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Pornography is the cancer of our times

People are shedding their embarrassment over speaking up

By on Monday, 28 January 2013

Automatic net porn filter rejected

I read a thought-provoking article on LifeSiteNew last October 24. Written by Fr Michael Shields, pastor of the Church of the Nativity in Magadan, Russia, it was entitled “Pornography is the silent “cancer” of our time.” Fr Shields wrote, “Pornography came to Magadan like a cold wind, blowing through the city and leaving behind openly pornographic magazines and videos strewn across newsstands and book stores. It arrived all at once.” He compared this new “cancer” to cigarette-smoking: how people were at first ignorant of its bad effects on health; how it was tolerated until “slowly society changed as people learned that cigarettes can cause cancer. Movements began to ban cigarette smoking in public places. Signs warning of the dangers appeared on packages and billboards…Over time, a smoking culture changed into a non-smoking culture.” Fr Shields concluded his article by stating soberly, “We are in a similar time right now – tolerating a very terrible cancer that is eating away at our society and destroying homes, marriages and souls…”

One might add that it is also destroying young peoples’s lives. I had filed this article away, but given the spate of articles and media interest in the subject of children and pornography this last week – Allison Pearson in the Telegraph on Thursday, Catherine Pepinster on Thought for the Day on Friday, and Cole Moreton in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph, for instance – it seems timely to re-read Fr Shields and ponder his words.

Pornography is a difficult subject for the secular, liberal society that we live in to tackle. On the one hand it insists that adults, anyone over the age of 16, are free to do whatever they want with their bodies and that any form of censorship is wrong; that anyone who calls for restraints on behaviour is narrow-minded or a bigot; and that as long as one’s conduct “doesn’t hurt anyone else” it must be tolerated. This freedom to do as we please as regards sex must never be questioned. On the other hand, it insists on unworkable schemes to protect children from the merest and remotest possibility of paedophile attacks and conducts retrospective witch hunts on alleged past sexual predators. Both these stances are confused, contradictory and hypocritical.

What struck me, on reading Moreton and Allison Pearson, is their sense of embarrassment in having to relinquish their liberal credentials when it comes to the corruption of young people by pornography. Moreton wants us to know, “I’m not a prude, but…” and Pearson writes, “It’s not often that I unleash my inner Mary Whitehouse, but the way young girls today are expected to conform to a hideous porn culture makes me want to don a pair of glasses with upswept frames and get myself one of those battleaxe perms.” (Note her mention of the easily caricatured physical appearance of a good and brave Christian woman who tried to draw the country’s attention to this growing problem as early as the 1960s.)

But it was what Pearson went on to say later in her article that particularly caught my attention: “I spent three minutes looking at YouPorn yesterday and I felt like I needed at least three years in a darkened room listening to the B Minor Mass to reconstitute my soul. What the hell would this writhing abyss look like to a 14-year-old…?” As far as I know Pearson is not someone of religious faith; yet confronted by sheer evil she looks instinctively towards the kind of spiritual beauty exemplified by Bach in order to cleanse herself from its destructive effects.

This is not a surprise to a Catholic. We know we are fallen creatures; that Hell is real (and starts in this life); that our souls, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, refer to “that by which [man] is most especially in God’s image”; that the Mass is not just a peak aesthetic experience but actually enacts the deepest drama of our redemption; and perhaps most importantly in this context, that only the grace of sacramental Confession can truly cleanse those same souls once they have been in contact with pornography. (I should add here I have never watched YouPorn, even for reasons of journalistic research, for the simple reason I know it would be very bad for me, like drinking poison. Not for nothing does the Church warn us to “carefully avoid occasions of sin.”)

Like Pearson, I want to protect the innocence of children, and these days my grandchildren. Not being technological, I cannot suggest ways this might be done effectively, either on the internet or on mobiles – indeed, if it is possible. But like Fr Shields, I see it not just as a very serious social or psychological problem, but as a spiritual cancer that, in his words, is “destroying souls.” In his article he is talking of adult male addiction in particular; but he would agree that children and young people will imitate the adults around them, adults who are shaping today the society that these young people will inherit tomorrow. If adults demand freedom from moral constraints over their own behaviour, what example are they giving to the next generation? Moreton and Pearson are rightly appalled at the corrosive effect on children by easy access to pornography. But where were journalists like them when Mary Whitehouse was fighting her lonely battle against the sophisticated liberal intelligentsia of her day? I suspect they were mocking her seeming prudery, provincialism and lower middle-class values.

