What are the factors that contribute to the problem of pornography, including how pornographic and obscene materials affect men, women, and children.

Expert Answers
scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Just like any addiction, an addiction to pornography has the potential to splinter families and ruin lives.  Recently, the U.S. military conducted a study on pornography because they had seen a rise in porn-related problems in the past decade.  What researchers found is that when someone begins viewing porn on a regular basis, the habit actually acts as a stimulant to specific parts of the brain.  A porn addiction can be similar to drug dependencies because addicts not only feel the need for more, they also build up a tolerance of sorts and begin getting into types of pornography that they probably would have never once considered.  The military cited several examples of marriages, careers, and lives ruined because officers and enlisted men had become so addicted that they had begun viewing child pornography.  While this does not mean that everyone who views pornography will choose that path, the study was quite clear in identifying the strong lure of pornography upon its addicts.

While women can, of course, be addicted to pornography, they make up a very small minority of identified porn addicts.  Admittedly, the argument exists that porn objectifies and degrades women, but there is also another more individual effect of pornography upon women and children.  When someone is addicted to pornography, he will often lie about and hide his habit from loved ones.  Wives and partners feel betrayed by their husbands' problem, and it is difficult to regain trust in a relationship when such an addiction exists.  Similarly, children can be neglected when adults focus solely on their "drug."

Finally, and most importantly, children around the world have been and are being used in the porn industry. Not only is this reprehensible and life-altering for the children involved, but it is also physically dangerous.  Child pornography has created a seedy underworld in which kidnapping, neglect, and exploitation play a part.  Sadly, many of the child pornography cases brought before the courts involve family members' exploiting their own child relatives.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The previous posts are thorough and accurate.  Obviously, there is an economic consideration present in pornographic depictions and those who profit from them.  The growth of porn and its access might be more of a reflection of those who are able to generate profit from it.  It is difficult to assess where the abuse lies in this issue.  On one hand, there are those who willingly participate within the industry because of its economic profit and its propensity to generate money for those who are involved.  Most of these individuals are consenting adults and understand for what they are committing themselves.  At the same time, I think that there are those who are being subjected to participate on different levels and in different forms without their consent.  I think that developing a "bright line" to differentiate both realities is something that is needed.  Along these lines, I think there is an argument that undercuts both in its suggestion that the participation into pornography on any level reflects some level of lack of self awareness on emotional and psychological levels.  If this is true, then few, if any, are in control within the industry.  I think that this makes the issue challenging.  The reality present is that any pornographic display has to be reaffirmed to the viewer that the vast reality is not akin to what is seen on the screen, in the magazine, or on the net.  Conveying this is a challenge and something that is a factor or aspect of pornographic viewing.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One major problem that deals with pornography and how it affects children is the internet. Pornographic sites are easily accessible for curious young minds to find sexually explicit material. I know that many of these sites need a login but they still show material that is unsuitable for children. For example, a teenaged girl may see an obscene picture of a woman on a pornographic website and think that is what men like or that is how she is supposed to look.

Pornography on the internet is also a playground for people who have sexual addictions which is unhealthy.