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The Effects of Pornography

The Effects of Pornography

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Published by: fpiw on Dec 02, 2009
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THE EFFECTS OFPORNOGRAPHY ONINDIVIDUALS, MARRIAGE,FAMILY AND COMMUNITY
Patrick F. Fagan, Ph.D.
 
E
XECUTIVE
S
UMMARY
 
Pornography is a visual representation of sexuality which distortsan individual’s concept of the nature of conjugal relations. This, inturn, alters both sexual attitudes and behavior. It is a major threatto marriage, to family, to children and to individual happiness. Inundermining marriage it is one of the factors in undermining socialstability.Social scientists, clinical psychologists, and biologists have begun toclarify some of the social and psychological effects, andneurologists are beginning to delineate the biological mechanismsthrough which pornography produces its powerful negativeeffects.
K
EY
F
INDINGS ON THE
E
FFECTS OF
P
ORNOGRAPHY
 
T
HE
F
AMILY AND
P
ORNOGRAPHY
 
 
Married men who are involved in pornography feel lesssatisfied with their conjugal relations and less emotionallyattached to their wives. Wives notice and are upset by thedifference.
 
Pornography use is a pathway to infidelity and divorce, andis frequently a major factor in these family disasters.
 
Among couples affected by one spouse’s addiction, two-thirds experience a loss of interest in sexual intercourse.
 
Both spouses perceive pornography viewing as tantamountto infidelity.
 
Pornography viewing leads to a loss of interest in goodfamily relations.
 
 
T
HE
I
NDIVIDUAL AND
P
ORNOGRAPHY
 
 
Pornography is addictive, and neuroscientists are beginning to map thebiological substrate of this addiction.
 
Users tend to become desensitized to the type of pornorgraphy they use,become bored with it, and then seek more perverse forms of pornography.
 
Men who view pornography regularly have a higher tolerance forabnormal sexuality, including rape, sexual aggression, and sexualpromiscuity.
 
Prolonged consumption of pornography by men produces strongernotions of women as commodities or as “sex objects.”
 
Pornography engenders greater sexual permissiveness, which in turnleads to a greater risk of out-of-wedlock births and STDs. These, in turn,lead to still more weaknesses and debilities.
 
Child-sex offenders are more likely to view pornography regularly or tobe involved in its distribution.O
THER
E
FFECTS OF
P
ORNOGRAPHY
 
 
Many adolescents who view pornography initially feel shame, diminishedself-confidence, and sexual uncertainty, but these feelings quickly shift tounadulterated enjoyment with regular viewing.
 
The presence of sexually oriented businesses significantly harms thesurrounding community, leading to increases in crime and decreases inproperty values.
 
The main defenses against pornography are close family life, a goodmarriage and good relations between parents and children, coupled withdeliberate parental monitoring of Internet use. Traditionally, governmenthas kept a tight lid on sexual traffic and businesses, but in matters ofpornography that has waned almost completely, except where childpornography is concerned. Given the massive, deleterious individual,marital, family, and social effects of pornography, it is time for citizens,communities, and government to reconsider their laissez-faire approach.
 
THE EFFECTS OF PORNOGRAPHY ONINDIVIDUALS, MARRIAGE, FAMILYAND COMMUNITY
Patrick F. Fagan, Ph.D.
1
 Pornography, as a visual (mis)representation of sexuality, distorts anindividual’s concept of sexual relations by objectifying them, which, in turn,alters both sexual attitudes and behavior. It is a major threat to marriage, tofamily, to children, and to individual happiness.Social scientists, clinical psychologists, and biologists have begun to clarify someof the social and psychological effects of pornography, and neurologists arebeginning to delineate the biological mechanisms through which pornographyproduces its powerful effects on people.Pornography’s power to undermine individual and social functioning ispowerful and deep.
 
Effect on the Mind:
Pornography significantly distorts attitudes andperceptions about the nature of sexual intercourse. Men who habituallylook at pornography have a higher tolerance for abnormal sexualbehaviors, sexual aggression, promiscuity, and even rape. In addition,men begin to view women and even children as “sex objects,”
1
Patrick F. Fagan, Ph.D. Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Marriage and ReligionResearch, Family Research Council, Washington, D.C.The author acknowledges his debt to Drs. Jill Manning, Stephanie Sargeant-Weaver and James B.Weaver III without whose reviews of the literature, Senate Testimonies and pointers towards theunderlying studies he could not have prepared this paper. Their work suffuses the wholeproject. These reviews include Jill C. Manning, “The Impact of Internet Pornography on Marriageand the Family: A Review of the Research,”
Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity
13 (2006): 131-65;Stephanie Sargent-Weaver, “The Effects of Teens’ Exposure to Sexually Explicit Materials on theInternet: Synthesis of the Research and Implications for Future Research;” and James B. WeaverIII, “The Effects of Pornography Addiction on Families and Communities,” presented before theSubcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space of the Senate Committee on Commerce,Science, and Transportation, Washington, DC (November 18, 2004). Jill Manning’s SenateTestimony, from which more of this paper has been drawn than from any other source, is highlyrecommended for its comprehensiveness and can be found athttp://www.heritage.org/Research/Family/upload/85273_1.pdf(Retrieved Jan 19 2009).

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