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What is PORNOGRAPHY?

Pornography, representation of sexual behaviour in


books, pictures, statues, motion pictures, and other media
that is intended to cause sexual excitement. The
distinction between pornography (illicit and condemned
material) and erotica (which is broadly tolerated) is largely
subjective and reflects changing community standards.
The word pornography, derived from the
Greek porni (“prostitute”) and graphein (“to write”), was
originally defined as any work of art or literature depicting
the life of prostitutes.
Because the very definition of pornography is subjective, a
history of pornography is nearly impossible to conceive;
imagery that might be considered erotic or even religious
in one society may be condemned as pornographic in
another. Thus, European travelers to India in the 19th
century were appalled by what they considered
pornographic representations of sexual contact and
intercourse on Hindu temples such as those
of Khajuraho (see photograph); most modern observers
would probably react differently. Many contemporary
Muslim societies likewise apply the label “pornography” to
many motion pictures and television programs that are
unobjectionable in Western societies. To adapt a cliché,
pornography is very much in the eye of the beholder.
In many historical societies, frank depictions of sexual
behaviour, often in a religious context, were common.
In ancient Greece and Rome, for instance, phallic imagery
and depictions of orgiastic scenes were widely present,
though it is unlikely that they fulfilled anything like the
social or psychological functions of modern pornography
(see phallicism). A modern use seems more likely in some
of the celebrated erotic manuals, such as the Roman
poet Ovid’s Ars amatoria (Art of Love), a treatise on the art
of seduction, intrigue, and sensual arousal. Some of the
100 stories in the Decameron, by the medieval Italian
poet Giovanni Boccaccio, are licentious in nature. A
principal theme of medieval pornography was the sexual
depravity (and hypocrisy) of monks and other clerics.
Japan possessed a very highly developed culture of visual
erotica, though these materials were so much part of the
social mainstream that many cannot legitimately be
described as “pornographic.” Elaborate depictions of
sexual intercourse—pictures notionally designed to
provide sex education for medical professionals,
courtesans, and married couples—are present from at
least the 17th century. Makura-e (pillow pictures) were
intended for entertainment as well as for the instruction of
married couples. This interest in very frank erotica
reached its height during the Tokugawa period (1603–
1867), when new technologies of colour woodblock
printing allowed the easy manufacture and circulation of
erotic prints, commonly described as shunga (“images of
spring”; see photograph). The volume of this type of
material was so large by the 18th century that the
government began issuing official edicts against it, and
some arrests and prosecutions followed.
Nevertheless, Japanese erotica continued to flourish, and
the prints of artists such as Suzuki Harunobu (c. 1725–70)
have since achieved worldwide renown.
Effects on the Mind, Body, and Soul
The “digital revolution” has led to great strides in productivity,
communication, and other desirable ends, but pornographers
also have harnessed its power for their profit. The cost has
been a further weakening of the nation’s citizens and families,
a development that should be of grave concern to all. The
social sciences demonstrate the appropriateness of this
concern.
Two reports, one by the American Psychological Association
on hyper-sexualized girls, and the other by the National
Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy on the pornographic
content of phone texting among teenagers, make clear that
the digital revolution is being used by younger and younger
children to dismantle the barriers that channel sexuality into
family life.1)
Pornography, as a visual (mis)representation of sexuality,
distorts an individual’s concept of sexual relations by
objectifying them, which, in turn, alters both sexual attitudes
and behavior. It is a major threat to marriage, to family, to
children, and to individual happiness.
Social scientists, clinical psychologists, and biologists have
begun to clarify some of the social and psychological effects
of pornography, and neurologists are beginning to delineate
the biological mechanisms through which pornography
produces its powerful effects on people.
Pornography’s power to undermine individual and social
functioning is powerful and deep:
 Effect on the Mind: Pornography significantly distorts
attitudes and perceptions about the nature of sexual
intercourse. Men who habitually look at pornography
have a higher tolerance for abnormal sexual behaviors,
sexual aggression, promiscuity, and even rape. In
addition, men begin to view women and even children as
“sex objects,” commodities or instruments for their
pleasure, not as persons with their own inherent dignity.
 Effect on the Body: Pornography is very addictive. The
addictive aspect of pornography has a biological
substrate, with dopamine hormone release acting as one
of the mechanisms for forming the transmission pathway
to pleasure centers of the brain. Also, the
increased sexual permissiveness engendered by
pornography increases the risk of contracting a sexually
transmitted disease or of being an unwitting parent in an
out-of-wedlock pregnancy.
 Effect on the Heart: Pornography affects people’s
emotional lives. Married men who are involved in
pornography feel less satisfied with their marital sexual
relations and less emotionally attached to their
wives. Women married to men with a pornography
addiction report feelings of betrayal, mistrust, and anger.
Pornographic use may lead to infidelity and even
divorce. Adolescents who view pornography feel shame,
diminished

