Pornography is an addiction. The pleasure derived from it is neurochemical, no different than any other pharmaceutical high. Men are particularly susceptible. And the culture continues to shift towards a society where porn is like aspirin.
Cheap, readily available, and an acceptable daily supplement for whatever ails you. But it is no less destructive to the consumer (I’m not addressing the effects inside the industry here) than any of the other declining cultural ‘advances’ of the past few decades.
Back in the late sixties, when sex was reduced to little more than another pleasure drug by the free love movement, none of its proponents expected any side effects. It’s just sex, man. But we got them anyway. The pill, which allowed women to have sex with less fear of, as Mr. Obama calls it–“a mistake,” propelled us through the free love movement. This lead to more no-fault divorce and single-parent families. The constitutional right to an abortion was not far behind and “mistakes” could be rectified with a convenient office visit, and later at taxpayer expense. (Sex makes you happy, the government must ensure happiness, so sex must be protected at all costs.)
Divorce leads to unsustainable alimony and child support–and dead beat dads trapped between the growing hook up culture, the abortion culture and the divorce culture. We then got the sexual harassment revolution where men were regularly ruined based on a woman’s opinion of their advances and where they occurred. making it hard to weed out and punish the real harassment cases which ruined women and their careers; at least until we had a president who was a serial philanderer, sexual harasser, and public perjurer, who abused the sanctity of marriage and women in general.
But Bill Clinton was excused by a large portion of the populace, at the behest of the left, the secular a-moralists, and the media. (Hillary was just in it for the power, so there’s another great message to send about harassment, sex, and relationships.) And hey, oral sex was no longer sex–not a bad message for college guys to use on college girls, who–by the way–seem to have embraced it as something similar to a handshake. (Jealous? If I were young and single, perhaps.)
None of this was any of our business, the advocates told us. What happens in the bedroom is free from government interference except to make sure it happens and often. (Excluding hundreds of other things that could ‘happen’ in a bedroom that are, in fact, the governments business; spousal abuse, murder, theft, rape, drug use, child abuse, forgery, counterfeiting, manslaughter, mail fraud, (…), eating unhealthy foods, watching the wrong cable news, and soon, having the thermostat at the wrong temperature. But sex? Smoke ’em if you got em, just no actual cigarettes, cigars, tobacco products, or non-tobacco “tobacco-like” products please, just the sex.
And people are still surprised, forty years after sex was separated from responsible behavior, that we have a growing underclass of single moms and dads who are unable to make ends meet without some help from their fellow taxpayers. That they present a burden on the whole of society as a result of government social policy. That nearly half the children born are to a single parent. That the majority of these kids do not develop as well socially or academically no matter how much we spend on public education, after school programs, midnight basketball, or social workers. And that the majority of people living near or in poverty are unmarried parents, working low wage unskilled jobs, usually women, who are still encouraged to empower themselves through free love and the hook-up culture, but for whom an increasing, state-mandated hourly wage, nor even a good living wage, can rescue from their dilemma.
But that is always the left’s answer. Quick and easy. Toss them a few bucks, usually your money. And how about more taxpayer-funded abortions, more cash for the support services, and more government involvement which, by the way, cannot constitutionally make any moral or conscious objections to the human behavior that creates these revenue-intensive fiscally responsible solutions. Yes, the government must regulate everything else, including health care, but no public position can be taken on the porn culture, the reduction of women to masturbation aids for powerful men like Bill Clinton, or the generations of people who have been raised to believe that great sex does not come with great responsibility.
And in a culture that has extended the life and quality of life of those stricken with cancer; that has wiped out most of the plagues of the 19th and 20th century, venereal disease is a growing problem with a government-funded solution. But this also has nothing to do with decades of state social policy and the reprogramming of the culture.
The sex as a pleasure drug worldview has extended to same-sex sex, which has even more health risks–both physical and mental. Risks we are meant to ignore because you can’t help you who fall in love with. But it has nothing to do with love and everything to do with loving pleasure, which is as empty a drug as crack or meth or anything similar.
