What Goes In…(part 3, Pornography)

“Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”  2 Timothy 2:22

For if you suffer your people to be illeducated, and their manners to be corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded from this, but that you first make thieves and then punish them?  ~Utopia, Book 1 by Sir Thomas More

Pornography (part 3 of a 3 part series)

We have been have been conducting an ongoing discussion based on the premise “What Goes in, Must Come Out.”   Thus far we have discussed profanity, violence, and gossip.  I would now like to turn the discussion to our final topic: pornography.   I have written before on this topic (see The Pornified Culture)  but it merits much more discussion.   In the scope of our discussion here today, we are still coming from the premise of “What Goes in, Must Come Out.”  In other words, in a culture that consumes pornography on an epidemic scale, it should not surprise us that the culture sexualizes and pornifies everything and everybody, and that sexual assaults, child molestation, and most especially, ephepophilia, on are the rise.

Let us consider some statistics:

70% of 18 to 24 year old men visit pornographic sites in a typical month. 66% of men in their 20s and 30s also report being regular users of pornography; and 1 out of every 6 women is addicted to porn. (1)

Incidents of child sexual exploitation have risen from 4,573 in 1998 to 112,083 in 2004, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (2)

National Obscenity Enforcement Unit of the U.S. Department of Justice have determine that the Rape rate has climbed 43% in the last 10 years (reported May 1988), and that the highest incidence of rape victims are teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 (7)

According to the PTC (Parents Television Council) Prime Time TV shows (Like Glee and 24 other Networked Shows): Underage female characters are shown participating in a higher percentage of sexual depictions compared to adult female characters (47 percent and 29 percent respectively).

Eighty-six percent of all the sexualized female characters depicted in the underage and young-adult category were presented as just being in high school. (Which means, even if the actress is an adult, she plays a high schooler  on TV)

Ninety-three percent of the sexual incidents among underage female characters were “unhealthy” based upon a definition established by the American Psychological Association of “healthy” vs. “unhealthy” sexuality.

Ninety-eight percent of the sexual incidents involving underage female characters occurred with partners with whom they did not have any form of committed relationship.  (3)

These statistics should give any decent person pause.  Why have teenagers become so sexualized?  Why is the media’s vision of  “female sexuality” embodied in an adolescent girl?  Why are cases in which adolescents are molested (ephebophilia) rising on a huge scale?  Because “what goes in, must come out.”  In a society that consumes pornography to the point of excess (U.S. porn revenue exceeds the combined revenues of ABC, CBS, and NBC (6.2 billion). Porn revenue is larger than all combined revenues of all professional football, baseball and basketball franchises. (4) ) It really shouldn’t surprise us that said society spews out garbage – the likes of which result in grossly misrepresented and sexualized “mainstream  media,” leading to an increase in child molestation, child exploitation, human trafficking, rape, and the overall objectification of individuals.

In the United States pornography is legal.  In fact there has been a push for sometime to mainstream it, to erase the stigma.  Yet, child porn is not legal.  However, it IS legal for an 18 year old to be made to look as if she was a young, barely pubescent teenager.  Who are we trying to protect?  Certainly it should be illegal for individuals to make and sell child pornography.  I do not dispute that.  What I do take issue with is that by selling “legal, looks-like-child” porn, the demand for the real thing is increased.  Doesn’t this strike you as somewhat ludicrous?

According to Victor Kline, Patrick Carnes, Paul Vitz, and Mark Kastleman  (some of the leading researchers and psychiatrists/psychologists in the fields of sexual and porn addiction) the addictive cycle is a downward spiral.  Once an individual is “hooked” (which is the object of those who produce porn), the user becomes less and less satisfied with the same type of product.  It requires more and more shocking material to maintain the level of the “high” that the user gets from the material.  What happens is that the longer and more frequently a person consumes porn, the more likely he or she is to seek more and more deviant material.  For example, in some cases this leads a person who never started out wanting, say, child porn, to seek it out. (The same can be said for other ‘deviant’ categories such as bestiality,  gang rape, S & M etc) This same addictive process is what leads individuals to “act out.”  Acting Out is the term given to behavior that is the result of viewing pornography.  (Really it’s the term used to describe any form of a manifestation of addictive behavior.)  The most common forms of acting out for porn users are masturbation, exhibitionism, voyeurism, frequenting strip clubs, soliciting prostitutes, and having affairs.  More extreme forms of acting out are rape, molestation, ephebophilia, pedophilia, incest, and some forms of physical abuse.  Why is this the case, you ask?  Because what goes in, must come out.

