Pornography; The Convergence of Societal Sexual Culture

With the introduction of internet pornography societal sexual culture got a platform to thrive

 Pornography; The Convergence of Societal Sexual Culture

Hugh Hefner was an advocate of sexual liberation and freedom of expression. During the sexual revolution, he had the “brilliant” idea to start a monthly magazine composed of sexually arousing images. Playboy magazine was born and during the 1960s was a popular way to "entertain” sexuality. Its target was mainly men, as the content was composed of women models. It is considered the first way pornographic content started to go mainstream.

 

As the years progressed, the first pornographic film was produced and showcased in specific theatres. It gained popularity and sparked the creation of more films. Technology was advancing fast, and with the invention of the videotape, pornographic films went to tapes and could be watched in the comfort of households. It spread like wildfire, finding its way into CDs, DVDs and eventually the internet.  

 

An interesting fact about home internet connection is that porn going to the internet was a driver for its demand. The internet was what porn needed to spread as it wasn't confined to one culture, the west, but spread out as the world became a global village.

 

Initially, to watch porn, even on the internet, you had to pay just like most services. However, the company Mindgeek came into the picture and started a hosting site that provided porn for free. They would earn revenue from traffic and ADs, making porn more accessible; all one needed was an internet connection.  

 

As we speak, porn sites are one of the most viewed and accessed parts of the internet. 

 

Whether it is harmful or not is the cause of division in most people. Multiple studies conducted on the effects of porn on people indicate that porn has a considerable effect on the brain. The same studies conclude that porn affects people in various ways and state that they cannot be sure if and when porn itself becomes a problem. Some studies link it to another pathology of sexual addiction but are inconclusive. There is no consensus on the effects of internet porn despite the swelling warnings.   

 

There are also debates on "good" porn versus "bad" porn, for example in 2013, the Daily mail proclaimed that “teachers should give lessons in pornography and tell pupils it's not all bad, all one needs to know to enjoy both, is the difference between fantasy and reality.” 

 

The challenge is that these studies and debates do not aim to understand the issue but offer explanations and manage symptoms. 

 

Carl Jung once said that "To understand a thing is a bridge and the possibility of returning to the path. But to explain a matter is arbitrary and sometimes even murder. Have you counted the murderers among the scholars?"

 

So, let us try to develop an understanding of the problem, shall we.

 

One objective study done on porn by Gary Wilson was published in the book Your Brain on Porn (2014). The study aimed to understand the biological and psychosocial effects of porn use on individuals. 

 

The study indicated that porn has harmful consequences on the brain. It taps into the natural reward system of the brain and rides on it. Naturally, when we are doing something that has a perceived/real reward at the end, we experience feelings of pleasure. Porn acts against you by presenting you with an immediate reward without the necessary pre-requisite for sexual experiences. Porn is also easily accessible, and one can view different women or men as much as one desires. In modern times, people consume large amounts of porn videos, and this does a couple of things:

 

  1. It sensitizes your sexuality to novelty (Newness and the unusualness)
  2. It changes your brain chemistry as you get attuned to novelty.
  3. It results in a range of sexual dysfunctions like porn-induced erectile dysfunction in men.
  4. Relationships are affected by porn use.
  5. It desensitizes people from actual physical sex as one gets attuned to self-stimulation.
  6. It has resulted in the normalization of porn, with categories like 'good' and 'bad' porn, deterring people from the actual effects of porn use.

 

Gary's study also focused on adolescents, the motive being the adolescent stage is when people try to understand their sexuality. He states that adolescents exposed to porn struggle a lot later in their lives. He concluded that we need to understand how porn usage affects individuals, especially for the sake of our teens. 

 

He started a website called your brain on porn and got most of his human experiences from another popular forum for porn recovery, No Fap. No fap is not only a website that supports people who want to quit porn but also a platform on Reddit. It is a good recommendation if you know of someone struggling to quit.

