The Negative Side Effects Of Viewing Pornography

The Negative Side Effects Of Viewing Pornography

Is porn really that bad?
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"Porn is not bad!"

"Watching porn can help with your sex life!"

"You only think porn is bad because you've never watched it!"

"I watch porn all the time with my boyfriend/girlfriend, it's fun!"

Can I be honest? It breaks my heart that these are the statements that I have heard about pornography in the past few days. Let me just say right now, pornography and the addiction that comes from viewing it destroys lives and alters your brain for the rest of your life.

An article on Covenant Eyes by Luke Gilkerson stated that "93 percent of boys and 62 percent of girls are exposed to internet porn before the age of 18." That means, according to this article, "only 3 percent of boys and 17 percent of girls have never seen Internet pornography."

These statistics are very alarming. Children are viewing pornography when they should be outside playing or reading a book. What porn addicts do not know is that by viewing porn, they are forever altering their brains and their brain chemistry.

Here is why pornography is harmful to the addict and the loved ones of the addict:

BRAIN:

By viewing pornography, your brain rewires itself to fulfill the "pleasure" porn brings about. According to Fight The New Drug,

"Neurons that fire together, wire together. Just like other addictive substances, porn floods the brain with dopamine. That rush of brain chemicals happening over and over again rewires the brain’s reward pathway ultimately changing the make up of the viewer’s brain. This can result in an increased appetite for porn."

Why viewing porn at any age can become addictive, children who begin viewing porn at the start of puberty are more greatly affected. When a child reaches the start of puberty the brain goes through "pruning." At this time, whatever neuron connections that were not made prior to that point (like learning a second language) are destroyed for a new wave of neuron connections to be made. This means, you have one more shot to learn whatever you want in this time before you lose that ability. Scientists describe this as the "use it or lose it" concept. If the child has viewed pornography within this time, the child knows only that "reward" of dopamine, therefore breaking porn addiction habits become more difficult.

When the child does begin entering puberty, the frontal lobe cannot make wise decisions (due to the flood of dopamine, other brain chemicals are cut back and produced less). If a child has viewed porn within this time, decisions that they make from there on out will be thought of as an 'OK' decision when the decision might be horrible.

BEHAVIOR:

Dopamine, to clarify, is the brain chemical that makes you happy. Because viewing porn has now made the addict "happy," they begin to associate that behavior with happiness. The effects of dopamine are short, and because of the little amount of time that dopamine lasts, the viewer then begins to have to view the material again and again with greater quantity. This creates "monkey see, monkey do" behavior. The material that the addict views become what they enjoy seeing and doing--because they receive that dose of dopamine.

While porn is all around us, porn is not real. What the viewer is watching grows overtime and the material that "makes them happy" will also have to grow. As the addict continues to watch porn, addicts say that they "find themselves getting aroused by things that used to disgust them or that go against what they think is morally right." This causes many porn addicts to view those sexual acts as common or even normal.

"The Michigan State Police Department found that pornography is used or imitated in 41 percent of the sex crimes they have investigated" --Fight The New Drug

As the addict grows in his addiction, his or her behavior changes as well.

RELATIONSHIPS:

As I stated earlier, pornography and the material within porn is not real. Women have been photoshopped. Angles have been skewed to increase "viewing pleasure" and the "love" between the two actors is being faked. Nothing about porn is real.

However, "porn sites get more visitors each month than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined." Addicts are beginning to believe that what they are viewing is an example of love and how love should be. Addicts chase something that they see as pleasurable on a screen full of lies, missing out on a real chance of happiness.

While addicts think that porn is helping them or even helping their relationship, pornography is actually destroying that love they have within the relationship. For many porn addicts, having a sex life after becoming addicted is low or even non-existent. Think about it -- the addict has trained their brain to be alone, staring at a screen of others having sex to become sexually aroused. Sex is not enough. Soon after that, porn cannot even satisfy.

