Someone I Know Has a Problem with Porn

Someone I Know Has a Problem with Porn

by Jim Vigorito

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback)

$5.99

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781589971752
Publisher: Focus Publishing
Publication date: 09/28/2006
Series: Help! (Focus on the Family) Series
Pages: 112
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.40(d)

Read an Excerpt

Help! Someone I Know Has a Problem with Porn


By Bill Maier Jim Vigorito

Tyndale House Publishers

Copyright © 2006 Focus on the Family
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-58997-175-2


Chapter One

Part One

Defining Pornography

The word pornography is defined in Webster's as "The depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitment." Our word prostitute comes from the same Greek root (porne). As with a prostitute, the customer viewing pornography pays for sexual arousal apart from any relationship. The sexual desire is entirely fantasy driven, with no connection to real life. It is completely self-preoccupied. The customer determines the content and the timing. Apart from payment, nothing else is either given by or expected from the customer.

Different Outlets of Pornography

Access to pornography has changed dramatically in the past two decades. Magazines, books, and later, films were the primary vehicles of sale in the previous century. The euphemisms "adult" or "mature" were used to denote themes that society viewed as inappropriate for minors. Apart from mail-order deliveries of pornographic material arriving at the door in brown paper, porn customers ran the risk of personal exposure in pursuit of these items.

The advent of the Internet has brought at least five major changes tothe pornography industry:

Increased accessibility

Interactive capability

Dramatic lowering of the age of first exposure

Expansion of offerings

Entrée to personal encounters

Pornography is now instantly accessible in the home. Unsolicited pop-ups can appear when you make a slight typing error. Images and videos can be down-loaded without risk of outside exposure. Many of these materials can be obtained and utilized without the knowledge of parents or spouses. Technology permitting downloading to cell phones and other handheld devices means potential access to pornography anywhere and at any time.

Beyond increased accessibility, the Internet has interactive capability, which permits exchange of conversation and personal images in a way that was hardly imaginable a short time ago. Through chat rooms and video exchange, participants explore sexual fantasy from the privacy of their homes. Because people from all over the world can be signed on, locating someone interested in sex is never a problem. Previous limitations of geographical location and after-hours availability are a thing of the past.

It also appears that the Internet has dramatically lowered the age of first exposure to pornography. The young, the curious, and the inexperienced were, and still are, the most vulnerable customers. While there were always exceptions, pornography use tended to peak in adolescence and early adulthood. Pornography access for young children was limited to materials left around by parents or other elders. Focus on the Family now receives a number of calls from parents of preteens, such as Lucy. Their children have access to and are compulsively viewing pornography before even reaching puberty. In many cases, their Internet access has not been supervised closely enough.

Internet access has also resulted in an expansion of offerings in pornography. Having worked in the rehabilitation of sexual offenders for more than 25 years, I used to think that I had heard it all. But with its worldwide clientele, the Internet now makes it profitable to cater to very specific and ever-changing sexual tastes. Web sites and chat groups pander to an endless variety of sexual preferences that run the gamut from sadomasochism to dressing as infants.

As serious as the first four changes are, the entrée to personal encounters represents the greatest safety risk for porn users of any age. Pornography has always served as an entryway to greater sexual deviance and potential harm. The impression is given that the inevitable next step after porn use is personal physical involvement. And unlike infamous porn stars of the past (many of whom were forced to perform out of drug dependency and worse), present-day online participants may wish to be contacted. The next step in their virtual sexual exchange is a real-life meeting with someone they know almost nothing about.

Despite countless newspaper accounts of the risk of murder and sexual assault, husbands, fathers, wives, and mothers suddenly disappear, taking the family savings or a credit card to finance a cross-country rendezvous. Children and teens also fall into this trap, leaving home to meet strangers, ignoring the danger. They may not know the person's real identity, let alone previous criminal activities or presence of sexually transmitted diseases. A 16-year-old girl may think she's going to see a boy her age, only to meet a middle-aged sex offender.

Gender Differences in Pornography Usage

Not that long ago, viewing pornography magazines was primarily a male thing. Many in society accepted the practice as a male rite of passage. Over time, the women models wore less, and the poses became more explicit and provocative. The women were treated as objects at best, and sex was always portrayed as an activity devoid of commitment or self-sacrifice.

Once initiated into the world of pornography, many men found that magazines did not compare to live action. Adult films left nothing to the imagination. It was not unusual for my male counseling clients to talk about following particular female porn stars throughout a series of films. The men were attracted to these women on the basis of a particular hair color, height, or specific body build. It was as if the criteria of attractiveness involved a set of visual templates. The objects of their attraction were two-dimensional cutouts bearing no resemblance to flesh-and-blood personalities.

Men in particular have a capacity to compartmentalize. They view their lives in separate compartments rather than as a consistent whole. On Sunday mornings, they enter the church compartment. On Tuesday evenings, while their wives are at aerobics class or choir practice, they enter the "little something for me" compartment. They don't see the bearing one has upon the other. Those who use pornography on occasion may fail to appreciate the extent to which it can totally disrupt their lives and the lives of others. But the more one engages in the activity, the greater the likelihood that it will consume one's thoughts.

In the past, women were drawn mostly to steamy romance novels. Instead of playing the visual card, women chose a relational alternative. In greatest demand were men who listened, sacrificed, and catered to their every wish. Rich didn't hurt, but conversationalists able to appreciate more than just physical beauty were highly sought after. At the time, it seemed harmless to leave the demands of daily routine for just a little escape and a sense of appreciation.

Chat rooms have drastically changed the pornography playing field for both men and women. Men who barely speak in the home stay up all night chatting with their newly-found soul mates. Women who are discreet in dealing with men at church or in the workplace let down their guard in the anonymity of their home computer. Internet games and chat rooms provide the illusion of security. Fantasy role-play provides the opportunity to try a different personality without the commitment of an ongoing relationship.

Pornography's Damage to the Family

The first obvious danger of porn is the time it takes away from important responsibilities. Not only does viewing pornography take time away from family and friends, but in some cases pornography has also overtaken users' lives-even causing men and women to lose their jobs. A growing number of men and women are accessing Internet pornography while at work.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Help! Someone I Know Has a Problem with Porn by Bill Maier Jim Vigorito Copyright © 2006 by Focus on the Family. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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