Article

Why companies are trying to normalize pornography

And how it dehumanizes people in the process

December 23, 2019

Recently, a tweet by Netflix that read something like “What is something you can say during sex and while watching Netflix?” went viral. I highly discourage you from checking the replies as nearly every major brand (as well as everyday people) degraded themselves for a fleeting joke. The whole exchange revealed how sexualized humor has become normal in our society. Even well-known companies like Wendy’s and Hulu responded to the initial tweet. But one reply in particular stuck out to me. Pornhub, the world’s largest porn site, with over 42 billion visits in 2019 and over 115 million visits per day, tweeted “everything” which caused a big stir on Twitter. 

Humanizing porn

Many users found it hilarious that a pornography company commented on the thread. Others jumped quickly on the bandwagon with similar language and even shared animated gifs of popular characters like baby Yoda indulging in the use of porn. With this type of social media engagement, Pornhub is trying to portray themselves as just another brand online. It is an attempt to show that real people are behind this massive entity. It’s also an effort to demonstrate that their product is a normal part of our society. 

It’s important to remember, though, that Pornhub is not morally neutral. Their product is deeply corrosive in our society and dangerous for anyone to indulge in, especially our children. Pornhub, as well as the wider pornography industry, especially preys on the weak in our communities by objectifying those made in God’s image. Everything this platform does, from hardcore and amateur sex videos to virtual reality and augmented-reality porn, is driven by the intent to ensnare and debase its users in the name of profit. The entire design is to desentize us to the reality of pornography, to sear our consciences, and to keep users coming back for more. The industry knows that these things will never truly satisfy you and that you will pay good money in the search for a new thrill.

Gone are the days of pornography being hidden in the closet or on the back shelf of a convenience store. Pornography is nearly ubiquitous in our society, often not even costing users anything—other than their souls. Not a day goes by that we don’t encounter images and videos that would make past generations blush, but we chalk it up to living in the 21st century. The use of social media has fueled the growth of the pornography industry, just as porn has always grown on the back of technological developments. As illustrated by the intense debate over whether pornography should be banned and whether or not the government has any role in regulating these obcenities, pornography is now being paraded as an expected part of society.

Dehumanizing people

Pornhub’s desire to be more human and personal in their online interactions is highly ironic, though, because their product is designed to dehumanize those involved—on both sides of the screen—for sheer profit. The entire goal of pornography is to achieve a sexual high outside of the covenant of marriage by taking advantage of other people. As men and women perform on video and and others indulge in these videos through the platform, they are not being treated as image-bearers of God but as mere objects used and abused for a temporary sexual high and a profit. They are led astray from God’s life-giving design for human sexuality as one man and one woman in marriage for life. 

The hope of the gospel is that Jesus doesn’t define our lives by our addictions or even our sexuality.

Furthermore, there are also countless women who are trafficked for sex with the sole purpose of creating online pornography. And we see the far-reaching effects of pornography on our children who are now being exposed to it before the age of 10 as well as through the rampant sexual abuse crisis in our country. The industry leaves objectified women, emasculated men, and scandalized users in its wake. Everyone’s dignity is at stake as these companies seek to grow their bottom line. 

Yet, the truth is that we were created in God’s image, with dignity, and for a purpose—to glorify him in our bodies and minds as we seek to love him and honor our neighbor (Matt. 22:37-39). And the hope of the gospel is that Jesus doesn’t define our lives by our addictions or even our sexuality. 1 John 1:9 reminds us that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from our unrighteousness. This isn’t just a one-time cleansing. God knows each of us will continue to struggle with sin throughout our lives. Even if you are reading this and stuck in a sinful pattern of indulging in pornography, there is hope for you. No one is too far gone for Christ to save them from this dark pit of despair and addiction.

As believers, we cannot allow pornography to become mainstream in our hearts or in our families. We must fight against the schemes that attempt to make pornography seem more palatable to our consciences. And we must continually expose this travesty. Nothing about pornography is normal, and it is wreaking havoc on our society. Everyone needs to be on guard against its insidious nature and actively push back against this darkness in our hearts and on our social media feeds.

Jason Thacker

Jason Thacker serves as chair of research in technology ethics and creative director at ERLC. In his role as creative director, he oversees the communications team, including all creative design projects.  His new book, The Age of AI: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity, releases March 2020 with Zondervan. He is a … Read More