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Commentary

Pornography Addiction an Unspoken ILL

[laprogressive.com – 4/9/21]

Like a lot of teens of my generation, I discovered the novels of Kurt Vonnegut like a breath of fresh air apart from the assigned readings in my school. Vonnegut wrote what even he described as “trash” fiction, but he peppered his books with matter of fact recounting of historical events, some of which were based on facts and a lot of which were just snarky imagination. The book that made him famous was Slaughterhouse 5 which was full of both dark humor and bits of hope, as well as very frank exposés of how corrupt and hypocritical that people are, while reassuring readers that it didn’t really matter much because we’re all pretty messed up.

Though 50 years have passed since I read his work, I remember his account of the invention of the photograph in the early 19th century being followed up by an assistant to the inventor being arrested for trying to sell photographs of a woman having sex with a pony. Like any good fiction writer, Vonnegut gave specific names and places to the alleged arrest of André Le Fèvre, in the Tuileries Gardens, even though there is no historical reference to such an event.

Still, his point was fairly accurate. Pornography, sometimes exaggerated and disgusting pornography, has been a ubiquitous part of civilization since long before the erotic paintings in first century Pompey. The closest we came to pornography in my home of origin was the underwear section of the J C Penny catalogue and the nudity in the National Geographic magazines my uncle sent to me. But Vonnegut’s more earthy depiction of human depravity made me feel a lot less guilty about the occasional sojourns my adolescent friends and I were making into more ribald literature available at the local drug store.

Watching a child in a sexual act, however, is a crime for which many people are now serving time in a federal prison of up to 20 years. Though we seem ready to accept that watching a video that portrays rape does not cause the viewer to become a rapist, we still insist that watching child porn turns the viewer into a predator even though research shows that assumption to be false.

No one, and least of all me, believes that viewing child porn is a victimless crime. There is a point of origin and those who produce these videos are worse even than what Kurt Vonnegut’s trashy imagination could cook up. But the people who accidentally find themselves wandering around these dark pages of the web, rarely know when they have crossed a boundary from what might be thought of as normal curiosity into a universe that is inherently evil. By the way, did all of you who saw the Blue Lagoon get up and walk out when you saw what it was about, or did you watch the whole movie?

But what happens to tens of thousands of young men like my friend’s son, is a 15 year sentence and a lifetime on a sex offender registry that governs where they can live, what kind of work they can do, and even what kind of assistance they can receive for education or job training. 99% of offenders are men. 83% are white. Only 5% have ever had sexual contact with a child.

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Excellent article. Pornography can become an addiction. Although there are groups that can help people with sexual addictions, some are not very welcoming to people on the registry. Often people who have committed crimes can trigger those who were abused as children or those who have managed to avoid detection. That is one reason ASCOL has been so helpful.

Someone can acknowledge that what they did was wrong while also understanding what lead to it. Everything has a root cause and doesn’t happen just because. Understanding your triggers can help you avoid a spiralling down the road. For someone who’s addicted to porn and staying away from it as it can lead to worse, is the same as a person with substance abuse avoiding things like drinking even a sip because it can cause them to spiral.

@aero1

Ya know…it may be helpful when posting an opinion such as you did above, to identify yourself in some way to the group, with respect to your own offense, assuming there is one. It would then not come off as being ‘preachy’ (which, my friend, it does). Sometimes, those who preach at others typically do so as a way of making themselves feel somehow better about themselves (“At least I am not as bad as THOSE people”), while at the same time serving to hide or conceal from others that part of themselves of which they feel most ashamed.

I think that all of us are prone to fall into this trap from time to time, including myself. I was convicted of a CP offense several years ago and even I sometimes fall into false and faulty thinking in which I say to myself that “At least I did not commit a contact offense with a minor, which is far more morally reprehensible than just looking at an image on a computer screen. A contact offense would make me a real pedophile and more of a danger to others, and more likely to re-offend”, etc., etc., ALL of which I know is not necessarily true, and would not make me any less morally culpable for my own crime, nor morally superior to anyone else. So I continue to keep trying to judge not, lest I be judged.

By the way, it was a terrific article. Hats off to the Reverand.

The person is a troll. They have been posting here for a while now and always steer their comments towards degrading those whom the article targets while making no reference to their own offense. Pay them no mind. It has happened here before. Some only come here to make the rest of us feel like lesser people. Seems to increase their self worth in their own eyes.

