Check out this informative new article about pornography harms, as well as the other articles in this excellent series!
[Deseret News] – [EXCERPT] – Formerly a back-alley, mafia-funded industry, pornography has exploded into a socially ubiquitous form of entertainment, evidenced by the throngs that roam the convention halls, snapping photos of their friends embracing porn stars to share via Instagram and Facebook.
Though Las Vegas is, by its own definition, a moral outlier, a growing number of experts are concerned with the way the entire country has accepted, and even embraced, pornography’s cultural infiltration.
“The real issue is not whether (porn) has become worse,” says Michael Kimmel, a sociologist at Stony Brook University in New York who studies gender, sexuality and masculinity. “The thing that’s most important is that it’s far more pervasive with far less apology.”
An estimated 40 million Americans visit a porn site at least once a month, and 25 percent of all search engine requests in the U.S. are for porn. The heaviest use is among young men: in a 2009 survey of 30,000 college students, more than 10 percent said they viewed pornography online from five to 20 hours a week, and 62 percent said they watched Internet pornography at least once a week. Another study by researchers at Brigham Young University in 2007 found that 21 percent of all college students said they watch porn “every day or almost every day.”
Yet despite how “popular” pornography becomes, it cannot remain unexamined, say media scholars and medical professionals, who warn that failing to address the growing tangle of concerns — specifically the way pornography changes the brain — will come with dire consequences. Most children will have seen porn by the time they’re 11, if not younger, and 79 percent of that exposure will happen in the home — often through innocently misspelled words, pop-up windows or misleading websites, according to the report, “Online Victimization of Youth: Five Years Later,” as published by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
Researchers have also found a correlation between early pornography use and early sexual behavior as well as links between the type of pornography consumed and the increased sexual aggression of the viewers. There’s also evidence pornography is damaging relationships: At a meeting in 2003 of the American Academy of Matrimonial lawyers, two-thirds of the attorneys present said that compulsive Internet use played a significant role in divorces that year, and that in 56 percent of those cases one partner had an obsessive interest in online pornography.
“This is a public health crisis — the fact that porn is now the major form of sex education in the western world,” says Gail Dines, a professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College in Boston, and author of “Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality.” “The fashion industry shapes the way we dress, the food industry shapes the way we eat, how would it be possible that the sex industry is the only industry that didn’t shape human behavior? How it shapes it is complicated … but you cannot walk away from those images unchanged. That’s not how we operate.”
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