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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?

  • 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.
  • Significant change (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kongjie (639414) <kongjie@macMONET.com minus painter> 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.

  • 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.
  • 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: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.
  • by tbcpp (797625) on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:09PM (#15034872)
    As Jesus said: When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth [it] empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last [state] of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation. (from Matt 12)

    My point here is, that porn addictions can only be overcome if somthing is used to replace it (specificly Christ). And porn is an addiction. I was there for awhile. And I still struggle with the temptation from time to time. But in reality people are only looking on the outside of the issue. The reality is that Satan has come to this earth to steal, kill and destroy (john 10:10). His goal is to destory a man (or woman) in whatever way possible. Weither that is though porn, drugs, or the occult doesn't really matter to him. As long as he can get one more soul to go to Hell, he is happy.

    Okay, I'm ranting, I know. But I have to say this: Contrary to common view men are not animals. We have the ability to rule our minds and spirits. To be able to make a decision based on more than "what makes us feel good". The danger I see with porn is that it reduces the human race (and specificly women) to mere animals. We loose our dingnity. Life is more than sex. Marriage is more than sex, it is about a relationship. Porn causes us to view only the outside of a woman (or man) and no further.

    Okay, flame if you want, but that's my view

  • by An Onerous Coward (222037) on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:21PM (#15034994) Homepage
    Depending on your circumstances, a Jesus addiction can be more destructive to your life than a porn addiction.

    Anyhow, most people who claim to have been addicted to porn strike me as excessively religious types. It seems that those who consider porn "forbidden fruit" get a bigger thrill out of it, have an impossible time talking to others about their activities, and therefore lose all perspective. In short, most people who are addicted are that way because of religion. Take away the religious injunctions against it, and you take away much of its power.
  • 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:Rationalization (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eyeye (653962) on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:24PM (#15035036) Homepage Journal
    You reduce your chance of getting prostate problems by ejeculating regularly, so do it for your health.
    http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn3942 [newscientist.com]
    Its not good to keep stuff in, you need to regularly clear out those pipes, 5 times a week or more is good.

    Or do you abstain for religious reasons in which case why trot out a series of repeated non religious sounding reasons.
  • Re:Hypocrisy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by alyre (762730) on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:28PM (#15035070)
    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 concept some men came up with to comfort themselves. Your view on the matter leads me to believe you have some sexism issues to deal with.
  • The perfect trap (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann.slash ... m ['ail' in gap]> 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?
  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:49PM (#15035280)
    Anyway, my point is that people become sex objects when used in porn, and that's unavoidable really. You might as well be classifying them in the same genre as sex toys...

    Just like music. When I watch a concert on TV, or listen to music, the musicians are just like music-objects, you might as well classify them as being instruments...The fact is that we commodify other humans all the time. The person on the phone at the call center, the checkoutout girl, the guy working at blockbuster. Are you telling me yuo have deep and meaningful relationships with these people? No? What's that, the only reason you interact with them at all is because they serve a purpose for you?

    This is the stupidity of the porn-make-sex-object argument. Yes porn makes people sex objects, and music playing makes peoples music-objects, and fast food places make people food-providing-objects. That doesn't mean you forget that they are people with many other sides to them, it just means that right here right now, you want something and they are helping to provide it. You can still respect them, and be courteous to them, and kind and nice. Damn. I'm sick and tired of this "sex is a special case that is different to everything else", and "sex is inherently dirty/evil/sinful whatever."

  • 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.

  • Re:This is so true (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Skreems (598317) on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:53PM (#15035312) Homepage
    For someone who "works with addicts" and "understands addiction", you seem woefully unaware that pornography and masturbation both provoke an endorphin response in the body, thus allowing them to be accurately described as causing physical addiction.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:54PM (#15035320)
    I grew up in a Catholic family. Anything to do with sex, affection or the human body was treated as the work of the devil. When the bikini came out it was treated like trash. Sex education was non-existant. By the time I got out of highschool and left home I could no more put my arm around a women than I could chop it off with an ax. All of my feeble attempts to have a relationship with a women have been failures and I often think about killing myself as a result. I say take all of the self-righteous people that fear and hate sex and throw them into the ocean.
  • by drgonzo59 (747139) on Friday March 31, 2006 @01:59PM (#15035370)
    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 gentle and loving, were no explicit shots of the gentials or anything of that sort. Yet, one of parents grabbed the daughter and walked out with her during that scene. The child didn't understand why her parents are reacting in that angry way, to the little kid it probably seemed that something "wrong" was going on. Growing up like that, thinking that sex is evil and wrong, yet seeing the adults sneeker and make jokes about it, is probably really confusing.

