Fight The New Drug - Part 2

Hey guys,

This is part 2 of our 3-part series revolving around the work and research of Fight The New Drug - one of the 3 organizations you have the opportunity to support with every Apse purchase. Their extensive research covers a seemingly endless number of ways pornography is seriously harmful. They organize the ways it is destructive into 3 categories - the brain, the heart and the world. Last time we shed a little light on what pornography does to the brain, chemically and physically. It was pretty eye opening for even us, and we thought we had already done our research. In this segment, I want to share with you what pornography is doing to the heart; its effects on self-worth, relationships and love. This topic runs so deep, and so much knowledge about it seems to have been hidden, until recently. We are so excited to be sharing the knowledge, and our own experiences with it, so that we might bring more love and success to you, your relationships and your purpose! 

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p a r t  2

T H E   H E A R T

 

Before I move forward, I want to establish this: These are the most direct, evident and intimate ways that research has proven pornography is stunting love. Fight The New Drug has made so much ground with their street team and Instagram #pornkillslove, however we want to reiterate, we believe that no thing will ever kill love for good. Research shows, according to numerous sources cited both below and on FTND website, a pornography user's ability to feel and show love to themselves, others, and their partners is significantly inhibited.

But, we believe that love will overcome. We believe, with this generation's opportunity to be educated, equipped and stand as Fighters, people will choose love over porn.

 

When we mean the heart, we mean how we feel. We mean how we feel about others. And about how we make other people feel. We mean how we love. 

I think most everyone can stand with me on this: we desire love. In Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, love rests in the middle. Its secondary to physiological needs and safety. However, those are both things that love provides, and without love in those circumstances, many of us would not be alive. Without love in those circumstances, our mothers would have fed themselves instead of feeding us. Without love, our fathers would have neglectfully allowed us to walk across the road without looking or kicked us out of the house to save money. To be loved means that our needs are met - our need for food and shelter, our need for security and protection.  It is a purity of love that really sustains us and its power in community that keeps us alive - physically, emotionally and mentally. 

 Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs - Illlustration by Apse Adorn

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs - Illlustration by Apse Adorn

 

FTND has released so much information about how what pornography depicts could not be further from love. It could not be further from reality. And it could not be further from truth. And these are 5 ways, that we want to highlight, that is it affecting people's ability to love:

 

E x p e c t a t i o n s

Pornography is widely understood as a visual of sex, and sex is widely understood as an intimate form of affection. However, what porn is - the industry, the depictions and the effects - has nothing to do with affection, much less sex. Porn, often being something viewed in isolation, warps expectations of what it means to actually be in the presence of another individual. The interactions in porn are based on domination, disrespect, abuse, violence and detachment. Meanwhile, sex - especially sex in healthy relationships - is based on equality, honesty, respect, loyalty and love [1]. So, while many users are initially engaging with pornography to fulfill a desire for a sexual relationship, what they are actually getting is a perspective on an interaction teaching them a distorted truth about the desires of women and children, validating the male's sense of entitlement, and that use of force, violence and degradation is normal and acceptable on part of the male counterpart [2].

More so, instead of achieving a sense of fulfillment and belonging, users are often left feeling lonely. For women and men alike, this habit cultivates poor self-image, body-image issues, relationship problems, insecurity, and often leads to anxiety and depression [3].

 

P a r t n e r   I n t e r e s t

Another very real effect porn has shown to have on relationships and perspectives is the user's decrease in attraction to their partner, as well as to other women they encounter in reality. In a two part study, men who had recently viewed porn rated their female partners as being less attractive, as well as rated themselves to be less in love with their partners, as compared to men who had not viewed any pornographic images. From this study, it was noted, that consumption of porn may adversely affect male's commitments to monogamous relationships. All the while, validating a woman's experience of being unfavorably compared to the impossible physique and appearance of porn [4].

Another analysis conducted in 2014 of almost 500 college aged people, 4 psychologists found that pornography use was negatively associated with enjoying sexually intimate behaviors with a partner [5]. Meaning that user's found it more difficult to experience genuine connection and satisfaction with an actual person. Pornography is twisting people's mode of function in such a way that they are no longer as inclined to unite and be strengthened with another human, but instead, are finding themselves alone and insecure.

