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How Pornography Drives the Demand for Sex Slavery

How Pornography Drives the Demand for Sex Slavery

How-Porn-Drives-the-Demand-for-Sex-Slavery

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 | Written by Luke Gilkerson

The following is an excerpt from the book, Stop the Demand: The Role of Porn in Sex Trafficking:

Shared Hope International’s PR camnpaign against human trafficking 

According to Shared Hope International’s report on the demand for sex trafficking, pornography on the Internet is a gateway to the purchase of humans for commercial sex. This becomes clear when we think critically about what pornography is and how it affects its consumers.

“Pornography” comes from the Greek words porne, meaning “prostituted woman”or “prostitution,” and the word graphos, meaning “writings.” Under this definition, pornography is not the graphic portrayal of sex or sexuality broadly, but commercial sex specifically. Knowing this we can begin to rightly appreciate the negative and corrosive effects of this content.

What the Trafficking Experts Have Observed

Laura Lederer, former Senior Advisor on Trafficking in Persons for the U.S. State Department, says, “Pornography is a brilliant social marketing campaign for commercial sexual exploitation.” Porn is marketing for sex trafficking both directly and indirectly: directly because online and offline hubs for trafficking use pornographic images to draw the buyers, indirectly because of porn’s influence on the culture. A key ingredient to the success of commercial sex is the belief that people (women especially) are sexual commodities, and Internet pornography is the ideal vehicle to teach and train this belief.

Catherine MacKinnon of Harvard Law says, “consuming pornography is an experience of bought sex” and thus it creates a hunger to continue to purchase and objectify, and act out what is seen. For some, this means objectifying their wife, girlfriend, or acquaintances. For others, this means turning to the world of commercial sex.

Porn Predicts Sexual Deviancy

Research bears this out. In a meta-analysis of 46 studies published from 1962 to 1995, comprising a total sample of 12,323 people, researchers concluded viewing pornographic material puts one at increased risk of developing sexually deviant tendencies (31% increase in risk), committing sexual offenses (22% increase in risk), and accepting rape myths (31% increase in risk). In a meta-analysis of 24 studies conducted between 1980 and 1993, with a total of 4,268 participants, researchers positively correlated rape myth acceptance to exposure to nonviolent or violent pornography. Among perpetrators of sex crimes, adolescent exposure to pornography is a significant predictor of elevated violence and victim humiliation.

Porn Warps the Brain

Using pornography, especially over long periods of time, does not just distort the individual’s view on sexuality, but actually reshapes how the human brain functions.

According to neuroscientist Dr. William Struthers, continued use of pornography literally erodes the prefrontal region of the brain, responsible for our willpower. When our prefrontal lobes are working properly, then we have “executive control” of the processes going on in our brains: it is where we do our abstract thinking, make goals, solve problems, regulate behavior, and where we suppress emotions, impulses, and urges. But the more one masturbates to porn, the more dopamine is released in the brain. Eventually dopamine receptors and signals in the brain fatigue, leaving the viewer wanting more but unable to reach a level of satisfaction. The viewer becomes numb to things once considered pleasurable.

To escape this desensitization, people, and men especially, expand their pornographic tastes to more intense or novel pornography. This downward spiral of desensitization impacts the prefrontal cortex. Then, when impulses and desires (such as sexual desires) come from the midbrain, instead of being moderated, the brain feels these desires as compelling needs. While the prefrontal region is supposed to be able to weigh consequences and situations and judiciously shut down cravings, the porn user’s ability to do this is severely impaired. When the craving for sexual stimulation surfaces, their whole body gears up for action, and the craving consumes them. The heart begins to race, blood pressure rises, and the person is consumed by the thought of looking at pornography or acting out sexually. This phenomenon of lost willpower is known as hypofrontality.

According to a 2013 Cambridge University study, when the brain activity of compulsive pornography users was compared to a control group, their ventral striatum (reward center of their brains) reacted to seeing explicit content the same way an alcoholic’s brain reacts to seeing advertisements for alcohol.

In summary, what this means is pornography is actually damaging the brains of its consumers, destroying willpower, and creating a deeply ingrained compulsion. Viewers are selling themselves into a voluntary slavery to their impulses.

What Prostitutes Are Saying About Porn

Unquestionably, these physiological affects of porn on the brain and one’s sexual beliefs play a major role in the life of johns. After 854 prostituted women from nine countries were interviewed, 47% of respondents said they were upset by johns’ attempts to make them do what the johns had previously seen in pornography. The WHISPER Oral History Project found that 86% of prostitutes say johns show them pornography in order to illustrate specific acts they want them to perform.

As Victor Malarek comments in his book, The Johns: “The message is clear: if prostitution is the main act, porn is the dress rehearsal.” Pornography becomes a training ground for johns. When pornography is the source of sex education for our generation, the natural outcome is a culture of commercial sex and sex trafficking.

Luke-Gilkerson

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Luke Gilkerson is the Educational Resource Manager at Covenant Eyes. Luke has a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies and is currently working on an MA in Religion. He is the author of Coming Clean: Overcoming Lust Through Biblical Accountability and The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality. Luke and his wife Trisha blog at IntoxicatedOnLife.com

Source: http://www.covenanteyes.com/2014/09/10/porn-shapes-sexual-expectations-johns/

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