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Trauma and recovery: 2 couples claw back from porn addiction

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  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    July 10, 2013 8:21 a.m.

    Meanwhile, studies show that a third of the porn viewing online is done by women, but that doesn't fit your narrative, does it? Neither does the fact that many couples also do their viewing together.

    Can porn be abused? Absolutely, but so can food, drink, exercise, or even religion. Having a glass of wine with dinner doesn't make you an alcoholic, though, and the vast majority of the people who view porn do it responsibility. As well-intentioned as these articles are, all they do is just preach to the choir. To everybody else, they just look paranoid and over the top.

  • From Ted's Head Orem, UT
    July 10, 2013 9:09 a.m.

    One of the challenges facing those seeking to eradicate porn from our society is that they bring up the worst offenders, the addicts, who are but a small percentage of those who look at naked people for kicks. The addicts used to order smut via the mail or go to sleazy theaters to indulge their habit. There will always be addicts regardless of what society sets as standards of appropriate behavior. Your Average Joe just isn't going there or spending 11 hours a week looking at naked chicks.

    I almost laughed when I saw the 1988 pre-internet era study and the usage of the undefined term "mainstream porn." C'mon folks! We're back to the sleazy theaters and mail order and as they reference "film" it seems that their mainstream porn doesn't include the casual, occasional girlie magazine type of porn.

    The comment that "it isn't about the sex" is certainly aimed at the addicts and not Average Joe. Notice how there is no info about these couples' sex lives. Your Average Joe isn't having sex often enough (blame the Feminists, American Princesses, and clueless LDS wives) and turns elsewhere to take care of his needs.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    July 10, 2013 9:43 a.m.

    So, I guess you guys who have posted agree it is ok to turn humans into objects to satisfy your appetites. "Average Joes" are using people just as much as addicts are. The only difference is frequency, and Ted, your description of women is telling.

  • Red Salt Lake City, UT
    July 10, 2013 9:56 a.m.

    The Prophet has said to "avoid Pornography like the Plague".

    Thats pretty clear.

    You can follow the Prophet or not.

    As for me and my house we are going to follow the Prophet.

  • From Ted's Head Orem, UT
    July 10, 2013 10:35 a.m.

    @jeanie Chicken and the egg when it comes down to it. Women adorn themselves to attract male attention and then complain when men look at them? High heels to lengthen the legs and lift the rump? Push-up bras to make the breasts look larger and firmer? Attire that accentuates the female form; make-up to enhance eyes and lips and cover facial blemishes. All the while complaining that men objectify women? We are trained from our youth to appreciate the female form devoid of any relationship with the person. Does that training gets shut off at the altar? Controlled, perhaps; focused, hopefully. I'm assuming that you are female and all the education and empathy in the world can't make you fully understand the male psyche and sex drive any more that a man can fully understand a woman and her perspective. Do men generally look at women as sexual objects? Absolutely! And thank God we do else there wouldn't be any continuation of the species. The objectification argument has as much validity as the gold digger argument of the woman seeking a good provider for her offspring. Sex and money...fundamentals of the male-female dynamic.

  • wrz Pheonix, AZ
    July 10, 2013 10:46 a.m.

    @jeanie:
    "So, I guess you guys who have posted agree it is OK to turn humans into objects to satisfy your appetites."

    Did it not occur to you, jeannie, that if the female sex would stop doffing their duds and sitting in front of a camera there'd be little or no pron?

    As a typical female, you think you can do whatever you want, blaming the other 'guys' for porn.

  • From Ted's Head Orem, UT
    July 10, 2013 10:54 a.m.

    Let me address the whole "The Prophet says it's wrong" attitude: true...and for a portion of the population, that's all that's required. Let's call them the "safe" group.

    Oh my! Look! There's a large portion of the population who are wandering in the mists and are in danger! What shall we do?!?

    How about shouting to them and letting them know that they are lost; struggling; less-than-perfect? That'll work, won't it?

    Nope...that just tells them how much "better" you are than they are.

    Recently, the LDS Church has started using the word "rescue", much like Christ leaving the 99 and going after the 1, although the percentage of "lost" sheep today is much higher. Stories of young men helping handcart companies at the expense of their own lives. What we can learn from this is that merely telling someone to save themselves isn't enough. We need to make an effort to reach them, to speak to where they are and not where we think they should be.