Saddest of all, the consumption of porn has been proven to enforce a degradation of the female potential and undermine her worth. In 2002, one study showed that the more pornography a heterosexual man consumed, the more likely he was to describe women in sexualized and stereotypical way, and value the woman who made herself subordinate and submissive. [6]

 

P a r t n e r ' s   E m o t i o n a l  &  M e n t a l   H e a l t h

When a partner, a majority of those who are women, is given knowledge of their significant other's porn usage, many feel a massive disruption to the relationship. Not only does it leave people in committed relationships feel abandoned and cheated upon, its leaves partners feeling unworthy and not good enough. In a series of interviews with female college students, Naomi Wolf of New York Magazine reports that these women express that "they can never measure up, that they can never ask for what they want, and that if they do not offer what porn offers, they can't expect to hold a guy."[7] For many women, their partner's porn use made them feel their entire relationship was complete farce [8].

If neglected, these emotional breaks can fester and begin to seep into the psyche, where much more serious physiological issues can occur. And due to the nature of secrecy and lack of education surrounding porn, many partners feel fear or rejection when it comes to confiding in others, giving time and space for mental health issues to set in. [9] Many women who learn of their partner's usage experience fatigue, change in appetite, change in libido, and other symptoms of anxiety and depression, including suicidal tendencies. [10] Some researchers have even found these partner's can exhibit symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder [11]. 

To these piece of information, I can truly relate. For much of my adolescence and young adulthood, the sex industry spoke a multitude of lies to me about who I am, who I should be, and who I wont ever become. It told me I am an object of desire. It told me I needed to be willing, despite my desires, my needs and despite my values. It told me I wont ever maintain a man's interest. And most of all, it told me I am wrong for feeling hurt, offended and violated. I let wounds and disappointments remain, and anxiety and depression surely became apart of my life. A simple visual related to the sex industry would send me into a full swing panic attack. 

Since then, I've learned to verbally process. I've seen the power in spoken word and in allowing something defined entirely by love to tell me who I am. I have found, that when I let love be the decider of my identity, I am free from self-doubt. I am free from believing I am weak and undeserving. Love tells me I am worthy. Love tells me I am protected and respected. Love adorns me relentlessly and equips me to conquer fear. And porn is not love. 

 illustration by Apse Adorn

illustration by Apse Adorn

 

F a m i l y   a n d   M a r r i a g e

The toll the sex industry is taking on marriage is significant. We can easily determine though court documents associated with divorces, that out of all ended marriages per year, 56% of people reported one party excessive use of pornography [12], and in a recent survey of people who had extramarital affairs, pornography users were 3.18 times more likely to have cheated on their spouse [13]. However, its seeming ability to break such a bond might have more to do with pornography's nature and the affects it has in relational areas of the heart, than simply porn consumption alone. 

In her book, The Impact of Pornography on Women, Jill Manning states, "Generally speaking, North American women are socialized to seek, if not to expect, marital and intimate relationships that foster equality between partners and thus are founded on mutual respect, honesty, shared power and romantic love. In stark contrast, pornography promotes and eroticizes the [opposite] of these relational and marital ideals; power imbalances, discrimination, disrespect, abuse, violence, voyeurism, objectification, and detachment. Consequently, when a North American, married woman discovers that her husband has been secretly consuming pornography, the discovery not only devastates her sense of self and trust, but often threatens the foundation upon where she has constructed and framed her relational world.' [14]

I think what important to highlight here is that pornography distorts and diminishes the value of human existence, and has been shown to affect people's minds and hearts with this same perspective, even to the point of devaluing the one you marry and the one's you love. This has displayed itself in marriages and relationships, but also the upbringing and nurturing of children - users of pornography are less-likely to be involved in the lives of their children and are less-likely to desire a female child [15].

 

V i o l e n c e

Due to the violent nature of pornography - of the top 50 pornographic films, over 88% of the scene contained physical aggression, 87% of those perpetrated against women [16] - and with help from our mirror neurons and brain pathways - compelling us to re-enact what we see and recall how to get pleasure based on past experience - its no surprise that pornography production and consumption has had a large impact upon crime rates. 