If I may correct you, pornography has been around since before the birth of Christ. Chinese, Hindu, Greeks and other cultures have portrayed sexual situations, some involving teen boys, in art, literature and music. It is woven into the fabric of the human condition. The difference is now we try to profit from it. And like drugs, if a profit can’t be made, then we criminalize it.
As for your righteous condemnation of CP offenders, this is nothing new to your comments. I would go so far as to say you are a troll that comments on here to demean others and make us all try to feel like lesser people. Your “ Good Luck” sign off is nothing more than a swipe at those trying to move past their mistakes. Look in a mirror and try to spot yours. I’m sure the list is a long one.

Decent article with some good points and a couple of flaws too. The debate about whether pornography itself can be addictive is still ongoing. Regardless of where any lay person currently falls on the spectrum of pornography being addictive just be aware of which sources people use to support their beliefs and what biases those sources bring to their findings. If nothing else researchers do agree that pornography can disrupt people’s lives. The exact draw for each individual might be different enough that in fact pornography itself isn’t the issue, but one or more specific elements easily accessible via the vehicle of pornography.

For example if someone has a fetish for armpits or is into elaborate role-playing scenarios with the inclusion of costumes, props, sets, and so on it could be a challenge to say the least to find outlets of exploration of these things in daily life. One quick option could be some form of porn. It may be unlike most porn a lot of people are familiar with, but that doesn’t mean it is void of anything sexual for those interested. For arguments sake let’s say the fascination with one of these things starts to interrupt a persons life. Are they addicted to pornography of it or is the pornography of it the simplest way for something deeper to be quenched?

https://www.martyklein.com/sex-addiction-doesnt-exist-and-why-it-matters/

The first paragraph from the about sex on the above site:

Dr. Marty Klein has been a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Certified Sex Therapist for over 35 years. He has focused his entire career toward a single set of goals: telling the truth about sexuality, helping people feel sexually adequate & powerful, and supporting the healthy sexual & intimate expression and exploration of women & men.

AERO1,

I was prosecuted by an assistant United States Attorney for receipt and possession of child pornography. In a federal courtroom I agreed to plead guilty to the possession count and have the receipt count moved to be dropped by the federal government at sentencing. Which is exactly what happened in my case.

Despite having spent considerable time on the internet searching for lots of different things I only ventured onto the dark web, specifically the onion network via Tor for about 15 minutes. For now I am not going to explain how Tor was setup or is setup today because it really doesn’t matter. Everyone needs to understand only one thing: it is purposefully difficult to navigate. There are directory pages of sorts, but no one should expect to find every site on the network just by looking at a site list. No where near all sites are listed and for various reasons website addresses can change quicker than on the standard internet even if nothing illegal is on a particular website. Combined with a slow connection speed at the time to Tor I was not willing to go blindly searching anything when no guarantee something I clicked on was what it was advertised as if such an indication existed in the first place. In other words I did not look let alone download anything illegal off of the stereotypical dark web. Which is way more than just Tor, but I didn’t access the other big services either. As a matter of fact I could not begin to grasp how to access them because I’ve never looked into it enough.

As a side note the dark web is really just all the pages not indexed by search engines. So a vast majority of this stuff are hidden pages containing security protocols, wire transfer instructions, encryption measures, and so on for common usage. Sometimes forums, image boards, and pages behind paywalls or login walls are not indexed either thus qualifying as part of the dark web. For anyone unaware I will not be describing how one might be able to search these without visiting sites in some instances and unless you know what you are doing I would not recommend trying especially if your intentions may not align with legal and ethical standards.

Since I have an idea of what’s actually out there and a general memory of the types of places where bread crumbs to it are likely to be I could locate somewhat questionable stuff with a little effort. Making the leap from somewhat questionable to illegal is harder than most people might believe, but the precise line may be so blurry depending upon the specifics it is just as easy to be unsure. The problem comes down to the legal texts that define what is legal and what is not legal. As many people may guess laws are intentionally broad and open ended giving as much leeway as possible for investigation and prosecution. So the minimum requirements for illegal conduct and content are much lower than a lot of people know. There’s an old saying something along the lines of “I don’t know what pornography is, but I know when I see it”. Unsurprisingly this train of thought applies to determining whether or not conduct and content is obscene. Something being obscene in regards to pornography is a key element in it being illegal.

If there’s a picture of someone defecating in public as others look on in shock that could probably be something a lot of people would consider obscene. This might rise to the level of illegal pornography since it is not in good taste among other things. Although let’s say the person is pretending to do what they are doing in the picture and is in reality dropping formed pieces of chocolate that look like bodily waste it could still be illegal.

