Thursday, July 8, 2010

It's a Funny Thing about Pornography...

Shelle Edit: Annie is by far one of my most favorite-est people, that I have actually had the pleasure of meeting in real life. She is this beacon in a crowd. People flock to her and she makes you feel happy just being around her. She is an actual writer, like she gets money for what she puts out there. She has been published in numerous magazines and writes a weekly column in the paper where she lives. She is not afraid to say it like it is and that is what I love best about her writing. She also is genuinely just as out spoken and wonderful in person. What you read is exactly what you get when you meet her. She is glowingly pregnant right now and I'm sure after she pops her baby out she will be on the fast track to her Salami Diet, I'm not kidding, it works and she was living proof of it before she got knocked up! Be careful what you say because her husband is a Secret Agent, true story, let's just say Tom Cruise has nothing on him, also true story, I've seen pictures. She has beautiful children, also, so her life is wrapped up in a wonderful package. But her daily writings on her blog tell you the inside story of what goes on under the wrapping... make sure you have time when you read her, you will become engrossed. Check her out at Regarding Annie. Thanks for writing for us girl, especially on such a touchy issue!

It's a funny thing about pornography. For an industry that destroys families and relationships at such a rapid pace, it sure is popular.

I recently reviewed a manuscript by a therapist who talks about the destructive influence of pornography. According to research, when a person has sex in an intimate, committed relationship, they get a jolt of some really great hormone (I'm not totally sure which one so I won't claim it here). But when someone sits alone in their closet with a lap top viewing dirty pictures and manages find the same physical reaction, they don't get the afterglow hormone. In fact, what they end up getting is an empty high that is quickly followed by crash and burn depression.

Now imagine being the lover of the man or woman in the closet. And you thought they felt bad? I think there's nothing short of an actual affair that would be as destructive to a couple's intimacy as a spouse with a pornography addiction on the side.

The thing that amazes me is that we live in a culture that acts like we should embrace pornography. For couples who have no religious association, no spiritual leader counseling them to cleave to each other and ditch the lap top, there is probably some serious confusion. Hey, if Monica on Friends is okay with pornography, shouldn't I be? But in many cases, what we're seeing are men and women who try hard to be chill, to accept their companion's dirty habits, because no one is telling them that they don't have to.

But here's a big secret the industry doesn't want the lovers of their customers to know: you don't have to live with pornography. Frankly, as flesh and blood companions, we're worth so much more than that. Monogamy and pornography can't coexist. Anyone who tells you differently is fooling themselves.

Outside of the personal habit, there's the issue of porn in the bedroom. There are plenty of couples who insist that pornography has brought them closer together on levels of nakedness. I'm not saying it hasn't taken them to new levels, but as far as creative intimacy goes, it's like buying a kit. There's no discovery, just replication.

When I was getting married (as a virgin), my mother gave me "the talk". Her instruction was simple and to the point. She said, "Honey, intimacy is kind of like Christmas morning. Don't open all your presents at once." She might as well have been speaking Greek; I had no idea what she was talking about.

But eleven years later, I understand exactly. I'm amazed at some of the creative things we've come up with in the past few years, things someone who used pornography would have probably learned a long time ago from a hotter, younger couple who did it more effectively. Personally, I'm thrilled when I can shock my husband with something neither of us has thought of. We're reinventing the wheel all the time. What we have is nothing short of hot and organic at every level.

I would be remiss if I didn't talk about the flip side of the coin, no matter how unpopular it makes me. Sex in a committed relationship is a two way street--meaning, it takes both parties to have it. And if one person is using it as a manipulative tool, or withholding their love and affection for personal reasons, it's not unusual for their partner to eventually look for relief elsewhere. Does that make it right? No. But is partner-inflicted abstinence right? No.

We must guard our intimacy. We should work regularly to cultivate feelings of love and affection outside the bedroom so that when the lights go out (or don't), there is companionship and love and equally satisfying sex. Because no matter what a person might find online or at some skanky back room sex shop (some of which can be fun and motivating), nothing compares to the trust and excitement that can flourish once the bedroom door is locked.

If you or your loved one is struggling with a pornography addiction that is hurting your relationship, there is hope. Look to the resources around you and make it right. Whether you're the culprit or the victim (because there's no doubt that the person left alone feels victimized and worthless and flat out cheated on), once pornography enters the picture, it often takes the help of a professional to mend the gash left behind.


p.s. Picture retrieved from THIS website


TisforTonya said...

way to go Annie... I think that (unpopular as this may be with some readers) you've hit the nail on the head.