Consider these findings:

In a study of convicted child molesters, 77 percent of those who molested boys and 87 percent of those who molested girls admitted to the habitual use of pornography in the commission of their crimes. Besides stimulating the perpetrator, pornography facilitates child molestation in several ways. For example, pedophiles use pornographic photos to demonstrate to their victims what they want them to do. They also use them to arouse a child or to lower a child’s inhibitions and communicate to the unsuspecting child that a particular sexual activity is okay: “This person is enjoying it; so will you.”  (5)

A longitudinal study of 341 convicted child molesters in America found that pornography use correlated significantly with their rate of sexually re-offending. Frequency of pornography use was primarily a further risk factor for higher-risk offenders, when compared with lower-risk offenders, and use of highly deviant pornography correlated with increased recidivism risk for all groups. The majority of men who have been charged with or convicted of child pornography offenses show pedophilic profiles on phallometric testing.

According to the Mayo Clinic of the U.S.A., studies and case reports indicate that 30% to 80% of individuals who viewed child pornography and 76% of individuals who were arrested for Internet child pornography had molested a child, however they note that it is difficult to know how many people progress from computerized child pornography to physical acts against children and how many would have progressed to physical acts without the computer being involved. (6)

Dr. William Marshall found that 86% of rapists admitted regular use of pornography, with 57% admitting actual imitation of pornography scenes in commission of sex crimes. (7)

The “Addictive Cycle” that was mentioned above can be broken down, according to Victor Kline, as follows: The common pattern of progression with many pornography users:

1. addiction to hard core pornography;

2. escalation in the need for more shocking material;

3. desensitization toward initially shocking material; and

4. an increased tendency to “act out” sexual activities

Now these statistics can seem grim, and even a little mind boggling.  Do all men or women who are addicted to pornography spiral rapidly down the Addictive Cycle?  No.  I am not insinuating that every man or woman addicted to porn will end up in jail as a sex offender.  This is not to say, however, that pornography use doesn’t affect every person who comes across it.  It does.  Every single person.  For more on how porn can change a person’s brain – rewire it! – you may want to read Mark Kastleman’s Drug of the New Millennium book.  It is frighteningly fascinating.  But back to the issue at hand.  How do I know that porn consumption will affect every user?  Because, what goes in, must come out.

Take another look at the statistics near the beginning of the post.  A vicious cycle is in play.  Prime Time TV is saturated with sexualized high school girls, at the same time, in the span of 6 years, incidents of child exploitation rose over 95%, and incidents of rape rose 43% in a ten year span – and that number is still on the rise, although there are many cases of incorrect and under-reporting.  Are these numbers a coincidence?  I think not.  What goes in, must come out.  Consider this scenario:

A young teenager watches a show like Glee religiously.  She wants to emulate her favorite characters – they are so popular – so cool!  At the same time she shops at the ‘fashionable’ stores selling clothes for young teens that resemble something that might be found in a Modern Day Incarnation of Pretty Woman. What fate awaits this  girl as she seeks to culturally blend in, baring too much skin, and wearing too much tightness, armed with the knowledge of how she should act, courtesy of the cast of Glee, fueled by the covers of Cosmo and Seventeen, and urged to express her sexuality by her freshman health teacher?  This girl, my dear friends, is in danger.  The same TV shows that inform her as to how she should dress and behave, the same magazine covers also send a message to men – and that message is that girls who look and act like the sluttified characters on Prime Time TV, want to be treated like the characters on Prime Time TV; and just how are the girls on Prime Time TV treated?  Well, glance at the above stats again – 93% of sexual incidents among underage female characters were unhealthy according to the American Psychological Association.  Should we really be surprised when our poor girl ends up being used, abused, and discarded?   How can we be shocked when we look at the numbers for child exploitation, abuse, and rape?   What goes in, must come out.

