Pornography: A Call to Resolve (Part 1)

This article was written by Bro. Emmanuel Tamargo and was discussed with Bro. Jordan from The Christian Worldview Project on August 12, 2021.

In 2018, a company invented Harmony X, the first AI (Artificial Intelligence) -powered sex doll revolutionizing the sex industry. The unwavering consumers are mostly men seeking to fulfill their sexual desires and alleviate loneliness through a “perfect companion”. 

All human senses are now occupied when it comes to Pornography. It has been spreading across all media platforms. 

It is an unrecognized epidemic. 

Secular Definition of Pornography

An article from Psychology Today defines Pornography – or porn – as “any sexually explicit material – written, visual, or otherwise – intended to sexually arouse.” It remains widely accessible and available online: in 2018, the world’s largest pornsite claimed it had an average of 92 million daily unique viewers, a vast majority of which were males.

Contrary to popular belief, women, too, subcribe to pornography for various reasons. While men mostly do it for sexual gratification and as a coping strategy, females do it to make them feel “good” about their bodies; they sympathize with women subjects and experience “cognitive dissonance”.

Beginning of Pornography

A research study on Evolutionism suggests that pornography already existed during the earlier stage of human history. The loud cries of females were called “female copulatory vocalization,” a language in early primate communities that was intended to attract others. 

Is it Leisure Or (Potential) Addiction?

The validity of the term “porn addiction” is still under scholarly debate. There has been no universally accepted diagnostic criteria as yet, and it is not included in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM-V. In other words, it is still under much doubt whether “porn addiction” is indeed a valid clinical condition. 

Based on DSM-V, the term “addiction” is not clearly classified. Psychology Today defines it as a person “using a substance or [engaging] in a behavior, for which the rewarding effects provide a compelling incentive to repeat the activity, despite detrimental consequence”. It is more defined in Substance (drug) Abuse. The principles of diagnosis are based upon the following.:

    • Duration – observed within a 12-month period

    • Desire/Dependency – there is a strong desire to engage with the need, and a weak desire to stop. The secretion of dopamine – a hormone for satisfaction – is a crucial factor. 

    • Decline – the person’s functioning (i.e. social, occupational, recreational) are drastically affected.

There are three principles that determine the severity level of the disorder: from mild, moderate, to severe (this is where addiction is identified). 

Is It Harmful? 

While many psychologists question the term “porn addiction,” they would consider the person’s religion, family, and/or cultural values before undergoing assessment and diagnosis (if needed). Some research has shown that porn users who hold firm conservative beliefs against it feel more guilty about it.

However, there are arguments defending the benefits of pornography to so-called consumers. Candida Royalle, creator of Feminist Pornography boldly asserts that “watching pornography is not inherently (harmful to men or women.” (Italics added) She leaves a caveat: it should not be viewed by those with poor body image and those who are sexually victimized.

She adds:

“Counselors sometimes suggest it to help people become comfortable with a particular fantasy they or their partner may have. Porn can reboot a couple’s sex life. It can give you ideas, or help you get in touch with what turns you on.” (Italics added)

Not inherently harmful? 

The feminist author does not believe in porn as an addiction. To her, the problem is not porn; the problem is the compulsive personality of the individual. She argues that the performers in porn have firm reasons: economy, and response from parental deprivation when they were children. They want both love and punishment to be felt erotically.

My Personal Observations

First, the persistent lack of consensus within the psychiatry (and psychology) community makes it more evident that they cannot give a firm objective ground about the real cause and nature of pornography and its possible relationship to addiction. By presupposing the evolutionist worldview as the only possible scientific “hermeneutic,” they insist to prove that pornography contributes to the society for survival. There are many contributing factors, but the exact cause (etiology) – a fact that DSM-V lacks – is not clearly defined. 

Second, the claim that pornorgraphy is not inherently harmful but beneficial is rooted in the idea that as long as it fulfills the desire/wish of the person, one can participate in it regardless of its moral accountability – including performers, producers, and consumers. It is true that psychologists and psychiatrists would consider the moral, family, and cultural values, but the medical paradigm is their greater consideration. On the other hand, the person’s moral, social, and cultural perspectives affect his or her response to the use of pornography – Am I guilty of what I am doing? Is it good or bad? Hence, such factors are relative and subjective to what impresses both the clinicians and the individual. 

Third, as related to the second, addiction is classified as pathological – a clinical condition. The problem lies in whether using pornography is really considered as compulsive behavior: the World Health Organization (WHO) includes compulsive sexual behavior disorder in the International Classification of Diseases, for which clinicians report that compulsive use of pornography is the leading concern of diagnosed patients. So one would get confused and ask: if a person behaves compulsively, does it not affect the brain also, and in effect, considered pathological? This kind of logic begs the following question regarding the nature of humans: are we composed of only a body which also consists of the mind, that is, the mind’s function is affected as part of the body; OR are we composed of both body and soul – the seat of morality? 

The answer to this question shall determine the course of discussion concerning pornography itself, and the behaviors related to it. It needs due consideration. 

As for me, the sufficient answer can be found nowhere else than the Scriptures. I shall discuss this further in Part 2. 


Published by Jeff Chavez

Sinner saved by grace

3 thoughts on “Pornography: A Call to Resolve (Part 1)

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