So why, then, is this scientifically and anecdotally documented problem so rarely addressed in the public square? As one author points out, some of the problems associated with pornography use (such as the aforementioned loss of libido) are embarrassing for men to discuss with friends or even doctors. Others simply assert that media outlets don’t want to be seen as stodgy, old-fashioned or ultra-conservative, though it seems to me that promoting the well-being of women should never go out of style. Psychologytoday.com/blog/get-out-your-mind/201009/watching-porn-the-problem-must-not-be-named">Psychologist Steven C. Hayes puts forth a third theory: that his colleagues, who would be the logical sources for information on the problems with pornography addiction, are suffering from a kind of performance anxiety as well — they have trouble treating porn addicts. Professor Hayes says patients are typically encouraged to simply not think about porn, but this may, paradoxically, encourage more frequent viewing. It works like the old line “Don’t think about the pink elephant,” which naturally conjures up images of pink elephants. Though alternate — and effective — methods of treatment exist, many psychologists have yet to enact them, which means that the people who are supposed to safeguard the nation’s mental health are failing the “80% of visitors to sex sites [who spend] so much time tracking down erotica on the computer that they [put] their real-life relationships and/or jobs at risk.”
Many “women’s rights” or “women’s health” issues polarize people who at heart want what is good for society, but all people should be able to form a united front against pornography. I can only hope that George’s and Yusuf’s letter to the hotel industry will not only effect a change within the businesses they address but also inspire conventionally disparate groups to openly reject pornography rather than continuing to imply consent through silence.
Erica Szalkowski is a graduate assistant at the Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education at Mount St. Mary’s University, and is pursuing her Masters degree in Business at Mount St. Mary’s University.