The problem with pornography

Paul Ninnes

Paul Ninnes, Founding Director of Real Talk Australia

BY PAUL NINNES (Founding director of Real Talk Australia)

THE PROBLEM with pornography is that it has a negative effect on many peoples’ lives including the user.

Porn distorts and reduces not only the sexual act but the appreciation of the person as being made in the image and likeness of God. It changes the viewer’s perspective on the real meaning of love and intimacy.

It is normal to be attracted to the human body and to desire sexual intimacy, however, pornography trains us to see sexual acts as being all about using another person for our pleasure. People should be treated with love, respect and dignity, not seen as objects to be taken or used for selfish reasons.

When Real Talk Australia started going into schools earlier this decade we would ask the question of young men: Does pornography effect a person’s behavior towards the opposite sex? The answer we received from Australian teenagers was usually split. Some said it did, whilst others disputed this statement with a passion.

‘Porn can get into a young person’s head and stay there for a lifetime seeping into their thoughts and relationships like an invisible toxic poison.’ – Paul Ninnes

Today, nearly everyone answers the question in the affirmative. Yes – Today’s youth think porn effects peoples’ behaviour. When asked “why?” the answer is usually two-fold.

Young people have often seen the research, usually shared on social media. They have seen scary stats like the fact that porn users tend to be more okay with violence against women.

Others simply have experienced the impact of porn on themselves or in their relationships.

It’s pretty hard to see explicit violent sexual acts and to not have what you have seen influence your thoughts, perceptions and relationships. To claim that porn is dissociated from lived experience is like claiming popular music stars and social media influencers don’t influence fashion and trends.

Today’s youth are swimming in a sea of pornography and it is not the ‘soft core’ kind of porn that their parents may have encountered.

  • A recent sample of 1000 Australian’s aged 15-29 found that 84% of the men and 19% of the females watched porn weekly or daily. (Young Australians’ use of pornography and associations with sexual risk behaviours. Megan S.C. Lim, Paul A. Agius, Elise R. Carrotte, Alyce M. Vella, Margaret E. Hellard. Aust NZ J Public Health. 2017; Online; doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12678
  • Other Australian research has stated that 20% of boys first viewed porn at age 8 or lower. (“Sex lives of Australian Teenagers” J Sauers, 2007).
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