Your Brain on porn part 5

Pornography as Flamethrower

Unwin also described what may be called “dopaminergic distraction,” where pleasure-seeking dominates and productivity is diminished. Will Durant, in The Lessons of History, wrote that “sex is a river of fire that must be banked and cooled by a hundred restraints if it is not to consume in chaos both the individual and the group.”

If “sex is a river of fire,” dopamine and other brain drugs are the fuel. Like the astronauts of Apollo 11, we can ride this energy to the heavens, or be consumed in its exhaust, depending on whether we are above the engines in the command module or underneath them, thus exposed to the heat. Dr. Henry A. Bowman said, “No really intelligent person will burn a cathedral to fry an egg, even to satisfy a ravenous appetite,” yet the flamethrower of pornography is torching many cathedrals of marital, parental, and familial love today.

I applaud ongoing efforts to strengthen laws, but in our current legal and social environment, we cannot depend upon the government for restraint. We must face the reality that pornography will affect virtually every family in some way. Dr. Jason Carroll and his colleagues published a widely cited paper in the Journal of Adolescent Research that brings to light the scope of this problem. According to this paper, which reviewed data from five universities, 87 percent of college males and 31 percent of females view pornography. This data crosses all religious, educational, and social barriers.

Pornography has become the sex education venue for the majority of the next generation, an internet candy store, and it teaches that sex is physically and emotionally harmless, with no negative consequences. Men and women are mere visual drugs to be used and discarded, and sex is solely for personal pleasure. The truth, of course, it that those who actually perform sexually to make the pornography are consumed and discarded by pornographers; they are “throwaway people,” as Dr. C. Everett Koop called them.

Help for Healing

Dr. John Mark Chaney’s description of teenage pornography addiction is equally true for adults:

Professionals sometimes fail to understand the power of the compulsion youth are facing, and it is not uncommon for school, religious, or private-sector professionals to advocate a simple treatment plan that is based upon willpower or moral character. Since pornography can be an addiction, these “just say no” types of approaches are likely to only create more frustration and self-defeating ideation . . . the intervention and treatment modality must recognize the problem as a full addiction, and treat it with the same consideration given to alcohol or chemical substances.

Regarding healing, Dr Victor Cline says,

I have found that there are four major factors that most predict success in recovery. First, the individual must be personally motivated to be free of his addiction and possess a willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve success. . . . You can never force a person to get well if he doesn’t want to. . . . Second, it is necessary to create a safe environment, which drastically reduces access to porn and other sexual triggers. . . . Third, he should affiliate with a twelve-step support group. . . . Fourth, the individual needs to select a counselor/therapist who has had special training and success in treating sexual addictions.

Let us reach out with understanding to those already trapped, who live in shame and secrecy. Shaming them will not heal them. As Jeffery R. Holland said when he was president of Brigham Young University, “When a battered, weary swimmer tries valiantly to get back to shore, after having fought strong winds and rough waves which he should never have challenged in the first place, those of us who might have had better judgment, or perhaps just better luck, ought not to row out to his side, beat him with our oars, and shove his head back underwater.”

Secular philosophy will not heal them either, and the government can’t save them. Step 2 of the Twelve-Step program for sex addicts says that those healed “came to believe that a Power greater than [themselves] could restore [them] to sanity.” Interestingly, peer-reviewed studies support the success of Twelve-Step programs, which are based on the aid of a Higher Power.

Indeed, Unwin’s research, conducted from a secular perspective, demonstrated that all advanced societies studied, when at their cultural and productive apices, built temples to whatever gods they worshiped. It was in this subjugation of the secular to the sacred, of the limbic to the lobe, that they peaked in their self-control and, therefore, in their self-determination. Will Durant, who described himself as agnostic, also found that “there is no moral substitute” for religion in providing this tempering of the limbic.

The Battle Is Joined

Pornography is a drug that produces an addictive neurochemical trap, “past reason hunted, and no sooner had, past reason hated,” as Shakespeare put it in Sonnet 129. And yes, as we have seen, ice cream and sexuality can be akin to crack cocaine.

While we must continue to fight the good fight legally and societally, we are way beyond avoidance as our only defense. Pornography wants you, it wants your husband or wife, it wants your son and daughter, your grandchildren, and your in-laws. It doesn’t share well, and it doesn’t leave easily. It is a cruel master, and seeks more slaves.

Abraham Lincoln, when he faced a similar war over freedom, said, “If all do not join now to save the good old ship of the Union this voyage nobody will have a chance to pilot her on another voyage.” All hands on deck. The battle is on for sanity and serenity, for peace and prosperity, for today, and for all our tomorrows.

That concludes the article. Again the original can be found at http://www.salvomag.com/new/articles/salvo13/13hilton.php

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