08 Dec Pornography : The Real Monster in Your Closet
By Alan Pastor
Jamie was in middle school, or what I like to call the armpit of life. He hasn’t dated, kissed, or even held the hand of a girl; yet he’s on the Sex Offender Registry. He’s expressed to his therapist the fear of never having a relationship with a girl. The images keep on flooding back. Jamie said “[a]t first I found it a bit scary and a bit yucky,” referring to the first time he looked at pornography. Jamie’s addiction worsened over time, so much that he became addicted to child pornography, which is illegal. That’s why he was put on the Sex Offender Registry. Jamie is struggling with even imagining having a relationship; he’s having a hard time with any sort of human interaction. He has a label that will follow him to every job interview and first date he’ll ever have. Even though Jamie is trying to piece it back together, his life is shattered. And he was only 13 years old. Pornography is the sly addiction that destroys human lives.
Pornography is defined as “writings, pictures, films, etc., designed to stimulate sexual excitement”. With technology rapidly advancing, pornography has become easily accessible. Years ago, someone would have to go down to the local sketchy gas station to find some magazines that contained pornography. Now it’s in the in the palm of your hand on your phone, and all you need is the Google search bar. According to research done regarding the Internet, pornography websites grew by 1800% in between the years 1998 and 2007. In that same time period, pornographic websites were viewed 3 times the amount of MSN Search, Yahoo!, and Google views combined. And that was eleven years ago.
One of the major reasons pornography has seen tremendous growth is because the majority of pornography is captured by the sex trafficking industry. Sex trafficking is a branch of human trafficking, which is defined as “the illegal practice of procuring or trading human beings for the purpose of prostitution, forced labor, or other forms of exploitation”. Regan Starr, a pornography icon, said “Most of the girls start crying because they’re hurting so bad …. I couldn’t breathe. I was being hit and choked. I was really upset and they didn’t stop. They kept filming. [I asked them to turn the camera off] and they kept going”. Many people seen in pornography aren’t happy or having a good time; it’s a lie. “What [pornography producers] don’t say is that some of those people look like they’re having a good time because behind the scenes they have a gun pointed at their head. And if they stop smiling, it will go off”. The people in those images are, in some cases, kidnapped and then abused in every way possible until they agree to smile while photos are being taken; and the pornographic photo shoot hasn’t even started yet. Pornography revolves around harming people. Which leads into the next area that pornography destroys.
Pornography destroys the viewer’s ability to cope with being hurt. As mentioned before, there’s already violence with the making of pornography. But there’s also violent behavior created in the viewer. One study of randomly picked pornography films found that only 12% didn’t contain physical violence and 49% had verbal violence. Even if on the odd chance that some pornography doesn’t have hostility, it still is teaching the viewer that people are just objects and can be used for whatever they please. The average viewer starts like Jamie did. They stop leaving the house, interacting with friends. Then start to overreact to everything. When hurt, whether physically or emotionally, violence is the answer for them. Watching and seeing people smiling while being sexually abused puts it into their head that breaking boundaries and harming, sometimes killing others is OK. They become prone to anger. It creates aggression.
Pornography then destroys the freedom and the power to enjoy anything else. I’ve heard one of the many reasons why people are addicted to drugs is because they dream the next high will be as great as the first one. If that’s true, then pornography is exactly like a drug. According to researchers, it basically is. Our brain has many chemicals and a useful one is dopamine. It is released into your “reward pathway”, so you can feel happiness when you’ve achieved something positive in your life. Such as when you’ve exercised or cleaned your room. Dopamine helps us grow closer to others and reminds us of what we like to do because it brings us joy. Drugs, such as cocaine, force a release of dopamine in large doses, without the addict accomplishing anything. The user will want to keep returning to the substance because the dopamine makes a path that will “[…] essentially lead the user back to the behavior that triggered the chemical release”. It makes it simple for the user to keep on crawling back to the substance, whether it’s their choice or not. Pornography does that too. Exactly like that. Jamie said, “I stopped leaving my room and seeing my friends because when I was away from the pornography, I was dying to get back to see what else I could find” (Woods). Pornography hooks them and they become immersed, spending hours a day on the Internet viewing it. Pornography is one of the hardest addictions to break because, as with Jamie, the images just keep on coming back. It stays inside your head, and unlike drugs, those images can be entertained inside your mind to create your own kind of pornography. They just can’t seem to break free.