 self-confidence, and sexual uncertainty.

The Effects of Pornography on
Individuals, Marriage, Family and
Community
By Pat Fagan Senior Policy Analyst

Pornography is a visual representation of sexuality which distorts an


individual's concept of the nature of conjugal relations. This, in turn, alters
both sexual attitudes and behavior. It is a major threat to marriage, to
family, to children and to individual happiness. In undermining marriage it is
one of the factors in undermining social stability.
Social scientists, clinical psychologists, and biologists have begun to clarify
some of the social and psychological effects, and neurologists are
beginning to delineate the biological mechanisms through which
pornography produces its powerful negative effects.
KEY FINDINGS ON THE EFFECTS OF PORNOGRAPHY
THE FAMILY AND PORNOGRAPHY

 Married men who are involved in pornography feel less satisfied with
their conjugal relations and less emotionally attached to their wives.
Wives notice and are upset by the difference.
 Pornography use is a pathway to infidelity and divorce, and is frequently
a major factor in these family disasters.
 Among couples affected by one spouse's addiction, two-thirds
experience a loss of interest in sexual intercourse.
 Both spouses perceive pornography viewing as tantamount to infidelity.
 Pornography viewing leads to a loss of interest in good family relations.

THE INDIVIDUAL AND PORNOGRAPHY

 Pornography is addictive, and neuroscientists are beginning to map the


biological substrate of this addiction.
 Users tend to become desensitized to the type of pornorgraphy they
use, become bored with it, and then seek more perverse forms of
pornography.
 Men who view pornography regularly have a higher tolerance for
abnormal sexuality, including rape, sexual aggression, and sexual
promiscuity.
 Prolonged consumption of pornography by men produces stronger
notions of women as commodities or as "sex objects."
 Pornography engenders greater sexual permissiveness, which in turn
leads to a greater risk of out-of-wedlock births and STDs. These, in turn,
lead to still more weaknesses and debilities.
 Child-sex offenders are more likely to view pornography regularly or to
be involved in its distribution.

OTHER EFFECTS OF PORNOGRAPHY

 Many adolescents who view pornography initially feel shame,


diminished self-confidence, and sexual uncertainty, but these feelings
quickly shift to unadulterated enjoyment with regular viewing.
 The presence of sexually oriented businesses significantly harms the
surrounding community, leading to increases in crime and decreases in
property values.
 The main defenses against pornography are close family life, a good
marriage and good relations between parents and children, coupled with
deliberate parental monitoring of Internet use. Traditionally, government
has kept a tight lid on sexual traffic and businesses, but in matters of
pornography that has waned almost completely, except where child
pornography is concerned. Given the massive, deleterious individual,
marital, family, and social effects of pornography, it is time for citizens,
communities, and government to reconsider their laissez-faire approach.

