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The Pornography Epidemic

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No one would argue about the huge amount of sexual images in our society today.  Because “sex sells” we find erotic images almost everywhere.  From lingerie stores in the mall to “swimsuit issue” magazines and beer commercials, sex is everywhere.

Pornography has been around for centuries.  But it wasn’t until the mid-twentieth century that it became mainstream.  It began with magazines like Playboy and Penthouse.  As these men’s magazines became more acceptable, so did pornography in our culture.  Instead of being shocked by it, people began to joke about it.  

Although pornography addiction has probably been around for centuries, few people acknowledged it until the 1980s when psychologists like Patrick Carnes began to study it.  Technology also increased the growth of pornography acceptance, accessibility and addiction.  You may recall that back in the early 1980s, many families were purchasing video cassette recorders (VCRs) for their homes.  Because of this, video rental stores opened in many communities.  In the back of many of these stores was the “adult room” where pornographic movies were rented.  At that point, the sleazy porn shop, usually found in a seedy part of town, came into everyone’s community – and we accepted it.  In the 1990s, we traded videotapes for DVDs and the acceptance of porn continued.  The acceptance and easy access of porn made it easier for men to become addicted.

Because of America’s acceptance of pornography via magazines and videotapes/DVDs, there were no complaints when the internet emerged offering pornography with just a click of the mouse.  By then, pornography had become affordable, accessible and anonymous.  A man no longer had to go to the video store to find porn, he didn’t have to pay for it, and because he was viewing it from the privacy of his home, no one would ever know about it.  Obscenity laws that once prevented minors from viewing pornography were no longer enforceable.  Thus, young children were viewing porn.  

The acceptance and easy access of porn has also contributed to changes in the type of porn viewed.  The soft porn usually found in Playboy was no longer in demand.  Instead, men wanted porn that was more hard core, deviant and extreme.  Because of this, today, much of the pornography found on the Internet is abusive and violent.  

To give you an idea of the enormity of the pornography epidemic, here are some statistics:

Pornography Time Statistics

  • Every second, $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography
  • Every second, 25,258 Internet users are viewing pornography
  • Every second, 375 Internet users are typing in adult terms into search engines
  • Every 39 minutes, a new pornographic video is being produced in the United States

Pornography Revenues

  • The pornography industry earns over $97 billion worldwide every year
  • $13 billion comes from the United States
  • The pornography industry earns more than the top technology companies combined: Microsoft, Google, Amazon, EBay, Yahoo, Apple, Netflix and EarthLink
  • Child Porn generates $3 billion annually

General Internet Statistics

  • There are 4.2 million pornographic websites
  • There are 420 million pornographic web pages
  • There are 68 million daily pornographic search engine requests – Google

    • 25% of all search engine requests
  • There are 4.5 billion average daily pornographic emails
  • There are 100,000 child porn websites worldwide

Adult Internet Statistics

  • Men admitting to accessing pornography at work: 20%
  • U.S. adults who regularly visit Internet pornography websites: 40 million
  • Christians who said pornography is a major problem in the home: 47%
  • Adults admitting to Internet pornography addiction: 10%
  • Breakdown of male/female visitors to pornographic websites:

    • 71% male/28% female
  • Most sex offenders started out as pornography addicts

Child/Adolescent Internet Statistics

  • Average age of a child’s first exposure to Internet pornography: 11
  • 80% of 15 – 17 year olds have had multiple exposures to hard-core porn
  • 89% of all solicitations of youths in chatrooms are sexual
  • 29% of 7 – 17 year olds would freely give out their addresses online
  • Largest population of Internet pornography users: 12 – 17 year olds.

Sources of Statistics     

  • (2006)
  • Pornland: How Porn has Hijacked Our Culture by Gail Dines (2010)
  • In the Shadows of the Net, by Patrick Carnes (2007)

The Sobering Truth

Any statistics presented here on pornography are probably gross underestimates of what is really happening in the world.  The truth is that there is no way for us to really know how bad it is.  Still, the data we do have is enough to show us that pornography use in America is an epidemic

Pornography affects almost every area of life.  It devastates marriages, families, careers, and individual lives.  Those who are addicted can spend thousands of dollars on it creating mountains of debt.  It can even be deadly as pornography addicts may seek to act out sexually with prostitutes or through anonymous sex, leaving them vulnerable to the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Fortunately, there is hope!  We can protect our families and ourselves from pornography.  Click here for more information.

Every day, thousands of men log onto the Internet to view porn.  They are addicted and don’t know how to break free.  Many feel alone and are filled with shame.  Fortunately, there is help.  No one has to live a life enslaved to pornography.  If you or someone you love is struggling with pornography addiction, and are ready to get help, click here for more information.