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Pr0n's Effect On Society 1021

Posted by Zonk
from the keep-it-clean-please dept.
Rytis writes "An article at the Financial Times is analysing the growing impact of internet pornography, the phenomena itself and the problems that it causes to our society. Surveys within Great Britain have shown that more than a half of 9-19 years olds have seen pornography online. From the article: 'To some men, Haynes argues, clicking on porn is simply a way to pass the time. It's a hobby. Once they'd idly play solitaire; now they idly click on a porn site. Others, though, succumb to addiction: Most addictions are to do with internal emptiness, wanting to fill up dead space, and addiction is always destructive.'"
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Pr0n's Effect On Society

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  • Gender (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <<shadow.wrought> <at> <gmail.com>> on Friday March 31, 2006 @12:54PM (#15034712) Homepage Journal
    Surveys within Great Britain have shown that more than a half of 9-19 years olds have seen pornography online.

    I wonder what the split was along gender lines?

    • Re:Gender (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mooingyak (720677) on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:05PM (#15034832)
      When I read that, I just automatically assumed "half of 9-19 year old boys". Not that it says that, but it just didn't occur to me that they might have meant anything else until I read your comment. Amazing the effects that pr0n has on your cognitive process...
      • Re:Gender (Score:5, Interesting)

        by drgonzo59 (747139) on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:23PM (#15035019)
        There is a higher and higher rate of women who get addicted to teh online pr0n. At least there has been an increased number of them (proportionately to men and to previous years) who seek counseling.

        This one lady, who's husband got into p0rn and which led eventually to divorce, wanted to check out and see what her ex husband saw in pr0n and sure enough, she also gets addicted to it, loses her job and eventually ends up in counseling. Arguably, pr0n is probably not the cause of her (and probably her husband's) problem but rather a symptom of some other deeper issues...

        • Re:Gender (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TheCarp (96830) * <`ten.tenaprac' `ta' `cjs'> on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:53PM (#15035308) Homepage
          Yup...

          Addictions arn't really about the object of the addiction so much as the personality of the person. Thats been my experience. Take myself as an example. I have noticed my own patterns...

          Left to my own devices, I self regulate my addictive substances and whatnot. Sure I go through binges with coffee and pot, and even alcohol sometimes. (of course by binges I mean times of relativly heavy use, not like drinking to the point of alcohol poisoning or drinking for days on end)... but they are rare and I tend to use them just now and again.

          Except, if I have an external driver. Work is an external driver for coffee, a little caffine buzz helps me focus and frankly I don't regulate my sleep well and suffer from sleep apnea so sometimes my sleep isn't as restful as it could be... coffee is a natural form of self medication.

          for pot, its pothead friends. Its alot harder to come up with a reason to not smoke today, than it is to come up with reasons to not smoke on a daily basis. That "right now" to "every day" connection is a hard one, because one is a single decision, the other is the pattern of those decisions. I think thats one of the fundamental issues with all addictions. Moderation is hard and you have to actually pay attention to it.

          however, if my main pothead friend goes away on vacation or we are otherwise separate for a coupld of weeks, my habbit goes way down, in fact, within two weeks I have just about stopped.

          Alot of people don't do that. In fact, I have seen a friend who went from addiction to drugs and particularly pot, to replacing that complete lifestyle with religion... and boy did he replace it. Next thing you know... just like before when EVERYTHING was related to smoking weed, now EVERYTHING is related to loving jesus.

          Im talking living with people in his church, getting a tattoo of jesus on a cross over his heart, declaring himself a born again virgin etc... total and complete.

          I dunno, I agree addiction is generally a symptom of an underlying issue, some people just need something to fill part of their lives and when they find something, fill their lives with it, be it drugs, or religion, or games, or porn.

          However its alot easier to say porn or drugs are the problem, than it is to tell a person how to fill in the emptiness in their lives... thats something a person has to find for themselves.

          Honestly I think alot of it is that our society is one in which it is very easy to isolate yourself. Easy to interact and be around people all the time without ever really having meaningful relations with them. Easy to get cut out from any social scene.

          Just look at craigslist, and the popularity of speed dating sites etc. Theres alot of people looking to fill a void in their lives. Hell I was recnetly bitching at a roomate of mine about how we never seem to do anything, theres no social scene anymore, we stopped throwing parties because the same old people show up, and frankly, as one put it....

          "I think if you had told us that the people who show up now to our parties would be the only people left in a few years, (other roomate) and I would have given up years ago"

          Another roomate asked his uncle "what did you do when you were our age?"... his reply... they went to bars every night. Funny, we were just complaining that all there is to do during the hours that we can all hang out together is go to bars, and maybe go bowling or play pool. (not counting things we can do in the house of course)

          And people wonder why I smoke pot so much. Its like my ex boss told me once when we were having a random chat "I used to smoke pot, it started because I had nothing to do, then smoking pot just became something to do".... gee that sounded fammiliar.

          -Steve
          • Re:Gender (Score:5, Insightful)

            by CrazedWalrus (901897) on Friday March 31, 2006 @02:22PM (#15035610) Journal

            However its alot easier to say porn or drugs are the problem, than it is to tell a person how to fill in the emptiness in their lives... thats something a person has to find for themselves.



            You know where I've always heard almost exactly as you've written here? In church. In fact, one Christian pop song has the stanza, "There's a God-shaped hole in all of us / And the restless soul is searching / There's a God-shaped hole in all of us / And it's a void only He can fill."

