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Lauren Dubinsky got into porn accidentally. At first she didn’t think it was bad since she wasn’t actually having sex. She was lonely, bored and single, so she watched it.

This is how many people get hooked. They think it’s a harmless activity, something that doesn’t affect anyone else. But over time, Lauren discovered the destructive effects of watching porn: its addictive power, the way it reduces your self esteem, and the way it ruins your sex life. Her account, as told in “What I Wish I’d Known Before Watching Porn,” is both compelling and disturbing.

Disturbing because more and more young people today are getting hooked – including women. And it’s particularly tempting for singles, who often struggle with feelings of loneliness and anxiety. In today’s online culture, a quick fix for these feelings is only a mouse click away. 

Once Lauren started watching porn, she found she wanted more and more. Viewing pornography has been called the “crack cocaine of sexual addiction” – after the “novel rush” of sexual highs, the brain quickly begins to rewire itself for addiction. Yet those fleeting moments of intense pleasure are soon followed by feelings of degradation and shame (because we know, deep down, that it’s wrong). Completing the cycle, the user turns once more to the very activity that caused those feelings of anxiety and shame, thereby cementing even further the preoccupation with porn and, eventually, leading to addiction. At the same time normal relationships (with real life people) become less satisfying, less exciting. Porn use rewires the brain, causes intimacy disorders, sexual aggression, “sexual anorexia,” and sexual self-hatred.

 

Cult bestseller

It used to be the porn addict was a dirty old man who shuffled into the X-rated bookstore or skulked at the sidelines of the swimming pool in the summer. But now he is us.

Porn also normalizes things that should never be normalized, like sado-masochism.

Just when moms everywhere finally gave into their teenage daughters reading vampire romance, they are now faced with bondage and domination. The fastest selling paperback in history (beating out Harry Potter) is Fifty Shades of Grey. I haven’t read it, but I’ve heard about it – from my teenager who told me that everyone (and their mother!) is reading this explicit novel about the sexual escapades of a young woman seduced by a handsome entrepreneur who is into sexual domination. (For the record, when she heard about the plot, her reaction was “ew!”)

Reading a romance novel might seem harmless compared with watching X-rated movies, but when the hero is a sado-masochist and it’s being marketed to young teenage girls, we’re looking at a gateway to hard-core porn.

Despite – or perhaps because of – our ready access to friends and acquaintances via texting, our iPhones, or the Internet, despite our large number of Facebook “friends,” we are lonely and depressed. Into that vacuum steps Fifty Shades of Grey.  

What is the antidote to these feelings of loneliness and anxiety? In part, it’s having real conversations in person. Listening, really listening, without checking the iPhone or Twitter feed. And if you have already succumbed to the temptation of porn, don’t dig yourself in deeper by succumbing to secrecy and shame. Go to confession, get spiritual direction, and enlist the aid of a therapist who can help you beat the habit. 

Most importantly, what’s needed is spending time in prayer, in quiet contemplation, in the presence of the only One who can completely heal our wounded hearts. As Pope Benedict XVI writes in Introduction to Christianity, “Christ strode through the gate of our final loneliness…in his Passion he went down into the abyss of our abandonment. Where no voice can reach us any longer, there He is.”

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27 Comments

  1. Candace-587406 September 30, 2012

    Thanks for posting this article! I really needed to read it.

  2. Maria-846262 September 30, 2012

    I read the “50 Shades of Gray” trilogy. I liked it and although I found the sexual encounters explicit, there weren’t any more so than anything you watch on TV these days. The book does mention “domination” in that the guy is “into it”; however, the book does not delve into the subject and the books are not about domination. I’ve read many classics, and, frankly, the books of the Marquis de Sade were a lot more shocking than the Gray trilogy. Maybe I’m more open-minded than other people, but having attended Catholic schools all my life, I am painfully aware of sex always being taboo and bad and dirty, which of course, it is not. If one is to argue that God meant sex to be between married people only, the couple in the books is married, and, maybe, they go a little overboard. I don’t think so, the difference is that it seems more shocking when we actually see it written down in a book. I didn’t know these books were pornographic when I started reading them and I still don’t think they are. I liked them and they were not shocking or disturbing to me.

