I just finished reading an article written by a previous co-worker I have loosely kept in touch with and found myself quite frustrated by some of what she said. She wrote this article, as a counseling professional, about the effect of pornography and sexually-oriented businesses on relationships. I should mention she does not specialize in sex addiction and is not a Christian. I would like to share with you the message I sent my colleague in response to her article. I’m not sure how this will affect my relationship with her, but I could not simply sit by while she offered such poor advice to people who likely see her as a credible source. I have changed her name out of respect for her privacy:
I have to say that while you make some great points in your article, you seem quite naive about the whole pornography industry and the harm it causes. You may feel I am projecting due to my history, but on the other hand, because of my personal experiences I have become very educated on the topic and specialize in working with sexual addiction (primarily wives of sex addicts). You mention the possible consequences of visiting sexually oriented businesses, but I don't think you understand that these are much more than possibilities. Things like a person becoming less attracted to or having unrealistic expectations of their partner after viewing porn on a regular basis, are most likely going to happen. At the very least, pornography and these “sordid businesses” you mention, will severely interfere with or prevent intimacy in a relationship.
You recommend being open with your partner (always a good thing) and limiting how often one visits strip clubs. Most of the time, whether they admit it or not, a person will feel hurt and betrayed by their partner’s viewing of pornography or visiting sexually oriented businesses. Your advice to limit visiting strip clubs etc. to “several hours a month” is ignoring the progressive nature of pornography and the sex industry. A person easily becomes desensitized to certain things and needs them more often and/or to a higher degree to get that same level of excitement (i.e. moving from soft core to hard core porn, from strip clubs to massage parlors, or going from viewing porn occasionally to daily). No, this does not always happen, but it happens often enough for it to be a risk not worth taking.
Sara, I am shocked that you can state “four out of five divorcees say that pornography of some kind played a significant role in their divorces” and then say that the “brighter side of sex-oriented businesses” is that they can “spice up a dull sex life”. I’d be willing to bet that viewing pornography or visiting sexually oriented businesses causes a dull sex life (due to the lack of intimacy) a lot more often than it spices it up. Many have said that once their partner stopped this kind of behavior completely, they found a level of intimacy they had never known before.
You also mention that if you are in a relationship and going to prostitutes you may be a sex addict. That is not the definition of sex addiction. Not even close. A person can never even have physical sex with a person outside their marriage and still be a sex addict. A person can suffer from sex addiction even if they are not in a relationship at all. If you are going to address these things as a professional, please do your research first. While it may seem harmless at times, pornography in any form/strip clubs etc. are always a bad idea due to the inherent risks. This is why the bible says that lust is a sin. We need to be making an effort not to have lustful thoughts about anyone other than our partner, not putting ourselves in situations where the entire point is to lust, or more.
The website Porn-free.org states, "Webster's Dictionary defines lust as ‘intense or unbridled sexual desire’, ‘an intense longing: craving’ and a ‘conscious impulse toward something that promises enjoyment or satisfaction in its attainment.’ The problem with lust is that it is based in selfishness and works contrary to love. In fact, it is the opposite of love (see lust vs. love). When fed, it can grow into an uncontrollable force in a person's life. Like a wildfire, lust can consume a person's resources, time and attention." Visit Porn-free.org and click on "How Porn Works". Great Info!
Sara, I also recommend you go to sexhelp.com, a great secular website, to learn more on sex addiction.
I believe the ideas my colleague expressed in her article originate from the views of our corrupt society that pornography and promiscuity are normal. We live in a world where the concept “if it feels good do it” prevails. I hope we can begin to see the destruction that comes from such an open-minded view of sexuality.