Internet Pornography and Abuse
Abuse Awareness Sunday this year focuses on internet pornography. If you haven’t considered the relationship between pornography and abusive relationships and actions in the church and in the home, it’s time to think again.
In the online article “Pornography Plague,” Kerby Anderson notes that, according to recent studies, exposure to violent pornography can lead to anti-social attitudes and behavior. “Male viewers tend to be more aggressive toward women, less responsive to pain and suffering of rape victims, and more willing to accept various myths about rape,” Anderson writes.
Anderson also cites a study, conducted by researchers Dolf Zillman and Jennings Bryant, which investigated the effects of nonviolent pornography on sexual callousness and the trivialization of rape. “They showed that continued exposure to pornography had serious adverse effects on beliefs about sexuality in general and on attitudes toward women in particular,” writes Anderson. “These researchers also found that massive exposure to pornography encourages a desire for increasingly deviant materials which involve violence.”
Anderson’s article also cites research that has shown:
- Pornography skews a person’s understanding of what constitutes normal sexual practice.
- Pornography can diminish a person's sexual happiness and cause people to be less satisfied with their partner's physical appearance, affection, curiosity, and sexual performance.
- In jurisdictions with high circulation rates for pornography, rape rates were also high. And in jurisdictions with low circulation rates, rape rates also tended to be low as well.
Internet pornography is a big deal because it dehumanizes those who are portrayed in it. In his blog “How Porn Dehumanizes,” on the website XXXchurch.com, Mike Stonehill writes, “Pornography subtlety undermines male respect for women by detaching a woman's personality from her body, reducing her to a mere sexual commodity ... This in turn bores men and leads to dissatisfaction with their own wives and an inability to create a fulfilling, authentic sex life based on mutual respect for their female counterparts.” Men aren’t the only ones watching porn, however. XXXchurch.com devotes a section of its website to women viewers of pornography as well.
It’s time to start talking about internet pornography in the Christian community. If we don’t address the issues, internet pornography will continue to entangle many more Christian viewers in a web of harm and destruction. Many more marriages and families will suffer, and disrespectful relationships and violent sexual behaviours will increasingly become viewed as normal.