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SALT LAKE CITY -- The pornography industry has grown to a $97-billion business worldwide but the adverse affects of pornography are incalculable.
Thousands of families are crumbling under its destructive power. A couple we spoke to says it almost cost them everything.
"It was taking over my life and my life completely became unmanageable," says a Utah man who wishes to remain anonymous.
I think women feel like they're living life right and they're doing what they're supposed to be doing. They're raising their children and they're doing the best they can and then their husband goes and does something like this and it totally devastates their life.
–Anonymous Utah woman
He says pornography consumed him but his wife paid the greater price after she discovered her husband's multiple affairs and life-long battle with pornography.
"I had a nervous breakdown and I tried to commit suicide," says the wife. "I think women feel like they're living life right and they're doing what they're supposed to be doing. They're raising their children and they're doing the best they can and then their husband goes and does something like this and it totally devastates their life."
Their story is painful, and unfortunately, it is also common.
"The first meeting that I walked into I thought I would be the only spouse of an addict. Turns out, there are a lot of us," says the wife.
It took many years for this couple to realize they couldn't beat the problem on their own. "I started getting some treatment and learned more about sexual addiction but I still didn't believe that I had one. Then finally it came to fruition that I really had a problem in 2008," says the husband.
Some psychologists say society in general is in denial about the problems caused by pornography.
"Unrestrained or unmonitored pornography or sexual expression at some point that's going to have a cost, and the question is, does society, or is society willing to pay the price?" wonders Dr. Rory Reid, a UCLA research psychologist and clinical director of the Provo Counseling Center.
Pornography is becoming increasingly acceptable, accessible, and free.
We find people that are accessing types of pornography that a number of years ago would have been unfathomable, unconscionable and now it's commonplace in the media.
–Dr. Rory Reid
"We find people that are accessing types of pornography that a number of years ago would have been unfathomable, unconscionable and now it's commonplace in the media," says Reid.
And they're doing it in the home. According to reports cited on the Internet safety advocacy website, Enough is Enough, nearly 80 percent of unwanted exposure to pornography is taking place in the home and seven out of 10 youth have accidentally viewed pornography online.
"Sex addiction, compulsive behaviors, whatever we want to call it, often starts for the majority of men, probably 90 percent, back in adolescence if not sooner," says clinical psychologist Dr. Liz Hale.
That is when it started for the Utah man. Now decades later he and his wife are fighting to regain their life together. "It's a lifetime process. It's not something that can be stopped in a year," he says.
The wife says you have to hold on to the love you had for your spouse when you begin recovery. "You need to remember what started you out in recovery with your spouse and get back on that road with them and just take it one step at a time, one day at a time," she says.
Nearly nine out of 10 young men and one-third of young women report using pornography. That's according to a study reported in the Journal of Adolescent Research. The study examined the population of emerging adults, aged 18 to 26.
More information about all statistics used in this story can be found [HERE].
A new initiative has begun in Utah to educate, direct and unite women around the world who are victimized by a spouse's pornography addiction. "Out in the Light: Women Uniting Against Pornography" is a collaborative effort between DMC companies, (KSL-TV, KSL Newsradio, the Deseret News, BYU-TV and Deseret Book).
That initiative and discussion about the adverse affects of pornography will be discussed with Dr. Reid and Dr. Hale on Sunday Edition.