I want to give a heads up to anyone who may be triggered by talking about something sexually traumatizing.
But I want to say something.
It’s an icky topic.
And very controversial.
But here I go.
Today I was in the library studying for my econ exam on Thursday.
It was dead silent, on the second floor of the library in a large open space, and I had just finished going through notes on one lecture and was moving to my next set of notes.
All of a sudden, at full volume, the entire library was listening to aggressive porn.
I guess someone in the library had turned it on, and didn’t know that his Bluetooth headphones weren’t actually on, and so what he was trying to “enjoy” was now being enjoyed by the entire library.
I was appalled.
I looked up and three or four girls and I made eye contact with mutual horrified looks on our faces.
When I realized after over a minute that it was going to keep going, I covered my ears. The other girls followed suit.
Five minutes later, we were still listening to it.
I panicked. So many thoughts were going through my head: should I just leave? Is it going to stop? What is everyone else doing?
I looked around. The girls still looked uncomfortable, but the guys in the room…. They were all laughing.
I think I originally internalized the laughing as uncomfortable, second-hand embarrassment. But five minutes in and they’re still laughing?
It’s not funny.
I promise I won’t go into the extensive details of this porn we all had to hear, but it was incredibly degrading towards women, as I felt disgusted and so did the other four women in the room.
I was also frustrated. You know, I’ve heard the statistics. Every second 28,258 users are watching pornography on the internet. That the average age people start using porn is 11 years old. That 40 million Americans consider themselves regular viewers of porn. That porn sites receive more traffic than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined.
But those statistics seem distant when they don’t relate to you personally. In fact, my two best guy friends are huge proponents of ending this new “drug” of porn. In fact, I texted ten of my friends after this happened, seven of them were guys, and they were all extremely appalled.
But aside from feeling offended and frustrated, I also became immensely sad.
Because I believe that porn kills love. Porn sets unrealistic expectations for how sex should be, creating dissatisfaction in the sex life of relationships. It’s also violent, which can decrease the level of affection and tenderness involved in sex. In a recent study, porn increased marital infidelity by 300% (WebRoot).
(Check out the organization #PornKillsLove if you want to know more)
[Also, this doesn’t even cover child pornography. Child porn is the fastest growing online business and is worth over $3 billion. And it’s been highly linked to factors that contribute to sex trafficking.]
And y’all, I love love. If there’s one thing to know about me, it’s that. It’s my favorite. I love talking about love and it’s my sole purpose in life to love those around me!
So the idea that there’s this mass activity that people are doing that is messing with love just makes me so sad. If people truly understood how much they are loved, would they still watch porn? I wonder that.
The whole situation made me so sad for another big reason, too. I couldn’t help but immediately think of the amazing friends I have in my life who have experienced the horror that is sexual assault. Were those men—if they can even be called that—sexually violent partly from the aggressive porn they watched? Were they “victims,” somewhat, too, of this sick culture that thinks watching these things—even in the library!—are okay? That normalizes sex? But I was sad because I know the personal victims of this culture, of those “men,” and their acts have brutally changed my friends’ lives.
It’s become this new debate about whether people should be able to watch porn in public spaces. I think you can see my stance on that. And while you can have whatever opinion you want, I’ve now had personal experience with it, the idea of watching porn in public spaces makes me feel uncomfortable and disturbed. It makes me think of my friends who have been victims of sexual assault. It makes me sad for the future of love and relational depth. It makes me angry and frustrated. And it makes me want to keep everyone from experiencing my library experience today.