The Times Opinion – An alternative to the porn script

There was a really interesting article by Janice Turner in the Opinion section of The Times last Saturday, 11 September 2010 entitled ‘Girls need an alternative to the porn scipt’:

“It is clear now that several generations of teenagers have grown up adsorbing the script of pornography.  It is time to offer an alternative.  In the discussion of Wayne Rooney’s exploits the distinction was made between the heartless hoooker and the long-suffering wife.  But the choice is not slag or WAG.  “Empowerment” is not about having breasts that boys on Facebook think are great, or bagging a rich meal ticket.”

Unfortunately, I can’t give a link to the article on The Times website due to restrictions in accessing the site without paying.  However, I do think it is an article that you should read and so I have attached a PDF of it scanned from my paper copy of the newspaper – bought by me on Saturday.  I don’t know if I am infringing any copyright restictions – and if I am then I am more than happy to remove the document – but I hope that I am not and that you can read the article in this instance without having to pay to do so.

The Porn Event: 23-28 May 2010


If you think porn is an issue for you or your partner then why not consider taking part in the Porn Event:

From May 23-28, and present, a 25-minute interactive experience focused on the real-life effects of pornography. has two segments, one for men and one for women; more details and the schedule can be found at During we will examine the effect porn has on our lives and relationships, and look at next steps for those who are struggling. Expect a non-threatening environment featuring stories, helpful answers, and an open conversation with people whoʼve traveled a similar path. is for anyone who is interested in what it looks like to live a life beyond pornography.
Men’s Segment:
During the men’s segment of, we’ll take an honest look at how porn affects us as men, fathers, and husbands. Through stories, answers to common questions, and open conversation we will talk about the hope men can find in life beyond pornography.
Women’s Segment:
During the women’s segment of, we will talk about how porn affects us as women, mothers, and wives. Through stories, answers to common questions, and open conversation we will talk about the hope found beyond our personal struggles with porn and also how to support and care for family members that are dealing with sexual addiction.

Find out more here.

Girls want protection from sex

It seems that teenage girls in the UK are starting to take a chaperone with them when they go to meet with their boyfriends in order to help protect them against having to have sex.

Our response to this is probably – good and about time!

But it isn’t that the teenage girls don’t want sex – it’s that the sex that their boyfriends expect is too influenced by pornography, with them wanting to act out what they are seeing in explicit material they find on the internet.

As an article published last month in The Daily Mail explains:

Today’s chaperone is called, in teenspeak, a ‘third wheel’. And she is not being forced on girls by concerned or controlling adults worried about honour and etiquette.
The third wheel (the verb is ‘to third wheel’) has been re-invented by the girls themselves because they want protection from the sexual demands of their boyfriends.
When I spoke to many teenage girls in researching the subject, they told me these demands are both ‘disturbing and upsetting’, and they are certain they’re being fuelled by what their boyfriends are watching online: hard-core, explicit porn.
This deeply worrying trend is finally starting to be noticed by those in authority.
Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos has just published a government report into the sexualisation of children, and is certain that exposure to porn is having an adverse affect on the lives of today’s teenagers. 
‘My research has left me extremely concerned,’ she says. ‘A recent survey showed that 54 per cent of boys found porn “really inspiring” in terms of sexual performance. This worries me, because of the nature of the material they are now watching.
‘This isn’t the type of pornography that was around when we were teenagers. What kids are seeing today is very often violent, and it has no intimacy, no respect, no kindness, no context of sex within a loving relationship.
‘It is very damaging to young people and to their relationships.’
Read the full article here

Porn is not bad for you, apparently…..

I found a rather disturbing article by Milton Diamond in the March edition of ‘The Scientist‘ magazine.  Basically, the article claims that research shows that pornography is not bad for you, and that there is no provable link between the availability and use of porn and the incidence of sexual crime.

Read the full article here.

I must admit I find this conclusion completely bizarre and counter-intuitive, and seemingly at odds with other articles and books that claim the opposite.  I also find some of the comments posted in response to the article very telling and informative – have a look and see what you think.

But which is true?  Is porn damaging or not?  Does frequent exposure to sexually explicit material make men objectify women, and so increase the likelihood of them becoming sexually deviant?

This is an interesting question, and one that I am not qualified to answer, but I can’t help but feel that history is repeating itself.  Fifty years ago the debate raged as to whether tobacco caused cancer or not.  Some argued that it did, but the tobacco industry argued that it didn’t.  Research was produced by both sides to support their position – some of it real science, some of it pseudo-science funded by interested parties who had a point to prove.  Ultimately, it took many years for the truth to come out – but eventually it did!

What will the future hold with respect of pornography?  The genie is well and truly out of the bottle.  Will it prove to be a boon to our culture and society or will it be seen for what it is, destructive, damaging and divisive – the ruin of marriages and the jailer of many a good man?

But what do I know?  Time will tell the truth, I suppose, but what damage will be caused in the mean time?

Wired for Intimacy: How pornography hijacks the male brain


There is a really good review of the new book Wired for Intimacy by William Struthers on Tim Challies’ blog (here).

It sounds like a brilliant book, as Tim explains:

“What he (Struthers) provides is a well-rounded understanding of how pornography affects men. He looks beyond the usual, beyond the moral and ethical and legal and even spiritual. He shows that pornography is also a physical matter, “rooted in the biological intricacies of our sexual design.” Though there is value in books that look from the other angles, “calls to pray harder, move the computer to the living room and get plugged into an accountability group only go so far. They come across as hollow to many men whose brains have been altered and rewired by their experiences with pornography. They have trained their brains to respond sexually to the pornography they consume.”

