Just a "Harmless Hobby" and Other Myths

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Mark Kastleman

There are many today who believe that the viewing of explicit adult-oriented material is "just harmless fun" and that few people experience a negative effect by so doing. "The Ted Bundys of the world are sick and rare!" cries the pro-porn camp. "For the rest of us, pornography is no different than any other hobby or pastime."

The Law of Gravity
Whether this pro-porn elite wants to admit it or not, there are universal laws that apply to all of us. Let me give you an example. Bruce Wright, author of The Wright Exit Strategy, often cites the Law of Gravity to illustrate this point. He tells of a family member who was debating the concept of universal laws and principles applying to everyone. Like the pornographers and their minions, this family member claimed that "our perceptions are reality," and that such universal laws do not exist.

Bruce took this family member aside and suggested that together they climb to the top of a ten-story building. Out on the roof, they sidled over to the edge and gazed down. Bruce said, "Let's assume that you perceive there is no law of gravity. If you believe that your 'perception is reality,' then jump!" Fortunately, the relative did not jump-and perception is not reality. There are certain laws and realities that apply to all of us whether we "perceive" them to be or not.

Whether you're a man, woman, teen or child, viewing pornography exacts serious consequences. Even though pornographers and those who support them insist otherwise, they cannot change this reality.

Silent Alarms
Silent alarms are going off all around us as a result of the effects of pornography on us, on our children, and on society as a whole. But few are responding to these alarms. Why? Because too many are allowing their attention to be diverted by the much louder alarms being set off by the pornographers themselves.

"Censorship!" "First Amendment Rights!" "Freedom!" scream these "ravening wolves in sheep's clothing," all the while quietly collecting their enormous profits. Pornographers deliberately trigger these alarms just as the bank robber who sends a decoy to rob the teller while he empties the main vault out the back door!

The tragedy is that while much of America is buying into and being distracted by these alleged assaults on our constitutional rights, the pornographers are robbing millions of their freedom through addiction to pornography. Along the way they are stealing the most precious treasure we have-the future legacy of goodness and decency that we want our children and grandchildren to enjoy. The waves of pornography pouring freely from the Internet have become destructive shockwaves.

Pornography Promotes and Portrays Women as Objects
Pornography is degrading and humiliating to women as a whole. Women should be honored for their tremendous value and contribution to our society in all fields of study, talent and ability. They should be treated with dignity and respect, as valuable human beings. No man alive exists except that a woman substantially sacrificed herself to give him life. We should be sensitive to their rights, their needs and their feelings.

Pornographers and the pornography they produce demonstrates a wanton, callous disregard for women. It portrays women as a collection of body parts, objects of lust who enjoy being dominated and used solely for the purpose of sexual gratification. Or it portrays them as sex-crazed-willing and anxious to have sex with virtually any man at the drop of a hat. These images and attitudes degrade and demean all women.

Internet Pornography Entices Men to Commit Violence Against Women
Pornography portrays and promotes violence against women. It also supports the so-called "rape myth," which leads men to believe that women really enjoy being sexually abused, even though women vigorously deny it. Pornography acts as both a training manual and a catalyst for rapists, predators who act out their vicious pornographic fantasies on innocent women, teens and children.

A former surgeon general, Dr. C. Everett Koop, summed up the "Rape Myth." After examining all of the facts, Dr. Koop said, "I am certain that pornography that portrays sexual aggression as pleasurable for the victim is at the root of much of the rape that occurs today. Impressionable men, many of them still in adolescence, see this material and they get the impression that women like to be hurt, humiliated and forced to do things that they do not want to do. It is a false and vicious stereotype that leads to much pain and even death for victimized women."

In short, pornography brings many men who view it to the point where they think violence against women is socially acceptable or even secretly desired by women.

The Rape Myth
Dr. Victor Cline, in his work Pornography's Effects on Adults and Children, sites the following from Drs. Neil Malamuth and Edward Donnerstein as noted in their research-based book, Pornography and Sexual Aggression:

"Certain forms of pornography can affect aggressive attitudes toward women and can desensitize an individual's perception of rape. These attitudes and perceptions are, furthermore, directly related to actual aggressive behavior against women."

Drs. Malamuth and Donnerstein also found that watching films depicting a woman as saying that she enjoys being raped, increased male acceptance of interpersonal violence against women and tended to increase the male's acceptance of rape myths (such as . . . the woman indicated she enjoyed being raped, or she said "no" when she really meant "yes" while being sexually assaulted.

Dr. Judith Reisman is one of the world's leading authorities on the psychological and neurochemical effects of pornography. The following is an insight taken from Dr. Reisman's revolutionary book Soft Porn Plays Hardball:

In 1984, Neil Malamuth and James Check reported on a study in which they showed UCLA college males a series of films depicting three common rape myths: 1) the victim enjoyed the rape, 2) the victim deserved the rape, and 3) the victim was not harmed by the rape. Prior to viewing the films, the students had expressed normal, non-violent sexual attitudes. After the films, more than half of the college men claimed they would rape a woman-if they were sure they would not get caught.

