Fight The New Drug - Part 3

For the past few weeks, Jarod and I have been sharing with you some of the research of Fight The New Drug, one of three non-profits Apse supports with each purchase. This will be the final segment to a 3-blog series (you can find the previous two not far before this one) covering the work of FTND and numerous psychologists who are devoted to understanding the affect of the 60 year old business - pornography. What the most dedicated and focused psychologists have found about this relatively new and unstudied industry, is that pornography does not have a single positive affect, be it on the individual, on relationships or on the globe. More so, research has shown it to have an overwhelming amount of harmful affects on all those areas of life. 

Our goal in this series is to equip you. We understand that a great deal of the information is just being discovered - within the last several years. The truth about this business has been kept under wraps and a lot of this knowledge has shocked us (the writing process is not void of periodic gasps).  With such a large amount of men and women promoting this industry - 85% of men and 50% of women - we feel its extremely important to share what we have learned from countless studies and written pieces of knowledge [2]. 

In our last two segments, we covered how it rewires the brain and often results in multiple mental health issues, and also, how its is tearing relationships and marriages apart and instigating sexual violence. In this last segment, we want to show you the research that shows how pornography is affecting society and the globe, how it is often breaking federal laws, and how it is keeping people enslaved all over the world.  

We hope that with this information, you feel educated and prepared. We hope you feel aware and empowered. But most of all, we hope - through our sharing of info - that you feel valued and cared for! Above all, we want to adorn you with value and power so that you might give more love, and in return, experience more love. 

p a r t  3

T H E   G L O B E 


At times, it can be easy to disconnect what you engage in when you are alone from what the rest of the world is experiencing. What affect could your personal, private actions possibly have on a much larger, global society? And if we are talking about consuming a subject matter that is "natural" for all humans and so readily available, how could it affect that society negatively, right?

The thing that trips many of us up here, is the same trick that a large portion of media has successfully implemented in content for years. That is - the portrayal of an event that distorts the actual occurrences taking place into something that sells, despite the harmful implications it has upon parties involved. In many facets of the media industry - pop culture magazines, movies, social media outlets - reality is often not conveyed, but instead, the understanding that these salable ideals and inaccurate events are natural and contain truth is. 

The same happens, in a very extreme way, in the business of pornography. Porn claims to depict scenes of sex, however, what is being recorded and conveyed is something entirely different. The belief about pornography - that it is natural, healthy and about sex - is an unfortunate lie. And what research has shown, is that, not only is hyper-sexualized media discouraging empathy and reshaping sexual ideas in violent ways [3], but pornography is exploiting and enslaving people daily, and many of us are blind to it. 

  H o w   P o r n   P e r p e t u a t e s                             V i o l e n c e   A g a i n s t   W o m e n

An argument defending pornography I have commonly heard, is that porn is a healthy outlet to curb one's sexual urges. And if this were true you would think those who consume it would be the least likely to act out in sexually inappropriate ways. The truth is, that research done to date indicates that exposure to pornography results not just in an increased attitude of contempt for women, decreased empathy for victims of sexual violence and an over all blunted affect, but the consumption of porn results in dominating, degrading and sexually imposing behaviors. [6]

But what is actually happening in pornography that is causing one to exhibit these behaviors?

In the most extensive content analysis of pornography to date, researchers found that out of the 250 most rented pornographic films, 88.2% of scenes contained physical abuse (such as gagging or slapping), and 48.7% of the scenes contained verbal abuse. And when aggressed against, the targets, 95% of them being women, responded with expressions of either pleasure or neutrality. [7] And thanks to the mirror neurons floating around in our brain (see FTND segment 1 - The Brain) and permission-giving beliefs - a set of beliefs that imply a certain behavior is normal and doesn't hurt anyone - pornography is causing people to understand the degrading events occurring as acceptable and in its proper place (sexual experiences) and then to re-enact those very events [8]. 

