Pornography – The Drug of the New Millennium

August 24, 2011 under Syllabus 2011-2012

Summary

Imagine a drug so powerful it can destroy a family simply by distorting a man’s perception of his wife. Picture an addiction so lethal it has the potential to render an entire generation incapable of forming lasting marriages – Pornography, the drug of the new millennium.

Objective

The Objective is present the church’s position on pornography as stated in the Catechism. This position is backed-up by modern scientific studies, which says that it is enslaving people similar to drugs and ruining marriages.

Bible Readings

1. Mathew 5: 27-29

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.

2. Wisdom 15:1-6

But thou, our God, art kind and true, patient, and ruling all things in mercy. For even if we sin we are thine, knowing thy power; but we will not sin, because we know that we are accounted thine. For to know thee is complete righteousness, and to know thy power is the root of immortality. For neither has the evil intent of human art misled us, nor the fruitless toil of painters, a figure stained with varied colors, whose appearance arouses yearning in fools, so that they desire the lifeless form of a dead image. Lovers of evil things and fit for such objects of hope are those who either make or desire or worship them.

3. Mathew 5:28

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.

Catechism Readings

1. Paragraph 2354

Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials

2. Paragraph 2396

Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices.

3. Paragraph 2211

The political community has a duty to honor the family, to assist it, and to ensure especially: …- the protection of security and health, especially with respect to dangers like drugs, pornography, alcoholism, etc.

4. Paragraph 2525

Christian purity requires a purification of the social climate. It requires of the communications media that their presentations show concern for respect and restraint. Purity of heart brings freedom from widespread eroticism and avoids entertainment inclined to voyeurism and illusion.

Small Group Questions

1. Do you read books or magazines or watch movies or visit websites that you would not tell your wife about? How about your holy mother in Heaven?

2. What happens when “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” follows you home?

3. Is pornography an issue with you?

4. Have you ever overcome a battle against pornography; if yes, how did you deal with it?

Accountability

1. Rid your home and computer of any pornographic material.

2. Pray a Rosary and/or Chaplet of Divine Mercy for yourself and/or others battling pornography.

Author(s)

Michael Copfer

Included Resources:

  1. “Getting Serious About Pornography”, National Review Online, 3/31/2010: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/229439/getting-serious-about-pornography/anonymous

· An estimated 40 million people use this drug on a regular basis.

· Neurological data suggest its effects on the brain are strikingly similar to those of synthetic drugs

· Two authorities on the neurochemistry of addiction, Harvey Milkman and Stanley Sunderwirth, claim it is the ability of this drug to influence all three pleasure systems in the brain — arousal, satiation, and fantasy — that makes it “the pièce de résistance among the addictions.”

· According to Dr. Victor Cline, a nationally renowned clinical psychologist who specializes in sexual addiction, pornography addiction is a process that undergoes four phases:

(1) First, addiction, resulting from early and repeated exposure accompanied by masturbation.

(2) Second, escalation, during which the addict requires more frequent porn exposure to achieve the same “highs” and may learn to prefer porn to sexual intercourse.

(3) Third, desensitization, during which the addict views as normal what was once considered repulsive or immoral.

(4) And finally, the acting-out phase, during which the addict runs an increased risk of making the leap from screen to real life.

· A 2004 study published in Social Science Quarterly found that Internet users who had had an extramarital affair were 3.18 times more likely to have used online porn than Internet users who had not had an affair.

· A 2002 meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, during which surveyed lawyers claimed that “an obsessive interest in Internet pornography” was a significant factor in 56 percent of their divorce cases the prior year.

· Porn use creates the impression that aberrant sexual practices are more common than they really are, and that promiscuous behavior is normal.

· Susan Fiske, professor of psychology at Princeton University, used MRI scans to analyze the brain activity of men viewing pornography. She found that after viewing porn, men looked at women more as objects than as human beings.

  1. “The Weight of Smut”, Mary Eberstadt, First Things, June/July 2010

http://www.firstthings.com/article/2010/05/the-weight-of-smut

· “sexual obesity”: the widespread gorging on pornographic imagery

· The term sexual obesity comes from Mary Ann Layden, a psychiatrist who runs the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program at the University of Pennsylvania. She sees the victims of Internet-pornography consumption in her practice, day in and day out.

· Results: Young people who have been exposed to pornography are:

o more likely to have multiple lifetime sexual partners,

o more likely to have had more than one sexual partner in the last three months,

o more likely to have used alcohol or other substances at their last sexual encounter,

o more likely to have scored higher on a “sexual permissiveness” test

o more likely to have tried risky forms of sex

o more likely to engage in forced sex

o more likely to be sexual offenders.

· In 2004, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University reported that 65 percent of boys ages 16 and 17 reported having friends who regularly download Internet pornography

· Economists Kirk Doran and Joseph Price are examining data from the General Social Survey (GSS) to assess the negative impact of pornography on other aspects of marriage. They report that, among individuals who have ever been married, those who say they’ve seen an X-rated movie in the last year are 25 percent more likely to be divorced and 13 percent less likely to identify themselves as “very happy” with life in general.