 

The challenge with most studies is the argument that overconsumption of porn is the issue and the reason for addiction. If one were to consume anything in moderation, one would not fall into the trap of addiction. Due to this, most people don’t take porn seriously; it has become part of the internet and culture. Porn is also a billion-dollar industry that brings revenue to a lot of people.

 

The truth is simple any consumption of porn is harmful. Porn feeds sexuality with novelty warping one's view of people as objects of pleasure. There is a blurring of boundaries, consent in relationships and also in what is good and evil. It leads to a promotion of sexual vices as normal and good. 

 

One can argue that porn is the problem in sexual culture, but porn was born from that very sexual culture. It is the convergence point of societal sexual rot. 

 

The famous psychologist Carl Jung once coined the term the collective unconscious. He stated that there are things that humans share as a collective. Certain information, knowledge is shared by humanity collectively. Jung also believed that people can be representatives of certain group thinking, such as what he said about Hitler in a 1938 interview. “His Voice is nothing other than his own unconscious, into which the German people have projected their own selves; that is, the unconscious seventy-eight million Germans. That is what makes him powerful. Without the German people, he would be nothing”

If a group can project themselves into an unconscious, then that unconscious becomes like a convergent point that shows the motives of a group. The motives are information, information about the true motives lurking in people’s unconscious. 

 

A society is emergent from a collective effort, and so is the internet. The internet is a massive global connection of computers, and people are behind these computers. It is another collective effort known as the digital world. The digital world, like the physical world, holds our collective information. 

 

We already stated that rot is never solely on an individual but in the group. Therefore, collective responsibility is crucial for change and growth. Porn is part of internet rot and is the convergent point for sexual normalized rot. Sadly, if we refuse to take responsibility for the physical world and our contribution to the rot of society, how are we to take responsibility for the rot in the digital world?

 

The consequences of porn hit faster and severely because it is a convergence point. A convergence not only accelerates but plunges you deeper into the rot. With genres like mother-son, sister-brother, father-daughter, rape and teen/child, do we believe it is not a projection of our society? 

 

Case in point, in October 2019, a missing 15-year-old girl was found when her photos and videos were discovered on a popular site called Pornhub. The video was taken down, only after it was reported as rape. There are multiple reports of incest, increased cases of rape and paedophilia. Do we want to turn a blind eye and claim there is no correlation between sexual culture, porn and such cases?

The surface web we use makes up just over 0.03% of the actual web. The rest belongs to the deep and dark web. If you google something found solely on the deep web, it will not appear in the search results. To access it, you need special software such as the Tor browser. The dark web (0.01% of the deep web) is a part of the deep web that requires special authorization to access. Sadly, this is where you find people selling drugs, firearms and, not surprisingly, child trafficking and pornography. People pay to get a key that grants access to the site. In dark web porn, children are kidnapped and defiled for people’s “enjoyment”.

 

On May 3rd 2021, German authorities busted a darknet child pornography ring that had videos and photos of children and toddlers from all over the world being sexually abused, most of them being boys. The ring had over 400,000 registered members.

 

It is not surprising to find a category known as hentai, of people drawing and masturbating to children in subgenres known as loli and shota. Sexual rot shows itself in hentai, where we find drawings of girls and boys forced into sex. The claim here is that this is not harmful, they are not real people, but this reflects the mind of our current sexual culture. 

 

The current sexual culture is destroying the purpose and meaning of sexuality and promoting sexual rot.

 

Children are watching porn as early as 9 years. Porn, the convergent point of sexual culture, becomes their teacher of how they should express and experience themselves sexually. We sincerely expect to be ignorant that these children will not be affected in one way or another? 

 

Recovering porn addicts are just in the future when it comes to consequences; the consequences should be a warning for us all. Porn is not extreme; it is the projection of the unconscious of billions of people. Many people say the world is evil, deal with it, well this is another excuse to refuse to take up responsibility, to refuse to give up selfish and self-seeking behaviour. 

 

The liberation sought in the past has led to the same problems our law tries to address. The same lawmakers and citizens do not want to acknowledge we are managing symptoms of a bigger issue, sexual culture.