I recently read this article about the other obesity problem in First Things by Mary Eberstadt.
As the impressively depressing cover story “America the Obese” in the May issue of The Atlantic serves to remind us all, the weight-gain epidemic in the United States and the rest of the West is indeed widespread, deleterious, and unhealthy—which is why it is so frequently remarked on, and an object of such universal public concern. But while we’re on the subject of bad habits that can turn unwitting kids into unhappy adults, how about that other epidemic out there that is far more likely to make their future lives miserable than carrying those extra pounds ever will? That would be the emerging social phenomenon of what can appropriately be called “sexual obesity”: the widespread gorging on pornographic imagery that is also deleterious and unhealthy, though far less remarked on than that other epidemic—and nowhere near an object of universal public concern.
Porn addiction is a subject that needs to be addressed since, because of the ease of viewing it and the pervasiveness of it in advertising and entertainment, it is not going to be going away. We are living in a world where an entire generation is being raised on porn, and like it or not this does have a huge impact on how we as a culture view sex. In the Summer 09 issue of Salvo Marcia Segelstein refers to What’s the Big Deal About Pornography? A Guide for the Internet Generation by Jill Manning.
According to Dr. Manning, there is also evidence that young people who view pornography are less likely to desire marriage and family. “They start letting go of some of those goals and dreams. They begin to think that marriage is just a hassle and a hindrance, and that they’ll attain greater sexual satisfaction in life if they’re engaged in casual encounters. And they are certainly at an increased risk for developing sexual compulsions and addictive behavior.” Studies have shown that habitual users of pornography often need harder and more deviant material over time to achieve satisfaction.
There is documented evidence that children and adolescents directly exposed to pornography are also more likely to overestimate the prevalence of less common practices such as group sex, bestiality, and sadomasochistic activity. Perhaps most frightening is the fact that studies have indicated that during certain periods of childhood, the brain undergoes a kind of programming for sexual orientation. It becomes “hardwired” for what the person will be aroused by. So exposure to unhealthy sexual norms in the form of pornography has the potential to permanently imprint sexual deviance on a child’s brain.
And all of this is quite seperate from the other problem of the other obesity; the huge money-machine that is the porn industry. Children and young teens are being sexualized, and there's plenty of money to be made from capitalizing on their uncontrolled desires. Makes you think that there's more to be upset about than McDonalds targeting children with their Happy Meals.