  • Hans Coessens

    Those struggling with this awful sin do anything you can to get rid of even the occasion for it. Pray, fast and do penance. Get a free filter on the web or use less the internet. Anything. Numerous souls are going straight to hell because of this awful sin. The devil wants to destroy our identity and dignity through pornography. Mater Purissima, ora pro nobis.

  • JFJ

    Is my memory failing me, or can I actually recall a time when feminists like Andrea Dworkin, Catherine MacKinnon, and the journalist Robert Jenson, to mention a few, opposed pornography in part because it constituted violence against women and subjection of women to male dominance. Now it seems that whatever voice or influence they may have had among those who agreed with them politically and socially has gone.  It would be nice if their contemporary disciples would speak up again, but with greater clarity and moral outrage, or I fear they might miss the point as did Dworkin and co..  Their basis for opposition had nothing to do with natural law or a moral basis – whether from faith or human diginity. Now, we are faced with a situation I never thought I would see.  Pornography is no longer a thing to be ashamed of, to deplore and to hide where no one can see it.  The availability of pornography as a commonplace thing suggests that sex is nothing more than a base and animal like instinct that can be enjoyed without accepting responsibility and without a relationship between two human beings. The result is a skewed, unholy and unreal idea of sex, as something divorced entirely from normal human beings, from love and from marriage and commitment.  Marriages are harmed because of the stuff, children are subjected to unspeakable acts due to the stuff, young people are growing up with a warped sense of themselves as sexual beings and without understanding loving and lasting relationships due to the stuff and Western states that allow the free distribution of the stuff are suffering the effects.  And society thinks Catholics are bonkers!  Go figure.

  • kinkysox

    I remember reading a page on a US Roman Catholic webpage about a man who was addicted to pornography for a long time and was eventually cured of his addiction.

    He didn’t go to a shrink, or a group session or anything like that to talk about it.

    (Actually, this guy didn’t think it was an addiction, like drugs or alcohol or tobacco – that’s key to understanding your article, Francis)

    This is what he did: he took up his rosary and prayed it fervently.

    Our Blessed Lady promised that regular recitation of the Holy Rosary ‘will destroy heresies, decrease sin and destroy vice’

    Our Blessed Lady keeps her promises.

  • OldMeena

    There is so much that is misguided and wrong about your
    article that I wonder if I should start to say anything at all in reply. The
    sheer enormity of a fitting response is daunting. I have children and
    grandchildren too, including girls in both generations, and other girls in my
    family, all of whose welfare is of supreme importance to me. I am still a
    fairly busy person, but can sometimes find the time to reply to a little of the
    cack-handed nonsense found on this website – but a worthy critique of this
    article would stretch me well-beyond the time available. 

     

    As an educated person, you should know that sexual
    pornography has been a feature (usually a much more widespread feature than at
    present) of all human societies. One must also bear in mind that the
    fairly modern, highly developed and nauseating habit of sexual moralising
    (greatly helped-along by the late Mrs Whitehouse) creates pornography out of totally
    innocent activity.

     

    Your remarks about the secular response are confused.

    You say that secular society “insists that anyone over
    age16 are free to do anything they want with their bodies”. Anything? Do we
    argue that a man is free to rape a woman if he wants to? You later contradict
    your statement by including “doesn’t hurt anyone else”, and then contradict
    this contradiction by adding “freedom to do as we please as regards sex must
    never be questioned.”

    You criticise “retrospective witch hunts on alleged past
    sexual predators” – one wonders why (the RC Church’s record?)

     

    I think that many of the middle class (and of the lower
    middle class you mention), whose views are created or reinforced by Telegraph newspapers
    (and the CH), might be unnecessarily alarmed or distressed by your article. I
    read these Telegraph reports on the days of publication, and groaned. What’s
    new?

    Teenage schoolgirls, by the way, were always told to take
    everything their friends told them with a very large lump of salt. Has this
    stopped?

    PS: Parents of some of the aforementioned schoolgirls could consider doing the same.

