Culture

Why I Think Pornography Should Be Illegal

By Robyn Riley··  14 min read
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Why I Think Pornography Should Be Illegal

Our entire entertainment culture is increasingly pornographic. You can no longer even turn on the radio without being exposed to lyrics containing descriptions of graphic sexual content. It’s inescapable and everywhere we look. There’s almost no way we can completely shelter ourselves from such images and themes while participating in society in any meaningful capacity.

More so, we can’t protect the most vulnerable — our children — from such content. Parents are in the unfortunate position of choosing between either ignoring the issue out of discomfort or having to sacrifice some element of their kids’ innocence to be real with them about the situation we’re now in.

I for one can’t just look the other way and hope the problem doesn’t affect me and my family. I feel I must be actively defensive in warding off the lure of a sexually gratuitous visual culture. 

Why Is Pornography So Culturally Acceptable? 

Unfortunately, many adolescents and youths have been convinced of the glamorous lifestyle that people who work in the porn industry have. Social media has made it far too easy to gain clout for a shocking and explicit post. All one has to do is sell their dignity and their soul to receive fame, notoriety, and wealth — seems simple enough.

Young girls see famous celebrities posing and dancing in photos and music videos as if they’re performing softcore pornography, as if this kind of thing were perfectly normal. It has become an unquestioned path to success for many women. The culture has entirely failed to show the reality of what it’s like to work in the porn industry — in fact, the truth is intentionally hidden. Far too much money, control, and power are at stake to allow us a clear window into the reality of the porn industry. 

Social media and the entertainment industry make it easy to gain clout by being shocking and explicit.

With the creation of OnlyFans, the situation has only become grimmer. Pandora’s box is now wide open to everyone and their mom who seem to think that selling self-made pornography online is not only something deserving of respect, like any other work, but that it’s a legitimate path to prosperity. Any social media influencer with a large enough following is now tempted by the prospect of making more money by charging their audience for pornographic content.

We can’t place all the weight of responsibility on these people though. Their consent has been manufactured by a failed culture, government, and generations of apathetic parenting. We can’t simply reduce the enormity of this problem by placing the entire weight of failure on regular men and women who have been sucked into the depraved sexual culture we now live in. 

Is Pornography a Matter of Freedom?

Too often people make the argument that it’s a matter of freedom that we allow pornography to be made and be widely accessible to anyone who wants it. Furthermore, they claim that because we can’t stop the creation of pornography we should just allow it to continue being made.

We all already agree that we need heavy restrictions on certain types of anti-social and dysfunctional behavior in order to have a functioning society. That’s why we have laws and the jail system. We don’t allow total unrestricted freedom because to do so would create complete chaos and anarchy.  

We don’t allow total unrestricted freedom because to do so would create complete chaos and anarchy. 

We don’t allow people to murder one another, steal each other’s property, or do things that harm individuals and wider society because a society with that kind of “freedom” actually creates an environment where no one is free. In order to thrive, we must not be constantly made into victims or preyed upon by immoral profiteers and vultures. 

There’s a billion-dollar industry, though, filled with deviants, criminals, and villains who, for some reason, have gone without just scrutiny for far too long, causing irreparable damage to people’s lives and to our cultural attitudes surrounding intimacy. In the U.S. alone it generates 12 billion dollars a year. That industry is the porn industry. 

Below I outline four reasons why allowing this industry to exist and grow unchecked is a net negative for youth, adults, and the entirety of our society. Harm is being done – it can no longer be ignored.

1. The Age of Exposure to Graphic Hardcore Pornography by Children Is Getting Lower and Lower

A new study has revealed harrowing findings regarding the age of first exposure of children to porn. The British Board of Film Classification has found that children as young as 7 are now stumbling across explicit sexual content online.

The same study revealed through a public survey that 50% of 11 to 13 year olds had seen pornography, rising to 66% by the time adolescents hit the age 15. Meanwhile, 75% of parents believed that their child had never seen porn, but of those parents surveyed, 53% of their children reported that they had in fact been exposed to it. 

Children as young as 7 are now stumbling across explicit sexual content online.

The NPCC Childline conducted a report which found that 10% of 12-13 year olds believe they may actually already be addicted to pornography. This situation is intolerable. The long-term effects of such young children being exposed to such graphic online content have yet to be seen in full, but it’s thought that children who are exposed to such content at an early stage are more likely to engage in promiscuous, unsafe sex and to have a higher proclivity towards sexual violence, specifically towards women. 

