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OPINION

As Porn Gets Worse and Democrats Embrace it, One Newer Group Has a Novel Approach to Combat it

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Efforts to decrease the use of porn have gone nowhere in recent years, and instead its use has skyrocketed due to the internet. It’s estimated that 91.5% of men and 60.2% of women consume porn. In 2019, for the first time a majority of Democrats said they found it “morally acceptable,” 53%. Only 27% of Republicans do. Progressives refer to “ethical porn” and say we merely need “porn literacy.” But porn damages the participants, the viewers, their partners and families; it’s become an epidemic that cannot be ignored. 

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The left promotes the attitude of doing whatever you want sexually by labeling it “freedom,” but completely ignores all the damage porn does to its victims. Many of the women exploited are fooled into thinking it’s harmless. 

Considering traditional efforts to curtail the addictive habit have mostly failed, a new approach has emerged at Fight the New Drug (FTND). Although founded by two Mormons, it’s not religious, and it avoids shame. The focus is science, and it is “sex positive” and “freedom-preserving.” With a theme of “Porn kills love,” FTND doesn’t even attempt to ban porn. 

FTND co-founder Clay Olsen said we’re only now discovering the full extent of how harmful porn is, similar to how it took many years to learn how bad tobacco was.

FTND has made three short films on the harms of pornography. Michael Cook, the editor of MercatorNet who viewed them, said the stories by former porn stars were “almost unbearably painful to watch.” He said the third film shows how “pornography, prostitution and sex trafficking are all linked in a symbiotic relationship.” One of the former porn stars said, “I had to go to work to do the porn, so that I could buy the drugs to bury the pain of doing the porn.” 

A man who was addicted to porn admitted about trying to have a relationship, “I was physically attracted to her, but I was so conditioned to watch pornography and looking at a computer screen that being with a real person wasn’t enough anymore.” 

Brain scans have shown that pornography has the same effect on the brain as cocaine. FTND states that there are “35 neuroscience-based studies using a variety of brain imaging technologies (MRI, fMRI, EEG, etc.) that provide solid support for the reality of internet porn addiction.” A recent survey found that nearly one in five regular pornography watchers felt controlled by their own sexual desires. 

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A bombshell story in TIME Magazine in 2016 found that “A growing number of young men are convinced that their sexual responses have been sabotaged because their brains were virtually marinated in porn when they were adolescents.” Because young brains are so malleable, the men believe their brains were affected far worse than if they had become addicted later in life.

Unfortunately for porn addicts, the more porn men consume, the smaller the reward center of the brain, a study from the Max Planck Institute found. It “dulls the reward system.” 

One woman said she was so addicted to porn by age 18 that it cost her parents $40,000 for treatment to break the habit. Another woman said just viewing it three times as a preteen was enough to get her obsessively addicted. Samuel D. James, writing for First Things, noted the cost porn has on teenage girls, “who go to extreme measures to keep up with airbrushed perfection and tolerate rougher, more degrading sexual encounters in their teens.”

It’s estimated that 25% of Google searches are for porn. Porn sites receive more website traffic in the U.S. than Twitter, Instagram, Netflix, Pinterest and LinkedIn combined. More than a dozen states in the US declared pornography a public health crisis in 2019. According to FTND’s Jerome Alexander, Hollywood produces about 3,000 movies a year; the porn industry films around 12,000.

FTND points out that times have changed, “A couple of ratty old centerfold magazines found in the park are nothing compared to the hardcore, high-definition videos that minors have access to today.” Studies found that as few as one in three and as many as nine in 10 scenes show acts of physical aggression or violence, while about half contain verbal aggression. 

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The studies also found that women are the targets 97% of the time, and 95% of the targets of violence or aggression appeared either neutral or appeared to respond with pleasure. One out of every eight porn titles shown to first-time visitors to porn sites described acts of sexual violence. A UK survey of 22,000 women found that 16% reported having been forced or coerced to perform sex acts the other person had seen in porn. Increased pornography consumption has been found to be associated with the enjoyment of degrading, uncommon or aggressive sexual behaviors.

The meaning of “hardcore” porn has changed from sexual intercourse to “sadomasochistic themes… involving scripts fusing sex with hatred and humiliation,” according to Dr. Norman Doidge, a neuroscientist and author of The Brain That Changes Itself.

Porn usage surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. One pornographic site found that the more restrictive the COVID rules, the greater the increase in porn viewership. 

FTND has many tools and programs to combat the abuse and help people overcome their addiction. The Utah Coalition Against Pornography runs the largest anti-porn conference in the U.S. annually, with nearly 3,000 attending. But as long as the left pushes back trying to normalize and preserve porn, it’s going to be a mammoth task to reduce this harmful addiction.

John Stonestreet and Shane Morris writing at Breakpoint said porn cannot be made tamer. “Porn is premised on the notion that human beings can be abstracted from their personhood and consumed as collections of body parts,” they stated. “Porn assumes and trains consumers to believe that people are products to be bought and sold, and then discarded with the click of a mouse or the flick of a finger.”

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