The Only Warning Sign You Need…

…that you live in a deeply sexually deranged culture is that the media offers “Seven Warning Signs that You *Might* Have a Porn Problem”.

I weigh 800 pounds. I *might* have a problem with gluttony. I will have to eat seven meals today to test that theory.

I’ve murdered seven people. Those murders *might* be warning sign that I have a problem with murder.

How about this? Do you look at porn? You have a problem. End of story. Now confront the problem, repent, go to confession, get treatment. Porn is your mortal enemy, not something to shilly-shally with. Put it to death and put the Holy Spirit in its place. God is your friend and will help you with great mercy and patience for your failings and weakness. But you *start* with the clear-eyed admission that if you are looking at porn at all, you have a problem.

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What Evangelizing Culture Looks Like

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  • I like the line about some people thinking porn is a moral issue, but “in reality” it’s a health issue. So morality either doesn’t exist or if it does it must be in opposition to your health.

    • Tim

      I saw that too and had to laugh. Who knew that morality was nothing more than a fantasy… kinda like porn.

  • Esther

    “If your significant other is uncomfortable with you watching porn, it is time to have a candid conversation about how porn is interfering with your committed relationship and what you both want to do about it.” There are people whose significant others are COMFORTABLE with them watching porn? Wow.

    • ds

      Some couples watch it together.

      • Chris M

        Some couples have swinger parties. There really is no limit to this sort of thing.

        • ds

          It’s not uncommon for porn actors to be married, too. I don’t think I could handle that. “Hi honey, how was your day at work…”

    • Ed Pie

      Some time ago I picked up one of those Readers Digest sized booklets on wellness because of an article on certain aspects of a sustainable weight loss plan. It also had an article about how to work a “quickie” into your busy schedule with your spouse (or whomever). It actually suggested that men get warmed up watching a little porn first, and that their wives shouldn’t be too upset because it’s helping to eliminate the time consuming buildup to the act itself.

      I though I understood before how mainstream that stuff had become, but this casual rationalization against the concerns and participation of the wife introduced me to new levels of…I can’t put a name to it. To say I felt dirty reading that would be an understatement.

      • beccolina

        I’ve often seen the question in women’s magazines, “What should I do if my husband/boyfriend watches porn?” The answer is always some blather about talking about it, seeing how this could help your relationship, and watching it together,etc. Never has the answer involved the idea that porn might be wrong for any other reason than that it bothers the woman.

        • Ed Pie

          I caught a radio show last year, I think it was, where they were discussing a situation the show’s host heard about somewhere, where a wife was skeptical about her husband’s desire to start sharing his porn collection with their tween or teenage son. She tolerated it with her husband because he’d always been doing it, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on why it would be a bad introduction to human sexuality for a youth. I didn’t have the stomach to listen for long, but I remember one or two guys calling in and rationalizing it in a way that made me think they really knew it was wrong all around and now found themselves trying to defend their own longstanding vices on a new front. If Dad can get Mommy to acquiesce, then what do her or other women’s opinions matter? It’s Man Stuff, something the guys can share, not something women will understand, right?

    • David

      Some couples film themselves having sex and upload it to sharing sites- something which is actually a factor in killing the porn biz.

      • kenneth

        Honestly, it’s that, but also piracy. Pretty much all of the full-length stuff you find for free online is material that was ripped off from some pay site. I don’t see how anyone makes money at it anymore.

  • Gary Keith Chesterton

    Pray for us who struggle.

  • Observer

    Two signs you are endangering yourself and others when j-walking. First sign, you cross in the middle trafiic. Second and final sign, you get hit. I think driving and walking tell a lot about people’s moral code. When drivers try to push you off the street (as a pedestrian or another driver.) Or, when a pedestrian thinks they’re entitled to walk anywhere and at anytime they please avoiding traffic signal with a cross-walk. Funny, they say the eyes are the windows of the soul. Since there are windows in a car and the eyes of the driver are always peering, I think drivers (and even pedestrians) reveal a lot and give an un-intended guiltless confession of their inclinations with particular sins.

    Similarily, the attitude expressed and demonstrated as something promiscouosly being entertained through mediums of tv and so forth are all of a sudden seen as a danger – especially to one’s relationship with their spouse and their health – seems glaringly obviously clear before so called experts arrive on the scene to make the case. Even so, as drivers (and some pedestrians out there) continue to endanger other people and don’t realize the consequences until their insurance company increase their rates or when a claim must be filed and is presented in court (or worse, someone ends up dead from an accident), I guess what is glaringly clear seems to be obscured by some addiction to the lust for power, speed, and entertainment. Bottom-line, the desire to injur or do grave harm to an individual for sake of pleasure has been the addiction and the completely acceptablely insane endeavor.

