Harms of pornography
“In search of fresh thrills, the adult film industry is steadily moving on from the representation of lust to that of loathing, with sex as war by other means.”
– Jenny McCartney, columnist for the Sunday Telegraph
Uncovering the truth & the total picture
In 2004, a number of doctors testified at a Senate hearing on the harms of pornography. One of them called pornography a “delivery system that has a distinct and powerful effect upon the human brain and nervous system. Exactly like cigarettes…this effect is to cause a powerful addiction. Like any other addiction, the addiction is both to the delivery system itself-the pornography-and to the chemicals that the delivery system delivers” (italics in original).
Twenty or 30 years ago we could not know this about the impact of pornography, but with the remarkable development of medical technology, we now know just how harmful pornography is to its users. Further, social science research has clearly demonstrated that pornography use isn’t just harmful to the individual. Rather, it’s toxic effects seep out into the family, threatening marital relationships and children in myriad ways. The impact doesn’t stop at the family either. Pornography use in an office environment contributes to employee turnover, sexual harassment lawsuits and a drain on company resources. In the larger community, sex businesses negatively impact property values and bring an increase in crime, public health risks and urban decay.
Research also reveals that the accessibility, affordability and relative anonymity of the Internet hastens the addiction process, leading many to very quickly become ensnared by this destructive content, including increasing numbers of children.
The medical and social science evidence on the harms of pornography is beginning to pile up. Nevertheless, there are vested interests in the entertainment industries, news media, academia and political realms that do not want this research to have a fair hearing in the court of public opinion. Far from freedom, sexual license is another form of manipulation and control, and many in positions of authority and influence will not give that up willingly.
We have a responsibility to learn what we can about these documented harms and communicate them convincingly to the culture. Start the conversation within your own circles of influence, gain supporters and expand your efforts out. The health and safety of countless individuals, families and communities depends on it.
Copyright © 2013, Daniel Weiss. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Dig deeper with the following online resources:
The Internet Pornography Pandemic: “The Largest Unregulated Social Experiment in Human History”
by Donna Rice Hughes, President and CEO of Enough Is Enough (EIE). Published in the Christian Apologetics Journal, 12:1 (Spring 2014).
The Social Costs of Pornography: Video Presentations
These videos, which were recorded at Princeton University in 2008, convey the reality of contemporary pornography and its impact on men, women, and children.
The Social Costs of Pornography: A Statement of Findings and Recommendations
A summary of the findings from The Social Costs of Pornography, organized by the Witherspoon Institute in conjunction with the Institute for the Psychological Sciences in Washington, D.C., and held at Princeton University, December 11 – 13, 2008.
Pornography and Violence: A New Look at Research
by Mary Anne Layden, PhD, Director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program Center for Cognitive Therapy Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania.
Pornography’s Effects on Interpersonal Relationships
by Ana J. Bridges, Department of Psychology, University of Arkansas.
The Impact of Internet Pornography on Marriage and the Family: A Review of the Research
Testimony submitted by Jill C. Manning, M.S. to the Hearing on Pornography’s Impact on Marriage & the Family, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights, Committee on Judiciary, United States Senate, November 10, 2005.
The Effects of Pornography on Individuals, Marriage, Family, and Community
by Patrick F. Fagan, Ph.D, December 2009.
Effects of Pornography Addiction on Families and Communities
by James B. Weaver, III, presented before the Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Washington, DC, November 18, 2004.
(Links are provided for information purposes only and do not necessarily represent an endorsement of all the views expressed in these resources.)