Behind the harassment scandals, another dirty little secret: pornography
The Internet has put a spotlight on sex addiction.
It’s taken a while for the connection between pornography and the sexual assaults upon women to be made in progressive circles. With the passing of Hugh Hefner, it almost seems like there has been a culture shift in the refusal to tolerate what he most promoted, as we have been seeing in the opprobrium directed to men such as Harvey Weinstein.
Yet to be seen is what will happen when a younger generation of men ascends to positions of power and influence. Even progressive publications have been expressing their alarm, as we see in the 2010 article in The Guardian which describes ‘a generation of boys being brought up on cruel, violent porn’ and 2013 article in The Independent that remarks that it ‘normalizes brutality.’
Still, there are always articles like this in the Scientific American peddling the old line that ‘for most people, pornography use has no negative effects—and it may even deter sexual violence.’
It is thus heartening to read a different tack in the Los Angeles Times:
“According to Mary Anne Layden, director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program at the University of Pennsylvania, porn is a particularly effective teacher precisely because learning is more permanent when our sympathetic nervous system is aroused, when what is being taught is reinforced through biological rewards, and when we see role models performing the behavior. Porn does all of those things, stimulating its aroused viewers with dopamine surges while they watch actors engaging in sexual behavior on screen.”
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