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Pornography: What harm does it do?

By Dianne D. McDonnell

Pornography was once defined as the victimless crime. That isn’t true. Today we are all victims of pornography. How could that be, you might ask…isn’t that a private matter? Isn’t pornography harmless?

Whether watching graphic sex online, in the movies, on television, in a DVD, or reading a pornographic book, all of these leave you and society harmed. How? Why? Pornography distorts sex into an animalistic, mechanical act only seeking self gratification. It portrays sex without any caring or commitment, and is totally lacking in love or gentleness. It is sex as lust—open and raw. There are none of the attributes that made “making love”(to borrow a term from a previous generation) the tender glue of marriages and the tenacity of a deep and long-lasting love.

Viewing “porn” warps something deep within our brains, bending our minds towards a perverse image of sexual behavior. Every person, man, woman or child, who is exposed, is changed to some extent.  How do you erase from your mind something that you have seen? There is an effect.  That change can start with a persistent dissatisfaction with one’s spouse, and to a loosening of the moral barriers against irresponsible sexual behavior. Continuing fascination with perverted erotic images has led to acts of rape and murder, especially the murders of women and children. One example is Gary Bishop who was a serial killer who admitted he was heavily influenced by more and more “shocking” graphic images that became acceptable as his “looking” became “actions” and finally led to the multiple murders of little boys.[1]

When children look at pornography it does immediate damage, because they are forming ideas of male-female behavior and just beginning to be aware of sex.  As a child watches, it becomes his or her view of what is normal; no matter how perverse the scenes are. It is difficult to alter first impressions. Parents, guard your children from such damage, pay attention to what programs they can watch, and where they go online. Know where they are at all times. In our sex saturated nation this is difficult, but very necessary. When you accidentally see something on TV that is not the right example for your children or teens, change the channel or turn it off; then speak up and explain, in a way appropriate to their age, why that was a distorted view.

As society becomes more and more addicted to this counterfeit sexuality and to warped, animalistic behavior devoid of love, sex becomes more and more removed from its original purpose. It changes from joyously committing to someone you deeply love and have taken as your spouse, and becomes instead about “getting” “taking” and “over-coming” someone else, more like winning a challenge. For many men-- and women too, it becomes a numbers game of one night stands blurring into one long empty way of life. Often it ends in an aloneness that cannot be ignored, with no one actually loving you, and no one who cares about what happens to you. Whether you are male or female, the end result is not satisfying or good. It is devastating and destructive.

When this counterfeit sexuality is coupled with pornography more and “harder” porn becomes needed for gratification. More perverse actions are necessary to achieve the same thrill. It is a spiral into ever increasing darkness. This spiral spins into actions that earlier would have been unacceptable to the person enmeshed in this perverse web. Actions become violent. Violence increases, and ultimately, the web closes into murder.

Violent porn or sex linked with pain begins to imbed itself into the brain in such a way that an addicted man begins to see women only as sex objects to torture and rape or murder. Ted Bundy was one of the worst rapist-murderers of all time. All of his victims were young, beautiful women—and at least one girl only 12 years old. He was handsome, smooth talking, well educated, and could be very charming. When he was finally captured, FBI agents presented him with a list of 36 torture-murder victims. Bundy responded, “Add one digit to that, and you’ll have it.”[2] Did he really murder 360 women and girls? Only God knows the true numbers.

After Police discovered his huge pornographic collection, Bundy said, “I’ve met a lot of men who were motivated to commit violence just like me. And without exception, without question, every one of them was deeply involved in pornography.”[3]

In another interview he warned the FBI of violence in the media, “particularly sexualized violence” which sends boys “down the road to being Ted Bundys.” He once suggested that the FBI should stake out adult movie houses and follow patrons as they leave. “You are going to kill me,” he said, “and that will protect society from me. But out there are many, many more people who are addicted to pornography, and you are doing nothing about that.”[4]

In January of 1989 society was finally safe from Ted Bundy.  Yet erotic nudity, graphic sex, and sexual violence online, in books, magazines, movies, television, and DVD’s, have all multiplied far past the standards of 1989. All these sources continue to motivate, fuel and enflame the rapists and murderers of today.  And as Bundy predicted, we are doing nothing about it.

Perhaps you are thinking, “I’m normal. I’m not going to be changed.” Remember, Ted Bundy was once a normal, charming, handsome young man with a bright future. Our brains are so important! They filter all of life’s experiences. If you put gasoline mixed with water into your car, is it going to perform up to your expectations? If you eat rotted food will you still have a healthy body? What goes inside of you has a profound effect!

Jesus explained that “looking lustfully” begins an internal change: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’  But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28 (New International Version Bible).

 In just seven words Jesus summed up the core issue of pornography!  “Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully,” is the same as saying today, “Anyone who looks at pornographic images”.  He warns us that a change takes place within the heart!  Jesus shows us that our thoughts create inner changes—what we see and think about becomes what we are on the inside! Then our actions come from within our “heart”!

Jesus explained this point in detail, “And then he added, ‘It is what comes from inside that defiles you.  For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder,adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.’” Mark 7:20-23 (New Living Translation).

If we, male or female, soak our brains in erotic images we will become full of the perversions we watch!  Something very precious and irreplaceable is lost in the process. Sex was planned to be a great unifying force in marriage, a binding of both into a oneness that unifies the lives of both. Something about that original intend gets irretrievable broken when we pervert it into an animalistic coupling of two people who are just using each other for the moment. Both are harmed. Society is harmed.

The Apostle Paul understood this point of bringing harm upon ourselves. He urged Christians: “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” 1 Cor. 6:18-20 (NIV).

Sex as portrayed by pornography is like dirty, frayed burlap posing as finely woven multicolored silk, or crumpled, rusty tin pretending to be solid gold. It will not hold together the fabric of our society, or bring honor to us or to our nation. Like a cancerous canker, pornography erodes leaving only a dark blotch and a rotted stench. We need God’s help to remove it from our lives before it causes any more harm.

Only God’s power can straighten out twisted, perverted minds and hearts. And even he will have to work slowly to get each person out of each situation and begin to change and purify each mind and heart. Ask for his help. He is real. He is powerful and yet loving, and he cares about each individual. When you put your life totally in his hands, and rely on his help daily, it is possible to become free of every addiction, and every situation pulling you down.  God does this miraculous gradual transformation in love--real genuine love for us, as we become his children and have his Spirit within us as our helper. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 (NIV).

[1] Victor B. Cline, Ph.D., “Pornography’s Effects on Adults and Children” see web site:

[2] Ann Rule, The Stranger Beside Me, 2000, p.335.

[3]  Search for: “The 14 Creepiest Ted Bundy Quotes”.

[4] Victor B. Cline, Ph.D., see web link cited in first footnote.



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photo credits: woman in montage by luigi diamanti -
Ted Bundy photo: State Archives of Florida. Ted Bundy in custody, Florida, July 1978.