>The really SADD effects of porn

>Ian Kerner, a sex counselor recently wrote a short blurb about how the ubiquity of porn is changing the sexual landscape. Here’s what he wrote:
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Ian Kerner is a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author.

Porn, schmorn.
I don’t care what anybody says, real sex with a real person is better than porn any day of the week.  We believe that porn is the equivalent of professional wrestling: phony and superficial. It’s like subsisting on a junk-food diet of Gummi bears and Gatorade when you could be having a gourmet meal.
But when you’re living la vida loca, there isn’t always time for a balanced meal, and for lots of guys, that’s where porn comes in. It’s easy, it’s lazy, it’s fun, and, oh yeah, it’s there. It’s always right there—even when we don’t want it to be.
By my estimate, men are masturbating 50 to 500% more than they would normally without Internet porn. So if a guy normally masturbated once a day, he might now be doing it two or three times a day. If he masturbated three times a week, he might now be getting graphic with his graphics 15 times a week.
If you’re 17 and single, this might not be a problem. But if you’re 40 and toting a gut, it’s an issue—a real issue. Some guys may still feel mentally like they’re 17 years old, but they can’t have sex that way. Their bodies have changed and so have their refractory periods, the natural interval between erections.
As a result, today’s woman faces more challenges to her sexual satisfaction than ever before. An increasing number of men are suffering from a syndrome I’ve dubbed Sexual Attention Deficit Disorder. Just as people with real ADD tend to be easily distracted, guys with SADD have become so accustomed to the high levels of visual novelty and stimulation that Internet porn provides that they’re unable to focus on real sex with a real woman. Men with SADD tend to find themselves getting bored or impatient during sex, and suffering from mechanical “male-functions”: They may bephysiologically aroused and even have an erection, but they’re not at peak mentalarousal. Guys with SADD may also simply lack the mojo for real sex because they’re depleted from masturbation. They’re not running on a full tank, physically, mentally, and certainly not sexually.
It’s a SADD state of affairs and this new world order of porn doesn’t show any signs of changing. My guess is that we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of the myriad ways porn will alter the landscape of our love lives. Porn’s not just an issue, or a problem, or a quick release, it’s part of a major shift in our sexual mores. Just as the sexual revolution led to”The Joy of Sex,” and “Sex and the City” led to the mainstreaming of the Rabbit vibrator, my prediction is that Internet porn will affecteverything in our sex lives.  That’s for better or for worse—and it doesn’t have to be for worse.
After all, masturbation is a healthy activity. When couples are in good relationships, they actually tend to masturbate more than when they’re not. Masturbation is not something people do just because we’re “not getting any”—it’s something we do because it’s human and healthy. In fact, when people stop masturbating, it’s generally a bad sign: It can mean they’re depressed or have a health problem. Given this, in a healthy relationship, there’s nothing wrong with porn, either. And when couples share porn together, it can make them even more excited about sex with each other and be a strong bonding experience.
Porn can also be a healthy way of exploring forbidden taboos. Fantasies are fantasies for a reason—because they’re not real. Porn provides a venue to explore things that you normally don’t get to explore. People should not be judged on the porn they enjoy, and there isn’t always a direct relationship between the stuff we look at and the stuff we actually want to try.
Of course, that’s little comfort to a woman who’s concerned about her male partner’s use of porn. She may have a lot questions about her guy’s porn use: Is he into something really kinky, does he want me to look different, should I be performing, etc. In truth, a guy often isn’t thinking any of these things—he’s just enjoying some porn and that’s about it. But if these silent questions build over time they can really damage a relationship.
Once couples start discussing porn, it’s a stimulus to their relationship—to sharing fantasies, talking about likes and dislikes, and more. Also, it doesn’t hurt to remember that there was a time before porn, or at least when porn was not so easily accessible to the average person. Sure, guys turned to magazines or videos. But they also relied on their imaginations and their erotic memories. To me, that is one of the biggest downsides of porn. So consider taking a break from porn and letting your imagination be your guide—you might be surprised where it takes you. 

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It’s interesting to read a social commentary by someone who has no theological or moral anchor for his sexual ethics. I agree with some of the things that Kerner states, especially his coining of the term, Sexual Attention Deficit Disorder (SADD). Pornography is a drug that continues to push the mind for more and more. It dulls the senses in such a way that what may have aroused two months ago fails to stimulate any longer. Like a drug, porn addicts need a bigger and more powerful hit. His observations on the way porn floods our imaginations with sensory data is right on.

But Kerner fails to note the devastating effects porn has on not just the user (presumed to be male in his article), but the spouse. He makes a grave mistake into thinking that the guy is just enjoying porn and that’s it. What porn does is to blur the line between fantasy and reality such that every sexual encounter is compared to the fantasy world of porn. It absolutely erodes the security that a woman should feel in sharing sex with her husband because in the back of her mind, she is asking, “Is he comparing me with someone or something else? Am I not good enough?” And truth be told, no real sex ever stands a chance to the fake, forced, and unrealistic sex that porn offers. Don’t be deceived, it’s not just porn, and no woman should just live with the fact. Having been in the place where I’ve confessed to watching porn to my wife, I can tell you the hurt in her eyes is not just her inability to get over it. It’s a deep hurt, a startling betrayal, and a clear picture of the effects of sin and distorted sexuality.

Also, that Kerner actually condones the use of porn to heighten a relationship is tantamount to saying you might as well use cocaine together if you’re having trouble finding ways to have fun. Taboos are forbidden for a reason, and the strongest reason is not just cultural. Sex was designed for a purpose, and anything outside of that is distortion. Though I am glad that he emphasizes that real sex is better than pornified sex, the lack of theological understanding in Kerner’s conclusions makes him a naive ‘expert’ telling someone what a widget can be used for when the maker of that widget is standing right next to him. Who would you listen to?

I would recommend a few key resources that will anchor some of Kerner’s observations in the biblical revelation of God’s will.

The problem of porn isn’t going away anytime soon, and I have a feeling that as I continue to grow as a pastor, I will see more and more of its devastating effects on the lives of people God will entrust to me, both singles and married folks. My only hope is to continue to believe the Gospel and to fight for purity both in my own life and the lives of my church.

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