Axe the XXX

Axe the XXX

Brittany M. Plothow, Opinions Editor @brittanyplo

Last year, David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, announced plans to implement an Internet ban on pornography sites throughout the UK. This meant that all pornography sites would be blocked by default and users would have to opt-in through their Internet service provider in order to view online pornography.

 

Shortly thereafter an online petition to do the same in the US began making the rounds on social media. We The People is a website hosted by The White House which promises to review petitions that meet the required signature threshold and issue a response. The petition did not meet the number of required signatures and thus was shut down.

 

In the United States alone, Internet pornography pulls in $2.84 billion every year. Americans are huge pornography consumers, to the tune of 40 million people viewing online pornography regularly. Utah is the number one state when it comes to online pornography subscription. That doesn’t include the free stuff.

 

David Cameron stated that his drive for banning online pornography was because of its tendency to corrode childhood. The average age of exposure to Internet pornography in the United States was thought to be 11 years old. New research suggests that age is even lower at nine-years old. That’s a fourth-grade age level. Many of these children stumble onto pornographic sites by accident.

 

Many parents have installed blocks on their computers in order to impede their child’s exposure to unsavory websites. That is often not enough due to smart phones, tablets, Internet enabled iPods and the fact that some children are exposed to pornography while at a friend’s home or other places away from home.

 

In 2011 the .xxx domain was introduced in the United States. This voluntary, sponsored top-level domain was intended to keep unwilling viewers from stumbling upon .com pornography sites.

 

Many sites which are not pornographic in nature adopted the .xxx domain in order to benefit from the sexual innuendo, including popebenedict.xxx, which is a pro-Islamic website despite the fact that it’s named after Pope Benedict XVI. It would seem this tactic did not achieve its intended purpose.

 

The dictionary definition of pornography is “obscene writings, drawings, photographs, or the like, especially those having little or no artistic merit; writings, pictures, films, etc, designed to stimulate sexual excitement.”

 

What’s the big deal about pornography anyhow? Some argue that viewing pornography is a personal choice, which it is, though it is a choice to which there can be explosive consequences. Pornography and the brain have been studied in depth, and it has been found that pornography can be as addictive as heroin and cocaine, even releasing the same brain chemicals as those illicit substances.

 

Viewing pornography on a regular basis has been linked to erectile dysfunction in subjects as young as the early 20s, as well as a number of other sexual performance issues. Avid male viewers have reported an inability to be attracted to, achieve orgasm and be sexually satisfied with real women according to Pamela Paul, author of From Pornography to Porno to Porn: How Porn Became the Norm.

 

In one of the most famous serial murderer cases of our generation, early exposure to pornography was a contributing factor to the behavior of the serial killer. Ted Bundy encountered soft-core pornography as a child in his local neighborhood, which he himself said contributed to his violent ideation.

 

Bundy, in his only interview before his execution for multiple sexually violent murders of young women, said that the “most damaging kinds of pornography are those that involve sexual violence… The wedding of those two forces, as I know only too well, brings about behavior that is just, just too terrible to describe.”

 

Bundy said he did not blame pornography for his behavior, but that it fueled his thought processes. The fantasy was not enough for him and after extended exposure, he took the step into acting out his pornography fueled fantasies. “Pornography only goes so far,” he said. It was after that breaking point that he crossed the point of no return and began to seek out his sexual gratifications through his victims.

 

This is of course is an extreme example of how early childhood exposure to pornography can lead to violence. Not every person who views pornography may develop an addiction and become a serial killer. Some may be able to shoot up heroin once or twice and not develop an addiction and watch their life fall apart around them. Yet we don’t hand out heroin to children.

 

What the UK Internet ban did was make it impossible to access clearly pornographic websites with the sole purpose of displaying gratuitous nudity and sexual acts. American children and adults could greatly benefit from this as well.

 

A block on Internet pornography would not take away any one person’s right to view pornography if they choose. The opt-in option is always there for those who choose it. One phone call to one’s Internet service provider would unlock the automatic block and pornography would be free for the viewing. It’s about protecting those who choose not to engage in pornography from unwanted contact.

Brittany is the Opinion Editor at UVU Review. She is a passionate little soul of a person. She is a senior at Utah Valley University and will graduate in spring 2014. With a background in addiction recovery and journalism, she is planning a career in non-profits. She can be found on Saturday nights hanging out with her cat Ringo Starr and watching Netflix. She probably tweets too much.

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