Exposure to non-violent pornography has proven to increase acceptance of sexual violence and likelihood of committing a sexually violent crime. Even in non-pornographic material this has shown to be the case. In a 2011 study, researchers found that participants who viewed music videos of a highly objectified female artist reported more hostile sexual beliefs, more acceptance of interpersonal violence and more negative attitude about sexual harassment than participants shown a low-sexually objectifying content by the same female artist [17].

In a similar study concerning sexually violent altercations, it was found that the correlations between the circulation of publications such as Playboy, Penthouse, Chic and several other sexually objectifying magazines and number of rapes occurring show that states with higher circulation of these materials has higher rates of rape [18]. 

Again, pornography and sexualized media depict the value of a person to remain far below what is true, communicating a heirarchy of potential and capability. And also, unfortunately communicating that the degradation of women is normal and that women desire a sexually violent experience.  In a content analysis of the previously mentions top 50 pornographic films, of those physically violent scenes, over 95% of women responded with pleasure or neutrality and it was extremely infrequent for there to be scenes showing positive behaviors such a kissing, laughing or compliments [19]. This common depiction that occurs in pornographic material is a complete lie - a woman being abused and expressing desire for it. Pornography, when believed as some form of reality, can have very serious consequences for the safety of women. It has shown to diminish people's perceived value of women and self worth due to the increase of acceptance of sexual violence among users. And create a total misunderstanding of what others need.

 

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Recently, I was talking with a friend and she said something that has been repeating in my brain ever since. She said, "Pornography is like a sickness, and its not an uncommon one." I believe this perspective is so important and its really nourished my courage as I finished my writing here. 

I have just spent my weekend researching and connecting a list of symptoms. I have spent the last several paragraphs explaining these unwanted feelings and behaviors. And I don't believe they are uncommon feelings and behaviors. I'm sure we all can relate to at least some of those symptoms. But how can we ever know how to approach or identify a sickness if we do not know what the symptoms are? If it wasn't for this research, we would not know the symptoms, therefore, be ignorant to the illness. 

Pornography is everywhere, its accessible at any moment. It is common. However, I believe many of these symptoms are magnified because we are afraid to talk about it and we are afraid to listen. We have a tendency to leave bent ideas alone, despite our feelings of injustice. We accept a condition that is lacking and lonely, despite our questions and concerns.

But how unfortunate a thing to believe, that the most goodness our culture has the potential of experiencing is one still surrounded by oppression and depression? 

I just want to encourage you, that pornography is no thing to fear. And is no thing to keep you from experiencing love and worthiness. We believe we are a part of a generation that is going to see and create loving communities and ground breaking relationships. One that is going to know the power of love and what we are truly capable of when we know our value - but even greater - what we can see other's do when we help them know their value. 

Thank you so much for reading through this with us. We hope you feel free to leave us a comment or share with us your thoughts, we would love to hear from you. 

 

Much love,

Hayley and Jarod




Citations:

*All sources found on behalf of Fight The New Drug 

[1] "Porn is Full of Lies." Fight The New Drug. August 8, 2014. www.fightthenewdrug.org/porn-is-a-lie/. January 28, 2016.

[2] William L. Marshall, “Revisiting the Use of Pornography by Sexual Offenders: Implications for Theory and Practice,” Journal of Sexual Aggression 6, nos. 1 and 2 (2000): 67.

[3] "Porn Leaves You Lonely." Fight The New Drug. August 8, 2014. wwwfightthenewdrug.org/porn-leaves-you-lonely/. January 28, 2016. 

[4] Ana J. Bridges, “Pornography’s Effects on Interpersonal Relationships,” in The Social Costs of Pornography, edited by James R. Stoner Jr. and Donna M. Hughes, 89–110. Princeton, New Jersey: Witherspoon Institute, 2010. 1—Raymond Bergner and Ana J. Bridges, “The Significance of Heavy Pornography Involvement for Romantic Partners: Research and Clinical Implications,” Sex and Marital Therapy 28, no. 3 (May 2002): 193–206.

