A fantasy about the the reality of Pornography. Should Children be taught that it isn’t all that bad?

2011-02_Pornography_Truth

Something I was shocked by in the news this week was an article that reported on “experts” who said that children should be advised that not all porn is bad, and that actually it can be fun and rewarding. They advised that schools should teach this, using the resource of a website called “TheSite.org”. Here’s an excerpt from the news article:

A publication released by a group of health and children’s charities says that teachers should bear in mind that pornography is “hugely diverse”.

Pupils as young as 11 should be taught the dangers of “sexting” and five-year-olds should know how airbrushing in the media creates unrealistic body image expectations, it says.

Older pupils aged 14 upwards should tackle “real” and “unreal” behaviour in pornography, says the guide, which directs teachers to a list of online resources they can use in lessons.

It suggests using a website called TheSite.org, an advice forum for young people, which tells teenagers that “porn can be great” and aims to tackle a series of “myths” about the subject. “Sex is great. And porn can be great. It’s the idea that porn sex is like real sex which is the problem,” says the website. “But if you can separate the fantasy from the reality you’re much more likely to enjoy both.”

The guide was published by the Sex Education Forum (SEF), a coalition of more than 90 organisations, including the NSPCC and Barnardo’s, established to campaign for better lessons in the subject.

Source: The Telegraph.Full article links here.

I guess they’re not saying that porn should be watched in class, but what they are saying is that porn is varied, and some isn’t as bad as other types. I guess that may be true, but I don’t understand how a coalition of experts can make such a suggestion just because the average age of someone watching pornography for the first time is between 11 and 12 years of age.

There are two related articles to this one in the Telegraph; one reporting that young girls are becoming ever more unhappy with their bodies and would prefer the body of a porn star model, and also another that reports on pornography warping pupils’ minds (in the opinion of teachers).

So what about this site called The Site.org, which is referenced as a good tool for promoting safer sex and sound education of pornography? They acknowledge that women especially can feel damaged by finding out that their partner has been watching porn, but suggest that they should sit their partner down and “choose porn together” that is suitable. WHAT?! More than that, they say that most people recognise the difference between “fantasy” and “reality”. Right. So, when we get to the classroom with a load of 11 year olds and tell them that not all porn is bad, how on earth will they be able to distinguish what is reality and what is fantasy? Especially as it is likely that 99.9% of these pupils will not have had a sexual relationship. You can read the rest of the article here. Please note that it may be uncomfortable for some readers.

Of course, I could start going on about a Christian’s attitude to sex outside of marriage and sex in general but I won’t. What I’m much more concerned about regarding this article is the nature of humanity in relation to God. The Christian understanding of this relationship, first and foremost is the imago Dei – the image of God. We as humans are made in the image of God. Yes we’re flawed, yes we do things wrong, yes many of us don’t know and dont want to know about God, but that is the Christian understanding. The imago Dei inferrs a sense of identity, belonging, value, worth and dignity. What I see in the porn industry is an ever increasing desecration of the dignity and value of the human. This not only affects porn stars, but also those who view pornography. It puts pressures and expectations on relationships and the opposite sex (whether male or female) that shouldn’t be there, and presents an unrealistic view of sex as realistic and possible. It elevates disturbing factors of our society such as rape and slavery as something enjoyable and fun, and promotes a domineering attitude towards others which is expressed in violence and abuse.

No matter what these experts say, no matter what The Site.Org says, I’m not convinced that pornography is a good thing, and I certainly don’t think that pornography is realistic. Here’s a few facts on pornography from Road to Grace:

Of a survey of 1000 people, 44% view free porn on the internet as their preferred method for obtaining it, 16% on DVDs, and 4% on pay per view sites. 36% said they don’t view porn, meaning that 64% regularly access it in some way.

Huffington Post, Free Porn Continues to be a Problem for the Porn Industry, 4-10-13

1 in 3 visitors of porn sites are women. In 2006, the UK alone received 1.9 billion in revenue from porn.
Policymic, 3-9-13

Investigations of sex offences by minors increased by 38% from 2009/2010 to 2011/2012 in the UK.
UK Daily Mail, 3-3-13

A year long survey found that 75% of pre-university students in rural areas of India were addicted to porn.
The Indian Express, 2-27-13

90% of therapists see more problems related to porn use.
94% of therapists have seen a rise in people addicted to porn.
70% of 18 to 34 year olds use porn once a month.
From a Cosmopolitan survey, as quoted by Medical Daily, January 20, 2013

A major website that offers porn videos reports the following statistics:
U.S. States that viewed the most porn:
1. District of Columbia
2. Massachusetts
3. New York
4. Rhode Island
5. New Jersey
Day of the year with the highest traffic – December 27, 2012, with more than 12 million visitors
Buzzfeed, as reported by DCIst, January 9, 2013

67% of men and 49% of women say porn is acceptable.
One youth minister states that 90% of the kids who come to him for help… all who are from Christian families… are addicted to porn.
21% of Christian teenage girls admit to texting a naked photo of themselves. 12-3-12: CBN News

In the Springs of 2012, PBS published the results of a survey by the Kinsey Institute. There were 10,453 respondents, 80% of who were men. When asked why they used porn, the top 5 reasons given were:
1. To masturbate / for physical release.
2. For sexual arousal.
3. From curiosity.
4. “Because I can fantasize about things I wouldn’t necessarily want to do in real life.”
5. For distraction.
PBS Frontline; American Porn

2/3 of Australian men view porn, some up to 5 hours a day. 20% of porn addicts prefer porn to sex with their wives. 30% admit their performance at work suffers because of porn.
News.com.au, September 13, 2012

One in three ten-year-olds have been exposed to pornography online; the largest group of internet porn consumers: 12 to 17 year olds.
Daily Mail, August 31, 2012

It appears that broadcast TV will soon go the way of Cable TV and show explicit nudity. The Parents Television Council found a 407% increase of incidents of full nudity (which are pixelated in certain areas) in the 2011-2012 television season, as compared to the previous year. 70% of shows with “blurred nudity” appeared before 9:00. It probably won’t be long before the pixels come off.
August 27, 2012, as reported by PluggedIn.

