Porn. It’s the elephant in the room. In today’s state of overt sexuality, it is nearly impossible to avoid the barrage of erotic propaganda portrayed in all forms of media. Whether it’s the soft-core exposure of celebrities in film and television, or the hard-core pornography which dominates the myriad of internet tube sites today, it is easy to say that we’ve all been subjected, whether willingly or unwillingly, to pornography in some form or another.

 

It seems as though porn has become more ‘mainstream’ in the last ten years, progressing away from the small corner in movie rental shops and making its way into almost every form of media today. Varying opinions peg gratuitous sexuality and pornography either as a ‘liberation of sexual expression’ or a ‘condemnation of a sacred monogamous practice.’ The moral and ethical debate around porn is multifaceted, but one thing is for sure, the ubiquity of sexuality and pornography has definitely gone too far.

Porn: A History

Illustrations of a sexual nature date back thousands of years; depictions such as the Venus figurines and rock art have existed since prehistoric times. However, the concept of pornography as we understand it today did not exist until the Victorian era. For example, a French Impressionist painting by Édouard Manet titled Olympia, which featured a nude French courtesan – literally, a “prostitute picture” – was considered quite controversial at the time. Nineteenth-century legislation eventually outlawed the publication, retail, and trafficking of certain writings and images regarded as pornographic and would order the destruction of shop and warehouse stock meant for sale. [1]

This took a turn in the late 19th-early 20th century, as pornographic film production commenced almost immediately after the invention of the motion picture in 1895. The 1896 film, Le Coucher de la Mariée, showed Louise Willy performing a striptease. Pirou’s film inspired a genre of risqué French films showing women disrobing, and other filmmakers soon realized profits could be made from such films.

In 1970 a Federal study estimated the total retail value of pornography was around $10 million. Shockingly, by 2001, a study put the total (including video, pay-per-view, internet, and magazines) between $2.6 billion and $3.9 billion. That profit number should be a red flag for anyone trying to understand the morality behind pornography, as any corporate influenced industry usually leaves ethics and human wellness at the door when promoting their profit margins. [2][3][4]

Is Porn Ruining Sex?

Brett and Kate Mckay from theartofmanliess.com wrote in an article titled The Problem With Porn: “Pornography is such a polarizing issue, that it’s easy for people to take extreme sides when approaching it. Oftentimes, religious people, while very sincere in their beliefs, brand porn as vile filth that turns good men into sexual perverts and unclean lepers… The other extreme sees porn as just a healthy expression of sexuality. Pornography is heartily encouraged in order to help people discover what pleases them sexually, no matter how graphic or violent the material is. The people in this camp will argue that as long as consenting adults are involved and no one gets hurt, then anything goes. However, this approach fails to recognize the detrimental effects porn can have on an individual, on women, and on society.”[5]

 

Pornography watching, without a doubt, can become a compulsive practice.  It’s more like food to a compulsive over-eater. Once you make those pleasure connections in your brain they can be very hard to break. And it’s not an exaggeration to say that porn can ruin your life. The false standards and ideals established through porn affect men and women more so than you might think. Some might disagree with this notion, but pornography objectifies both women and men. For the longest time, the subject of objectification was based solely on women, and this held true for many years.  However, one cannot deny that in our current culture men are objectified just as much in the media. In pornography especially (heterosexual and homosexual), men and women are looked at as sexually gratifying ‘things,’ leaving out the need to connect spiritually, emotionally, or intellectually.

Another problem with watching porn is the support of the dirty industry behind it. People are getting paid to have sex, i.e., porn is glamorized prostitution. The density surrounding this concept is real. To attain a proper perspective on the matter, a question to ask yourself would be how would you feel if your brother, sister, mother, or father participated in these kinds of acts? If the answer is ‘uncomfortable,’ then perhaps there needs to be the same standard applied to the people who engage in porn.

One of the largest issues with pornography is the false standards and expectations that exist as its entourage. The men usually have shredded bodies and large penises, the women are usually tiny with massive breast implants. When children see these types of images at a young age, insecurities arise due to erroneous definitions of what ‘men’ and ‘women’ are stated to be.

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