    Even much worse, such a pleasure comes from the public. When crooks (those who broke Roman law – whether they were real wrongs or not) were made a sport for Roman justice in the Colliseum and enteraining the cheering crowds, you have people who are simply made to be a form of entertainment for the all to obvious sport of sensationlism. And since it’s the case of today’s MSM to do so, you have the new medium of a satellite televised broadcast Colliseum exploiting people’s faults as well as themselves, relations, and families to the disordered pleasure of the public law for being entertained.

    • Marion (Mael Muire)

      “I think driving and walking tell a lot about people’s moral code . . (such as) when a pedestrian thinks they’re entitled to walk anywhere and at anytime they please avoiding traffic signal with a cross-walk.”

      Here in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., savvy pedestrians often choose to avoid the traffic signal and cross mid-block instead, because at intersections right-turning vehicles roll right through their red light without slowing for anything, not pedestrians, not nothin’ . . . even when the peds have the “Walk” signal. And for a ped simply proceeding along the sidewalk to traverse the apron of a driveway giving into one of our busy shopping centers or a popular restaurant at rush hour? You’d better be fast on your feet, Granny! Especially left-turning SUVs, they see an opening in the oncoming traffic, and you as a ped are in their path, they will drive as if to mow you right down. And you are on the sidewalk Never left it! And it may be car after car after car turning in, from both directions. Zoom-zoom-zoom! And you think it’s safe to proceed along the sidewalk now? All the turning in cars are gone; but now cars wanting to come out are occupying the apron, and you can’t proceed along the sidewalk, unless you want to be flattened. You are lucky if they miss you by a matter of centimeters.

      Peds around here do what they need to do to survive. (Sometimes, walking around here, I wish I could tote a very compact Howitzer. Not loaded . . . necessarily . . . but just the sight of heavy artillery might help.)

  • But how do you DEFINE porn? What if watching porn could prevent a terrorist attack? Nothing can be simple, can it?

    • Mark Shea

      Of course, you are right. I mean, sure pornography is bad (though has the Church ever infallibly *defined* that?). But even if we grant that “porn” is bad, do we even *know* what that is? I will *certainly* submit if and when the Church infallibly defines every possible permutation of literature and magazine–by title–that *might* qualify as porn. But until then I frankly resent people like Pope Shea presuming to tell me that my enjoyment of Hustler is “sinful”. Fundamentalism like that endangers our freedoms! Especially since, as you note, so-called “porn” might be a valuable tool in our War on Terror! You can say what you like about my internet viewing choices, but I am not going just sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America!

      • DT McCameron

        I’d never thought of weaponizing smut. It certainly has potential, some sort of PsyOps large scale broadcast. Indeed, now I think I understand the ridiculous costumes pulp-fantasy women wear: It must disorient the enemy.

        I’d rather be shot or bayoneted, personally.

        • Mark Shea

          Clearly you are not Space Princess Movement material.

        • JDH

          Oh, you think this hasn’t been thought of before? When Osama bin Laden was killed, it was discovered that, among his provisions, he maintained a huge cache of porn. Where do you think he got it? Hmm?

  • The linked article is a classic case of pornojournalism.

  • dfp

    I don’t know that much about porn, but there are paintings of naked women which are considered art. Do people who look at those pictures have a porn problem?

    • Mark Shea

      Depends on why they look at them. However, the odds are that if you look at a picture of a nude that was obviously not intended by the artist to induce horniness (Michaelangelo’s David or Botticelli’s Birth of Venus) and your first thought is horniness, you are very likely not spending too much time with real art and are instead spending a lot of time with real porn.

  • B.E. Ward

    For anyone who thinks porn is okay, I commend to you chapter two of Chris Hedges’ Empire of Illusion:

    NSFW and *definitely* not safe with kids nearby, but it will destroy any sense you have that porn is just harmless entertainment.

    • B.E. Ward

      PS.. the Amazon preview contains a decent chunk of the chapter. Enough to be horrified, anyway.

  • Larry Flynt

    God’s laws make sense and are based on rationality. Porn is an insidious attack by Satan on us. It belittles all who view sell or act in these porn. It is dehumanizing and degrading and only hurts everyone involved. So God says don’t participate… Pope St Shea is right; admit the problem and reconcile with God. He will help you.

