Kayne West’s new album, “Jesus is King”, recently dropped and while some people may find his music to be incredible, it was the singer’s comments on pornography that turned more than a few heads when he admitted he was hooked from age 5 when he found a Playboy his dad possessed. West revealed he has been struggling with a pornography and sex addiction since that very young age and his addiction fueled how he viewed women and his priorities, which were completely out of order. While his new-found position is countercultural, Kayne West is absolutely right about pornography.
Pornography has undeniable links to the worst cancers on society, including abortion, trafficking, divorce and the dehumanization of women.
Over 35 studies point to pornography causing low relationship and sexual satisfaction and more than 75 studies link it to poor emotional and mental health. Regarding the view of women in a sexist way, over 35 studies say pornography leads to an “un-egalitarian” view of women. And contrary to what the pro-pornography camp says, sexual aggression and rape are on the rise and the increase in pornography consumption can be linked to that increase.
One study looked at the 50 most popular pornographic videos and found that 88 percent of them depicted physical violence, and of the most aggressive acts, 89 percent of those were against women. Over 95 percent of the women in those videos who were on the receiving end of those aggressive, violent acts displayed pleasure. No wonder some men who are addicted to pornography think it’s fine to perpetrate violent acts against women.
In October 2019, The New York Times reported that three pornography producers and employees were arrested on sex trafficking charges. They not only deceived women into thinking they were about to get large modeling contracts, but then they coerced and forced these women into performing sex acts on camera. A law professor at the University of Miami, who also produced a documentary on amateur pornography, Mary Anne Franks, told the Times that she’s hopeful “porn companies will be put on notice that there is an appetite to investigate these cases.”
State governments are responding to the harm that pornography has perpetuated on our culture. While government cannot — and arguably should not — regulate morality, elected officials can take steps to stem actions and industries that are harmful to citizens. Fifteen states have already thought it appropriate to deem pornography a public health crisis. I hope more states follow that lead.
If more states are successful in declaring pornography a public health crisis, then places that are publicly funded, like schools and libraries, would be barred from accessing pornography through the Internet. Pornographic websites receive more traffic every month than Netflix, Twitter and Wikipedia. With pornography use rampant in society, the need to stem the problem is immediate. The local governments are trying to do what’s in their power to help, but they can only do so much because the demand for pornography is vast.
Like in any economic model, when demand increases, the supply often keeps pace. Since pornography is so universal, and the amount of time spent viewing it increases, as does the appetite for more extreme forms of it, the industry answers. Demand needs to be extensively cut if we want to see the ramifications of pornography cease to affect our society.
I travel the country speaking to thousands of people a year in efforts to educate parents, young adults, and men on the harmful effects of pornography — and to give them the tools to steer clear of it or to break free from the addiction. While women do view pornography, men are the large majority of the consumers, and because it’s a truly uncomfortable topic to discuss, they become trapped in their addiction and lose their marriage, family and even jobs.
Men need to recognize the destruction pornography causes in their lives and take steps to fix the problem and break free from their addiction. One program I’ve worked closely with over the past year is STRIVE, an online series of challenges, videos and opportunities to talk to other men in the same struggle. My bestselling book, The Porn Myth, also looks at ways to stop the hold that pornography has on millions of lives.
Pornography isn’t real but the effect it has on men, women and their families is very real and destructive and absolutely a public health crisis. I hope more states take steps to recognize the adverse effects of pornography on citizens and that those who are addicted to pornography also recognize the harm it has caused to themselves and their families and make the choice to seek help and healing.
I sincerely applaud Kayne West for publicly disclosing the negative effect of pornography not only on his life but in the lives of all those he cares for and loves. He has started a conversation this nation desperately needs to have.