Psychopathic Porn: The X-Rated Path of Destruction
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Scripture asks, "Can a man play with fire and not be burned?" Frequent users of pornography seem to think so. But many not only hurt themselves, they bring pain to others as well.
Still, pornography has become so mainstream, even among churchgoers, much of society is starting to believe it's harmless.
What you'll often hear from porn users is, "I'm not hurting anybody!"
But the truth is there are very real victims, such as the girls and women working in the industry, some of who are actually sex-trafficked and forced to act in obscene productions against their will.
"Naideen" testified about that at a recent summit in the Washington, D.C.-area of the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation.
'Porn Star' Bound, Raped
"What was happening to me was a lot of violence and bondage, and being raped and kicked and beaten," she said. "I learned how to cooperate because then it didn't hurt so bad and didn't last as long."
Such cooperation included faking the smiles and looks and sounds of pleasure that are then used to justify the assertion that the females in porn obviously enjoy being in it.
"Naideen" said the man producing torture films starring her put her in an aquarium with a huge boa constrictor.
"He put me in the aquarium, that dry aquarium," she recalled. "And then dropped the snake in on top of me and closed the lid, and he filmed me -- my terror -- which hadn't got anything to do with sex, except that I was naked."
This blatant exploitation wouldn't happen and these women wouldn't be getting hurt if there wasn't such an X-rated demand, if the buyers stopped buying and the market for pornography dried up.
But these consumers also often hurt the people closest to them, like the wife of Matt Russell. He carried a longtime porn addiction into their marriage.
"It was just a constant companion of mine, despite marriage, despite children," he told CBN News.
"It really sunk me because I felt he preferred just even the image of someone over me," Danielle Russell said. "And as a woman, that's a hard thing to handle. It finally got to a point where I just said, 'I'm done, I'm done with this' and we separated."
Cathy Dyer's husband, Greg, drove her to seek therapy after he deserted her for an affair that followed his lifelong addiction.
"I had this gaping wound, and I knew if I didn't get some counseling, I knew that I was going to hate men," she told CBN News. "I was going to be very bitter. And I could already feel those things sort of cropping up in me. And I didn't want to be that person."
These husbands eventually broke free and both couples reconciled, joining Lakeland, Florida's First Baptist Church at the Mall that tackles porn addiction directly.
Lost Jobs, Careers, Families
Kevin Conrad leads an accountability support group at the church.
"I have seen men lose jobs -- careers. Not just jobs, but careers," Conrad said. "I've seen them lose families, lose children, lose relationships with parents and siblings."
Trena Mewborn, First Baptist's director of Counseling and Support Groups, sees how desire for the X-rated destroys marriages.
"Just based on the couples that I've seen through the years, at least 50 percent of the couples who are coming forward have some type of struggle with pornography or Internet affairs or some type of sexual issue," Mewborn said.
CBN News asked First Baptist's Senior Pastor Jay Dennis if he's witnessed men losing jobs, wives, and families over pornography.
"Absolutely," he replied. "And I hear it continually. I see it in the Church. I see it among pastors."
Pastor Jay Dennis, author of Our Hardcore Battle Plan, talks about how to get porn-free and the campaign at pinkelephantresources.com for arming a million-plus Christians to fight pornography:
In it, church member Tom Wolfe testifies how his heavy porn use led to sex addiction and a series of affairs.
"I was found out and obviously lost my job, lost my church, lost my youth pastor's job, and for a while lost my family," Wolfe says.
Mewborn said she has seen men in the business world lose jobs over pornography. She talked about how bosses will say, 'Why is so-and-so spending four hours a day on this site? This is not what he's supposed to be doing as his job."
And she told of how some of these addicted employees will act out, saying, "They don't go to work, they're not on time, they leave at lunch and they don't come back because the Internet has sucked them in."
Porn Robs the Missions Field
Missionary trainer Nik Ripken told CBN News so many young Christian men are now addicted, they can't be trusted to go on the mission field.