  • Interestingly the BBC posted an article today on pornography:

    I’ve read a few other interviews with people working in that…field?…and one thing that is constant is that they’re either profoundly unhappy or mentally unstable. I really feel for the performer mentioned: I think he’s suffering from the same addiction as his viewers, albeit from the other side of the screen. At least the pornography industry is falling apart(down 8% year-over-year according to an article I read last year).

    • Kirt Higdon

      Don’t get too optimistic over the decline of the industry. Most of that is because the pros can’t compete against all the free stuff available on the web, much of it posted by exhibitionist amateurs who aren’t even trying to make money.

    • kenneth

      “……they’re either profoundly unhappy or mentally unstable”…

      How does this set them apart from the average American worker these days (or non-worker, as the case often is)?

  • WesleyD

    In the “Seven Signs” article, one of the signs is the exact reverse of the truth:

    3. If you feel like you need to sneak or hide your porn usage and you feel any guilt or shame, it is time for you to seek out help in order to determine what is going on beneath the surface.

    Actually, feeling guilt or shame for porn use is a very good sign!

    • David

      Guilt, shame, and concealing your habit are classic signs of addiction. This is a little dicey in relation to porn, because if you have any sort of a properly formed conscience you will feel some guilt or shame after using it, and porn is not exactly something most people want to admit to using…

  • WesleyD

    Of course, it is also possible that shame can overwhelm you, and make it seem hopeless. “I’ve been doing this for so long, I can’t believe I could ever quit this habit!” But that’s just another of the devil’s lies. God is not shouting at you “You have used porn, so you are a bad person!” Rather, he is calling you to emerge from your cocoon into the light he has prepared for you.

    Sometimes when you come out of the darkness, the light hurts your eyes at first. But that doesn’t mean the light isn’t for you.

  • Faith

    I knew a friend of a friend who became a dancer in a strip club. She was a coke addict. It was a horrible, sordid life. She always seemed to find boyfriends who beat her up. And she was so pretty, sweet and smart. I didn’t know her well, but the times that I saw her and talked to her, she was really fun and nice. I never suspected anything amiss until my friend in a fit of panic over this girl’s spiraling downward, confided in me. She kept trying to help her, but the coke won out. It was an utter travesty. I wonder what ever happened to her.

  • Charles E Flynn

    I would like to second B.E. Ward’s recommendation of the second chapter of “Empire of Illusion”. Please do not think that because Chris Hedges is a left-of-center journalist, his work can be dismissed. Give yourself about two days to recover after reading the chapter.

  • Kubrick’s Rube

    Do you look at porn? You have a problem. End of story.

    This reminds me of a conversation I had few weeks ago with my wife. I was ranting about something I read on Bad Catholic, and then something from Fr Longenecker’s blog, and she said I should stop reading the Patheos Catholic portal. I said I could control myself, that to keep by blood pressure down I’d skip any articles or posts on contraception or marriage equality and only read more balanced writers like Mark Shea and Tim Muldoon, but here I am on a beautiful Saturday afternoon writing a comment in mild defense of pornography of all things because this all-or-nothing, one-size-fits-all, false dichotomy approach to sexuality drives me so crazy! So here’s my clear-eyed admission: I have a problem.

    • Mark Shea

      Have hope! God is gentle and merciful and ready, willing and able to help. You’ve just done the hardest part of the whole thing: admitted it. Now hie thee to confession, get all that grace God wants to pour out on you, and see a good counselor or therapist. Lots of people have beaten this. You can too, with God’s help.

      • Kubrick’s Rube

        Did you miss my sarcasm or am I missing yours?

        • Mark Shea

          I missed your sarcasm.

          • Kubrick’s Rube

            I’m sorry my joke (that I’m addicted to reading Catholic blogs that I disagree with) wasn’t more clear. I may not agree with your all-or-nothing take on issues of sexuality, but addiction is a serious matter and your response to what you thought was legitimate pain was generous and compassionate. My apologies for the confusion.

            • Mark Shea

              No sweat.

  • Rachel K

    I note that none of the signs are “you’re unable to stop mentally undressing women you talk to, even if you aren’t attracted to them” or “you keep picturing the women you talk to performing the roles you saw in porn.” That’s kind of a biggie. But then, it implies that there’s something wrong with harboring lust, and THAT certainly isn’t true.

  • John C

    Pornography is prostution. The “actresses” are the prostitutes. The producers are the pimps. And those who watch are the johns. I have no idea why the legal system does not get this.

    • Ted Seeber

      Like other issues in America (abortion and usury) porn is the bastard child of the First Amendment (thanks a lot Larry Flynn) and a disordered notion of what freedom means (the idea that freedom is the ability to do what you WANT instead of what you OUGHT).