    Painting all porn users as addicts doesn't help anyone. Look for the root causes. Give them solutions. Stop judging.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    July 10, 2013 11:16 a.m.

    Red

    Althought the advice of your prophet to avoid pornography is sound, it is only his opinion. Remember, when a prophet speaks it isn't donctrine, it is opinion. The advice is good but isn't binding. I have heard of many other people who say the same thing, and it doesn't make them prophets.

  • BKB Chantilly/USA, 00
    July 10, 2013 11:22 a.m.

    Having helped many people overcome pornography viewing problems (I'm deliberately not referring to it as addiction. Addiction has too many definitions when it comes to porn. Someone who has a pornography viewing problem espouses values that state the viewing is wrong yet they do it anyway, maybe daily or maybe just weekly or monthly), I've seen what works and what doesn't. Here is my take on it:

    Those who persist in porn viewing for whatever reason, suffer the consequences without exception (but not without denial). The consequences are universally negative, impacting self and family to a great extent. Do some research if you're skeptical--and you don't have to rely upon studies done in the 80s to see the negative consequences associated with porn viewing.

    12-step programs work but relapse is expected and occurs with most of them. When one tries to avoid triggers in our modern society, they fail. Relying upon self-discipline does not work. What does?
    Cognitive Behavioral programs such as Power Over Pornography work better than 12-step programs in my opinion but combining 12-steps with CB seems to work best, especially at avoiding relapse.

  • From Ted's Head Orem, UT
    July 10, 2013 11:29 a.m.

    12 step programs can be a good start, I guess. A challenge with trying to eliminate "triggers" is that we are bombarded in society with images that are designed to evoke a sexual response, and let's not forget the real people. Triggering one's sexual interest doesn't require a picture but can occur anytime, often via memory, too.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    July 10, 2013 1:04 p.m.

    there is a two word phrase that solves so many many problems in life - "STOP IT". Yes STOP IT. I can understand tobacco or alcohol or drug addiction because these are chemical addictions that you can't just stop on your own but I really have a hard time believing you would somehow have some sort of reaction by just changing your viewing habits. If you found yourself somehow in a third world country without internet or tv or even printed media what then? Would you somehow lapse into a comma because you couldn't view your porn? This is nonsense. Just stop it. I have seen people become so involved in politics that they can't seem to go a day without their daily dose of news and internet political debate...but they can ...they just need to find other things that occupy their time. An addiction is something you can't stop ...as hard as you try you can't stop...and if you do your body goes into some sort of dangerous withdrawal that in itself may be life threatening.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    July 10, 2013 1:19 p.m.

    Porn destroys ...no question and those who find themselves involved in it several hours per day are going to reap the terrible consequences. I have to shake my head however at so many people who rightly condemn porn yet the TV drama shows that they watch portray adultery, fornication, and other sexual vises as normal and even glamorous. Throw in a heavy dose of dirty jokes and scantly dressed women and what do you have....soft porn? I guess it is ok if it is shown on network TV is that it? Holy cow take a look at the magazines at the local Wallmart checkout isle and you will find alot of pretty scantly dressed women. The point is our society as a whole has accepted a lowered moral standard and it is pretty much everywhere....impossible to avoid it unless you live in a cave. The REAL issue here is what do you do with your time? It is important to avoid even the appearance of evil ...the best you can... but even better is to fill your days with good things ...get off the couch and exercise for starters.

  • SoCalChris Riverside, CA
    July 10, 2013 2:11 p.m.

    The term sex object is a cliche that is not entirely accurate in my book. Guys don't get excited about objects (unless they're a little strange and find underwear or high heels a turn-on for some odd reason). Men are by nature attracted to the female form. As I see it indulging in lustful thoughts and images causes a release of endorphins which can become addictive like a drug addiction.

    I am a believer that a positive approach is better than a negative one. When I became active in the LDS Church in high school it was because I saw all the positives, the beautiful and glorious things about the Gospel. I doubt I would have ever become active if I had been constantly subjected to -- you can't do this, this is bad, you must do this and not do this or else . . .

