What is the spiritual impact of online pornography? I dated a man who used it a lot and even though we are no longer dating, I feel icky about his choice to use this.
Pornography's impact is the same, whether we discuss pornography distributed over the Internet or found in "adult" stores or seen in titillating magazines. The major difference between the sources is that the Internet allows rapid access to a wide range of pornography with a potential for almost complete anonymity. Because one believes no one is watching them, they believe they are free to look at anything. Hence, people who would have avoided pornography because they might get caught are now engaged in viewing it. The Internet has made pornography into a bigger problem for society, but it has not changed what pornography does to a person.
When discussing the impact of prostitutes and adulterous women on a man's life, Solomon asked, "Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared?" (Proverbs 6:27-28). The rude fact is that playing around with sin will impact a person, period. And pornography is a sin. "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:27-28). To look at a woman with lustful thoughts is equivalent to the act of adultery with that woman. Why? The only difference between longing for sex outside of marriage and actually doing it is the opportunity.
The reason that your ex-friend's use of pornography made you feel icky is that pornography changes a person's view of the relationship between men and women. A man who uses pornography begins to see women simply as objects for his desire. They are just things to be used and then discarded when the novelty wears off. Pornography gives an invalid view of relationships being based solely on lust. A man who gets sensual excitement from a picture is not interested in a woman's mind or her spiritual interests. But without a depth to the relationship, it cannot last because passion based on superficial things dies when the novelty wears off. You probably felt icky when you realized that your ex-friend was only interested in your body and not in you. You realized that you weren't worth much in his eyes.
"For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God" (I Thessalonians 4:3-5). The phrase "passion of lust" comes from two Greek words which describe things that arouse unlawful sexual desire (i.e. pornography). It is God's will for man to hold himself apart for holy purposes and honor. It is against God's will to pursue pornography.