Other meaning for PORNOGRAPHY

Pornography (often abbreviated porn) is the portrayal of sexual subject


matter for the exclusive purpose of sexual arousal.[1] Pornography may be
presented in a variety of media,
including books, magazines, postcards, photographs, sculpture, drawing, p
ainting, animation, sound recording, phone calls, writing, film, video,
and video games. The term applies to the depiction of the act rather than
the act itself, and so does not include live exhibitions like sex
shows and striptease. The primary subjects of present-day pornographic
depictions are pornographic models, who pose for still photographs,
and pornographic actors or "porn stars", who perform in pornographic films.
If dramatic skills are not involved, a performer in pornographic media may
also be called a model.
Various groups within society have considered depictions of a sexual
nature immoral, addictive, and noxious, labeling them pornographic, and
attempting to have them suppressed under obscenity and other laws, with
varying degrees of success. Such works have also often been subject
to censorship and other legal restraints to publication, display, or
possession, leading in many cases to their loss. Such grounds, and even
the definition of pornography, have differed in various historical, cultural,
and national contexts.[2]
Social attitudes towards the discussion and presentation of sexuality have
become more tolerant in Western countries, and legal definitions of
obscenity have become more limited, notably beginning in 1969 with Blue
Movie by Andy Warhol, the first adult erotic film depicting explicit sex to
receive wide theatrical release in the United States, and the
subsequent Golden Age of Porn (1969–1984),[3][4][5] leading to an industry
for the production and consumption of pornography in the latter half of the
20th century. The introduction of home video and the Internet saw a boom
in the worldwide porn industry that generates billions of dollars annually.
Commercialized pornography accounts for over US$2.5 billion in the United
States alone,[6] including the production of various media and
associated products and services. The general porn industry is between
$10–$12 billion in the U.S.[7] In 2006, the world pornography revenue was
97 billion dollars.[8] This industry employs thousands of performers along
with support and production staff. It is also followed by dedicated industry
publications and trade groups as well as the mainstream press, private
organizations (watchdog groups), government agencies, and political
organizations.[9] More recently, sites such as Pornhub, RedTube,
and YouPorn, in addition to much pirated porn posted by individuals, have
served as repositories for home-made or semi-professional pornography,
made available free by its creators (who could be called exhibitionists).
They present a significant challenge to the commercial pornographic film
industry.
Irrespective of the legal or social view of pornography, it has been used in a
number of contexts. It is used, for example, at fertility clinics to
stimulate sperm donors. Some couples use pornography at times for
variety and to create a sexual interest or as part of foreplay. There is also
some evidence that pornography can be used to treat voyeurism.[10][11]
How to Break a Porn
Addiction
By Wayne Parker
Updated October 04, 2019
Approved by Wellness Board expert Amy Morin, LCSW

Pornography addiction is something we will often kid about but is


ultimately a behavior that can seriously damage relationships and
take precedence over more important functions and responsibilities
in your life.
What separates a porn addiction from a keen interest in porn is the
negative consequences of your behavior. With a porn addiction, the
behavior is considered compulsive, wherein you would spend an
inordinate amount of time watching porn instead of interacting with
others or completing important tasks. Moreover, the behavior would
persist even if harms your career, relationships, or state of well-
being.

Verywell / Emily Roberts


Is Porn Addiction Real?

While many health and psychiatric professionals do not consider


porn addiction to an "addiction" in the clinical sense of the word, the
signs and symptoms are often strikingly similar to those of alcohol
or drug addiction.
While the American Psychiatric Association (APA) made some
effort to categorize porn addiction in the fifth edition of
the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-
5)—proposing that it be a subcategory of hypersexual disorder— the
scientific board eventually concluded that there was not enough
evidence to support the diagnosis.
Sex Addiction and Hypersexual Disorder

Some psychiatrists have questioned whether the behavior should be


classified as a compulsive disorder more along the lines of a drug or
alcohol addiction. Their argument largely stems from changes in
brain activity that are strikingly similar to those seen in habitual
drug users.
According to a 2015 study published in the journal Behavioral
Science, an electroencephalogram (EEG) can detect characteristic
changes in brain activity whenever porn is viewed, specifically a
reactive event called P300 which can occur within 300 milliseconds
of viewing.1
This is the same response, argue the researchers, that occurs when a
drug user views drug-related paraphernalia or images.