    I personally grew up in an Orthodox Christian family. Yet, my parents, especially my mom, were willing to talk and discuss about anything I wanted to know about girls, relationships, sex, babies etc. My parents bought appropriate books for my age that I could read if I felt like it was too embarassing for me to ask. The main point that I was taught and stuck with me for life is that sex is basically a good thing, it is pleasurable and it is to be enjoyed. It is not evil, it is not "un-natural" or anything like that. Of course because it is so enjoyable and it does produce powerfull emotions, it is subject to abuse, just like alcohol, food and other useful and enjoyable things.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 31, 2006 @02:07PM (#15035441)
    What if we ignore 18 and 19 year olds?

    Good point, but the cynic in me is asking: why didn't they extend the range down to 5 years-old?

    It's trivial too: include one 5 year-old that only sees web-hosted family pictures while their parents are doing most of the clicking/typing. One extra person won't really change the results, but it could help infer that 5 year-olds are viewing porn online.
  • Re:and addiction? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Compulsion (734114) on Friday March 31, 2006 @02:13PM (#15035502)
    A little something on Exercise Addiction
    http://www.active.com/story.cfm?story_id=10296&sid ebar=13&category=running [active.com]
  • 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.
  • Re:and addiction? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shawb (16347) on Friday March 31, 2006 @02:13PM (#15035513)
    There are things that are genuinely physically addictive like hard drugs

    I wouldn't be so sure [wikipedia.org] about even that one.
  • Heh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mmalove (919245) on Friday March 31, 2006 @02:35PM (#15035722)
    From the article:

    The Washington Post reported that the online porn business was worth $2.5bn a year, compared with just $1.1bn for music downloads.

    There is a 2.5 billion dollar industry for assisted masturbation.

    I'd say the effect on society is more people getting off. That's less wound up lunatics out there killing people because lets face it, no matter how bad your day, would you ever even consider killing someone after an orgasm?

    Pr0n = less violence. We could use a lot more really...
  • Re:Gender (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheCarp (96830) * <sjc&carpanet,net> 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
  • Been There (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 31, 2006 @02:46PM (#15035809)
    "It's not sexual guilt. It's more a sense of waste and puzzlement. What am I lacking in my life and my marriage that I need this? You are meant to get to know yourself as you get older. I'm 32 and sometimes I think I'm getting more confused, lost in cyberspace. But the most baffling thing is that I can say all this to you, but when I go home tonight I'll probably boot up my machine and start all over again."

    It isn't that pornography is inherently bad. It's what Michael is saying above. Just like any other addiction, those of us who become addicted cannot break out of the cycle he describes.

    However, unlike alcoholism, an addiction to pornography is not socially accepted. I go to church where a number of the members are in AA and humbly relate their recovery process. The fact of the matter is that people don't look at porn addicts who are in recovery the same way.

    Hope those of you dealing with this addiction like me can find some good help!
  • 70% of Adult Men? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 31, 2006 @02:47PM (#15035813)
    TFA says 70% of Adult American men view pr0n on the internet. Entirely plausible--I buy it. But what I cannot understand is how when 70% of any population do anything, naysayers continue to call it aberrant or a 'problem' instead of recognizing that it has become the norm. Go read a little Durkheim, people.

