The GOP and Pornography: And Why Should We Protect Children from Sex?

According to this article in Fortune released today, GOP delegates meeting in Cleveland have been contemplating their party’s platform language. Among their points of contention include pornography, which is no surprise considering the amendment being contemplated was offered by the sex-obsessed Family Research Council.

The article quotes the amendment:

Pornography, with his harmful effects, especially on children, has become a public health crisis that is destroying the life of millions. We encourage states to continue to fight this public menace and pledge our commitment to children’s safety and wellbeing.

The point of urgency here is that pornography damages the minds of children. Children are put in harm’s way due to the ready availability of pornography, or so the GOP contends. I’m not quite certain how, exactly, children are harmed by porn, but we might venture a guess—Tony Perkins is just looking out for their immortal souls.

I call bullshit on this whole thing. Public displays of sex are nothing new to children.

According to the late Moya K. Mason, MLIS, researcher and fact checker, “the bedroom was largely an invention of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Until then, all but the most privileged colonists lived in one or two rooms, and beds stood throughout their homes when not in use.”

Until the inclusion of the bedroom into average middle- and lower-income homes, where do you think mom and dad had sex? It would be quite absurd to think mom and dad sought privacy away from the privacy their single room homes provide. Their children spent their entire childhoods witnessing mom and dad get it on. And to what detriment? Seriously, what kind of negative impact did exposure to their own parents fucking have on them? None. In fact, according to Dr. Ian Kerner, sex counselor,

No studies have shown that a child who sees his or her parents having sex is going to be psychologically damaged. Interestingly, children who are raised in homes with parents who are comfortable with nudity – those who change clothes and bathe in front of the kids – are found to be more sexually healthy.

Being exposed to sexuality and nudity helps children develop. Because we no longer live in societies where it is common to witness your parents having sex (due to the invention of the private bedroom), children’s exposure to non-virtual sex is rather limited. So porn to the rescue!

But what kind of impact does porn have on adolescents? Well, I’ve pursued the literature. Most is unhelpful, but those that were appear to offer very few negative impacts. For example, one study called it a “normative experience“—that is, socially ideal. According to another study, pornography viewership was described as positive and helping college students explore their own sexualities. The worst I’ve come across—a meta analysis—finds a correlation between pornography consumption in adults and verbally aggressive behaviors (and to a lesser degree physically aggressive behaviors), but this aggression is likely the product of being predisposed to aggression and/or violence and seeking out explicitly verbally aggressive and/or violent porn.

In summary, the GOP wants to tackle porn because of the impact sex can have on children’s developing minds. But keeping sex private from children is 1) a brand new phenomenon, 2) unhealthy, and 3) socially deconstructive. There are a lot of positive effects porn has on people, including sexual growth and social development, and yes, there are also some negative effects. But these effects pale in comparison to a true “public health crisis that is destroying the life of millions.”

If the GOP wants to protect children from porn, they should start by first tacking “child” to the word, and then going after their own pastors.

About Rayan Zehn

I'm a political and social activist.
This entry was posted in Politics, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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