            Every person has needs, wants, and desires that will always need filling. It's the very floorboards of economics. The question comes down to "How does one fill that hole in their soul?" Hopefully they'll do it constructively, but the destructive ones tend to be a lot more fun at first, ergo vastly more popular. By the time the negative effects come around, the person may be too far gone to realize it.

            The real trick is to learn to understand that we're creatures of infinite desire, and to begin to think rationally about how to cope with that in a way that won't destroy us. Many major religions try to fill an infinite hole with an infinite God (at least the ones that profess a god or gods). The ones that don't profess (a) god(s) try to teach you how to suppress or channel your desire.

            I know there's a general hostility toward religion here, but I submit to you that the idea and the effects of religion on the human psyche are generally positive, because they help people learn to channel humanity's biggest motivator to (usually) positive ends.

            (And no fair bringing up the crazies. There are a few psychos in every crowd.)
            • Re:Gender (Score:5, Interesting)

              by TheCarp (96830) * <`ten.tenaprac' `ta' `cjs'> on Friday March 31, 2006 @02:40PM (#15035762) Homepage
              I agree completly.

              Religion exists because it fills a need that people have. I am not a believer in any God and tend to turn to the more atheistic belief systems, almost comfortable calling myself some manner of buddhist these days.

              Actually, I really think study of martial arts, even in just the few months that I have been back into it (I studied many years ago as a teenager for a year or so), has been very instructive at developing self discipline, which is another way of saying the same things, to my mind.

              Learning to control the body, requires that you control your mind. Sure the actions are physical, however, you quickly learn that its also very much mental.

              Getting into "T position", twisting your body, extending your arms straight out to the sides and trying to reach and extend them out... this is a physical position requiring muscle coordination to get into. However to hold that position for a count of 100 seconds.... that is very much mental.

              When your muscles tire, when they start to shake uncontrollably, its not physical strength or agility that keeps you from falling over or raising up to a higher stance, its sheer force of will.

              Of course, much like it is easier for a person in church to go through his parayers with a priest standing at the podium and leading him. Its much easier to find that mental focus when you have an instructor urging you on and encouraging you to overcome.

              As he says "I know its hard to practice outside of class, when I started I didn't practice outside of class either, it takes a long time to develop the discipline". Its true... in class I can move and really work my body for 20, 30, even 60 minutes sometimes (often the warmup is 20-30 then 30 mins of self defense drills, but sometimes we go a full hour and a half with a long warmup and form practice)....

              at home... I am lucky to get a 5 to 10 minute half assed workout in.

              In class I can hold the aforementioned T position for 60 to 70 seconds and then switch to the other side and do it again. At home, I have fallen over after 20 to 30 seconds on one side.

              I am getting better though. Who was it in Yellow Submarine that kept saying "its all in the head"?

              -Steve
      • Re:Gender (Score:5, Funny)

        by soft_guy (534437) on Friday March 31, 2006 @03:28PM (#15036153)
        I assumed that it was half of all teenagers: 99.99% of the boys and 0.01% of the girls.
    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:08PM (#15034864)
      So, 50% of the 9-19 year olds have seen online porn.

      How many of those have also seen porn magazines?

      How does that compare to previous years?

      I had definately seen porn mags by the time I was 19. If the same percentage of the population have seen porn, does it matter if it's online or printed?
    • Re:Gender (Score:3, Insightful)

      by johansalk (818687)
      These surveys, or at least their such reporting, are horrendously bad and meaningless. 9-19? There's a big difference between someone who's 9 and someone who's 19. My reaction to someone who's 9 having access to porn is not the same as to someone who's 19. I mean, come on, have they not heard of stratified sampling?!
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:33PM (#15035116)
      What if we ignore 18 and 19 year olds?

      The reeks of a delibratly skewed statistic. I mean why would one pick that particular age range? Why would you include 18 and 19 year olds, who are adults in every country I'm aware of, with teens and children?

      The reason is most likely that if you narrow the paramaters to 9-17 year olds, you find that the number who have viewed porn drops significantly. Of course the idea is to try and generate outrage "OMG t3h childrens are viewing t3h porn!!! Ban it!!!!!" This leaves the reader with the impression that "half of all children have viewed porn." However the reality might be something more along the lines of "10% of children 9-17 and more than 50% of 18-19 years olds have seen porn online."

      How many children get access to pronography is a concern, at least when they do so without parental permission, though not one that we should mandidate filtering or something liek a .xxx domain for, however adults viewing it is none of our concern. It's their right, shut the fuck up about it. Thus to include young adults in with children is just not useful, and the only reason I can see is to try and bias a statistic that the researchers didn't like.
      • by Anarke_Incarnate (733529) on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:55PM (#15035331)
        This isn't news. It is just going to another realm. This type of logical gerrymandering happens in other contexts all the time. In efforts to put constraints (read: ban) guns, they show how many "Children" are killed each year in gun related deaths. They include "Children" up to 20 or 21yrs old in many of these research examples.

