The Crusade Against Porn

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Thanks to the Internet, pornography is more accessible now then ever before. The result is a growing online sex community that perpetuates certain psychological damages to offline lives.

The 2013 film, “Don Jon,” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Scarlett Johansson, accurately depicted the dangers of pornography addiction. It portrays a man struggling to have a functional relationship due to unrealistic expectations developed from his obsession with adult films.

Psychologists are recognizing more and more that adult films are not only detrimental to sexual intimacy, but also to overall health.

Dr. Kevin B. Skinner, Ph.D., a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified porn addiction therapist, and author of “Treating Pornography Addiction: The Essential Tools For Recovery,” reports to BTRtoday how people experience betrayal trauma from their partner’s porn addiction.

Some therapists suggest watching pornography as a couple to cure a stagnant bedroom life, or enhance sexual possibilities. Vanessa Marin, a licensed sex therapist, adamantly explains on her website that it’s healthy to open up about your sex life with your partner to increase satisfying bedroom habits. It’s when you choose the mature content over your love life that it becomes a problem.

When researching the question whether or not there is a benefit to watching these kinds of mature films, the results are flooded with negative responses—stories of pornography addiction ruining not only relationships, but also professional lives and family ties.

In response to these issues, many rehabilitation clinics have been surfacing that concentrate on pornography addiction recovery. These are people who, for the most part, started watching mature content at a young age and eventually became consumed by it. Dr. Skinner says that 50 percent of kids ages 11 to 13 are intentionally, and even unintentionally, viewing pornography.

He explains that if a child going through puberty is continuously watching pornography, it can interrupt a very intense period of brain development. These mature images have the potential to alter how the young brain views attraction and connections with people.

With adult films so readily available, it is time for government officials to get involved in the issue?

Senator Todd Weiler of Utah has decided to step up to the plate and create a resolution called SCR9, which gets their government body to recognize pornography as a health crisis. “I’m not looking to pass any laws per se,” Senator Weiler admits. “I’m just looking to see if we can do a better job at protecting children.”

In a 2009 study published by the “Journal of Economic Perspectives,” Utah was found with the highest amount of pornography consumers. However, in 2014, Pornhub and Buzzfeed teamed together to find that Kansas actually held the highest amount of subscribers, and Utah was on the lower end of pornography usage.

Yet, it still seems to be a sensitive subject for the state. Senator Weiler had a local polling company find whether the people of Utah felt threatened by the availability of pornography, and over 75 percent of people believed it to be a health crisis.

Senator Weiler confesses to BTRtoday that he received many complaints from mothers about their children going to the local McDonalds or public library to use the free Wi-Fi for porn. The concerns from these parents pushed the Senator to find a solution for all of Utah.

McDonalds aims to provide a family-friendly atmosphere, catering to children with toys, clowns, and playgrounds. He brought the concern to their local McDonalds establishment and now the restaurant chain is currently discussing the installation of Internet filters.

He relates pornography to tobacco or alcohol. These are both adult products that were easily available, and even marketed to young crowds in the past. After realizing their addictive and unhealthy tendencies, laws for obtaining these materials became stricter.

“I think everyone would be alarmed if children were going to a McDonalds and buying tobacco, and we wouldn’t stand for that as a society,” Senator Weiler conveys. “What I am trying to do, like we did with tobacco, is take appropriate steps to protect our children from a harmful and addictive substance.”

He suggested implementing a system that is already used in the U.K. In 2014, Prime Minister David Cameron had all Internet providers change their default settings to be porn-free. If a consumer wished to view pornography, which is their right, he or she could opt for it. This makes it more difficult for children to view the mature content.

Issues with pornography, including addiction, are prevalent yet the dangers are not taught about in schools, according to Senator Weiler who explains he is not advocating for an education reform.

A child’s typical health class in the state of Utah includes lessons on the dangers of using tobacco or consuming alcohol. Their sexual education classes teach the negative outcomes of not using protection. However, it is not a requirement for teachers to educate students on the possibility of pornography addiction.

Senator Weiler says that one of the main comments he has heard from men recovering from a pornography addiction is that they simply had no knowledge that there was a risk of becoming addicted.

“Everyone knows that meth, cocaine, and heroin are addictive, and if they’re going to start doing that stuff, then they’re not going to be too shocked if they end up addicted,” Senator Weiler explains. “A lot of people just don’t know, and deny that pornography is addictive.

Pornography is not considered on a large consensus as a threat to humanity. To-each-his-own is usually what comes down to society’s thought on viewing this mature content. However, now that it is common knowledge that children are accessing 18+ websites without a problem, and the content can be addictive, political figures are starting to direct serious attention to the issue at hand.