• I’m afraid the long-term effects of the consumption of online pornography have yet to be fully realized.

One morning my mother reminded me that the furniture store was coming to deliver my new bed. I was horrified when I came home from school and saw my Playboy magazine, no longer under the mattress, in full view on my nightstand. Oops.

Back then pornography was limited by availability. Thank goodness. Today? Not so much. Technology’s impact on pornography is astounding: Hypebeast.com reports that in 2019 the largest pornography website had over 42 BILLION visits and users downloaded 6,597 PETABYTES of data (equivalent to the entirety of the Library of Congress – 20,000 TIMES!) all with just a few clicks on a gadget. This is an enormous social issue.

So maybe you are single and think “Porn is no big deal.” Really?

Are you concerned that your social life and relationship-building is hindered by screen time, including gaming and pornography?

Have you begun to view others only as sexual objects? Has pornography clouded your brain so you cannot appreciate others’ personalities, uniqueness and feelings because you are focused on sex?

Are you concerned that the staged and unrealistic scenes you view in pornography are influencing you? Has pornography become your sex education?

Do you find yourself needing more extreme pornography to be stimulated? Have you viewed pornography that is violent or even illegal? Do you live in a secret world?

Have you considered that many people in the pornography industry are exploited, abused and trafficked? Do you want to be a part of that?

Are you worried that you might be addicted to pornography? Did you know this addiction is difficult to overcome?

Are you familiar with recent medical studies which reveal detrimental effects of pornography on brain structure and function?

But there is more to this phenomenon. Despite these effects, the emerging ethos is ”I’m cool with porn.” But how does viewing porn affect your marriage?

Are you fantasizing about someone else? Is that fair to your partner?

Does your porn viewing cause them to feel unattractive to you? Can your spouse live up to the countless bodies you view?

Do you find yourself trying to reproduce pornography in your bedroom instead of being present and attending to the needs of your partner?

Has pornography had a detrimental effect on your physiology and performance? Does your spouse deserve that?

God made sex. He made it to be fun, pleasurable and to be the expression of a sacred relationship. Finding sexual pleasure outside of a marriage short-circuits the incentive and expression that God intended. If your marriage is unsatisfying, your sexual desire should compel you to improve your marriage – not chase the next pixelated orgasm. Both extremes – pornography and a dead bedroom – are indicative of a marital relationship that needs healing. A difficult journey but the destination is worth it.

Porn use is lazy. Start the new year by putting it away and returning to your spouse. And let your sexual desire be the God-made incentive to forge the intimacy you need. You deserve that. You both do.