It’s January 2020 now—new year, new you—and no matter who you are, how old you are, or where you’re from, you’re probably working on some serious resolutions. Maybe you’ve decided to run a marathon, spend more time with friends, read Harry Potter (again), or maybe you’re still working on creating a list of things you hope to be able to stick to for more than two weeks!
Whatever your goals are for this trip around the sun, have you considered adding this movement for love to your list yet? Before you start thinking this issue is too controversial to even consider as a resolution…hear me out.
I’m a fairly skeptical person and it takes a lot for me to buy into anything, so a few years ago when I first found out about Fight the New Drug I really did my homework on this issue. Throughout my life, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand issues such as sexual assault, rape culture, sexual exploitation, human trafficking, gender inequality, self-esteem, body-image, and others—and I never guessed that learning more about the harmful effects of pornography would explain pieces of so many of those issues.
After diving into the research and personal stories, and having conversations about this topic with people in my life, I made a resolution myself to be a voice against pornography and sexual exploitation, and a voice for love—even if it doesn’t always seem like it’s the popular thing to do.
Just like any other Fighter I have many reasons for being passionate about this movement, but they all really boil down to one thing:
Porn impacts all of us
Although it might not seem like it, the harmful effects of pornography do not discriminate. Regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, political persuasions, hair color, favorite food, your dog’s name, or any other diversifying factor—porn can (and does) impact us all.
Maybe you’ve experienced the effects of consuming porn first-hand or in your relationships. Maybe you’ve seen the impacts in the life of someone close to you as they’ve struggled with pornography. Maybe you’re sitting there thinking that porn has never negatively impacted you or anyone you know personally, so what’s the big deal? Well, chances are pretty good that porn has actually impacted your life, and the lives of those around you, even if you didn’t notice.
Get the facts
Real talk: the porn industry taps into something that is a completely natural and normal part of life—sex—and because of that, in our society we often tell ourselves that porn is “just sex,” and that it’s completely natural. When you really take a closer look, it’s apparent that’s not the case.
Without getting too academic here, it’s important for us to note that there is an abundance of research, and hundreds of thousands of personal accounts, that have helped us understand how porn impacts individuals, relationships, and society. Thanks to that research we know that consuming porn changes the brain, it can even become addictive, affect sexual tastes, negatively impact relationships (both romantic and otherwise), increase risk for sexual dysfunction, encourage violence, fuel sex trafficking, promote gender inequality and discrimination, and the list goes on and on.
Bottom line, the internet has changed our world, and has made some of the most explicit, violent, and degrading material imaginable available and easily accessible to everyone, and it isn’t doing anyone any favors. Whether you personally consume it or not, we are all living in a world where every single scenario has been perverted by porn at some point—and that changes the way we see the world, and the way we are viewed by others in our society.
At the end of the day, when we look beyond personal political persuasions and beliefs, this movement is really about people. A really diverse group of people across the globe, with unique backgrounds, experiences, and beliefs, fighting for love and intimacy that isn’t tainted by exploitation.
New year’s resolution time
The good news is, each one of us can actually make a difference and be a voice against sexual exploitation and fight for real relationships, real sex, and real love. If you haven’t had time to educate yourself on this topic yet, don’t worry, it’s not too late! There’s always time to learn more so that you can make an informed decision about pornography.
Make a resolution to learn more about the harmful effects of pornography, or to have conversations about this topic (the more you educate yourself the easier those become!). Make a resolution to speak up the next time you hear someone casually praise porn, or to get help if you’re struggling with pornography. Make a resolution to help someone overcome a struggle with pornography (without shaming them!). Learn more about FTND and many other organizations fighting sexual exploitation and find one that speaks to what you’re passionate about, and see how you can be more involved.
Whatever you decide is right for you, let’s fight together and make 2020 the year that we take back love!
Executive Director of Fight the New Drug