        They also do not reject samples of "Child" gang members who are shooting at each other, etc. I guess we need locks on all our computers so that kids cannot accidentally kill themselves by seeing a boobie.
  • This is so true (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 31, 2006 @12:54PM (#15034716)
    Porn is an addition, a lot of people find the thought of that amusing, but it can have a very destructive effect on relationships, I used to have a problem with this my wife helped me get through it using the method of 'get over it or get over me', I struggled with it but I managed to survive it, I came out of it a better person, but for a long time I struggled with it, it is normal to look at porn but it is easy to become obsessed with it, this was a very very interesting article that I was able to relate to very easily.
    • Re:This is so true (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Guppy06 (410832) on Friday March 31, 2006 @12:58PM (#15034763)
      "Porn is an addition (...) I used to have a problem"

      Anecdotal evidence does not a proper study make.
      • by hey! (33014) on Friday March 31, 2006 @02:34PM (#15035714) Homepage Journal
        My Aunt Tillie always used anecdotal evidence. I doubt she ever cited a statistically valid study in her life, and she lived to be a hundred and five.
  • Rationalization (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 31, 2006 @12:54PM (#15034717)
    Well then, let the Anonymous Coward posting begin!

    WARNING! The following message contains adult material and may offend you if you belong to any religious group or if you agreed entirely with Monty Python's song "Every Sperm Is Sacred."

    I once heard a psychology professor say that 90% of men surveyed anonymously admit to masturbating. The other 10% are lying.

    You can either agree with that or deny it, I don't care. But I would like to point out that this behavior has its advantages for society. Yes, that's right, I said advantages.

    Young men are reaching sexual maturity before they're reaching mental maturity. The fact that many of them grow up in highly populated areas doesn't help. Oftentimes young parents without the resources or attitude to raise a child give birth and this subsequently results (usually) in an imperfect forced marriage or a child whose parents are not married. In either case, much more stress is placed on the developing youngster than the child needs and this can often lead down the road to delinquency or misbehavior.

    There are also sexually transmitted diseases to worry about in the world. You usually don't catch anything from your hand.

    Pornography functions as an alternative to fornication. And I'm talking about regular good old fashion hetero or homosexual adult (above 18) porn. Hardcopies (magazines and videos) of pornography seems risky. You have to store them and purchase them--they leave a paper trail. But internet pornography is accessible and can often be acquired for free. It doesn't leave such an obvious trail back to the user.

    Yes, it's unhealthy to pass up healthy relationships for internet pornography but for young men (and probably women) who are prematurely sexually active, it probably acts as a safe alternative to non-monogamous relationships.

    These are in no way scientific conclusions but it seems logical that many men would choose internet pornography to fill the sexual needs anyone who has testicles often develops.

    Sorry to sound like Dr. Ruth but that's my thoughts on the subject. It doesn't bother me or make me feel gross or creepy that men all around are probably using internet pornography. It's just a safety valve for most of them and a better solution than being promiscuous.
    • Re:Rationalization (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Brigadier (12956) on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:08PM (#15034867)

      Interesting argument. Though I agree to an extent I don't think your on the ball on this one. A recipercal effect though is that children exposed to pr0n will be exposed to sex much earlier and thus go looking for it. I know this sounds like some concervitive cop out but I do think there is some merrit. Let's say you have two kids one who grew up playing ball, hanging out with friends having crushes on girls. Then boy two who spends much of his time on the computer looking at pr0n and jerking off. Social development is paramout. Someone who spends much time looking at pr0n will develope a reclusive attitude and thus not have the same social development. I also believe that looking at pr0n does affect how you persieve the opposit sex. I say this all based on just being a teen myself and growing up, and having my own son. I'm a single dad, i'm not an idealist concervitive I'm just being honest. Sitting at home beeting it off to porn is not benificial in ones overall development.
      • Re:Rationalization (Score:3, Insightful)

        by eln (21727)

        A recipercal effect though is that children exposed to pr0n will be exposed to sex much earlier and thus go looking for it.

        Oh come on, young boys go looking for sex as soon as they notice that girls make them feel all funny in the crotch.

        I came of age prior to Internet porn really being available, and at the age of 13 I would have had sex with pretty much any woman that let me, and so would every other boy of that age.

        The hormones go nuts, and the kids need some sort of outlet for that. Some have sex, some

    • by Stradenko (160417) on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:10PM (#15034894) Homepage
      To paraphrase the parent:

      Safe sex is in your hands.
  • by clevershark (130296) on Friday March 31, 2006 @12:54PM (#15034718) Homepage
    Heck, looking at pr0n is "playing solitaire", if you know what I mean...
  • Only half... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by XFilesFMDS1013 (830724) on Friday March 31, 2006 @12:55PM (#15034726)
    Surveys within Great Britain have shown that more than a half of 9-19 years olds have seen pornography online.

    And the other half lied.

    But seriously, what's with the title, "pr0n"? How old are we here? Call it porn, or don't talk about it at all.

    Once they'd idly play solitaire; now they idly click on a porn site.

    And for others, its just the reverse, porn has lost its luster for me, I play solitaire heavily now. Don't get me wrong, I still look at porn, but sometimes its just so boring.
  • by Dante Shamest (813622) on Friday March 31, 2006 @12:55PM (#15034729)
    Most addictions are to do with internal emptiness, wanting to fill up dead space, and addiction is always destructive.'"

    Porn not bad. I can good still type.

  • by Flounder (42112) on Friday March 31, 2006 @12:56PM (#15034738)
    Once they'd idly play solitaire; now they idly click on a porn site.

    But until you can look at porn while sitting on hold for tech support at work, it's just not the same.