[5] Chyng Sun, Ana Bridges, Jennifer Johnason, and Matt Ezzell, “Pornography and the Male Sexual Script: An Analysis of Consumption and Sexual Relations,” Archives of Sexual Behavior, published online December 3, 2014.

[6] Ryan J. Burns, “Male Internet Pornography Consumers’ Perception of Women and Endorsement of Traditional Female Gender Roles” (Austin, Tex.: Department of Communication Studies, University of Texas, 2002), p. 11.

[7]Naomi Wolf, “The Porn Myth,” New York Magazine, http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/trends/n_9437/

[8] "Porn Hurts Your Partner." Fight The New Drug. August 8, 2014. http://fightthenewdrug.org/porn-hurts-your-partner/

[9] Jill C. Manning, “The Impact of Pornography on Women: Social Science Findings and Clinical Observations,” in The Social Costs of Pornography, edited by James R. Stoner Jr. and Donna M. Hughes, 69–88. Princeton, New Jersey: Witherspoon Institute, 2010. 1—Jill C. Manning, “A Qualitative Study of the Supports Women Find Most Beneficial When Dealing with a Spouse’s Sexually Addictive or Compulsive Behaviors,” unpublished doctoral dissertation (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, 2006).

[10] Jill C. Manning, “A Qualitative Study of the Supports Women Find Most Beneficial”; M. Lynn Wildmon-White, and J. Scott Young, “Family-of-Origin Characteristics Among Women Married to Sexually Addicted Men,” Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity 9, no. 4 (2002): 263–73.

[11] Barbara A. Steffens and Robyn L. Rennie, “The Traumatic Nature of Disclosure for Wives of Sexual Addicts,” Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity 13, nos. 2 and 3 (2006): 247–67

[12] Skinner, Kevin B. "Is Pornography Really Destroying 500,000 Marriages Annually?" Psychology Today. December 12, 2011. www.psychologytoday.com/blog/inside-porn-addiction/201112/is-porn-really-destroying-500000-marriages-annually. January 29, 2016.

[13] Jonathan Dedmon, “Is the Internet Bad for Your Marriage? Online Affairs, Pornographic Sites Playing Greater Role in Divorces,” press release from the Dilenschneider Group, Inc., November 2002, http://www.expertclick.com/NewsReleaseWire/ReleaseDetails. aspx?ID=3051&CFID=1696313&CFTOKEN=23726003. 2— Steven Stack, Ira Wasserman, and Roger Kern, “Adult Social Bonds and Use of Internet Pornography,” Social Science Quarterly 85, no. 1 (2004): 75–88.

[14] Jill C. Manning, “The Impact of Pornography on Women: Social Science Findings and Clinical Observations,” in The Social Costs of Pornography, edited by James R. Stoner Jr. and Donna M. Hughes, 69–88. Princeton, New Jersey: Witherspoon Institute, 2010.

 [15] Dolf Zillmann, “The Effects of Prolonged Consumption of Pornography,” in Pornography: Research Advances and Policy Considerations, eds. Dolf Zillmann and Jennings Bryant (Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1989), 127–58.

[16] A. J. Bridges, R. Wosnitzer, E. Scharrer, S. Chyng, and R. Liberman, “Aggression and Sexual Behavior in Best Selling Pornography Videos: A Content Analysis Update,” Violence Against Women 16, no. 10 (2010): 1065-1085.

[17] Jennifer Stevens Aubrey, K. Megan Hopper, and Wanjiru G. Mbure, “Check That Body! The Effects of Sexually Objectifying Music Videos on College Men’s Sexual Beliefs,” Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media 55, no. 3 (2011): 360–379. 

[18] Larry Baron and Murray Straus, “Sexual Stratification, Pornography, and Rape in the United States,” in Pornography and Sexual Aggression, eds. Neil M Malamuth and Edward Donnerstein (New York: Academic Press, 1984).

[19] A. J. Bridges, R. Wosnitzer, E. Scharrer, S. Chyng, and R. Liberman, “Aggression and Sexual Behavior in Best Selling Pornography Videos: A Content Analysis Update,” Violence Against Women 16, no. 10 (2010): 1065-1085.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

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