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The Five "As" of Porn Consumption Today
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The Five "As" of Porn Consumption Today

Posted June 03, 2016 by Sean McDowell

The Five "As" of Porn Consumption Today

SeanMcDowell.org

It’s no secret that pornography is a HUGE issue in our culture today. People seem to be finally waking up to its destructive effects. I get asked give my talk, “What’s the Big Deal with Pornography?” as much (or more) than any other topic. Utah recently declared pornography a public health hazard. Even Time magazine ran a cover story on April 11, 2016 about a generation of young men who feel their brains and relationships have been sabotaged by porn.

And yet there are many parents, pastors, teachers, and other influencers who have still not dealt with the issue. It’s time! To properly address the “pornification” of our culture, it is helpful to see how radically porn consumption has changed in the past few years. Specifically, here are my Five "As” of how porn use has changed with the advent of modern technology:

1. AGGRESSIVE: To compete for viewership and money, porn producers have turned to increasingly aggressive content. In her article for Time, Peggy Orenstein notes:

“Producers of porn have one goal: to get men off hard and fast for profit. That means eroticizing the degradation of women. In a study of behaviors in popular porn, nearly 90% of 304 random scenes contained physical aggression toward women, who nearly always responded neutrally or with pleasure. More insidiously, women would sometimes beg their partners to stop, then acquiesce and begin to enjoy the activity, regardless of how painful or debasing.”[1]

2. ACCEPTABLE: Porn consumption simply doesn’t have the stigma it used to have. As a whole, porn use is much more acceptable than in the past. In fact, according to the recent Barna/Josh McDowell Ministry study, teens and young adults rank not recycling as more immoral than viewing porn (56% vs. 32%).[2] Further, 9 out of 10 young men 13-24 say that how they talk about porn with friends is encouraging, accepting, or neutral.[3]

3. AVAILABLE: “It’s all mainstream now!” That’s what Zack, Seth Rogan’s character, says to his best friend and intended love, about pornography, in an effort to get her to make a pornographic film with him in the 2008 film, Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Technological advancement has indiscriminately allowed people of all ages to encounter and consume sexually explicit content. Mobile devices have passed computers as the most common means of accessing pornography. And virtual porn is just emerging.

4. ANONYMOUS: In the past, people had to buy a porn magazine from a real person, such as a worker at a video store or a clerk. Today, any one with a cell phone can anonymously access endless free images with just a few clicks. People can now watch pornography entirely alone without any human interaction at all.

5. AFFORDABLE: Pornography used to cost money. People accessed porn through books, magazines, videos and other mediums that required some kind of fee. Even though the porn industry will make over 100 billion dollars this year worldwide (more than Apple, Google, Netflix, Microsoft, EBay, and Yahoo combined),[4] much is still free.

Porn use has clearly changed since generations in the past. And my guess is that this trend will only continue. What can we do? Talk about this with someone. Write a blog. Give a talk. Share your story, like my friend Mike. Forward this blog. Create a YouTube video. The only way we can give people hope is by speaking truth. Revelation 12:11 says, “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” Now is the time. Even though this is an uncomfortable topic, we must have the courage to address it. This includes you and me.

Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, a best-selling author of over 15 books, an internationally recognized speaker, and a part-time high school teacher. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell and his blog: seanmcdowell.org.



[1] Peggy Orenstein, “How porn is changing a generation of girls,” Time, April 11, 2016, p. 47.

[2] Barna, July-August 2015

[3] Porn in the Digital Age, Barna Report (April 6, 2016)

[4] Forthcoming: John D. Foubert, Ph.D., How Pornography Harms: What Teens, Young Adults, Parents & Pastors Need to Know (2016).


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