Teaching about the effects of pornography

We affirm that sex is an act of love, trust and vulnerability, and therefore should be reserved for marriage, where husband and wife are committed to loving and serving each other.

However, pornography is used by most British and American men, whether married and/or Christian. Porn has been found to increase negative attitudes towards women, decrease empathy for sexual abuse victims, and increase sexually aggressive behaviour.

Therefore, we ask that the neurological and relational effects of pornography are realistically addressed in sex education programmes, and that churches address the issue more directly and encourage accountability among their members.

Thesis Background
I had seen porn--belonging to a relative--before I was 10, and it was something I regularly came across on a shared computer during my early teenage years. It was something boys read on the bus to school, or shoved videos of it into your face. From the very first moment of exposure, it changed how I saw myself, my body, and men. It gave me a strong sense of dissatisfaction with how I looked, fear of being rejected as a result, and the notion that men’s purest desire was to exploit women. I believed that the way to a man’s heart, then, I would have to objectify and exploit myself. Simply put, it made me doubt the reality of love and the possibility of trust. I have seen many girls try to model themselves on porn stars, fearing that otherwise they will not be enough, and I have seen it become normalised- something seen as an inevitable part of male sexuality that women should accomodate. Naked selfies are taken even by young teenagers in the hope of winning over a boy. From what I have seen, it never wins them respect, and is often widely shared among peers as though it were a Page 3 spread. Any talk of equality between the sexes tends to mean that there should be more porn for a female audience, rather than general resistance to it. But porn has been connected to human trafficking, sexual abuse within the industry itself, increased rates of infidelity, and sexual dissatisfaction with ‘real’ women. The answer cannot be more porn; it has to be a higher view of sex.


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  • I feel like one often overlooked issue in the pornography epidemic is how poorly equipped our generation was to handle it. Most parents of this generation had grown up with much more limited access to pornography in having to use print mediums or physical video tapes, things that had to be bought at a store. By the time that internet speeds increased to the point that internet pornography could really take off, many kids were discovering the new mediums before their parents. Thus, there was a whole generation not warned or educated effectively about pornography. It is no wonder then that it was often chosen as the 'harmless' alternative to physical sexual actions, the types of sexual deviancy that kids were actually warned about. I have hope that we can equip and prepare this next generation to better deal with internet pornography as new parents will better know the dangers of porn from their own lives. However, I also recognize new difficulties popping up. For example, one can hardly scroll through their own social media feeds without being introduced to some sort of sexually graphic images commented upon or shared by others; though tamer than pornography I worry that these images can act as triggers to porn addicts or that these images will be gateways for kids to explore what else they can find on the internet.
  • author
    My reason for keeping it focused on education and 'heart change' was because the professional porn industry is in massive decline, owing to the rise of amateur porn sites- places like PornHub are the equivalent of Youtube for porn. Their model is to generate revenue by generating traffic which they can then sell to advertisers, rather than selling content to audiences. Which means, if you take one down, it'll just pop up in another place. Given that they are not based in physical locations, they do not exist in any particular jurisdiction, or can register themselves to addresses where this is perfectly legal. Nor, since they aren't employing anyone- it's produced by 'ordinary people'- can they be forced to regulate their own production. Hence my reason for focusing on the side of demand than supply.
    • Thanks for this fascinating insight, Florence! Although I knew about the basic difference of PornHub I had not really grasped the full extent of the consequences of such a model... As you say, 'if you take one down, it'll just pop up in another place.'
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        I really like their work, and find it very encouraging that it is from a secular perspective- it's heartening to know that it isn't just Christians who are recognising it's a problem. They published an article yesterday saying Anonymous, the hacker group, have hacked and taken down, over 10,000 child porn sites. Which shows quite well how the scale of the 'industry' now is essentially beyond regulation, realistically speaking.
  • That's a very interesting point Ralph. I wonder how it could be done. There seems to be so much money in the porn business that people would be very reluctant to slowing down the traffic.
  • Another thesis that could be broader.  The topic is very important, so important, in fact, that the action should perhaps also address the availability of porn, and the protection of children and others from it. For instance, it could propose that in order to access porn internet users need to proactively opt in, and that otherwise porn sites will be blocked. Opting in should be more difficult than simply ticking a box on a website, and should involve a cooling off period.  There are probably more things that could be done. 
  • Thank you for touching on this issue Florence. It is such an important one. We need to talk more about it in our youth groups. It's rare to find a teen that hasn't watched porn, this topic should definitely be on the table. The more youth get used to it, the harder it'll be to stop it at a later stage.