Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pornography and Women


This post has been a long time coming. I've thought about how to approach this topic tastefully, but well and thoroughly. In University I joined a Combatting Pornography group and a group for Women Dealing with Pornography. I was frustrated by how little the women around me knew or understood or would talk about pornography, especially as it relates to women.

So starting right at the very beginning: what is pornography?

  • "Pornography depicts or describes the human body or sexual conduct in a way that arouses sexual feelings." (Let Virtue Garnish thy Thoughts, p 5).
  • "Pornography: Printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity." --Google definition
  • "Pornography: 1. The depiction of erotic [sexual] behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement. 2. Material (as in books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement. --Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  • Hardcore vs. Softcore pornography: Softcore pornography can generally be described as focusing on scantily clad women in suggestive poses. Hardcore pornography explicitly showcases sexual relations.

  • Greek pornographos, adjective. Writing about prostitutes, from pornÄ“: prostitute + graphein: to write. --Merriam-Webster Dictionary

  • Women are not as prone to use the type of internet porn we hear about, with pictures and videos of women. Women's weakness for pornography is, rather, in literature. Mass market romance, romance novels, grocery store novels. You've probably seen them, with pictures of steamy love-making underway on the front covers. Recent popular pornographic literature includes titles such as the "Twilight" series, and "Fifty Shades of Grey."
  • I also believe that pornography and sex education are intimately connected. Many people turn to pornography for sex-ed. "What does a naked man/woman look like?" "What does sex involve?" While I believe strongly in education, I also think that education can go too far, and that is exactly what pornography does. I remember a church leader once saying: "There ought to be something left to discover when you get married." And I agree. An awesome part of marriage is discovering and exploring your sexuality with a committed partner, in a relationship of total trust and fidelity.
  • Another snare for women is that we are very aware of/competitive about/insecure about our physical appearance. Looking at other 'beautiful' women, scantily clad or not, is a way to build a reserve of comparisons that we switch between trying to emulate or ridicule. It can also be a trap for some women who want to know if their body looks 'right.' "What do other women's breasts look like?" may not be a conscious question we ask ourselves, but it definitely is a reason many women don't look away immediately upon seeing pornographic material.

The following several quotes are taken from an article in the Washington Times, which I feel did a very good job of displaying some of the dangers of pornography. Click here to read the whole article.

  • "Science has shown that the brain reacts and takes in images in a certain way and can be detrimental in the developing mind of a child. When a man or woman becomes sexually aroused, the levels of endorphins and enkephalin in the prefrontal cortex are at their highest. Whatever a person visualizes at that point — real or imaginary — his or her body glues to, hungers for and craves, and the adrenal glands imprint that image on the mind."
  • “The more pornography women use, the more likely they are to be victims of non-consensual sex,” said Mary Anne Layden, professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College in Boston. “The earlier the male starts using pornography, the more likely they are to be the perpetrators of non-consensual sex.”
  • “If a man or woman ejaculates to pornography on a regular basis they will actually attach to sex as object relationships as opposed to intimate relationships,” Mr. Weiss said. “So they will actually hunger for object relationships, creating over time what we call intimacy anorexia."
  • “If they’re an addict, they stop developing spiritually, relationally and morally, at the age of the onset of the addiction,” said Mr. Weiss.
  • When we abuse the body, we abuse the soul. There are very real and painful emotional and physical consequences of being unchaste. I should mention here that the meaning of unfaithfulness for me includes looking at pornography.
  • Do you really want to be a "filth consumer"?

  • Why it is wrong to get aroused from the display of Pornographic material: Pornography is a violation of someone's body through displaying or manipulating it. That is not ok because it is violating their personal temple. My participation in the violation of another's body is unethical.
  • The adversary tries to thwart the Lord’s plan of happiness by suggesting that physical intimacy is only for personal gratification. Pornography encourages this destructive and selfish preoccupation. -p.1 of "Let Virtue Garnish Thy Thoughts"
  • Television programs, pictures, movies, songs, and books often treat unchastity and infidelity as common, appealing, and humorous. Unchastity and infidelity are among the most destructive of acts, for everyone involved. They should not be taken lightly or made to be 'normal' or humorous.
  • "The standard remains abstinence before marriage and total fidelity in marriage." Elder Packer
  • "We...declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife." --The Family a Proclamation to the World
  • "Do not let your passions destroy your dreams. Withstand temptation. Remember the words from the book of Mormon: wickedness never was happiness." President Monson

When you are unsure about viewing/reading/visualizing/thinking about something, ask questions like these:
  • Does it invite the Holy Ghost? (or clean, peaceful feelings).
  • Does it make me feel edified or uplifted?
  • Is it aligned with gospel standards? (Compare it with the thirteenth article of faith.)
  • How are chastity, fidelity, and families valued?
That last question is a huge one for me. If what I'm watching or reading does not value family/is destructive to families, that is a clear and easily identifiable warning for me to put it down.


When I typed pornography into Google the first auto correct it came up with was: pornography, the cure. Although society may not act like we need help, individuals in society are in fact needing, and recognizing their need, for help with this problem.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this! I agree that it is so important for women to be aware of the traps that they can fall into with pornography - and you've detailed it nicely. Thanks for all you do to try to make this world a better place. Thanks especially for what you do to make your family the best it can be.