    And as an aside, a person could ask the question, 'so for all these women who are upset that their partner is looking at porn, would they rather their partner slept around on them instead?'
  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Friday March 31, 2006 @02:55PM (#15035881)
    My question: how many were looking for it when they found it? How many of those 9 year-olds who had seen porn (assuming that any of those 9 year-olds fall into the 50% mentioned) were looking for stuff on Pokemon or Cardcaptors?
  • by TheCarp (96830) * <sjc&carpanet,net> on Friday March 31, 2006 @03:01PM (#15035951) Homepage
    Thats not always true.

    a) there are "hardcore" porn mags
    b) there is plenty of "soft core" porn on the web

    Shit in addition to playboy (which I found at about 9), around the time I was 12 I found a bootleg copy of a movie that was mostly normal sex with thin plot, but towards the end involved a man being tied up and anally raped with a corn cob by a couple of sadistic women.

    It was just one scene, and a short one (it was more part of the flimsy excuse of a plot than a real attempt at some sort of BDSM scene). However, honestly, it had almost no effect on my or my view of human sexuality at all... it was so beyond the scope of experiences I could relate to, that it was just a curiosity.... and not even much of one.

    I dunno, as our hormones start changing us and awakening those animal desires, I think its natural for us to be curious and porn definitly plays a role in that curiosity.

    You would think porn would be more encouraged, afterall, don't we not want kids channelling their sexual energy into eachother? They have to do something with it. So they see some images and jerk off. Isn't that better than trying to convince suzy down the road to spread her legs?

    Honestly I wonder how useful it even is to discuss. I mean, are there really people who think that it would even be possible to prevent kids from growing up without seeing porn?

    I know its a natural instinct of parents to want to "protect" their children from all harm, imagined or otherwise. I just wish the breeders out there would be more willing to take a step back and ask themselves whether the dangers they see are even real.

    Just because someone says its "for the children" doesn't mean that what they want to do is helpful, or even not harmful to those same children.

    -Steve
  • by c6gunner (950153) on Friday March 31, 2006 @03:09PM (#15036006)
    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.
    Damn. I distinctly recall "devaluing the humanity" of multiple Victorias Secrets models when I was about 12. Wal-mart models too when I couldn't get a hold of anything better. Human beings are quite adaptable when it comes to most things. If you cut off access to pornography, we'll find another replacement for our fantasies. What's next, banning the modeling of swimsuits? Hell, might as well go the whole way and have women wear Burqas. Obviously every time I look at a woman wearing tight pants and a tiny shirt, I'm "devaluing her humanity", right? And by exposing herself that way, she's damaging my fragile little mind by teaching me to "relate to women in an unhealthy way". So fuck 'em; make them cover up from head to toe. I'm fairly certain that seing just the bridge of her nose won't make me lose control and start madly masturbating in the middle of a McDonalds.

    Just watch out for an increase in homosexual relationships.
  • by don_in_agoura (927652) on Friday March 31, 2006 @03:16PM (#15036058)
    I don't think the internet really makes as much distinuction between 18 and 19 yr olds as you think. I know the porn-nazi's out there will flip out and say we're corrupting our youth, but it's so easy to see porn and kids (guys) are sexually developing well before 18. Frankly I'm supprised that the percentages are so low. I personally saw porn on the internet at around the age of 12-13ish (that's 23-24 yrs ago)... back before the "internet" was a few BBS's. I was experimenting with masterbating in by the age of 10. I was not sexually abused, no one led me to my sexual exploration, and i think i turned out very healthy. I'm happily married with a kid on the way. The internet is a great way to explore your own personal sexuality wihtout getting taken advantage of by older more sexually mature people. Frankly I believe that the internet will completely change the way our society views sex and I really hope it's sooner rather than later. don
  • 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

  • Biased study (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 31, 2006 @03:25PM (#15036129)
    9-19 isn't a very good range of ages to be surveying. There's nothing wrong with 18 or 19 years olds viewing "pr0n". Heck, even 16-17 years olds are somewhat ready for sex.

    Puberty and the related "urges" set in usually around 12 to 13 year old mark, so of course that age range and up is very likely to be curious enough to want to view pr0n.

    It's the inclusion of 9 to 11-12 year olds that I find disturbing in this study. I don't think that age range is ready to see the act, in all its uneditted glory.

    PS: Before the net, most teenage males still had viewed pr0n at some point. So what's the story here?