· See article for more information

  1. “Pornography’s Impact on Marriage & The Family”, by Jill Manning M.S., Presented to Subcommittee US Senate 11/9/2005

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Testimony/Pornographys-Impact-on-Marriage-amp-The-Family

Since the advent of the Internet, the pornography industry has profited from an unprecedented proximity to the home, work and school environments. Consequently, couples, families, and individuals of all ages are being impacted by pornography in new and often devastating ways.
Although many parents work diligently to protect their family from sexually explicit material, research funded by Congress has shown Internet pornography to be “very intrusive.” Additionally, we know that a variety of fraudulent, illegal and unethical practices are used to attract new customers and eroticize attitudes that undermine public health and safety. This profit-driven assault jeopardizes the well-being of our youth and violates the privacy of those who wish not to be exposed.
Leading experts in the field of sexual addictions contend on-line sexual activity is “a hidden public health hazard exploding, in part because very few are recognizing it as such or taking it seriously.”

Research reveals many systemic effects of Internet pornography that are undermining an already vulnerable culture of marriage and family. Even more disturbing is the fact that the first Internet generations have not reached full-maturity, so the upper-limits of this impact have yet to be realized. Furthermore, the numerous negative effects research point to are extremely difficult, if not impossible, for individual citizens or families to combat on their own.

This testimony is not rooted in anecdotal accounts or personal views, but rather in findings from studies published in peer-reviewed research journals. I have submitted a review of this research to the Committee, and request that it be included in the record.

The marital relationship is a logical point of impact to examine because it is the foundational family unit and a sexual union easily destabilized by sexual influences outside the marital contract. Moreover, research indicates the majority of Internet users are married and the majority seeking help for problematic sexual behavior online are married, heterosexual males. The research indicates pornography consumption is associated with the following six trends, among others:

1. Increased marital distress, and risk of separation and divorce,

2. Decreased marital intimacy and sexual satisfaction,

3. Infidelity

4. Increased appetite for more graphic types of pornography and sexual activity associated with abusive, illegal or unsafe practices,

5. Devaluation of monogamy, marriage and child rearing,

6. An increasing number of people struggling with compulsive and addictive sexual behavior.

These trends reflect a cluster of symptoms that undermine the foundation upon which successful marriages and families are established.

While the marital bond may be the most vulnerable relationship to Internet pornography, children and adolescents are the most vulnerable audience. When a child lives in a home where an adult is consuming pornography, he or she encounters the following four risks:

1. Decreased parental time and attention

2. Increased risk of encountering pornographic material

3. Increased risk of parental separation and divorce and

4. Increased risk of parental job loss and financial strain

When a child or adolescent is directly exposed the following effects have been documented:

1. Lasting negative or traumatic emotional responses,

2. Earlier onset of first sexual intercourse, thereby increasing the risk of STD’s over the lifespan,

3. The belief that superior sexual satisfaction is attainable without having affection for one’s partner, thereby reinforcing the commoditization of sex and the objectification of humans.

4. The belief that being married or having a family are unattractive prospects;

5. Increased risk for developing sexual compulsions and addictive behavior,

6. Increased risk of exposure to incorrect information about human sexuality long before a minor is able to contextualize this information in ways an adult brain could.

7. And, overestimating the prevalence of less common practices (e.g., group sex, bestiality, or sadomasochistic activity).

Because the United States is ranked among the top producers and consumers of pornography globally, the federal government has a unique opportunity to take a lead in addressing this issue and the related harm. This leadership could unfold in a variety of ways. For example, through:

· Educating the public about the risks of pornography consumption,

· Supporting research that examines aspects of Internet pornography currently unknown,

· Allocating resources to enforce laws already in place, and lastly,

· Legally implement technological solutions that separate Internet content, allowing consumers to choose the type of legal content they wish to have access to.

In closing, I am convinced Internet pornography is grooming young generations of Americans in such a way that their chances of enjoying healthy and enduring relationships are handicapped. I hope this committee will carefully consider measures to reduce the harm associated with Internet pornography.

For the full research submitted for the record: http://s3.amazonaws.com/thf_media/2010/pdf/ManningTST.pdf

  1. “What’s Wrong with Pornography, by Ross S. Olson MD

http://www.rossolson.org/pornography/whats_wrong_with.html

How is pornography destructive? Sexual images are extremely persistent. Men who started with pornography as young boys often can remember in great detail the images that got them started and continue to be affected by them. But the major danger is that the intensity of the material tends to escalate because after a while the mild stuff is no longer as stimulating. The images become associated with masturbation and it is the nature of orgiastic activity that it produces a desire for repetition.

When sex is kept within the context of marriage, this habit-forming tendency helps cement the commitment and motivate a couple to work out the inevitable problems that go with human relationships. But sexual stimulation with pornography, because it is devoid of human interaction, is intensely selfish and becomes quickly jaded. Thus the fantasies need to become more explicit, more bizarre and more blended with violence to achieve the same level of excitement. Finally, images alone are not enough and the desire to act out the fantasies becomes powerful. Since the focus has been consistently on selfish pleasure and the pictures seen as objects, the transition is sometimes frighteningly easy.

So pornography makes monsters of susceptible people, mostly men who started as boys. Rapists, child molesters and serial killers uniformly are addicted to pornography. To say that some who use pornography do not reach this extreme is beside the point. For some, it “only” makes sexual fulfillment in marriage difficult if not impossible. This is because the patterns are so hard to change and the pornography user finds the mate inferior to his fantasies. There is a parallel here with alcohol. Some people do not have a problem with it, but their use may inadvertently lead others to use, abuse and ultimately be destroyed. With pornography, the danger is so dramatic, why play around with it?

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