No

IMG_0753

I’m tired of society normalizing pornography.

Yes, pornography. Or “porn” for short, because, like everything else, we as a human race stop before we’re even halfway through something as simple as a word for the sake of convenience.

I know there may be some people reading this that completely disagree; that don’t see anything wrong with watching pornography, because “it is normal”. It’s even a “rite of passage.”

And if you are one of those people, then this is for you.

Well, if you’re still reading, let’s dive deeper into this.

What’s the definition of pornography?

  • The printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate erotic rather than emotional feelings.

If you are in ministry or go to church, then you have read in the Bible or heard leaders of the faith say how important it is to be led by your spirit and not your emotions.

Your emotions are part of your human shell. Emotions come naturally to your flesh.

But the definition above tells us that pornography doesn’t even appeal to your natural human emotions.

 Pornography has the ability to plant images and reactions in your brain and body that were otherwise (and intended to be) foreign to you.

But if God created all things, didn’t He create us to have emotions tied to sexual activity?

The answer is yes.

God created all things.

Even sex.

However, sex was not created specifically for human pleasure.

Sex was and is intended for intimacy.

 Synonyms for intimacy include closeness, affection, togetherness, warmth.

 Sex was created for, as it mentions in Mark 10:8, “two to become one flesh.

Not only does God explain what sex is intended for, but the Bible also discusses what sex is not intended for.

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body…” 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

Self control– an action that we are told to practice, not just in the Bible, but also in society.

We are taught to control, and not give in, to certain impulses. I mean, you don’t see absolutely everyone you pass on the street slapping each other in the face just because they feel like it. If the world were like that, trust me, I would have already gladly wacked about ten people in the face by now.

Just as we don’t go punching everyone who we have the slightest problem with in the jaw, we shouldn’t subject our minds or bodies to be manipulated by images of meaningless sex.

Why?

Because we weren’t created to do anything meaningless.

Love, for example.

I believe that humans were created for love; we were created to have a loving relationship with God the Father through the salvation that came from the sacrifice of Jesus, and we were created to love and be in relationship with one another, as read in the book of Genesis with the creation of man and woman.

I believe that many (whether Christian or non-Christian) would agree with me that love is not meaningless.

So why would you trick your mind into thinking it is?

Another word we like to use for sex is “lovemaking” or “to make love.”

Whether it’s hearing it in sex ed in middle school or high school, or having “the talk” with your parents, I’m sure many teenagers who are now budding into adulthood like me, have heard this word/these words substituted for “sex”; a word that may seem a bit harsh to use in these kinds of awkward conversations.

So whenever a person sits in front of a screen and witnesses pornographic material, their brain makes the connection:

“Sex. Lovemaking. Making love. This is love.”

 It sounds kind of silly whenever it’s written down like that, but this is the connection our brain subconsciously makes in these situations.

Pornography not only manipulates our brain into thinking that what we are witnessing is love, but it completely kills love.

But I’m not just writing this to tell you how pornography manipulates and how it is wrong in God’s eyes; that’s not my only issue with this.

I am a facts person, as I’m sure a lot of you who are reading this are as well.

Maybe some of you who are reading aren’t Christians. Maybe you clicked on this link out of curiosity, which I’m glad you did!

Let’s go straight to the facts.

Why and how does pornography have a negative effect on all of society, not just the Christian society?

  1. Pornography directly fuels and supports the sex trafficking industry.

Sometimes we as Christians miss the big picture.

Is pornography wrong in God’s eyes?

Of course, but even people who are not believers could tell you that Christians believe that.

Should pornography be wrong in everyone’s eyes?

Absolutely.

Now we’re getting somewhere.

In an article by John-Henry Western at the Huffpost titled, Want to Stop Sex Trafficking? Look to America’s Porn Addiction, he mentions research results on women involved in pornography from the non-profit organization, Fight The New Drug (FTND).

Fight The New Drug’s CEO, Clay Olsen was quoted saying:

“Porn fuels the demand for the sex trade in a way often not seen by those who view porn. “Traffickers have learned to package their product in a way that disguises the fact that the ‘performers’ are forced to participate” (Western via Huffpost 2015).