    • Dave-146273 October 2, 2012

      Nice to hear an Op & comment from someone that has actually read the book.

    • Angela-106565 October 2, 2012

      Unfortunately, when people aren’t affected by this stuff, it’s usually because they’ve become hardened to it. In otherwords, they’ve been so exposed to whatever – violence, porn, etc – that they’re conscience doesn’t even twinge anymore at the sight of it. But this doesn’t make it ok. Just because you don’t feel guilty doesn’t make it right. What God says is right and wrong is still right and wrong. It doesn’t change person to person. A good Catholic, someone who is trying to follow the teachings of the Church and get to Heaven, should guard they’re soul. (The more you go to Confession, the more you’ll be aware of what’s right and wrong.)

  3. Maria-846262 September 30, 2012

    I think it is disturbing that very young people are reading these books. They are not meant for teenagers, they are meant for adults and parents should still exercise their good judgment and parenting skills to keep them from reading them.

  4. Christiane-898493 September 30, 2012

    Thanks, Maria! I have noticed that the people bashing the books, generally aren’t the ones who read them.

    For the record, yes I read the trilogy. No, I did not get any sexual ‘thrill’ from any of it, though I’m sure the author was trying her best. As for the sado-masochistic or dominant element, (spoiler alert) Mr Grey figures out that when he loves a woman, he doesn’t need to go there to get his thrills anymore. It really does end on a healthier perspective than is advertised.

    One should always ‘know thine enemy’. I’m not in any way endorsing the books, I found them poorly written, but having read them I can now discuss the pros and cons when people are debating.

    I do agree though, it should not be marketed for teens. Last thing a teenage girl needs is another wimpy, neurotic heroine. There’s a reason it is always noted that the trilogy began as Twilight fan-fiction.

  5. Bridget-676758 September 30, 2012

    I have found that those most defensive about reading that trash, to be the ones who are often the most lost in their own lives. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but only if it doesn’t make everyone else feel uncomfortable. I think a little shame would be good for America and maybe a helping of guilt on the side. I am sick of hearing how ” all women love this book”. Well, I hate it because it is from the devil and I haven’t read it and I won’t read it, ever

    • Maria-846262 September 30, 2012

      Bridget, you’re certainly entitled to your opinion, as I am; that said. I completely disagree that the books are “from the devil” The books are there, those who want to read them do and those who don’t, don’t. Again, your within your right to not read them. They are only a fantasy, just as is Cinderella and Snow White, which is the garbage that girls everywhere have been fed for centuries. Prince charming? Pumpkin coach? Glass slipper? Pleeeeeeease!!

      • Tracey-574123 October 1, 2012

        Just as Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged is veiled as a testament to Capitalism it is really a How To book for Communists. The same goes for 50 shades…it’s veiled as eventually coming to a “good ending” where the characters figure out that lifestyle is bad. So why read it? Even the author knows it must be bad in it’s enitirety. It’s a how to book for sexual deviation. Humans are horribly flawed. It is best to avoid these books. There are much better ways to spend the hours it would take to read these. You can protest abortion. Work at a soup kitchen. Read Teresa of Avila’s many books. God gave you free will. Choose wisely.

      • Bridget-676758 October 1, 2012

        Maria, I think there is a huge difference between fairy tales and sexual domination..

        • Maria-846262 October 1, 2012

          Bridget, you are correct! Except that as I said above, these book are not about domination. Throughout history, books have been censored, removed from libraries and book stores, as well as set on fire; that doesn’t mean that their themes go away or don’t exist. Any thinking adult has a right to read whatever he/she may want without feeling judged; people have a lot of reasons for reading or doing anything else they want; it’s just adult curiosity, if you will, just like a child is curious about his/her surroundings and wants to explore and experience different things. That doesn’t make them bad, it just makes them curious. As for my comparison of fairy tales and “50 Shades” perhaps is not the best I could have made; however, I only made the comparison from the stand point that many fairy tales are damaging to young children y vulnerable little girls that grow up to be women who believe there is a “prince charming” waiting for them in his white horse, at the end of the road, and they’re going to know and love each other and live happily ever after. Now, we know that life isn’t quite like that, don’t we?

