Recently, two prominent secular publications ran strong articles on the harmful effects of porn: TIME Magazine’s cover story for its April 11, 2016 issue was on porn and just a few days earlier on April 8th, The Washington Post published this powerful article by Gail Dines entitled “Is porn immoral? That doesn’t matter: It’s a public health crisis.”
I use the word “secular” above simply because this article you’re reading now is being published on a faith-based website. But the TIME and Washington Post articles both make it clear that porn is harmful whether you think it is morally wrong or not, and as Dines says in her piece, “…the science is there. After 40 years of peer-reviewed research, scholars can say with confidence that porn is an industrial product that shapes how we think about gender, sexuality, relationships, intimacy, sexual violence and gender equality — for the worse.”
Moms, you and I have a problem with porn. And not the kind of problem where we watch too much of it (at least I don’t have that particular problem), but rather the kind where it is killing our kids’ sexuality (if it hasn’t already negatively affected our marriages.) If you’re around my age (38) or older, congrats: you’re one of the last to grow up without readily available internet porn. The sexual challenges we faced were far more tame that what our daughters will face and what our sons will have to be strong to resist. It sounds dramatic, but as Dines says, “the science is there.”
Porn isn’t just a private, personal matter anymore. It’s a public health crisis that all parents need to be informed about. It’s as destructive as any cancer, and it spreads much faster in a culture where it’s often times free, viewed as normal (“everyone does it!”), and very, very addicting. Dines cites a study of U.S. college men that showed that “83 percent reported seeing mainstream pornography, and that those who did were more likely to say they would commit rape or sexual assault (if they knew they wouldn’t be caught) than men who hadn’t seen porn in the past 12 months. The same study found that porn consumers were less likely to intervene if they observed a sexual assault taking place.”
Um, WHAT? That is absolutely frightening, not just for our daughters, but for our own safety. It’s study results like this that make me as a woman paranoid about men I don’t know when I’m out and about, that make me hurry just a bit faster to the safety of my car when I’m out at night.
Some other scientific facts that are even more alarming come from a content analysis of what is going on in these widely consumed pornographic videos that our youth are watching. Here, researchers have found that 88% of the scenes of the most-viewed porn films contained acts of physical aggression, and that 94% of the time, women were the victims of this aggression. I’m talking about spanking, gagging, choking or slapping. And then there’s the verbal aggression, which occurred in 49% of these scenes, commonly in the form of calling a woman “bitch” and “slut.”
THIS is what our kids are learning about sex from. THIS is what they’re learning sex IS. THIS is why young girls are being pressured for nude photos by boys before they’ve even had their first kiss. Healthy sexuality, whether you define it as I do in the bounds of Christian marriage or not, is being murdered by porn. Our kids are at risk, and we need to step up as moms and DO something about it.
I would love to be able to put pornographers out of business, but instead I’m going to recommend that we start fighting porn in our own homes, by doing four things.
1.Talk to your kids about sex.
Start the conversation young, with age-appropriate topics, and build on it. Help them to understand that healthy sexuality is NOT something that is taboo, secret, or shameful. Be open with them so they will come to you if they see something disturbing or have questions.
2. Have ALL THE FILTERS on your internet.
Make sure they are NOT going to be exposed to porn AT YOUR HOUSE ON YOUR DEVICES. Parental controls. Boundaries and rules for when and where they will use the Internet. Covenant Eyes. Whatever it takes—protect those kids’ eyes and hearts!
3. When they are old enough, tell them why porn is bad.
This is a hard one. I want my kids to live in a world where I never have to tell them that something like porn exists. But we have to prepare them for what might happen if they encounter it. Explain that it sets a phony sexual standard. Explain that it takes away from what should be between a man and a woman only. Explain how porn most often depicts women being submitted to acts and treated in a way that they would be HURTFUL in real life. Explain that sex is about mutual love and pleasure for both partners, and that pleasure shouldn’t come because the other partner is being hurt in any way.
4. Spread the word about the harmful effects of porn.
Share this article. Follow Pornography Harms on Facebook. Read and share everything on Fight the New Drug. Get the word out so that others will see and share the damage porn does and is doing, and so that they’ll take these steps to stop it, too.
Moms, I feel like if we band together, we can make a HUGE difference in cutting back the percentage of people who will suffer from the negative effects of pornography. It starts with change in our homes, and spreading the word to our networks. Let’s do our part to make these awful statistics go DOWN, so that porn’s harmful effects will be less and less devastating with each generation.
And let’s stop denying, it, moms. We have a problem with porn.