Bryant has spent the last three decades in and out of labs, publishing research on the devastating effects of pornography, especially on young, mostly unmarried emerging adults. Using a large sample of both female and male applicants, Bryant discovered that watching just six hours of pornography (one hour each week for six weeks) was enough to significantly reduce a person's satisfaction with their present relationship, both with their partner's sexuality and appearance. Participants, who were surveyed before and after the study, also reported that being faithful to their partner was less important by study's end; and their view of sex without emotional involvement rose in favor.
If six hours of pornography can measurably decrease real-life sexual satisfaction and rotate a person's moral compass a few degrees, many researchers like Bryant wonder the long-term effects of the multigenerational group of teens and young adults who are going out of their way to educate themselves with dozens or hundreds of hours by the time they get married.
Last year, UK teens watched an average of 87 hours of pornography, according to CyberSenitnel.co.uk., a British computer software company that collects data while allowing parents to monitor their children's browsing history.
In the United States, 9 out of 10 emerging adults (18-26) are viewing pornography monthly, half of them at least a couple times a week, and many daily, according to a study in the Journal of Adolescent Research, published by BYU's Nelson and his associates.
"Is it destructive? Absolutely," said Dr. Don Hilton, a practicing neurologist based out of San Antonio, Texas, and author of "He Restoreth My Soul," a blend of scientific and spiritual advice for overcoming a pornography addiction. "Current social science in terms of peer-reviewed, published literature uniformly shows that porn damages the ability of men and women to love each other, to relate to each other, to emotionally bond. It damages the ability of children, adolescents and young children to bond to each other, to view sexuality as a mutually beneficial experience."
Looking back on a "self-inflicted" difficult life — dragging his wife and kids through a divorce, making them deal with his embarrassing addiction and losing his church membership — William's advice is simple: "Tell someone, anyone: your dad, a friend, your spouse. Just don't let it keep growing in the shadows."
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