I have heard the average age of first exposure to pornography being anywhere from 9 – 12 years old. Picture a 9-year-old, they are in the 4th grade and should be obsessing over sports and nail polish, not naked women. Seeing image after image that will never go away, it might possibly fade over time, but will be forever imprinted into their memory.
It is this very thing that perpetuates the demand for sex and sex trafficking. It baffles me how we can be so against sex trafficking and desire to see it end, yet we accept porn as a form of entertainment and turn a blind eye to its influences. Benjamin Nolot, the founder and director of Exodus Cry, an anti sex trafficking organization based out of Kansas City, found in his research that there was not one man paying for sex that did not have a history of viewing pornography.
Melissa Farley also conducted a study and found that 49% of women interviewed across 9 different countries reported having pornography made of them while they were in prostitution. These women lacked consent and the choice to say no. To me, there is no difference if you are getting paid illegally for sex on the streets and getting paid for sex on camera. In both cases, you have the exchange of sex for money, which still falls under the umbrella of commercial sexual exploitation. We need to call pornography what it specifically is: sexual exploitation.
There are also serious physical consequences for viewing pornography. It creates a drug-like addiction in your brain, warping your view of sex. It trains you to believe that you can have sexual stimulation and pleasure anytime you want it. It physically alters your mind and body. It is also linked to an increase in violent sexual fantasies and can aid to the acceptance or belief that would blame a rape victim for being assaulted. More than anything, it negatively alters our perception of women, heathy relationships and our overall sexuality.
So what can we do to increase awareness about pornography’s contribution to the sex industry? This week, research your state’s laws and stance on pornography and prostitution. Utah recently declared pornography a public health crisis stating that it is a main cause in destroying marriages and families. Have you personally been effected by pornography? Together, let’s educate our friends and family on its detrimental effects.