What's love got to do with it?
Internet pornography is a difficult subject to write about; even more difficult to talk to somebody about. It is an unfortunate reality that access to images and footage of soft-core and hard-core sexual acts are increasingly easy to find and perhaps worse, more and more difficult to avoid. The facts are staggering:
- There are over 4.2 million pornographic websites (12% of total websites).
- 68 million pornographic search engine requests per day.
- It is believed that 42.7% of internet users view porn.
- 34% of users have received unwanted exposure to pornographic material.
- Internet pornography sales amount to $4.9 billion per annum.
However, these statistic hide another, more sinister truth. Every day thousands upon thousands of people are compulsively accessing internet pornography. It may seem strange to suggest that they do not want to (at some level it fulfils a need) but the very action of clicking a link fills them with self-disgust, fear and destructive shame. Every day they face themselves in the mirror, promising themselves that they will not fail themselves, their families, their partners again and every day the mirror looks back at them, mocking their attempts to control a compulsion that has spiralled not only beyond their control but obviously beyond the control of governments and nations.
Who can they tell? Who can they share this secret with? A secret that fills them with disgust, that on the one hand, is represented as socially deviant and repulsive and on the other, represented in multiple subliminal ways through advertising, popular shades of fiction and music. Who would understand? Who would stand by somebody so disgusting?
And here is the paradox. The only way out of this spiral is to talk. To share the fear and shame and desperation that fills every waking hour.
No one has yet produced the final research on the way mass exposure to pornography is shaping our brains but what is clear is that it is shaping the way in which we view other human beings; severing our most beautiful capacities. The capacity for love, for acceptance and for empathy. It is steeping a generation in shame; shame that only wants to cut us from any meaningful and healing contact with another human being.
Talking to someone can help. It is essential. No matter how fearful, how ashamed you may feel, when met by a non-judgmental and empathetic response the journey to your recovery starts.
Make your next click count.
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