In my roles as a youth leader, mother, and additionally in the experiences of my husband as an educator I have seen a disturbing trend in today’s society that is damaging families, individuals, and homes. It is hitting our youth particularly hard. It is changing their perceptions of themselves and others.
It is making them view other people as objects to be acted upon rather than human beings to be treated with respect and decency. It is making it difficult to establish meaningful and mutually respectful relationships. It is making them lonely, depressed and isolated.
This trend I am referring to is what the website www.fightthenewdrug.org [FTND] named as “The Pornification of Society.”
Only in the last few years have researchers started to look into and scientifically prove the damaging effects of the pornography that is so prevalent in entertainment, literature, and, most obviously and readily accessible, on the internet. Gone are the days when only that one weird uncle of yours looked at Playboy magazines.
A friend of mine who worked at one of the largest internet and cell phone companies here in Samoa told me that the most frequently accessed websites through their servers are porn sites.
Many may say, “It is my right to watch pornography if I want to.” That is true yes, but so are so many other things in life; things like smoking, drinking, and taking drugs, among others.
It’s your choice to partake in these things. My only intent here is to educate and show the harmful effects of porn enabling others to make an informed decision about whether or not to indulge in it - hopefully sparing some of you its debilitating effects.
Some big problems with porn are as follows:
Porn is a lie. It makes us want to believe that what we are seeing is real, but it’s fake. Pornography is a business –plain and simple. We are fooled into buying a product that makes us believe what we watch is what sex and relationships are really all about.
Nothing in porn shows healthy relationships or the reality that people’s bodies aren’t the picture of perfection we see. It gives us a false perception of our own bodies and sexual experiences that are simply unattainable.
The World Health Organization http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/sexual_health/sh_definitions/en/ says healthy sexuality “requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination, and violence.” Porn meets none of these criteria. According to FTND, “Porn is filled with violence, drugs, abuse, and coercion, while great sexuality includes committed relationships, healthy communication, and positive sexual experiences.”
Porn causes societal problems. As noted above, porn depicts in a positive light very terrible things that many battle against in society. Things like violence, abuse and coercion.
I saw a meme on Facebook that said, “Why is it that society unanimously condemns rape and abuse yet openly consumes pornography that depicts both and worse?” Porn objectifies the human body, and promotes rape-culture. Many women in porn videos are forced and coerced into doing what they do. Those who do it willingly submit themselves to being objectified, abused and degraded.
Research has shown that when exposed to porn, viewers often try to act out or imitate what they have seen or believe that their sexual partners should try to act out things they have been exposed to in the porn they indulge in.
This is particularly true of young viewers who are incapable of understanding all they see, and will naturally try to copy it. According to the website Stop Porn Culture, studies show that after men view porn, they are more likely to have decreased empathy for rape victims, believe that a woman who dresses provocatively deserves to be raped, have anger at women who flirt but don’t have sex, and report increased interest in coercing partners into unwanted sex acts.
Porn is addictive. Research has shown as noted here: http://www.socioaffectiveneuroscipsychol.net/index.php/snp/article/view/20767 that exposure to pornography is addictive.
It can be as addictive to the brain as heroine or other illicit drugs. It dulls our sensitivity, clouds judgment, makes us lose touch with reality, and changes our brain functions just as any chemical drug does. Because it is addictive in nature, all the same challenges and difficulties associated with drug and alcohol addictions can be found in those addicted to pornography.
It is amazing some of the parallels in the way porn is viewed by society today and the way smoking was viewed in the 1960s.
Most everyone on the planet today knows the damaging effects of tobacco, but in the 1960s it was touted as being an effective way to relax, a natural product, and harmless.
Porn is viewed that way today. But just as with tobacco and smoking, the research is starting to catch up and show how harmful porn really is. If pornography were a disease that was communicable, or even a non-communicable disease such as those from smoking, you could bet governments and health organizations would be scrambling to find solutions to this public health crisis.
That is what pornography is: a public health crisis that is leaving individuals and families broken and suffering.
Fight the new drug. Refuse to indulge in pornography.