Though there is value in reading this entire book, the heart of the book is the brain. In one chapter right in the middle of the book Struthers provides a primer on the brain and shows both how sexuality is hard-wired into the brain and how pornography can disrupt that God-given capacity. He shows that in many ways the male brain is built as an ideal receiver for pornography; the capacity of the brain to pursue intimacy with a wife is very easily disrupted and perverted by a desire to look at pornography. The wiring that ought to be used to pursue intimacy with one woman can easily be disrupted and used to pursue a kind of false intimacy with an endless succession of women. Men who have become consumed with pornography will have to admit with the author that “they have unknowingly created a neurological circuit that imprisons their ability to see women rightly as created in God’s image. Repeated exposure to pornography creates a one-way neurological superhighway where a man’s mental life is over-sexualized and narrowed. It is hemmed in on either side by high containment walls making escape nearly impossible.”

What Struthers both claims and (at least to my mind) proves is that looking at pornography and acting out to it creates neural pathways that disrupt the “normal” pathways. As pornography use and acting out to it become habitual, the pathways become more and more pronounced and, therefore, more difficult to overcome. Soon a man has rewired his brain in such a way that true intimacy becomes a challenge“.

Once again, here is something else that hightlights the dangers of pornography on our culture and society.

But is all lost to the onslaught of internet porn?  Maybe not, as Tim concludes:

“While the male brain does predispose men to be drawn to nudity and drawn to images of sexuality, this does not provide an excuse for indulging. To the contrary, it challenges men to be exceedingly careful about what they view and it makes them doubly responsible before God for images they’ve consumed. The implications of the neurological basis for human sexuality call men to purity before God in a whole new way”.

I think what he is saying is, “Wake up before it’s to late!”.


It’s time Britain had the porn conversation

There was an Interesting article by Janice Turner in the Opinion section of The Times yesterday, asking whether the time has come to limit the predominance of porn across the internet, basically, to protect the innocence of our children:

“How do you tell a child who has not yet had a first kiss that the plasticated members, the goggle-eyed grunting Barbies, that he came across while noodling around online are not what sex is about? Sex is tender, loving, fun, you might say brightly. (Sounding like what? A tantric hippy? A Sunday school teacher?) This porn, on those websites that can pop up unbidden and so freak you out, it’s not real. Well, it’s not the good stuff.  
But as your daughter or son’s eyes cloud with derision and your own cheeks pinken, you know the grim pointlessness of this chat, given that, for a whole generation, porn is what sex is about, since its clothing and poses, its service industry soullessness has been allowed to move into that time of faltering, gawky sweetness and rewritten the whole damn script.”
As she goes on:
“Porn should have been returned to its rightful place, the top shelf, under the bed, the red-lit back streets, the adult domain, when it first penetrated the public sphere a decade back. Lads mags could have been classified with Razzle five years ago, not when, circulations declining annually by 25 per cent, they look certain to die out. Surely ministers in their chauffeured Jags spotted the bawdy billboards that demeaned our public spaces or caught the MTV videos just a leather thong’s breadth from Penthouse or came across the “adult” cable section where girls lick their own nipples at a texted request from Steve of Chelmsford.  
Did they never look up, frowning, from the atrocious teenage pregnancy figures that they promised but failed to halve and see the root cause — girls aping the tits-out attire of porn stars, practising the raunch culture credo that the only satisfaction girls should hope to get from sex was how well they performed it for men — and that only a dried-up priss would ever say “no”.  Did they not wonder that rape convictions were so unobtainable, despite a revolution in policing, because the notion that girls were all perpetually “hot” and “up for it” was tainting the judgment of juries — and of young men?  
Did it never occur to them that the Islamification of young Muslim women, the ascendancy of the hijab, that categoric statement of separation and difference, was, to no small degree, a protective reaction by a modest people against a host culture that was running through a shopping centre with its arse out, wearing a T-shirt saying “No gag reflex!”  
But, too terrified of seeming anti-sex or of defying the prevailing boomtime ethos that the only morality was the market, government back then refused to tackle pornification. It was a private matter, it insisted. But it wasn’t any more: it was manifestly, luridly public.”
Good points, well made.  Read the full article here.

The Effects of Pornography on Society

After posting yesterday about how sexualised images change men’s view of women, I saw this article on Ed Stetzer’s blog about the effects of pornography on our society – this is research that should be taken seriously, because the easy availability of pornography is not necessarily a good thing:

“Pornography is a visual representation of sexuality which distorts an individual’s concept of the nature of conjugal relations. This, in turn, alters both sexual attitudes and behaviour. It is a major threat to marriage, to family, to children and to individual happiness. In undermining marriage it is one of the factors in undermining social stability”

Sexualised Images Change Men’s View of Women

I found this interesting article in the Guardian about the effect that sexualised images of women have on men’s brains:

“Men are more likely to think of women as objects if they have looked at sexy pictures of females beforehand, psychologists said yesterday….Researchers used brain scans to show that when straight men looked at pictures of women in bikinis, areas of the brain that normally light up in anticipation of using tools, like spanners and screwdrivers, were activated….Scans of some of the men found that a part of the brain associated with empathy for other people’s emotions and wishes shut down after looking at the pictures…..”
It’s easy to dismiss such research as a bit of a joke, but it is making a serious point, that looking at pornography changes the way men view women, from people with whom they should interact to objects that they can use.