What does this have to do with pornography?  Everything.  Porn has become so mainstream that it literally permeates all forms of mainstream entertainment.  It’s everywhere.  Remember that roughly 70% of men in their late teens to their thirties frequently visit porn sites in a typical month.  Porn is the prism through which they see the world.  TV shows are created to tap into the audience.  Television producers know this.  Sex sells!  If there was a surefire way to target over half the adult male population, and at least 1 out of every six women wouldn’t any savvy business person be interested?  You bet they would.  Now, I am not excusing the producers of TV shows that deliberately  or inadvertently encourage harmful or destructive behavior.  I am, however pointing out that pornography influences what shows are on TV.  It also influences how these shows – and how real people – are perceived by the consumers of pornography.

When a porn user encounters the world, as I said before, it is through the lens of pornography.  Porn lies to men and women.  It gives men the false idea that women are often sex-crazed maniacs.  I have interviewed several porn addicts and one of them explained to me that when he sees a girl wearing what she most likely thinks is an “attractive” outfit, (perhaps hoping to get some attention from attractive men), what he thinks when he sees her isn’t “Oh look at how beautiful she is., I want to talk to her and buy her dinner.”  What this man told me is that when he sees such a girl, he thinks to himself, “Wow, she really wants it, and I can “help her out’.'”  (I think we can all figure out what the “it” is).   In fact, in some instances of rape the man is not conscious that his victim is truly not consenting.  His porn use and our society at large have “taught him” to think that girls who seem to resemble those he has seen in porn – even on TV – want to be treated like that.

What Goes in, Must Come Out.

Dear readers, we have gotten ourselves into quite the pickle!  Thomas More’s Utopia rings so true when he said, “if you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners to be corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded from this, but that you first make thieves and then punish them.”  In a society that operates largely through the prism of porn, that promotes its themes in even regular TV programming, how can we really be surprised at the devastating effects that are taking hold?  The question we must ask ourselves is what do we do about it??

Let us return to our premise: What Goes In Must Come Out. Could it really be that simple?  Change what we culturally consume, and that will change the culture?  Yes, I believe that it can be that simple.  We’ve explored 3 different areas in which we have determined that what we engage in or consume – be it gossip, violence, profanity, or pornography – affects not only our own behavior, but society at large as well.  What if we turned it on its head?  What if we instead turned off the violence, avoided the profane, boycotted the 23 shows in Prime Time programming that were named by the PTC in the above statistics, disengaged from gossip, and called porn what it really is: evil and wrong?  Then what if we sought healing for the parts of ourselves that may have been hurt by the consumption of these things, and filled ourselves instead with the Word of God, with prayer, with spiritual reading?  What if we spent time in front of the Blessed Sacrament?  What if we watched shows that spoke to the beauty and dignity of the human person?   What then?  What would become of us and our society?  Well, I’ll say it one more time: What Goes In, Must Come Out.

***** A note for those who may be struggling with porn or sexual addiction:

There is most definitely healing and hope available if you or someone you love struggles with this insidious addiction.  Most mental health professionals, and addictions counselors agree that the most effective and beautiful freedom and healing can be found by actively participating in a 12 Step Recovery Group that focuses on the 12 Steps originally from Alcoholics Anonymous.  To find one near you or to get more information, check out http://www.sa.org/.

Works Consulted:

(1) First-person: the culture of pornography, R. Albert Mohler, Jr., Baptist Press, 28 December 2005

(2)  Reports of child exploitation up.  USA Today Snapshots, 17 February, 2005.

(3) http://townhall.com/columnists/MarybethHicks/2010/12/22/twisted_image_of_teen_sexuality/page/full/

(4) Internet Pornography and Loneliness: An Association? Vincent Cyrus Yoder, Thomas B. Virden III, and Kiran Amin.  Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, Volume 12.1, 2005.

