Birmingham couple says pornography destroyed their marriage
The growing multibillion dollar pornography industry has become more than a guilty pleasure for the record numbers of people consuming it. The hidden, dark secrets of the industry are aggressively destroying the lives of young people and breaking up families.
You may recognize Tray and Melody Lovvorn from the movie "The Heart of Man" -- recently released to theaters. In it, the couple spoke candidly about their battle with pornography.
"They're always smiling, always glad to see you," says Tray. "There's no risk of rejection. You can just show up and they make you feel like a man."
But, Tray says the after affects are overwhelming.
"Then it diminishes you."
It was Tray's longtime secret addiction that led to infidelity, and destroyed eleven years of marriage to his wife Melody. She discovered the secret before a trip to the grocery store. She was quickly grabbing money from his wallet, when she discovered a receipt for flowers. Then, she felt the blow.
"I felt like this happened to women who don't take care of their men. I prided myself on being a good wife."
"I was looking to her to complete me," says Tray. "To tell me I was a man. She tried. When she couldn't come through, I would run to pornography."
The multi-billion dollar porn industry made it easy for Tray to get the fix. Like many addicts, Tray discovered porn as a child. He just eight year old.
"When I was feeling down or stressed, I knew that was a quick pick-me-up," confesses Tray. "And over time it developed into a full blown addiction."
The addiction also carried unintended consequences for Melody.
"I would internalize it. Wondering am I pretty enough? Smart enough?" says Melody. "It really impacts your self esteem."
An addiction researchers say the porn industry thrives on, and aggressively pursues from adults and children. Unwanted sex-related pop-up ads, websites, and emails. It's no wonder the average age a child first sees porn online -- is eleven.
"Internet porn is usually violent, degrading sex acts meant to elicit sexual response," says Marriage & Family Therapist, Malea Stephens. She has been studying the pornography industry for years. Stephens says the evolution of the business has made sexual violence and explicitness mainstream. And, the easy access on the Internet fuels addictions.
"It gradually makes you crave more and more," says Melody.
"It does truly rob the relationship of true intimacy," says Tray. "And, the true connectedness we can know without all that."
Fortunately, years of counseling along with his faith helped Tray overcome his addiction. It eventually restored the couple's relationship. They remarried, after six years of divorce.
Another dark secret of internet porn is its close link to human trafficking. Many of the actors on screen are, in fact, sex slaves. A large number are underage.
Malea Stephens says there are also layers of crime involved in the pornography business.
"These individuals are literally and figuratively held at gunpoint," she says. "They're coerced."
There is help for those struggling with sex and porn addiction. The Lovvorns even started a ministry, helping individuals and couples battling with porn addiction. For more information, visit www.undoneredone.com.