What’s with Mormons and porn?

pornography Sex and Gender

LDS Inc. is at it again – fighting porn. Apparently they have set up a new website for porn addiction: http://combatingpornography.org/cp/eng/

So, the only reference I can find that actually says anything about pornography being unhealthy on the page for individuals is to the work of Victor Cline, who appears to be a crusader against pornography. When you check the references on Cline’s site, the most recent are from the 1980s and most are from the 1970s and 1960s. If you’re looking for the latest scientific information, selectively cited, from the 1960s on pornography, Victor Cline is the guy to talk to.

As far as all of the other references on the “individuals page” on combatingpornography.com, not a single reference says anything about sex addiction. They are all references to other types of addiction or to brain functioning and things like obesity. My interpretation, as a scientist, there is no evidence that there is such a thing as “sex addiction” or “porn addiction.” Apparently the APA agrees with me as they are not including sex addiction in the DSM-5. There is also no such thing as porn addiction according to the APA.

There is one reference in Cline’s list of references that actually seemed relevant and fairly recent (1988): Pornography’s Impact on Sexual Satisfaction. According to this article, frequent viewing of porn – soft core porn mind you – reduces satisfaction with sexual partners, but otherwise has no effects on mental health. So, even the little evidence mustered suggests the only potentially negative affect of porn viewing is decreased satisfaction with sex (though apparently a lot of studies have cited this one and I’m guessing some of them take issue with it – anyone want to dig around and see what you can find?).

So, my question: Given the fact that LDS Inc. can’t muster any real scientific evidence suggesting there is such a thing as porn or sex addiction, why do they keep harping on this? What is the REAL issue?

79 thoughts on “What’s with Mormons and porn?

  1. When a boy can go home every night and release his sexual feelings to the endless endless endless concourses of bodies, boobs, butts, crotches available on the computer

    Could you tell us more, because this part was interesting.

  2. ARGH! MassiveLogicFail!

    @Ginny

    Seriously, you should read some scientific literature on the subject of porn, and educate yourself in reality. This is my pearl of Wisdom: Science is real, and it describes the real world we live in. Really. Get to know it. Science is your friend.

    For your information, I look at porn, which weekly amounts to probably 10-20 minutes. And then I go do something else. Wanking sure is fun, but you can only do it so long, or so many times.

    And I PROMISE that sex with another person is far, far better than either wanking alone or looking at porn alone is. Porn will never keep me from having a relationship with a nice man. Oh, and you’re being terribly heteronormative.

  3. Also, please read the story of Josh Duggar. He is the perfect example of what a boy should actually DO when he has sexual feelings (got GED @ age 16, started a business, fixed up an old house, found a girl who shared his values and married her at age 20).

  4. Also, even that moron feminist Naomi Wolf basically has said the same thing I just wrote. Not that I care whether someone like that lends credence to what I am saying, but to people like all of you (emasculated by the Porno Worldview) someone like Naomi Wolf might help you understand what I’m saying. The article I read by her was called The Porn Myth.

  5. Here’s Ginny’s blog (single post, FYI) in summary:
    1) Ginny is horny, but doesn’t think she should have sex before marriage, so she wants to marry.
    2) Ginny doesn’t get asked out.
    3) Ginny can’t accept that maybe no one is asking her out because she is: ugly, fat, prudish, annoying, mean-spirited, belligerent, too shy, awkward, etc. (I don’t know that any of the above are true, I’m just saying that most guys would be willing to ask someone out if they are: moderately attractive and don’t have awful personalities.)
    4) Unwilling to accept any responsibility for her situation, Ginny blames internet porn.
    5) In Ginny’s world, only 1 in 1,000 young men her age are interested in having partnered sex. The other 999 are only interested in jerking off in front of a computer.
    6) Thus, Ginny is sad and lonely because of internet porn.
    7) Internet porn was created by the devil (a.k.a. The Powers That Be) to ruin Ginny’s life.
    8) The End.

    Oh, and Ginny, while I respect Naomi Wolf as a feminist, she doesn’t know the scientific research behind porn. Turns out it has minimal affects on people. Naomi Wolf was wrong.

    I have an idea for you, Ginny. Post an ad on Craigslist advertising yourself as wanting unencumbered, no cost sex tonight (i.e., you’re not a prostitute). If you get zero emails, then maybe everyone is jerking off to internet porn. But if you get even 1 email (probably asking for pictures), your theory about internet porn is wrong. And I’m guessing that if you add that you really are a virgin, you’ll probably get 1,000 emails from men volunteering to have partnered sex with you – tonight! If you don’t believe me, try it. (I’m obviously not recommending that you actually go through with it, just put up the advertisement on Craigslist and see what happens.)

