What’s wrong with pornography? Let me count the ways:
(1) Pornography is sin. It injures your soul and it injures your relationship with God. Nothing worse can happen to you. But that doesn’t mean you will feel it. You might not feel it because your conscience can become so seared and insensitive that even greater and greater evils leave no impression upon it. If your conscience is not pained by pornography, do not conclude that you have a clear conscience. You flatter yourself. Your conscience is not clear but scarred and benumbed.
(2) Pornography is addictive. Like drugs to the body, pornography leads to enslavement of the psyche. You require a fix, and your fix needs to be more and more potent in order to deliver the desired effect. In order to get it, you must slide deeper and deeper into the abyss. The deeper you go, the more disfigured you inwardly become. Pornography addiction is to your soul what methamphetamine addiction is to your body: It is the hideous “after” to a more beautiful “before.” Or, to change the comparison, perhaps you have seen the grotesque disfigurement some persons endure when, by accident or by criminal intention, acid is thrown in their faces. For your soul, pornography is the acid. Part of the ugliness of the pornography-soaked soul is its unnatural enslavement. Contrary to its making, the addicted soul is not free; it is in chains. You must never think you are free just because you do what you want whenever you want it. After all, you can be a slave to your own desires, in which case they have you instead of you having them.
(3) Pornography objectifies others. Rather than remain themselves, rather than remain creatures for whom real love might lead us to sacrifice ourselves if the need arises, they become sub-persons whom we sacrifice to our own selfish and perverted ends. We reduce the very creatures whom God has made His picture and His partner, and who therefore are the proper objects of His love and ours, to a mere means to our personal pleasure. In our minds, they shrink from the lofty and privileged status of God’s image to a sub-human apparatus for our desires and corruptions, to which they are sacrificed. They shrink from end to means, from human creature to equipment.
(4) Pornography injures you and your spouse. It sets up false expectations both of body and of action as if, in order to be acceptable, one had to look and act in a particular way or else to fail. Rather than learning to love and value your spouse and yourself as you really are, false and unreasonable expectations intrude and, with them, come dissatisfaction, disappointment, self-recrimination and loathing, indeed sexual dislocation of every sort. What was meant to be the great privilege of sexual intimacy between spouses is now the mere occasion of false expectations, frustration, and anger. Rather than learning to love what and whom you have, you come to despise them and to desire what you have not. You miss the great blessing Chesterton articulated: Having sex with only one woman is an exceedingly small price to pay for being able to have sex at all.
I easily could go on to name other tragic consequences of pornography. The list is long with calamity: disease, impoverishment, emotional destruction, broken families, and broken lives.
Don’t be a fool. Don’t go there.