Issues

Stop porn culture before it destroys us

By  Ali Javed  

Some youngsters display their new found pride in supporting homosexuality and pornography as if they are natural part of human behaviour. On the banning of porn sites in India, social networks were full of articles and personal opinion until the government changed its stance and made porn sites live again, continuing the ban only on the websites hosting child pornography. restart of these websites as if our country suddenly turned into true democracy where only people’s opinion matters. The big business was unhappy with the ban, which led to its lifting. Richard Alleyne in his article “Pornography is just ‘advertising’ for prostitution, claims Louis Theroux” for The Telegraph on 6th June 2012 wrote

“Pornographic films have become adverts for the real business of many of their performers, which is prostitution, claims the documentary maker Louis Theroux.”

In an article on Business Pundit titled “The World’s Most Lucrative Business Markets”, the top estimated markets for businesses are mentioned with rank as follows;

1. Drugs, 2.Defence, 3.Prostitution, 4.Oil, 5.Counterfeits, 6.Sports, 7.Gambling, 8.Banking, 9.Alcohol, 10.Pornography, 11.Pharmaceuticals, 12.Entertainment, and 13.Human Trafficking  

That means that the world’s biggest businesses are also the biggest source of all human problems. Pornography, that lies at 10 supports, its mother business ‘Prostitution’ which lies at no. 3.The above discussion was related to economic aspect of pornography which is an industry that was estimated to be worth $10 billion in 2001.

It is important to look at the social impact of watching porn. Puberty comes in males and females from around 11years of age to 14, which is the start of the transition of a boy to a man and that of a girl to a woman. There is so much change in the biology of both males and females that they become conscious of their appearance. The build of the body suddenly changes, there is a change in voice, and hair on faces (of boys) and other parts of the body (boys and girls) starts to grow. With all this there is also a radical change in the behaviour of these young individuals.

They try to seek knowledge of what is happening to them and understand it so that they become comfortable with it. Today, from an early age children in cities are well-acquainted with the use of internet. When puberty strikes they find it easier to search for their issues on Google rather than feeling embarrassed around parents and friends. This is also the time that they are most vulnerable to the flood of pornography that is waiting for them on the internet. The information regarding their issues that must have been revealed to these young people in a span of time from puberty to their late teens appears in front of them in a single video. Initially these youngsters are extremely embarrassed after watching the porn, but in due course of time they acquire the strength to discuss this with their friends. In no time the embarrassment turns into the pride of becoming an adult earlier than other students.

This is also the time when distinction between a male and a female is understood by these young children. They start to engage with the opposite sex in what we call relationships. The irony that lies deep within this is that although marriage is not allowed at this age by the constitution, there is no provision against pornography which can lead to everything that is done after marriage.

Supporters and promoters of homosexuality and pornography raise similar kind of arguments. One of the most used arguments is that these exercises are natural to the human behaviour. They are part of the human psychology and cannot be treated to be fundamentally against nature. They argue that it is retrograde to think otherwise. The recent support from the media to them has successfully been able to make this argument a widely accepted worldview. To the general public, anything spoken against these practices is labelled as unscientific.

Neuro-scientific insights into the human brain militate against this argument. I have frequently mentioned in my previous writings that it is very easy to manipulate human consciousness through elaborate schemes that penetrate the human psyche. In the realm of neuroscience this phenomenon of the brain being able to be rewired is known as plasticity. According to Wikipedia, “Neuroplasticity, also known as brain plasticity, is an umbrella term that encompasses both synaptic plasticity and non-synaptic plasticity-it refers to changes in neural pathways and synapses due to changes in behaviour, environment, neural processes, thinking, and emotions - as well as to changes resulting from bodily injury. The concept of neuroplasticity has replaced the formerly-held position that the brain is a physiologically static organ, and explores how - and in which ways – the brain changes in the course of a lifetime.”

This means that the once held view of the localisationists that the human brain is hardwired to perform certain functions is obsolete and recent researches have proved that the neural network within the brain and its processes can be significantly altered. I am going to reproduce some excerpts from one of the greatest books on neouroscientific discoveries by Norman Doidge. The book is called The Brain That Changes Itself. The following excerpt has direct relevance to pornography and its addiction: “The current porn epidemic gives a graphic demonstration that sexual tastes can be acquired. Pornography, delivered by high-speed Internet connections, satisfies every one of the prerequisites for neuroplastic change. Pornography seems, at first glance, to be a purely instinctual matter: sexually explicit pictures trigger instinctual responses, which are the product of millions of years of evolution. But if that were true, pornography would be unchanging. The same triggers, bodily parts and their proportions, that appealed to our ancestors would excite us. This is what pornographers would have us believe, for they claim they are battling sexual repression, taboo, and fear and that their goal is to liberate the natural, pent-up sexual instincts.”

