There is a concept that some in the field of neuroscience call “increased integration." Apparently, when someone tells his or her story and is truly heard and understood they feel a greater sense of emotional and relational connection, decreased anxiety, and a greater awareness of and compassion for others’ suffering.
In recent months the #MeToo has spread virally as a two-word hashtag used on social media in October 2017 by women around the world who shared their experiences of sexual harassment and assault on social media.
“If all the people who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem."
"There is a line, obviously, between [sexual] desire and realization, and some cross it and some don't."
Thanks to women coming forward to tell their stories about being raped, fondled or harassed by men, we can now see the prevalence of this practice.
The tweets show that people of all ages, genders, backgrounds and sexual orientations are vulnerable to sexual violence. The perpetrators also ranged in age, background, and ethnicity.
So what could possibly be fueling this upsurge in harassment?
Perhaps the breakdown of morality, lack of a spiritual life and old-fashioned selfishness. But is that all there is? There have been men who exhibit high morals who have harassed women. There have also been Pastors who have done the same.
So what is the common denominator?
The Internet is really really great… FOR PORN!
I’ve got a fast connection so I don’t have to wait… FOR PORN!
There’s always some new site… FOR PORN!
I browse all day and night… FOR PORN!
It’s like I’m surfing at the speed of light… FOR PORN!
The Internet is for porn!
The Internet is for porn!
Why you think the net was born?
Porn! Porn! PORN!
In 2003, these lyrics were heard on the Broadway stage courtesy of Jeff Marx, Robert Lopez and the puppets of musical show Avenue Q. It would quickly become a famous Internet meme and catchphrase. But why?
In the last 30 years, pornography has grown to be a multi-billion dollar a year industry. Today’s children live in a digital world that has embraced sexuality. Images of sex abound on the internet, and are freely accessible to children with the simple click of a computer button, or by downloading an image on a cell phone.
Pornography is not just something a few men view in the late hours in the privacy of their homes.
According to recent statistics at least 70 percent of porn is downloaded during work hours (9 am to 5 pm).
The wages of sin are enormous when pornography is involved.
"The societal costs of pornography are staggering. The financial cost to business productivity in the U.S. alone is estimated at $16.9 Billion annually ; but the human toll, particularly among our youth and in our families, is far greater."
I heard from a young woman the other day who didn’t get why I was anti-porn. “It’s a great way for my fiancÃ©, to meet his needs when I’m not in the mood. I don’t want him to keep bugging me if I’m not into it that night. And he shouldn’t just have to ‘deal’ with frustration, either."
So What’s Not to Love About Porn?
Well, Patrick F. Fagan, Ph.D, psychologist and former Deputy Assistant Health and Human Services Secretary research states that pornography hurts adults, children, couples, families, and society. It also states that among adolescents, pornography hinders the development of a healthy sexuality, and among adults, it distorts sexual attitudes and social realities. In families, pornography use leads to marital dissatisfaction, infidelity, separation, and divorce.
The average age when a man is first exposed to pornography is at 11 years of age and the largest consumers of porn are 12 to 17-year old’s. Victor Cline, a psychologist, documented how men become addicted to pornographic materials, then begin to desire more explicit or deviant material, and finally act out what they have seen.
He maintained “that memories of experiences that occurred at times of emotional arousal (which could include sexual arousal) are imprinted on the brain by epinephrine, an adrenal gland hormone, and are difficult to erase. This may partly explain pornography’s addicting effect."
The next step is escalation. Previous sexual highs become more difficult to attain; therefore users of pornography begin to look for more exotic forms of sexual behavior to bring them stimulation and so on.
A Biblical Perspective?
God created men and women in His image (Gen. 1:27) as sexual beings. But because of sin in the world (Rom. 3:23), sex has been misused and abused (Rom. 1:24-25). The act of sex was originally meant to bring a husband and wife into a close, intimate relationship that only they could share. Pornography attacks the dignity of men and women created in the image of God. Pornography also distorts God’s gift of sex which should be shared only within the bounds of marriage (1 Cor. 7:2-3). After years of watching it, consciences become smeared and he or she can no longer see what is right and wrong. - Timothy 4:2
Are You Addicted?
Some of you reading this may have already developed an addiction to porn. If you see any of the patterns I've described above in your life, you need to put the brakes on right now. Is porn beginning to control your life? You can't put it down – you keep going back for more? Perhaps you find yourself needing to see increasingly graphic pornography. You're starting to take risks or act out physically for sexual thrills.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…" Romans 12:2
The Bible also warns against the misuse of sex. Premarital and extramarital sex is condemned (1 Cor. 6:13-18; 1 Thess. 4:3). Even thoughts of sexual immorality (often fed by pornographic material) are condemned (Matt. 5:27-28). Christians, therefore, must do two things. First, they must work to keep themselves pure by fleeing immorality (1 Cor. 6:18) and thinking on those things which are pure (Phil. 4:8).
General pornography stats
- Every second 28,258 users are watching pornography on the internet
- Every second $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography on the internet
- Every second 372 people are typing the word "adult" into search engines
- 40 million American people regularly visit porn sites
- 35% of all internet downloads are related to pornography
- 25% of all search engine queries are related to pornography, or about 68 million search queries a day
- One-third of porn viewers are women
- Search engines get 116,000 queries every day related to child pornography
- 34% of internet users have experienced unwanted exposure to pornographic content through ads, pop up ads, misdirected links or emails
- 2.5 billion emails sent or received every day contain porn
- Every 39 minutes a new pornography video is being created in the United States
- About 200,000 Americans are “porn addicts"
Valerie Hughes co-wrote this post and is the founder of Sufficient Grace Ministries offering hope and healing to women who have been involved with a porn addiction. Her current book “When Porn Takes the Place of Love" tells of her journey of healing and includes a 10-part Bible Study.
Disclaimer: Fighting the stigma faced by sexual violence survivors is a crucial step in forcing the change referenced by Tamblyn. The "#MeToo" hashtag shows that more and more people are ready to share their stories and change the dialogue surrounding sexual violence. The article attempts to shed light on one of the overlooked influences that help develop a man's mindset on how they treat women.
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