  • Not a problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ranton (36917) on Friday March 31, 2006 @12:58PM (#15034764)
    I do not see how seeing pornography is a problem at all for our youth. While 9 may be a little too young, I definetly do not see the problem with 11 or 12 year olds viewing it.

    We allow our children to see violent imagery everywhere, from our games to the news. But we are so violently against sexual imagery. I know that as a child I was much more curious about girls and sex before I finally discovered both pornography and masturbation. I was able to be a functioning male teenager because I did not need to be overly preocupied with sex.

    Would you rather more children start having sex at the age of 12? Or would you rather them find some pornographic pictures online and spend some "quality" time alone in their bedroom once every few nights? Humans are wired to start having sex long before 18, so we either give them an outlet or start having alot more teen pregnancies.

    --
    • by anomaly (15035) <tom.cooper3@g m a i l .com> on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:20PM (#15034991)
      There's much more to life and human relationships than sexual expression. Don't get me wrong - I love that aspect of my life, and would not want to become celibate again - but are you really advocating that we provide kids with access to porn as a part of their developmental processes?

      The appeal to the violence argument is ridiculous, too. Don't *add* porn, *remove* the violence! If that means that your kids (and you) end up watching less (or no) TV, and skip almost every movie, can you argue that you have been harmed in some way?

      What about investing that time in relating to each other, playing board games, having conversations, investing in hobbies where you build or create things, or enjoy things created or performed by others?

      Porn is a trap - it feeds the pleasure centers of the brain, devalues the humanity of the person being used for that pleasure, and damages people's ability to relate to one another in a healthy way. Real relationships are not self-focused, but must have a significant component of other-focus or they don't survive.

      Are you really advocating that we train our kids that it's all about *them*!?!?

      Please tell me you're trolling!

      Respectfully,
      Anomaly
      • Good point, there should be less violence. If we don't allow kids to see a couple have sex on the screen why are we allowing them to see people's brains blown out? Isn't the later a lot more dangerous and "evil" than normal, healthy and ordinary act of sex.

        Last year or so ago I saw that March of The Penguins movie in the theatre. There was a family with a young daughter (probably 6 or 7) next to us. There is a point in the movie when they show a penguin "couple" have sex, the producers even made it look

      • If that means that your kids (and you) end up watching less (or no) TV, and skip almost every movie, can you argue that you have been harmed in some way?

        I have known people who were banned from watching most tv and movies growing up, and yes, I can argue that they've been harmed in some way. TV and film are a huge part of American culture, and many relationships develop due to a common language that stems from those cultural cues. Just read most of the comments on slashdot and you're bound to find at least
      • by pipegeek (624626) on Friday March 31, 2006 @03:59PM (#15036422)
        Porn is a trap - it feeds the pleasure centers of the brain, devalues the humanity of the person being used for that pleasure, and damages people's ability to relate to one another in a healthy way. Real relationships are not self-focused, but must have a significant component of other-focus or they don't survive.

        I agree, and I speak from experience.

        My parents got an internet connection when I was 13, and, in the eight years since, I have spent a frighteningly large percentage of my time looking at porn. From time to time, I'll swear it off for a week, a month, even a year...but, eventually, I always go back. When I do, everything important in my life suffers; my friendships, my schoolwork, my work as a TA, my health, etc. all take a second seat. In the end, I've wasted collectively, perhaps, two or three years out of my life.

        This is not to say that porn itself is responsible for this behavior; as someone commented earlier, porn is just a particularly easy (if destructive) way of filling a gap that sensible folks learn to fill constructively. I alone am responsible for my behavior over the last several years, and the most frustrating thing about it is that it seems so pointless and ridiculous in retrospect. However, to a kid like I was---one to whom simple human interaction and empathy came late and only with much effort, and someone whose sexuality only began to resolve itself quite late (I'm gay)---pornography offered a welcome (though dangerous) release from the huge effort of social contact. It didn't matter that it inevitably left me feeling dead inside.

        Now, it's a pattern I'm having a hell of a time unlearning; every time something unpleasant happens, my first response is porn, which only makes things worse. In fact, I almost dropped out of school because of it a few years ago. To me, at least, porn has been a trap, which has separated me from reality, and stunted my growth as a sexual and emotional being (I still have yet to be in a real relationship of any kind). I don't like myself, and that's sad, because I'm smart and talented and capable of better than this. On more than one occasion, I've taken out this frustration with myself on the people that I care about. I wish I hadn't.

        I'm currently attempting for the umpteenth time to go cold turkey. It'll be interesting to see how long this lasts. While I recognize that this is my problem and nobody else's, I do wish that my folks had been more careful about policing my internet usage way back when. Yes, I should have known better, but I just wasn't ready to deal with internet porn when I first found it. There's a reason there's so much fuss about keeping kids away from porn, and the effect of porn on society in general. Pornography encourages a way of thinking which is almost entirely destructive.

  • Significant change (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kongjie (639414) <kongjie@m[ ]com ['ac.' in gap]> on Friday March 31, 2006 @12:59PM (#15034773)
    In the past--the seventies and eighties--there was a lot of debate about porn, especially in the advent of increased attention on women's rights.

    However, now we have a completely different context. The prevalence of porn is amazing and so is its accessibility.

