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Students at the University of Dallas Discuss How Porn is a “New Drug”

by Emily Lataif

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Drawing its largest crowd yet, the University of Dallas Anscombe Society finished off its first semester with a talk on the harmful effects of pornography. Almost two hundred students came to a presentation by Fight the New Drug where one of its founders, Ryan Olsen, explained why porn is damaging to our brains, relationships, and society.

Because of our easy access to the internet, not only are we likely see forms of porn every day (and not just on the internet), but we are also exposed to porn at younger ages. Olsen even shared anecdotes of middle school children who have desperately reached out to him asking for ways to rid themselves of their porn addiction.

Arguments against porn have often centered on the objectification of persons and the utilitarian view of sexuality that inevitably follows when we do not consider persons in the fullest sense of their dignity and worth. But Olsen also discussed other reasons why we should be wary of pornography.

For example, we instinctively seek out pleasurable activities because they often release dopamine, a chemical in the brain that make us feel good. Porn will do this for a time, but like drug use, extended consumption of porn will begin to develop new pathways in the brain, leading to addiction. The addiction means that the porn user, similar to a cocaine addict, will require more and more dopamine. The brain then continues to change as it tries to cope with the high level of chemicals that are being released.

Porn also puts limiting barriers on what we expect from sexual activity. One would think that porn would only help sexual activity, but, according to Olsen and FTND, the aggressive depiction of sex has led men to have less concern for sexual abuse and violence towards women, and more dissatisfaction with their own sexual activity.

One final reason to resist the temptation to watch porn, and one that is particularly relevant to Anscombe’s mission, is the way it negatively affects families. Here are just a few ways: many partners consider porn use cheating; porn users often get fired when they are caught watching it on work computers, leading to financial instability; the marriages of porn users often involve distrust, secrecy, and loneliness; and finally, children are frequently neglected as one or both parents spend time in front of a computer, rather than with them.

More and more frequently today, we conduct our lives around what will bring us pleasure and happiness. Porn, like so many other products, promises to bring us that satisfaction. But the Anscombe Society recognizes that we are more than our sexuality and our desires. Human beings are unlike any other creature because we can say no. We can rationally look at something, evaluate its worth, and decide its merits. Porn is like cotton candy: a flash of sweetness that only leaves cavities needing to be filled. Let’s pursue activities that are both enjoyable and edifying. We are worth more than what the porn industry could ever offer.

It’s been a joy to lead this chapter of the Love and Fidelity Network, and I’m grateful to have been a part of this important movement. Keep an eye out for more great Anscombe events at UD in the coming semesters!

Emily Lataif is a senior at the University of Dallas studying English and the founder and president of the UD Anscombe Society.

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