Porn destroys ideals, marriage

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    Pornography. Few subjects are so ubiquitous and taboo in American culture. But it seems the taboo factor is wearing off. Over the past three decades, our society has become increasingly porn-friendly. What was once the occasional Penthouse stashed away in your grandfather’s garage has blossomed into what is now a $12 billion industry, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

    What has caused this sudden moral shift? Was it the liberating sexual revolution of the 1960s? Or perhaps the embracing of postmodernism and its relative views on morality?

    Both of these explanations for America’s porn explosion miss the mark. It is not shifting ideology, but the greed of corporate America that has turned pornography into one of our nation’s largest industries.

    In pornography, big businesses have had the opportunity to play at one of human’s natural desires – sex – and make big profits. These businesses have given little thought to pornography’s devastating effects; they’re in it for the money.

    Large American corporations rake in more than half of pornography’s $12 billion in annual revenues, according to a 2000 article in The New York Times.

    The pornography industry has cast its lure, and America has taken the bait. By making pornography mainstream, corporate America has said that it’s acceptable, and we’ve begun to believe them.

    Already, much larger companies, including General Motors Corp. and AT&T Corp. had been raking in heavy profits from the pornographic industry, according to a 2002 Frontline report on the Public Broadcast Service.

    According to the Frontline report, General Motors owned DirectTV, which channeled pornography into millions of American homes. When Frontline asked AT&T executives why their respectable company would dabble in the taboo industry, their answer was simple – everybody else was doing it.

    Since more companies are producing more pornography, more Americans consume it and are subconsciously beginning to believe it is acceptable.

    But what we do not realize is the way that it has twisted our views of sexuality and ripped apart marriages and families.

    Pornography degrades women, showing them as submissive sexual objects. A 2003 TCU study, according to a 2004 issue of the Skiff, showed that men who view pornography frequently have more discriminatory views of women than men who do not view pornography.

    According to a 1988 article in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, pornography leads to lowered sexual satisfaction. Those who regularly view porn are likely to have trouble separating reality from fantasy.

    Pornography destroys marriages. Divorce lawyers at the 2003 meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reported that Internet pornography played a significant role in more than half their divorce cases, according to Time Magazine.

    The negative effects of pornography go on. Pornography twists the good and natural human desire for sex.

    Without a fight, America has let a few large corporations determine its sexual values.

    It’s time we decide if we really want pornography to be a defining aspect of American culture.

    Matt Messel is a sophomore sociology and political science major from Omaha, Neb. His column appears every Thursday.