John D. Foubert, Ph.D.
Not long ago, the total depravity of pornography struck me in the face and shocked my conscience. While researching ways to prevent sexual violence on college campuses I was struck by how the pornography industry undermined my work without mercy. This realization led me to read about 200 books and articles, interview a dozen scholars, and talk with 2 dozen people whose lives have been impacted by porn. I shared these results in How Pornography Harms: What Teens, Young Adults, Parents, and Pastors Need to Know (LifeRich Publishing, 2017). In this space I will share with you, the Christian Counselor, a little bit of the latest of what is known about the use of porn and how it hurts your clients.
If you learn nothing else from this article, please remember that today’s mainstream porn is extremely violent, in almost every scene and image. Most recently, acts so violent in pornography that they lead women to vomit, are mainstream. Scenes degrading women in graphic and disturbing ways are now commonplace on the Internet. Though some pornographers, and those who support them, occasionally downplay the violence in pornography, scholars who study pornography note that men in the industry celebrate the fact that their work is abusive.
For decades, porn users have counted on the fact that most porn on the internet was free. That is about to change. In an interview I conducted with Gail Dines, I learned that a company named MindGeek is quickly buying up the free porn with plans to monetize it. I predict this will lead to a new phenomena of porn-induced-poverty among people with fewer means who are compulsive users of porn, can’t break their habit, and will pay most anything to get what they crave.
Though the lie is often told that porn improves one’s sex life, the opposite of course is true. In addition to research showing lower sexual satisfaction with more porn use, increases in porn use also show a rise in erectile dysfunction. Today a third of men under 30 and 60% of those addicted can’t get an erection with a partner but have no trouble with their porn.
A final trend that is important to know is the increasingly interactive nature of pornography. Free sites now have paid performers who pop up on screens offering to do most any act on a private web cam by the choice of the consumer. Virtual reality is also now ushering in a whole new era of porn that is expensive to make, but easy for the major companies to finance. The intent is to make the old porn passe and put the viewer in greater control of what is seen anywhere in a scene. And now, the industry is coming out with devices that syncs a film with the body so if one watches a sex act, they can feel it in their body. I predict that this will lead to a further isolation of post-millennial men, fewer of whom will seek marriage and more of whom will take low road toward becoming a pornosexual. Those who do seek sexual relations with others may ultimately film partners having sex, only to later upload it to a revenge porn site for the world to see.
For too long, people in the Christian community, and others, have thought of pornography as a private sin that shouldn’t be discussed by the Church. That has fed a culture where the pornography use of many is relegated to unacknowledged sin, private shame, or hopeless losing battles. It is time for the Church, and indeed all people of conscience, to fight – armed with the truth, and strengthened by numbers.
John D. Foubert, Ph.D., a follower of Jesus, is National President of the nonprofit organization One in Four, an Endowed Professor of College Student Development at Oklahoma State University and Principal of John D. Foubert, LLC. Dr. Foubert is an interdisciplinary scholar with over 50 peer-reviewed publications. He has written seven books about the prevention of sexual violence and two about managing life in college residence halls. His 10th book is titled How Pornography Harms (2017).
Dr. Foubert has given over 200 professional presentations to conferences, universities, community and military organizations worldwide. Dr. Foubert has testified Congress and has been called upon by the White House and the Pentagon for his scholarly expertise. He consults with colleges, the military, and churches about the harms of pornography and ending sexual violence.