Not only does the production of pornography blatantly disregard those who may be harmed (not just offended) in the process - but it has shown to breed feelings of contempt toward women. In his research evaluating male college student's use of porn, Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Stony Brook University in New York, Michael Kimmel, found that men he interviewed, "consistently spoke of women more with contempt than desire. Women were ‘hos,’ ‘bitches,’ and ‘sluts.’ … [Their attitudes were that] you don’t have sex with women because you desire them; sex is the weapon by which you get even with them, or, even, humiliate them.” [9] Due to the degrading nature of pornography and violence against women incorporated 9 times out of 10, men are developing disdain for women and expressing it using sexually violent means. And people are losing their sympathy and empathy for sexual violence, and even their ability to identify pain or fear in victims. In a study performed by three psychologists, it was found that “Males shown even nonviolent but sexually objectifying and degrading scenes of women, then subsequently exposed to rape scenes were more likely to indicate that the victim felt pleasure and ‘got what she wanted.’” [10]

 Illustration by Apse Adorn

Illustration by Apse Adorn

T H E  C O N N E C T I O N  B E T W E E N                         P O R N  A N D  S E X  T R A F F I C K I N G

But why are so many women apart of this industry where they are consistently being beaten and abused? The answer is fraud and coercion. And this, via the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), is considered sex trafficking. 

And its not a trivial issue. Incidents of fraudulent or coerced participation - via physical/verbal abuse, drugs, alcohol, trickery, manipulation, etc. - in pornographic material are not uncommon. And according to the TVPA, "the first severe form of trafficking in persons is “sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion." [11]. And more so, if a woman is forced or coerced to engage in a sex act that is filmed or photographed for commercial purposes, that meets the legal criteria for violation of federal law and constitutes human trafficking, as seen in United States v. Marcus [12].

The porn industry sees new and naive faces all the time - with the average turn over rate at 4 - 6 months - not only is this industry spitting people out, it means most women entering the industry don't know what they will be subjected to. Similar to many victims of sex trafficking, they are in need of cash and opportunity. Donna Hughes, a leading international researcher on human trafficking states, "The agents, directors and producers take extreme advantage of these...women. Their first experience making commercial pornography is often brutal and traumatic." [13]. In one testimony of a former porn actor, Hughes documents her record of fellow actors having on site doctors that would administer them drugs to curb their emotional, mental and physical pain, quoting her saying, "...I would see the doctors giving out pills or giving injections." and, "There was always alcohol and drugs readily available on set... Whatever you wanted, they would or could get it. " [14].

These incidences are not just occurring in low budget or low exposure productions. In July 2007, Taboo, a publication owned by Hustler Magazine, published an issue featuring a cover shot and multipage photo spread of a young woman with mental deficiencies who was held against her will and severely sexually assaulted. Hustler Magazine - one of the more widely consumed pornographic publications - produced and funded an issue of Taboo that featured a captured woman, where the traffickers abused her while taking photos and videos to then distribute as porn [15].

And these same experiences - and thankfully laws - apply to those involved in prostitution. Just as there is intense cross over between pornography and sex trafficking, the same goes for sex trafficking and prostitution, and the full triangle is formed when we study and see the correlations between prostitution and porn. They are just as linked as any of the others, because across all these relationships one fact remains, people's bodies are being purchased and commodified. Henceforth, we find the same behavior and violence against women perpetuated in pornography, prostitution and sex trafficking: "verbal abuse, including racist verbal abuse, contempt, degradation, physical and sexual assault, and acts that are identical to torture as defined by international legal conventions.” [16].

In the Trafficking in Person's Report from the U.S. Department of State, it was found that 89 percent of women are trapped and want to escape from prostitution. In their survey they discovered that up to 75 percent of female prostitutes were raped, up to 95 percent reported being physically abused, and to show what this kind of treatment and degradation can do to a human,  68 percent of prostitutes met the criteria for PTSD in the same range as combat veterans and victims of state-organized torture [17].

49% of prostitutes have reported porn being made of them. And if 89% of prostitutes want to escape from prostitution, there is automatically a large group of digital renderings of exploited people floating online for the porn consumer to click on and, therefore, promote [18]. 