FTND “cites a 2007 study of 854 women in nine countries that found 49% of women said that porn had been made of them while they were in prostitution, and 47% said they had been harmed by men who had either forced or tried to force their victims to do things the men had seen in porn” (Western via Huffpost 2015).

Western goes on to write:

“In other words, when Americans watch porn, they’re fooled into thinking they are always watching free men and women engaging in consensual sexual intercourse. Contrary to the popular image of the porn industry, many women are being forced to have intercourse, be groped, kicked, beaten, etc” (Western via Huffpost 2015).

But the people involved in pornography make it look so believable.

You would too if your life depended on it.

Western continues:

“Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of National Center on Sexual Exploitation, told me that “the 20+ performers I have talked to (some still involved in porn) have all shared stories with me that they were forced and coerced many times over. Drugs, alcohol, physical abuse, blackmail, threats, fake legal documents, deceitful enticing, promises of fame and money and so much more are used to get the girls to perform what and how the producers desire” (Western via Huffpost 2015).

Why and how does pornography have a negative effect on all of society, not just the Christian society?

2. Pornography causes physical, mental, and relational issues.

John-Henry Western not only discusses the negative effects pornography has on victims in the sex trade, but also the problems it causes in the physical and mental health of the viewer; especially in men and young boys.

Western found that pornography has been associated with premature ejaculation and an extreme downturn in sexual control in men.

Through a conversation with Dr. Gail Dines, professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College, Western explains these findings.

The writer quotes Dines saying:

“We know that trafficking is increasing — which means demand is increasing. This means that men are increasingly willing to have sex with women who are being controlled and abused by pimps and traffickers. There are only two conclusions here: That men are naturally willing to do this to women — biology — or that they are being socialized by the culture to lose all empathy for women [and] I refuse to accept that men are born rapists, porn users, or johns. As an academic, a sociologist, and mother, I believe it is the way men are shaped by society. The biggest sex educator of young men today is pornography, which is increasingly violent and dehumanizing, and it changes the way men view women” (Western via Huffpost 2015).

Here’s my question:

Why does society associate masculinity and sexual capability with whether or not a man has viewed pornography before?

Let’s not pretend that this isn’t something that actually happens, because it is happening.

If a guy discloses to a group of his friends that he has never viewed pornographic material he is met with confused expressions and raised eyebrows.

Why?

Why do we do that? Why do we normalize our flaws to make ourselves feel better? Why would we rather romanticize our toxicity than fix it?

Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Shouldn’t it be that when a man tells his guy friends that he has been viewing pornography, he is met with:

“Let’s break this off of our lives together”?

But then I guess we’d actually have to admit that we’re wrong. Then we’d actually have to change.

Finally, Western comes to the conclusion that:

“Relationships and families are also devastated by porn…Addiction to porn tears men away from their girlfriends, spouses, and children. As such, it is often a major factor in divorce” (Western via Huffpost 2015).

 So many people want change but don’t want to change.

And that’s the problem.

Selfishness. It’s always all about us.

“Oh. Pornography contains men and women that are victims of sexual violence? That sucks. The government should do more to stop that.”

Yet we’re the ones providing the demand for such content.

“Hm. I’m having serious problems in my relationship. Maybe my partner should try a little harder to meet some of my expectations.”

Our unrealistic expectations that stem from our false sense of love.

 “My family and I don’t really spend a lot of time together anymore. Maybe we should plan a family trip.”

Because we don’t want to look away from the screen, step out of the dark room, and establish a healthy normalcy. 

Nothing…Nothing is ever just about us.

There are physical consequences for every choice we make- good or bad.

Why and how does pornography have a negative effect on all of society, not just the Christian society?

  1. Viewing pornography can so easily, and so often, turns into an addiction.

 Here is an excerpt from an article titled, Brain activity in sex addiction mirrors that of drug addiction, on the University of Cambridge website:

In a study funded by the Wellcome Trust, researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge looked at brain activity in nineteen male patients affected by compulsive sexual behaviour and compared them to the same number of healthy volunteers. The patients started watching pornography at earlier ages and in higher proportions relative to the healthy volunteers.

