I would like to caution those reading this. The following post is explicit. I am looking in to the reality of pornography today. If this topic triggers in you your own struggle with porn, past sexual abuse or some sort of relational pain in this area… I would encourage you to refrain from reading.
It’s that time of year again… the porn stats have been released. For normal people this is no big news. But, I suppose, I’m not normal!
I consider pornography one of the most damning and damaging drugs out there. Porn is not just college boys looking at a Victoria Secret catalog. Who knew we would arrive at the day where we wished that is all we were looking at.
Pornhub is the #1 pornography site in the world. They are in the business of selling porn and these stats show they are succeeding immensely. Pornhub has an interesting practice of releasing very detailed statistics of user behaviour on the their websites. It is a bragging sheet basically… “Look at how much porn we can sell, we are awesome!”
Each January, I take time to sit down and read through these stats. It is not for the faint of heart. As a teacher on relationships and sexuality, I consider it very helpful and almost essential to being effective. That is definitely not true for everyone.
For most of you, simply save yourself from the stomach turning and nausea inducing report.
But, for parents, educators, and Christian workers here are my 5 observations on the Pornhub 2014 report.
1. Porn Use Has Not Maxed Out
Pornhub reports 18.35 billion visits last year, with people viewing 78.9 billion videos (15 billion more than 2013). That is 11 videos viewed, in 2014, for every single person on earth.
Remember, these stats are from just one porn portal. It is the biggest but definitely not the only one. The United States, UK, Canada, India and Germany round out the top 5 nations generating this traffic.
Porn use has not slowed down or reached it’s pinnacle. There doesn’t appear to be any end in site to the growth of this industry.
2. Paedophelia is Becoming the Norm
For 2013, the number one search term was “teen”. Yes, you read that correctly. The most watched porn was paedophelia. Yet again in 2014, “teen” was still the most searched term worldwide.
Being turned on by underage girls is now considered standard and average porn.
The implications of this are enormous. What does this mean for Dad’s who are looking at porn of girls who look just like their 9th grade daughter? What does this mean for teachers in this same boat?
Remember, “teen” is not people searching for 18 and 19 year old boys and girls. It is searching for children that look 12 and 13 years old. How this does not cause an outcry in our nations is beyond comprehension
If you think that men viewing underage girls for sexual pleasure is unusual, read again. This is the the most common porn people look at. The implications on all levels of parenting, educating and ministering is enormous and needs to be openly discussed.
3. Is Pornhub Altering the Statistics?
A friend pointed out to me the lack of search terms such as “child”, “daughter”, “toddler”, etc. She suggested the possibility that Pornhub is purposely altering the statistics to remove these terms.
Remember, pornography is progressive. You do not get one picture, print it out and look at it for the next 20 years. It interacts with the human brain in the exact same way as cocaine and heroine (at the same time!). Just like you need more drugs to get the same high, so you need more porn of variety and extremity to get the same pleasure sensation.
Since “teen” has been a standard search term for a number of years (even if not #1). I would like to make a bold statement that I agree with my friend. I firmly believe Pornhub is purposely hiding stats which reveal the prevalence of “socially unacceptable pedophilia” (“teen” being acceptable but “child” not yet acceptable).
I can’t prove it but I strongly believe there are stats in the area of pedophilia porn that they are not releasing.
4. Intimacy Avoidance is Deep
There were a few unique stats that stood out to me.
- The #1 day people look at porn is Mondays.
- The #1 comment on porn videos is “love”.
- Top category of porn for women: various forms of lesbian sex.
- Most increased search terms for women: “bondage”, “rough” and other forms of violent sex.
- The #4 most searched term for Americans is “cartoon”.
There are many reasons we pursue sexual deviancy. I speak to a lot of students about “intimacy avoidance” (or fear of intimacy). Looking at these stats, I am reminded that we are broken and have few tools, capacity or maturity to engage in intimacy. Healthy intimacy is desperately needed to deal with life’s stresses, pain and challenges. Instead, we use porn as a form of “intimacy avoidance”.
Monday is the least favourite day for most people (but the most favourite for porn!). Mondays brings the reality of life, hard work, stress, financial needs after a weekend of being able to “check-out” from reality. Instead of engaging in healthy intimacy to deal with this stress… we turn to porn. Feel better for a moment and off we go.
The view of “lesbian” sex by women is interesting because the stat is way out of proportion to those women who self-identify as a lesbian. This stat lines up with what I have observed in talking to women. Homosexual experimentation is rapidly on the rise amongst those who do not identify with the label “homosexual”. Increasingly, friendship amongst women involves sexual experimentation. In line with that, heterosexual women are regularly engaging in lesbian porn.
The sexualisation of friendships is becoming the norm for women. Increasingly, intimacy=sex in women’s friendships.
Heterosexual women are sexualising even normal friendships. More and more, intimacy=sex. As women, too often, we do not know of any other way to engage in intimacy with each other apart from sexualising it.
Can this twisted understanding of “intimacy=sex” be captured any more vividly than by the word “love” being used to describe how much every enjoys looking at teen girls or violent sex against women?
More and more we are sexualising our every day relationships.
More and more we are de-humanising our sex through violence and cartoons.
More and more we are sexualising and dehumanising the word “love”.
The fear of intimacy and inability to truly know it and engage in it runs so deep. We need to start an honest, real and true conversation on intimacy. The current unexplained use of the word by the church is not helping or adequate for those sitting in the pews.
5. Family is the Next Frontier
Lastly, family is the next frontier. The most striking fresh news from these stats is the incredible rise of sexual turn-ons by family members. Terms such as “Mother”, “Mother in law” and “step-mom” were popping up everywhere. I believe this will continue to develop in the years ahead to the rest of the family. Even a top search term for women was “old man”… a term that can be associated with fatherly figures in their life.
Mix this reality with the standard turn on of underage girls and we have an atomic bomb of abuse about to explode in new proportions.
Where Does this Leave Us?
If you have made it to the end of this let me extend my apologies. The picture is not hope filled or positive.
Let us turn to a God who is not surprised by this report nor unable to overcome. May we engage with God with a fresh commitment to face reality.
The path of porn is a pursuit of death and not life.
It is not life to the young boys and girls being trafficked to supply this drug.
It it not life to the young men and women being used for lust and then cast aside.
It is not life for our marriages.
It is not life for our spirits and souls as we use others to feed an ever addicting monster.
In the midst of that reality, let us be carriers of hope. Truly, there is always hope because there is always Jesus.
Photo Credit: Kristina Alexanderson