  6. From Ginny’s blog:

    Even now, married at last, I am plagued by the Porno Worldview.

    But I thought marriage is impossible?

    Also, Poe’s Law.

  7. kuri, I’ve been wondering whether this is parody or sincerity… not easy to decide. Regardless, I can certainly sympathize with the pain that is portrayed.

  8. Jonathan — I know what you mean. It’s a sad situation when someone has difficulty finding love, can’t figure out what the problem is, and ends up becoming bitter and blaming (and eventually hating) the opposite sex as a whole.

    Interestingly, Ginny seems to be the female equivalent of the guy I discussed here who was blaming all women for his failure to attract a wife. (Actually, I’m tempted to try to set the two of them up with each other — who knows? Maybe they’d hit it off…)

  9. The Naomi Wolfarticle is an interesting read. The following is the thrust of her argument:

    I am not advocating a return to the days of hiding female sexuality, but I am noting that the power and charge of sex are maintained when there is some sacredness to it, when it is not on tap all the time.

    Her equation is that more public eroticism (Internet porn) equals less private eroticism (appreciation of women’s bodies). She ends the article by orientalizing her Muslim female friend and her husband:

    Only my husband, she said with a calm sexual confidence, ever gets to see my hair. …Our husbands see naked women all day–in Times Square if not on the Net. Her husband never even sees another womans hair.

    She must feel, I thought, so hot.

    I hope people (Ginny) recognize how reductionist this argument is. Porn does not equal all of sexuality. I’m surprised when some feminists talk about the complexity of women’s desire, but then reduce men’s desire to a metaphor of a water heater.

  10. Keep on vehemently disagreeing with me, your fury for my comments only serves to prove that I’ve got your number when it comes to internet porn:

    WHEN A MAN’S SEXUAL EDGE IS RELEASED THROUGH PORN HE WILL NEVER NEVER NEVER FIND THE RIGHT GIRL, THE PERFECT COURTSHIP, THE “CHEMISTRY.” A man’s sexual tension is absolutely ESSENTIAL when it comes to dating and marriage. When internet porn thwarts that, you can bet everything else is thrown off too.

  11. Right, because everyone knows that persecution is proof that you’re doing the Lord’s work.

    BTW, Ginny, did you follow that link to the article by a faithful BYU guy who was claiming that his failure to find a wife was all the women’s fault? What do you think of his theory?

    Re: the Naomi Wolf article. It’s true that Wolf’s reasoning and Ginny’s match. They use the same argument, and they’re both wrong. I wrote a response to that Wolf essay two years ago here.

  12. A mans sexual tension is absolutely ESSENTIAL when it comes to dating and marriage.

    I was reading a book recently by anti-gay LDS activist Dean Byrd who argued that one woman keeps one man in line sexually (keeps control of his “appetite”), and the danger of gay men is that there are no women present, so all they want is sex. He had very little to say about lesbians, except to the extent that many are like “gay men” with their promiscuity, i.e., they’ve been “emasculated.” This is ridiculously stereotypical and sexist. Ginny, you might not be used to thinking about gay people, but it might help you break down some of your gender stereotypes.

  13. Keep on vehemently disagreeing with me, your fury for my comments only serves to prove that Ive got your number when it comes to internet porn

    IOW, if people disagree with you, that proves you’re right. Of course, if anyone agreed with you, that would also prove you’re right. Faced with an unassailable argument like that, I can only concede your victory and withdraw from the discussion in shame.

  14. @Ginny

    Why are you yelling? You seem to the furious one, not us.

    Capitalising your claims doesn’t make them any more true.

    You’re making some interesting claims. Why should we believe your them? What are your references? Sources? Evidence?

    Both empirically and anecdotally, your arguments are unsound. The vast majority of men view porn, masturbate, and have a healthy sex life. They have healthy relationships, careers, and families. Not to be outdone, many, many women also view porn, with the same totally normal results. Porn is a tool, usually accompanied with masturbation to release sexual tension. Masturbation is ubiquitous and utterly healthy. Not only does masturbation (with or without porn) not keep people (male, female, bi, gay, straight, trans, whatever) from forming real, lasting relationships, but it is essential to a healthy, real, lasting relationship.

    Porn simply does not have the effects you’re purporting to it. You’re using it as a scapegoat.