This brings us to an important point in regards to CP. Nudity, sex, masturbation, oral sex, partial nudity, sexual innuendo, or hints of anything remotely sexual are required for something to be CP. There was a case where a guy had been charged with possession of CP, but upon review of some of the material a computer expert and defense attorney found images that even under the broadest interpretation of law didn’t meet the minimum requirements for classification as CP. It doesn’t take much content to be the difference between one lesser sentence and a significantly greater one. Being a good lawyer these images were challenged in court. What the prosecution argued was that yes in of themselves the images in question don’t seem to be CP, but they are CP because they belong to a larger set of images that contain pictures which do meet the minimum requirements. Well the defendant didn’t know this fact or have those later images. Unfortunately I don’t know what happened in this case. No matter it should be a cautionary tale for everyone that just because everything seems okay doesn’t mean it is not connected to something far less acceptable under the law.

Where traditional sexual activity is concerned it must be made clear that under federal law and a vast majority of state laws if not all of them anyone under eighteen is considered a child in terms of pornography. Two seventeen year olds might be allowed to have sex with each other because the age of consent where they are is seventeen. Yet one picture hinting in the slightest inappropriate manner before, during, or after could very well be illegal. A video on the other hand could be far more troublesome depending on how long it is regardless of if no sexual activity is filmed. Aside from rare exceptions which almost no one is likely permitted to claim legally there’s fairly a sweeping prohibition on depicting anyone under eighteen in photos, video, and film sexually. It doesn’t matter if the alleged victim is fully responsible for the production of the material and no one else was involved or if there was clear force.

Having seen the content I have it is extremely challenging to let others with little to no knowledge of what they are referencing get away with inaccurate descriptions. So this one time I am going to provide the facts. I would advise against anyone attempting to verify these facts because after all that would require coming close to breaking laws if not actually breaking them. Unless someone has a wish to experience the justice system further or the first time just don’t go researching anything. Trust me going to prison, being under supervision, and registration are not good times.

1. Most CP does not depict anyone engaged in the standard sexual activities such as intercourse, masturbation, and oral. It is overwhelmingly pictures and to a little lesser extent videos of conduct and situations that because the depicted person or persons appear to be under eighteen are deemed illegal. Exactly what all this could be I’m not going to get into for no other reason than the law doesn’t specify every possibility either.

2. The more narrowly tailored something is in regards to CP the more difficult it will be to find which is true of most things anyway. For one thing less people will have an interest in it. For another thing especially on the illegal side there’s a greater risk involved all around so the return on investment (time, money, recognition, results of the conduct itself, etc…) must be judged as worthwhile.

3. Commercially produced materials are going to sway more towards artistic and softcore than hardcore for obvious reasons. This stuff tends to be the most circulated and at one point in time some of it was produced, sold, and purchased legally in various parts of the world. To the point where advertisements to be part of it were in newspapers, the radio, and prime time television in certain countries. While I can think of real examples I am not going to share them because I don’t want to be responsible for anyone seeking out what is now potentially illegal images and/or videos.

4. Over the last few decades as access to internet connective technology has increased teenagers and preteens have ramped up their content creation including sexual content. As a result they have become the top producers of CP. Some of what they create exceeds the wildest expectations of what a traditional director might strive for on the most hardcore adult film. Give someone the ability to do something and with time they will go much further than thought possible.

5. Claiming that nothing exists of adults abusing minors under eighteen would be ridiculous. This stuff is absolutely out there. As are minors acting improperly with each other both on their own accord and under pressure directly and indirectly from adults. It is vital to grasp where much of such content comes from to not confuse it with anything else. The truly hardcore imagery and video originates primarily from non commercial sources without a profit motive. Granted anyone who obtains said content could later develop the means to lock it off behind a membership, contribution, or paywall forcing others to take that extra step to also gain access. In fact government agencies are not above using such tactics in sting operations in hopes of catching more criminals. There are even instances where a government task force took over websites and significantly boosted traffic to the sites by more openly promoting what was on those sites. Making it more unbelievable at times they operated sites for many months or longer encouraging the sharing of the worst types of material and going out of their way to make it as easy as possible. One case comes to mind where 100,000s of thousands of visitors were taking a look regularly and in the end maybe a couple thousand of them got caught.

6. Something worse than hardcore does exist and I’m not going to reveal what it is. I will simply confirm among those who have little to no qualms about watching or participating in sexual activity with minors under eighteen there’s a divide that exists. A small subset of people do seek to cause harm, it’s what they are into. Don’t try to think about why someone would end up wanting to do this because there are likely lots of explanations and digging into them would take considerable time. These people are criticized by the majority. I’ve not seen the content the smaller group loves, but I have read text exchanges between some of them expressing their interests and others telling these individuals they need help.