(5) http://www.protectkids.com/effects/harms.htm

(6) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relationship_between_child_pornography_and_child_sexual_abuse

(7) http://www.ktk.ru/~cm/stat2.htm







What Do You MEAN When You Say CHOICE? An Open Letter to the Abortion Industry

To Whom It May Concern in the Abortion Industry, and to the Women Who Feel They Have No Choice but to Become Their Latest Customers,

I am writing this letter not be one of those “snarky pro-lifers” you worry about.  I have a legitimate question: Just What exactly do you mean when you say choice?  I am sure that some of you in the abortion industry truly want to help women.  This is noble and good.  I applaud you for that desire.  But does counseling abortion, providing abortion, pushing abortion really help women?  Does it really give them a choice?  I have to say no.  Most women choose abortion because they have been led to believe that the baby they are carrying is ‘just tissue,’ ‘can’t feel pain,’ ‘isn’t viable outside the womb,’ and ‘isn’t a baby yet.’  They are not told the truth- that by 5 weeks the “fetus” has a heart that is beating, that by the time of 8 and 9 weeks (the time most abortions occur) that ’tissue’ has fingers, toes, and even a tongue.  He or she can feel pain.  If women who are counseled to have an abortion do not know who exactly it is that they are killing, how is that a choice?  Why are women not shown who it is that they are choosing to kill?  After seeing an ultrasound of their baby more than 80% of women choose NOT to abort.  If they are not shown the Truth, they never really have that choice, do they? Many women (especially low-income, and African-American Women living in cities) do not know they have a choice not to abort if they find themselves unexpectedly pregnant.  How is THAT a choice at all?  Is it truly a coincidence that more abortion facilities are located in cities – most especially in or near low-income and “minority” communities – than anywhere else?  I think not.  Is it a coincidence that as far back as 1991 African-American Women made up 42% of Planned Parenthood’s Customer base – even though they only comprised about 19% of the total population of the US?  Is that a choice or is that just because those women are good for business?

Is it really a choice when women who are counseled to receive abortions do not understand that they face very serious risks and life changing after effects?  Are they told that after about 5 to 10 years they will experience mental anguish, depression, even flashbacks, deep regret, and guilt?  Is it explained to them that women who have had abortions are more at risk for suicide and debilitating depression?  Would any truly informed woman choose to put herself through that?  (For more on this topic and to hear testimonies from women who regret their abortions see http://www.silentnomoreawareness.org/).

Is it really a choice when a woman has no idea how her body was made to work – when she has been told her whole life that her fertility is dangerous and that she has to control it artificially and that this will make free?  When those contraceptives fail, and she finds herself pregnant, how will this woman know she has a choice not to abort?  Not to do more to her body – that beautiful body, which she doesn’t understand and has never been taught to respect?  Is that really a choice?

If a woman doesn’t know any better, if she has never been told the TRUTH about the alternatives she has for herself and her pre-born baby, how is THAT a choice?

I ask you again, just what DO you mean when you say CHOICE?

I could end this letter here, but for the sake of those women who find themselves confused and pregnant, scared and vulnerable, not sure that they have a CHOICE, who may chance upon this letter, I want to tell them that they DO have true choices – and these real choices do not come at the expense of their health, or the lives of their pre-born babies.

Woman have the choice to learn about their bodies and how they are beautifully made.  Women do not need contraceptives, nor do they need abortion to be truly free.  I want to tell them that their bodies are beautiful!  They are made so amazingly – and it is possible to learn about your body, work with it, and respect it!  (for websites with this information see the footnotes to this letter).

I want women to know that abortion ALWAYS harms.  ALWAYS.  It harms the women who undergo the procedure or take the pill.  It kills a life.  This life has a heartbeat, a brain and feelings.  This life can feel pain and sense danger.  This life tries to get away from the tools of the abortionist!  This life has no voice – and this life, this child, depends upon YOU, his mother for protection.  This child is not given a choice.  If YOU had to choose between life and being murdered, what would YOU choose?  Why won’t you choose the same for the life you carry?

If you cannot parent a child right now, that is OK! There are SO MANY wonderful families who cannot have children of their own who are praying for a generous heart to place a child in their care.  Do not be afraid of the “system.”  Your child does not need to go through the foster care system and become a ward of the state forever!  This is largely a myth that you have been led to believe – a myth that makes you feel like adoption is an evil choice.  This is not so!  Your baby deserves a loving home, and if you are a brave and courageous women, willing to give your child a chance at LIFE there are many people who will help you and guide you – at no cost to you – as you find a loving family for your baby.  There are MANY kinds of adoption that give you as much or as little participation in your child’s life as you wish.  (again see the footnotes for more resources on this).