"Ninety to 95 percent of them are trapped in pornography," he asserted. "They got started 11, 12, 13 years of age. They can't get out of it."
And you can see it in the numbers: the current ratio is seven female missionaries for every male.
"No one can take them. They're out of the game," Ripken said of these young addicts. "And we're going to stand before God as Westerners, as men, and say, 'Two billion people can die and go to hell so I can watch naked women on the Internet.'"
But men aren't the only ones hooked. That's what former addict Crystal Renaud of Dirty Girl Ministries pointed out at the same conference on sexual exploitation where former porn star "Naideen" testified.
"One in three visitors to adult websites are women," Renaud told conference-goers during a speech.
"I want to show you what a porn addict can also look like," Renaud said as she presented a slide of a happy little girl on a big screen behind her.
"This is me at 10. Just a few months before I would find my brother's stash of porn in his bathroom that would catapult me into an eight-year addiction with pornography and sexual addiction," she revealed.
'Drawn in by the Droves'
"Even with the actual visual pornography women are being drawn into it by the droves. And I hate to say that, but I also teach a human sexuality class and I have them coming to me," counselor Mewborn told CBN News.
"These are now women who were raised with screens in front of them," Mewborn said of the young females confessing to her. "And I honestly think women in general are becoming more visually stimulated."
Renaud testified how the X-rated material can carry people into darker and riskier places.
"My addiction cycle escalated so dramatically that things that once satisfied could no longer satisfy," she admitted. "And for women who struggle with porn, it is said that 80 percent of them will escalate their behaviors into in-person encounters. Porn leads to real life."
Sometimes it even leads to criminal behavior.
"I know of educators reviewing pornography in their classrooms," First Baptist's Conrad said. "I know of educators that are simply taking advantage of children."
The Anti-Social Side of Porn
Psychotherapist Mary Anne Layden told the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation summit that in her research she sees a consistent link between those who consume porn and those who commit sexual violence.
"It took me about 10 years of treating sexual violence victims before I realized I hadn't treated one case of sexual violence that didn't involve pornography," she said.
And she spoke of a frightening study she did tracking college males who used more pornography from freshman to senior year.
"Those males who had increasing pornography use, in their senior year had higher scores as psychopaths," she revealed. "We're teaching our males to be psychopaths. That's what pornography is doing for us."
She also shared at the conference recent research on the behavior of many porn consumers:
They have more sex partners
Are less attracted to their partners
Want less sex with them
Try to get them to act out scenes from porn films
Have affairs if they're married
Go to prostitutes.
Some men justify the reason they're such lustful creatures is that's just who men are.
But Pastor Dennis is having none of that.
"When a man says to me, 'Look, I can't help this,' that is absolutely going against everything that Jesus has taught us," he told CBN News. "They can help it. They can choose against this."
Why Do You Hide It?
Greg Dyer said they know in their hearts they're wrong.
"Why do you hide it from your wife?" he asked. "Why do you hide it from God? Why do you hide it in your house from your kids? Because you know it's not right. And all pornography does is just make women sex objects."
"Naideen" blames the consumers of porn for what happens to women like her.
"They don't know about the degradation that happens inside of you, the tearing at your soul, the ripping out of your heart when you get filmed like that," she said.
"And then to know there are people - mostly men, but women, too - who are gawking and staring and eyeing everything. It's just " she paused as she began to cry. "I can't go there in my head."
Dennis said viewers can change all this -- and they can start by imitating the godly man Job.
"In Job 31:1, he said, 'I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.' If he needed to do that, than I certainly need to do that," Dennis asserted. "And every Christian man needs to do that."
He pointed out Jesus Christ died on the cross to set men free, "So that we wouldn't have to be the way we are, that we could change, that we wouldn't have to give in to our sinful natures," he said.
Some declare they cannot live without pornography. But Dennis is quick to assert that just isn't so. The truth is no one in history has ever died from a lack of pornography.