Pornography – A Public Health Crisis? ~ BENEATH THE SURFACE WITH PAUL MURANO

By: Paul Murano, Aug. 2016

super-sexy-girls-1084When I was growing up I saw Democrats and Republicans switch values on the important cultural issues defining what it means to be human. Democrats were pro-life and supported natural marriage while Republicans were liberal on cultural issues. This changed when Rockefeller Republicanism evolved into Reaganism, and secular humanism was embraced by Democrats.

The party of the little guy chose to abandon the littlest guy (the unborn) to the abortion knife, and henceforth lost its credibility. Fast-forward to 2016. While the Democratic Party remains on its track to hell, the goalposts have shifted for Republicans. They remain part of the resistance, but there is less passion for defending life, upholding natural marriage, and debunking the foolishness of gender ideology. There is, however, one move the Republican Party recently made that keeps hope alive that this country has not yet irretrievably fallen into the quicksand of materialism and relativism. It took courage to take on this sacred cow which is also a pink elephant. The 2016 Republican Party platform includes a plank that states pornography is a public health crisis.

Why is this important?

Many will scoff at it, asserting privacy and claiming there are much bigger issues to tackle. They are wrong, and here’s why. Pornography harms people in three basic ways: It damages the brain, relationships, and society. With the assistance of the website, let’s look beneath the surface at each of these.
Porn damages the brain: Research has uncovered that neuroplasticity in the brain enables a habit of pornography to create new pathways reconnecting neurons and “rewiring” the brain in ways that makes one feel uneasy without a porn “fix”. Watching pornography floods the brain with dopamine and oxytocin, and is very easily addictive. The more a person watches the more severe the damage to their brain becomes, and the more difficult it is to stop. Research indicates porn addiction, like drug and alcohol addiction, shrinks the frontal lobes of the brain, the logical decision-making part of our brain. The good news is that neuroplasticity can work the other way too. Pathways can be rewired if a person seeks help and is able to kick the obsession.
Porn damages relationships: The more pornography a person consumes the more difficult it becomes to be naturally aroused by a real person. It challenges one’s ability to form relationships and consummate marriages. Also, Dr. Gary Brooks, a psychologist who has worked with porn addicts for the last 30 years says, “[Watching porn] can’t help but be a depressing, demeaning, self-loathing kind of experience.” Because of the shame involved, the self-concealment caused by pornography hurts relationships and makes people more vulnerable to severe psychological problems. Porn teaches that people are worth nothing more than a sum of their body parts, to be used for pleasure. This mindset remains with the porn user, at the very least, unconsciously. Porn greatly increases the pain of loneliness and depression, and incurs the guilt of knowing one is objectifying women for the purpose of unnatural pleasure. It goes without saying that one’s relationship with God is also altered with pornography, due to the intentional lusting after women that Christ called “adultery in the heart.”

Put simply, porn kills love.

Pornography affects society: Yes, some milder forms of pornography have been around forever, but the invention of the VHS tape and then the personal computer changed the landscape entirely. No longer do people have to deal with the humiliation of ordering or watching pornography in public. As a result it has become an epidemic and is the number one cause of divorce and family break-up. According to a survey of members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers taken back in 2002, 62 percent of the divorce attorneys surveyed said that obsession with pornography had been a significant factor in divorce cases they had handled in the last year. Since then it has gotten worse. The number of men that regularly practice the self-abuse of masturbation to internet pornography, what the great Thomas Aquinas called the unnatural vice, rather than seek to love a real woman, is astounding.

Today children live in a world of hard-core pornography, and researchers say the average age of first porn exposure is around 8 years old. Young people are being formed by internet pornography. Sex education and morality now come largely through the dark and sinfully destructive world of pornography, where love, commitment, and faithful exclusivity are absent, where surgically enhanced bodies are the norm, where sodomy, violence, and degradation are ubiquitous, and where the objective meaning and purpose of human sexuality is completely missing.

Are we experiencing a public health crisis with pornography in America? Of course we are, and have been for over two decades. Those who are addicted, and there are many, will not admit it, but denial only adds to the psychological abuse of children, the exploitation adolescents, the sexual abuse of women, the denigration of the family, and the physical, emotional, and spiritual degradation of all those who watch. The 2016 Republican Party platform is one of the most courageous ones ever written. The only question is – how many people will take it seriously?
(Much of the information gathered in this column came from

Paul Murano

Paul Murano

Dr. Paul Murano teaches philosophy at Rivier University and North Shore Community College and hosts Beneath the Surface radio show on 980 WCAP. Paul has a doctorate in marital theology, is certified in bioethics by the NCBC, and teaches adult ed. at St. Patrick's in Nashua. He is founder of Heartbeat Pregnancy Help in Burlington, and is a singer-songwriter-musician. E-mail Paul at

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2 Responses to Pornography – A Public Health Crisis? ~ BENEATH THE SURFACE WITH PAUL MURANO

  1. Goodwins Reply

    August 26, 2016 at 10:52 AM

    Great article and excellent insights into the consequences of porn use. it not only damages the individuals who view it, but harms their families and society. The next problem is helping all those addicted to it. 12-step programs help but tend to have a high relapse rate. Some of the new programs, especially the one presented in the book Power Over Pornography, have a lower relapse rate and seem easier to implement.

  2. Mike Reply

    August 26, 2016 at 7:58 PM

    Great article

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