Pornography not only affects the sex life of the addict, it also affects the sex life of the addict's partner. Think about it -- a married couple begins to view porn together to create a better sex life (like many couples say they do for their relationship). The man (typically, not every case) becomes aroused by what he sees online. While the wife can be aroused as well, the wife then begins to compare herself to the actress or actor on screen. This creates trouble and a sense of worthlessness within the partner (in this scenario, the wife).

WORLD ISSUES WITH PORNOGRAPHY:

While porn might look glamorizing and enjoyable, behind the camera is a different scene. "In 2011, two Miami men were found guilty of spending five years luring women into a human trafficking trap. They would advertise modeling roles, then when women came to try out, they would drug them, kidnap them, rape them, videotape the violence and sell it to pornography stores and businesses across the country." This is how pornography is created (in many cases). Women are lured to a false job, typically a "modeling career," then are bribed, drugged, or raped and the captors sell the act as porn.

The abuse does not stop there. For women who are forced into prostitution (whether it is for a pimp or due to life circumstances), almost half have been recorded and sold for pornography.

"In the end, porn fuels prostitution; and porn and prostitution are the products the sex trade exists to deliver."

Whether you have viewed porn, or have not viewed porn, have been addicted to pornography or do not think anything is wrong with porn, the facts are clear and evident. Pornography is harmful to the brain and destroys lives.

To my friends who have not viewed porn: great! Please, do not head down that dark and dangerous road. Your brain will thank you!

To my friends who have been addicted to porn and have overcome the addiction: I am SO proud of you. Pornography is not an addiction that is easy to overcome. The addiction is not like a drug or alcohol addiction -- those eventually leave your system. Once you view porn, those images are forever seared into your brain, and overcoming those takes a great amount of effort.

To my friends who view porn and do not see anything wrong with pornography: please reconsider. The facts are there. The statistics prove just how damaging pornography can be to yourself and those around you. If you do not believe the facts in front of you about how porn damages your brain, please consider the person in the film. In many cases, the pornography you are watching could be an actor playing a part, or a victim of trafficking. You. Do. Not. Know.

Think about what you are doing to your brain, those you love and the people in the pornography video the next time before you click start. Do you want your child to be viewing the material you are currently viewing? Stop. Think. Click exit, and change your life.

Cover Image Credit: Huffington Post

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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A Second Person Has Achieved Long-Term Remission Of The HIV Virus

A second man has had long term remission of the HIV virus.

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Over a decade after the first man, known as the Berlin Patient, was declared HIV-free, another patient may also be cured. Though it's too early for scientists to say for sure, the London Patient has been in a long term remission for around 18 months without the help of medication. Both men were treated with a bone marrow transplant. However, these stem cells carried a rare mutation in the genes that affect the production of the CCR5 protein, which HIV viruses latch onto to enter the cell. The virus cannot latch onto the mutated version of the protein, thus blocking its entry into the cells.

With the transplant of these HIV resistant genes, the body effectively builds a new immune system free of the virus.

After the Berlin Patient went into remission, scientists tried and failed to replicate the cure and were unable to until the London Patient, whose HIV count has reduced into undetectable numbers. While this is extremely helpful, bone marrow transplants are not a viable option to cure all HIV infected people, as it is an extremely risky process and comes with many side effects. Even so, scientists are developing ways to extract bone marrow from HIV infected people, genetically modifying them to produce the same mutations on the CCR5 gene or the inability to express that gene at all, and then replacing it back into the patient so they can still build resistance without the negative effects of a bone marrow transplant. There have also been babies whose genomes have been edited to remove the CCR5 gene, allowing them to grow up resistant to HIV.

This does not eliminate the threat of the HIV virus, however.

There is another strand of the virus, called X4, that uses the CXCR4 protein to enter the cell. Even if the editing of the CCR5 allows immunity against one strand, it is possible for a person to be infected with the X4 strand of the virus. Despite this, immunization against one strand could save a countless number of lives, as well as the vaccine that is currently in the stages of development for HIV. Along with the London Patient, there are 37 other patients who have received bone marrow transplants, six of which from donors without the mutation.

Of these patients, number 19, known as the Dusseldorf Patient, has been off anti-HIV drugs for 4 months. It may not be a complete cure, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

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