While the association on its own is hardly conclusive, it does


suggest that porn addiction has a physiological as well as a
psychiatric component. Moreover, viewing behavior meets at least
two of the four clinical conditions associated with addiction,
namely:
 Impaired control, by which there is a craving to partake in an
activity as well as failed attempts to cut down or control the
activity
 Social problems, by which you fail to complete major tasks at
work, school, or home and/or have given up trying
On the other hand, a porn addiction fails to meet the definition in
that it is not inherently associated with risk-taking and does not
involve tolerance (a need for larger amounts to get the same effect)
or withdrawal (an adverse reaction when stopping).
While some would argue that these can occur with porn addiction,
the association is generally inconsistent or vague.
Symptoms

None of these arguments can detract from the serious harm a porn
addiction can do, both to yourself and those around you. Some of
the warning signs a porn addiction include:
 Being consumed with thoughts of porn even when you are not
actively viewing it
 Viewing porn on your cell phone during work or in social
situations where you might be seen
 Feeling ashamed, guilty, or depressed about your porn viewing
 Continuing to watch porn despite any harm it has had, is
having, or may have on your relationship, work, or home life
 Experiencing reduced sexual satisfaction with a partner when
pornography is not involved
 Keeping your porn secret from your spouse or domestic partner
 Getting upset when asked to cut back or stop using porn
 Losing track of time when viewing porn
 Trying and failing to quit
According to a study from the Kinsey Institute, a research center
dedicated to the study of human sexuality, approximately 9 percent
of habitual porn viewers reported unsuccessful attempts to stop. The
researchers also found that habitual viewers had a greater incidence
of erectile dysfunction and low libido, further differentiating
"healthy" porn viewing from potentially harmful compulsive
behaviors.
Treatment

If your porn viewing has become compulsive and is interfering with


how you feel about yourself and/or your ability to function, you
need to admit that you have a problem. That is the first and most
important step.
Irrespective of whether the psychiatric community considers porn a
true addiction, it is important that you treat it as such. Dismissing it
as "less of a problem" than other forms of addiction may only allow
you to take it less seriously.
Rather than dealing with it on your own and going "cold turkey,"
make every effort to find a professional experienced in treating
sexual dysfunction. The American Society of Sexuality Educators,
Counselors, and Therapists (ASSECT) offer an online locator to
find qualified therapists in your state. The editors of Psychology
Today operate a similar locator, allowing you to search by city, zip
code, or name.
In the end, you need to find a psychologist able to employ the most
effective treatment methods, such as cognitive behavioral therapy
(CBT), so that you can begin to develop effective relapse prevention
skills.2 While it may be uncomfortable exposing truths about your
behaviors and thoughts, doing so can ensure the most effective and
durable results.
It is only by bringing your addiction into the light that you can
answer some bigger questions about yourself and find resolutions to
make you happier and your life more stable and productive.
Why Does Pornography Exist?
The answer may reveal a lot about our primate origins.
Posted May 29, 2018

Source: Shutterstock
Why is there pornography?

Silly question, right? Porn exists because people like to watch


it. If people didn’t like to watch it, no one would make any
money producing it.

But here’s a more interesting question: Why do people like to


watch others having sex? After all, if I’m hungry I don’t get any
pleasure from watching someone else eat dinner. Why should
sex be different?

As a sex therapist and student of human sexuality, I’m


convinced the answer has to do with the fact that we’re a
highly social species.
The loud cries that some women make when they’re highly
aroused are a regular feature of porn sex. This phenomenon,
which scientists refer to as “Female Copulatory Vocalization
(FCV),” turns out to be common in highly social primate
species (1). It’s at first glance an odd behavior. Announcing to
whoever is within earshot that you’re having sex might not
have been the greatest idea in a dense forest with predators
lurking all around.

As Chris Ryan and Cacilda Jetha discuss in Sex at Dawn, it’s


likely that the original purpose of FCV in highly social primates
like ourselves was to attract others of your species. If you
heard sexy noises from the tree next door, it probably made
you want to climb on over and join the festivities. Human
testicles are built to deliver an enormous quantity of sperm —
something that would only be necessary for a kind of intra-
vaginal “arms race” where a male’s sperm was competing
against those of everyone else who’d mated with his female
partner that day.

Long ago, when there weren’t any bedroom doors, sex must
have been a somewhat public event. If you saw and heard a
couple having sex, that must have acted as an incentive to
come join them.

Committed couples today have sex for all sorts of non-


reproductive reasons, including to soothe each other, make
peace, and reinforce their mutual commitment. Promiscuous
matings in early human times probably served all of these
purposes with respect to the group, which no doubt faced the
same challenges in figuring out how to share resources,
manage hurt feelings, and get along with each other. It’s likely
that promiscuous sex on the plains of Africa 100,000 or so
years ago may have helped ease social tension and
foster cooperation and communal well-being.