  • MRF Thorne

    Praying the rosary daily is a guaranteed method of empowering yourself against temptations of all types, and I have heard from discussions with several people that it proves to the only effective method in ‘breaking the back’ of being tempted by pornography. 

  • Caroline Farrow

    Discussion of pornography is also a difficult topic for Catholics. We too suffer from the sin of pride and are concerned as to what other people may think of us or our psyche. There is a common false perception that the church is obsessed with sex, speaking out against pornography confirms many people’s prejudices. 

    Also, it’s difficult to discuss this with appropriate tact and sensitivity, i.e. we don’t want to inadvertently titilate or lead others into sin.

    That pornography is a terrible pornography is in little doubt. The well known American speaker on chastity Jason Evert has an excellent website for Catholics who may be struggling. http://www.theporneffect.com/jason-evert

    I read somewhere recently that a study on the effects of online porn on young men under the age of 25 had to be abandoned as literally no participants could be found who had not had any exposure. That really says all we need to know. 

  • rightactions

    …the way young girls today are expected to conform to a hideous porn culture…
    –Allison Pearson (quoted in article)

    …is shaped by the porn females openly consume.  It’s sold in the shops, at the supermarket, and placed where young girls can see it and absorb the slutty messages of their cover teasers.  And besides the near-omnipresent magazines there are the so-called romance novels and hard cover books such as the infamous 50 Shades of Grey.

    Having shaped “a hideous porn culture” themselves, females also become its most  ferocious enforcers.  Because they’ve pledged themselves to feminist orthodoxy, females have abandoned femininity and have only their female body parts to offer as they attempt to outbid each other for the attention of men.

    Can females find their way out of the “writhing abyss” into which they have thrown themselves?  Yes.  Masses.  Confession.  Renewal of baptismal vows.  And  answering in the affirmative the question, do you reject feminism and all her works?

  • Nick

    What a sensible response….

  • Nick

    Oh dear – 1 down, 67 billion to go…

  • kinkysox

    Precisely.

  • kinkysox

    Nothing is impossible to God…

  • kinkysox

    Give it a go. It works.

  • Parasum

    If it is, that suggests it may be incurable :(

  • Parasum

    “Praying the rosary daily is a guaranteed method of empowering yourself against temptations of all types…”

    ## There is no such thing as a “guaranteed method of” doing anything, in the Christian life – where praying the Rosary, going to Mass on the First Nine Fridays or some other number of days, wearing the Brown Scapular, or praying the “Prayer Never Known to Fail (to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, IIRC)”, the Fifteen Promises attached to some other devotion, or anything else.  

    Prayer, whether Rosary or some other kind, may well give moral support – but that is it. If we are weak-willed, there is no “guaranteed method” of going making up for that. The Rosary may well help many people – that is not same as its being a guaranteed help for everyone; which it must be, if it is a “guaranteed method” of anything. Catholicism, at least in some of its popular forms, is too fond by half of “Prayers Never Known to Fail”.

    STM that making sure one’s mind is occupied avoids both boredom, and pornography.

  • Parasum

    Why not cut off the problem at the root, and completely avoid discussing such issues on the Net ? If people were encouraged to be both modest, and sensible, and in others ways also to be the kind of people for whom that kind of stuff has no attraction, the problem would vanish. Some issues should be confined to spiritual direction or the confessional. If people relied on their priests for advice, and not on strangers on the Net, we might have better clergy, with a stronger sense of their vocation.

    How to do it ? Cultivating the virtue of temperance would help. A lot of problems in UK society are forms of intemperance – such as gluttony, drunkenness, avarice, extravagance, wasting resources (including time), bad language, wrath, sloth, all forms of lust, & many more. One of the problems with the Net is that it encourages vicious behaviour – especially forms of intemperance. If people were temperate, they would be self-controlled – in everything.

    People are not encouraged to be virtuous – yet people are surprised society is in a mess ! If a virtuous people is lacking, there is no way to avoid a vicious society.

  • Jon Brownridge

     I would guess that reciting your 9 times tables might have the same effect.

  • CullenD

    Pornography could be said to be as old as cave painting, and since that first phallus was added to a stick figure on a rockface, we haven’t stopped producing it. Sculpture, paint and canvas, printing press and camera, all have inevitably, and quickly, been used to produce sexual imagery. It’s naive to think we’ll ever stop producing sexual images that can be perceived as pornography.

