Conservative columnist Matt Walsh recently sparked a large online discussion about banning porn. Philosophically, I agree with him 110% and not only would I be okay with the government banning porn, I think it would be one of the best things it could do.
Unfortunately, there are two big problems with doing it.
1. How do you practically do it? Yes, you could certainly make shooting porn in the United States illegal, but how do you stop all the porn movies and porn websites from just moving overseas and still churning out the exact same material?
2. Perhaps more importantly, how do you muster the will to ban pornography in a nation full of porn addicts, liberals who love it because of its corrosive effects on society, Libertarians who oppose all government action and conservatives who confuse pornography and free speech? It doesn’t matter how good the idea is if you can’t turn it into law.
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Of course, some of you may be asking — why should we ban pornography at all?
Let’s start with the fact that although pornography has been around for a long time, the entire game changed once tube websites became a thing. Porn used to be something that you saw in a private stash of a few magazines that you had to undergo low-grade humiliation to buy. Now, everyone with access to the Internet has unlimited access to video of every type of woman doing every type of sex act imaginable in the privacy of their own homes, with no humiliation required.
Meanwhile, the average age that children are introduced to pornography today is 11-years-old while the under 10 age group accounts for 10% of visits to porn websites. Although I never mind hammering parents that aren’t doing their jobs, there is no practical way to keep your children away from pornography in the Internet age. It’s always just a click away and can be accessed by computer and phone and then all records of it can easily be deleted. Even if you don’t let them on the Internet at all, they have friends with Internet access or they may even just look at it at the library. How can anyone think this isn’t something to be worried about?
Keep in mind what pornography is doing. It’s training you to become sexually aroused far more often than normal by something other than actual sex with a partner. What impact does this have on young kids that have never had sexual contact in the first place?
While studies suggesting porn has few deleterious side effects exist, there are far more suggesting that it does a lot of damage and the anecdotal stories collected at places like Your Brain on Porn are staggering. In an ideal world, there would be ten times as many studies, but studies on sexual issues have a degree of stigma around them.
So, if we look at the studies that have been done and the enormous amounts of anecdotal evidence that hasn’t necessarily been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt yet, what are some of the impacts of porn on a significant number of people that use it? Among others, erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation, difficulty performing with a partner, reduced penis sensitivity, dopamine desensitization, escalation of kinks & depression.
This isn’t good for adults, but the idea that children and teens with developing brains are being regularly exposed to something with these sorts of potentially horrific consequences is something that should be leading to ten times more debate. We should be having real discussions about how to limit the damage pornography does and yes, whether it should be banned. If we could get rid of it entirely, it would be a better world.