There are many pitfalls of pornography

D.J. Pierce, Managing Editor

Boobs. They’re everywhere. The IFR estimates that there are over 68 million searches for pornography in the U.S. every day. We see womens’ bodies exploited to sell anything from Skyy Vodka to Liquid Plumr. Porn has found its way into our homes and even into our pockets, and along with ease of access seems to grow a cultural acceptance.

Dr. Simon Lajeunesse at the University of Montreal who attempted to research the effects of pornography said, “We started our research seeking men in their twenties who had never consumed pornography. We couldn’t find any.”

Porn has become the norm, if not an unspoken one, but is this a problem? Contrary to popular opinion, I think it is. I believe it is beginning to foster an unhealthy and potentially dangerous view of sex as well as develop what many sociologists refer to as a “rape culture.”

There is a huge miseducation going on. The average age when a child first sees pornography is 11 and a recent study found that seven out of ten youth have been unwillingly exposed to pornography in the U.S. That’s long before school or parents step in to talk about it, and even before the child is likely to have time to assess their own sexuality. Fight the New Drug (FtND), an online, non-profit organization has a vast amount of research about the potential dangers.

First, it is highly addictive, much in the same way a drug is. Because of the neuroplasticity of our brains, “neurons that fire together, wire together.” This means that once the brain associates an orgasm with explicit online videos, the brain will be drawn to that stimulation again to achieve the next orgasm.

Essentially, people whom masterbate to and/or frequently consume pornography are bonded to it, and can experience withdrawal symptoms like feeling uneasy when they go for a period of time without it. This doesn’t just hurt the individual, but their ability to form intimate and satisfying sexual relationships.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Jennifer Lawrence, the “Hunger Games” actress whose naked photos were leaked last year said, “It was [a] long distance [relationship], and either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he’s going to look at you.”

Unfortunately, this is the predominant cultural attitude. Many claim that it’s a way to explore your own sexuality and bond with your partner. But according to FtND, after men are exposed to pornography they, “rate themselves as less in love with their partner” and are more critical of their partner’s appearance and sexual performance, and less empathetic with rape victims.

Mainstream porn is almost exclusively about the man’s pleasure and orgasm and 88.2 percent of the top rated porn scenes contain aggressive acts, solidifying in our minds a correlation between abuse and sexual stimulation.

It’s easy to forget that the people on camera are actors and most of the women have breast implants or even labiaplasty (a surgical procedure that alters the folds of skin around the vulva to make it look “normal”). Pornographers edit whatever they want out. It isn’t real, but the proliferation of these awful expectations results in rape culture.

One example of this is Georgia Tech’s Phi Kappa Tau who were suspended for circulating emails explaining how to rape women at parties. Organizations like the Salvation Army say that women who spent time in the porn industry have nearly identical stories to the girls who have been victims of sex trafficking. And, approximately 20 percent of all internet pornography is child sexual abuse according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Elimination is rarely the answer and I do not advocate for censorship, But, I don’t think the current totally unfiltered format of pornography is good. If childrens’ first access to sex is increasingly pornographic, this will shift an entire generation’s attitude to the most intimate of human experiences, aid in furthering rape culture and potentially contribute to sex trafficking. Hopefully though, if the problem gets large enough it will come to a head and begin to resolve itself.