One of the things that I think we forget is that man is attracted to the female form (and we're glad of that) and porn is a huge industry based on fulfilling that desire. But I HAVE a female form and that's the one I want my man viewing... any other is degrading. I can't get past the fact that those women were all somebody's little girl once too.

We'd all do well to remember that this can affect any home. ANY home regardless of religious influence... if we are not preventing its influence.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I think the funny thing about pornography is you take a gamble. See if you've never participated in it and you are just curious to see what it's all about you gamble that you will be able to walk away after your curiosity is appeased. You never know how it will affect you personally, if you will be able to only look the one time or if you will feel a burning desire and need to look at it during any SPARE minute.

It is and can be like a drug. I have seen it take over people's lives, ruin them and whomever they were close to.

Some people it doesn't affect that way, but like I said, it's a gamble, you don't know for sure.

See if you are naive to how other people do things then you are never expected to perform a certain way. Your way will please them because they don't know any different.

I don't know... it just seems like a scary thing to gamble yourself with.

And like Tonya said, I always think that, that girl was also someone's little girl once.

Anonymous said...

One of the best I've read. You know... I wrote about my life after my wife discovered my porn addiction back on my old blog:

It almost destroyed us. Now that I've kicked the habit... there is NO ONE more attractive to me than my wife. Pornography was taking that away from me.

Excellent excellent excellent post

wendy said...

Difficult subject to attack Annie. But as always you do a good job.
I think and wonder about any ADDICTION-----and ask what is it replacing
is drugs replacing an empty life
same with escape
pornography....something lacking in your own relationship?
If the STIMULATE replaces the REAL thing, then that is definetly a problem.
Since this is an HONEST blog site, I will admit I am sometimes stimulated by a "small" amount of visual "something something", but then I am OVER IT.
The physical relationship with my spouse is not in need of EXCESS anything. Do you follow me here.
My husband has had girlfriends who have used "toys"......
I have not. I don't want to find a replacement for what just the two of us can muster up. (just me)
But I agree.....even though it sounds like I am vascillating....the porn and all other self destructive activities can bring on destruction of some sort.
Kinda like Shelle said...just don't gamble with it in the first place.

Cluttered Brain said...

Pornography can hurt a marriage.
It can suck the life out of a intimate relationship.
Simple Wow. I like your writing. I hope this post helps someone along their way.
'Cause Wow girl, this IS a tough thing to write about it.
Good JOB!

Mrs.Duran said...

me and my hubby have only been with each other so yeah I went online to " learn" how to do certain things. We have figured things out on our own as well but sometimes I needed some help. I dont think it has hurt us in anyway, I feel like it has actully helped us be more open with each other. For me I have a hard time expressing what I would like with out feeling stupid or whatever so it is easier for me to pull up a picture or video and say I want to try this. .
Now I do understand that some people can take it to far and jump off the deep end but I truly believe if you have a strong love and open and honest relationship which me and my hubby have, you can bring ideas from porn or toys in to the bedroom and it not take away from intimacy.

veronica said...

Well said, Annie. Well said.

heelsnstocking said...

I think it has its place, in moderation and good taste can help some people, buts about personal choice.

DCHY said...

How about another aspect? What if both the wife and the husband enjoy watching porn together? Does that mean their marriage is empty or that they need some ways to motivate themselves?

Anonymous said...

I disagree with this article. My partner and I have been together since we were 18 - we have never had sex outside of our relationship. But pornography does have a place in our life for both of us.

I think that it is a highly personal choice that each couple need to make together. I do think its fallacious to argue that pornography is unacceptable because the extreme impact of pornography can be disastrous. After all, an addiction to any kind of destructive behavior can cause the same disastrous impact on a marriage. I suspect that most porn users are like myself - maybe we used porn once or twice over a 6 month period.

-Texas Girl

Anonymous said...

Great article.

From what I have seen through friends and relatives, there has never been such thing as "moderation" in watching porn. It took over their whole lives.

My stepfather was a porn and sex addict, I remember as a little girl finding hard core porn magazines hidden around the house- it made me sick to my stomach and scared of sex. He's kicked his porn/sex addiction, but he's still a jerk. (another story for another time)

It took me a long time to realize that sex with a person that you love and is also your spouse is beautiful and most importantly sacred.