“The patients in our trial were all people who had substantial difficulties controlling their sexual behaviour and this was having significant consequences for them, affecting their lives and relationships,” explains Dr Valerie Voon, a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellow at the University of Cambridge. “In many ways, they show similarities in their behaviour to patients with drug addictions. We wanted to see if these similarities were reflected in brain activity, too.”

The study participants were shown a series of short videos featuring either sexually explicit content or sports whilst their brain activity was monitored using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which uses a blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signal to measure brain activity.

The researchers found that three regions in particular were more active in the brains of the people with compulsive sexual behaviour compared with the healthy volunteers. Significantly, these regions – the ventral striatum, dorsal anterior cingulate and amygdala – were regions that are also particularly activated in drug addicts when shown drug stimuli. The ventral striatum is involved in processing reward and motivation, whilst the dorsal anterior cingulate is implicated in anticipating rewards and drug craving. The amygdala is involved in processing the significance of events and emotions” (University of Cambridge).

If you were lazy and skipped over all that (hey, no judgement. Sometimes I do the same thing) here’s basically what the article was saying:

The brain scans of a sex/pornography addict are synonymous to that of a drug addict.

The stimulation that takes place in the brain of a drug addict when they see drugs is the same as when a regular pornography user views sexual content.

Here is the only problem I have with this article. In its subtitle, it says:

“However, the researchers caution that this does not necessarily mean that pornography itself is addictive” (University of Cambridge).

 Yet, the article also has a direct quote from Doctor Valerie Voon saying:

“There are clear differences in brain activity between patients who have compulsive sexual behaviour and healthy volunteers” (University of Cambridge).

A. Anything can be addictive.

If you’ve ever watched an episode of My Strange Addiction, then you know this to be true. People have been addicted to tanning, working out, even eating pottery and chalk.

So what makes us think people can’t be addicted to pornography?

Unless it is drugs or alcohol, there are not many things out there that have addictive features or physical symptoms of withdrawal. However, there are still many types of addictions out there in the world.

If there weren’t then I wouldn’t be sitting here in front of my TV screen watching the story of a woman who eats toilet paper.

B. If the brain activity of a pornography viewer is similar to that of a drug addict, but differs from ‘healthy volunteers’ then yeah, it’s an addiction.

After reading all of the facts, I hope that all of you come to understand the severity of this topic and realize why and how pornography has a disastrous effect on all of society.

After reading and writing down all of the facts myself, I am astounded at how unaware the world is and I see it in everything now.

How I don’t understand how the celebrities (more specifically, women) of Hollywood can dress in all black to raise awareness for victims of sexual violence, but then the next day I watch an interview where these actresses are giggling as they tell the camera what their “porn star name” would be; lightheartedly joking about an industry that not only promotes sexual violence, but creates it.  

How I don’t get how people can march in the streets for justice and equality for women, yet the issue of how pornography promotes abuse, violence, and indifference toward women is never uttered.   

Maybe it’s because women struggle with pornography addiction too.

Oh. Wait. We don’t talk about that.

Because that’s something only boys do, yeah?

Because then we might actually have to admit that we’re wrong too, right?

Bottom line: pornography is not normal.

It’s not natural.

It’s not a ‘rite of passage’ for boys.

It’s not all consensual.

It’s not just you and your computer screen.

It’s you, your heart, and the victim on the other side of that screen. Wondering where it all went wrong for them. Wondering if they’ll ever make it out alive. Wondering why people watch.

Let me also say this: for those of you struggling with viewing pornography, this is not to shame you.

You’re not a horrible person.

You don’t have to be ashamed.

You won’t be bound by this forever.

You shouldn’t be exterminated off of the face of the earth, okay?

You’re a human being that struggles and falls and makes mistakes, just like the rest of us.

And I hope for those of you who do struggle and have read this, that this has helped you and that it will help enable you to open up about what you struggle with.

But instead of hiding your problem, let’s talk about it.

There are so many people out there in the world that go through the same things and have the same issues, but never end up finding each other because they’re too scared and ashamed to open up. But I promise you, if you allow people in, more of them will understand and relate than you think.

So let’s put an end to sexual violence and the sex trafficking industry and let’s start by stepping out from behind the cold screen and coming out of the dark room.

Let’s talk about it.

Let’s end it.

Let’s say no.

Together.    

Sincerely,

Cam

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s