My very dear Grandchildren,
I am writing you an important letter. You may or may not agree with it, but I am asking you to read it carefully and to think about what it says. Since it’s an awkward subject – pornography – you may not want to talk with me or your grandmother about it – and that’s fine. But we’re here if you want to.
Nowadays pornography is easily available, perhaps on a tablet or on a phone. And, if you haven’t looked for it yourself, you may well have friends who have shown it to you. That’s not surprising because many people, of all ages, have watched pornography. I am not going to discuss rights or wrongs here but I want to tell you that pornography is a lie. And it’s a dangerous lie which can do you a great deal of harm. The kind of pornography I am writing about is typically a video in which pretty well every form of possible sexual contact between men and women is shown, either with couples or groups.
What is the lie about that – if such things really do happen? It’s found in the impression that what you see on the video shows in some way what a good and exciting sexual life ought to be like. Older people with many years of experience, recognise the lie immediately, and need pay no attention to it. But those who encounter pornography at a young age have no such defence.
When you look at yourself as a sexual person you will probably recognise two things. One is a concern about love – falling in love, about affection between men and women, and about loving relationships. The other is sexual thrill. And it is only the second which pornography addresses.
Don’t knock sexual thrill! It’s very important. It is nature’s way of urging: “make a baby, make a baby”. In your science classes you will have learned how evolution constantly favours breeding – without it there would be no evolution in any species. In the midst of sexual thrill you won’t hear nature’s message; indeed the last thing you may want is to make a baby, but that’s what it’s all about.
Go back to the video. To listen to it you would think that everyone one is having ecstatic feelings over and over again. Look more carefully, and you will see that the actors don’t look ecstatic, they look bored. They look bored because before long even extreme sexual thrills become boring. Think about it – first time great, second time good, 100th time boring – give me something new!
And now you can pity your grandparents. They have been married for 50 years. Assuming they’ve made love twice a week, that’s 5000 times. Boring, boring, boring. They probably gave up simply years ago. Well perhaps not – not if they have the secret. And that secret is simple. It says: if the motive of all your sexual relations is love, affection and total commitment to each other you can carry on enjoying the accompanying thrills until they carry you out in a box. And that kind of sexual life spreads itself throughout the marriage through care and closeness.
Give me something new! Yes, marriages whose first motivation is sexual thrill will risk the relationship. Sooner or later boredom sets in. Perhaps one partner, or both, ceases to have any interest in sex – with an inevitable effect on the relationship. Perhaps one of them seeks, or finds by chance, the new thrill of a new partner. Novelty is erotic – that’s nature again, trying to make new babies anywhere at any cost. Over 40% of today’s marriages fail. How many of them do you think were based on love, affection and total commitment? And how many based on thrills which ran out of steam?
So that’s the big lie of pornography. But there are other problems too. A recent study of young teenagers discovered that nearly 20% had been shocked or upset by porn images. That is a tragedy because it means that their early knowledge of adult sex is one of disgust; it’s not a good start to what will probably be a large part of their later lives. But there are worse things.
One of these is the danger of becoming addicted to pornography. Just like drugs, some people (about 10%) get hooked – and they find themselves not only preoccupied by extreme sexual thoughts but endlessly searching for more and more porn to keep the thrills going. And, again like drugs, they never guessed when they started that it would turn out like that.
Perhaps most shameful of all, some young people are pushed and persuaded into pornography by their friends. Some kind of friends! Look on the bright side – the Devil gets some shut-eye while others do his work for him.
Your loving Grandparents.