Hard Porn is Fueling Physical and Sexual Violence in Confinement

There is an important element that is being overlooked in discussions regarding the impact of quarantining in people’s lives: the role that pornography plays in the proliferation of physical and sexual violence while in confinement. Unlike other types of crimes, several countries across the globe report that domestic violence has increased significantly.

In early March, Pornhub expanded its offer of Premium videos in Spain ―the country in Europe with the highest consumption of commercial sex― while, in London, it offered its main products free-of-charge for 30 days. To provide insight into ​​the scope of pornography consumption, Pornhub alone received 42 billion visits in 2019, and its traffic increased by 11.6% worldwide since the pandemic confined workers and students to their homes.

Prior to the pandemic, statistics revealed that one in three Google searches was related to pornography, and since governments instituted social distancing as a measure to reduce the spread of COVID-19, free access to the more than 500 pages of online porn is on the rise.

Eye observing an abused child

This is disturbing given that 95% of pornography displays some degree of violence against women. The type of violence portrayed in online “hard porn” ranges from insults to degrading and criminal acts such as pedophilia, rape (including gang rape) that often culminates in the murder of women and girls.

This industry utilizes the most sophisticated and unimaginable means to attract attention and lead to an addiction that, in turn, damages parts of the brain. From a very young age, men ―who comprise approximately 90% of pornography consumers― are absorbing increasingly violent sexual acts. Furthermore, access to this type of content is becoming easier, more persuasive, and reaching younger ages.

Due to the closing of schools, and the precariousness in which millions of students live where many may lack the equipment necessary for online studies yet still have access to the internet via their cellular phones, the hours in which children and adolescents are left unsupervised, become fertile ground for the seduction of unsolicited advertisements in the Internet.

In recent years, surveillance studies recorded an increase in rapes committed by minors between 13 to 15 years of age against infants and babies. This phenomenon is attributed to the easy access to both hard porn and child pornography, which can be accessed through any cell phone, tablet, video game console, etc. In fact, it only takes an average of eight seconds to access this type of content.

A study in the United States aimed at male adolescents, showed that after being exposed to watching five consecutive videos classified as triple X porn, the majority of the participants changed their opinion about women. When answering the questions on a follow-up test, they stated that the women observed deserved the violence to which they were subjected. None of them questioned whether any of those women consented to participate in the filming, whether they were extorted, drugged, or were victims of trafficking.

The lesson learned from the “school” of porn is that women are sexual objects at the service of men’s “uncontrollable” desires. In addition, they also learn to believe that women may actually enjoy being the subject of abuse and cruelty. These types of fallacies fuel the porn industry, which generates over fourteen billion dollars annually in the United States alone. Profits like these have led to a 60% surge in child pornography produced in Mexico in order to satisfy the world market.

Pornography can be causally linked to violence because it reduces the gray matter of the brain as much as, or more than, cocaine addiction. Science has proven that it affects the frontal lobe of the brain, the function that allows us to reason, regulate impulsivity, and assess risks. This explains why porn addicts are more impulsive, and that when they experience the impulsivity to attack, they struggle to contain their aggression.

The effects of pornography do not only affect third parties. In fact, those who have developed a dependency, or addiction to it, commonly report impotence, premature ejaculation, and/or lack of pleasure/sexual satisfaction with their partners.

Couple kissing

As a pedagogue, psychotherapist, and author with vast experience in the implementation of gender violence prevention programs in Mexico, the former Soviet Union, Africa, Scandinavia, Central America, and the Caribbean, I suggest that one of the keys to preventing and combating this societal ill is to approach the topic of pornography through direct and candid dialogue. A moralistic approach is of no use, as it serves to only turn a blind eye to the problem and denies the reality.

A comprehensive sexual education that begins in the home is a must, and not just from a biological point of view. There is no better security lock against the access of degrading pornography than a proper age-appropriate sex education for children. Let us communicate with our children, talk with our peers, and do whatever is in our capacity to do, to persuade colleagues and friends about the corrosive effects of pornography.

Consumers of pornography must not underestimate the damage it can cause themselves and their loved ones ―not to mention that the porn industry is the one that promotes the consumption of commercial sex, that also engages in forced prostitution and human/sex trafficking in order to satisfy an increasing demand―.

I encourage you to avail yourselves of various online resources. These are designed to figuratively take the user by the hand and walk them through practical, simple, and free of charge methods for overcoming dependency or addiction.

Take advantage of this confinement period to invest in yourself. You will do yourself an enormous service by overcoming this habit, dependency, or addiction. If you are sexually active, you will regain your capacity for intimacy, connection, and sexual joy. You will be in sync with your sensuality and recover the ability to experience eroticism in a constructive, healthy, and pleasurable manner.

Go to YouTube and search for “How to overcome porn addiction” or “How to stop watching porn”, and several alternatives will appear. Select the one best suited for your needs and immerse yourself in the process that will free you from this habit or addiction. Your safety and mental health are in your hands, and those quarantined with you will also benefit from it.

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