As pornography becomes more normalized, it is becoming increasingly more explicit. While researchers have found some correlation between extreme sex crimes and an interest in pornography, the greater question is whether or not the increase in violence in pornography is contributing overall to an increase of sexual violence in our culture, even among less “extreme: users. The debate about the effects of pornography is fairly divided. There are many who believe that pornography doesn’t contribute to factors such as violence, early sexualization, distorted views of women or apathy in normal relationships. Those who raise questions about the sex industry are often branded as being repressed or prudish. However, research seems to indicate that the ways pornography has changed over the years has most definitely led to a breakdown in a healthy sexual culture.

Explicit Material – The demand for more explicit material is directly related to an addict’s need for greater deviance in order to reach a “high”. Like any business, the pornography industry works on a supply and demand model, sometimes offering options the user didn’t even know he wanted. As the body becomes accustomed to the more basic material, the brain’s reward system, fueled by dopamine, no longer reacts, leading the user to seek out stronger options. In addition to supporting the industry’s most deviant material, regular pornography use has been shown to directly affect the quality of existing or future relationships as well as the ability to make rational decisions.

Violence – Violence within pornographic material is increasing and many researchers are concerned about the link between it and violent behavior. Psychologist Edward Donnerstein from the University of Wisconsin conducted a study which found that even brief exposure to violence in pornography led the test subjects to become more anti-social, more aggressive toward women, more willing to accept common myths about rape and less responsive to the suffering of rape victims. A study of 38,000 sexual assault cases in Michigan indicated that 41 of the offenses occurred just after viewing pornography.

Easy Access – Before the last decade or so, pornography was mostly available in hard copy. Magazines, videos or face to face encounters were required for an individual to maintain his addiction. With the introduction of the internet, the entire game has changed. With the push of a button, anyone can access any form of pornography in an entirely private setting, both on purpose and even accidently. The problem is further exacerbated with the ease and availability of smart phones and tablets. Understandably, this has led to a boom in the consumption of pornography, both “professional” and amateur. Because the internet is global, purveyors are not subject to the morality laws of individual countries and as a result there is no real level of regulation. With the increase in demand for pornography, the rate of human trafficking has also gone up. Many who would decry human trafficking, but think that the pornography they utilize is victimless may have no idea that they are putting money directly into the pockets of criminals. Easy access means that the traffickers can “advertise” their workers with ease for almost no money.

Desert Solace is a Treatment Facility dedicated to helping individuals break the grip of pornography and gain the tools they need to live healthy and productive lives. Recovery is possible and hope is not far away. The therapists and staff at Desert Solace create a safe and supportive environment to give each resident the opportunity to do their very best. If you or someone you know is struggling with pornography or sexual addiction, please contact us at 435-817-1351.