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So What’s A Little Pornography Among Friends?

March 13, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By MIKE MANNO

Statistics from the Internet tell us that, as you read this, there are 30,000 people in the United States who are viewing Internet pornography. The demand for this “art” is so high that every 39 minutes a new porn video is produced. Worldwide, pornography is nearly a $100 billion-a-year industry. The Applied Research Forum reported that in 2002 alone there were more than 11,000 new hard-core video/DVD titles released.
Family Safe Media reports that there are nearly five million pornographic websites and they make up nearly 15 percent of all websites. The average age of first exposure to Internet porn is 11; 80 percent of 15- to 17-year-olds have viewed porn online and 10 percent of adults viewing porn report an addiction to pornography.
So what’s the problem? After all, isn’t viewing porn a harmless recreation, one that allows a person to safely relieve his sexual energy?
Well, that’s not what the research tells us.
Kerby Anderson, who holds a master’s degree from Georgetown University and is president of the Christian evangelization organization Probe Ministries, writes that “pornography desensitizes people to rape as a criminal offense and that massive exposure to pornography encourages a desire for increasingly deviant materials that depict violence.”
He also reports, “The FBI’s own statistics show that pornography is found in 80 percent of the scenes of violent sex crimes, or in the homes of the perpetrators…[and in] the 1,400 child sexual molestation cases in Louisville, Ky., between July 1980 and February 1984, adult pornography was connected with each incident and child pornography with the majority of them.”
Well, okay. But this is a Christian evangelist talking about porn: Couldn’t his viewpoint be a bit slanted?
It could be, but it isn’t. In January of 1989, on the day before he was to be executed, serial killer Ted Bundy gave an interview to Focus on the Family’s Dr. James Dobson. Bundy, you might remember had raped, abused, and murdered at least 28 young women and girls. Why did he want to give a death-row interview to Dr. Dobson? It was because Bundy wanted to warn society of the dangers of “hard-core pornography [and] to explain how it had led him to murder so many innocent women,” according to Dr. Dobson.
Bundy told Dr. Dobson: “Once you become addicted to it, and I look at this as a kind of addiction, you look for more potent, more explicit, more graphic kinds of material. Like an addiction, you keep craving something which is harder and gives you a greater sense of excitement, until you reach the point where the pornography only goes so far — that jumping off point where you begin to think maybe actually doing it will give you that which is just beyond reading about it and looking at it.”
Seventeen hours after this interview, Bundy was executed in the electric chair at the Florida State Prison for the rape and murder of a 12-year-old girl.
Still unconvinced about the effects of porn? Remember, these were all pre-Internet; Bundy was only 13 when he found “dirty magazines” in a dump near his house. Think of how much easier it is to find now.
In a 2015 report, “Pornography and Violence: A New Look at Research,” Dr. Mary Anne Layden of the University of Pennsylvania, reports, “[P]ornography has the ability not only to teach social attitudes and behaviors, but also to give permission to engage in them. Permission-giving beliefs become releases of behavior….It is not surprising that many psychologists call Internet pornography the new ‘crack cocaine’ when you note the combination of the power of pornography with the ready, 24/7 availability of pornography on any computer, much of it free, accessible in the privacy and anonymity of the home.”
In her eye-opening and well-researched 15-page report, Dr. Layden lays bare some of the societal ills created by pornography.
First she points to how porn changes attitudes toward sexual violence, more specifically how porn encourages the “rape myth” — the belief that women are responsible for and actually liked to be raped.
Referring to the myriad of studies on the subject, she reports, “These studies indicate that the use of pornography, even that which does not include sexual violence, changes beliefs about rape and sexual violence. If women like to be raped and deserve to be raped, there is no need for sexual restraint or frustration of sexual desire….In other words, pornography makes violence sexy.”
These sexual violent attitudes, she reports, lead to increased likelihood of violent sexual behavior. All types of pornography are correlated with using verbal pressure, drugs, and alcohol to coerce women sexually. “The likelihood of raping a woman was correlated with the use of all types of pornography, including soft-core pornography….The correlation between rape rates and circulation rates for eight pornographic magazines indicated that states with higher circulation rates had higher rape rates,” Dr. Layden wrote, citing a University of New Hampshire study.
The report also points to the correlation between pornography, sexual harassment, domestic violence, and pedophilia. “The likelihood of sexually harassing another is significantly correlated with the volume of past exposure to sexually explicit materials,” it said.
Also noted was the fact that 40 percent of women in abusive relationships said their partners used violent pornography and of those, 53 percent said they had either been asked or forced to enact scenes from videos that they had been shown.
Other reports echo or amplify Dr. Layden’s research. One thing that is clear, objectification of women lessons a man’s empathy for them, which is why so much violence is directed toward them.
One report by the late Dr. Victor Cline of the University of Utah found, not surprisingly, that men who become addicted to pornography begin to desire more explicit or deviant material before finally acting out what they have seen.
Psychologists report five steps prominent in pornographic addiction leading to violence. First is exposure, which many addicts reported beginning in childhood. Second is addiction itself. Third is escalation where previous sexual highs become more difficult to attain. Fourth is desensitization where concern for pain and degradation is ignored. Finally is acting out the sexual fantasies, sometimes in a violent way.
One of the problems we have with pornography is that it is legal. What is illegal is child pornography and obscenity. In order to get something ruled obscene, according to the U.S. Supreme Court (Miller v. California), all of the following conditions must apply:
The average person applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work — taken as a whole — appeals to prurient interests; the work depicts, or describes in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct, and the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious artistic, political, or scientific value. Obscene work does not have First Amendment protection.
Naturally the interpretation of this definition is open to a lot of debate. A year or so ago here in Iowa a judge ruled that a 17-year-old’s nude performance at a “gentleman’s club” was her “art” and was thus protected speech.
But what can the average person do to combat the pornographic filth that is infecting our society? Of course if I had the answer I’d be in some think tank or on a presidential panel. But I do have some suggestions for those dealing with this problem or who know someone who is. There is some help on the Internet and you might want to look into one of these:
Sex Addicts Anonymous (saa-recovery.org), Faithful and True Ministries (faithfulandtrue.com), and Reclaim God’s Plan for Sexual Health (reclaimsexualhealth.com). These sites were recommended to me several years ago by a priest who dealt with the sad effects of pornography on society and weakened families. It may be an addiction, but like any addiction, with the proper help, faith, and prayer it can be overcome.
In addition, we all have the obligation to speak up and challenge the somewhat common belief that pornography is no big deal.

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