“Playboy isn’t like the downscale, male bonding, beer-swilling phenomena that is being promoted now by (some men’s magazines). My whole notion was the romantic connection between male and female.” Hugh Hefner
Is that what pornography, of which Playboy has been a significant stakeholder, boils down to? A romantic connection between male and female (or now, male and male, or female and female) that is…watched, observed, evaluated…enjoyed, by others?
The average age of first exposure to pornography (now predominantly online) is 11. Over 90% of 16 year olds in the US have viewed multiple hard core pornographic scenes.
Approximately 25% of Internet searches are of a pornographic nature. There are over 4.2 million pornographic websites available today. Every second, $3,075.64 is spent on pornography.
It has been suggested that 160,000 attempts to view child pornography are made each day in the UK.
Porn has been suggested to be as addictive as cocaine or gambling. It is thought to damage relationships and carry profound implications for personal growth and self-value. As well as being addictive, it is insatiating and desensitising.
Our society and culture have been ‘pornified’. Much of our advertising hangs on the principle that ‘sex sells’. Our movies, newspapers, music, video games, clothing, sporting events…and even orange juice have been sexualised.
Pornography has been identified as fuel for sex trafficking and is part of the world of organised crime.
What are the implications of this wide-reaching ‘kingdom’? Should we worry about them?
In what might be at times an uncomfortable journey, this series of 10 posts will explore some of the properties of pornography – addictive, insatiating, desensitising; and examine its effect on its prey: “pornstars”, men, women, and children. It will also end with practical suggestions of ways forward. I have the privilege of being accompanied in this by Robin Peake, Paul Robinson, Richie Francis and Servaas Hofmeyr – great thinkers and writers who have contributed excellent points to this discussion. Indeed, it is a discussion – we don’t come at you with all the answers: pornography has yet to be truly uncovered for what it is. It is our hope, nevertheless, that this helps to open our eyes to the very potent drug and dangerous spear that we believe pornography to be.
I will post in this series every Monday and Friday for the next 5 weeks (and there may be a few little Wednesday surprises in between…) See you then! Join the conversation at any point by commenting or contacting me via email. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Next post on Friday 1st June, “Pornography: an Addictive Poison”.