Whether the result was a full-on orgy or not probably


depended on the particular culture of your hunter-gatherer
community (2). Some probably encouraged this kind of thing,
and some didn’t. But some degree of
promiscuous mating must have been common.

Of course, we humans are also endowed with strong pair-


bonding instincts, which make us jealous and motivate us to
seek a sexually exclusive relationship with just one person.
The tension between our monogamous tendencies and our
promiscuous ones no doubt made for quite a drama during
the last few million years of human evolution.

Over time, monogamy managed to gain the upper hand. The


development of language 40,000 or so years ago must have
been a game-changer in this regard (2), since it was now
possible for the first time in human history to ask questions
like, “Who was that hunter-gatherer I saw you with last
night?”

ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER ADVERTISEMENT

The invention of agriculture 10,000 years ago was surely


another milestone (1,2) since it would have given rise to the
idea of ownership: “My land, my farm tools, my crops," and,
eventually, “my spouse.” Religious and legal institutions then
cemented monogamy even more firmly in place.

But we’ve never quite lost our promiscuous tendencies. And


the proof of this is that we still love to watch other humans
have sex, just as we did on the plains 100,000 years ago. It’s
in our DNA.

Our interest in watching other people have sex may be a


vestige of an earlier stage in human history. But in the 21st
century, porn has become for many a staple of everyday life.
In 2017 there were 28.5 billion visits to PorhHub alone, a
number roughly equal to four times the Earth's total human
population (3).

More people today seem to accept the fact that their partners
regularly go online to watch other people having sex. The
degree to which this is a problem or not may well depend on
the frequency with which a couple has sex together. As I write
in my book, Love Worth Making: How to Have Ridiculously
Great Sex in a Long-Lasting Relationship (4), sex is a lot like
Pavlov’s dog: If you end up having more sex with your
computer than with your partner, then over time you’ll end up
with more pleasurable associations to your computer. Often
the best solution is to make sure you have more orgasms in
bed with your partner than in front of a screen.

The fact that most of us like to watch other people having sex
is clearly part of our evolutionary heritage. With a little wisdom,
most can manage this so it doesn’t overwhelm their erotic
bond to their partners. For many others, though, the natural
urge to watch others have sex can create a whole host of
problems. And in such cases, it can be quite valuable to
understand how deeply this urge is rooted in the early history
of our species.

© Stephen Snyder MD 2018. sexualityresource.com


The Evolution Of Porn:
Where It Started, And How
It Became So Normalized
JANUARY 25, 2017

If we told you there was something that considered “normal” in


society, but it could mess with your sexual health, harm your
relationships, fuel feelings of depression and anxiety, and it’s
connected to human trafficking, would you want to be involved with
it?
No? Neither would we.
When described that way, porn seems way less sexy and glamorous,
right? By honestly examining the scientifically proven and research-
backed harmful effects, it is clear that porn isn’t exactly the healthy
sexual outlet or harmless “entertainment” its marketed to be.
Peer-reviewed scientific research tells us that porn can change how
consumers’ brains are wired. Other research shows that it can
seriously damage your sex life and your relationship with your
significant other as well as your friends, family, and yourself. If all
this information about porn’s negative effects is out there,
then why do we constantly hear society insist that porn is a healthy,
natural, and liberating pursuit with plenty of benefits?
Where did this perspective come from?

How it began
The beginning of society’s most recent view of sexuality and porn
can be partially attributed to Dr. Alfred Kinsey, the founder of the
Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction.
A zoologist, Kinsey published his book, Sexual Behavior in the
Human Female in 1953. At the time, some considered this to be part
of the most triumphant and significant scientific publications of the
20th century, stating that they proved that most people engaged in
the sexual practices that society labeled as “taboo” and “deviant.”
However, we now know the truth behind how his book was
produced.
How these experiments were conducted were questionable, to say
the least. Along with interviewing pedophiles, Dr. Kinsey’s research
was overpopulated with prostituted people and prisoners as well. Dr.
Kinsey’s controversial investigation on sex went beyond
interviewing, too—he observed, encouraged, and even filmed
coworkers participating in sexual activity in the attic of his house.
And what’s more, Kinsey’s documents have reports with over 300
children between the ages of five months and 14 years old.

