Obligatory caveat: you are free to live as you see fit and choose your own standards for who you wish to spend your life with. I am not telling anyone what to do in their own bedroom.
But we need to talk – seriously – about the yet unknown breadth of consequence of the modern day pornography industry to society, our men, our children. The recent thread on whether porn makes a man low value merely scratched the surface of a deep and fundamental question on modern gender relations and the near dystopian impending reality.
Children have been exposed to porn at increasing quality and accessibility at younger and younger ages, some studies say at an average age of 11, while others even claim it may be as young as 8. The claim of “just be a good parent, supervise children’s screen time, set up parental restrictions” is unbelievably short sighted and solutions are far from being viable. There is a reason alcohol and drug use is age restricted. During these incredibly sensitive years of brain development, dopamine saturation has long lasting and irreversible consequences on a child’s ability to grow and develop healthy behaviors, leads to long lasting addiction proclivity, and porn specifically at young ages shapes the way children view sexuality.
Porn is everywhere. Kids are on Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, YouTube, and have unmatched access to internet and screens in private, and restrictions in your home can’t compete with the kids across the street. Porn or soft porn has saturated these markets, and if you think that won’t have a lasting impact on our kids and future men and women, you are naïve. And the snowball will continue to grow as technology moves towards more advanced VR media and masturbation technology.
Anything that gives us dopamine hits is addictive. Unhealthy foods packed with fat and sugar, nicotine, alcohol, and other drugs are universally accepted as addictive and unhealthy, even if you partake in these vices only occasionally. I get it, YOU might be able to watch porn occasionally and without detriment to your relationship or lifestyle, but we are vastly underestimating the prevalence of this addiction and the consequences. We can’t analyze the long term effects of a vice that is universal because there is no control group. What percent of men do you believe have never watched porn? Less than one percent?
I am not so insecure to believe my man does not look at attractive women. I understand testosterone and I understand men, and men have been looking at women for millennia. But as a community striving to understand gender relations between men and women in the modern age, RPW must take this conversation seriously and must understand the difference between masculine sexuality and widespread pornography addiction. When will we accept this as a crisis and understand there our boys and fathers and brothers and partners need help and need society to treat this problem with the seriousness of any other addiction? Yes, you may believe your marriage is fine, your partner is fine, but what about the devastating consequences to millions of others? What about your children? What about the societal impacts on marriage and community?
There is a new group of young men who have realized how much better their lives become when not watching porn, finding more focus, drive, confidence, and color in the day to day. They have helped many men overcome this addiction and advocate for it adamantly. I believe in their movement, it has drastically improved countless lives and relationships, including my own partner before we met. I hope we can find a sensible solution as a society, and I encourage all of you to consider your unexamined assumptions and apathy towards the effects of porn on our culture, and bring compassion and light towards many around you who might be suffering silently, to consider how we might raise this next generation with a whole new set of challenges. I hope you all are having a beautiful Wednesday.