In college I didn’t major in Pornography Studies or anything. I did take a class in Human Sexuality however, as I thought it might be a good place to meet girls. But that didn’t pan out. All I got out of it was a copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves, and a C+. Thus, what I know about the subject of pornography I have learned from my forty years of counseling. I never thought it was the world’s greatest activity, but I was somewhat neutral about the subject. However, the world has changed, and one of those changes is the intensity of what is out there. This ain’t your grandpa’s nekkid pinups no more. So here are a few real life cases. The facts are altered enough to keep the people anonymous, but the situations are real.
•I thought when I saw this young couple (19?) they were coming in for some relationship enhancement. Instead, shortly into our visit she said, “Will you tell him I am sick of his sexual punishment?” Yow! So into our time together, I learned that he received his “sex education” by watching triple X movies. This was pre-internet, so he had to drive with a few friends about an hour to watch lots of hardcore porn. As a result, that’s what he thought sex with his girlfriend was supposed to be. Even though she objected, his overly assertive personality won out. I saw her years after their predictable break up, and she felt she was still scarred by the extreme sex he had with her.
•Years later a husband began our session by asking, “if she has had her teeth professionally whitened, and is getting breast implants, do you think it’s reasonable for me to assume she’s making plans to leave me?” Before I could respond, she said, “Why in the hell would I stay? You are in love with all those hoes you spend time with on your computer. Mr. Sommer, I have asked him for months to come to bed with me, and instead he stays with his internet hoes. I can’t compete with all the sex stuff that they do. Our sex life hasn’t existed for at least six months. Also, do you think it’s okay that he accidentally left the porn site up, and our thirteen year old son moved the mouse in the morning and sees oral sex happening?” Although he profusely apologized for the kid incident, he made no reassurances he would, or even could cease his porn watch. I received a letter from him a few years later informing me she had permanently left a few days after our meeting. He hadn’t seen the kids in over two years.
•A concerned mother called me asking for me to help her daughter. She thought her son-in-law was “addicted to porn”. I told her I would be fine in consulting with her daughter, but she had to initiate the call. Five minutes later she called. Crying, she said they were living at the job site, and if she went to his boss for help, her husband would likely lose his job and their housing. She continued. “even though he is well paid, we can’t afford his nine-hundred dollar a month bill from the porn sites”. I was so stunned, I asked her to repeat her last sentence. Nine hundred dollars?! Uh oh. This represents a different level of pornography. Is her husband watching snuff films where the sexual abuse becomes lethal? Infant sexual abuse? This one really sent me reeling. I’m experienced enough not to play my hand to the extent where the person asking for help is hurt by my response, but I had to tell her that this is a whole new world of extremes. My parting advice was to ask for outside help to motivate her husband to seek help, in this case possibly inpatient. This issue mixed with what his job was meant he would lose his job without the help, so get the help while it’s still available. I never heard back from her.
•He was thirteen when he talked the neighbor’s younger boys into trying some sex. He had both oral and anal sex with the cousins. Although the county attorney wanted “inpatient treatment” for him, further investigations indicated that the facility was a poorly run lockup facility for young sex offenders. As this kid was small and immature, he would have likely been fresh meat for the older offenders. Instead the judge locked him up in a detention facility for four months, and put him on indefinite probation until he is eighteen. After I got to know him, I asked, thinking he had been sexually abused himself, “Where did you first learn about this kind of sex?” With his head hanging down, he quietly said, “On my phone”. When I asked if there was a particular friend or relative who had shown him the site(s), he said, “I dunno, you know, everyone’s phone”.
If you notice, these few examples are without religious or moral commentary. That in itself is a whole other vantage point that, although extremely relevant, is missing from this response. Dear Abby Jr. apparently thinks that this subject is one that pits the hip enlightened ones against the conservative moralists. She is wrong. Harmfully wrong. Although people have occasionally viewed extreme sex and not suffered detrimental effects, so many people have been harmed by their indulgence in porn, and a lot of them are really young, that to ignore that well known fact is far worse than being naïve or ill informed; it is a form of journalistic malpractice.