I’d like to address this article to the Neighborhood Newsletter’s male readers … although gals are most welcome to read it and add their thoughts in the form of comments on the blog.
The Newsletter recently carried a number of articles on pornography, all of them well-written and packed with good advice on how to break free from the chains with which pornography ensnares its victims. Because of that, I’m not going to offer how-to and how-not-to advice. Instead, I’d like to address how a woman feels when she discovers that a man in her life is involved with pornography, and do it in the hopes that understanding how we, as women feel, will help men to avoid—or even break free—from pornography.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the World Wide Web didn’t exist. Pornography remained limited to girlie magazines such as Playboy, X-rated porn movies, and strip joints.
Having grown up outside the church, most men that I knew didn’t usually watch porn movies or go to strip joints because those options weren’t as easily available as the Internet is now. A lot of men longed to use those venues, but whether it was out of unavailability or a fear of getting caught, most didn’t. However, many men felt it was fine to read Playboy and similar magazines.
I remember my feelings as a teenager on the day I discovered that one of the men in my life had a stash of Playboy magazines. Total shock encompassed me. How could he—a warm, loving person and a hero in my eyes—view trash like that? How could he then look into the eyes of the women he knew, after he’d looked and lusted for a naked body in a magazine?
The shock wasn’t because I didn’t know the magazine existed; it was that I thought he had more self-control, self-respect, as well as love and respect for me and the other women around him, to spend his time on such trash.
In high school, the guys would whisper back and forth about the centerfold in some magazine, or the peep show they’d managed to attend without getting caught. It angered me. Did they think the women in their lives were so stupid that they didn’t at least suspect what the guys they loved were doing? Did the men really believe that it didn’t show in their faces? How could they honestly think their actions toward decent women hadn’t changed after such actions?
Let’s put the shoe on the other foot, and make it personal. How would you, as a man, feel if you found out your wife spent time drooling over pictures of some naked guy and longing to be involved with him?
Would you feel shaken beyond belief? Betrayed? Disgusted? Would your confidence in yourself be damaged? Would the warm glow that you had from intimate relations with her be diminished?
Women feel all of that and more. We feel violated and that our trust, freely given, has been in vain. We wonder if we can ever again believe in a man who, through his actions, has lied to us, been emotionally unfaithful to us, and doesn’t love us enough to avoid pornography.
It’s not like pornography jumps out and entraps a person. Yes, it’s easily available on the Internet, but it isn’t pornography that turns the computer on, Googles the pornographic sites and secretly bookmarks them.
The fact that it’s done in secret says everything, doesn’t it?
Men often feel that an involvement with pornography doesn’t hurt anyone. That is so untrue, and deep down, most men realize that. Pornography damages a man’s view of women and turns them into objects—women are no longer people with thoughts and feelings, they’re just a body to lust after.
In the end, pornography reaches out its tentacles and injects pain into every woman who comes in contact with the man who views it. Pain given to loved ones is never harmless, and certainly not worth the price for a quick glimpse of a naked body.