Jonathon Van Maren

From the front lines of the culture wars

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Pornography is someone sexually consuming another for one-sided pleasure. That person exists only to fulfill his pleasures, his fantasies, his satisfaction. Sexual cannibalism.

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Porn: sexual cannibalism

Jonathon Van Maren Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon

When guys have been looking at porn for a long time, it’s a tough habit to break. And when you’re an anti-porn speaker (as I am), it’s tough to figure out how to make people quit a habit that has deeply rewired their brain and reshaped their attractions, using just words. So one of the things I’ve tried to do is illustrate just how evil porn is, by calling it what it is.

Porn is, at its root, sexual cannibalism.

Think about it. Sex is supposed to be two people unashamedly giving themselves to one another in love. Sex is supposed to be all about the other person. That’s why, before our vocabulary started becoming far more crude and truncated, we used to call it “making love.” But watching pornography is the precise opposite of giving.

Pornography is someone sexually consuming another for one-sided pleasure. That person exists only to fulfill his pleasures, his fantasies, his satisfaction.

Sexual cannibalism.

That imagery becomes even more vivid when you consider that over 88% of mainstream porn films contain physical violence against women, 49% of mainstream porn films contain brutal verbal abuse towards women, and much of today’s pornography is simply glorified rape and sexual assault. There is something grotesquely cannibalistic about men arousing themselves to the physical destruction of the feminine on screen. There is something carnivorous about men watching women get violated and degraded for recreation and entertainment.

After all, carnality, cannibalism, carnivore, and carnage all have the same root word: Carnae, or flesh. Our carnality, fleshly lust, is leading directly into sexual cannibalism—and the carnage of the porn industry manifests itself in destructive or destroyed relationships, shattered marriages, twisted minds, and broken porn stars.

Those broken porn stars, of course, are simply collateral damage. They join the industry, often with high hopes, and leave angry and cynical, if not irreparably diseased and suffering from PTSD. But the sex-driven mob bays for more young girls, more flesh to consume and discard. Do we even think, I often wonder, about the humans in the pornography we watch? Does anyone ever wonder how they got there? Why they stay there? How it impacts them?

Rarely, of course. Because if we did, we’d stop watching.

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Sexual cannibalism is our culture’s addiction to the flesh of others. But as we know, cannibalism isn’t healthy. And the evidence for this is everywhere.

For example, Covenant Eyes cited in their 2014 statistics a number of conclusions about the impact of pornography reached by the Journal of Adolescent Health:

  • An exaggerated perception of sexual activity in society 
  • Diminished trust between intimate couples
  • The abandonment of the hope of sexual monogamy
  • Belief that promiscuity is the natural state
  • Belief that abstinence and sexual inactivity are unhealthy
  • Cynicism about love or the need for affection between sexual partners
  • Belief that marriage is sexually confining
  • Lack of attraction to family and child-raising

Add to that the fact that over 50% of divorce cases now involve one partner being addicted to pornography, and it seems that pornography acts towards marriage and family much as a suicide belt would. One of the more common lies is that pornography can help a marriage—a statement completely belied by every piece of available information. It reminds me of a horrifying but revealing piece published by The Guardian earlier this month, entitled “A letter to my ex-husband, who preferred porn to me:”

Porn ruined you. Ruined us. When people asked, shocked, how I could leave such a funny, clever man, father of my children – “a good earner” as my mother put it – what could I say? I said it was me. My fault. I’d changed. Only it wasn’t me. It was your love of porn that slowly diminished my love and respect for you and destroyed my self-confidence. I couldn’t tell them and I’ve never said it straight to you but you must know, you must remember those conversations. The rows…

We were about six months in when I found your stash and I picked it up smiling – “Boys will be boys” – expecting Penthouse Pets, Readers’ Wives etc but found women so mutilated by beach-ball, supersize-me, fake breasts that their eyes registered pain where their pouts pretended otherwise.

I felt it was mutilation. I wept. You shrugged off my arguments – “They get paid. It’s their choice” – and dismissed my arguments about exploitation as unchecked radical feminism…

When computers came, you got better at hiding it. You could no longer have an orgasm with me and blamed me and childbirth but I now know you had a case of the Prisoner’s Hand. Then your hints began. Could I wear more makeup? What about those white-tipped nails? Had I ever thought about breast implants? I hadn’t. Wouldn’t. …

There were words for what we did but it was never making love. ... There was never intimacy in what we did and in the end I stopped wanting sex. Not that you wanted it with me anyway.

The letter goes on much longer, a heart-breaking autopsy of a marriage destroyed by pornography. Anyone who has done any anti-porn work has spoken to wives and girlfriends, many of them appalled and upset by what they have found their husbands or boyfriends looking at, and completely at a loss as to what their reaction should be.

There is hope and healing at the end of porn addictions—if those addictions come to an end. I know of many marriages that have weathered the porn plague, and many beautiful, trusting relationships that have rooted pornography out and placed protections in place that keep it at bay. Covenant Eyes has a number of phenomenally helpful e-books addressing virtually every aspect of porn addiction and recovery, which tens of thousands of people have found to be literally life-saving.

We just need to realize that engaging pornography is essentially playing Russian roulette. As philosopher Roger Scruton said, “Those who become addicted to this 'risk-free' form of sex run a risk of another and greater kind. They risk the loss of love, in a world where only love brings happiness."

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Jonathon Van Maren

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.