It is a false pleasure that leaves you empty, seeking more and in more extreme ways until it consumes you unless it is connected to something with a true and greater meaning than the pleasure itself. The problem here, of course, is that sex can feel like love when it is not. But that is easy enough to test. Take away the sex for a few weeks or even months. Lacking the expectation or anticipation of sex, if there is nothing but sex, you will know. The relationship is empty of meaning outside pleasure fulfillment. This is one of many reasons why marriage is still popular, but divorce remains high. We have been programmed by the culture to seek sexual pleasure (to seek the sanction of it through marriage) and have learned to mistake it for the more responsible and lasting relationships upon which strong marriages and families are built.
If they survive the youthful years of marriage age begins to weigh in. As couples age, sex drive diminishes naturally, while the culture’s external forces continue to bombard us with a message that sex is the defining nature of all coupling. Viagra and Cialis make it physically possible, and the porn culture–and easy access to it–(including its abundant expression in main-stream advertising, television, and movies) can convince us that it is the right way to think, but it is simply adding unnecessary stress into the relationship and pressuring couples of all ages to view sex as the foundation of their relationship. Sex is great, but without a profound meaning or purpose beyond physical pleasure, beyond getting off, it is nothing more than a form of sanctioned, neurochemical drug abuse.
It becomes an expensive and destructive worldview that attacks us at all levels. And it continues to eat away at America.
I’ve been watching the hookup culture, admittedly with some jealousy. I am still a guy. But I have a strong marriage, all aspects of which work well. Many of my wife’s female friends, those who happen to be young enough to be a part of that hook-up culture, are all getting divorced and can’t seem to figure out why they were not happy when they were married. They admire what she has. They wonder why they did not have it. And some struggle to find happiness now that they are not married. But some of them are learning through caution, as they approach new relationships. Others are just looking for sex to fulfill a physical need. That is what they know. There are plenty of men willing to offer that service because it is what they know, and all they really want. I can tell you which ones are more likely to find real and lasting happiness in a relationship. Most of these women, by the way, have children, many of whom will now grow up observing this behavior in one way or another, as if it is reasonable or healthy.
Which brings me back to porn addiction. Porn is the next nail in the coffin. It is a drug. It creates a chemical response in men (at least) that begs for more. And like similar drugs, after a while the same amount is not enough. You need more. You need more, more extreme, and more often. It can consume you. It can also make it impossible for any woman, say your wife, for example, to arouse you anymore because she will (more than likely) never be like what men see in pornography, particularly in advanced cases of addiction. These women will be incapable of creating a chemical rush of arousal that can compete with porn. With porn so accessible, the man always has an out. And if the cultural shift has not reduced the relationship to one based on sex, the pron will and a meaningful physical relationship with the spouse becomes impossible. No amount of erectile dysfunction medication can help that.
What sex there is becomes a hurried and unfulfilled act to sate a neurochemical need instead of a passionate union of souls. And it can’t even do that. So, the marriage begins to lose whatever meaning it once had.
You might see how a wife might take that, even if she has no idea you are consuming porn in increasing amounts. If she knows about it, it is no better. It destroys marriages, even ones that are founded on something besides sex because it reduces them to that. But at this point, not nearly enough attention is being paid to this latest scourge on the family, and all other aspects of the sexual culture are leaning against the door trying to break it down. Porn is so readily available that an image search on Google produces enough to distract you for hours if you drop the filters. Human beings being weak creatures, and those with no moral underpinning (or a reason to aspire to something greater than themselves) are even more susceptible. So, we are confronted with an expanding epidemic that could further undermine what is left of our culture.
It is not a new problem exactly, but the extension of an old one. And technology has made it an invasive issue that people will be reluctant to approach. Free speech and personal responsibility types may not see a benefit in even discussing it outside the family, but most families never address it until it is too late and the solution is their destruction. Can we continue to wait, or limit our response? Marriage has been under assault for so long, from so many sources, will anyone even bother? And if society has a role to play in reversing this trend, because families and marriages are the foundations of society, what is that role?