Pornography and the curse of total sexual freedom

The most recent issue of Time Magazine features a fascinating and deeply troubling article on the prevalence of pornography in our culture. The focus of the piece is on the generation of young men now coming of age, the first generation who grew up with unlimited access to hardcore pornography on the Internet.

The statistics on this score are absolutely startling. Most young men commence their pornography use at the age of eleven; there are approximately 107 million monthly visitors to adult websites in this country; twelve million hours a day are spent watching porn globally on the adult-video site Pornhub; 40% of boys in Great Britain say that they regularly consume pornography—and on and on.

All of this wanton viewing of live-action pornography has produced, many are arguing, an army of young men who are incapable of normal and satisfying sexual activity with real human beings. Many twenty-somethings are testifying that when they have the opportunity for sexual relations with their wives or girlfriends, they cannot perform.

And in the overwhelming majority of cases, this is not a physiological issue, which is proved by the fact that they can still become aroused easily by images on a computer screen. The sad truth is that for these young men, sexual stimulation is associated not with flesh and blood human beings, but with flickering pictures of physically perfect people in virtual reality.

Moreover, since they start so young, they have been compelled, as they get older, to turn to ever more bizarre and violent pornography in order to get the thrill that they desire. And this in turn makes them incapable of finding conventional, non-exotic sex even vaguely interesting.  Continue reading

  • Bishop Robert Barron is an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and founder of Word on Fire ministry.

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