“But it’s just soft porn.” Or “Just a couple times won’t hurt.” Is that right? Wrong. Whoever is saying that is lying to whomever they’re talking to and to themselves. Pornography destroys a person’s agency, their ability to choose. Even though it’s just “soft porn” it’s still pornography; and as we know from earlier, pornography just intensifies because it becomes an addiction. Researchers have explained that the brain of the viewer of pornography becomes “[…] numb” so that it takes more explicit pornography in order to release the dopamine. Such as in Jamie’s case, where the harsher pornography was child pornography (Woods). That’s also why “just once” will hurt. It leads to more aggressive pornography, which we know leads to addiction, violence within themselves and the home, and the ruin of their life and family.
Oh, and how pornography does destroy families. A survey done by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers said that 62% of all divorces had to do with pornography in some way or form. I don’t think a happy family could exist when a member of the family has an addiction that leads to hostility and compulsion. Parents would be arguing about what to do with their addicted child, or one of the parents would stop caring for their spouse and children. Studies done with volunteers being shown pornographic images reveal that they were more judgmental towards their partner’s appearance, “[…] sexual performance, and displays of affection”. They said they were less in love with their spouse. Children have also suffered as 1 in every 5 men have admitted that they spend time viewing pornography over the time spent with their children.
People then argue that pornography makes your sex life better. Pornography destroys your real sex life because it creates a fantasy one. Do people really think that staring at exposed super models for hours will make them more attracted to their spouse? It honestly makes me want to laugh when people say that. I’ve already mentioned before that when shown pornography, viewers said that they were less in love and less attracted to their partner. If anything, it would make them less drawn to their spouse because their spouse won’t do or doesn’t look like what’s in the pornographic images. The viewer won’t want sex from their partner, so there won’t be any. And according to research done with Pornography’s Effect on Interpersonal Relationships, that’s exactly what happens. Pornography viewers have less and less sex; and eventually, no sex at all. They have their own fictional world, where their sex partner changes with every click. Recently, young adult males have been diagnosed with Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction; when a male pornography addict decides to have sex, they can’t. They can’t have an erection, which equals no sex; the only thing that turns them on is pornography. Drugs such as Viagra that give them erections don’t always work on them either “[a]nd that’s because…your problem is in the brain not below the belt” according to Gabe Deem, a man who was diagnosed with PIED. Pornography destroys the viewer’s sex life.
Now I know that there are some people reading this and are thinking that it doesn’t apply to them; and to those not living on this planet, it wouldn’t. But pornography is sly. It’s worked its way into the books, music, and ads seen every day. Pornography is “[…] designed to stimulate sexual excitement.” So if you’re reading a romantic novel, listening to a song with explicit lyrics, or looking at Victoria Secret ads, they are pornographic because they are designed to arouse you; so they can get you to buy more books, songs, or whatever it is. The books create a fantasy world that makes you think your relationship should go that way and you then subconsciously try acting that out in life. The music puts you into a mood of negativity and brings out harshness within you. Don’t get me started on what those ads do to your imaginary world within your mind and how that affects the way you act. The books, music, and ads are pornography and so they will do what pornography does; which is, ruin your life.
Jamie’s life was ruined. His parents didn’t even know he was addicted until the police came. His parents later found out that Jamie’s addiction started when he was just 10. They wondered what had happened to their “shy, quiet son”. Pornography destroys the ability to cope, the freedom and the power to enjoy anything else, and your sex life, agency, and family. It is the sly addiction that destroys human lives. It needs to be stopped. The good news is that you don’t need to take on the world to stop pornography; I don’t think the world needs people yelling from their rooftops that pornography is bad. Start within your own home. So instead of pornography being the sly addiction that destroys human lives, pornography will become the addiction that attempted to destroy your life; and failed miserably.