For years, law enforcement, clinicians and other experts have recognized the links between adult pornography and child pornography – i.e. that so often consumption of adult porn will lead a person to the consumption of child porn.
Sound scientific evidence demonstrates that, in an attempt to satiate their desires, most porn consumers move from soft-core porn to harder and more deviant material. Yet, they never are satisfied and will seek out great volumes of harder and harder material.
Sadly, a growing number of pornography users deviate down to child pornography over time for their sexual thrills. We are, in effect, minting child pornographers by not enforcing laws against illegal adult pornography. If federal laws, which prohibit distribution of obscene or hard-core pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, in retail shops, etc. were vigorously enforced, the availability of pornography would be greatly reduced. Far fewer individuals would then become attracted to pornography.
The pornographers know this too. They also know that consumers of adult porn often move to depictions of younger and younger models and to child pornography. This is why so much of their advertising is for “young, sexy teens” and they create large amounts of pseudo-child pornography (women dressed up to look younger, more innocent and child-like).
When I was in charge of enforcing the child pornography and obscenity laws at the U.S. Department of Justice during the Reagan and Bush I years, those who were caught with child pornography were largely pedophiles – i.e. those with an exclusive interest in prepubescent children. Now, 20 years into the Internet Age, that is not the case. Those arrested for child porn are husbands, fathers, and grandfathers, people who are not pedophiles. Rather, they are people who in the beginning of their Internet porn experiences were attracted to adults of the opposite sex, but having consumed so much porn over a long period of time, they looked for harder and more deviant material and found child porn appealing. Hundreds of these men are arrested daily for possession of child pornography.
In 2010, scholar Dr. Gail Dines interviewed seven incarcerated men who used child pornography. All seven told Dines that they preferred sex with an adult woman, but had become bored with regular pornography. Five of them had looked at psuedo-child pornography sites first and then moved into actual child porn.
pornography but eventually he desired younger girls. His desire for child pornography, he said, became “like an addiction.”
This link between adult and child pornography is a terrible harm that Morality in Media will now emphasize more and more. The current U.S. Attorney General refuses to initiate any prosecutions of illegal adult pornography so the Department of Justice can focus exclusively on child pornography. But he has not been able to keep up with growing number of men arrested for child pornography. He is loosing the child pornography battle because he fails to understand the link between adult and child pornography. We will never successfully protect our children if we ignore the link between adult and child pornography!
I recently wrote an article on this link for the Witherspoon Institute at Princeton
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