darksideThis article by Roger appears on the website Out in the Light and Deseret News.com

Some pornography consumers often question the motivation of those who are concerned about widespread pornography usage in our society by citing the“fear of sexuality” as the true motivation of opponents.

Proponents of pornography claim to be leading a movement, or perhaps even a moral revolution, to explore, understand and embrace human sexuality. In particular, they claim to be celebrating sexuality and liberation of women, while dismissing anyone who questions that widespread, wholesale pornography consumption will take over the culture as “prudish.”

Research and experience are beginning to show that adherents don’t necessarily find sexual nirvana in their quest to explore sexuality and the boundaries of lust. They often lose their humanity.

Webster’s Dictionary defines humanity as “possessing the desirable human qualities and characteristics, or being humane; as in showing kindness, mercy, sympathy etc.” Research is showing pornography is, in fact, a strong deterrent to the gaining of these humane qualities.

As Dr. Chyng Sun, professor of media studies at New York University and co-producer of the documentary “The Price of Pleasure: Pornography, Sexuality and Relationships” puts it, “Pornography encourages people to disregard others’ pain for one’s own pleasure.”

The need to be fresh is one of the problematic forces in the porn industry. The market demands new, scintillating material. The sensational of yesterday is boring today. There is incessant pressure on the boundaries of what is deemed to be entertaining and sensual. As Sun observes, “pornographers race to the shocking, ridiculous and humiliating, connecting visceral reactions to sexual pleasure.”

Mary Beth Buchanan, a U.S. attorney in the Western District of Pennsylvania, described the motivation for one film during a 60 Minutes interview with Steve Kroft. She said the film depicted rape, murder, suffocations, strangulation, beatings and urination because, “They wanted to make the most disgusting material available on the market. And they succeeded.”

While attending the Adult Entertainment Industry Convention in Las Vegas, porn producer Joe Gallant of Black Mirror Productions admitted during an interview for “The Price of Pleasure” that he feels the future of American porn is violence. Torture-like scenes are now the frontier being pushed to titillate and sexually arouse.

Unfortunately, consuming such material can desensitize the viewer.

On her website Againstpornography.org Maggie Hayes explains, “Pornography makes the thought of rape become a sexual turn-on and makes many men believe that women ask for rape, enjoy the pain and/or like sexually callous attitudes toward them. Pornography encourages men to be insensitive to women’s pain and humanity.”

Gail Dines professor of sociology and women’ studies at Wheelock College in Boston and author of the book, “Pornland: How Pornography Has Hijacked Our Sexuality” observes that “pornography has sexualized violence against women to such an extent that the violence (and degradation of women) can become invisible (to the viewer).”

Porn, like it or not, is sex education. Some viewers accept what they see as normal, acceptable and even desirable. Reminiscent of Pinocchio at the fair, some viewers of pornography suddenly find they aren’t little boys anymore. Changed, but unaware of the transformation, they become blind to anything but their own desires. Humanity and its compassion, kindness and unselfishness become the casualties. While searching for an understanding of sexuality, they instead develop distortions and lose humane qualities.

Naomi Weeks M.S., citing multiple research sources in her work, “Effects of Pornography on Relationships” makes the following observations in the Families and Communities section: “The couple relationship, in particular, … feels the most negative effects of pornography, which can include for users, addiction, isolation, increased aggression, distorted beliefs and perceptions about relationships and sexuality, negative feelings about themselves and (the) neglecting (of) other areas of their lives.”

In other words, pornography users became less capable of intimacy, kindness, mercy, sympathy, empathy, emotional connection and closeness, compassion and nurturing, which are the core elements of our humanity.

Coincidentally the key elements of loving and being loved, is one of our primary human needs as described in “Toward a Psychology of Being” by Abraham Maslow. Without these qualities our ability to love and be loved will compromised and the quality of life denigrated.

Weeks continues by presenting the ironic results that users “face difficulty becoming sexually aroused without pornography. They often lose interest and engage in fewer sexual experiences with the partner, and (feel) a decrease in relationship sexual satisfaction and emotional closeness.”

A decrease in sexual satisfaction is clearly not pornography proponents’ intended destination for the exploration of sexuality. It is a failed experiment. These results and the losses suffered, hardly seem worth the journey.