Parents, try as they might, are basically up against Goliath in protecting their kids from pornography. Unless we’re willing to live a technology-free life (which is increasingly looking more appealing by the day), we can assume that children will be encountering this content at some point, be it at a friend’s house, cable television, movies, smartphones, etc. It’s not a matter of the medium that’s really at fault — it’s the graphic nature of our visual culture that’s the issue. 

2. The Global Porn Industry Relies on Human Trafficking and the Grooming of Minors

Child porn is indeed already illegal, but the complex network of sites and forums which offer legal forms of pornography online allows an open back door for the distribution of child porn

One of the problems with pornography is that whatever it is you watch initially gets old. You have to continuously up the ante in order to be stimulated. As more “vanilla” types of content become boring, users are tempted by the increasingly vile suggested genres always displayed on the screen sidebar.

Men and women alike find themselves falling down this grotesque pipeline and find themselves watching violent, degenerate, abusive, and sometimes even illegal forms of pornography. People don’t usually start off with the most extreme forms of sexual content online; it’s often a progression of exposure and desensitization that happens gradually. 

Wherever legal forms of pornography exist you’re never far from the illegal stuff.

Wherever legal forms of pornography exist, you’re never far from the illegal stuff. Legal pornography is a part of the same online ecosystem that creates and distributes illegal pornography. Pornhub itself, the 10th most visited website in the world, has been proven to distribute hundreds of thousands of videos featuring the rape and sexual abuse of children.

There’s also the uncomfortable subject of us never really knowing the circumstances of how the porn that’s considered legal is being made. Sure it may look consensual and those participants may appear to be old enough to be legal, but we can’t and don’t always know this for sure. People don’t flash their IDs on the screen before a video begins, and so the argument that the “legal” forms of pornography are harmless is made irrelevant. The vagueness under which all porn that we can access online is produced makes it impossible to be an ethical consumer of porn. 

Data from Webroot Cybersecurity has shown that the most popular search term related to pornography online was the word “youth.” On Pornhub, the most popular search term is “teen.” Let that give you pause. If a person under the age of 18 is ever involved in the production of pornography, it’s always legally classified as human trafficking due to the fact that minors can never consent to such activity — though they certainly can be coerced, manipulated, and incentivized into doing so. 

A topic no one wants to discuss as it causes too much unease and disgust among regular folk is the popularity and widespread consumption of child porn on the internet. The demand for this content has long been and continues to be high. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) reports that in the U.S. alone there’s an average of 1 million reports each month pertaining to the exploitation and sexual abuse of children online.

There’s also a new phenomenon of children being groomed online to produce sexual images and videos of themselves which they then upload to the internet and which then get spread to various child porn sites. There are many cases of “regular” porn sites having child porn uploaded to them by users. As this pornography is distributed, the owners and creators of these websites generate immense profit from the abuse of minors.

The vagueness under which online porn is produced makes it impossible to be an ethical consumer. 

The distribution of illegally produced pornography isn’t an issue facing just the West, this is a global issue. 97 billion dollars internationally are generated by the creation and consumption of sexual images and video. Wherever and whenever pornographic content is made or distributed with a minor, human trafficking has occurred. 

Forced prostitution is the final component of the porn industry which no one wants to discuss. This includes the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of people. It’s accomplished through the use of force, coercion, abduction, deception, abuse of power, or giving payments to the victim in exchange for illegal acts. This vile sexual exploitation of adults and children is done to generate profits from real-world prostitution or by selling the recording of these acts in the creation of pornographic content online.

3. Pornography Debases the Sacred Nature of Sex

Sex is a sacred act which in its most natural sense is for the creation of new life. Its natural purpose is also the expression of pleasure, affection, bonding, and intimacy between lovers. When our entire culture surrounding sex is dominated by pornographic imagery and content, we lose touch with the ability to engage with sex in a mentally, spiritually, and physically healthy manner. 

Exposure to pornography from a young age creates unrealistic expectations and intense, paralyzing performance anxiety among young people. They know they don’t look like the people on screen in porn videos, and it’s also very easy to forget when watching porn that what you’re seeing is a performance. Much of pornography is filmed in a fly on the wall, documentary style, oftentimes without even a storyline. 