  • by RexRhino (769423) on Friday March 31, 2006 @03:29PM (#15036172)
    The idea isn't that everyone thinks porn is OK, it is that restricting porn, even if there is some "health issues" with it, entails a whole lot of stuff more than just "restricting porn".

    What is porn? I heard some religious christian people claiming that sex ed materials for high school students was "Child Pornography" (after all, it included illustrations of sexual intercourse that were "presumably" between under age people). The Bare Naked Ladies (the lame rock band), were once banned from an outdoor public performance in Toronto because the name was "pornographic, and offensive and degrading to women". I have heard people who want to ban Gay Pride parades or celebrations, saying that a Gay Pride parade is lewd and a form of pornography. Clearly, people will totally stretch the definition of what is porn in order to have whatever they want banned to be banned.

    But even assuming that we could 100% say, without any manipulation or mis-interpretation, what "porn" is, there is other problems.

    How do we stop web porn?... well, we have all internet traffic monitored by the government, that is how. We licence web sites, and make sure only government apporved and licenced web sites are allowed on the internet. We give the ability for the government to track everything that a person does on the internet. There is a whole bunch of technical changes and a whole infrastructure that has to be created to "do something about porn". And the infrastructure, once in place, can be used for all sorts of police state tactics.

    But my guess is there is no evidence that porn is harmfull. Much like Hillary Clinton wants the government to "investigate health issues with videogames", it is a way to circumvent constitutional protection by making it a "health issue". By determining certain types of expression to be "harmful", they can claim they are acting in a public health capacity and not implementing government censorship.
  • by JessGras (953965) on Friday March 31, 2006 @03:37PM (#15036246)
    Most addictions are to do with internal emptiness, wanting to fill up dead space, and addiction is always destructive.
    I see this kind of "logic" all the time in casual and not-so-casual public rhetoric. The author cedes that addiction has an underlying cause, but then somehow uses the idea that addiction has an ugly underlying cause to reinforce the idea that we need to fight addiction itself... when it seems to me that the logical conclusion is we need to look closer at that underlying cause.

    Addiction is not always (though usually) destructive; but internal emptiness is. Why does addiction get so much prominence when it's not the real issue? Why don't we focus on the idea that "half of 9-19 year olds feel empty inside?"

    Gotta go... running late for therapy :)

  • 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.

  • Re:Rationalization (Score:2, Interesting)

    by teal_ (53392) on Friday March 31, 2006 @04:48PM (#15036878)
    I'm not religious nor do I believe in any kind of organized religion whereby God has written books and what not, but please allow me to come to the defense of reasonable everyday Christians.

    Technically, everything in the Old Testament is null and void after Jesus Christ's sacrifice. It's like how before Christ, you had to sacrifice animals to wash sins away and what not. With Christ having made "the ultimate" sac, you can ride on that if you just say "I'm with him", so when you get to the pearly gates and God says "Dude, what's all this junk you did? You think you're good enough to get in here? Are you nuts? Didn't you read the rules?" then Jesus is supposed to intervene on your behalf and say "It's ok dad, he's with me" and then He lets you in. Of course it's not enough to just say that you're with Jesus, you actually have to believe it and do your best to follow the rules, which no human could ever really achieve, it's impossible, but Christ makes it possible to get in in spite of our shortcomings, because he did follow all the rules, he was perfect but he sacrificed himself to save all of us.

    Yes, I went through a "phase", but then I decided that I was much happier with pr0n and Star Wars toys. Although I don't believe in all this stuff literally, nor do I abide by it, it does have some influence on my behaviour toward other people, the Bible does have some very good advice for living in it. Believe in Him or not, Jesus was a pretty righteous dude :) Not a bad role-model for sure. It's a pretty admirable faith as long as you don't use it to channel your fear and your hate (the dark side) :)
  • What consequences? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by caudley (632164) on Friday March 31, 2006 @05:12PM (#15037122)
    The consequences are staggering. In 2004, the American internet tracking service ComScore revealed that more than 70 per cent of men aged 18-34 visit a pornographic site in a typical month.