    An addict should take up more positive uplifting, fulfilling activities, like exercise, reading and develop more faith. It isn't helpful for the addict or the spouse to overreact IMO. I believe Elder Packer's advise is applicable: Preoccupation with unworthy behavior can lead to unworthy behavior. Replace bad stuff with good stuff.

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    July 10, 2013 2:18 p.m.

    It is terrible that "Megan" wanted her husband "Tom" to die because he occasionally viewed porn.

    Which is worse? Viewing porn occasionally or committing murder in your mind.

    As for me and my house, we won't wish anyone to die, most especially a family member and more so a spouse.

    Once again, I am stunned at how LDS church members and even leaders treat marriage with a cavalier attitude.

    "Has your husband viewed porn occasionally? Does he still love you and provide for you and your children? Well the porn viewing is akin to being a murderer and you therefore better divorce him."

    How pathetic.

  • Heidi T. Farmington, UT
    July 10, 2013 2:50 p.m.

    Thank you for this series of articles.

  • LA Mormon West Valley, UT
    July 10, 2013 2:55 p.m.

    This is an interesting article. You can add pornography to the list of things to find out about before you marry someone. There are many things people should be talking about before marriage. They should be talking about their financial health with each other, their physical and emotional health with each other. Also the topic of the amount of children should come up and then this. If a man enjoys porn he should probably disclose that to his potential partner as well before marriage vows are taken.

    But realizing that talking about all of these subjects before marriage is taboo in our society often times people do not really know the person they are marrying very well and it sets them up for future heartache and disaster. Ladies if your man is telling you that he doesn't look at porn you have to question his honesty. 86% of college students have looked at it according to this article. That means you may need to ask a different question before marriage. Where is your porn collection and how often do you look at it is a good starting point. It is time to get real about our relationships.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    July 10, 2013 3:57 p.m.

    God has never said pornography is wrong.

    And if you throw out something a "prophet" said, remember that unless 100% of everything that "prophet" and all other "prophets" said has proven true, that person obviously isn't a prophet after all.

  • SomeClarityPlease Quiet Neighborhood, UT
    July 10, 2013 4:01 p.m.

    This was a nice series of articles produced by The Deseret News. Thank you. It would also be very informative to read a series about people that have little to no interest in sex compared to their spouse and discuss what can be done to help them.

  • Wee One Santa Monica, CA
    July 10, 2013 4:31 p.m.

    Not very long ago Jeffrey R. Holland gave a talk in General Conference and told the story about being in an airport with his wife Patricia when several women approached them knowing who he was/is a General Authority. During their meeting, all three women acknowledged they were all divorced due to having spouses that were involved in pornography. They pleaded with him to warn men of the church about the fallout that is caused by this carefully orchestrated addiction which is under the direction of the Adversary. It was quite a talk and if we think this mist of darkness has not spread, we are truly fooling ourselves. I am very proud to belong to a church that offers Addiction/Recovery meetings held each week for those addicted as well as a support group for spouses and families of those addicted. It is true that everywhere you turn it seems there is something being advertised with a sexual innuendo in it but we have the power to turn it off and not to look. My heart goes out to these men/women who are trying to overcome this addiction.

  • nanato12 Spanish Fork, UT
    July 10, 2013 4:46 p.m.

    Brahma Bull-My definition of "prophet" is that his words are from God. Therefore, if the prophet says it, I do my best to follow!!

  • Shimlau SAINT GEORGE, UT
    July 10, 2013 5:12 p.m.

    thinkman; I believe the subject of these articles was 'addiction' that would presuppose that it was more frequent than "occasionally". and if you haven't lived through that kind of emotional trauma, how can you judge her thoughts. she didn't act upon them so she isn't a murderer. I'm pretty sure that in your life, you may have had such impure thoughts. also. Who might you be quoting in the last sentence of your comment? excluding the "How pathetic." I've served in some of the positions that you are obviously refering to and I never told any one that. Also, if you think that the LDS are cavalier in their attitudes towards marriage, you are mistaken. It is because we feel that marriage is a sacred covenant, that the violation of that covenant is taken so seriously. these actions destroy marriage and families just as surely as physical abuse can and does.

