Thoughts on Porn: Toxic Masculinity

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Should men watch porn?

Should anyone watch porn?

Has masculinity gone wrong in society?

Does porn have anything to do with it?

Big questions…

Without asking the question of whether men (and as a result, anyone) should be allowed to exchange money for seeing naked women’s bodies or free of charge, you will never take the power out of “toxic masculinity”.

The truth is there is nothing wrong with masculinity but if we keep teaching men and boys that sexual experience is a commodity they can buy or take for free, they will continue to associate women, their bodies and their sexuality with either
a) Commodities that they have a right to once they have inputted something
b) Commodities they need not invest in at all but are still entitled to.

As dating partners they will continue to believe that once they’ve paid for dinner they’re entitled to sex. As strangers they’ll continue to believe that they’re entitled to stare or worse yet touch simply because a woman’s body is attractive to them and within reach.

The women they see on screens all “want it” and so from a young age they’ve been told that sex is something that women desperately want all the time, even if they say no. This message comes loud and clear through pornography.

But no one seems willing to shut it down completely.

It is destroying the morality of a generation of boys who grow into immoral men (check the news) and silencing a generation of girls who think that sexual promiscuity is synonymous with empowered femininity. It is teaching girls that to say “no” is to be boring and unattractive, even unfeminine and it’s teaching boys that even if a girl says “no” she really means “yes” or “try harder.”

This of course is no excuse but if we just allow a drug that literally rewires your brain this way in our society, we are continually creating and perpetuating a cycle of cause and effect and then wondering where the demons keep leaping out from. We are literally making a home for them in the minds of children and adults alike where they are free to build fortresses of lies about sex and relationships that ultimately destroy culture.

In this age of the nonsense of relative truth, we are unable to speak clearly about a moral standard because we allow everyone to define morality for themselves. “What is true for you is true for you and what’s true for me is true for me.” Really? What if my truth says yours is a lie? Is it still true?

The Bible, on which the laws that govern western society are largely built seems to have come increasingly under attack in recent years as secular society tries to find meaning in itself by separating from its religious past. But it has to be said that in 2000 years, no one has ever improved upon the moral teachings of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

On this topic He stated that even looking at a woman lustfully constituted adultery and He set the standard of sexual integrity at the level of thought.

He was not advocating a Minority Report-style dystopia where the Thought Police stop rapists on the basis of their pre-perceived thoughts and intentions but rather that we as individuals make our own personal citizens’ arrests on stray thoughts in our own minds and give them the death penalty before they’re able to liaise with any real actions that would lead to an illicit rendez-vous or act of sexual violence.

Jesus was saying that lustful (not the same as natural sexual desire) thoughts should be treated as though you’ve already crossed a line and done something wrong and immediate steps should be taken to rectify the wrong and stop it from going any further.

He follows this up by saying that if your right hand causes you to continually sin, cut it off because it’s better to enter heaven maimed than to have your whole body thrown into hell.

Clearly Jesus isn’t calling for actual self-mutilation because we know He met prostitutes that He never instructed to harm their bodies and He even lived with a thief that He never instructed to cut off his hands. Rather Jesus was trying to communicate the cancerous effect of sin in one area of our lives that can ultimately lead to the loss of our eternal souls in hell. He’s saying surely it’s better to just remove that part of our lives, however essential it may feel and however inconvenient its loss may be.

Eyes and hands are pretty useful and you definitely feel the loss of them, especially if you’re right-handed!

What if we took up this principle as a society? Pornography is clearly implicated in causing us untold horrors, in rape, in adultery and divorce, the splitting up of families, in violence against women, in sexism and the devaluing of women. But we are refusing to cut that hand off…

Would it be inconvenient for some? Yes.

Pornographers and porn stars would certainly need to find new work and those people who regarded themselves as “responsible porn users” who are yet to commit any sort of legal or moral crime would have to find new hobbies.

Those already exposed would probably need a level of counselling and care to reverse the physiological, psychological and social effects of pornography in order to live healthy lives. And all of us would have to be responsible for restraining our own sexual appetites.

The fact that even as you read this post you’re thinking it sounds ridiculous says something. As  thoughts of censorship, net neutrality and the oppression of religious ideologies are conjured up it tells us that there is something else going on behind the scenes and on a much deeper level in the heart of men and of humanity.

This is something that no legislation can truly touch but something it can certainly help with. Do we want to treat the symptoms without curing the problem?

Is porn the main source of “toxic masculinity”? I don’t think so. But it’s certainly a large source feeding into it that needs to be cut off if we want to see lasting change. You don’t have to wait for a law to be passed to stop watching though. You can stop today.

Here’s My Story of how I did it…

Do you think our governments would ever pass such legislation in the Western world today?
Do you think they should?
Share your comments below or on Facebook.

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