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What's Wrong with Pornography?

What's Wrong with Pornography?

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Question:

Is pornography bad? If so could you please explain why it's bad and how it affects a person's life?

Answer:

Good question. Too often we just assume something is bad because everyone says it's bad, without thinking into the reasons.

Everyone knows that child pornography is bad because it's been demonstrated over and over that people who look at that stuff end up acting it out—and really destroy people's lives. That's beyond the unconscionably cruel exploitation of the children involved.

Other forms of pornography are harmful for a similarly oft-repeated reason: Pornography makes women into objects of desire rather than real people. We want to have relationships between person and person, not person-to-object.

But there's something much deeper than that in pornography, something that gets at the very core of being a man. A real man is someone who maintains control over himself. Animals can't do that—they just respond to their instincts. People are free in the sense that they can decide what is the right and proper thing to do.

But when someone is looking at pornography, he is actively undermining that inner strength of his, allowing himself to slip into being an animal. The eyes see, the hormones are triggered and the mind is washed away in a sea of biological tyranny. A grown human being becomes a slave of one tiny organ of his body. In his relationship with women, as well, he becomes enslaved in his passion for them—and a cinch for them to manipulate.

If you want to rise in life and become a whole and healthy human being, you need to maintain control of your mind. It's your mind, after all. And the first step in controlling your mind is to control your eyes. Keep them from staring at that which doesn't belong to you.

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, a senior editor at Chabad.org, also heads our Ask The Rabbi team. He is the author of Bringing Heaven Down to Earth. To subscribe to regular updates of Rabbi Freeman's writing, visit Freeman Files subscription.
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Discussion (76)
February 19, 2014
Not a harmless vice...
Just like alcohol, gambling, cocaine, heroin, crack and many other vices porn is addictive.

I heard once..." it is a harmless vice, compared to drug addiction". False. If you think harmless is spending hours a day viewing porn is harmless, think of all the productive activities you could have engaged in during those hours of porn surfing. I am sure everyone has heard the phrase 'time is money", think of all the "money' you have thrown away that could have been invested in a much more productive activity.

Before the internet existed, It began with nudy pictures acquired through a friend, acquaintance or family member. Your brain likes it, it is visually stimulating, your hormones react, you derive pleasure, especially if you proceed to manually stimulate yourself. In no time you will be buying magazines, now you are spending some money.

Your next trip will be to the strip club with the 'boys (co-workers, friends, etc) Now you are spending real money (cover charge, etc). Continues...
Emmanuel
December 28, 2013
on the way out...
I have been watching porn for a long time now... I didn't realize this has been the major cause for low self-esteem. I remember myself before being addicted to porn - was lot confident and achieved quite a many things in life. My life has gone to stand-still and backwards with porn. I have made up my mind to finally quit this for better life.


Thank you for the article and the many who have written your experiences. I hope to come back here and write how my life has been away from porn in the coming days.
Ben
India
June 29, 2013
I quit porn cold-turkey 6 months ago. It was surprisingly easy. I think this has been a real positive; I didn't appreciate the negative impacts it was having on my life. Contributed to self-loathing, anxiety and depression and physical symptoms such as ED and being bored by real sex. I'd encourage people to quit.
Anonymous
Australia
June 20, 2013
Porn = bad
zaps your energy, concentration, time consuming, causes social anxiety as you are spending alot of time on your own with no motivation to go out and meet real girls.

wish i'd known this 10 years ago, I didn't realise porn was the cause. I just thought I was horny and too shy/fat to get a girlfriend.
chris
uk
June 19, 2013
The first step
I've been an avid porn user for ever since the internet was out to the public
I started developing problems E.D, social problems, thought cloudiness,chronic pain, energy loss...etc
I came across an amazing community that has really helped me out
We call it "no fap"
It contains many people who are facing the same struggle with fapping and porn
Please have a look at it i've been clean from porn for 170 days.
Everyday is another battle but with the support of a fantastic community i'm able to control my urges and use that strength for important things in my life
Good luck, men of honor!
I'll see you on the battlefield of life.
Anonymous
April 18, 2013
Thank You
Wonderful and PRACTICAL advice from Rav Goldman!
xavier
Washington DC
April 14, 2013
To "PORN ADDICT"
Maybe the following might help you:
Realize that you've made the very 1st step....that you desire to change your behavior.
1). Gather people around you to help support your desire to STOP watching porn, and ASK them to help you, remind you of your desire to change.
2). It's probably not possible to stop completely immediately, but start cutting down the time you spend viewing "porn". Actually write out a plan and attempt to stick to it.
3) Frequently ask G-d to help you, and acknowledge to G-d that you realize the problem and want to change. Do this verbally, out loud.
4). If you don't have a gf or wife, try to find a partner that you can relate to, spend more time with, and focus more on the level of love and caring, which will help your energy move away from the sexual arena.
5). Know that with your mind and will, you can change ANYTHING, especially with G-ds help.

all the best,
Eleazar Shlomo
Eleazar Shlomo ben Yakov Goldman
GUANAJUATO, MEXICO
April 13, 2013
Porn addict
I am a porn addict I must admit, I understand what you are wrinting here, Rabbi and have understood this quite some time, I guess most addicts do, but I just can't stop, I used to hate myself for it but that did not help me stop either, on the contrarry so I decided to stop hating myself fr it, that helped somewhat, meaning I watch less porn now then I used to. I am single and in my late 40th.

I was hoping to find information on how to stop and regain control in addition to why its bad. Telling peole why its bad may help those who don't have that problem so they want start, but I really does not help me stop.

Please write more about this subject Rabbi, especially in regard to how to stop.
Anonymous
March 29, 2013
woah guys intense
woah guys intense...
Anonymous
November 25, 2012
Avoid it
I love Chabad.org and have to admit that I watched pornography from time to time, sometimes more often and sometimes not. But now I want to stop with it, even talked to my psychiatrist. Self control and a strong belief can cure many behaviors. BesidesI think pornography should be made harder to get, or be totally banned, it changes people negatively.
Shalom Chawerim
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