    Oh no! Porn is available and the consequences are staggering, lots of people (ok, men) look at it.

    I'm not saying that there isn't a negative impact on society, but how come these articles never get around to exploring what those consequences are. It makes men depressed? Sure it does, the media is constantly scolding you for doing something with staggering consequences.

    Later on the article states:

    But the effect of such exposure is almost impossible to quantify.

    Thats probably why they didn't bother to try. Whatever they are, I'm sure they're staggering.

  • by caluml (551744) <slashdot&spamgoeshere,calum,org> on Friday March 31, 2006 @05:18PM (#15037179) Homepage
    But is the problem though that as you seek out a certain type of pics on the net, you stumble across others of a slightly harder nature - do you think that it "upgrades" your craving to harder stuff?
    I don't think it does, but I've heard that argument before.
  • Re:Rationalization (Score:3, Interesting)

    by utlemming (654269) on Friday March 31, 2006 @05:32PM (#15037315) Homepage
    Sure it may stop one from fornicating, but it does a whole lot of other things worse than that. I would argue IF it does prevent sex, that create issues that will have to be dealt with later, and may compromise the ability for a healthy, balanced, sex life later.

    If you read the article it shows that some women have a huge problem when men look at porn. Call it whatever you may. I hate to say anything for the fear that someone won't understand what I want to say. But I'll give it a shot and hope that someone who is married or in a committed relationship will back me up.

    There is a lot more to sex than just the physical act. There is the emotional connection that takes place. If porn alters that which is normal and acceptable than, yes, porn is bad. If it places physical demands on of the partners that he or she is unconfortable with, then yes, porn is bad. If porn removes the emotional connection from a couple, then yes porn is bad. The probelm with porn is that the actors are not in committed relationships, but are fake and are acting out the physical acts. So they do things that people want to act out in real life, which one partner may not be comfortable with, and one that one partner may feel is degrading. As a result sex no longer is fulfilling emotionaly, and maybe not physically, while the other party is satisfied physically. Do you see the problem?

    So justifying porn for the sole reason that it keeps people from engaging in sex earlier is not all that great. Sure, teen pregnancies might go down. STD's may be lower, but there is no indication that it is the case. When that young man that has been looking at porn since he was 11 or 12 gets to his first sexual relationship and finds that real life sex is not like the porn, and that all woman don't want to have oral or anal sex or other things seen on porn, he is going to have issues. And what of the emotional state of the woman when she sees that her guy won't accept her because she won't have anal sex with him? The language of porn is not even real. But when porn uses degrading comments like "Bitch" or whatever porn says and an unexperienced man uses that, the boy will have real issues.

  • Pr0n != Masturbation (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 31, 2006 @05:35PM (#15037341)
    Well then, let the Anonymous Coward posting begin!

    All right then. I would agree with just about everything you said (regarding the positive nature of masturbation), but the topic is pr0n, not masturbation. Perhaps kids today lack imagination, but I know I was able to get by with just the Sears catalog.

  • by theStorminMormon (883615) <theStorminMormon.gmail@com> on Friday March 31, 2006 @05:46PM (#15037444) Homepage Journal
    I didn't take your post as a flame at all. I'm really quite happy to have people disagree with me as long as they can do so intelligently - and I think you make several good points of contention.

    For starters I want to clear up some misconceptions you may have about me based on the fact that I'm Mormon. I did have a rather unique home environment in that both of my parents are also devoted Mormons. I'm extremely close with them, and I was able to discuss matters of sexuality in an open and honest way. But I also grew up in Richmond, VA (not Utah) and was one of only 2 or 3 Mormons (depending on the year) in my entire high school. My circle of friends was very diverse, and includes a devout Muslim who shared my standards as well as a completely secular Muslim who lived only to deflower virgins and everything in between (in terms of attitudes towards sex). I have been friends with gays, straights, bisexuals, have-sex-for-fun types, have-sex-for-love-types, save-sex-for-marriage types and an even an avowed asexual. So it's not as though I was somehow living in a world where Playboys were hard to find or sex was never talked about or there was a uniform message to not have sex.

