One of the party platforms this week at the RNC in Cleveland is around the topic of internet pornography. I actually agree with the GOP that porn is is a "public health crisis". The discussions rallied around the internet as a safe haven for child predators and the need to energetically prosecute child pornography (closely tied to other societal ills preying on young females via human trafficking). Most everyone recognizes this is serious and a renewed effort to protect the well-being of our children is paramount.
Politics aside, as a society we need to think more seriously about the affects of porn - a serious health and relationship killer that is minimized and rationalized by those who use it. Access to porn is as close as your smart phone, and the quiet costs are overlooked by the eager. The porn of today is not your ancestors' porn, either, apparently - it is described as a "supernormal stimulus" that negatively affects sexual performance and partnered satisfaction. Experts on sex addiction estimate that today's children learn about sex from egregious anonymous posts on the internet, from social media sites, from chat sites, from texting apps - not from trusted elders - so our youth get an exaggerated and violent education that does not mirror healthy relationship dynamics and does not include mentoring on the emotional side of our human experience. When they do arrive at a real life relationship possibility, they bring all kinds of virtual garbage with them. The research indicates that hard drugs like cocaine are easier to quit than porn. It messes not only with your spirit, but with your brain. One of the easiest ways to avoid the pain is to avoid the porn - software like Internet Accountability offers an extra layer of protection - for the kids, and maybe even the adults, in your life. It's reported that men who view porn regularly (it's mostly a male thing) often struggle with ED when trying to sexually relate to a real live partner. Porn use has a subtle but powerfully cumulative negative affect on the brain, and true intimacy. Women have long navigated a culture that insists their value is directly tied to their poundage, and nowadays compete with the power of photoshop fantasies and partners who are sexually preoccupied.
It's curious that porn is easier to access than ever before and the taboo, perversely, is talking freely about how harmful it is. In too many circles, the topic of porn is still bandied around at the water cooler with a mischievous wink. As a marriage mentor, our parish is making plans to address porn directly in our curriculum. (And yes, it IS a form of cheating.) It's time to get serious about this drug. It's way more important than another debate on the RNC's docket this week - medical marijuana.