Tis the Season for Porn

Last week the Witherspoon Institute convened a conference on pornography at Princeton University and invited scholars from a variety of fields to contribute. The statistics are mind-numbing. Pamela Paul, author of "Pornified," reported that "Americans rent upwards of 800 million pornographic videos and DVDs per year. About one in five rented videos is porn. Men look at pornography online more than they look at any other subject. And 66 percent of 18-34 year old men visit a pornographic site every month." They are not, Paul and others explained, looking at Playboy magazine-like images of naked women. Instead, they are descending into darker and darker realms where sadism, fetishes, and every imaginable oddity are proffered. Sex and violence are offered together. Women are presented in a degraded -- not to say disgusting -- fashion.

Surely only people with peculiar sexual tastes are drawn to this sort of thing, right? Not exactly. Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge, author of "The Brain That Changes Itself," noted that pornography use actually changes the brains of consumers. Like other addictions, pornography use breeds tolerance and the need for more intensity to get the desired result. He quoted Tom Wolfe's "I Am Charlotte Simmons," in which a college kid asks casually, "Anybody got porn?" He is told that there are magazines on the third floor. He responds, "I've built up a tolerance to magazines I need videos." Tolerance is the medically correct term, Doidge notes, which is why pornography becomes more and more graphic.

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http://townhall.com/columnists/MonaCharen/2008/12/19/tis_the_season_for_porn