Anti-porn group says action required

 

Clay Olsen, executive director of Fight the New Drug, said that porn has warped the past two generations’ understanding of love and sex. Andrew Haskell/THE FALCON

Silence filled the top floor of First Free Methodist Church Thursday night during the Fight the New Drug presentation, an event designed to educate and encourage the Seattle community to take action against the effects of pornography.

A nonprofit organization focused on educating people about the harmful effects of pornography, Fight the New Drug presented to 50 students, faculty and staff, and community members in FFMC Thursday and Friday.

Sponsored through FFMC, King’s School and SPU’s Set Free club, a club aimed to educate students about sexual crime, the event presented audience members with sociological data and scientific research regarding the negative impacts that pornography has had on the past two generations.

“It’s an addiction we don’t talk about,” co-founder and Executive Director Clay Olsen said. “Porn is like a drug… When it goes in through the eyes and triggers chemicals in the reward pathway, it gets your brain to enjoy the addiction even more.”

Olsen said that because addiction only becomes apparent when someone starts to become closer with others, it’s easy for teens and young adults to hide it.

“They have these unrealistic expectations,” he said. “Often, they are damaging, harmful, illegal or a combination of those.”

Olsen also referred to studies about the effects of pornography on porn consumers and children.

According to Olsen, studies show that while watching porn, a regular consumer’s focus on faces decreases while their focus on objects increase.

“There’s a need for escalation … more hardcore versions to feel excited,” Olsen said. “Today’s generation is growing up with a warped understanding of love and sexuality… Porn kills love.”

Olsen said that according to another study, 80 percent of pornographic films contain physical violence.

Additionally, Olsen said that he has received emails from children as young as 8 years old asking him to help them fight their porn addiction.

“This should enrage you to the point of action,” Olsen said. “If we don’t do something, the trajectory we’re on is very scary.”

On the Fight the New Drug website, it says that porn can alter how the pathways in our brain work, the way we treat others in our relationships and the future impact a person can have on the world.

“Porn is basically like junk food,” the website reads. “When a person is looking at porn, their brain thinks they’re seeing a potential mating opportunity and pumps the brain full of dopamine.”

The website goes on to explain that while an individual is viewing pornographic material, his or her brain becomes overloaded with a rush of feel-good chemicals called dopamine.  When the brain receives too much of this chemical, it causes the brain to cut down on its dopamine receptors. As a result, porn that once excited a person often stops having the same effect and drives the viewer to continue watching even more.

During the event, attendees were given an orange sheet of paper listing possible steps to take when fighting the battle with pornography.

The sheet suggested that people addicted to pornography should tell others about their struggle, install Internet accountability software on their computer, contact the SPU Student Counseling Center or attend support meetings provided through a church.

At the end of the event, students were encouraged to ask questions to a panel of pastors, peers and officials from other organization. Senior and President of SPU’s Set Free club Chelsea Van Essen said that she thought the event was a success because of the opportunity it provided SPU students to have an open dialogue about pornography.

“The foundation of it being based on facts and not just opinion was what really got to me,” Van Essen said. “We need to engage this type of conversation more at SPU… The effects are so far-reaching.”

 

This article was posted in the section News.