The Harmful Effects of Pornography: America’s Moral Crisis March 14, 2022 | Truth & Liberty Staff Estimated reading time: 6 minutes “As a woman, I think porn is a disgrace,” pop music star Billie Eilish recently told shock jock Howard Stern. The 19-year-old Grammy award winner went on to share the mental and emotional damage she has suffered from watching pornography starting at only 11 years old: I think it really destroyed my brain and I feel incredibly devastated that I was exposed to so much porn. I think that I had sleep paralysis, and these, almost like, night terrors, just nightmares. I think that’s how they started, because I would just watch abusive [pornography] and that’s what I thought was attractive, and it got to a point where I couldn’t watch anything unless it was violent, and I didn’t think it was attractive. Eilish’s experience is all too common. Pornography has become mainstreamed in the United States, and its effects on our nation are shocking. The data shows that it is damaging American families and communities – contributing to violence, crime, broken homes, and shattered relationships. Once regarded as deplorable, porn has become so common now that it is casually joked about in pop culture, television, movies, and music. Courts over the last few years have shielded pornography by labelling it “speech” under the First Amendment. From there, a series of court rulings have steadily enabled increasing streams of pornography into people’s homes and neighborhoods. From lifting restrictions on the possession of pornography (Stanley v Georgia) to freeing internet access to sexual material (Nitke v Gonzalez), justices have opened the way for ever increasing amounts of pornography with more graphic, violent, and perverse content. CBN News recently reported, “In 2019 alone, people consumed the equivalent of nearly 6,650 centuries worth of pornography on the world’s largest pornography site, which has been credibly accused of hosting child sexual abuse material, more commonly known as child pornography.” We have compiled some of the best research on the topic and encourage you to get the facts by reading our report on The Harmful Effects of Pornography, complete with statistics, a historical timeline, and a biblical perspective. Following are some of what you will find. READ THE REPORT Damaging Relationships In the Bible, the first man so valued his wife, he declared “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Gen. 2:23). Woman was a special gift from God to man: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). Pornography devalues women in men’s eyes and destroys relationships. Men who use porn are trained to see women as objects to be used for sexual gratification, rather than fully equal persons created by God. Pornography ruins marriages. As satisfaction and intimacy are destroyed, marriages crumble. Viewing pornography increases the likelihood of seeking sex outside of marriage, which also increases the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and out-of-wedlock pregnancies. Pornography endangers children. Statistics show that kids raised in a home where a parent uses pornography are at increased risk of experiencing unhealthy sexual behavior, marital conflict, and parental neglect. Corrupting Our Children Today, pornography is viewed by young people at alarming rates. While three quarters of parents deny their children have seen it, the data shows that by the time they reach 17, more than three quarters of teens have viewed pornography: 50% of 11- to 13-year-olds 65% of 14- to 15-year-olds78% of 16- to 17-year-olds Eilish told Stern, “I didn’t understand why it was a bad thing. I thought [watching pornography] was how you learn how to have sex.” Eilish’s motivation is not unusual. Nearly two-thirds of children who admit to intentionally searching for pornography do so in order to learn how to have sex. It should be no surprise then that pornography leads children into acting out what they’ve viewed. As Eilish shared, “The first few times I had sex, I was not saying ‘no’ to things that were not good,” Eilish told Stern. “And it was because I thought that’s what I was supposed to be attracted to. I’m so angry that porn is so loved, and I’m so angry at myself for thinking that it was OK.” Destroying Communities Pornography distorts sex, separating it from its defining human and relational purposes. Starting at a young age, pornography warps perspectives on sex, becoming highly addictive and neurologically damaging over time. The user’s need to feed an ever-increasing habit leads to boredom with soft-core pornography and general sexual dissatisfaction. Pornographers meet demand and enable addictions by producing bizarre and radical imagery. Studies also show that watching pornography damages self image and mental health. In one study, greater consumption of sexually explicit material was directly related to more negative body attitude and both depression and anxiety. Some studies show that homosexuals view significantly more pornography than heterosexuals. Studies show that violent sexual behaviors are directly linked to pornography use. Aggression portrayed in pornography produces callous attitudes toward partners, including the belief that rape is acceptable behavior. Early and continual use of hardcore pornography spurs sexual offenders to commit their crimes. Those who commit online sexual offenses reported spending more than 11 hours a week viewing illegal pornographic images. While bars and other liquor stores are rightly understood as detrimental to healthy communities, sex-based businesses (adult bookstores and nightclubs) cause crime at an even higher rate. For example, more than 80 percent of crimes in a single Colorado neighborhood were connected to a pair of adult businesses. The presence of an adult business in a neighborhood increases the likelihood that a sexual crime will be committed in that neighborhood more than five fold. Children are also at increased risk of being exposed to pornographic material if their neighborhood contains an adult business. Pornography also increases the demand and rate of human trafficking, leading to prostitution and other sex work in communities. Fighting Back Founding Father John Adams wrote, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” The damage from pornography will not stop unless pornography stops. If Americans continue to allow pornography to mar our culture and poison society, we will continue to experience its harmful effects. It is time for Christians to take a stand against pornography in their homes, communities, and nation. Addressing biblical truth on sexuality from the pulpit thoughtfully and graciously is the essential starting point. Christians must become equipped to be ministers of grace and truth in this vital area. We must advocate for legislation that protects young people from internet pornography, keeps sex-based businesses out of neighborhoods, and gets sexualized materials out of public schools. We must support entertainment that affirms wholesome sexual values and oppose that which does not. Pornography is one of the tools that is literally destroying the souls of the American people. We must speak out and fight against this plague, and minister the healing wisdom of God’s Word to the world in need. Learn More Visit the Truth & Liberty website. Visit our Research Center for great practical resources. Also, learn how you can become a Truth & Liberty Coalition member and join us in standing for truth in the public square.