North Texas Daily

We must make pornography illegal

We must make pornography illegal

We must make pornography illegal
March 26
18:47 2021

Content warning: mentions of sexual abuse and rape.

Technology has seen major advancements in the past two decades. Internet was relatively new in 2001, but now most people can’t imagine life without it. With the advent of high-speed internet came universal access to pornography. Gone are the days when 15-year-old boys had to overpay for a Playboy and hide it in their sock drawer if they wanted to “amuse” themselves. Now, there is an infinite supply of porn available to everybody through their smartphone.

We are facing a porn epidemic. Men are exposed to porn earlier and on a wider-spread scale, causing near-universal sex addiction among young men, while women are being trafficked and raped for the profit of the porn industry. It is for these reasons that pornography has led to a public health crisis and should be made illegal in the United States.

There is intense debate right now on whether or not porn addiction exists and to what extent, but continued research gives very solid grounds to believe that pornography does cause addiction, such as when the World Health Organization added compulsive sexual behavior as a mental disorder.

Porn’s impact on brain chemistry points to addiction. Pornography is a supernormal stimulus, which means that it evokes stronger reactions than normal stimuli. This is because porn plays to one of our basic needs: the need to reproduce. There’s already a built-in instinct within humans to seek out sexual stimulation, which porn provides in abundance.

Many stimuli have natural features which prevent people from endlessly engaging with the stimulus. For example, junk food is considered a supernormal stimulus, but you can’t eat forever. This leads us to the Coolidge Effect: scientists have found that male rats, when presented with a sexually receptive female, will mate up to a point. Once they are satisfied, they cease copulation. This is sex’s limit. However, when presented with a new sexually receptive female, the same male rat will start mating again until he is satisfied with the new female. If repeated ad infinitum, he will copulate until he passes out.

This effect is present within human males as well, and this is where porn comes into play. Kevin Majere, a cognitive-behavioral therapist on staff at Harvard Medical School, has given his insight into the effects that porn has on dopamine output. When presented with porn, Dr. Majere says “[the male brain] doesn’t understand that these are virtual females only, so with each new one it causes another flood of dopamine, time after time, click after click, as long as he continues. It’s a dopamine binge.”

When you get done watching one porn video and go to another, the brain continues to flood with dopamine at levels never seen in human sexual history, and unlike food or monogamous sexual encounters, there is no limit. Dr. Majere explains that “the brain’s synapses do not like being overstimulated with dopamine, so they respond by down-regulating some dopamine receptors […],” When dopaminergic receptors shut down, Majere explains, it then takes more and more indulgence in porn to get the same level of dopamine, and the person “feels an even greater need for pornography to stimulate him.”

This is textbook addiction, and this addiction fuels the porn industry. It is what makes the porn industry rich. When you are incapable of living life normally without watching pornography, you are not free. The porn industry is enslaving men to their product.

This, coupled with widespread porn usage, leads to a public health disaster. People are being exposed to porn at younger ages, with the current average being 11 years old. 80 percent of men watch porn, according to PBS’s Frontline.  A few years back, the University of Montreal sought out men in their 20s who had never looked at porn before, only to discover that they couldn’t find any. An entire generation of young men are being exposed to porn at ages where their brains are incredibly plastic, and this addiction has come to control the lives of many young men, who now lead a new campaign to end porn usage.

This doesn’t even begin to speak on the negative effects porn has on women. “Demand for pornography has led to an inextricable link between human trafficking,” according to a paper in the Journal of Counselor Practice. Many of the videos that you may have watched on your visits to different porn sites could be sex-trafficked, underaged or raped women, such as 14-year-old Rose Kalemba, whose rapists videotaped her rape and uploaded it to PornHub, which PornHub refused to take down despite Kalemba contacting them and pleading for them to remove it.

This may have been the vast majority of the videos on PornHub, since PornHub did a purge of their website, deleting two-thirds of their content because it came from unverified users who ran the risk of posting videos of child porn, rape and sex-trafficked women. By the way, PornHub did this solely because of financial pressure from Mastercard and Visa. Had their bottom line not been in danger, PornHub would probably still have potentially millions of rape videos on their website.

Porn is a public health crisis. It has the potential to make upwards of almost all young American men addicts and slaves to the porn industry, while it continues to make women worldwide literal sex-slaves to pornographers. There is no excuse for watching pornography. You have no right to contribute to the addiction of all American men, nor do you have the right to contribute to sex trafficking. The US has a moral obligation to make the production, distribution and consumption of pornography illegal within its borders.

Featured Illustration by Pooja Patel

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Jackson Sweet

Jackson Sweet

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