Pornography as drug

Commentary by
Travis Nykaza

A crude, black title screen materializes onto my PC’s monitor. The speakers spew a garbled, musical farce resembling Jingle Bells. She approaches a man who greedily stares at her body and invites her closer. Her body does not seem human. No honest human emotions are exchanged.

Pornography caricatures the act of human love — sex. It sterilizes and commoditizes love, humiliating both performer and viewer.

Pornography is lucrative and pandemic. According to Kassia Wosick, assistant professor of sociology at New Mexico State University, pornography is a $97-billion-a-year industry. Covenant Eyes and MSNBC estimate the domestic revenue from the production of U.S. porn to be between $10 and $13 billion. Comparatively, Box Office Mojo estimates the average domestic revenue of Hollywood from 2011 to 2013 to be $10.6 billion. Porn holds a significant web presence, with 40 million Americans regularly visiting porn websites. This totals to roughly 1/4 of daily search engine requests. found that Xvideos, a popular porn site, doubles the unique daily web traffic of Netflix and Hulu combined. Surveys consistently indicate that 70 percent (some claim 90 percent) of adolescents are exposed to pornography before age 18. Clearly, Americans consume an abundance of porn along with its many effects.

Porn is a drug. In an article for Salon Magazine, Isaac Abel discusses his pornography addiction. Abel admits, “It was a dissociative, alienating, almost inhuman task to close my eyes while having sex with someone I really cared about and imagine having sex with someone else.” Eventually, porn addicts, like drug junkies, develop a tolerance and must resort to stronger, more constant doses. Abel admits the same phenomenon: “…If a threesome was kinky last week, then I’d need something wilder this week. To reach climax, I had to find that same toxic mix of shame and lust.”

A study in the Psychology of Men & Masculinity discusses some of porn’s effects on male viewers. The authors found that “pornography use was inversely linked to body appreciation.” The study’s authors concluded that “pornography use may be associated with men being more open to engaging in deleterious body change strategies (e.g. fasting, anabolic steroid use, cosmetic surgery) to achieve the mesomorphic ideal rather than adaptive self-care strategies that emphasize the health and functioning of their body.”

Porn not only affects its viewers, but it also ravages the bodies of its performers. The industry deceives young women, promising them fame, glamor and wealth. In his book, “Empire of Illusion,” Chris Hedges interviews Patrice Roldan, who left the porn industry in 2008. Roldan said, “I made my first film with New Sensations [adult video studio]. I got makeup. There was a set and cameramen all around. I thought it was glamorous to have my makeup done, to have pictures taken of me.” During her career, Roldan contracted gonorrhea multiple times. Roldan rejoined the industry in 2014.

In 2013 former porn actress Cameron Bay came forward. The Los Angeles Times reports that Bay performed in the industry for three months. She shot 10 scenes before contracting HIV on Aug. 21. Bay’s filming partner cut his member during a scene.

Bleeding and condomless, he continued his performance. Multiple sources indicate that the Industry requires performers to receive a single monthly examination for HIV and other STDs. Female performers often shoot 10 or more scenes a month.

Furthermore, a 2008 study in the Journal of Urban Health claims that “condoms are used only 3 percent of the time for penile-vaginal intercourse in the heterosexual [porn] industry.” Studios pay performers based on the risks they are willing to take.

The scenarios in porn are often ludicrous and beyond any body’s endurance. This causes many men to use steroids and other drugs to enhance both their bodies and their performance. The article from the Journal of Urban Health also discusses male performer’s use of alprostadil (Caverject) to maintain erections.

Furthermore, a study of 134 adult performers by found that, “female adult film performers were more likely than other young women in California to be depressed and to have significantly worse mental health.” The performers reported poor mental health on more than seven days in the past 30, and a third met the criteria for depression.”
Pornography does not display people having sex, but slabs of flesh that sexual activities of increasing severity are performed upon. Porn studios view their performers as disposable commodities reducible to their orifices and hands. In the end, porn is not about sex, if sex is to be defined as the act of sharing human love, or even a mutual sexual act between two partners. It is about masturbation. A solitary act void of any genuineness or love.

Feb. 27, 2015

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