The Orion

Porn is damaging the nation

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Photo credit: Dongyoung Won

Photo credit: Dongyoung Won

Photo credit: Dongyoung Won

Evan Roberts and Dongyoung Won

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In 2013, 70 percent of men and 30 percent of women viewed porn. In the same year, 30 percent of the data sent across the internet was from porn websites.

Those same websites garnered more monthly users than Amazon, Twitter and Netflix combined.

Whatever your views on pornography are, it is a fact that porn today is not only dominating our bandwidth but that it is in front of the eyes of a majority of Americans.

Pornography is an incredibly cancerous part of modern society. It is addictive, perpetuates rape culture and ruins relationships. Even ex-porn stars are against the toxic industry of porn.

“Nobody really wants to date a porn star, webcam girl, stripper or escort. As to the whole family thing and having kids, I’m like ‘who’s gonna have kids with an ex-porn star?’ And even when I’m 60 I’m still gonna have this porn on the Internet. It’s like having a virus or something that never goes away,” said ex-porn star Vanessa Belmond in a newsone interview.

The President’s Commission on Obscenity and Pornography concluded in 1970 that “There [is] insufficient evidence that exposure to explicit sexual materials played a significant role in the causation of delinquent or criminal behavior.”

This conclusion has since given porn a free pass of sorts to grow into the industry it is today.

The problem with this decision from 1970 is that technology completely transformed what pornography is. Instead of just being in magazines that must be purchased in stores, it is now accessible to almost anybody in more varieties than ever before.

In recent years, many have begun to look at pornography with a more critical eye. Research on how brain chemistry is affected by porn and the sociological effects of it are becoming more mainstream.

Pornography is addictive. In the same way that different drugs can form addictions with repeated use, viewing porn can flood the brain with dopamine. This process repeated over time will lead to fewer dopamine receptors, leading to a need for more porn. This also makes users feel down when they take a break from viewing it.

Porn’s ability to alter brain chemistry should be scary to everyone, as it gives the content more power in society than we realize.

This power extends to porn perpetuating rape culture. Rape culture is a term that describes how sexual assault and sexual violence have been normalized in society. Pornography directly feeds into this by showing unnatural and unhealthy sexual relationships.

These unnatural sexual expectations cause viewers to see others as sexual objects as the mental line between what someone watches on the internet and in real life begin to merge.

With a generation being raised with porn as their primary example of sexual relationships, the rise of unhealthy partnerships is inevitable.

Porn imprisons those who use it for themselves and pushes them toward selfishness rather than toward their partner.

C.S. Lewis said it well when he asserted that porn “Sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides. For the harem is always accessible and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no real woman can rival.”

While Lewis said this in 1956 about masturbation and to a man, it relates perfectly to pornography today and to females as well. Viewership of sex videos normalizes the perverse interactions shown in porn, leading people to have unrealistic expectations of others.

The science behind ‘pornography addiction’ is still under dispute, but even ignoring this side of the anti-porn argument, the relationally-damaging aspect of porn viewership should still make users pause.

Looking forward, it is important for the health of families and individuals to have conversations regarding the effects porn. Taking a deeper look at what has become an established facet of the American experience will not only benefit individuals but our society as a whole.

Evan Roberts can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.

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3 Comments

3 Responses to “Porn is damaging the nation”

  1. Jay Blevins on November 9th, 2016 7:06 am

    This piece, like much of the rhetoric put out by anti-porn websites is at best misleading and mostly completely inaccurate. Are there people who use porn badly? Sure. However, the fear and sweeping generalizations in this piece do not reflect science and fact. Educate yourself. Learn what good research is. Much of what is thrown about by anti-porn advocates is either bad research or a gross representation of the results.

    And understand the difference between causation and correlation. Just because someone watches porn and gets divorced doesn’t mean porn caused divorce. They may be dissatisfied with their relationships and watch porn. Porn use may actually be the symptom, not the cause.

    Research in no way suggests that porn is addictive. Your dopamine argument is a simplistic misdirection. Because if your claims about being afraid are true, you’d better stop enjoying anything. You’d better stop learning new things. Because anything you enjoy and every time you learn something your brain produces dopamine. That doesn’t mean the activity is addictive. What you claim is like saying, “oh, you have flour…you must be making a cake.”

    Research actually shows that the brain does not react to porn in the way it does with addictive drugs. The way it responds in some areas of the brain is exactly the opposite.

    Research also shows that men who watch porn exhibit more egalitarian beliefs about woman. And, as shown in multiple countries, higher rates of porn use correlates to lower sexual assault rates.

    And, there is also research that shows the use of porn can be incredibly relationship enhancing. It can lead people to be more deeply connected and to better understanding of the range of their sexual desires.

    Last night we saw a president elected by two driving forces – fear and ignorance. Fear of things that are different. Fear of losing power. And ignorance in the form of ignoring facts and making decisions based on emotion. Anti-intellectualism is strong in our country. Don’t be that person. Educate yourself. Make decisions informed by science and fact. Don’t give in to the emotional fear mongering of people like this.

    [Reply]

    Bev Anderson Reply:

    Your comment is completely outdated, as I imagine you are! Grow up and face the facts!

    [Reply]

  2. Goodwins on November 9th, 2016 8:03 am

    The more we point out the real, scientifically proven consequences of pornography use, the more motivated porn users will be to quit. One big problem every habitual porn viewer faces is how to quit. 12-step programs work for many but have a high relapse rate. It seems that the cognitive-behavior-based therapy sessions work but can be prohibitively expensive. One program, based upon cognitive behavior, seems to work better than most others: the book Power Over Pornography. It is easier to implement and has a very high success rate and a low relapse rate.

    [Reply]

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Porn is damaging the nation