          • Bridget-676758 October 1, 2012

            Maria- Curiousity killed the cat as the old saying goes. Human nature has a morbid curiousity of things that are prohibited or taboo, but that doesn’t mean we should give into it. And as far as people being judged, our society today is all about doing what you want when you want and how you want. This is totally against Catholic teaching. Books have been censored by the church for a reason. I personally don’t need to know why a book is on the Church’s do not read list..I am content knowing I don’t need to read it.
            Life may not be fairy tales with prince charming, but I’d rather my child believe that then think it’s “Healthy” to read about co-habitation and unhealthy sexual relationships.

    • Bob-59786 October 1, 2012

      I agree w/ you. People need to read the news yesterday about a FL 14-yo girl who gave birth to a 9 lb 5 oz baby boy in her toilet, and then killed her son right after his birth. Maybe we need to be more interested in sexual reality nstead of its fantasy?

  6. Jim-875732 October 1, 2012

    hi

  7. Jim-875732 October 1, 2012

    sorry, that was a test; interesting blog

  8. Maria-846262 October 1, 2012

    Bob, the 14-year old in FL, who gave birth to a baby, simply wasn’t brought into the Church and taught the right values by her family. You really ought to feel sorry for her, rather than judge her without knowing her full story. If you are taught right from wrong, from the moment you’re born and you follow the ways of the Lord, you are not going to stray. Many young people today are quite lost because they haven’t been taught anything and they don’t have the proper perspective, faith, courage of conviction to do the right things, especially when the going gets tough and desperation sets in. She will have to live with her actions for the rest of her life and I think that will be punishment enough. I feel a lot of compassion for her; I know my daughter would have never done anything like that.

    • Bob-59786 October 1, 2012

      Maria – the issue is, proper upbringing or not, at least 56,000,000 legal abortions have occurred since 1973. It’s something that it appears she will be charged w/ murder.

      Think of how many legal abortions occurred today.

      Would you say that we live in sexually-moral times? If we don’t, should we try to change that, or just maintain the status quo?

      • Maria-846262 October 2, 2012

        Bob, try as you may, the stuff has been around for centuries and it isn’t going to change any time soon. I certainly don’t condone abortion, let alone the murder of the baby, and this teenager should be prosecuted and charged with murder. Again, she made all the wrong choices.
        Abortion is a very tough and controversial subject; all I can say is that I don’t want to see women going back to the “dark ages,” the dark alleys and the coat hangers of yesteryear, which is where we’re pushing them back to these days. They also have rights and their rights must be preserved, as well as those of the fetuses, religion notwithstanding.

        • Bob-59786 October 3, 2012

          Coat hangers preserve the right of the fetuses?

  9. Angela-106565 October 2, 2012

    Admittedly, I started reading the first book in the trilogy simply out of curiosity. But about half way through I got rid of it – not because it is pornographic (which should have been reason enough), but because I couldn’t stand the characters! The heroine is such a wimp, she was driving me crazy! (And I happen to love fairy tales.) Regardless, I don’t think anyone who calls themselves a good practicing Catholic should be reading stuff like this. As the blog says, it’s dangerous to the soul. Fortunately for us, we have Confession!

  10. Maria-846262 October 2, 2012

    Angela, your opinion. You’re entitled to it.

    • Angela-106565 October 3, 2012

      True, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, and God does give us free will. It just depends on what you do with that free will.

  11. Lesley-158563 October 4, 2012

    Faith, Hope & Love??? I thought this website was actually meant for genuine, committed Catholics. Church Teachings are Church Teachings – Sorry, there are no “shades of grey” on those. There are plenty of secular sites to opine on about all kinds of anti-Catholic subjects.

    • Bob-59786 October 4, 2012

      Good Post Lesley. Kinda like the weakest link in a chain. If all links are equally strong, a “black and white”, the chain stays strong.

  12. Fadoju A. October 4, 2012

    I wonder where this idea of freedom without responsibility will land many of us, who claim to be Catholics and yet throw the church’s teachings back into the church’s face. its quite unfortunate that we hold onto this horrible and deadly trend named RELATIVISM. Maria-846262 please note

  13. Lynea-297530 September 22, 2013

    I glanced through the article, and although I admit I didn’t read it all the way through, was there any mention of the fact that entertaining an impure thought IS A MORTAL SIN?

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