Last week in chapel, Professor Lisa Pay spoke about pornography addiction. Pay spoke openly about the effects of pornography addiction and cited research about its harmful effects on the psyche and on relationships. She said that porn is for masturbation, while art is for appreciation.
In the United States, pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry. The industry grew substantially with the advent of the Internet and video streaming. And, while the viewing of porn has become commonplace and may not be a big deal for some people, the effects over the long-term are rather intuitive.
When one views a violent film, they are not necessarily more apt to commit violent acts. However, in films, people sometimes imagine what they might do if they were in the character’s place. For example, one might consider if they would take their younger sister’s place in the Hunger Games, as Katniss Everdeen did.
Ran Gavrieli, a TEDtalk keynote speaker, explained this concept with a karaoke singing audition show. After 20 minutes of watching the show, he later found himself contemplating what song he would sing to audition for the show. He had no previous singing or music experience, and he had no prior inclination to audition for the show. Yet he found himself contemplating his song choice.
Just as one might consider their song choice for a television show, viewing porn can cause people to think more on the topic of sexual encounters than they might otherwise. Aside from this, when pornographic video content exists in such abundance, it can be seen as casual. In other words, when porn is easily accessible on the Internet, there is less effort in acquiring it for viewing and the payoff occurs much sooner. The fact that sex can be viewed on video results in a removal of responsibility for the viewer.
However, there is responsibility for the viewer. Anyone who views pornography also contributes to the demand for pornography, which is, according to Gavrieli, “filmed prostitution.” Viewing pornography contributes to an endless cycle of men and women being involved in the sex industry. Even though there may be pleasure to the viewer as a result of viewing pornography, it creates the demand for staged sexual interactions carried out by those involved in the film.
If the pendulum swings away from the viewing of pornography as a norm, the demand for pornography will decrease and the number of men and women who are a part of the industry will decrease. Someone may choose another path and be better off because of their choice in steering away from the sex industry. We must place more responsibility on the audience when it comes to viewing pornography.