November 27, 2012

Shifting views? Women now more ok with porn than men?

By Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of Morality In Media

My husband just told me about a recent conversation he had with some his classmates, who also happen to be members of the U.S. Armed Forces. They are all in an Army program learning about hospital administration (my husband works for the Veteran’s Affairs Hospital).

The point is, they were sitting around after class studying when the topic of pornography came up. One of the girls commented “I like porn” which set the four guys in the room into a “WHOA! Wait a minute!” moment. This started an hour-long discussion with the four men arguing against pornography and two out of the three women vehemently arguing for it. I thought this was interesting and is so indicative of the difficulty we face in trying to dismantle the idea that pornography is harmless and victimless.

Two of the men went into great detail about their struggles with pornography over the years. They’d both been exposed to it as children and found that they couldn’t stop using it. They talked about how it negatively affected the way they viewed women, created unhealthy and unrealistic views of how they viewed sex, and seemed to hurt many of their relationships. They explained that at some points, it felt like they had lost control and were unable to stay away from it and how now, even though they hate it, they still struggle with urges to give in and use it. They went on to talk about how their wives are very uncomfortable with pornography and how they thought their marriages are stronger since they stopped looking at it.

Of course, my husband who knows much more about the harms of pornography than many people because I share so much of my work with him, couldn’t stay quiet and found himself going on a Dawn-like rant explaining how pornography affects the brain, how it is linked to sex trafficking and child pornography and how it really hurts families.

The fourth guy who wasn’t himself very opinionated about pornography, commented that it’s not ok with his wife if he looks at it and so it’s not worth it to hurt his marriage.

Now the women.

My husband tells me that two of the women were very outspoken about defending pornography as completely normal, harmless and fun. They said that they look at it occasionally and enjoy it. When they asked the third woman in the room her opinion because the men couldn’t believe that “all” women felt this way, she quietly said that she was not ok with it and would not want her husband looking at it.

After a bunch of going back and forth about the impact of pornography, the guys asked the girls to describe what pornography is and what they think men are looking at. My husband said that the description they shared fit what one would find in Playboy Magazine in the 1960s.

The men then went on to explain what mainstream pornography is today. How it is no longer pictures of topless women smiling in front of the camera, but rather that the bulk of what’s on the Internet now is extremely hardcore, deviant, and particularly violent towards women. The women seemed to have no idea.

**Now my commentary.
The pornographers are really good at spinning lies and deceiving people. More and more women have fallen for their tricks. This is evident everywhere in society. I’ve seen many statistics that say 17% of pornography addicts are women. This is a problem that women will continue to struggle with. We need to start talking about it.

Many people who don’t struggle with pornography have no idea what mainstream pornography even is today. They don’t realize that rape-themed, child-themed, violent pornography is the NORM now so they don’t realize the need to address this issue. They don’t understand the extend to which children, women and men are being sexually exploited – used and abused. They either discard the issue thinking it can’t really be that bad, or they fall prey to it and soon get sucked into using harder and harder materials. What many people don’t understand is that when you start with “soft-core” pornography (topless women), it still has many negative consequences. It damages families and relationships, changes views of the opposite sex, but even more it changes your brain and what you find attractive and satisfying. The brain function, we know, drives one to harder and more deviant material. This is a fact that regular consumers of pornography all know is true.  Unfortunately, the reality is also that those who fall into the pornography trap will rarely find the way out from it.

I am hopeful by the fact that the men in the room were speaking out against the real harms of pornography. Unfortunately, they’ve had to suffer from so many consequences brought on by pornography, but now, because of that, they’re able to tell others about the real dangers of it. Is this indicative of a changing culture where, after experiencing years of harm and broken relationships, men are standing up against this?

One can learn more about the harms of pornography, resources to help overcome it and ways to join in the fight against it at Morality In Media’s website www.PornHarms.com.

 

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