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Pornography: Guaranteed to Block Healthy Sexual Relations, 1 of 3

images-160Based on decades of research, marketing strategists know what few consumers come to realize, and that is: (1) beliefs are the most powerful catalyst for shaping human behaviors — and (2) beliefs can be altered subconsciously, without consent or knowledge.

How does it work? By associating carefully crafted ideas that spark emotions of pleasure or fear (or both), accordingly, with preexisting human emotion-drives (hardwired value system), and repeating these ideas over and over.

Sociologically speaking, when it comes to shaping cultural values, this means mass media has been a formidable force, a top competitor for the hearts and minds of children and adults alike — once primarily socialized by family and in varying degree other key institutions such as education and church.

Arguably the game-changing mass media to ever enter the equation of what socializes and shapes men and women’s thoughts, beliefs and behaviors, truth be told, for the worse, has to be the porn industry.

The inside knowledge of how human beings learn and change per se can be beneficial.

It is used by sports psychologists and professional coaches to train top athletes and Olympic champions, for example. And, it’s also used by therapists, consultants and coaches and other practitioners in supporting others to live better lives, become better versions of themselves, break free of reactive or addictive patterns of relating, and other problem behaviors.

It is now a science, no longer theory.

Consider what happens however when this knowledge is used with little or no regard to people’s personal and relational health, or the well being of society as a whole. Yes, it’s true, our otherwise amazing human brains (and subconscious minds) have a weakness in that they can be tricked by their own neurochemicals into craving false substitutes for happiness and love, and quick-fix feel-good options over meaningful, lasting alternatives to fulfillment.

It’s called addiction, and it is no surprise that we, the citizens living in the most technologically advanced nation, the U.S., are also incomparably the most addicted to alcohol, drugs, food, etc.

The motive of marketing strategists naturally is to sell products for monetary gain, and that in itself is a good thing, no red-blooded American would deny this. Everyone pays the price for unfettered profiteering however.

As Pulitzer Prize investigative reporter for The Times reported, in his published research on the junk food industry, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, for example, food companies intentionally design food to ensure consumers are addicted so they may buy more, eat more, drink more. Sadly, corporations have free rein to act without regard for the public, and the lives destroyed, or ended by food addiction.

Unquestionably, the marketing of porn is also designed to get consumers addicted. Like junk food and drugs, porn is highly addictive, and also comes with far-reaching damaging effects. Author Pamela Paul well describes the process of How Porn Became the Norm.

Pornography may not be a new, however, thanks to the internet, easy access and availability, it has exploded as the top money making industry.

In the last few decades, it has not only permeated most aspects of society (fashion, entertainment, art, etc.) to successfully profit from selling sex (primarily to men), it has also made selling sex a multi-billion dollar industry that surpasses all others — topping the annual revenues of Amazon, Google, Microsot, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix and Earthlink combined.

Influenced by porn, violence and sex on the screen have exploded, and the marriage of entertainment industries and porn has all occurred under the radar screen; barely detected, the lines of what is porn and entertainment are increasingly blurred.

Unlike sex and porn addiction, however, whereas the effects of rising rates of food addiction are physically visible around us (1 in 5 deaths are linked to obesity), increases in sex and love addiction, infidelity, rape, violence, sexual intimacy problems, to include erectile dysfunction, are less visible if at all.

Most men (and some women) continue to “think” porn is just a fun thing guys do, etc. Think again. If there’s even some truth to this, it applied to another era. In its current form, porn is a game-changer of the worst kind. It fails couples who seek a secure, strong vibrant marriage or partnership. It’s guaranteed to not only block the formation of a healthy sexual relationship, but also the basis for a secure relationship: emotional intimacy.

For several reasons, the first one being that it:

1. Portrays sex devoid of human connection as the norm.

A key way pornography blocks healthy sexual relations is that it depicts sex as devoid of human emotional connection — and conditions men, in particular, to view this approach to sex as the norm.

Whereas emotional intimacy is an essential foundation for a healthy relationship, as well as sexual health, porn reinforces already present cultural expectations for men to prove they are “not girls,” from boyhood by rejecting most anything the opposite sex seeks in relationships, for example, emotional closeness, intimate communications, nonsexual affection, which are characterized as neediness, weakness, unmanliness, inferiority, etc. This define “love making” and sexual pleasure as primarily focused on body parts, performance, erection, orgasm, dominance, and the like.