Perhaps you do not feel well, perhaps you need support and someone who understands what you are going through.  You will NEVER find that kind of support from an agency that you have to PAY.  No matter what they say, if they ask for money – whether it is for abortion, contraception, or even counseling – they WILL NOT give you the kind of support you need.  Do not be afraid though – there are MANY other women, men and organizations who DO want to help  you.  They want to be your friend, they want to assist you, and they will NEVER ask you for money.  They want to love you!  If you need this kind of support and unconditional love simply call 1(877) 77BIRTH or check out http://www.birthmothers.org/. There are also many community based organizations and church groups who want to help!  Do not be embarrassed, do not be afraid – if you call them YOU will make their day!

Maybe you find yourself confronted with the wrenching decision of having an abortion or being kicked out of your home.  This is a terribly scary situation.  This can make you feel like you have no choice.  YOU DO.  There are people who want to help you – people who have homes for you and places for you to stay.  People who want to see you through this hard time and see you and your child succeed at life!  Many of these places are local and they are all over the country.  I will link to some of them here and even if you live outside of their area they have resources and information about similar organizations that are closer to you.  (http://goodcounselhomes.org/,  http://projectgabriel.net/,  http://www.gabrielproject.com/help.htm).

My dear reader, whether you are in the Abortion Industry or considering an abortion for yourself, you NEED to know that Choice should not simply equal Abortion.  All too often I fear that when someone says they are “pro-choice” all they really mean is “pro-abortion.”  Women deserve better than that, and so do the tiny humans that are never given a choice at life.

So, I ask you again, What do you MEAN when you say CHOICE?


Laura Ricketts

Additional Resources for Women who want a REAL Choice:

Learning About Your Body:










In Memory of Francis Talbot – Of Babies and Blessings

This Post is a repost from my “Mommy Blog.”( http://5andcountingmusings.blogspot.com/) It is the last of the Christmas-time reflection posts before we conclude our 3 part series “What Goes In…”

I have posted this in Memory of my tiny son, Francis Talbot, who went Home to Our Father before I could hold him.

Of Babies and Blessings

This had been a Christmas Season of Blessings and Lessons.  Heartache and Peace.  Nothing went as planned, but why should that surprise us?  I doubt that had Mary and Joseph been able to plan they would have elected to travel by donkey to a small town while Mary was 9 months pregnant just to appease some ego-centric Roman demi-god.

“‘For your thoughts are not My thoughts, neither are your ways, My ways,” says the Lord”(Isaiah 55″8).

“For I know well the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “Plans to give you a future full of hope.  When you call Me, When you go to pray to me, I will listen to you.  When you look for me, you will find me.  When you seek me with all your heart, you will find me,” says the Lord” (Jeremiah 29:11-14).

These words revealed to the prophets ages ago are still so relevant to us today.  God is so hard to understand sometimes, and yet, He blesses us.  He takes care of us.  He comforts us.  He gives us Joy.   Sometimes that Joy comes wrapped up in a bundle of blankets with a button nose and tiny little mouth and eyes.  Sometimes that Joy comes from surrendering to God and giving Him a new soul for Heaven.

This Christmas has given me so much to ponder.  The Advent Season began with my husband and I worried that Santa wouldn’t be able to afford Christmas.  Yet, we had Faith and prayed that God would provide us what we would need to let our children have a happy Christmas.  We got so much more than that.  God continues to outdo Himself in generosity and this year He used so many people in our lives to touch us with His love and His Goodness.  So many people have blessed us with their generosity this Christmas – from a dear friend and “anonymous benefactor” who sent us Christmas gifts, beautifully wrapped for Christmas Day – all without us knowing about it! – to family members who unexpectedly sent Christmas money – to neighbors who gave away toys that looked like new – we had more than we ever dreamed of for the kids on Christmas Day.

We felt so incredibly humbled.  So undeserving.  What had we done?   Yet, isn’t that the crux of Christmas?   We didn’t DO anything to make God send us our Savior.  In fact the only thing we had done is sin. Turn away from Him, and yet He sent His only Son – His Gift to us – so that we might share Eternal Life with Him.  What a gift!  What Love!

