriage and Family Therapist. In our discussion, she acknowledged that she used to believe that pornography was not that big of a deal.
However, as she has watched the effect pornography has had on countless couples, she now believes that pornography damages attachment bonding. In her attachment-based model, she believes that solo pornography use significantly alters the natural attachment bond in couples. You can find the full discussion on the iTunes podcast titled, Love Rice--Nerd Out on Bonding.
I also encouraged my colleague to read Dr. John Gottman’s recent post titled, “An Open Letter on Porn.” In this letter he wrote, “Pornography poses a serious threat to couple intimacy and relationship harmony.
This moment calls for public discussion, and we want our readers around the world to understand what is at stake.” Clearly, Dr.’s Johnson and Gottman now believe that our reaction to pornography is more than just a normal response. They are witnessing that pornography is hurting relationships.
Pornography Use Reduces Normal Sexual Interests Causing Relational Dysfunction
Regarding how pornography influences a person’s sexual response, Dr. Gottman discussed how pornography is actually a supernormal stimulus. One effect of a supernormal stimulus is that interest wanes in normal stimuli. Sex in the bedroom between a couple, therefore, may become boring. With this in mind, Dr. Gottman wrote, “With pornography use, much more of a normal stimulus may eventually be needed to achieve the response a supernormal stimulus evokes.
In contrast, ordinary levels of the stimulus are no longer interesting. This may be how normal sex becomes much less interesting for porn users. The data supports this conclusion. In fact, use of pornography by one partner leads the couple to have far less sex and ultimately reduces relationship satisfaction.” Dr. Gottman’s voice on this argument is one to which we should all pay attention.
Whether pornography addiction exists or sexual addiction is real, it is important that we as a society understand and explore how porn use is influencing individuals and their relationships. Two of the most influential therapists in our world today now believe pornography is hurting relationships.
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