    That’s not to say that what most modern people would class as pornography can’t be dangerous. A better comparison than smoking would be drinking alcohol. Exposing immature teenagers to explicit images is dangerous, just as consuming alcohol is. It is a different matter when we consider mature adults though, just as with alcohol, moderate consumption of non-exploitative pornography is harmless. In some cases it may even be educational. As Mrs. Philips mentioned, it may well be worrying to some parents that their children will see pornography. My advice in that case is novel… DO YOUR JOB AS A PARENT! Pretty simple really, put the PC in a common room, buy your child a phone without net access, do that pesky thing called taking responsibility as a parent.

    Lastly I must point out that prohibiting porn, as with most things, simply does not work. Take Pakistan, as an extreme example. They of course have very strict laws guiding sexual morality. The unfortunate truth though is that they are No.1 in the world for google searches for the most extreme, perverted and illegal types of porn. I honestly can’t list them in a catholic blog. The other result is that utterly innocent parts of the body are sexualised. A neck, an ankle or a glimpse of hair is considered enough to send a man into an uncontrollable sexual fury. Which, of course, is always the fault of the female owner of the neck or ankle or unhidden tresses. 

  • JabbaPapa

    What a load of the usual old ranting politicised cobblers, you mean ?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    I do not see why the innocence of all the children (and others) of the world should be sacrificed on the altar of the American infatuation with “freedom” being defined as the right to do what the hell they wish. 

    The control of the internet to ban porn and other material too (terrorist sites) is incontestable. And it’s not so difficult: simply instruct by law the service providers to block all of it and the VPN’s that people use to get round it.

    In the meantime, what is the best blocking software parents can use on home computers?

  • polycarped

    I agree and I have to say that I’m very surprised that the author thought it necessary to explicitly mention (a.k.a. ‘advertis’e) the YouPorn website in the article. Francis could have been more generic and made the same point. One of the things that doesn’t help people who are susceptible to or addicted to porn (which is SO destructive on a personal, familial and wider level) is being able to access it easily. For those who are addicted, YouPorn is always just one dangerous click away and noting it in the article is either an unwelcome reminder to them or an invitation to vuulnerable others. I believe that porn should be made very difficult indeed to obtain; in the same way we go to such lengths to make it difficult for children to be exposed. Part of the problem seems to be an inherent hyprocrisy or denial (basically sin which is not named for what it is) – it’s somehow bad for children but OK for adults. Surely many more children would be better off in a world without pervasive porn which logically leads to the commoditisation of sex, promiscuity, lust, unfaithfulness and relationship breakdowns.

  • whytheworldisending

    This isn’t about liberal values. It is about Greed. Its said
    that a betting shop is as licence to point money, but the same is true of any
    business which deals in products which have the power to groom “customers” into
    an addictive cycle from which they cannot escape. Cigarette dealers were able
    to pretend for a time that they didn’t know it was harmful, but everybody has known
    for thousands of years that sex outside marriage, promiscuity and pornography
    are harmful.They do it anyway, they
    deal in it anyway and they legislate to promote it anyway. Why?

    The love of money is at the root of it. Sex has been used by
    advertisers to sell products for a long time. Remember the young ladies draped
    over new cars at the motor shows? The Sun began using page 3 to increase
    newspaper sales, and so on. Anything capable of becoming an addiction is gold
    dust to the greedy unscrupulous fat cats of business – the worshippers of
    Mammon, and increasingly, government sees its job as doing whatever business
    wants in order to increase sales, and thereby so-called economic growth. A bigger demand for prison workers and divorce solicitors and mental health workers contributes to economic growth – is that good?

    The controllers of wealth WANT ordinary people to be enslaved
    and addicted, and the more the merrier. Whether it is pornography, gambling, alcoholism,
    drugs (drugs, like gambling in the past,
    may  be legalised if the government wants a slice of the action) or just
    plain old keeping up with the Joneses, the more ordinary people waste their
    lives pursuing worthless things, the richer the rich get at their expense. Most
    political parties have put all of their faith in so-called economic growth, and
    so once in power will not lift a finger to help if it means an opportunity to make money might be lost.

