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Tamara Chabe: Why pornography screws up our mental health


Pamela Anderson, former Baywatch star and Playboy model, is speaking out against online porn and the corrosive effect it can have on relationships. She asks: “Have you ever been treated like a porn star in bed? It’s no fun… slapped, hit, called names, spat on. That’s sex these days.”

Anderson is calling for a “sensual revolution”, with the aim of “having intimacy and intimate relationships with so much better sex”. Eager not to be seen as dull or boring, she says: “We’re not prudes. We’re not talking about no sex. We want better sex”.

Some people are calling Anderson a hypocrite for speaking out and Pamela herself has said: “I know I’m part of the problem. I should probably disqualify myself from the whole situation because I was in Playboy”.

Mary Anne Layden, Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Director at the University of Pennsylvania, says: “Porn is the most concerning thing to psychological health that I know of existing today, online pornography is akin to having an addictive drug pumped into your house for free, 24 hours a day”.

Research by the University of Calgary has shown that “exposure to pornography puts men at an increased risk of developing sexually deviant tendencies and of experiencing difficulties in intimate relationships. It eroticises male supremacy and debases women”.

There are many reports highlighting how young women in our society are suffering from higher levels of stress and anxiety. The reasons are multifaceted and the sexualisation of young people is one of the issues contributing to it.

There is a growing problem of teenagers’ sending nude selfies and other explicit material, as well as a growing number of young boys now addicted to porn and who are regularly accessing it on their smart phones. The issues that Pamela has raised are manifesting themselves in young people’s relationships and this should be a major concern.

Online porn has been cited as a reason for the growing number of young women mostly under 30 requesting labiaplastry, which is a form of cosmetic surgery, and in 2014, Theresa May warned that designer vagina surgery could fall into the same category as female genital mutilation.

Experts at Kings College London are currently carrying out a study to try and understand the rise in the numbers of women seeking so-called designer vaginas.

Dr Veale, a partner in the Kings University Research unit and a consultant psychiatrist in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, says: “We haven’t completed the research, but there is suspicion that this is related to much greater access to porn, so it is easier for women to compare themselves to actresses who may have had it done. This is to do with the increasing sexualisation of society – it’s the last part of the body to be changed.”

On the issue of how online porn is impacting young people generally, Pamela Anderson says: “Everyone wants to be desired in a relationship. That’s the number one thing…pornography and access to other things is diminishing that, girls and guys are being affected by this because young people are looking at this, thinking this is how I have to act and behave in a sexual relationship.”

Many Christians would argue that the best way for women to guard themselves against encounters that leave them feeling debased is to only have sex within marriage.

Social liberals and some libertarians consistently proclaim that the world is getting better, technological changes are making us all happier, and we should all be cheerful about the changes taking place in our society.

Porn involving consenting adults is generally viewed as being harmless in our liberal society, and anyone who speaks out against it is usually labelled as being a religious fanatic.

Online porn is clearly having a major impact on mental health, and I applaud Pamela for speaking out. Disqualifying people from having an opinion because they may have indulged in whatever they are now renouncing would mean that there would be much less wisdom being shared and that would be to the detriment of our society.

(Image: CGP Grey)

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Tamara Chabe
Tamara Chabe
Ms Chabe is a Legal/Business Advisor with a special interest in Business, Current Affairs & Leadership matters

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