As promised in my previous post, I am following up on some of the problems associated with excessive use of pornography. First, by no means am I suggesting that pornography itself is wrong, bad or dangerous. That is, of course, when accessed by a “healthy” adult who is able to control their usage and not when it controls them. By healthy, I am referring here to those who are not obsessive or compulsive in their behaviors. Like just about every other behavior an individual engages in, such as alcohol consumption, gambling, shopping, etc., there is an inherent danger when activities which raise endorphin levels or create an altered psychological or emotional state takes control of one’s decision making.

Watching porn is recreational and often therapeutic. It helps with arousal and assists the imaginative process. It can introduce new and different fantasies which can then be incorporated into the sexual fantasy repertoire. When it replaces one’s own use of imagination and discovery, it enters into the danger zone. It is also, and I cannot be more adamant about this, NOT a means of providing general sex education. Another reason children and teens should avoid porn until they have a solid understanding of sex and sexuality. Parents and others share in this responsibility. Why there are parental controls on televisions and other devices, for example. That, however, is only one safeguard. Kids are smart. They are also very ingenious when it comes to circumventing controls adults put into place to protect them. But how do adults protect themselves? Again, basic education. If you can’t control your own behavior, how do you expect to control your children’s! Yes, we can start off smart but once the hook is in place, it isn’t always so easily extracted. Educate yourselves and remember that expert advice is available if we look for it.

Some blame the easy accessibility of pornography and fear that it is all too readily available. Online gaming has been in the news and most sites and advertisements attach a disclaimer. I’ve only ever seen disclaimers on porn back in the 1980’s when HIV and AIDS was in the forefront of news. Condom use was introduced into some pornographic videos but was mostly seen when the contents was primarily sex between men. As we tried to explain at that time, it’s the behavior that is risky, not the individuals engaged in the behavior.  Trying to keep things simple and straightforward, I suggest that if you are now more concerned about this issue, there are plenty of places to research safer sex attitudes and behaviors. I am focused on risky porn use and that’s where I will remain at this time.

So, where do you get your porn? Many folks still have personal libraries loaded with VHS and DVD videos. They are great collectors’ items. Vintage classics and the like. If you like to collect things, that’s for you. Fun to have and maybe browse through on occasion. Like stamp collections. If you have storage space, go for it. Most people, I have discovered from treating people for sexual issues, are downloading images from the internet. And it’s free! Takes less space in your library, too. But herein lies the risk. Say, for instance, you use a file sharing program for music and porn. Watch hundreds of images and videos and click on anything you think will be fun. Getting tired of the usual? There’s something different just ahead. Here I shall interject another discovery I’ve made. Doing the same thing over and over, watching the same types of scenes over and over, can (and probably will) desensitize the user and prompt them to look for something new, different and more exciting. Sound familiar. If it does, you’re already at least halfway there. The danger zone. A good deal of links to digital videos contain inappropriate and/or illegal content. Curiosity takes over and BOOM…you are at risk for becoming one of the many formerly curious, currently criminally suspect individuals. If you are investigated and charged with a cyber crime involving content which is clearly illegal (say, child porn, for example), you are facing prosecution for sure and all the related expenses associated with it. Expenses which go beyond the monetary. Think about it. Family, profession, reputation, embarrassment and much, much more. It may have started as a search for something new and different, but it quickly escalates to more. What to do if you inadvertently are directed to illegal content? Close the link, call the authorities and report the problem. It will most likely be treated as any other scam. If you get ahead of the problem, it may not be a problem for you. Remember this, only the first link is accidental. After that, it’s a dangerous place to play. Weigh the consequences. The scales are tipped in the wrong direction. Wrong for you. Wrong for your family, friends and associates. Most especially, wrong for the victims featured in those images.

As always, for more information, contact me. Better to be aware and take precaution to keep everyone safe.