Anyone who avidly follows contemporary popular culture and cultural trends in general is probably well aware of the fact that the pornography (adult entertainment) industry is an entity that generates billions of dollars in the United States annually. Some estimates suggest that the figure is as much as 13 billion. What is more notable is the fact that 90% of young boys and 60% of young girls have been exposed to pornography before they reach the age of 18. According to the website expastors.com, the median age that children become introduced to such material is 11 years old! Earlier this year, the American Psychological Association published its study on pornography addiction. Thus, due to a confluence of factors, it is hardly a surprise that we live in a society that is deeply immersed in and obsessed with pornography.
In 1994, now the recently revived Promise Keepers organization conducted a survey that revealed that 50% of the men who attended their rallies engaged themselves with porn within one week of attending the event. That was two decades ago. The fact that a considerable percentage of religious people have been affected by pornography causes many astute individuals to sit up and take notice.
Other statistics from several studies and articles conducted by researchers found that:
- 50% of religious men and men and 20% of religious women stated that they were addicted to pornography
- 54% of men polled that they visited porn websites at least frequently
- Men are more than 543% more likely to look at porn than women
- People who have committed adultery are more likely to view pornography
- People who have paid for sex are 270% more likely to view adult sexual content
- Regular Church attendees are 26% less likely to look at pornography however 91% of people who identify themselves a "fundamentalists" are 91% more likely to look at porn
- Eight in ten(79%) men between the ages of 18 and 30 view pornography monthly
- Two-thirds (67%) of men between the ages of 31 and 49 view pornography monthly
- One-half (49%) of men between the ages of 50 and 68 view pornography monthly
- Christian men are watching pornography at work at the same rate as the national average
- One-third (33%) of men between the ages of 18 and 30 either think that they are addicted or are unsure if they are addicted to pornography
- Combined, 18% of all men either think that they are addicted or are unsure if they are addicted to pornography, which equates to 21 million men
Patrick Means, author of Men's Secret Wars, revealed that 63% of pastors confirmed that they struggle with sexual addiction or sexual compulsion. Types of addiction included compulsive masturbation or use of other discreet sexual activity. Anyone over 40-years-old can probably remember 1980s televangelist minister Jimmy Swaggart in 1988 sobbing to his congregation and telling God that he (Swaggart) had "sinned against you my lord" after it was exposed that he hired a woman to meet him in hotel rooms and pose in pornographic acts for his satisfaction.
Prior to the 1990s, pornography was something that most people had to travel across town to purchase in the city blue light district. It was material that one could largely only find in adult book stores and eventually, in some cases, convenience stores where it was located behind the counter and one had to produce an ID indicating adulthood to purchase such material. In other cases, most young boys exposure to such material was sneaking into their parent's bedroom and inadvertently coming across their father's magazines. For the record, my father did not purchase or view pornography.
Decades later, with the advent of the internet, coupled with the relative degree of anonymity it affords, having access to adult oriented content is much easier, and many people, particularly men, have not hesitated to take advantage of this fact. It is probably safe to say that the majority of Americans (myself included ) have viewed some pornography when were were relatively young, however minimal, without having it dramatically alter our lives. That being said, the downside is that in our current environment, too many people (men in particular) are seeing their lives turned upside down as pornography has increasingly gained considerable control of their well being -- sexually, psychologically, socially, financially and in some cases, physically. In some cases, careers are being ruined and families are being torn apart. In certain segments of society, sexual abuse and some cases, rape is steadily increasing. While pornography addiction cannot be blamed as the sole reason for these issues, it is likely to be a contributing factor. These facts are troubling on a number of levels. It is an issue that must be addressed quickly and aggressively.