    It is becoming very clear that teenagers are conducting themselves (sexually) in a very different way from their parents or even probably older siblings. The recent case of the (Georgia?) teen who was convicted of a sex crime that was videotaped is a good example of this. I'm not debating about whether or not he committed a crime--I'm just discussing it in the context of the video.

    In the seventies we had makeout parties, sure, but it was really rare to have people taking their clothes off and having sex in the open, orgy-style; it obviously was even more rare to take photos or film it, since the technology to view those photos or films without them being developed outside the home was absent.

    • by Gulthek (12570) on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:21PM (#15034996) Homepage Journal
      In the seventies we had makeout parties, sure, but it was really rare to have people taking their clothes off and having sex in the open, orgy-style; it obviously was even more rare to take photos or film it, since the technology to view those photos or films without them being developed outside the home was absent.
      It still is rare. It's just that the rare exceptions can be publicly disseminated very easily via the Internet.

      It's a popular modern quirk to consider ones time so unique and so different from any other time, but the reality is that people are people and we haven't really changed.

      Try looking up how long it was after the invention of motion pictures before the first pr0n video was created. I bet you'll be surprised. I'd look it up for you (it's a little tricky to track because most film histories try to ignore the baser applications of the technology) but I'm at work. There are several excellent books on the subject though.
  • What else can you download, rent, or pay-per-minute as well as porn on the internet? Hotmovies.com [hotmovies.com], for example has over 35,000 movies to choose from. Why doesn't BlockBuster offer something like this? iTunes is a step in the right direction, but I still can't watch recent releases of the shows or movies I like.
  • by tjw (27390) on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:02PM (#15034790) Homepage
    There is no doubt that internet pornography has a negative effect on Society. I witness it daily.

    This message is for you fellow customers of AceDSL: Stop all the downloads. I'm trying to play ET and you're killing my ping. You're not the only one with addictions you know.

    If we have any hope of salvaging our society you must redeem yourselves! Remember, the first path towards salvation is moderation, so start rate limiting.
  • by ThinkFr33ly (902481) on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:03PM (#15034802)
    ... it's only because our society's attitude toward sexuality is morbid and ridiculous.

    The idea that seeing a naked human being, or even seeing people having sex, would somehow "harm" a person is completely silly.

    Thanks to the abhorrent way our society has rejected natural sexuality by demonizing it and calling it "dirty" it kind of make sense that exposure to it would cause "harm".

    Kind of the way our society puts a forbidden stigma around alcohol consumption for people under the age of 21.

    In many countries wine and beer are a normal part of life and young people are exposed to it accordingly. You don't typically see alcoholism problems or alcohol abuse in general in these countries.

    In the United States, it's taboo. And anything taboo is simply irresistible to young people. The end result is a pattern of excess and abuse.

    Sex and sexuality are not bad things. Can there be bad consequences to uncontrolled sexuality? Sure. Same goes for uncontrolled lawn mowing, or uncontrolled hand washing. The point is that if our society didn't make it taboo, normal exposure to it wouldn't be "harmful".

    Obviously there are exceptions. Exposing a 6 year old to scenes of graphic rape fantasies would probably be a bad idea. But exposing that same child to a naked form won't harm them at all.

    Think about this. What existed first? Sexual thoughts, or porn? (To paraphrase Bill Hicks.) Porn exists because humans have sexual thoughts, not the other way around. R.I.P. Bill.
    • by Pedrito (94783) on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:22PM (#15035011) Homepage
      The idea that seeing a naked human being, or even seeing people having sex, would somehow "harm" a person is completely silly.

      I completely agree. However, you clearly haven't seen any modern pornography. It's not just naked human beings. It's guys cumming on womens faces saying, "Take that bitch, want some more?" This kind of material can be very harmful to kids. It provides for a horrendous role model that some children adopt and it causes a number of problems in their ability to develop relationships with the opposite sex. It warps their ideas of love and sex.

      No, it doesn't screw up every kid, and kids who have particularly good parents are certainly less prone to the effects, but there is no question that there is damage being done. There are simply too many studies showing it.

      Don't get me wrong. I view my own share of porn. I don't have anything against porn, per se. But I don't want my kids seeing the kind of hard core stuff that's out there these days. Hell, I looked at playboys when I was a kid. I even saw a few porno movies as a kid. But it just isn't the same. The nature of what's considered mainstream material has changed the availability has definitely changed. You can try to deny there's a problem, but then that would simply show that you've done absolutely no research into the issue.
      • by MajroMax (112652) on Friday March 31, 2006 @03:20PM (#15036087)
        completely agree. However, you clearly haven't seen any modern pornography. It's not just naked human beings. It's guys cumming on womens faces saying, "Take that bitch, want some more?" This kind of material can be very harmful to kids. It provides for a horrendous role model that some children adopt and it causes a number of problems in their ability to develop relationships with the opposite sex. It warps their ideas of love and sex.

        This isn't a problem of porn per-se, it's a problem with porn's underground nature.

        Currently, porn is in the middle of a "race to the bottom," from economic theory. The barrier to entry for making porn is almost nonexistant anymore (ditigal camera, computer, voila), so pornography is ironically one of the freest markets around -- at least on the Internet. In meatspace, though, pornography is still regulated and "hidden" -- witness strict zoning laws on everything from strip clubs to adult bookstores. With limited access in meatspace and the stigma still attached to actually getting caught with porn, there's no quality filtering of the sort done by nearly every middleman.

