Many studies on pornography have concluded that even light pornography usage leads to a number of deleterious personality changes, such as agreeing with rape myths, supporting rapists, having less respect for women’s boundaries, and child sexual abuse. The cause-and-effect relation between pornography usage and these changes is well understood: images affect behavior, especially when they are linked to a powerful conditioning tool (in this case, orgasm).
Abusers and rapists of all kinds not only cultivate violent and misogynistic personalities from pornography, but pornography changes the way they abuse women. Younger women and prostituted women report that men want to perform sexual acts on them which imitate acts popularized by pornography. This abuse becomes itself pornography and feeds the cycle of abuse.
These are the main symptoms of pornsickness from a psychological standpoint. There are also a number of intellectual symptoms, which affect even the most well-intentioned pornography users:
* They believe that pornography is representative of authentic sexuality, and that pornography teaches us how to express authentic sexuality. Even so-called “sex experts” propagate this delusion. Pornography is a manufactured product, engineered for profit by people who have no scruples exploiting the abuse and rape of women. Their purpose is to make money from pretending to reproduce sexuality, but they have no incentive to actually do so.
* They believe that anyone who is against pornography must therefore be against all sexuality. But as the comparison has been made time and time again, that makes about as much sense as thinking that anyone who opposes McDonalds’ business practices must be against food. This is a great analogy because the relation between fast food and food is very similar to that between pornography and sexuality: like McDonalds food, pornography is a manufactured, formulaic, flavorless, unhealthy simulacrum of the real thing, and its manufacture and sale is bad for society as a whole (albeit for different reasons).
* Because pornography portrays abuse and violence as healthy sexuality, users incorporate violence against women in their notions of what an acceptable relationship is about. Since consent is rarely ever portrayed or respected in pornography, it’s also easy for them to accept the notion that non-consent is sexy and that consent is unnecessary for sex (as the rape culture and BDSM testify). A process of desensitization, which we know happens when people are repeatedly exposed to depicted violence, happens whereby users need more and more violent pornography in order to “get off.”
* They become desensitized not just to increasingly violent sexual acts, but also to the hate speech that is endemic to pornographic narratives (such as they are) and pornographic descriptions, which consists not only of extreme misogyny but also racism and classism.
Ground zero for for all indoctrination, for all conditioning, for all exploitation, is always childhood. Due to the rise of the Internet, children first become victims of pornography at an average age of 11 years old. What they first see has also changed: no longer the Playboys or old videos hidden by their fathers, but what used to be called “hardcore pornography,” and is now just pornography.
Some of them will become porn addicts and some won’t. Some boys raised up on pornography will grow up to be rapists and some won’t. But they grow up thinking this is what sex is like (and will try to implement it on their sexual partners). They grow up with pornsickness. And they will support pornography with the determination that anyone would defend something they’ve grown up with and have come to associate with their maturation.
In recent years, Sue had treated growing numbers of teenage girls with internal injuries caused by frequent anal sex; not, as Sue found out, because she wanted to, or because she enjoyed it – on the contrary – but because a boy expected her to. “I’ll spare you the gruesome details,” said Sue, “but these girls are very young and slight and their bodies are simply not designed for that.”
Her patients were deeply ashamed at presenting with such injuries. They had lied to their mums about it and felt they couldn’t confide in anyone else, which only added to their distress. When Sue questioned them further, they said they were humiliated by the experience, but they had simply not felt they could say no. Anal sex was standard among teenagers now, even though the girls knew that it hurt.
Despite the continued mainstreaming of “official” feminism, the pro-pornstitution rhetoric is increasingly self-perpetuating because its materials stand ready to indoctrinate generation after generation. Support for pornstitution results from this indoctrination, not as a result of “agency.” To argue the latter is as silly as claiming that religious beliefs are the result of “agency” and that the correlation between one’s religion and that of one’s parents is a complete coincidence.
It is well understood by feminists that censoring pornography will not resolve the issue of woman-hatred. The fact that pornsickness is rooted in childhood indoctrination provides us with both the cause and the solution.
I’m not interested in a world where men really want to watch porn but resist because they’ve been shamed; I’m interested in a world where men are raised from birth with such an unshakable understanding of women as living human beings that they are incapable of being aroused by their exploitation.
Despite what the pro-pornstitution advocates repeat over and over like a broken record, free speech is not the issue. Misogyny is the issue. The real abuse of real women is the issue. Genderism is the issue. And how widespread pornography turns boys into men is very much part of all these issues.