This column deals with a critically important subject. If you or others in your household are easily disturbed by or should not be exposed to frank discussions of a sexual nature, I suggest you don’t read any further or keep this away from those who are not mature enough to be exposed to this.
In 2010, the Witherspoon Institute (Social Trends Institute) of Princeton, New Jersey published the findings of a study titled The Social Costs of Pornography. The December 2008 conference and study was conducted by a “wide range of scholars, including sociologists, feminists, doctors, philosophers, lawyers, and ethicists.”
This is a list of their findings:
- “Unlike at any other time in history, pornography is now available and consumed widely in our society, due in large part to our internet. No one remains untouched by it.”
- “There is abundant empirical evidence that this pornography is qualitatively different from any that has gone before, in several ways: its ubiquity, the use of increasingly realistic streaming images, and the increasingly ‘hard core’ character of what is consumed.”
- “The consumption of internet pornography can harm women in particular.”
- “The consumption of internet pornography can harm children in particular.”
- “Today’s consumption of internet pornography can harm people not immediately connected to consumers of pornography.”
- “The consumption of internet pornography can harm its consumers.”
- “Pornography is philosophically and morally problematic.”
- “The fact that not everyone is harmed by pornography does not mean pornography should not be regulated.”
As stated in a recent Family Beacon Podcast from the Minnesota Family Council, “Children are the victims of our overly sexualized culture. A recent experiment showed that teens regularly come across explicit content on Tik Tok, and a drastically growing number of young people are addicted to online pornography.” Remember, this is over 10 years after the Princeton Institute published its findings.
One might ask why the adults of today aren’t pushing very hard to reduce the nature of pornography and its availability to children. It may very well be that more adults than we realize are using, viewing, and/or addicted to pornography.
Viewing streaming and other forms of pornography results in the release of the same chemicals in the brain as are released during sexual activity. So, either marriage partner can achieve the same satisfaction without the cooperation or presence of the other partner. There’s not much doubt this could and will reduce the feelings of intimacy in a marriage. As long ago as 2003, in a meeting of 350 Matrimonial Lawyers, two-thirds stated that internet pornography played a significant role in divorce cases in the last year!
The statistics from 10-15 years ago showed that of those people who actually admitted to an addiction to pornography, one-third were women. I would bet that percentage is even higher today. For those who don’t understand how anyone could become addicted to pornography, you are probably as insulated as you might be from addiction to drugs, alcohol, and maybe even smoking.
While the Supreme Court has defended pornography as a form of free speech, if it can be shown that pornography is doing actual damage to men, women, children, and society, restrictions can be put into place to reduce its content, ubiquity, and damage – especially to teens and younger children. But this is going to take a concerted effort by many, many people, social organizations, and both political parties to have any chance of success.
I can’t remember where I heard this observation, but I know I can’t take credit for it. If the Lord doesn’t do something to remove this stain and all its associated practices from our overly sexualized society, He owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology.
That’s how I see it.