I think these pieces of research truly put into perspective what the sex industry can and has done to the hearts, minds and souls of millions of people. It can be easy to separate oneself from these people; the position they are trapped in can be very unrelatable. However, these people are no different than any one else. To justify this industry with the assumption that humans working in pornography or prostitution are of lesser morale or have radically different desires is a mindset that passively makes room for oppression. The porn star, the sex worker and the slave all deserve to experience the same worth and protection that someone working as a doctor or legal worker does. The people we encounter online need love and have been given equal value to you and your loved ones. Why is it that we perceive them and treat them as if they had basic needs different than our own? 

We hope that these pieces of knowledge were helpful, that they gave you an honest look inside a business that we don't often get the opportunity to see behind the recording of. 

If you don't have the time to read and digest, FTND has numerous pieces of video messages and testimonies that are super engaging and eye opening. Here are a couple that have really resonated with me and go into most of what we went into above.

Thank you so much for teaming up with us and letting us share this knowledge with you. We would love to know if and how this was helpful or how it might have pulled on your heart! Please let us know by leaving us a comment below or sending us a message at

As always,


Hayley and Jarod


*courtesy of FTND's Harmful Effects of Pornography Handbook

[1]  Zillmann, D. (2004). Pornografie. In R. Mangold, P. Vorderer, and G. Bente (Eds.) Lehrbuch der Medienpsychologie (pp.565–85). Gottingen, Germany: Hogrefe Verlag.

[2] Rescue:Freedom International. #refusetoclick -The Connection Between Human Trafficking & Porn. 9 Feb. 2015. 16 Feb 2016.

[3] Maggie Hamilton, “Groomed to Consume Porn: How Sexualized Marketing Targeting Children,” in Big Porn Inc., edited by Melinda Tankard Reist and Abigail Bray, 16–24. North Melbourne, Australia: Spinifex Press, 2011.

[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. 

[5] Donald L. Hilton, “Pornography Addiction—A Supranormal Stimulus Considered in the Context of Neuroplasticity,” Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology 3 (2013): 20767. 

1—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. 

[6] Dr. Mary Anne Layden, Testimony before the U.S. Senate, Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Subcommittee on Science and Space, U.S. Senate, hearing on “The Brain Science behind Pornography Addiction,” November 18, 2004. 

[7] Michael Kimmel, Guyland, New York: HarperCollins, 2008. 

[8] Michael Milburn, Roxanne Mather, and Sheree Conrad, “The Effects of Viewing R-Rated Movie Scenes that Objectify Women on Perceptions of Date Rape,” Sex Roles 43, nos. 9 and 10 (2000): 645-64. 

[9] TVPA Section 103(8)(A). 

[10] Donna M. Hughes, “Sex Trafficking of Women for the Production of Pornography,” Citizens Against Trafficking (July 1, 2010), 2 

[11] Donna M. Hughes, “Sex Trafficking of Women for the Production of Pornography,” Citizens Against Trafficking (July 1, 2010), 2. 

[12] Donna M. Hughes, “Sex Trafficking of Women for the Production of Pornography,” Citizens Against Trafficking (July 1, 2010), 4. 

[13] (U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri, “Victim Tortured as Slave, Forced into Sex Trafficking and Forced Labor,” press release, March 30, 2011. 

[14] Melissa Farley, “Pornography Is Infinite Prostitution,” in Big Porn Inc., edited by Melinda Tankard Reist and Abigail Bray, 150–159. North Melbourne, Australia: Spinifex Press, 2011. 

[15] U.S. Department of State. "Trafficking in Persons Report." U.S. Department of State. N.p., 3 June 2005. Web. 15 Feb. 2016.

[16] Melissa Farley, “Renting an Organ for Ten Minutes: What Tricks Tell Us about Prostitution, Pornography, and Trafficking,” in Pornography: Driving the Demand in International Sex Trafficking, ed. David E. Guinn and Julie DiCaro, (Bloomington, IN: Xlibris, 2007), 145.

Hayley BoydComment