TEEN PORN

Here in the US and increasingly in many other countries, we live in a hypersexualized and commercialized society.  People are no longer viewed as full human beings, but as commodities to be bought and sold, or used to sell something else.  We all know this.  Parents are aware that the media portrayal of human bodies is causing severe and relentless body image issues that lead to young people living miserably or even dying, trying to fulfill an impossible standard.  Because the standard lets us know that our bodies are all that matter – that the feelings of the person who lives in that body are just not relevant.  Outside of actual warfare, this is nowhere more apparent than in the new wave of social acceptance for pornography.

Beyond television, Hollywood, the whole advertising world, magazines and mass media, we come to a yet darker underbelly of commercialization and trafficking of human beings for profit and a skewed short-sighted view of pleasure.  Pornography, and more specifically, teen porn.  I am not even getting into what most people agree is child pornography, because that has not become mainstream enough to become widely socially acceptable – yet.

There is an increasingly blurred line between the so-called “adult” industry and the current push toward the edges of whatever is out there, in an attempt to waken the dulled senses of the already sated, numb and bored masturbators.  One of the pushes is to lower the age into teen porn.  I have a lot of concern about the desensitization that porn creates, and the way it changes how consumers feel and think about others who share their planet.  But I am especially concerned about grownups of all ages “getting off” on images of young girls and boys.

If a 15-year-old girl or boy has what looks like “consensual” sex with a person 21 or older, even in a dating relationship, under the law there is no consent.  By statute, it counts as rape.  Why?  Because there is a presumption in the law that a 15-year-old is not mature enough and powerful enough and doesn’t have the authority to make such a decision.  But somehow it has now become okay for that same girl or boy to be performing or participating in sexual acts for mass consumption, with no control over those images, their pay or future use of their work.

Let’s pretend for the sake of argument that all the teen porn workers are really 18 and older and they just pretend to be younger. “They are not real,” as one porn user told me; a statement that cut me like a knife.  The sex workers are adults and I am just a whiner.  What is my problem?  For one, the documented fact that the vast majority of workers who end up in the sex industry have been and continue to be exploited and abused.  I don’t need to give examples or scenarios and I don’t want to.  But I do want to ask a question to any porn consumers:  Why is it okay to look at young people who have survived severe abuse in their families and communities, in order to arouse yourself sexually?  Is it the abuse that excites you, or just any image of any young body, as if there were not a real person living within that body?  These are not cartoons.

I submit that if you are going to pleasure yourself with real images of real people, you should give at least some little bit of a shit about how these very real, very human, likely abuse survivors felt while they were making it – or being made to make it.  And if that really doesn’t matter to you, you have a bigger problem than boredom, numbness, or sex addiction.  You are losing your ability to be fully human.  So you might as well, in my humble opinion, be dead.  Because you are already half-way there.  You have checked out of your life.

Seriously, for those few of you porn users who might still care.  Please consider not only how you are participating in hurting the sex industry workers, but also how this desensitization is hurting your own life.  Can you still see people clearly, or are you starting to train yourself to see young teens as sexually available to you?  Are you appropriate in your thoughts and actions?  Or are you mentally becoming one of those creepy guys that used to hang out in parks in a trenchcoat, before people had the sad convenience of vicariously abusing children in a lower risk environment?

Ultimately, you have  to be able to look at yourself in the mirror if you want to be a fully integrated human being.  Ask yourself, please, before it is too late, is this who you want to be, even if no one else knows it?  I hope not.  Because that is a pathetic waste of your very short life.  So why not decide to try, just for the heck of it, to face yourself in the mirror, and look into your own eyes?  Try to do some self-reflection, and see how that feels.  And if you find that you feel nothing, because you have become that disconnected from your own life, then let me tell you.  You have a problem that jacking off to teen sex workers is not going to solve.  Get some help.