I am arrogant enough to write about something I personally know nothing about. I don’t trust myself to avoid becoming addicted when exposed to internet pornography. I have only ever had sex with one woman (my wife) with whom we produced four children, so my close-up experience of women is somewhat limited when judged by current standards.
Arguably there always has been pornography of some kind down through history in virtually every part of the world. Archeologists of the stiff and starchy Victorian era were shocked to discover a limestone carving of a woman with exaggerated sexual features that has been dated as far back as 20,000-30,000 years ago. It was found in Austria and is called the Venus of Willendorf. This wasn’t the only one dated to those times.
Pornographic paintings and carvings were vastly more numerous in ancient Greek and Roman times. The archeologists who excavated the ruins of Pompeii in the 19th Century were so shocked by the erotic art.they found that they tried to hide it away from all except top scholars. Licentious paintings decorated the walls of rooms apparently dedicated to bacchanalian orgies. (Wikipedia article “History of erotic depictions”) There is doubtless no need to hide the material today!
Painted scenes on many ancient Greek vases illustrated various aspects and varieties of copulation technigue. Nudity was quite common in everyday life, including in the gymnasium (an English word derived from the Greek word “gymnos”, which means “naked). Strangely enough there was far more male than female nudity in ancient Greece.There must surely be a Ph.D for anybody who can explain why our world today differs so significantly from that ancient pattern.
According to Wikipedia (“Phallic architecture”) ancient Greeks and Romans celebrated phallic festivals and each built a shrine with an erect penis to honor Hermes. Phallic structures also appeared as fertility symbols in temples and elsewhere.
Asians, Americans and other Europeans also had their share of ancient porn.
So what’s so bad about modern internet pornograhy? Well, for one thing, I doubt if ancient Greeks spent 2-3 hours every night perving over carved or painted images. Another thing is that there could be a large range of unfortunate consequences arising from devotion to internet pornography. Here are some that various sources have proposed:
1. Increased aggression and violence (both verbal and physical) in sexual relations.
2. Degradation of the status of women. This seems to be especially the case in so-called gonzo porn which has been described variously as frightening, sadistic, cruel, violent, dehumanising and degrading.
3. A significant increase in singles’ sex, adultery and divorce.
4. A strong tendency to graduate from soft porn to harder and harder porn.
5. Humiliation of wives who don’t measure up to pornographic standards.
6. A huge increase in the quantity of porn produced and posted by amateurs. Sexting and cybersex could be included here.
7. A tendency of singles to avoid marriage and children in favour of pornographic “kicks”.
8. Trivialization of rape.
9. Reduced interest in normal sex.
Professed Christians who indulge in internet porn (and I understand quite a high percentage of them do) could even be guilty of adultery as defined by Jesus. He decreed that anyone who looks lustfully at a (real) woman would be guilty of (spiritual) adultery (Matthew 5:27.28) Could not the same be said of men looking lustfully at internet women? Certainly real adultery is said to be one of the consequences of devotion to pornography.
St Paul in his travels probably became reasonably familiar with the attitudes and passions of his time. He found it shameful even to mention what people were doing in secret. He wrote of shameful lusts and depraved minds and people who indulged in every kind of wickedness, invented fresh ways of doing evil, and were heartless and ruthless. (Ephesians 5:12; Romans 1:26-32) If Paul could say that about his generation he would surely struggle to find words to characterize ours.
Research suggests young people are much more heavily involved in internet pornography than older people. That means a large portion of a whole generation is flying blind in a moral morass, the full consequences of which may not emerge for 20-30 years. A flood of single mothers, adultery and divorce are not good for society in general, no matter what view you take on religiosity.