Cyber Swing/Polyamory Resource Center
Promoting Intimacy and Other-Centered Sexuality
Congress Lies about Porn Proving they hate and fear sex
Addicted to Porn "Addiction"
As long as there are Americans who hate and fear sex, there will be Congress members trying to prove that they hate and fear sex more than anyone else. And that's Senator Sam Brownback's (R-KS) specialty: designing media events and investigations highlighting how sex is destroying America.
For years, Brownback has been using the Senate Subcommittee on Science, Technology and Space as a bully pulpit to warn about America's moral decay (ignoring, unfortunately, the decay in America's scientific education). As he prepares to leave, Brownback has directed the final act in his terror-riddled morality play: a hearing entitled "The Science Behind Pornography Addiction."
A Congressional hearing: not to discern whether there is such a thing, or whether it is harmful, or how to put "porn addiction" into context with the 50 million Americans who use it peacefully, but on how porn use leads to porn addiction, which leads to personal and family harm, making porn use a massive public health problem.
And so he called his allies, a veritable 4 Stooges. Instead of Curly, Larry, Moe, and Shemp, we got the four horsemen of the sexual apocalypse: fear of fantasy, fear of "promiscuity", fear of masturbation, and fear of female lust.
The ringleader, of course, was Judith Reisman, who says that:
* Gays are aggressively recruiting from the young heterosexual population
* Jews lead the abortion industry
* Kinsey was America's version of the sinister Nazi doctor Joseph Mengele
Reisman testified that "Pornography triggers myriad kinds of internal, natural drugs that mimic the 'high' from a street drug. Addiction to pornography is addiction to what I dub 'erotoxins'--mind-altering drugs produced by the viewer's own brain." She added, "A basic science research team should study 'erotoxins' and the brain/body"--which, as legal writer Mark Kernes points out, is both admission that her presentation lacked any scientific evidence, and yet another plea for federal grant money for her consistently discredited studies.
The three other witnesses testified that:
* "Children who have porn-viewing fathers complain that when he looks at them it feels 'creepy'. The parental gaze has now become the 'porn gaze.' The child of the porn user finds that everything is now about sex."
* "Prolonged exposure to pornography stimulates a preference for depictions of group sex, sadomasochistic practices, and sexual contact with animals."
* Porn is the "most concerning thing to psychological health that I know of existing today."
* "The internet is a perfect drug delivery system...to have the drug pumped into your house 24/7, free...it's a perfect delivery system if we want to have a whole generation of young addicts who will never have the drug out of their mind."
* "Pornography...causes masturbation, which causes release of the naturally occurring opioids. It does what heroin can't do, in effect."
Wild accusations about the effects of porn are nothing new, of course; Presidents Nixon and Reagan convened hearings on pornography that made the Salem Witch Trials look thoughtful and sober. Similarly, Andrea Dworkin, who famously proclaimed that intercourse is always rape, and Catherine MacKinnon, who says that depictions of fellatio always involve coercion, drafted model laws to restrict porn based on its alleged effects--effects which they could never prove.
But these Brownback hearings are leading us in a dangerous new direction. Witnesses testified that pornography is actually a harmful, addictive product, which should put it in a different legal category than expression or speech. This conceptualization seeks to deprive pornography of decades of First Amendment protection from government censorship.
This new direction comes at a time when the courts, conservative though they frequently are, are giving increasing protection to private sexual expression. In its recent Lawrence v. Texas decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws that are based on moral grounds. As attorney Larry Walters notes, this challenges the continued validity of any legitimate governmental interest in regulating private sexual activity. If "morality" is no longer a sufficient legal basis for regulating sexuality, conceptualizing porn as a dangerous product rather than a form of expression may be the best way to strip it of its protection. Thus, scientific "proof" will become increasingly crucial. These hearings appear to be the opening shot in the next phase of this battle.
And so junk "science" was invited into the halls of Congress. Tired old mass murderer Ted Bundy was even quoted. For years, his initial self-diagnosis--"porn made me kill those women"--has been used to "prove" that porn drives people nuts and makes America dangerous for women. Presumably, if he had said that M & Ms, or the violent stories of Genesis and Exodus, had led him to kill, he would be dismissed as the deranged madman that he is rather than extolled as a prophet of social science.
If Brownback's Committee on Science spent more time improving America's scientific education, there would be fewer people mistaking association with causality. All rapists started on milk; milk does not cause rape. Many rapists look at porn; a huge number of non-rapists look at porn, too.
As Alan Leshner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science says, "The plural of anecdote isn't data."
"Reprinted from Sexual Intelligence, ©Marty Klein, Ph.D. (www.SexEd.org)."
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