    Gambling used to be illegal, then it was illegal to
    advertise gambling, but now we see TV advertisements for online gambling. It is
    addictive and destroys lives. Profits come from the pockets of vulnerable
    people in danger of losing their homes, jobs and families but the government
    doesn’t care about them. They don’t care about lives ruined through gambling.
    Why would they care about victims of pornography? As for freedom, Plato said,
    thousands of years ago, that a Just society cannot leave people to make choices
    that are harmful to themselves.

    Plato would be horrified to see that we do not stop at that.
    Commercial interests take away people’s freedom to choose by grooming them into addictions which serve
    to make the rich richer at the expense of the masses. Jesus said that you cannot serve God and Money,
    and it is clear that government cannot govern the people fairly without a
    healthy contempt for those who worship money.

  • OldMeena

    “The other result is that utterly innocent parts of the body are sexualised. A neck,…….”

    ‘Tower of ivory’ …..’House of gold’

    (PS: ALL parts of the body are innocent)

  • TheBlueWarrior

    Sir or Madam,  you simply don’t understand what you’re talking about.  This isn’t about the adolescent titillation of viewing a page 3 girl or even the top shelf stuff at the news agents.  You comment as if the author is talking about smoking cigarettes behind the woodshed, when the subject is crack cocaine being freely piped into homes across the country.  As an educated person, you should take the time to review the scholarly research studies documenting the effects of internet pornography on society before waving this issue off with a sweep of the arm.

  • OldMeena

    I well know and understand these matters; both as a parent and as a teacher and tutor of teenage girls (and boys) over many years. I am not “waving off” anything except the hysterical nonsense present in Mrs Phillips’ article and in (as, of course expected) the majority of comments here. 

  • whytheworldisending

    Use only shared computers – without separate password protected user ID’s, and only shared moblile phones. No child should have exclusive access to a mobile or a computer. Get them one for their 18th birthday. 

  • scary goat

     Microsoft family safety is pretty good. You can block types of content like adult or violence.  You can block/allow specific sites, and you can get a weekly activity report on your child sent to your email so you know what sites they have tried to access.

  • Nesbyth

    I didn’t find Francis Phillips’ article “hysterical” at all.
    It was a balanced wake-up call about an alarming and rapidly growing evil in our midst, that of graphic sexual bullying of children.
    You sound a rather complacent OldMeena… about all this.
    I think there’s nothing to be complacent about. The internet/mobiles/are spawning oodles of porn which rots the soul, the body and the brain (integrity).

  • OldMeena

    I am using the word hysterical to mean very upset and excited, a common thesaurus definition, and I stand by it.
    Parents with children at boarding school, a day school, or even of 18+ young people at university, could easily become very upset and anxious after reading Mrs Phillips’ article and/or the pieces in the Telegraph. 
    If they have raised their children to be thinking rational individuals (and even if they haven’t in the vast majority of cases) they have nothing to worry about. The young are not gullible fools – more of the older generation(s) fall into this category. They need to experiment and investigate and should not be prevented from using the modern tools of communication. Unless you are really looking for trouble a few years along the line, my strong advice would be to allow them the privacy of their own computer and phone and to monitor their use to a minimum.

    Pornography is something that lies in the “eyes” of the beholder. It is also a strongly time-dependent and strongly culture-dependent concept. People in earlier ages (the classical periods for example) would consider dress and sexual activities as quite acceptable that the 21st century moralist would say are pornographic. 

    The news media tell us today that there is a group in the UK calling for a special tax on fizzy drinks, because they disapprove of them.
    We are plagued with moralists. 

  • OldMeena

    I am using the word hysterical to mean very upset and excited, a common thesaurus definition, and I stand by it.Parents with children at boarding school, a day school, or even of 18+ young people at university, could easily become very upset and anxious after reading Mrs Phillips’ article and/or the pieces in the Telegraph. If they have raised their children to be thinking rational individuals (and even if they haven’t in the vast majority of cases) they have nothing to worry about. The young are not gullible fools – more of the older generation(s) fall into this category. They need to experiment and investigate and should not be prevented from using the modern tools of communication. Unless you are really looking for trouble a few years along the line, my strong advice would be to allow them the privacy of their own computer and phone and to monitor their use to a minimum.
    Pornography is something that lies in the “eyes” of the beholder. It is also a strongly time-dependent and strongly culture-dependent concept. People in earlier ages (the classical periods for example) would consider dress and sexual activities as quite acceptable that the 21st century moralist would say are pornographic. 
    The news media tell us today that there is a group in the UK calling for a special tax on fizzy drinks, because they disapprove of them.We are plagued with moralists. 

