Pornography


Pornography (often abbreviated as "porn" in informal usage) is the explicit portrayal of sexual subject matter. Pornography may use a variety of media, including books, magazines, postcards, photos, sculpture, drawing, painting, animation, sound recording, film, video, and video games. The term applies to the depiction of the act rather than the act itself, and so does not include live exhibitions like sex shows and striptease.

The website, Porn Harms, is an excellent resource on this topic as it uses actual research as opposed to rhetoric. Some excerpts from the site are below.

|Porn and Violence against Women

The bulk of today’s available pornography often contains depictions of violence and abuse.  The majority is usually against the female performers.  It is depicted in a number of ways, from name-calling and spitting to physical violence such as slapping and biting to extreme simulations of rape. This no doubt has an effect on the viewer. As our society becomes more and more desensitized to such sexual violence, it becomes more tolerated. 

Pornography, which portrays women deriving pleasure from physical abuse, tends to enable men to foster attitudes more forgiving of violence against women and to become more comfortable with the “idea” of rape.

 

There is an abundant amount of evidence that shows viewers of pornography often seek to find ways to perform in real life the same certain sex acts that they saw in the films, magazines, and online.

 

The actual making of pornography often involves violence and sexual assault. During the production of commercial pornography, performers are subjected to intense abuse and violence and are pressured to continue by their agent or director.

 

Consumers graduate from common to less common forms of pornography as their usage increases over time. This may be because familiar material becomes unexciting as a result of habituation. These consumers move to more violent and degrading materials as they become invested more in pornography.

|Porn and Children

The average age that children are exposed to pornography is 11. Many report that such exposure is not sought, but that they are bombarded by pornography via different media channels.

Children do not always act immediately on what they have viewed, but rather they store those images and knowledge to be used when their own situations draw that memory or knowledge out. Learning about sex through pornography distorts a child’s development process and provides misinformation about sexuality and a sense of self that leaves the child damaged and changed. Simply turning 18 does not reduce the trauma and negative effects of viewing sexual acts.

Additionally, some users of hardcore adult pornography find that they can no longer find satisfaction and deviate to harder content and often to child pornography in search of physical satisfaction. It is important to remember that young men and women who are 15, 16, 17 years of age are still children and such pornography is CHILD PORN. The demand for such pornography is ever growing, posing a great danger to our children.

 

|Porn Addiction

 

Pornography addiction is a problematic sexual behaviour in which a person becomes overly dependent on pornographic materials for their physical and emotional satisfaction. There are many individuals that view pornography regularly, but this does not always lead to addiction.

Symptoms of addiction include:-

  1. Increased frequency in watching or reading pornography

  2. Lose track of time while watching for several hours on end

  3. Spending more money to want a greater variety and better satisfaction

  4. Rearranging your schedule and making up excuses in order to make time for pornography

  5. Experiencing physical or psychological symptoms when trying to stop, such as anger, depression, irritability, and stress

porn is modern day slavery

|Porn and Sex Trafficking

By now you may want to know what is the link between pornography and sex trafficking. Is there a real link?

Laura Lederer, former Senior Advisor on Trafficking in Persons for the U.S. State Department, thinks there is a vital connection. She said: “Pornography is a brilliant social marketing campaign for commercial sexual exploitation... No, not all or even most pornography is created by traffickers. But a key ingredient to commercial sex is the belief that people (women especially) are sexual commodities, and Internet pornography is the ideal vehicle to teach and train this belief."

Here are some key points to understand:-

  • Pornography is used as a “tool” to train young children and women so that they will “know” what to do in performing sex acts.

  • Often, the forced sexual acts between the prostituted woman/child and the John will be filmed and photographed and then shared elsewhere.

  • Studies show that pornography users often seek to act out what they have viewed in porn. Often their partners will not engage in such acts, so they seek it elsewhere – increasing the demand for trafficked women and children to be prostituted.

  • Pimps are operating more and more online as it becomes easier to connect with potential buyers and to remain anonymous.  Popular websites like www.Craigslist.com and www.Facebook.com have become “virtual brothels” where one can quickly find prostituted women and children to engage in sex acts.

  • As addictions to pornography increase, users seek harder and harder material. There is a recent boom in the availability of “live” porn as trafficked children and women are forced to perform “on-demand” sex acts in front of web cameras as “Johns” or porn users watch.

  • Porn users do not and cannot distinguish between trafficked women, prostitutes, and porn stars.

  • Pornography fuels the global sex trade by driving demand into the mainstream of society.

Consumers of porn, therefore, contribute indirectly to the recruitment and exploitation of vulnerable persons into the sex trade. Male demand as demonstrated by Internet searches, subscription purchases and consumption of free and paid pornography all inform the traffickers that there remains profitability for their illicit activities.

In Trinidad and Tobago, we have the distinction of topping the world in global per capita searches for pornographic images on the Internet search giant, Google. Additionally, we have been cited by the United States Department of State in successive Trafficking In Persons Reports for having a thriving local commercial sex trade which exploits local and foreign women and children with impunity.

|Changing Course

It is time to get our heads out of the sand, men. There really is no way we can use pornography and remain untouched by the evils of human (sex) trafficking.

We are either part of the solution or we are a major part of the problem!

Upon seeing the evidence of the link between porn consumption and various forms of harm to women and girls, some men have decided to break free from pornography use. Click the video above to hear one man's TED Talk on why he stopped using porn.

Follow this example and reclaim your true masculinity by simply (a) acknowledging to yourself the destructive nature of your past actions, (b) seeking help for your porn addiction, (c) helping others (especially our young males) break free from the use of and possible addiction to pornography and (d) discouraging other males from being a supporter of the sex trade.

Together, we can End the Demand!