The last 50 years has seen an amazing sexual revolution in western society. The advent of the pill and changes in ethical beliefs in the 1960s were partly responsible for making sex a popular recreational activity, and liberalised censorship laws and now the internet have made it into a popular spectator sport. While all this has had its benefits and pleasures, there are also obvious downsides.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported recently (How porn is wrecking relationships by Adele Horin) on one of the downsides - the adverse impacts of internet pornography on some men. For example:
- Relationship counsellors are reporting increasing numbers of marriages which have broken down because the husband has become a compulsive user of internet porn, to the detriment of his spouse. Estimates of the number of men exhibiting compulsive behaviour vary from almost none up to 9%.
- A study of female partners of male porn users found about one in three found it highly distressing, harming both the relationship and their own self esteem, and leaving them feeling betrayed.
- Although cyberporn is much less of a marriage wrecker than alcohol abuse or violence, health and relationship experts believe this is a growing problem that requires attention.
A few weeks back I reported on how the influence of fashion and celebrity appears to be contributing to poor body image in many girls (are celebrity magazines a health hazard?). This SMH porn investigation appears to be teaching some similar lessons - that being interested in the artificial more than the natural, becoming obsessed with image more than substance, and valuing glamour more than real relationsips, can lead to unhealthy and compulsive behaviour.
Sometimes, whether it is over-eating or porn or glamour, the things we want are not what we need to be truly happy. As one of Shakespeare's characters said: "Lord what fools these mortals be!" Or as Paul of Tarsus wrote: "What an unhappy man I am! Who will rescue me?"
For non-Australian readers, the title is a misquote from iconic Aussie comedians and sports commentators, H G Nelson (Greig Pickhaver) and Rampaging Roy Slaven (John Doyle), who use the phrase: "when too much sport is barely enough".