Watching porn has begun to feel more and more like watching a couple having sex through their bedroom window. This creates the impression that what you’re seeing is real, when nothing could be further from the truth. Pornography removes representation of real sex entirely by the exclusion of love and the creation of life. It elevates the pleasure aspect of union between a man and woman as the most essential facet of intercourse. 

Pornography removes representation of real sex entirely by the exclusion of love and the creation of life.

Watching too much porn can cause people to dissociate during actual sex because they are unable to relate to the person they’re being intimate with outside of the graphic images that have been embedded in their minds. They act out scenes they have seen in pornography rather than experiencing intimacy spontaneously in the moment. Sex fundamentally is supposed to be an expression of love, romance, passion, and desire. Porn strips all that away and reduces it to the baseless physical act of seeking release by any means necessary. 

Sex between a husband and a wife is the first step towards family. When we’re in control of our sexual desires, they’re a force of goodness, meaning, and personal liberty in our lives. When people use sex to escape the pain and meaninglessness of their consumer-driven, individualistic existences then sex can be made for sale. The price unfortunately is your physiological and spiritual well-being. When sex is wielded responsibly, in love, it’s a step towards fulfillment and true freedom via family life. 

4. Porn Is Addictive, Mind-Altering, and Leads to Sexual Dysfunction

Porn addiction is becoming a huge problem among young men and women and has absolutely devastating effects on people’s lives, marriages, and families. Timothy Reigle has an entire website dedicated to the topic of porn addiction and writes from firsthand experience of the suffering that’s caused by porn addiction. He offers his testimony struggling with porn addiction below: 

“I was addicted to porn for over 15 years. What started as teenage curiosity turned into a devastating addiction. I was using porn daily, sometimes multiple times. Like any addiction, my brain needed more to get the same dopamine high and my usage escalated. It went from simple porn to more hardcore, fetish porn, to eventually webcams, hookups, and escorts. It got to the point where I couldn’t achieve erection without porn. I would rather watch porn than have sex with my wife!  

I tried to quit many times, but always fell back into the same patterns of behavior. It nearly destroyed my marriage and broke up my family. I eventually realized that I wasn’t chasing pleasure, I was escaping pain. I had learned to use porn to run away from my problems. My addiction really had nothing to do with sex. It was how I coped with emotional pain in my life. Once I was able to tear off the bandaids and expose the root cause of the problem, instead of only treating symptoms, I was able to find recovery and healing. Having mentors on my side to provide support and accountability helped me to fight back and overcome my addiction.” 

Porn also has disastrous physiological effects on individuals. Men who are addicted to porn also report having a higher degree of erectile dysfunction and struggle to become aroused if they’re not watching ever more hardcore pornography.

Men who are addicted to porn report having a higher degree of erectile dysfunction.

Men who were surveyed on the issue of excessive porn consumption also reported less desire to have sex with another person because they had, over long stretches of time, wired their brains to only be able to become stimulated by being an observer of graphic sexual content online. This sexual dysfunction is not a matter of physical disability or incapacity to become aroused — the problem is in the mind.

Finally, the rate of mental health diagnoses among sex workers is extremely high, which is telling of the dire circumstances which have either led to their line of work or the circumstances of the work itself. A survey revealed that 50% of sex workers asked reported having a psychiatric disorder. In the population as a whole, I assume the number is even higher. It’s also common knowledge that those women who end up as sex workers are often victims of childhood trauma and sexual abuse themselves and often abuse substances to cope with their brutal existence. The nature of prostitution is that it’s an unending vicious cycle of abuse and exploitation for everyone involved. 

Closing Thoughts

There isn’t a single good thing that comes out of pornography existing. From the physical violence done to those trapped by contracts or criminals in the making of porn to the sexualization of our children’s minds, no one can deny the absolute carnage created by this industry. It’s time we stood together and petitioned our governments to deal with the pain and suffering produced by pornography.  

We can no longer stick our heads in the sand and remain oblivious to the fact that our entire pop-culture now looks like a red light district. We must get over our discomfort dealing with and facing these issues because the future of our society depends on it. In order to free our society from the grips of depravity, we must once again reinstitute sex as a sacred and committed act.

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