This NRO article, Getting Serious About Pornography – It is ravaging American families manages to get all the anti-porn arguments rolled into a very short piece.
Quick summary of the arguments:
- Pornography is an addiction.
- Compares pornography to a drug.
- Pornography destroys families.
- Pornography is an abuse of free speech.
- A lot of well educated people are against pornography.
- Personal account of marriage being destroyed by pornography.
- Pornography is a gateway to aberrant sexual practices.
- Correlating pornography with extra-marital affairs.
- Pornography increases belief in the “rape myth”
- Objectification of women.
- Calls it a mental illness.
- Pornography addiction should be added to the APA Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.
- Health insurance companies should provide coverage for treatment of pornography addiction.
And my rebuttal:
- People can form psychological dependencies with just about everything–we have workaholics, iphone-aholics, shop-aholics. For every human activity, there is someone out there who has turned it into an addition.
- Associating pornography with a drug addiction is to lead people to believe its the same as a physical addiction. A closer comparison would be a gambling addiction.
- Destroying families? This claim can be made against anything consuming a large amount time. Work, religion, political activism, and on and on could be said to destroy families.
- For every form of speech considered offensive, there is a group considering it an abuse of free speech.
- There are also well educated people that are not against pornography. Appeal to Authority fallacy.
- Bad feelings are associated with the subject, so the subject must be bad. Appeal to Emotion fallacy.
- Interest in a sexual practice prompts seeking it out in porn, not the other way around. Confusing Cause and Effect fallacy.
- Sixty-two percent of unfaithful husbands had affairs with someone at work, but I wouldn’t claim working causes affairs. Correlation does not imply causation.
- The implicit suggestion is that pornography causes rape. The responsibility for rape is with the rapist alone. Saying pornography causes rape gives rapists excuses.
- The process of becoming sexually aroused involves seeing your partners body as an object for sex. If sexual objectification were to cease, so would the human species. People of other gender may objectify others; the cause is a lack of empathy, not exposure to pornography.
- Others could just as easily be labeled for fear of pornography: pornophobia.
- If pornography addiction were included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, it would be an expression of political correctness. The DSM at one time listed homosexuality as a disorder.
- Isn’t health insurance expensive enough?
Now its my turn for my theory about the role pornography plays in relationships. First off; I feel sympathy for anyone whose relationship has deteriorated due to addictive personality disorder. I don’t blame the focus of the addiction for the underlying personality disorder; I blame the disorder.
I don’t doubt there are some people who view pornography like an addict. From my own personal experiences and discussions with others, the conflicts surrounding pornography are more often a symptom of a problem in the relationship, caused by jealousy and lack of communication about sex.
Example–from the article mentioned above.
He (ex-husband) viewed it regularly during high school and college — and, although he tried hard to stop, continued to do so throughout the course of our marriage. For the past few years he had taken to sleeping in the basement, distancing himself from me, emotionally and physically.
Evidently there was conflict when it came to pornography, because the husband felt a reason to stop. The reason to stop might have been religious, or judging from the tone of the article, the husband might have been keeping his sexual interests secret from his wife.
If the reason for stopping was due to religious reasons, odds are that didn’t work out too well. The more you try not to think about something, the more you end up thinking about it. The more taboo a person finds a sexual activity that interests them, the harder they try to suppress those thoughts, the greater the urge becomes to indulge.
If the husband felt the need to keep his sexual interests secret (perhaps going to the basement to view porn), keeping secrets destroy relationships. Keeping parts of oneself hidden away from your significant other is what creates the divide that ends relationships. You can’t feel close to someone if you aren’t open and honest with them.
Another issue that couples run into around pornography is jealousy. Here is an example from a discussion on Porn and Marriage — One Wife’s Response
In a marriage, what one partner does affects the other. That is a fact. So yes, porn is a problem because it affects the person who is supposed to be the husband’s only object for affection.
While I empathize that people feel hurt when their spouse is sexually attracted to someone else, it’s unrealistic to expect your spouse to never find anyone else attractive. It is realistic to ask them to not act upon those attractions and remain monogamous.
Believing your spouse only finds physical features about you attractive is self objectification. Only considering the physical dimension of attraction leads to hurt feelings. The issue is not pornography, but feeling lack of worth outside of physical appearance.
Mutual admiration for one another goes farther in ending jealousy than physical attractiveness. In dealing with personal jealousy surrounding sex, couples can find security when they first find one another attractive as a person. If there is little beyond physical attraction, the relationship won’t last anyway.
Marriage counseling is fine, but please don’t add porn addiction to health insurance coverage, it’s expensive enough as it is.