Dr. Reisman concludes:

It is common knowledge that rape is now practiced sexual "etiquette" for many college males. In campus rape, "Joe College" acts out suggestions which are historically found in pornographic materials. Now with most college males having a computer and the Internet right in their dorm or apartment, "rape myth" porn images are instantly available. Contrary to what porn proponents claim, porn does provide a "script" for the viewer to follow, offering instructions in such things as campus rape, boyfriend rape, date rape, acquaintance rape, gang rape, and now "wilding" (a combination of gang rape, battery and mutilation inflicted on a female victim by a large group of teenage boys or young men).

The nature of these attacks indicates that Joe College knows many of the women he rapes- the very "nice girls" whom, in the past, he protected. With Internet porn images of nymphomaniacal college girls fed into his cellular memories, can we expect anything else from Joe College?

Now, the conventional rapist frequently knows not only the coeds he rapes, he is also well-acquainted with the families of his victims, suggesting a whole new middle-class script that reflects a conventional twist to rape and retribution. Victims are often left with the sense that not even the father, brothers, and the police themselves will serve as her protector.

And what if her ideal protectors are all involved in some type of Internet pornography viewing, just like Joe College who raped her? What neural pathways are in place with these men, and how much empathy or protection can she expect?

The Denmark Experiment
Pornography proponents love to discount the rape-porn connection by referencing the "Denmark Experiment." In 1969, Denmark's government lifted pornography restrictions. Studies in the early 1970s by Berl Kutchinski of the University of Copenhagen claimed that easy access to pornography had reduced sex crimes by providing a "safety valve" for potential offenders.

In 1977 in the International Journal of Criminology & Penology, 5, p.129, John H. Court published a research paper entitled Pornography & Sex Crimes. In this report, Court indicated that the Copenhagen police admitted a gross error and released new rape statistics which were considerably higher than the figures originally reported. In the words of Court, " . . . the trend since 1969 indicates that there has been a new level higher than anything in the previous decade."

As expected, porn advocates have remained quiet about the results of similar studies in Sweden, Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia. In his work Criminal Neglect: Why Sex Offenders Go Free (Toronto: Doubleday, p.141), John Court comments on the studies in these countries stating: " . . . as the constraints on the availability of pornography were lifted . . . the rates of rape in those countries increased. For example, in two Australian states between 1964 and 1977, when South Australia liberalized its laws on pornography and Queensland maintained its conservative policy . . . over the 13-year period, the number of rapes in Queensland remained at the same low level while South Australia's showed a six-fold increase."

Clearly, in light of this evidence, and contrary to the rhetoric of pornography proponents, the Danish experience and that of other countries throughout the world shows a direct correlation between the legalization of pornography and the increase of sexual assaults against women. Knowing what we do about pornography and its effects on the male mindbody, there could have been no other result.

Internet Porn Inflicts Suffering Upon the Male Viewer's Wife
When married men regularly view pornography, their wives always suffer. After feasting upon the exaggerated/manufactured bodies of porn stars and the sexual acts they eagerly participate in, a man often becomes dissatisfied with his wife, whom he suddenly considers physically and sexually inadequate. As a result of this trend, many women feel inadequate, and some try to "measure up" by enhancing or changing their bodies via assorted surgical procedures, make-overs, etc.

At the insistence of their husbands, some women subject themselves to the perverted, bizarre and uncomfortable sex acts their husbands have viewed in pornography. Many women's lives are turned upside down and their marriages destroyed as a direct result of pornography.

Women as Primary Victims of Pornography
Many of the comments thus far have had to do with women as "secondary victims" of pornography. But as a result of Internet pornographers creating porn sites geared to women and the proliferation of Internet cybersex chatrooms, increasing numbers of women are falling prey to porn and cybersex addiction on a primary level. All of the tragedies afflicting male porn addicts are also heaped upon these female addicts: hours, days, and years of wasted time, talents left undeveloped, marriages and families destroyed, self-respect laid waste, and many other even more devastating consequences.

But perhaps a tragedy at least as great as them all, is the fact that these women surrender themselves to the trappings and lies of the Internet pornographers, the Hollywood smut peddlers, and the whole male-oriented-and-dominated sexual attitude. If women, with their gifts of intuition, perspective, reasoning and a host of other "whole brain" attributes, buy into the pornography agenda and campaign, and adopt an "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" philosophy, then I fear we have little hope for healthy and sacred human intimacy.

Mark B. Kastleman is the author of the revolutionary new book titled The Drug of the New Millennium-the Science of How Internet Pornography Radically Alters the Human Brain and Body-A Guide for Parents, Spouses, Clergy and Counselors. Many leading scientists, psychologists, therapists and religious leaders consider this book to be one of the most important works ever written on this subject, and a must-read for parents, spouses, clergy and counselors.