Orlando is the porn capital of the U.S.A. Men’s Health drew statistics from DVD rentals, number of Adult stores, porn searches on Google and households that subscribed to Cinemax. Las Vegas was #2, Wilmington, NC was #3, Raleigh, NC was #4 and Charlotte, NC was #5.
Daily Mail, May 8, 2012.

Four out of five 16 year old boys and girls regularly access porn online, while one in three ten year olds have seen it.
60% of 11-16 year olds have internet access in their room.
UK Mail Online, 4-18-12

One of the largest porn sites in the world receives 4.4 billion page views a month by 350 million unique visitors, 3 times the page views of CNN or ESPN.
As provided by Google’s Double Click Ad Planner, quoted by Extreme Tech.
4-9-12

In 2011, one child was sexually attacked every 20 minutes in the UK.
SkyNews, UK 4-4-2012

50% of pastors regularly view porn.
As quoted from a pastormark.tv survey, 3-27-12

A Christian missions agency is reported as saying that 80% of their applicants admit to struggles with porn.
Harry Schaumberg in Christian Post, 3-8-12

Disturbing “new” trend: teens having group sex. 1 in 13 teenaged girls confessed to participating in group sex in a recent survey by Boston University’s School of Public Health. Those who viewed porn in the previous month were 5 times more likely to participate in group sex.
New Jersey News Room, 12-21-11

Phone sex generates 750 million to 1 billion of revenue a year.
Slate, 12-19-11, quoting a 2005 survey

On Tuesday, December 6, 2011 the xxx domain went live with over 100,000 new porn sites. Porn sites with .com or other extension are not banned, which means the xxx sites are adding to, not replacing existing sites.
Christian Post, 12-7-11

80% of boys and 40% of girls in Ireland admitted to viewing porn in a Unicef survey.
November 26, 2011, Irish Independent, “Sex and the Irish Teen.”

From a survey of 1000 pastors:

  • 69% say porn has adversely affected the church.

When asked to estimate how many of their church members view porn on a weekly basis:

  • 43% of these pastors did not respond. Of those who did:
  • 62% of pastors said less than 10% of congregants view porn weekly
  • 24% of pastors said that 10-24% of their members view porn weekly
  • 10% of pastors said that that 25-49% of their members view porn weekly
  • 4% of pastors said that 50% or more of their members view porn weekly

Other statistics:

  • 43% of internet users view porn.
  • 70% of 18-24 year olds visit porn sites monthly.
    Baptist Press, November 15, 2011, quoting Lifeway Research and Education Database survey results.

Porn users are 400% more likely to visit a prostitute.
The Daily Reporter, November 7, 2011

  • Sex and porn are in the top 5 search terms for kids under 18.
  • 37% of UK families have set up porn filters.
  • British teens spend an average of 87 hours a year looking at porn.
  • 70% of all porn traffic occurs between 9:00am and 5pm during theworkweek.
    Independent Online, October 31, 2011

An Australian ISP blocked 84,000 requests for child porn in the first 3 months after it initiated a voluntary porn filter.

ZD Net, October 19, 2011

In a survey of 300 children under the age of 13 in India, 67% admitted to accessing porn sites, most by their cell phones.
Cathnews India, October 12, 2011

70% of Christian men view porn repeatedly.
Chad Barrett, author of Journey to Freedom
Everyday Christian, October 8, 2011

A University of New Hampshire study found that two thirds of junior high school students surveyed looked at porn on the internet when they were supposed to be studying. About 34% go on to have a problem with internet porn.

As many as 40% of those who have problems with sex addiction from online interactions are women.
Rochester City Newspaper, 9-28-11

90% of eight to 16 year olds have viewed porn online.
Independent Online, 9-27-11

90% of teenagers have viewed porn.
80% of 15-17 year olds have been exposed to hard core porn.
67% of men and 59% of women said that porn was acceptable.
Campus Crusade for Christ staff.
Christian Post, 7-16-2011

 

Some statistics on Pornography addiction in the USA:

USA Pornography addiction stats. Click to open to see full image.

 

I doubt the UK is much different…

I know there will be a lot of differing views on pornography. But surely, if people are truthful, there must be at least a certain degree of damage done by pornography; expectations, disappointments in a relationship, and unhealthy addictions. If this is so, then why normalise the watching of pornography and then go on to say that it can be rewarding? I just don’t get it. I think education on pornography and sex in general is a fragile issue, and one has to tread carefully. But does sex education only fuel a young person’s desire to see what all the fuss is about or does it encourage them to make wise decisions about their sex lives? Discuss!

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Dean Roberts

Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre. Read More @ http://deanroberts.net/about