It is easy to understand why the idea of “sex as devoid of connection” is appealing to men however. Whereas emotions are impossible to control; body parts are easy. 

Hence, the need for pornography, a fantasy world in which the only thing women want, ask, need or demand from men is limited to: knocking-her-socks-off sex.

And men need a way to make their “love relationship” an easy task because the rules for proving masculinity not only mandate men only “dabble” in the love stuff, they make it impossible for any human man to be both a “real man” — and to have a vibrant, emotionally intimate love relationship with the woman they love.)

It’s either-or: either prove they are real men by avoiding closeness, or they’re unmanly or gay.

In contrast, forming healthy human relationship is perhaps the most complex of all human endeavors, and that is the complexity of learning and transformational processes involved when one human man seeks to form a genuine love relationship with a human woman, which requires accessing the higher brain’s (pre-frontal cortex) mirror-neuron and reflective both-and thinking capacities (parasympathetic nervous system division), and rather

When watching pornography, it’s easy to forget that these are not “real” women; they are prostitutes, and quite frequently sex slaves, forced to “act” as women, doing what they are told and often forced to do (and what sells), perhaps even threatened at knife or gunpoint, etc. 

In contrast, real women partners at some point start to ask their partner for nonsexual “stimulation” around the clock connection — they seek emotional connection, nonsexual touch, affection, playful and fun interactions, intimate talks, etc. In response, most men regard these requests of women, as danger signals, something they’ve been warned against their whole lives, and this is “evidence” in their mind that something “wrong” with their partner, which they need to fix!

It’s helpful to remember that porn supports prostitution and sex slavery. Arguably, prostitution is no more a “real” occupation than slavery. All human beings yearn to be treated with dignity. It is only unfortunate circumstances, such as wars, or traumatic life experiences, especially in childhood, that place severe limits on human capacity for making choices, much less optimal ones or imagining new possibilities for a creating a better life for themselves. 

Women in porn are prostitutes, who do not pressure men to do anything except what they already want to do: dominate with sex and performance.

No wonder men and women, in a couple relationship, often feel like ships passing in the night.

They’ve merely been conditioned to hold limiting beliefs that cause them to chart courses past each other.

Men think it’s their job to provide, knock her socks off with sexual pleasure, and “fix
her from wanting the “needy” love stuff, and women think it’s their job to make men feel like men by, pretending men don’t “need” anything, they should just keep guessing, and in the mean time let them do whatever they want.  

Beliefs have the power to either empower or block men or women from one of the most essential experiences in life—the inner striving and capacity to find emotional fulfillment in empathic, authentic, compassionate connection to self and the partner, first and foremost, as human beings.

It is limiting beliefs like these, however, that keep men dependent on women to make them feel like men, turning to porn or prostitutes for an “easy” way to feel like men. Men go into their relationships with the expectation that women are suppose to be there for their sexual pleasure and comfort. They are not supposed to argue; they are there to please, to make men feel superior, dominant, and entitled to treat women as they wish, and come and go as they please.

Creating greater intimacy is about an inner energy partners bring to bedroom. It’s about a deepening sense of connection — emotional intimacy — a growing sense of security and trust, a comfort level that increasingly allows each partner to feel loved and valued for who they are, as well as who they are becoming, which each partner works to cultivate. In your partner’s arms, you feel totally safe from the world; and that feeling is present around the clock, even when you are not physically together — or having sex.

Continued in Part 2.

 

Pornography: Guaranteed to Block Healthy Sexual Relations, 1 of 3

Athena Staik, Ph.D.

Relationship consultant, author, licensed marriage and family therapist, Dr. Athena Staik shows clients how to break free of anxiety, addictions, and other emotional blocks, to awaken radiantly healthy lives and relationships. Dr. Staik is currently in private practice in Northern VA, and writing her book, What a Narcissist Means When He Says 'I Love You'": Breaking Free of Addictive Love in Couple Relationships. To contact Dr. Staik for information, an appointment or workshop, visit www.drstaik.com, or visit on her two Facebook fan pages DrAthenaStaik and DrStaik


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APA Reference
Staik, A. (2015). Pornography: Guaranteed to Block Healthy Sexual Relations, 1 of 3. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 16, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/relationships/2014/08/pornography-why-its-guaranteed-to-block-healthy-sexual-relations/

 

Last updated: 15 Feb 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Feb 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.