  • Alfred Pheonix, AZ
    July 10, 2013 5:56 p.m.

    @From Ted's Head:
    "Look for the root causes."

    You've identified the root causes in your 10:35 am post. Let me try to summarize.

    The female has a propensity to exhibit their bodies for attention as Mother Nature seems to dictate. That includes enhancing the body's shape, dolling up the face with lipstick and rouge, and exposing as much skin as they can get away with (note how female cleavage and short-short dresses). Many are not satisfied with that, desire more attention from the viewer (mostly men) and start taking their duds off for the camera or in private clubs. Of course, men catch heck for indulging while the ladies get off scott free. Did I get it right, Ted?

  • Walt Nicholes Orem, UT
    July 10, 2013 6:18 p.m.

    I just can't wait until the Deseret News runs a series of articles like this on people with eating disorders, or weight control issues. Or a series about how spending (not only a wife issue) breaks up marriages.

    I note a tendency to hold men's feet to the fire in these articles, but no examples of the many couples (and there are many) where the female is the addict.

    Attack men: politically acceptable. Attack women: politically unacceptable.

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    July 10, 2013 7:40 p.m.

    Thanks for this series of articles about porn and it's evils. I also thank you for the dozens of previous articles published in the past year on the exact same subject.

    We get it.

    I don't view porn, but also don't believe it is possible to ban or completely prohibit it in our society.

    How about some investigative journalism now? Is the Deseret NEWS a NEWSpaper or a magazine?

  • Kings Court Alpine, UT
    July 10, 2013 8:10 p.m.

    I wonder if they will share a story about how women viewing porn can affect her husband or how porn viewing affects children or teenagers. These porn-obsessed articles really are biased against men and make them all look like bad people.

  • Alfred Pheonix, AZ
    July 10, 2013 9:03 p.m.

    The two (fictitious) women in this article are distraught and upset simply because they lost the power to call the sexual shots re their spouses. Nothing more and nothing less.

  • Austin Coug Pflugerville, TX
    July 10, 2013 11:01 p.m.

    LA Mormon,

    Young women asking boyfriends about their porn use is certainly a very valid question. I am sure a lot of married women wish they would have known the answer to that question as well. Unfortunately, many men will lie about their use (especially if they are religious or have been hiding it anyway). As a father, i would want my daughter to stay far away with someone who is going to bring pornography into the marriage. I am just not familiar with any happy stories from wives who are grateful for their husbands porn use. The negative stories should be enough to make anyone wary.

  • 9MM Murray, UT
    July 11, 2013 10:03 a.m.

    Thank you Deseret News for the great articles.
    This world is full of dangers, physical and spiritual.
    Most often, we as a general population, do not recognize many of these dangers, and their consequences. It is also sad that many of us are still in denial of several known dangers.
    I know how dangerous this stuff is, the destructive wake sends ripples through our homes, communities, and society at large, more destructive than any terrorist plot.
    I for one am grateful to know there is a prophet on the earth, endowed with authority and power, who does speak the mind and will of God. And what he says is very much what God wants me to do. It was so anciently, and certainly is so today.
    We must embrace what builds home and community, and turn away what will destroy.

  • The Economist Newport, PA
    July 11, 2013 12:08 p.m.

    I've been in a few groups that have intimately discussed pornography use. We always come to the conclusion that as men, we are more visually stimulated. Pornography, through history, seems to fill a deep desire in a man for that visual stimulation. Cowboys used to pay more for a picture of a naked lady than they would for actual sex with a prostitute. Visual stimulation seems to do something to us men, more so than women. When men are in relationships and look at porn, are they threatening their spouses? Are they betraying them? Are hostile spouses realizing the desire in their male partners to be visually stimulated? Should a spouse feel they are the only object of beauty that a male partner should look at. I realize as a man that I don't have God's gift to women when it comes to my body. Are women really being honest about their bodies? I'm not trying to make a case for pornograpy. I'm playing devil's advocate.

  • 9MM Murray, UT
    July 11, 2013 4:21 p.m.

