A new study has been released which documents the damaging effect that pornography has on marriages, children, and families. The study shows that pornography use leads to marital dissatisfaction, infidelity, and divorce.
The study was authored by Dr. Pat Fagan, the Director of the Center for Research on Marriage and Religion at the Family Research Council. Fagan says that the culture teaches that pornography use is just a form of amusement, and has no lasting negative effects. But he says his research shows that pornography is "a quiet family killer."
"Pornography corrodes the conscience, promotes distrust between husbands and wives, and debases
untold thousands of young women. It is not harmless escapism but rather relational and emotional poison."
Fagan's study finds that increased exposure to sexually explicit material increases favorable attitudes toward sexual exploration with others outside of marriage and decreased marital commitment to the other spouse.
"Husbands report loving their spouses less after long periods of looking at and desiring women depicted in pornography. The wives of pornography users develop deep psychological wounds, commonly reporting feelings of betrayal, loss, mistrust, devastation, and anger."
The study illustrates that so-called Internet "cybersex" is a major contributor to separation and divorce. Fagan cites a report from a group of divorce lawyers, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. The report examined the most significant factors present in divorce cases handled by the family law attorneys. It showed that 68% of the cases involved one party meeting a new lover over the
Internet, 56% involved one party having an obsessive interest in pornographic images, and 33% involved spending excessive time in "chat rooms."
Fagan says that the neurological study of pornography is still in its infancy, but that research is uncovering the nature of the addiction. He says that neuroscientists are
beginning to map "the biological substrate" of the addiction, which involves dopamine, a hormone that produces feelings of pleasure. Fagan says that scholars are concluding that "emotionally arousing images imprint and alter the brain."
The study reinforces the demonstrated link between pornography use and the conduct of sexual offenders. 83% of rapists were users of hard-core pornography,
as were 67% of child molesters. About a third of sex offenders admitted using pornography as a deliberate stimulus to commit their sexual offenses. Fagan says none of this is surprising considering the manner in which physical aggression and domination are so often depicted in pornographic materials.
Fagan observes that the "traditional sexual taboos of a well-functioning society have broken down," and argues that government must act to protect families. "The fundamental role of government is to protect innocent citizens, most especially children and adolescents...Pornography, clearly, undermines both marriage and family, and has a host of ill effects."
"It is time for government to reassess its laissez-faire attitude towards the proliferation of pornography, especially on the Internet. Our present and future families need protection from this insidious enemy of love, affection, and of family and social stability."
Fagan says that the main defenses against pornography are close family life, a good marriage, and good relations between parents and children, coupled with deliberate parental monitoring of Internet
use. "The key to militating against these damaging patterns...is to foster relationships of affection and attachment in the family. The first and most important relationship is between the father and the mother. The second is engaged parents who love their children."
The study emphasizes the attention parents must give to helping their children develop a healthy sexuality. "In our over-sexualized culture, with a longer pre-marriage
period, children need the capacity for abstinence if their sexuality is to be channeled
into stable marriage, procreation, and healthy family life for their children," Fagan adds. "Strong families remain the best defense against the negative effects of pornography."
If you would like to read or download a full copy of the Family Research Council study, you can go to this weblink:
If you are looking for an excellent ministry that works with men and women dealing with sexual addiction, you can visit the website of Pure Life Ministries:
If you are looking for a powerful resource for church groups on the spiritually damaging effects of pornography, you can check into the video called "Somebody's Daughter" produced by Music for the Soul Ministries at this web address: