Pornography is teaching “permission giving beliefs” which include all men go with prostitutes, women like to be raped, women enjoy degrading sex and children want to have sex with adults.
Dr Mary Anne Layden, US psychotherapist, said one of her patients told her children liked having sex with adults because they saw photos of this on the internet and the children appeared to be smiling.
She said pornography “sends a terrible message about what sexuality is supposed to be” and there was “miseducation about sexuality in pornography”.
Layden made these comments during her presentation Pornography ˗The Public Health Crisis of the Digital Age at the conference Consider This! ˗ A National Conversation hosted by the Archdiocesan Family Life Commission and Jubilee Ministries October 15-16 at Hilton Trinidad.
Layden is the Director of Education, Centre for Cognitive Therapy, University of Pennsylvania, and Director of the Sexual Trauma programme which treats sexual violence victims and perpetrators, sex addicts and persons involved in the sexual exploitation industry (pornography, striptease, prostitution and sex trafficking).
She said the messages being disseminated in pornography told people sex is not about intimacy, caring, love and respect; it is not about marriage and having children. In pornography sex was recreational, focussed on one’s pleasure, and women’s bodies were for the sexual entertainment of men.
“Internet pornography tends to be designer specific so you ‘click, click, click’ until you get an image you want,” she said. Pornography was sending the message that women never say ‘no’, sets unrealistic expectations, and that there is entitlement to sex. It also reduced the ability to accept when someone said ‘no’.
Layden said the earlier children were exposed to pornography they were more likely to engage in non-consensual sex. Children exposed “to all kinds of sexualised behaviour including pornography” were more likely to engage in sexual harassment.
“We have seen a dramatic increase in children sexually assaulting other children. When you show children pornography and say ‘this is how we do it’ they will do it like that.”
She began her presentation explaining pornography was a public health crisis because it affected a broad range of people, had many negative effects and cannot be solved by individuals alone.
Layden said society has become “pornified” with acceptance worldwide that sex was a product and the body was a commodity. “If it’s a product and you can sell it, then you can also steal it; selling it is the sexual exploitation industry (pornography, strip clubs, prostitution, sex trafficking) and stealing it is sexual violence (sexual harassment, adult and child rape and incest), and these are interconnected.”
Discussing “what pornified men think”, Layden outlined several effects among them: more acceptance of violence against women, viewing women as sexual objects, less satisfaction with partners sexual performance, and rating partners as less attractive. Research also found greater acceptance of sex outside marriage even by married individuals and being less child-centred in marriage or having less desire to have children.
Layden said watching porn made some men more willing to have sex with 13 and 14 year olds and be more sexually attracted to children.
She highlighted the “behavioural changes” that occurred, like erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and retarded ejaculation. In one study 58 per cent of men with an average age of 25 had sexual dysfunction. “This used to be a senior citizen problem,” Layden said.
While men viewing pornography tend to have more sexual partners, she said they were less interested in sex with their partners. “That erectile dysfunction only showed up when they try to have sex with a person. They are not so interested in sex with a person because they only sexually function with pixels.”
Men using pornography were more likely to have affairs if married, go with prostitutes, engage in behavioural aggression and sexually abuse their partners. They were more likely to participate in sexual harassment, date rape, marital rape and coercive sex.
Women porn users were more likely to accept rape mythologies and have negative attitudes about their bodies. Layden said her research found young women using pornography were more likely to be victims of non-consenting sex. They were being victimised because they do not recognise the signals of “pornified behaviour” in their partners.
The first step in treating a cocaine addict is to send them to detox and get the addictive substance out of their system but with porn addicts the same cannot be done.
“How do you clean out the pornography? It is in the brain; it’s in the brain forever. It’s the first time we are being asked to treat an addictive process where the addictive substance is permanently implanted in your brain, so this is a whole new type of addiction; we are finding it very hard to treat,” said Layden.
by LARA PICKFORD-GORDON
extracted from the Catholic News article: ‘Click, click, click’ – Society has become ‘pornified’, with permission