How it spread
Kinsey’s research helped to normalize some of our society’s
misinformed attitudes about sexuality and paved the way for the
booming business of pornography. In December of 1953, the same
year that Dr. Alfred Kinsey published Sexual Behavior in the
Human Female, Hollywood starlet Marilyn Monroe was featured in
the first issue of what became the world’s most recognized porn
brand: Playboy. This porn magazine founded by Hugh Hefner had
the stage set for his booming business by Dr. Kinsey’s warped
research.
Related: 4 People Who Made Porn What It Is Today
Hefner capitalized on the trend with his magazine. However, to
maximize sales, he had to change porn’s image; instead of being
thought of as something your friend’s creepy uncle might have, porn
needed to look like a gentleman’s pursuit. To do that, Hefner put
pornographic photos next to essays and articles written by respected
authors. In Playboy, porn looked like legit, classy even.
The next big shift happened in the 1980s, when VCRs made it
possible for people to watch movies at home. For porn viewers, that
meant that instead of having to go to sketchy adult theaters on the
wrong side of town, all they had to do was go to the back room at
their local movie rental place. Sure, they still had to go out to find it,
but porn was suddenly a lot more accessible.
And then the internet changed everything. [1]
Suddenly there was nothing but a few keystrokes between anyone
with an internet connection and the most graphic sexual material
imaginable and unimaginable. The online porn industry boomed.
Between 1998 and 2007, the number of pornographic websites grew
by 1,800%. [2] According to a 2004 study of Internet traffic in May
of that year, porn sites were visited three times more often than
Google, Yahoo!, and MSN Search combined. [3]
Related: 11 Mind-Blowing Porn Stats That You Won’t Believe
And porn hasn’t stayed behind the computer screen. Now that porn
is more available, affordable, and anonymous than ever before,
more people are becoming addicted [4] and its influence has soaked
into every aspect of our lives. [5] Popular video games feature full
nudity. [6] Snowboards marketed to teens are plastered with images
of porn stars. [7] Even little girls’ dolls have become more
sexualized. [8]
How it’s getting worse
The more our society becomes sexually saturated, the more porn
producers pump out harder and harder material to make sure they
stay on the cutting edge. [9] It’s all about shock and novelty, which
means that each new production is increasingly hardcore.
“Thirty years ago ‘hardcore’ pornography usually meant the explicit
depiction of sexual intercourse,” wrote Dr. Norman Doidge, in his
book on neuroscience, The Brain That Changes Itself. “Now
hardcore has evolved and is increasingly dominated by the
sadomasochistic themes … all involving scripts fusing sex with
hatred and humiliation. Hardcore pornography now explores the
world of perversion, while softcore is now what hardcore was a few
decades ago …. The comparatively tame softcore pictures of
yesteryear … now show up on mainstream media all day long, in the
pornification of everything, including television, rock videos, soap
operas, advertisements, and so on.” [10]
And not only is there more porn to watch, but also there are more
ways than ever to watch it. [11] Today, not only do we have high-
speed internet and HD videos, we’ve got it on devices that fit into
our pockets. Families have gone from having one shared computer
to often having multiple personal laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
As porn’s availability has risen, so have its devastating effects on its
viewers, their relationships, and society at large. [12] As therapist
John Woods recently wrote, pornography addiction “is no longer
just a private problem. It is a public health problem.” [13]
Where we are today
Society’s opinion on pornography didn’t happen all at once. It was
supported by the faulty scientific research of Dr. Alfred Kinsey,
which attempted to normalize all forms of sexual activity, including
pornography. It was brought into the mainstream by the marketing
techniques of Hugh Hefner, who created the facade that porn is a
refined, macho product. Then, technology made pornography
affordable, accessible, and anonymous. All of these factors have led
to the formation of a public opinion that states that pornography is a
normal and healthy pursuit. This couldn’t be farther from the truth,
and the world needs to know it.
Related: 40 Reasons You Should Quit Watching Porn Today