Porn Industry – They Get Us So Young:
I grew up like most men do…entrenched in porn and ogling who I was attracted to as a pastime with my friends. There were even some points in my life where porn became an extremely unhealthy addiction. I may have felt some negative feelings or consequences at the time…but looking back now, I clearly didn’t realize how much it impacted me, my relationships, and society.
The biggest personal issues it caused was my brain being wired specifically for dopamine binges (causing chronic depression and anxiety when realizing that reality was just not as stimulating) AND the inability to feel comfortable with women (mostly, out of guilt and shame).
Then, outside of my own perspective, I learned more about porn in society. I learned how coercive and shackling the industry is for professional porn stars. I also learned how it impacts the millions of viewers per day…as porn clearly represents the normalization of sexual abuse. And, at the very extreme, I learned that porn actually feeds the industry of sexual exploitation and enslavement. There are even videos that porn viewers click through that they have no idea are actual videos of sex slaves (even if they appear to be enjoying themselves…they are doing that specifically to survive).
So, watching porn not only impacts me and my relationships in destructive ways…watching it also supports the power-over treatment of porn industry’s employees, the popularity of normalized sexual abuse in our society, and the enslavement of children, teenagers, and adults.
I am 100 days “sober” from porn, and each of these reasons give me a very confident and congruent purpose to never watch it again.
I am not bringing this up to discuss the porn industry. I bring this to your attention because it has become the most important sub-context to my ideas discussed below.
If you are more interested in the porn industry topic though, then check these videos out. They are extremely informative and actually are meant to help broach the topic with adolescents in a research-based, science-based, non-religious-based, and uplifting format.
Also, just some personal advice to those struggling leaving the porn world: become a feminist. I don’t believe that to be heteronormative either…feminism does not abide by any dominant identity and includes every background. Learning about and becoming a feminist made breaking the habit of porn so much easier.
Objectification – “Us and Them”
When I catch myself looking at a woman as a sexual object, I quickly remember that “she has her own mind and body that she decides what to do with…not me.”
It is a new world when I replace my automatic, objectifying thoughts. I begin to clearly see that each person has their own vantage point, their own mind and body, and their own direction of action that they have the freedom to choose. My actions begin to move from individualism to collectivism. And, all I want to do is connect with others as imperfect human beings, listen to who each of us have become through our unique experiences, and find a way to heal the traumas created by objectification and dehumanization.
Growing up in this society, I see how many of us are programmed to “us and them” and to dehumanize for the purpose of furthering ourselves…our companies…our groups…or gaining endless, yet unattainable comfort for ourselves. Even if we believe we are on the “right” side of the “us and them” argument…we are still creating a divide by turning the other side of the argument into beasts in order to feel okay with treating them like a piece of trash.
I get it. We do it because we grew up with parents, teachers, authority figures, media, and/or other systems in society treating us as objects to be controlled (instead of reasoned with and nurtured as we learn our own unique ways of thinking, feeling, and acting). However (and very fortunately), we do have the ability to unlearn our habits to control, threaten, and divide.
Disrupting the Moment:
When observing nature…or, even human beings when we find a space to let each other be who we are and connect amongst our differences…it seems to work. There is a natural flow there because there’s a groove within us, in others, and in our surroundings that we could spend time dancing with for a while in what defines the present moment.
But, historically and still to this day, we seem to be disrupting that motion out of comfort, pride, power, fear, etc. And, it is causing excessive natural disasters, human ripples leading to wars, violence, and abuse, and chronic mental health and relationship hardships in each of our personal lives.
Quite obviously, we are missing the mark.
So I tried…when I lost my job in this pandemic and as I was coasting for a few months on unemployment with all kinds of time having no children of my own…I tried. What does it take to allow, heal, and replace the rage, depression, anxiety, self-doubt, and social trauma within me? What does it take?
Connecting with Myself First:
I tried to replace distracting me from myself. Like, instead of the time I would usually spend binging TV or video games, I would try to further understand myself and my place in this world by meditating, reflecting through my writing, and researching important topics through books, documentaries, podcasts, and online journals.
I tried to replace the way I had been treating myself. For so long, I have been trying to manipulate me. I have been acting as if I were an object that can be tinkered with to find constant comfort…or financial success…or a perfect body. And, this led to perfectionism, emptiness, and self-loathing.
I have always been tense throughout my body, rebellious towards my forceful rules and standards, and wanting to run away from myself…a lot. So, once I saw perfectionism was tearing me down and 100% related to objectification, I began to look at what in my life was training me this way. And, one of the most egregious habits that I found…was porn.
There is still so much more to unlearn, and it is very difficult to shed and find new skin when objectifying is all around me in society. I have to go against the grain in so many situations. During a very divided and tense political election…during a pandemic that is showing how small and easily vulnerable we are as the human race…during a time where all the bullies from our high school have found a leader to rise up and stand tall with…during a global environmental crisis…it has been hard to get away from this and find how to treat myself in the most healthy, respectable, and trustworthy way possible.
But, at the end of the day, it is as simple as…we are not objects…we cannot control what is constantly in motion. We can only move along with it.
We are alive. Inside our minds, throughout our bodies, and from our everyday actions…we are constantly changing…we are constantly in motion…and, so is the information in our surroundings…so are all the people around us…so is nature. We are all alive and in motion.
Each one of us has our own vantage points, thoughts, emotions, passions, and actions. We can all connect with our similar human needs (like needing to eat) and our universal truths (like how we all die). But, then…we end up at a crossroads. And, from there…it is about sharing each other’s various perspectives. It is about listening to that person. It is about reminding that person you hear their voice and see their uniqueness.
It is about being different…together.
Not knowing everything…together.
Not being perfect…together.
Being alive and in constant growth…together.