While I was staying at a well-known respected motel recently, my husband and I observed that the pay-per-view box in our room featured, among other titles,
Deep Throat. Just about the only pornographic movie title I’ve ever heard, I remembered that I had known someone who was arrested for showing it to a group of engineering students nearly 20 years ago. Today, it is socially acceptable for a family-type model chain to offer this “entertainment” to its patrons.

Another trip, another motel, another pay-per-view. This time, we discovered that the porno movie channel was unscrambled and could be accessed through a regular remote control handset. Like coming upon a car crash, we stared at the screen for several seconds, trying to comprehend what we saw. And like the sight of a bloodied accident victim, the brutal images were very disturbing, and lingered in our minds for some time. I can’t begin to imagine what impression this could leave on our children. Thankfully, ours were not exposed.

What is most disturbing, however, is the realization that the demand for pornography is so widespread that hard-core material is available in untold thousands of hotel and motel rooms from Sheraton to Journey’s End, patrons are consuming pornographic movies in virtually every hotel and motel room in the country.

It’s not necessary to travel to find easy access to hard-core pornography. The proliferation of video stores over the last ten years or so has moved the X-rated film market from the sleazy movie houses and porno-book stores into the mom-and-pop video shops and video superstores in our own communities.

According to a Canadian Press story last year, more and more couples are turning to pornography videos to “spice up” their lives, and the results are often devastating. Repeated exposure to perverted sexual behaviour, especially degrading to woman, can destroy the intimacy of the marital bond for many couples.

There has also been a proliferation of “how to” videos which purport to instruct couple in intimacy but in fact encourage behaviours which were long considered deviant. How many “normal” people are viewing material like this, and what effect is it having on our community?

The recent experience of one family suggests the effects may be immeasurable. Their five-year-old son occasionally plays with a neighbour’s seven-year-old boy. The younger boy’s mother  did not encourage this friendship, because the neighbour family did not share her own family’s values. She was concerned that there was pornography in the neighbour’s house, but, at the same time, she felt compassion for the lonely seven-year-old.

She could never have imagined the disaster which followed. Her little boy came home one day in rage. He had been sexually molested by his older playmate. This was not a case of kids “playing doctor,” it was a violent sexual attack, a behaviour which most certainly has been learned, either through viewing pornography or possibly through his own sexual molestation. (An investigation is underway.)

Although it is difficult to establish a definitive cause-and-effect relationship between pornography and sexual abuse, evidence indicates an association. Ted Bundy, a notorious serial killer, claimed in an interview just before his execution that pornography had fed his perverted desires. He felt it contributed to his psychotic behaviour. It was later revealed that he had, in fact, been exposed to a lot of pornography while still a pre-schooler.

Pornography validates deviant desires and behaviours. It creates an artificial environment which disregards society’s taboos. Its widespread availability implicitly breaks those taboos, and invites people to experiment with ideas and behaviours which are destructive to themselves and to society.

My brief glimpse at this horrible filth was more than enough to open my eyes. Most people are not interested in pornography, and as a result are quite unaware of what pornography really is. Unfortunately, naivete has become a luxury we can no longer afford.