    Next I want to respond to your implied characterization of waiting until marriage (which may be later than age 24) as "starving yourself". While you state that sex is extremely important to me in my life you seem to actually imply that it's at least equally important to you in your life - otherwise you would not be "starving yourself" by waiting until marriage.

    Furthermore, it's really not that hard. We live in a world where we get the constant message that you just need to have sex. Like it's some irresistable urge. In my experience if you make the conscious decision not to do something you really only have to do it once. I decided that I would not drink. So I didn't drink. Now and then I'd re-evaluate my stance - but never when I was at a party. That's no place to decide your stance on alcohol. Same goes for sex. Make your decision on your own good time and don't question yourself when it's an immediate option. I had several girl friends throughout high school and college - and all but a couple were not members of my faith and several did not share my views on sex (which did cause a couple of the relationships to end). If I were to wait until I was alone with my girlfriend to think about what my position on sex was, there was no way I'd still be a virgin.

    All I'm saying is: it's not that hard. It's not starvation of self. But it is hard. I'm not going to lie and say it was totally easy either. But I think it's important that it be hard. If you think about it the fundamental step of mastering any power is the ability to know when not to do something. While most kids my age were trying to get some tail I was serving a mission where I wasn't even allowed to be alone with a girl, hug a girl, or hold hands with a girl - let alone have sex with one (age 19-21). The result? In my opinion I've got more self control and more ability to put long-term goals ahead of short term urges. I think it has helped me in my relationship with my wife (been married less than a year still).

    Look - there's a reason (in my opinion) that chastity is an important part of virtually every major world religion. And it's the fact that sexual morality has deep ties to what it means to be human. Leon Kass has written some fascinating stuff on this topic. I won't try to summarize. But I'll just point out that there is, in my opinion, some fundamental wisdom to the traditional life plan: stay a virgin (and more than that, stay chaste), get married, and stay with your one wife. Sex becomes a shared experience, a private communion shared by you and your spouse and no one else. An additional bond to keep a marriage together when times get tough.

    Anyway, I've kind of gone overboard in explaining my general position on sex. That's just the way I think things should be in the sense that I think people
  • by fbjon (692006) on Friday March 31, 2006 @06:18PM (#15037694) Homepage Journal
    I think it might upgrade in a sense, it has for me sometimes. I think it just depends on your hormone levels. But it's not permanent for me either, right now I'm really, really bored by harder stuff, and I've actively sought out photographs, good softcore or erotica. By which I mean stuff made by real photographers, pictures that are beautiful on their own, with no real need for nudity even.

    But maybe some people don't get numbed by the hardcore stuff, or their hormone leves just never descend to normality.

  • Re:and addiction? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by geekyMD (812672) on Friday March 31, 2006 @06:45PM (#15037889)
    Read the whole Wiki. It states that the article wasn't published in Science or Nature, presumably because of resistance in the medical establishment. But that wasn't the problem, the real problem was how the study was preformed.

    In practice morphine is always injected. Why?
    1) Because it is metabolized in the liver and first pass pharmokinetics powerfully reduce its effects, so you'd need a ton to have any effect on pain.
    2) Morphine inhibits intestinal motility. So if you were to drink a morphine solution it would all go straight to your gut and you might not poop for a week. Long standing constipation is a hallmark of someone on morphine.
    3) Its freaking bitter. Most animals are conditioned not to eat/drink poisons by their tastebuds. If someone was to put morphine in water and hand it to an addict, they might drink it, but I can bet they might puke too.

    So what does this Rat Park Survey tell us? That rats don't like to drink morphine. It can't really tell us anything more, because they didn't provide an adequate control. If they had given the rats in cages morphine to drink it would have shown something, but they didn't they just gave it to them IV.

    Basic pharmacology people. Nothing to see here, move along.
  • by James_Duncan8181 (588316) on Saturday April 01, 2006 @09:05AM (#15041315) Homepage
    Funnily enough, I wrote something about how I thought pr0n had affected me...principally by making me more sexually demanding. Link: http://jaduncan.net/how-pr0n-has-changed-me [jaduncan.net]

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