Source: American Orthodox Institute
February 13, 2017
I am old enough to remember the sexual revolution and its dubious promises that once moral restraints on sexual behavior were removed, a new golden era would dawn in which everyone would live happily, carefree and satisfied.
It didn’t turn out that way. Today I deal with the destruction that revolution caused and try to bring healing to men damaged by it.
I mentor young men, and I see how the mainstreaming of pornography has hijacked their journey from adolescence to adulthood.
Growing up is a difficult process, fraught with all sorts of emotional turmoil that tempt young men to look toward pornography for relief. Once the seeking of relief becomes habitual — and this can happen quickly — the necessary experiences that boys require to become men are often thwarted. Tension is resolved not by learning how to master the problems of life, but by ever deeper retreat into sexual fantasies.
Today this affects more of our young men than we can count. In my experience, the consumption of pornography is nearly universal among young men, and the effects are never neutral. Researchers indicate that only 3 percent of boys and 17 percent of girls have never seen pornography. The internet now makes it available anytime and anywhere. First exposure most often occurs during adolescence, when the brain is still forming and very impressionable by graphic images.
It’s difficult to calculate in hard numbers how profitable the porn industry is. Before the internet, access to pornography was controlled, by locating distribution in seedy neighborhoods; under those limitations the price could be kept high, leading to substantial profits. Since expansion into the internet, access to porn is as close as the click of a mouse, and content is increasingly free. In the last 30 years, American porn studios have declined from 200 to 20, and direct worldwide revenue has dropped from between an estimated $40 billion and $50 billion to about three quarters of that.
Free access also means that porn has gone mainstream and become a commodity. The only accurate measurement we have of porn consumption is internet click rates or Google searches. Profits are decreasing while porn is proliferating. Mindgeek, one of the world’s biggest online purveyors of pornography, reports that it serves more than 100 million visitors a day, who consume 1.5 terabytes of pornography per second — enough to download 150 feature films.
In earlier generations, viewing pornography was seen as shameful. That’s why porn shops were located in the unsavory parts of town. Pornographers were met with scorn. Today, all that might seem quaint, even ignorant — but it concealed a wisdom that we are only now beginning to rediscover. One reason for those earlier restrictions was the fear that porn would “corrupt youth.” This was laughed off as archaic, rigid, even unhealthy. We are finding out the hard way that our elders were right.
Young men ask me what I think of porn, and I mince no words. Porn comes from the depths of hell, and is calculated to destroy the characters of young men before they even have a chance to grow into a healthy sense of who they are and what they can become. Once your mind becomes pornified, I tell them, two things gradually happen: You lose any higher sense of self, and your relationships become distorted.
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