One of the great myths about pornography addiction is that it’s only a male problem. Most discussions still focus on men as addicts and their wives as victims.
Yet the statistics are both startling and terrifying: One out of every six women, including Christians, struggles with an addiction to pornography. That’s 17 percent of the population, which, according to a survey by research organization Zogby International, is the number of women who truly believe they can find sexual fulfillment on the Internet.
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And, since more than and one out of every ten websites is dedicated to explicit sex, this industry is quite profitable. The mere financial details about online pornography are overwhelming. Seventy-four percent of all revenue collected online comes from porn sites, which amounts to almost $1.2 billion annually. Thirty-one percent of all online users have visited porn sites, and 60 percent of all website visits are sexual in nature.
- 25 million people visit porn sites every week
- 9.4 million women access adult websites, many of them doing so while at work.
Douglas Weiss is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, and works with people addicted to pornography. One of the dangers of viewing such material on a regular basis is that people, according to Weiss, “will actually attach to sex as object relationships as opposed to intimate relationships. So they will actually hunger for object relationships, creating over time what we call intimacy anorexia.” Object sex replaces relational sex. And when people become no more than objects, relationships naturally suffer. Healthy marriages are put at risk.
Loneliness also is the reason Diane*, a single mom, turned to porn. She didn’t go looking for it in the beginning. “I was seeking companionship. In chatting with other lonely people struggling in their marriages, I learned of some Internet sites I could visit to make friends and have fun. At first, the sexual talk in these chatrooms seemed harmless and non threatening. I could post up my bedroom playboy pics and have men tell me stuff.My loneliness and craving to feel wanted drew me into relationships I really didn’t want.”
Brenda*, who’s 24 and single, wasn’t particularly lonely, but she was in search of her “soul mate.” She’d developed her ideas of romance and love from popular novels, and believed much of a woman’s worth is based on her sexuality—which led her to Internet pornography. “I just felt like that was a world that I could enjoy. Everyone drives cars and had great men and sex.”
We live in a culture that pays lip-service to the oneness of commitment, but all the while our divorce rates continue to remain high. Highly sexualized media trains us to whet our appetites for more sex and better sex, while no one is trained to make loving, sexually-vibrant marriages last a lifetime. We are trained to believe that better sex is linked to better bodies and greater stamina; as a result, more and more women hate their bodies, more guys turn to porn and fantasy to get their sexual fix, and we see so many desperately lonely people.
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