Pornography refers to the graphic presentation of images for exciting sexual feelings and romantic desires on its audience (Spector 2006). It is expressed through video cassettes, movies, films, magazines, books, and television. Pornographic scenes are also acted live in public theatres in an industry that is worth billions of dollars. People are therefore exposed to pornographic images both in their private homes as well as in public places. There is a need to ensure that government regulation is constantly reviewed to ensure that the harm caused by pornography to its diverse audiences is minimized if not prevented fully. The age of the audience is particularly critical when enacting legal restrictions to the practice.
The relationship between exposure to pornographic material and the subsequent habits that follow is equally important in understanding its implications to its audience. Generally, pornography through its graphic images elicits erotic sexual desires in both men and women which could be harmful to society (Stark& Whisnant 2004). I propose that pornography should be censored to manage the rising levels of sexual immorality.
Effects of Pornography
Prostitution is an immoral behavior that is highly associated with pornography. Prostitution can be defined as the practice of engaging in sex in exchange for money (Stark& Whisnant 2004). It is either initiated by pornography or developed by it as a consequence of its sexual connotations. The psychological damage that is caused by pornography is both short-term and long-term. The graphic images that develop in the mind of a person who has been exposed to pornography continue to haunt the individual since they can be reflected from time to time.
Subsequent exposure to pornographic material leads to addiction since the nude images provide some degree of pleasure to their audience. Other physical damages are associated with the accompanying prostitution to the victims of pornography. Legal interventions meant to censor pornography are justified as far as they seek to protect society from the harmful effects of pornography. This is particularly relevant to people who do not indulge in the practice, as well as inform the pornographic audience properly about the underlying issues. Individuals within the society are entitled to their freedoms and rights especially on private matters such as sexuality. However, this democratic liberty on freedom of expression should not be allowed to transmit obscenity and immorality especially when the corrupt practice of exchanging sex for money is involved (Spector 2006).
Censorship therefore seeks to control the content of any pornographic publications or materials from offending the general public or otherwise causing significant harm to the society. The society is composed of people who are diverse in terms of their age, culture, nationality as well as religious backgrounds which demand that political regulations to pornography should be able to cut across the board. The internet which is the medium, through which pornography is significantly spread, is also available to all of these categories of people (Bryant& Zillmann 1989). Censorship should therefore be based on the harmful effects of pornography to the innocent.
The harm that results from Prostitution as a crime should also be considered in regulating pornographic content. The websites that sell these sexual and graphic images cause considerable psychological damage to audiences which are not part of their customer base. For instance, strict religious faithful could be seriously offended by the nude images posted on these websites since they do not subscribe to their sex business. Both prostitution and pornography are vibrant industries because they are keen to realize huge profits at the expense of the moral dignity of human beings (Barnett 1998). Prostitutes trade their bodies for money but this causes considerable social stigma and physical harm to them. However, there are those within the society who are ready to pay for the services they get from prostitutes in exchange for pleasure. Criminals too are keen to exploit the opportunity to camouflage under these prostitutes after committing crimes in order to escape from the law enforcement agencies.
Personal liberty vs. communal obligation
People have the right to spend their money they way wish but not at the expense of other members of the society. Individuals also have the liberty of viewing whatever they want but regulation is necessary to prevent undue exposure to disturbing sexual images that appear without warning (Shaw 2006). Mature people may justify their exposure to pornography and the subsequent behaviors on the ground that they are capable of managing the situation. However, there are obscene images that could be captured in their minds which then could degrade their sexual lives. For instance watching a pornographic movie associated with gay or lesbian relationships could harm the moral fabric of the society especially for married couples.
People who watch these pornographic images continue to seek for more which then results in extreme sexual desires like masturbation, lesbianism and fornication which morally and ethically wrong (Spector 2006). There is also prostitution which emerges from pornographic addiction since their victims can only apply what they watch and see with individuals who are too liberal to refrain from anything like prostitutes. Censorship should help the prostitutes and people addicted on pornographic to exercise restraint as well as prevent people they relate to from sexually transmitted diseases. It is important government regulation protects couples from harm incase a partner is exposed to pornography and prostitution from sexual exploitation. Sexual intercourse is part of the conjugal rights which married couples enjoy but should not be exploited for extreme sexual adventures depicted in unregulated pornography.