        The upshot of the environment is that it's difficult for porn to compete on "quality" -- the Interweb thingy makes it comparatively easy to find porn from innumerable sources. Simultaneously, the sheer volume of what's available "for free" (with or without copyright violations attached) means that there's no incentive for the porn consumer to have "brand loyalty," so to speak.

        Thus, porn has to compete on getting your attention now. This means that porn has to arouse (no pun intended) the strongest response in its viewers in the shortest time. The strongest human emotions are lust (check), fear, anger, and disgust. The latter three are what the "weird-shit" porn goes for -- and it does it reasonably well. (Porn mostly goes for "fear" in empathy, as in "girl gets 'raped'." Since true fear is generally incompatible with lustful feelings, my guess is that most people would respond with a degree of misogyny, rather than empathetic fear that the situation would normally evoke.)

        Evocation of lust is pretty much peaked in porn, at least at the price porn has to be budgeted (that is, cheap). Any good writing that would lead to more complicated expressions is expensive, and also requires good acting and directing; these are all priced out by the market. I think that this is why we see so much anal sex in porn -- it's one of the last taboos.

        The problem with young people viewing the "weird-shit" porn is exactly what the consensus opinion says it is -- youngsters are going to get their first exposure to sexuality in an environment that's actually designed to provoke feelings of anger, fear, and disgust. Without a healthy, open exposure to sexuality in broader society, kids will of course think that the "weird-shit" is what's normal... which doesn't bode well for their first few times at bat.

        The answer to the problem of porn isn't to eliminate porn. The Internet isn't going back in the bottle, and porn's availability is probably here to stay. The answer is to deliberately introduce kids to healthy expressions of sexuality in an open way, so that they can see the weird shit in porn for what it really is, rather than interpret it as the "standard" expression of sexuality.

        Modern sex-ed courses (at least in the States, where I grew up), do absolutely none of this. The basic anatomy lesson is worthless, and the STD treatment is about as effective as saying "here's the fun bits, but if you touch them your hands will fall off." Unfortunately, this is often the only "official" exposure to sex that most kids ever have, before they try it themselves for better or for worse.

        To use a loose analogy, imagine if violence-as-expressed-in-modern-films (Terminator-esque) was the only expression of violence that kids ever saw, and then you hand them a machine gun on their 18th birthdays. Fortunately for the health of everyone in

  • by the_humeister (922869) on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:04PM (#15034809)
    Just replace "pr0n" with "video games", "beer", "marijuana", etc. and you basically have the same story. It's what keeps politicians employed, and children safe supposedly.
  • Addictions... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chill (34294) on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:04PM (#15034812) Journal
    Just about ANYTHING can be addictive, so vilifying porn as addictive is just blowing so much smoke. I've seen studies that claim exercise, jogging, gambling, video games, food, sex, etc. are all "addicting".

    The issue is people who are susceptible to addiction will get addicted on whatever happens to be available be it porn or Everquest or chocolate or cigarettes.

    I see porn as less damaging than gambling as there is so much free porn available there really isn't any reason to blow large chunks of cash on it. It is also less problematic than cigarettes, alcohol or drugs.

    As far as damaging relationships, I don't see it as any more damaging that ANY addicted obsession. If some guy spends 6-8 hours a day on the computer playing WoW, he certainly is going to have relationship problems.

      -Charles
  • Hypocrisy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Expert Determination (950523) on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:09PM (#15034880)
    Most addictions are to do with internal emptiness
    Sounds like a typical female sexual fantasy to me. Guys who masturbate are in need of a good woman to fill their lives yada, yada, yada. It's funny how women can get away with this kind of patronising crap. If a guy published a typical male fantasy in an article, like "lesbians are only lesbians because they haven't yet experienced a good shag", it would be considered offensive. But women can get away with it. In fact, that sums up the whole discussion about pornography: men want porn, women don't, but society judges porn to be bad because it is in fact women who determine the ethics of our society.
    • Re:Hypocrisy (Score:3, Interesting)

      by alyre (762730)
      You fail to recognise that almost all addiction springs from some sort of depression, self worth or external control issues. People don't tend to get addicted to things when they feel satisfied with life (not that there are many people that fit into this catagory.) To equate your lesbian stereotype with addiction filling a whole in ones life is ridiculous. The addiction comment wasn't directed at men, it was in reference to all people and is generaly considered a truism. Your lesbian stereotype is a c
    • Re:Hypocrisy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tribentwrks (807384) on Friday March 31, 2006 @02:15PM (#15035527)
      ... it is in fact women who determine the ethics of our society

      So women decided that men who have a lot of sex are studs, and women who do are whores? And women created marriage in the first place with the line, "to love, honor, and obey" applying only to them and not their husbands. I'm sure that's also why women make less money doing the same job as men do, because they drive the ethics that dictate the wage scale. In short, I don't agree that women drive ethics in the good ol' U.S. of A. unless their religious right doctrine (created by men) tells them to speak out against porn. Any woman I know who actually has the strength to determine her own ethics actually likes, appreciates or at least respects porn.

      and no, you guys can't have their e-mails.

      • Re:Hypocrisy (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        So women decided that men who have a lot of sex are studs, and women who do are whores?

        Absolutely, because of supply and demand. If women can increase the demand on the male side while decreasing the competition on the female side, they can charge a higher price for companionship.

