Thursday, July 23, 2015

Addiction - Part 3

We've come to the last of the big ones: porn. Last, perhaps, but certainly not least. This addiction is the most prevalent in our society. There are staggering statistics surrounding the use of porn, most of the boom in those statistics branching from the development of the internet. But I'm not here to talk about statistics. I'm here to talk about the lasting pain that porn addiction can leave. To quote the extraordinarily insightful catchphrase of the Fight The New Drug movement: Porn Kills Love.

Pornography alters the brain. It changes the way people see others. It objectifies human beings. It demotes a person from an equal to a subject. Porn makes it easy to believe that others are on this planet simply to please you. To do as you command. To serve you. It steals humanity.

An addiction to pornography makes you treat people differently. It promotes rape culture. It cultivates superiority complexes. It breaks trust. It destroys wedding vows. Seeing others as objects makes it easier to cheat on your spouse. If you condone seeing images of sexual infidelity for long enough, you can convince yourself that anything flies. 

It's hard to trust someone after they've betrayed you in this way. I once caught an ex-boyfriend using MY laptop for such purposes. It was the source of bitterness in our relationship until it's ultimate demise. See, the thing is, I never fully trusted him again. He had been lying to me, even lied to my face when I caught him. That's the thing about addiction. It beckons you to follow. It calls you into its shadows. It convinces you that what you're doing is ok. That nobody needs to know. That you're better off lying to everyone around you, as long as you get your next fix.

But real life doesn't work that way. You can't hide forever. Eventually, someone WILL find out. And when that day comes, you will have hurt the ones you care about the most. If you love someone, you won't lie to them. If they love you, they'll be there to hold your hand through the battle. If they don't love you enough to stand by your side, they clearly aren't the right person for you. You need to stand up for yourself, guard your heart against the poison of pornography. Protect those around you from the inevitable pain of your addiction. Let people help.

Contrary to popular belief, this addiction is not strictly a man's battle. The aforementioned statistics claim that a staggering percentage of women also struggle with porn. In example, when I was moving into an apartment in college, the girl who was vacating my new room had stacks upon stacks of Playgirl Magazine. Women objectify men just as much as men objectify women. We see Channing Tatum in the movies, Ryan Reynolds on the cover of a magazine, the "perfect" face, "perfect" physique. Then we expect our boyfriends, husbands to look and act like those men who are playing parts in a fictional story. We moan and complain when our man doesn't jump out of an airplane shirtless, displaying his six-pack abs, with a dozen roses, only to land at our feet producing a diamond ring strapped to the collar of a puppy.

Real men fart (my husband literally just did, FYI). They forget to take out the garbage. They stink when they sweat. Only gym rats have washboard stomaches. Only millionaires buy flowers once a week. Men are wonderful, simple creatures. They are humans, they have faults. They also have amazing redeeming qualities. We need to look at them as people, not pictures.

Men and women, we're destroying each other. Our addiction to the perfection of the human body is causing such horrible psychological side effects. Why do you think eating disorders are on the rise? Why is there a gym on every corner? Why is 80% of Pinterest packed with "healthy eating" and "fat burning workouts?" We've created a complex. None of us is flawless, but we can't be happy in our imperfection.

The next time you see a sexual advertisement, watch a movie with nudity, grab a "scandalous" magazine, or go online to browse through porn, think of the person inside that body. A real person with hopes, dreams, fears, insecurities, feelings, habits. Let's stop seeing others as objects and start seeing them as brothers and sisters, tangible human beings.


Jackelyn Stange

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