The Problem with Pornography

January 14, 2008 at 7:38 pm (Family Life)

As I have been dealing with this recently in a friend’s child, I felt compelled to post on it. There is NO explicit language or images here, but the content deals with mature (and maturing) subjects that not all are comfortable with.

Everyone can easily notice that sexually explicit images have been increasing over the past years – to the point now that what would have been called ‘soft-core’ porn a few years ago is now being used for advertising on billboards and TV. And that doesn’t even consider the availability of porn on the internet. This affects children much differently than adults. And by children I mean anyone younger than 25, as research has shown a significant developmental period starting in the late teens and ending in the early to mid 20’s. Pre-adolescent children, younger than 9-10 of both sexes, are susceptible to to primarily idealized body images and can develop unrealistic expectations for themselves and others during this period. The greater damage occurs during adolescence and beyond, but differs between sexes. One of the most difficult aspects of porn is that many consider it normal and harmless – and it can be difficult to discover, as it usually viewed in private.

Girls viewing any type of porn, either soft-core advertising or more explicit stuff, can easily come to the conclusion that their self-worth is exclusively a factor of how attractive they are to the opposite sex. This manifests itself in behavior such as eating disorders, a hypersensitivity to ‘fashion’, and even can lead to exhibitionism (posting seductive pictures online, etc.) as a form of bragging to others that they have ‘got it’.

Boys are different, and I am much more in tune with them – for obvious reasons. The damage of porn for them can be much more devastating, and I’m focusing my post on them.

THE PULL of PORN

With men, there is a powerful pull towards images of attractive women. Viewing pornography releases epinephrine and endorphins that have a powerful affect. They even induce a mild form of euphoria. Because of this, adults can usually remember vividly the first time they were exposed to porn. Previously viewed images can be viewed mentally at will – and frequently even when they are unwanted.

CYCLE

Men – and especially adolescents who view porn have their view of women warped. Women become objects for a prurient purpose. The more porn that is viewed, the more women are objectified. This tends to hinder the formation of normal interaction with women, which leads to feelings of rejection, which leads to isolation, and back to more porn. Major studies have shown a correlation between pornography and sexual dysfunction. I’m aware that correlation does not mean causation, but I don’t think it too much of a stretch to assume that is the case in some instances. Can it be any coincidence that the primary subject of spam e-mails is porn, viagra, and credit services? In my opinion, the need for ‘enhancement’ and credit repair are one of the results of porn.

ESCALATION TO PERVERSION

As mentioned earlier, viewing porn releases brain chemicals that feel good. Eventually, the effect achieved by the initial images will diminish, and ‘new and exciting’ images must be found. Similar to the way the body builds up a tolerance to drugs, there is also a tolerance that is built up with porn as well. What started with images of a single women alone will lead to images of women sexually interacting with partners, then multiple partners, and often eventually to the level of a fetish. Those trapped by it can ONLY be stimulated by their fetish, as ‘normal’ just doesn’t work for them any longer. The freaks wearing black vinyl don’t really enjoy it, but they have nothing else that works.

ADDICTION

If you factor the escalation into the cycle above, you can see how a man’s view of sexuality can easily become warped. The more warped their view of sexuality, the less likely they are to be able to have a normal relationship with a woman, let alone a conversation, leading to an even more warped sexuality. That’s the same thing as a drug addict – none ever start taking drugs with the intent of becoming addicted, it ‘just happens’. Alcoholics don’t know that they are becoming addicted, Gambling addicts don’t realize what has happened. No addict realizes it – UNTIL it has already happened. This is not to say that everyone who is involved becomes addicted – not all heavy drinkers are addicted, not all gamblers are addicted, and not all porn fiends are addicted either. BUT – the longer and deeper the cycle goes, the more likely addiction is. And even if it is not a true ‘dependent’ addiction, a pattern of behavior is set up that can appear to be addiction and be extremely difficult to break.

PREVENTION

The most helpful thing in keeping porn from being a problem is correcting the attitude that ‘everybody’ looks at it – at least once in a while. Discussing porn PRIOR to it being viewed by your kids is crucial. Note that I didn’t say that you can PREVENT them from viewing it, as I don’t think that is possible. Recent I-pods have come factory wrapped and ‘pre-loaded’ with porn, DVDs have occasionally been ‘mis-printed’ with a family label on a porn disc, TV broadcasts have ‘accidentally’ contained porn, and internet filters are nowhere near perfect. You need to explain in an age appropriate manner that porn is wax fruit. You see something that you want, but it isn’t the genuine article. Viewing porn is like putting a steak just outside the reach of a dog on a chain. He can smell it, he can almost taste it. He WANTS it, but it is unobtainable. Doing that to an animal is cruel, and will make them mean – warp them permanently. Viewing porn is exactly the same thing only it is self inflicted and warps sexual development. If they are aware of the problems, hopefully it won’t hold as much allure.

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4 Comments

  1. chocolatechic said,

    Amen and amen….

    Now, can you tell me how to rid the world of the filth?

  2. capitalggeek said,

    That’s an easy one, just remove the sin nature of man.

    Wish all my questions were that easy to answer…..

  3. Elaine said,

    To remove the sin nature would do the trick but then that would take away the God given free will that all mankind possesses. The day will come when this kind of stuff will not exist but until that time we must do what we can to educate our children about these things. We must teach them what is good and what is evil. When they know and love Jesus I think it is easier as you can ask them if something would be pleasing to Jesus, would they do something with Jesus beside them. That has worked with my children.

  4. capitalggeek said,

    Elaine:
    What you said is true, but unfortunately that is not usually enough to discourage kids – especially when porn is not viewed as hurting anyone. I hope to have shown that porn is not just bad, but actually damaging to the viewer.
    To paraphrase Robert Heinlein, I haven’t appealed to the ‘better nature’, as it may not exist. I have tried to speak to self-interest, as that is universal.

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