    A relationship requires more than one person for it to exist. That means how we treat those around us, how we act, react, with them on a daily basis. Character traits that we develop will either strengthen or weaken our ability to foster these relationships.
    I have yet to see how continual development of traits that objectifies and diminishes others and extols selfishness, will help individuals to develop strong, intimit and enduring relationships.

    I also see a direct correlation to the perception of the value of life. We all condemn murder as something obviously wrong as it ends life. But what about the beginning of life? If we do not treat what begets the beginning of life with as much respect as what terminates life, how could we say that we respect life? Isn't that cognitively dissonant?

  • Fiannan Eugene, Oregon
    July 12, 2013 12:48 a.m.

    So how many men have a copy of "50 Shades of Grey?"

    As for the porn issue, I will take this propaganda seriously when I see a discussion that deals with the economic exploitation of women (and men) who go into porn movies because of lack of other means to make a living. Yes, there are plenty of people with an exhibitionist mentality, having excellent jobs and educations, that want to star in porn but I believe most are made vulnerable by a society that wags its collective finger at porn viewers (1/3 are female -- not including couple viewing) and participants but not at the mega-corporations that benefit from it economically.

  • Beverly Eden, UT
    July 12, 2013 7:20 a.m.

    It seems that the editorial staff is too embarrassed to publish my comments. I have tried, on two different occasions, to point out that the editorial staff's interest in anything related to sex is obvious. A strong interest in things that are immoral is often more telling than the primary story. A person, whose interest in sex is blocked by moral obligations, can be actively involved in the subject matter, and safely satisfy their inappropriate curiosity, by pointing out the immoral behavior of others. The editorial staff is wallowing in this behavior.

  • HumbleMan Huntsville, UT
    July 14, 2013 4:42 p.m.

    It's sad to see so much male ignorance on display in the comments. It shows how misunderstood the topic is. If you are repeatedly viewing pornography, no matter how frequent, you have a problem. Visually consuming women/men for your own personal pleasure is a problem. Have you ever wondered why you have to do it? A predominate reason men turn to porn is that somewhere along the way, they didn't feel masculine and still don't today. So, they turn to porn images to make themselves feel manly by imagining that they could actually have a perfect fantasy life with the porn image. That's why men (and women) who secretly consume it become so hostile to their real life partner, as the real life partner cannot measure up to the fictitious life of the porn image. That's why it's so addicting. It's also laughable to think that it's the woman's fault for the way she dresses. That's just ducking the responsibility for having a problem and issuing yourself a license to feast in public at an innocent person's expense. That's when you know you have a problem.

  • jimmypage Meridian, ID
    July 15, 2013 10:28 p.m.

    I am saddened by some of the comments here. I do not understand how someone can justify "occasional" pornography use. Married or unmarried, it's not moral. It's not decent. It's embarrassing. There are many who feel women are to blame, and I believe they share part of the blame. However, it's Hugh Heffner, not Sue Heffner. My point is, the people that truly profit from the porn industry are the dudes behind the curtains. And they are men.

    Pornography has the power to destroy marriages. Period. I am not interested in taking that risk for a few moments of pleasure in fantasy land. My wife and 2 year old son are too important to me.

    For those struggling with this problem: hang in there. I have a great friend who struggled with this for most of his adolescent life, and into adulthood. By faith, and by tweaking a few things in his life, he was able to break away. I believe you have the power to resist the "fiery darts" of the adversary if you so wish. Keep fighting. Employ the Savior. He will never abandon you.

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    July 30, 2013 3:44 a.m.

    Exercise is great. I wouldn't dare tell one not to do it. That said, throwing it out there as a "do something else" solution is way down the list of porn remedies and approaches. We all come home after the gym full of testosterone and fire all the more. And avoiding coming home means less time with family where I see the "do something else approach" as being more negative. I swim for my exercise and do it at times consistently where I take my boys with me. We exercise and bond.

    As for the gym? Sure, if you are single and justify time away from contacts outside the gym, then you could live at the gym and be a muscle head who seldom comes home and faces the internet, TV or other arenas of what some in this forum might call the danger zone for porn addicts. This approach lacks balance for the future and often times involves social contacts at the gym entrenched in obsessive appearance and sex attitudes.

    For me, I can chase away many of my demons by just being out in the community with my family and seeing myself with that representation publicly.