    @Alan

    Yeah, I don’t understand why people think it necessary to control and suppress sexuality. When we’re hungry, we eat, satisfy the craving for good, and then can go on with whatever else we need or want to do. When we feel horny, we engage in sex (alone or with others with or with out porn), and the same thing happens – we satisfy the craving and then can go do something else. It’s a normal, natural, necessary, and undeniable appetite. We can no more stop our sexuality than we can live without food and water. We need sexual release to be healthy, mentally, emotionally and physically.

    I hate it when people who have no idea what gay sex, gay relationships and actual gay people are really like make ridiculous claims and build entire theories based on their biased and bigoted assumptions.

  15. People have different views when it comes to religion but it will be another issue if it’s about porn. Mormons perhaps are strongly against porn, well, that should be everyone’s stand.

  16. Ginny

    I read that Naomi Wolf article years ago. I think she is great. I look at porn and masurbate fairly regularly. I have three kids am married and I am in school. Indulgence in bodily pleasures has not taken away my motivation.

    I used to believe all the arguments that 1) if I looked at porn I would not be able to appreciate non-airbrushed bodies-wrong 2) I would lose interest in having sex with my wife-wrong. ( I am happy to say that my wife has not lost interest in me; despite the evidence that some of our cucumbers have not been in the salad as of late.)

    I do think it is a control issue. That said, I do think it’s possible to look at too much porn.

  17. I’ve worked in IT almost 15 years. I used to do on-site and in-home computer service. Usually this service involved resurrecting a “slow” computer that was riddled with viruses. “I don’t know I must have clicked on a bad email attachment” was always offered as an excuse, however a quick look at the internet history, cookies, or flash temp folder would usually reveal massive amounts of porn browsing. If I simply removed the viruses, I would be called back within 6 months to “do it again, because I got another “email” virus”. I decided that I hadn’t done my full “due diligence” in explaining to the computer users how to avoid being re-infected with viruses. Smart enough to know that if I tell them “just don’t browse porn”, that the advice would go in one ear and out the other, I decided it was my due diligence to teach people how to properly browse porn without picking up viruses. I’d bring the conversation up by simply using anecdotal stories of how I’ve found porn on other people’s computers, and have been brought back within weeks to fix the PC again due to re-infection of a newer, more sophisticated virus that their anti-virus had missed. I’d relate how I’ve decided I’ll train people who desire on how to obtain just porn and not viruses. It is easy to tell a mormon home. All the mormon memorabilia and all. 99.9% of mormon men would ask me to help them not only browse porn without getting viruses, but would also ask something to the effect of “Is it possible to keep it from reporting my porn history in the internet history logs”.

    I’ve trained at least 50 mormon men on how to browse porn without getting computer viruses or getting caught by the history sleuths. It has led to this statement by me: “if you need more porn than redtube can provide for free, THEN you have a problem”

  18. I shall ask you all some questions, The answers are for you to find out and will depend on which camp you chose to belong too.
    The churches official doctoring and direction on watching pornography is that its against Gods will, so will you continue to do so?
    At what point does the written word become erotic and maybe pornographic?
    Should watching pornographic material in the privacy of your home be condoned by the church?
    Do you enjoy masturbation?
    There are more sexual offences committed by church members than any other religious body?
    The answers to these questions can be found on the Internet or by consulting your Bishop.

  19. @78 “The answers are for you to find out and will depend on which camp you chose to belong too.”

    Which camps are you dividing this into? Followers of God vs. followers of Satan? Or perhaps people who like to take evidence into account before making decisions vs. people who don’t…?

    “The churches official doctoring and direction on watching pornography is that its against Gods will, so will you continue to do so?”

    I don’t generally take the church leaders’ directives into account when making decisions. I don’t think they’ve demonstrated themselves to be a source of good advice.

    “At what point does the written word become erotic and maybe pornographic?”

    That’s a difficult question that I don’t think has a clear, canonical answer. What is erotic, naturally, varies from one person to the next, and what is pornographic really depends on your definition of pornography.

    “Should watching pornographic material in the privacy of your home be condoned by the church?”

    I don’t really care much what the church says on this subject.

    “Do you enjoy masturbation?”

    Duh, of course.

    “There are more sexual offences committed by church members than any other religious body?”

    ??? Is that a question? Are you asking for stats on which types of religious people are most likely to be sex offenders?

    “The answers to these questions can be found on the Internet or by consulting your Bishop. “

    I guess, if you want other people to answer for you instead of answering for yourself. However, if I had a bishop, I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to go consulting with him about my enjoyment of masturbation, or his…

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