This Christmas message was brought home to me in such a real way this year.  Just before Christmas my husband and I found ourselves overjoyed at the reality of a new little life.  I was pregnant!  We knew the kids would be so excited and waited until Christmas to tell them.  Seeing the pure Joy on their faces taught me more than anything what is truly important.  The things we so often value – the presents and “stuff” we accrue for ourselves on Christmas pale in comparison to the truly miraculous gift of a new life – a new soul destined to live for Eternity.   I pondered this for some time on Christmas and the days after.  I felt so blessed to have this new paradigm in which to see my pregnancy.  For the first time I wasn’t afraid of what others might think of the fact that I was pregnant again.  I wasn’t looking forward to the morning sickness or labor, but I could not shake the conviction that despite what society, or even well-intentioned but confused passersby might think about my largish family, I was blessed.  Babies are pure blessing.  They aren’t a spread sheet – measuring the pros and cons, costs and benefits. They are a gift, pure and simple.

Imagine the sadness that came to our family on New Years Day when I, after a long day at the Emergency Room, learned that we were never to hold this little life.  Never to meet him.   He had gone Home to be with the One who created him.  The sadness came crashing in on me as I went to the Grave of our stillborn daughter, Claire, who has been buried there since the end of August.  I sat there in the cold and cried.  I cried for her and I cried for my son who was with us for such a short time.  I cried for my children at home, who I felt were deprived of another sibling to love.  I cried for myself, my arms longing to hold a little squirmy bundle of Joy.  Then my heart quieted.  Peace entered.  I dried my tears and asked my Heavenly Saints – my children – to pray for me.  I told them I loved them.  I asked God to help me understand.  Then I heard it.  Not a voice, but a whisper, spoken to my heart.  “Thank you.”

As I drove home I pondered over this “thank you.”  For what?  I kept asking myself.   When I got home I pushed it aside as my husband and I had to break the news to our children.  I hardly heard myself as I told them that “Baby Bubbles” went to be with Claire.  I told them that we named him Francis Talbot, because of a dream I had.  Their sad faces nearly broke my heart again.  My daughter, who is my oldest child at home, cried and told me how sad she was.  Then she stopped crying and said, “Well, now Claire has somebody to play with.  That is special.”  She proceeded to talk to Baby Francis and tell him that she loved him.  How silly I felt thinking that they were deprived of siblings to love.  They love their heavenly sister and brother! Then my daughter looked at me and said, “Well, now I know what I am asking for on my birthday!  A new baby!”  I smiled at her innocence, at her beautiful understanding of life and death.

It wasn’t until I received an email from a dear friend that I really thought about what my daughter had said.  My friend said to me that I had given Claire a sibling to be with her.  They would be together glorifying God, watching over our family, and waiting for us to meet them in Heaven.  Then it hit me.  The “thank you” whispered to my heart, what I had told my children, what my daughter said to me, echoed in the email from my friend.

God had indeed given me a very special gift this Christmas.  He truly taught me to Love as He Loves,  He gave me the gift of a life, and asked for that gift back.  This Christmas God allowed me to give a gift to Heaven.  What a blessed peace this realization gave me.  What a gift.

I still miss my little Francis, just as I miss my baby Claire.  Yet I have such a sense of peace, that I  know I am blessed.  Many people would look at my little family this Christmas and shake their heads in pity – in the span of 2 weeks our only car broke down and died, the flu went through our family, all our Christmas plans were thwarted, we nearly hit the red in the bank account, still are without a car, and then we lost baby Francis.   Yet all I feel is blessed.  All I feel is Peace.

Little Francis Talbot came to us, and brought with him Peace.  In his short time with us, and through his death he taught us a lesson about Christmas, about God’s love, and about Life that is more important than   the little worries and inconveniences that we face.  It may sound absurd to those without Faith, but despite the trials and sadness that have confronted us this Christmas, I am thankful.  I am thankful for the unexpected, and thankful for the beautiful gift of Francis Talbot’s life.  I am thankful, and I am blessed.

I hope you all have a Blessed New Year!  I look forward to the conclusion of our discussion “What Goes In…” as we resume a more regular posting schedule now that the Holidays are over.

May Our Heavenly Father and King Bless you abundantly!