 He continues about pornographic addiction, “The addictiveness of Internet pornography is not a metaphor. Not all addictions are to drugs or alcohol. People can be seriously addicted to gambling, even to running. All addicts show a loss of control of the activity, compulsively seek it out despite negative consequences, develop tolerance so that they need higher and higher levels of stimulation for satisfaction, and experience withdrawal if they can’t consummate the addictive act. All addiction involves long-term, sometimes lifelong, neuroplastic change in the brain. For addicts, moderation is impossible, and they must avoid the substance or activity completely if they are to avoid addictive behaviours. Alcoholics Anonymous insists that there are no ‘former alcoholics’ and makes people who haven’t had a drink for decades introduce themselves at a meeting by saying, ‘My name is John, and I am an alcoholic.’ In terms of plasticity, they are often correct.”

But this phenomenon is not all too new to the human understanding of sexual preferences. “The sexual instincts,” wrote Freud, “are noticeable to us for their plasticity, their capacity for altering their aims.” Freud was not the first to argue that sexuality was plastic-Plato, in his dialogue on love, argued that human Eros took many forms-but Freud laid the foundations for a neuroscientific understanding of sexual and romantic plasticity.

Doidge further writes about the sexual plasticity, “But in fact the content of pornography is a dynamic phenomenon that perfectly illustrates the progress of an acquired taste. Thirty years ago ‘hardcore’ pornography usually meant the explicit depiction of sexual intercourse between two aroused partners, displaying their genitals. ‘Softcore’ meant pictures of women, mostly, on a bed, at their toilette, or in some semiromantic setting, in various states of undress, breasts revealed. Now hardcore has evolved and is increasingly dominated by the sadomasochistic themes of forced sex, ejaculations on women’s faces, and angry anal sex, 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, explicit sexual intercourse between adults, now available on cable TV. The comparatively tame softcore pictures of yesteryear–women in various states of undress-now show up on mainstream media all day long, in the pornification of everything, including television, rock videos, soap operas, advertisements, and so on.”

Pornography’s growth has been extraordinary; it accounts for 25 percent of video rentals and is the fourth most common reason people give for going online. An MSNBC.com survey of viewers in 2001 found that 80 percent felt they were spending so much time on pornographic sites that they were putting their relationships or jobs at risk. Softcore pornography’s influence is now most profound because, now that it is no longer hidden, it influences young people with little sexual experience and especially plastic minds, in the process of forming their sexual tastes and desires. Yet the plastic influence of pornography on adults can also be profound, and those who use it have no sense of the extent to which their brains are reshaped by it.   

During the mid-to late 1990s, when the Internet was growing rapidly and pornography was exploding on it, I treated or assessed a number of men who all had essentially the same story. Each had acquired a taste for a kind of pornography that, to a greater or lesser degree, troubled or even disgusted him, had a disturbing effect on the pattern of his sexual excitement, and ultimately affected his relationships and sexual potency.

Typically, while I was treating one of these men for some other problem, he would report, almost as an aside and with telling discomfort, that he found himself spending more and more time on the Internet, looking at pornography and masturbating. He might try to ease his discomfort by asserting that everybody did it. In some cases he would begin by looking at a Playboy-type site or at a nude picture or video clip that someone had sent him as a lark. In other cases he would visit a harmless site, with a suggestive ad that redirected him to risqué sites, and soon he would be hooked.

A number of these men also reported something else, often in passing. They reported increasing difficulty in being turned on by their actual sexual partners, spouses or girlfriends, though they still considered them objectively attractive. When asked if this phenomenon had any relationship to viewing pornography, they answered that it initially helped them get more excited during sex but over time had the opposite effect. Now, instead of using their senses to enjoy being in bed, in the present, with their partners, lovemaking increasingly required them to fantasize that they were part of a porn script. Some gently tried to persuade their lovers to act like porn stars, and they were increasingly interested in ‘fucking’ as opposed to ‘making love.’ Their sexual fantasy lives were increasingly dominated by the scenarios that they had, so to speak, downloaded into their brains, and these new scripts were often more primitive and more violent than their previous sexual fantasies. One got the impression that any sexual creativity these men had was dying and that they were becoming addicted to Internet porn.

The changes observed are not confined to a few people in therapy. A social shift is occurring. While it is usually difficult to get information about private sexual mores, this is not the case with pornography today, because its use is increasingly public. This shift coincides with the change from calling it “pornography” to the more casual term “porn.” For his book on American campus life, I Am Charlotte Simmons, Tom Wolfe spent a number of years observing students on university campuses. In the book one boy, Ivy Peters, comes into the male residence and says, “Anybody got porn?”

The shift in socio-economic phenomenon that is taking place right now and destroying millions of lives. Also pornography, prostitution and homosexuality more than being fight for individuality is an underlying fight to exploit human weaknesses to make profit.

The writer is a student of Amity University and can be reached at javed.ali12123@gmail.com

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 september 2015 on page no. 2

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