Pornography and morality
As much as prostitutes engage in sex for monetary gains, they have the right to human dignity which should be protected under the law in order to prevent illegitimate exposure to unwarranted sexual practices (Shaw 2006). Pornography scenes are also violent with actors being addicts to the same behavior. Individuals who are already addicted to pornography are slaves to the sexual scenes and images which cause them to lose self control resulting in compulsory promiscuity. There is the accompanying curiosity to explore the sexual practices viewed in the movies as well as strange fantasies and theories which follow pornography. There are those who engage in pornography in order to improve their sexual lives but in the end degrade into masturbation and other related fantasies contrary to conventional sexual encounter with the opposite sex.
Sexual orientations are therefore altered after exposure to pornography which then leads to marital frustrations since pornography addicts find pleasure and satisfaction from it rather than improving their marital sexuality (Bryant& Zillmann1989). One would argue about the place of same sex marriages but this type of sexual liberalism goes hand in hand with pornography. This is due to the erotic sexual desires that follow an encounter with pornography. There are also extremes that result from violent and hardcore pornographic addiction which could lead to rape and degrading sexual relations with animals. These are all consequences of trying to imitate the sexual scenes in pornographic movies by those dependent on them. The psychological frustrations that pornographic addicts go through often lead to misery and confusion in their lives.
Pornography by depicting sexuality in a graphic and explicit fashion proceeds to offend some of the members of the society as well as harm others. Those who engage in pornography are either doing it for pleasure or monetary gains. As such, there is need for reasonable legal and policy regulation to be enacted in order to restrict its practice within the confines of its fans. There are those who enjoy sex for pleasure and others who are professionally into the practice to earn a living. The power of individuality and respect for personal decisions should be upheld but not for selfish reasons (Stark& Whisnant 2004). People have the right to explore sexual adventures for their own good which should also be balanced with the feelings of their counterparts. Sexual intercourse and other sexual orientations are practiced by two or more people. This therefore means that, any implication from the pornographic behavior is likely to have an impact, whether good or bad on another person. The legitimacy of practicing pornography should therefore be weighed against the mutual concerns of everyone in the society especially sexual partners.
Censorship of pornography is guided on the premise that the content recorded or viewed from these pornographic materials could seriously erode the morals of the society if left unregulated. As much as children should be prevented from erotic sexual images, adults as recognized legally have a moral obligation to check immorality within the society. Behavior can be acquired through modeling as a result of the socialization process associated with human beings in any society (Stark& Whisnant 2004). The notion that maturity guarantees that pornography is permissible is not conclusive. Emotional development of human beings is a lifetime process and daily experiences a major role in character development. As such, maturity and freedom of expression should not allow individuals to explore sexual desires beyond the acceptable norms of the society.
The risks involved in the practice of pornography and prostitution could therefore destroy the social fabric and result in rampant immorality. People practice pornography in their sexual adventures which could lead to prostitution and criminal behavior as a result of loss of self control and a solid value-based culture regarding sexuality in the society (Barnett 1998). Censorship is therefore important in regulating pornography within manageable proportions.
Barnett Hilaire.Introduction to feminist jurisprudence. New York: Routledge, 1998.
Bryant Jennings, Zillmann Dolf. Pornography: Research Advances and Policy Considerations. London: Routledge, 1989.
Shaw Aiden. My Undoing: Love in the Thick of Sex, Drugs, Pornography and Prostitution. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2006.
Spector Jessica. Prostitution and pornography: philosophical debate about the sex Industry. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006.
Stark Christine, Whisnant Rebecca. Not for sale: feminists resisting prostitution and Pornography. Melbourne: Spinifex Press, 2004.