  • Scyptical Chymist

     What a breathtaking comparison – disapproval of fizzy drinks and disapproval of pornography as equally reprehensible. Incidentally I am willing to bet that many of the liberals who approve of banning fizzy drinks are enthusiastic supporters of pornography.

  • polycarped

    “…moderate consumption of non-exploitative pornography is harmless (for an adult)”.

    What do mean exactly? How do you define harm?

  • JabbaPapa

    People in earlier ages (the classical periods for example) would
    consider dress and sexual activities as quite acceptable that the 21st
    century moralist would say are pornographic.

    oooooh, looks like you’ve found another word that you don’t understand : “pornographic”.

    Sexual activities are only pornographic when they are represented in the arts ; and ancient sartorial fashions cannot by definition be “pornographic”.

    Hence, everything that you have said on the subject of this concept that you can be seen, objectively, not to understand is totally worthless ; you do not know what you are talking about.

  • karlf

    It would be a fabulous thing if God acted to prevent pornography being accessed by children.

  • scary goat

     And what do you mean by “non-exploitative porn”?

  • OldMeena

    I did not make any comparison whatsoever between pornography and fizzy drinks.
    I mentioned the current news about fizzy drinks to illustrate that there is literally NOTHING that the judgmental moralist will not seek to get her or his finger into, and then proceed to lecture the rest of us about (and sometimes try to force government to legislate about).

    It may be: using air travel; using the car instead of the train; eating meat; using sugar (and we had that quite recently here); smoking; drinking alcohol; the famous 5-a-day; leaving TVs on standby; walking too little (or too much); turning down the thermostat; (there is an almost endless list). At no point, however, would I wish to rank any of these matters in order, or to compare the one with the other.

    Your lack of clear thinking does the name of Boyle a disservice.

  • C_monsta

    i think Old Meena means it as ‘intended to stimulate sexual excitement’

  • OldMeena

    I was not referring to the Arts or the sartorial fashions of which you ignorantly speak.

  • Agent Provocateur21

     Sweetheart, why are you reading and commenting on this site if you are not a Catholic? I’m sure a very rational and educated person like you have better things to do….

  • JabbaPapa

    That is not the meaning of the word “pornographic”.

  • JabbaPapa

    I will not in the future reply to them

    You made that promise to me once in the past already — though I suppose optimism springs eternal…

  • JabbaPapa

    … that there is literally NOTHING that the judgmental moralist will not seek to get her or his finger into, and then proceed to lecture the rest of us about …

    Yes dear, there’s no need to describe your posting strategies to us ; we’d worked them out for ourselves already, thanx !!!

  • Scyptical Chymist

     I agree with every point you make in your second and third paragraphs. These judgemental moralists are a menace and I think that if you take a little time to consider you will find that many of these same people like to be thought of as liberal elite. They consider their views to be superior to the rest of the populace and must lecture them to change their ways. Many of them hold any one who disagrees with them in contempt. Indeed as I said in my earlier comment I suspect (with some evidence) that many of these people have very “liberal” views on e.g. pornography and same sex marriage — while preaching against innocent pleasures. Where I do disagree strongly is with your apparent downgrading of the threat of pornography. The constant drip (some would say, torrent) of this in readily accessible form is indeed a grave threat to all especially the young. We  would be failing in our duty if, as parents or teachers, we just stand aside. We expect the young to exercise judgement of course but that does not excuse us from our grave responsibility for their welfare. I stand by my criticism of including the condemnation of fizzy drinks as a valid comparison with the condemnation of pornography. The latter has much more corrosive effect on souls than the former’s acidic properties have on the body.

    I cannot agree with your first and final paragraphs as I think I have drawn very reasonable conclusions from the data you presented. However I suspect we agree more than we disagree in general.

  • C_monsta

    but you know what she means so why be so mean spirited?

  • Jonathan Marshall

    I’m sorry, Meena or whatever your real name is, but you really have no idea about what is going on in the real world.

    You are quite correct to say that “sexualpornography has been a feature…of all human societies”, but the situation today is very different from anything in the past.