^ Yes that’s right people have moral and ethical arguments about different levels of CP just like anyone else could about almost any other variation on something. Also yes it was sort of incredible watching such debates unfold over a matter of minutes. Moreover some input was just as flimsy and petty as could be expected in other disputes.

7. It’s a myth that everyone is driven by fantasy of doing something to someone. Ignoring CP for the moment we can expand to voyeurs in general. Their fantasy isn’t interaction, but merely watching. Where as exhibitionists like showing off and being watched. Just assuming a person is driven or motivated by something as a default only muddies the waters creating extra hurdles to arrive at the truth whatever it is.

I did not think about meeting up with anyone in anything I saw let alone doing anything with or to them. My primary interest was something quite different than anything stereotypical. A point I can guarantee I was repeatedly challenged on over the five years I attended counseling during supervised release. No one ever got different explanation out of me because I was telling the truth. After backing up my claims time and time again it became difficult for anyone else to argue I was not being forthcoming. I had about 10,000 pictures the government flagged as illegal and just under 240 videos along with thousands of other videos and tens of thousands of other images. Compared to all the materials I had what was illegal was a small percentage. The key to my case revolves around one individual who appeared in a range of content which could be categorized as boring run of the mill every day stuff on one end of the spectrum to she is intentionally showing off her natural attributes probably more than she should. Other pictures and videos were part of my case as well, but to understand the reasons I downloaded most of them requires knowing the story of what I was doing with the content of the one key individual. Without going into detail I will just state most people have never heard of anything like this before because the life of this girl and then woman despite appearing average is unusual in some rare ways.

Every day I’m well aware of what I saw, read, and heard. No one needs to tell me what’s possible or out there. I’ve got enough first and second hand knowledge plus a wild imagination if needed. The article does being up some good factual points. Want to have a positive impact? Learn the facts and share them.

Thanks for your detailed explanation of the different facets of CP. Human nature often tends to imagine the worst, and the same is true for CP. Ask the average person to define child pornography, and they won’t say nude pictures of girls/boys. The same is true for “sex offender.” People automatically assume a sex offender did something to kids, when they become “offenders” for looking at CP.

As to whether sexual addiction doesn’t exist–an addict has a specific dopamine biofeedback loop, whether it be alcohol, drugs, food, or food. At some point that cycle takes over and controls that person’s behavior. Although I could be wrong, by not putting sex addiction into the latest diagnostic model means there is no code for it, so the insurance company doesn’t need to pay for it.

A couple points of clarification:

1. No expert worth their credentials will argue that sex and pornography can’t be problematic for some people. The debate subject is whether or not sex and/or pornography are the cause of the trouble or symptoms of other issues. Even individuals with little to no trouble can utilize sex and pornography as an escape from something else. Depending on who is conducting research and what methods they are using can skew conclusions in a variety of ways that may not be representative of reality. Up to one point brain activity in people who think they are addicted to sex and/or pornography is similar to other addictions. From there is where studies begin to diverge with results for numerous reasons including but not limited to research duration, number of participants, diversity of participants, end goals and *inherent biases going in.

*On most subject matter if someone goes in looking to prove or disprove something in particular somewhere along the line that will happen. A process can usually be developed to reproduce the same results. That of course does not mean either will hold up to the scrutiny of independent study conducted differently using more rigorous standards. Bottom line it’s an ongoing area of research with far more complicated questions raised than might be apparent without digging deep into it.

2. I made a slight omission accidentally:

This brings us to an important point in regards to CP. Nudity, sex, masturbation, oral sex, partial nudity, sexual innuendo, or hints of anything remotely sexual are required for something to be CP.

The above sentence should have had the word not included near the end:

This brings us to an important point in regards to CP. Nudity, sex, masturbation, oral sex, partial nudity, sexual innuendo, or hints of anything remotely sexual are not required for something to be CP.

3. While it’s referred to as child pornography the pornography part of the description can be difficult to spot depending on the content. What people typically imagine when reading or hearing about CP possession, receipt, distribution, and is not what most people get caught for. I’m not arguing what they had should be legal by any stretch of the imagination, that’s an entirely different discussion which most people couldn’t handle for more than a few minutes.

For better or worse I’ve taken part of such conversations multiple times in group settings while on supervised release. Getting 8 to 10 people at least half of whom have seen the types of material being debated to keep each other let alone the rest of the group from freaking out is a challenge. All it takes is one person to suggest something a little further than anyone else is comfortable with and tensions rise. Most of the time it was civil, but everyone was usually on edge. So there’s a long way to go before these sorts of important conversations can be had regularly in public discourse. Not talking about something doesn’t make the answers any more clear or problems disappear. The reverse is often true and can lead to ineffective socal, legal, political, and cultural beliefs and practices.

