Porn Doesn't Just Affect Porn Addicts
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Porn Doesn't Just Affect Porn Addicts

But can we limit ourselves to just fighting the big porn producers?

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Porn Doesn't Just Affect Porn Addicts
Pexels.com

What do you know about sex? Where did you learn about it? From your parents? In health class? From movies? Magazines? Friends?

I’m sure you’ve noticed, but our culture is saturated in sex. We’ve grown up in it, but today’s middle schoolers and high schoolers are growing up in it even more. From their perspective sex is ok. It’s normal. It’s not really a secret anymore. If you don’t know what both the male and female private parts look like, then have you been living under a rock? It’s become almost impossible to be sheltered or innocent. Nearly every show, movie, music video, magazine and story has an underlying sexual tension that often comes to the surface either implicitly or explicitly. Sex is no longer taboo.

The problem is, the sex we see and know and are being sold isn’t really sex. Culture and media, in general, have taken the first rule out of the How to Make Good Porn 101 book and applied it to their stuff. Make it look good. Make it look better than it is. Sell it. Make it irresistible. Make it unattainable.

And so that’s what we have in our heads. Sex is rapturous. And if it isn’t we’re doing it wrong. You no longer have to be addicted to porn to have a skewed view of sex. You no longer have to have experienced hardcore porn videos to gain an unrealistic idea of intimacy. Because we have soft porn. And it’s leaked into our culture and media, and now it’s spreading. Watch a sex scene. It’s not hard to find one. Almost every TV show has got to have one every couple episodes, even if it’s short or cut off. Watch a music video. There’s plenty to pick from. Porn isn’t just something you accidentally stumble onto on the internet. It seems impossible to avoid.

The definition of porn is changing, and along with it, the definition of a porn addict. It’s no longer just someone who has to clear their browser history after a session. It's no longer just someone who pays a couple bucks for a video on the internet. It’s people who will watch a movie rated PG-13 or R for nudity and sex, even when they know that they struggle with the thoughts it puts in their heads. It’s people who will watch a show and hope that each episode will go a little further than the last. It’s each those who think they understand sex from what they’ve seen on TV and are disappointed by the real thing.

As long as the media can keep their picture of sex and intimacy as more desirable and yet unattainable, they’ll never be able to make enough of their lies to satisfy the demand. The chemicals in our brains that are activated by that movie scene or that music video, will never be quite as excited when the sex of an almost stranger, or even a significant other doesn’t measure up to our overblown expectations. We’ll always need a little more, and we’ll keep searching and trying and experimenting without luck. Because it’s not there. It’s like reading about Jack and the Beanstalk and taking a road trip to find the giant beanstalk. You can’t, but everyone else around you is looking too, so it doesn’t seem foolish.

The definition of pornography is pretty simple. It’s the depiction or description of erotic behavior, designed to evoke an emotional reaction and sexual excitement. That’s from the dictionary. There’s a lot of our culture and media that fits into that definition of soft porn. But I think we can add to the definition. Porn, by definition, needs to be unattainable in real life, so that the only answer to porn is more porn.

Porn, and our understanding of sex, is evolving. And it’s not a good evolution. It’s killing love, hurting people, and making relationships more dangerous. It puts people in danger because sometimes people think it’s okay to not get consent. They don’t ask for consent in the movies. In movies, they don’t pursue the ultimate consent of marriage, or a relationship where you understand and love a person enough to put their needs and wants before your own. So how could you? How is your sex experience supposed to be like the ones on TV when you’re being careful, or when you wait until marriage? How are you supposed to have fun if you’ve never had a one night stand?

Even for people who are saving sex for marriage, this change in understanding can be damaging. Unrealistic desires and expectations put pressure and disappointed emptiness where there should be understanding and love. Everyone is nervous for the first time, their wedding night. That’s normal. But is that nervousness added to by feeling a pressure for it to be perfect? For a fear of if it isn't what we expect?

Porn doesn’t just affect porn addicts. Porn isn’t staying on porn sites or magazines anymore. There have been growing movements against it, to try and fight the “new drug”. But can we limit ourselves to just fighting the big porn producers? Can we stop with trying to get rid of the “new drug” and leave the gateway drug out there?

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