Pornography generates $57 billion annual revenue world-wide—$12–14 billion in the United States alone. U.S. porn revenue is larger than the combined revenues of all professional football, baseball and basketball franchises. College students contribute greatly to this revenue.
The demand for explicit pornography has stood the test of time, but it’s method of delivery has changed. College students are tech savvy – they can easily access pornographic pictures and video on the internet. Adult entertainment companies are making a mad dash to tap into this rapidly expanding market. Internet sales of adult content – which includes images, live-chat, and live-streaming video – experienced strong growth. In fact, in 2006, Internet Sales became the second largest adult entertainment segment, with 22% of the market or $2.8 billion in sales.
Pornography is protected under free speech laws. Only purely obscene forms of speech are banned from the Internet. Obscenity is defined as materials designed only to arouse the prurient interest — those appealing to the lowest and most grotesque desires of man. This category includes snuff films and child pornography, among other things.
Critics of pornography have long argued that porn demeans women and makes men hyper-sexual and possibly violent. College students are twice as likely to become sexual addicts than other adults. With the availability, affordability and anonymity of pornography, 18 to 22 million people in the United States are addicted to pornography. Most of the sex addicts seeking treatment are men. The true indicator of porn addiction is when it can’t be controlled – it’s a sign when students are viewing pornography until 2 or 3 in the morning, not going to class, and doing poorly.
Young men and women are being taught what sex is, how it looks, what its etiquette and expectations are, by pornographic training—and this is having a huge effect on how they interact. The expected effect of making men into raving beasts has not occurred. The onslaught of porn is responsible for deadening male libido in relation to real women, and leading men to see fewer and fewer women as “porn-worthy.” Young men have grown up learning about sex from pornography and are now trying to figure out how to be with a real woman.
Young women worry that they can’t compete with porn stars. How can a real woman compete with a vision of perfection, downloadable and extinguishable at will, who is utterly submissive and tailored to the consumer’s least specification? The effect of pornography on women is a feeling that they can never measure up, that they can never ask for what they want, and that if they do not offer what porn offers, they cannot expect to keep a guy. Even though some women are greatly affected by pornography, they are also purveyors. 70% of women check out pornography, with 17% being addicts. 1 in 3 women have visited a pornographic web site.
Pornography works in a Pavlovian manner – an orgasm is one of the biggest reinforcers imaginable. If you associate orgasm with your girlfriend, a kiss, a scent, a body, that is what, over time, will turn you on. If you open your focus to an endless stream of every imaginable type of sex, that is what it will take to turn you on.
Some colleges are including sex in the curriculum. Classes dealing with sex are being seen in a variety of areas – sociology, psychology, English, business, and film making. These classes are very popular among students. According to the National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families, fifty universities around the country offer classes in which students study pornography. In times past, the works of Allen Ginsberg, James Joyce and D.H. Lawrence were considered pornographic and were banned from bookshelves. Today, little is taboo. There is very little about sex that is shocking to many of today’s college students.
While students might not have problems with the subject matter, many outraged parents have sounded off. Many students taking a class that includes pornography opt not to tell their parents that they’re enrolled.
Ironically, the push to legitimize porn studies has come largely from female scholars and self-identified feminists. This may be another double standard – Male academics crusading to incorporate pornography into the curriculum would have been crucified as lechers and sexists. This trend represents a turn away from the “victim feminist” obsession with pornography, and sexuality itself, as male victimization of women.
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