Porn isn’t, i.m.o, the addiction at hand.
Human satiation manifests itself by repeated reward.
Like anything, how much is too much is always a relative discussion.
The massive proliferation of easily accessible pornography was inevitable upon the birth of the database driven infrastructure. That is human nature. It is but of the reasoning behind the lobbied insistence for sec.230. The vast majority of porn is lawfully created within the rules determined by laws of individual nations.

The cross jurisdictional concerns are some of the most tenuous dangers confronted by porn surfers, because laws differ with respect to age of consent, and other regulatory idiosyncrasies ( pixilation, filtering, layering) create grey area. These are very dangerous times indeed precisely because morality is localized, and determined by culture and not law, though some always try hard to use law to regulate sex. Texas v Lawrence was the last case I recall to take up the issue of male homosexuality by SCOTUS. The court denied the states constitutional ability to intervene by criminalizing private action in the context of a home. That case discussed acts done in private, with the home’s expectation of privacy. Whether viewing gay sex on a computer or other database driven device, with cross jurisdictional concerns is yet to be tested. Too be sure there have been successful attempts to bring the world into alignment with respect to child rearing often focusing good stuff like immunization, yet culture differentiation also brings conflicting expectation in norms.

Porn has always been around and will be; however gaining access to porn has increased to due to the internet. Humans are sexual in nature and those with anxiety, lack of confidence/self worth, or not experienced can cause one to look at porn.

Aero1,

You don’t call being called a felon and spending the next 30 years of your life as being held responsible? Just like a sex offender can be anyone who looked at CP to had contact, there are different levels of CP. The law says even nude children in non-sexual situations is CP.
And what kind of help? Few therapists work with offenders and most therapists don’t take insurance. How is a person who is on the registry and struggles to find a job be able to shell out $125 a week for therapy?

Couldn’t help noticing how most of the comments conflate pornography and CP. I have a few points to make.

Pornography consumption has risen exponentially since the internet came around, but the rate of sex crime hasn’t. Accordingly, porn use has nothing to do with sex crime. While a bona fide porn addict might not be doing himself any favors, he’s not harming anyone else.

CP consumption has risen primarily due to the FBI and those annoying ICAC task forces that anchor them onto someone’s system so they can arrest them for having it. Absent those stings, CP consumption is likely low enough to be considered negligible.

Well said. 👍🏼👊🏼

Yes, and a lot of what the law labels as CP is not what the general population thinks it is. People read a person was charged with child pornography, and they do not think nude pictures.

This comment! Yes. Most people think the worst of the worst. Not to mention a news source will report “the perpetrator had thousands of images.” When in reality it can be a few videos. A detective can take a 3 minute video and turn it into hundreds of still images and report it as that. Look I’ll be honest and most won’t believe. I know what I masturbated to. I know what I took pleasure in and I feel guilty every day. But I also know it’s not what everything thinks I did or what they may say it is. Yes I downloaded some bad stuff. I didn’t know it was that bad and I deleted it and didn’t find pleasure in it. But I’m still punished as if I did. When you dumpster dive, your gonna fine shit you don’t want. But if a cop catches you in that dumpster, your charge based on the dumpster as a whole, not on what you actually did. I was convicted and reported for things I deleted and wanted nothing to do with. I know what I did do,and what I didn’t. The law, the public, and the church, judges you for both.

ALL OF YOU ON THIS STRING,
Take a read of your state’s DOC, DPS Codes and\ or statutes reference.
WI SEC 301.00 Department of Corrections
301.10 Purpose : To prevents physical attack…..and the cause of……
https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/archive/law

People who view porn are not committing an attack per se. Neither are registrants who failed to register yet
the use of DOC as it mirrors the people’s intent behind DOC in the first cause. There is always the unacknowledged intent.
https://narsol.org/2021/04/new-publication-finds-sex-offender-registry-driven-by-animus/

Looking at the porn addicts brain shows the addiction to dopamine drops it receives from stimulation much like other addictions where dopamine is key. This isn’t new info and is very much spoken of medically.

Would looking at pictures of your children in the tub or on the toilet be considered cp? While growing up in the times of catalogs looking through teens or women in bras, lingerie or swim suits be considered porn? Most people have conducted in such behavior and would be considered a pervert by the mob today.

If it walks like a duck talks like a duck its probably a duck

Good luck 🤓👌

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