    Agreed, there were pornographic murals and graffiti in Pompeii, and pornographic art has always been around - but you need to appreciate how radically things have changed.

    From drawings or paintings to photographs; then to pornographic magazines; then to films (which needed special equipment to view) - all these were hard to access, mainly illegal, and usually costly.

    Now, however, extreme (and I mean extreme) hard-core pornography is instantly available, free of charge and 24 hours a day, to anyone with a computer, mobile phone or whatever.

    If you don’t belive me, follow Alison Pearson’s example and log on to Porntube or Youporn or any of the other sites, and then come back and tell us it’s all harmless fun.

    It isn’t, and it is poisoning the minds of our children. Boys are now growing up with the idea that sexual intercourse consists of being fellated, engaging in vaginal and/or anal intercourse, and is then concluded by ejaculating into the woman’s mouth. The ideal female recipient of all this will, they are led to expect, have large, surgically enhanced breasts and no pubic hair.

    Young girls are coerced into giving oral sex and more, which is then – in imitation of the porn they have viewed – shared by the boys with all their friends. Is that healthy, or wise, or kind, or  good?

    You claim that “the young are not gullible fools.  They need to experiment and investigate”. Try telling that to the mother of the 13 year old girl who recently fell to her death whilst begging a boy to delete his recording of her (a 13 year old, for heaven’s sake!) fellating him. Was that “experimenting and investigating?”

    You are either wilfully blinkered or appallingly naive if you think this is not a major problem.

  • CullenD

    How do you define porn? It’s a relative term, subject to culture. In Roman times nudity meant poverty. In Victorian times the sight of a breast could lean to swooning. Meanwhile most of the populace would have grown up in abodes where they would have seen their parents rutting like pigs. 

    I don’t know where art starts and porn ends. I apply a simple rule, consent. I also ignore regret.

  • Nesbyth

    Really, OLDMEENA, you shock me.
    DON’T you realise that porno sites use REAL people.
    Are these people trafficked? Are they forced through poverty?Or maybe they are abused or even kidnapped and forced to perform.
    I do declare you are not thinking this through and if you are a Catholic I am lost for words.

  • Nesbyth

    Really, OLDMEENA, you shock me.
    DON’T you realise that porno sites use REAL people.
    Are these people trafficked? Are they forced through poverty?Or maybe they are abused or even kidnapped and forced to perform.
    And you think it’s ok for the young to watch this? How could you?
    I do declare you are not thinking this through and if you are a Catholic I am lost for words.

  • CullenD

    Try using a dictionary. Then add some common sense.

  • OldMeena

    ..

  • OldMeena

    Pornography and fizzy drinks are, sui generis, of their
    own kind and I would not take the trouble to post comments about fizzy drink OTHER THAN as an illustration (and a trivial one, I agree – it was topical, out today, which is why I chose it) of modern moralising.

     “Where I do disagree strongly is with your apparent
    downgrading of the threat of pornography.”

     The use of the phrase “…the threat of pornography” begs the question. Of course pornography exists – it always has. Fairly recent developments in communications and the ready availability of
    computers and suitable mobile phones allow large amounts of it to be delivered to anyone who wants it.  But this is also true of everything else. It’s also the case that the young will use these means to access a great deal of the available rubbish, including pornography, together with more worthy material (most adults have always done similar things using the media of their day: eg.  by reading junk tabloid newspapers and watching trash on TV). But after some little time, in my experience, the excitement is blunted and any exaggerated interest in pornography (which is at first understandably common) begins to fade. You and I may find colour video images (maybe even 3D) a bit remarkable, but to the young they are no more so than the black newsprint of old. They are simply using the medium of the day, and are not being corrupted on a greater scale.  Some adults are, of course, stunned by the images and by the ease of access – and the press and other media have fun exploiting this; some of them probably believing what they are saying, and others simply repeating the popular mantra. It is a pity that the religious organisations are either
    taken-in by this sensationalism or choose to gain approval and attention by supporting it, and sometimes by seemingly becoming part of it.

    The truth, in my opinion and that of former colleagues, is
    that there is no sudden new or unprecedented surge in pornographic “poisoning” of our young. They are as good or as bad as ever. They are above all “people”, and I would say at least as good, as people, as we were as youngsters.