        This is why so many women are adamently against porn, even though men typically have no trouble distinguishing between two-dimensional eye-candy and real women. If there is a substitute (no matter how unfulfilling) for their own a
  • Addiction? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drgonzo59 (747139) on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:16PM (#15034947)
    In college I took Human Sexuality as a free elective during my senior year. The professor, as well as the author of the textbook we used, were very adamant about telling us that sexual addiction is not real. It is not scientific, it is used by those crazy conservative christians (aliteration pun intended...) to scare everyone and control them.

    But somehow I don't believe him, I have heard of people who have ruined their marriage by becoming addicted to pr0n, some have been fired for looking at pr0n while at work. If that is not the behavior of an addict then I don't know what is. One definition of addiction states: "compulsion or overpowering urge to use a substance, regardless of potential or actual harm", most of the definitions imply that there has to be a substance involved, but in the case of pr0n the substances are the neurotransmitters in the brain.

    In fact any activity that involves a powerfull release of certain neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamin) into the pleasure centers of the brain can become "an addiction" -- it can be food, it can playing games, gambling etc.

  • by netsavior (627338) on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:22PM (#15035013)
    Guess what with the advocation of Home video porn, viewership skyrocketed from when it was just Theaters. Society (mostly religion) has put shame into the past time of masterbation and other related activities, as more private ways begin to exist, more people are able to follow their nature and use pornography for its "god" given purpose, to keep society from killing each other in frustration.

    Most of the "problems" generated by pornography are actually problems with society/religion. If it is a problem in your marriage, you aren't using it right, or you married the wrong woman/man.

    In my opinion, in most cases when someone is saying someone is "addicted" to masterbation it is more like saying they are addicted to urinating. Masterbation is a way to equalize your DESIRE for sex with your OPPORTUNITY for it, often times in my life I have had a girlfriend and participated in regular intercourse, while still masterbating more than most people (it is called adolescence).

    My parents even sent me to councling for a pornography addiction?!?! meanwhile I was leading a full life and consuming far less time with pronography than say video games, television, or eating. Society has created this problem of perception and now they are finding out that this "condition" effects most people... duh.

    Most people yawn on a regular basis, I bet this is a widespread epidemic of degeneration.
  • Gadgetzan (Score:4, Funny)

    by Dolly_Llama (267016) * on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:25PM (#15035043) Homepage
    A world without pr0n?

    What else am I supposed to do on the long flight from Ogrimmar and Gadgetzan?
  • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:28PM (#15035062) Journal
    FTA
    I have mainly found pornography to be a male problem.

    Yeah, uh huh. I am guessing the she has never headed down to the book store and checked out the "romance novel" section.

    So-called romance novels are nothing more than porn for women. It has been in western culture for decades and it breeds unrealistic expectations of men in women.

    Of course, no one has every really studied that because it is just words, not pictures. But, take a look at the story arc of just about every romance novel. Look at the characters. Examples:
    • The "hero" is generally a bad boy who changes because of the love of a good woman.
    • The "heroine" is almost always some woman in distress whom the "hero" saves.
    • The "hero" seduces the "heroine" in a scene that if played out in real life would constitute date rape. (They are called bodice rippers for a reason)

    "Porn for women" has been around as long and been more widely available than "porn for men", yet no one complains, does studies, or even talks about it. But, that is ok because porn for women isn't pictures, it is words. And, we all know that reading books and stories doesn't effect the thoughts and minds of people unless there are pictures, right?
  • The perfect trap (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann,slashdot&gmail,com> on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:29PM (#15035076) Homepage Journal

    "To me, the most disturbing thing about the internet is that it has the perfect structure to promote dissatisfaction. You click on an image, it's not quite right. So you click on another, then another. It's completely open-ended. If you just keep looking there'll be that image that's just right. But the more you look, the less you get turned on by the stuff you did before. So, you have to search harder."

    I wonder how many of the people in here agree. Would you like to see some of the "actresses" do this or that, and are dissatisfied because they don't exactly do as you'd like them to?
  • Necrophilia (Score:5, Funny)

    by hoggoth (414195) on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:38PM (#15035160) Journal
    > wanting to fill up dead space

    Ok, now that's gross. I didn't know necrophilia was that big a problem.
  • by mschuyler (197441) on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:51PM (#15035290) Homepage Journal
    A long time ago, in the early seventies, politicians in several countries were concerned enough about pornography to commission studies to see just what was going on. These studies were commissioned in the USA, UK, Canada, and Denmark. There may have been others. In 1972 the President's Commission on Pornography issued its report, now nearly impossible to obtain (lots of good pictures), detailing thirty studies of the effects of pornography. 29 studies showed no correlation between pornography and aberrant behaviors, i.e.: crime. The Commission therefore recommended that laws against pornography be abolished. Though the study was commissioned before his term of office, Nixon was President at the time, and he totally rejected the conclusions of the study. The same conclusions were reached by the studies in the UK, Canada and Denmark. Canada and the UK reacted similar to the US. Denmark did not. Instead, they took the study results at face value and de-criminlaized pornography.

    Then an odd thing happened. Within a single year sex-related crimes in Denmark went DOWN over 60%! See: "The effect of easy availability of pornography on the incidence of sex crimes: The Danish experience" Journal of Social Science, Vol 29:3 (1973), pp. 163-181. For a fuller accounting see "Porn Alley: Now at your local public library," by yours truly. Computers in Libraries, Vol 19:10, November-December, 1999, pp. 32-35. This may be available online.

