ZOMG! Chron Discovers Porn on the Internet.

Categories: Media, internets
At my desk where I never use my work computer to look at porn. Except when I do.
The front page of the Datebook in Monday's Chronicle offered a photograph of a pair of hands bound by the cord of a computer mouse and the headline "Putting Lives on the Line for Porn."

The story opens with what the writer assures us are "real life examples of pornography addiction" such as: "A 50-year-old married physician views Internet pornography for hours at home, masturbating five to seven times a day, then begins surfing porn sites at the office and risks destroying his career."

Okay, we're hooked.

The story goes on to state that according to National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity, 6 to 8 percent of Americans are sex addicts, a condition that isn't officially recognized by American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. A therapist from the Center for Creative Growth in Berkeley states that sex addiction is a way for people to "mood-alter away from emotional pain" and a San Francisco psychotherapist claims that he's heard stories from soldiers back from Iraq of Internet centers "jammed with soldiers masturbating to porn" and that "For 90 percent of men, images are a big source of stimulation" while women like chat rooms. A 2008 Nielsen survey that states one-quarter of employees use the Internet to visit porn sites at work is quoted.

To summarize: Isolated soldiers in high pressure situations use pornography for sexual release. Men like to look at porn, but women like to chat. (There's no mention of where this statistic comes from, and we can't help but wonder if gender stereotypes are at play here.) And bored, underpaid office workers sometimes use their work computers to look at porn.

In case these facts haven't sold you on the idea that Internet porn is systematically destroying the lives of 50-year-old (married!) physicians everywhere, the article then goes on to quote a marriage and family therapist who states that people who are addicted to Internet porn build up a tolerance and have to up the ante in order to continue achieving their high: "So someone might start by looking at images of a normal heterosexual couple having sex and then move on to watching bestiality or sex with children. People push their edge."

Because heterosexual sex constitutes "normal" sex and the logical progression in the porn food chain is bestiality and pedophilia.

The kicker comes when the article quotes the same therapist who employed the phrase "mood-alter" as stating that "the availability of Internet porn has increased the prevalence of sex addiction behaviors."

Internet porn isn't just a tool utilized by addicts, it's the cause of the addiction.

Of course there's some "save the children" fear-mongering and a mention of Tiger Woods as evidence of the prevalence of sexual addiction in our society.

Aside from resuscitating tiresome arguments about why Internet porn is snagging the fabric of society, the article does little to advance the story. So soldiers in Iraq look at porn and masturbate? Is that a bad thing? Are they addicted to porn? Sex? Are we really supposed to believe that easy access to pornography is the cause of addiction? And if it is, what's the answer? Do we ban all porn on the Internet?

The answer to whatever sexual ills abound in society probably isn't scrubbing the Web of Internet porn, but talking about sex more. If the only information your kids are getting about sex is from the Internet, there's probably a bigger problem at work than Paris Hilton's proclivity for recording her sexual misadventures. 

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