The Porn Factor
In December 1953, Playboy magazine was launched and immediately began normalizing a new world order of autoerotic sexual fantasy. Hugh Hefner (until reading Kinsey in college, a virgin like most single young men) pledged that his “romantic” magazine would turn his “Playboy men” into skillful lovers, readying them for lifelong marriage. Yet his monthly magazine ridiculed virginity and marriage while glamorizing adultery and rape and showing consumers ways to trick women and children into illicit sex.
By 1969, millions of Playboy users, struggling with their unexpected, porn-induced “diminished arousal response,” began eagerly embracing the amplified stimuli offered by Penthouse. This gave us another generation of intimacy and potency challenged men.
By 1974, millions of Penthouse users, struggling again with a diminished sexual response, turned to Hustler for help. Hello to yet another generation of arousal–challenged pornography addicts, millions of whom became pushovers for internet pornography.
And the addicts were not just grown men. In 1979, psychologistAaron Hass, in his book Teenage Sexuality, reported that Playboy was commonly sought by juveniles for sex information, advice, values, and mores.
Pornography & Pedophilia
From 1994 to 2007, at least 19 state legislatures in the U.S. passed laws named for a raped and murdered child.1In my considered judgment, almost every lust-crime is now energized by pornography. There is plenty of evidence to back me up.
For instance, in 1984, FBI Agent Ken Lanning testified about pedophiles’ use of pornography at a Senate hearing on the “Effect of Pornography on Women and Children”:
Adult pornography is also used, particularly with adolescent boy victims, to arouse and to lower inhibitions. . . . A child who is reluctant to engage in sexual activity with an adult or to pose for sexually explicit photos can sometimes be convinced by viewing other children having “fun” participating in the activity. . . . A third major use of child pornography collections is [for] blackmail. . . . If the child threatens to tell his or her parents or the authorities, the existence of sexually explicit photographs can be an effective silencer. The pedophile threatens to show the pictures to parents, friends, or teachers if the child reveals their secret. 2
John Rabun, then Deputy Director of the National Center for Missing Children, stated at one of the hearings:
100 percent of the arrested pedophiles, child pornographers, pimps, what have you . . . had in their possession at the time of arrest, adult pornography. . . . [It was used] for their own sexual arousal . . . [and] particularly for the pedophiles, was a form of self-validation, “it is OK because I see it in other places. It must be all right, it is published nationally. . . .”3
On September 16, 1987, before the Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families in the House of Representatives, legal counselor Alan Sears testified:
In child pornography cases in Los Angeles County, police officers testified that since they began to ask the question, over 95 percent of the children involved in that activity had had pornography used as part of the softening up or the inhibition-lowering process to seduce them and induct them into this activity. . . . [A] substantial number of the men who go on to be abusers were abused children themselves. Pornography plays a significant role in the training of our young people to become sexual abusers.4
Detective Lt. Darrell Pope, Commanding Officer of the Michigan State Police Sex Crime Unit, testified at the same hearing:[I]n 1977, I did a research project where I looked at 38,000 case histories [of sex crimes] and found that 41 percent of those reports indicated that, in fact, pornographic materials were used just prior to or during the actual act.5 (emphasis added)
Pope interviewed hundreds of sex offenders about their porn use, and “almost to a man,” the reply was: “I used it for one of several reasons: One, to encourage me.” Pope went on:
I can remember talking to one young man who was 19 years old; he said, “It excited me and then I got to thinking about it and I wanted to know how it felt.” . . . He wanted to know how it felt to rape a woman and kill her. . . . And when we arrested this young man and searched his home, we found a pornographic magazine depicting this very thing that he had done.6
Move up to 1988. In Thrill Killers: True Portrayals of America’s Most Vicious Murderers, Clifford Linedecker wrote:[M]ost of the killers indulged themselves in violent and sadistic fantasies. Responding to a request to indicate their primary sexual interest, 81 percent of the men put pornography at the top of the list. . . . I found overwhelming evidence of twisted sexual fantasizing, and addiction to pornography in the backgrounds of many of the killers profiled in this book.7
By 1990, Dr. W. L. Marshall wrote in Criminal Neglect: Why Sex Offenders Go Free, that “there is mounting evidence that in susceptible men, the material [pornography] feeds and legitimizes their deviant sexual tendencies.”8 And in 1997, John Douglas, an FBI serial-rape profiler, reported that serial-rape murderers are commonly found “with a large pornography collection, either store-bought or homemade. . . . [O]ur research does show that certain types of sadomasochistic and bondage-oriented material can fuel the fantasies of those already leaning in that direction.”9
And in 2003, Vernon J. Geberth, former Commanding Officer of the Bronx Homicide Task Force, wrote the following in Sex Related Homicide and Death Investigations, a book that should be required reading for those involved in sex-crime analyses:[M]any of these pornographic depictions . . . were actually the road map to the offenses that the perpetrators of sex crimes were committing. . . . [T]he plan was in the pornography . . . [it is] the fuel that acts as a catalyst for fantasy-driven behavior. . . . [P]ornography plays an important part in violent sex crimes.
A Late Warning
Back in 1986, then U.S. Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop dubbed pornography a “crushing public health problem . . . a clear and present danger . . . blatantly anti-human. . . . We must oppose it as we oppose all violence and prejudice.”10
Koop was ignored. We now have the results of three generations of pornography use, arguably sufficient and necessary evidence to get us to start treating all pornography as a clear and present danger, harmful to women and children.
In the summer of 2013, Ariel Castro pled guilty to kidnapping and raping three women whom he held captive in his house in Ohio for a decade. When asked by a judge how good his English was, Castro replied that his comprehension was bad because “my addiction to pornography and my sexual problem has really taken a toll on my mind.”11 It also took a brutal toll on the lives of three women. How much more evidence do we need?
1. The nineteen laws are listed in my book Sexual Sabotage (WND, 2010), pp. 299–300.
2. Hearings before the Subcommittee on Juvenile Justice of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Ninety-Eighth Congress, Second Session, “Oversight on Pornography, Magazines of a Variety of Courses, Inquiring into the Subject of Their Impact on Child Abuse, Child Molestation, and Problems of Conduct Against Women,” Aug. 8, Sept. 12 and 25, and Oct. 30, 1984 (US Government Printing Office, 1985), Serial No. J-98-133, pp. 43–44.
3. John Rabun, testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Justice, 9/12/84, pp. 133–134.
7. Clifford Linedecker, Thrill Killers: True Portrayals of America’s Most Vicious Murderers (PaperJacks, 1988).
8. W. L. Marshall. Criminal Neglect: Why Sex Offenders Go Free (Seal Books, 1990), pp. 156–157.
9. John Douglas, Journey Into Darkness (Pocket Star Books, 1997), p. 299.
10. C. Everett Koop, M.D., American Medical News (Oct. 10, 1986).
Dr. Judith Reisman is IAI’s Distinguished Senior Fellow in the Study of Social Trends, Human Rights and Media Forensics.
The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.
Originally published on Salvo Magazine in Fall 2013 issue.
You can buy Dr. Reisman’s book on her website.