Forbidden Pictures: The Effect of Pornography on Our Lives

by Madeleine Richey

Everyone has heard of pornography. Everyone knows what it is. But how many know what it does to us?

Pornography has become a problem in our country. Not only for those of us who consider ourselves to be part of the many faiths that frown upon such sexual exploitation, but even for those who do not. Some forms of pornography are illegal. I repeat; illegal. The laws of our country forbid it. Not only that; it destroys us.

Pornography is defined as sexually explicit material designed to cause sexual arousal. The court has also ruled though, that the making of pornography is not prostitution, but a different offense as a whole. The porn industry in the US alone is estimated to be worth anywhere between $2-$13 billion every year. Unfortunately, pornography is often regulated by “soft core” or “hard core,” and as such the courts are often faced with the decision of what is lawful and what is not, depending on the material in question. Not all forms of pornography are illegal, but child porn is an offense punishable by heavy fines and jail time.

Child pornography; being defined as sexually explicit material featuring minors (under the age of 18), is an offense that not only destroys the innocence of childhood for our children, but brings us down to the lowest level. Have we sunk so low that we are using children for our pleasure? Child porn caters to pedophiles, an offense for which other criminals have no tolerance. Criminals have their own form of justice; child abusers often end up dead even in jail, so hated and despised are they by thieves and murderers.

As a whole pornography is vulgar and disgusting, depicting human beings, who are entitled to human dignity, as sex objects for our pleasure. It makes them less than human; and it makes us less than what we deserve to be.

Every faith teaches that humans are entitled to be treated with respect and as a person in their own right, not a toy twisted and turned in a camera lens and photoshopped to appeal to the base desires of others.

The arguments against pornography consist mostly of immorality and legality; what is not commonly argued is the effect it has on our daily lives. The term sexual addiction is rarely used. It is far less commonly heard that crack addiction or weed-fiend, but it is an actual addiction that affects far more people than most of us realize.

A sex addiction is often used to define hypersexuality, where thoughts, feelings, or actions pertaining to sexuality occur more frequently than is considered normal and are often out of the person’s control. Many experts classify a sexual addiction as the same as an addiction to nicotine or crack cocaine, while others are still unsure as to whether a sexual addiction does really exist or if it is just a form of hypersexuality or poor self-control. Oftentimes it is associated with bipolar, obsessive compulsive, or narcissistic personality disorder, as some of the symptoms of sexual addiction are the same as with some of these and other disorders.

The disturbing effects of pornography and sex addiction can destroy us. Not only is pornography wrong, it is dangerous. Soft porn leads to hard porn and to a pornography addiction that consumes lives, often blinding those addicted to the people around them. If found in possession of child porn, you can spend years in jail and pay hefty fines. But even beyond the fines and jail time, is its effect on us and the people in our lives. Losing a loved one to a sex addiction is even more shameful than losing them to an addiction to crack cocaine or heroin; it irreparably damages our relationships with the people we love and who love us through hurt, shame, and loss of trust.

Some people say that as adults, entitled to free choice by the laws of our country, we should have the right to view pornography, even child porn, if we see fit. Though the possession of pornography, excepting child porn, is legal in our country, that doesn’t make it right; we should remember that those involved in the making of porn are someone’s sister, daughter, brother, or son. What if it was someone you loved?

Madeleine, 16, says: “We need to be aware of the problems from which our world suffers; if we’re not, we’ll never do anything to fix them.”

Updated: July 31, 2012 — 12:33 pm

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