    There was a second commission on pornography in the US headed up by attorney general Meese. They had half the amount of money over ten years later, meant a few times, had some public meetings, went to some adult bookstores, and concluded that porn was bad. The history of this farscical commission is a real hoot to read. The commissioners in this case claimed exposure to pornography was damaging, but their year-long exposure to such somehow unaffected them. I wish I could cite the book that details this, but darned if I can find it. If only I had the software slashdot talked about a couple of days ago....

    Now, if you have a moralistic issue about pornography, that is still valid, so all the folks who are posturing about porn treating women as objects and how unfair nature was to wire men and women differently, and how God doesn't like it, well, you just go for it. But if you're talking in scientific terms, the evidence would suggest that pornography does not create more crime, but it does create less crime. Nearly every study done suggests that is true and a whole country has proven it in real time. If you're going to assail the scientific evidence, you're going to have to do a lot more than just voice your opinion. That's not to say that a big political uproar cannot be made by rousing the ignorance and moral outrage of the populace, but the entire issue is based on nonsense.

  • by jbbernar (41291) on Friday March 31, 2006 @02:12PM (#15035499)
    Most addictions are to do with internal emptiness, wanting to fill up dead space

    This a Freudian canard. Addiction is a neurochemical phenomenon; that's not to say that some sort of therapy might not be helpful in repairing the damage caused by the addiction, but there is simply no evidence that "emptiness" is at the root of addiction.

  • by craenor (623901) on Friday March 31, 2006 @02:13PM (#15035504) Homepage
    By family friendly, I don't mean incest!! So just stop it.

    Seriously though, some people have made good points about the graphic, degrading nature of porn today...Would there be a market then for explicit, hard core pornography, that was also instructional and did not promote degradation or extremism. It might also feature people who look real instead of people who obviously look like porn stars.

    Just a thought...course, now that I say that, it's probably already out there.
  • by theStorminMormon (883615) <theStorminMormonNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday March 31, 2006 @02:39PM (#15035753) Homepage Journal
    I can only expect to get flamed for this comment, especially given my nickname, but I'm really sick and tired of how the Slashdot community (as any internet community would) almost universally reacts to any and all evidence that pornography might be *gasp* a bad thing with a combination of rationalization and equivication.

    It's not that I actually disagree with some of the coutnerpoints that are made. Porn probably has had a significant impact on bringing us broadband. Some people have little or no problem with porn. But the general tone strikes me as annoying because it's obvious to me that the vast majority of you guys are not actually trying to discuss the issue: you're trying to excuse/justify your behavior in the face of overwhelming evidence that pornography - like smoking (as an example) is bad for people and bad for society. Or you're just dismissing a rather well-researched article because you don't like the conclusion.

    The most obnoxious claim I hear is that "every male looks at porn". I'm sorry - but they all don't. I don't. I never have. I'm 24, I'm happily married, and I've just never looked. According to most of you (especially the ones that like porn the most, in my experience) this is because religion has warped my brain. Whatever - I'm hardly in a position to prove that I'm sane over the internet (and by definition I'm not 'normal' in this aspect of my behavior). I'm not the only one either. I have other friends (not all of them Mormon) who have similarly never looked at porn.

    Look, if you think this is some "holier than thou" preach-fest, you're missing the point. My point is just this: knock it off with the "everybody does it" routine. Most people do. A lot don't. Whether or not 66% or 75% ot 95% or 99% of males look at porno should have nothing to do with 1 - whether it's a good thing or a bad thing 2 - whether you do it or don't.

    Final point: not looking at porno doesn't mean you're not interested in sex. Nor is it a form of ascetism. There's a little something that makes us human: rational self control. Animals mate based on sheer biology. They eat based on sheer biology. Humans are biological creatures. We have the same essential urges. But what makes us human is the capacity not to bash in someone's skull when they really piss us off, not to eat to the point of becoming morbidly obese, and (in this case) not to go stare at pics/vids of porn whenever we feel sexual drives. Just because we don't fight everyone that pisses us off doesn't mean we don't feel anger. Just because we know how to control our weight/health doesn't mean we don't experience hunger or enjoy food. And just because we don't look at porno doesn't mean we don't have sexual urges and enjoy sex.

    -stormin
  • by anonymous_wombat (532191) on Friday March 31, 2006 @02:50PM (#15035840)
    Why didn't you guys tell me!
  • by wwmedia (950346) on Friday March 31, 2006 @02:58PM (#15035916)
    the internet is for porn


    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-568168227 5335461822&q=internet+for+porn&pl=true/ [google.com]
    the above video is absolutely hillarious. check it out
  • by aquatone282 (905179) on Friday March 31, 2006 @03:10PM (#15036014)

    . . . you only needed access under your parents' bed to view Dad's pr0n.

    Now you need to hack his password.

  • by NatteringNabob (829042) on Friday March 31, 2006 @04:25PM (#15036649)
    The problem isn't that there is too much porn on the internet, the problem is that modern society doesn't provide adequate opportunities for 'real' sex. Too much work, two wage earner couples, kids, pets, traffic, in laws, etc. - who has the time? Instead of wringing their hands about internet porn, researchers should be working to force companies to offer mid-afternoon sex break w/pay giving people a chance to slip of home for a quick one. Problem solved.

Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable. -- Gilb

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