WOW. Two Dutch “sexologists” have proposed that virtual #childporn INTENTIONALLY be made & provided to #pedophiles — as long as it is “made under strict government control” with a label! Thank goodness some people there have taken a firm stand against this! But disturbingly others have supported it. Hopefully their proposal will go nowhere, but it’s alarming that anyone would even take their proposal seriously for a second, as using child porn of any type does NOT “satisfy” a pedophile’s “urges” (that is the “catharsis myth”), but instead just FUELS their urges and encourages them to act out their depraved “fantasies” on REAL children! Read more below…
[Naharnet] A call by two Dutch sexologists for “virtual” child pornography to be legalized so as to assuage paedophiles’ desires has sparked fierce debate in the Netherlands.
Sexologists Rik van Lunsen and Erik van Beek of Amsterdam University Hospital (AMC) last month floated the idea of creating child pornography using drawings or computer-generated images.
“If you make virtual child pornography under strict government control with some kind of label explaining that no child was abused, you can give paedophiles a way of regulating their sexual urges,” Van Beek told Agence France Presse, calling for an enquiry or at least public debate on the issue.
Virtual child pornography — including drawings, paintings or computer-generated images — was made illegal in 2002 as rapidly developing technology made increasingly photorealistic images possible.
As with “traditional” child porn, creating, owning or sharing such images is currently punishable by up to four years in prison in the Netherlands.
“I think that repressing your fantasies can lead to frustration and, ultimately, for some types of paedophile, to a greater likelihood of doing something wrong,” Van Beek said.
Around one percent of the Dutch population of 16.5 million has paedophile preferences, mainly men, but only a tiny fraction will ever abuse children, noted the sexologist.
Many of them will moreover never feel the need to live their sexuality through child pornography.
The two sexologists’ suggestion sparked fierce debate in Dutch media, blogs and discussion forums, as the idea has turned out to be controversial even in the free-thinking Netherlands.
For former parliament speaker Gerdi Verbeet, “it’s really not a good idea”.
“It would be an enormous responsibility for the government,” she said during a debate on public television, noting that it might also be impossible to tell the virtual images from the real.
— “How realistic should the images be?” —
Crime journalist Peter de Vries said during the same debate that the proposal “could work”, but that the potential problems were many.
“How far should it go? How realistic should the images be?” he asked.
Internet discussion forums overflowed with mostly critical comments, from “Don’t do this to our children!” to asking why paedophiles don’t just use their imagination.
“The proposal isn’t really pertinent and for some people it will certainly increase the likelihood of going through with it (sexual abuse),” warned psychotherapist Jules Mulder of the De Waag clinic.
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Here is a reference on why the “catharsis theory” is unsubstantiated,” by Diana E. H. Russell, Ph.D., one of our founding and current Board members:
“Many still believe that exposure to pornography is cathartic or provides “a release of wishes, desires or drives such that they do not have to be acted on in reality” (Kelly, Wingfield, & Regan, 1995, p. 23). It is important to critique the catharsis theory before launching into Russell’s opposing theory. Similarly, it is important to review existing research on men’s propensity to sexually victimize children. This section provides a brief analysis of both topics.
CATHARSIS VS. INTENSIFIED DESIRE:
According to the catharsis theory, the repeated exposure of males to pornography “leads to a steadily decreasing interest” in the material (Bart & Jozsa, 1980, p. 210). This exposure is frequently described as a “safety valve.” As applied to child pornography, this theory assumes that repeated viewing of child pornography decreases viewers’ desire for sex with children. Hence, according to this theory, viewers of child pornography should be less likely to sexually victimize children.
The very influential but poorly designed experiment of Howard, Reifler, and Liptzin is widely cited as proof of the validity of catharsis theory (Diamond, 1980; Howard, Reifler, & Liptzin, 1991). Howard et al.’s experiment was based on a small sample of 23 white college males and 9 comparable controls. The researchers exposed the subjects and controls to a pornographic movie, then tested both groups for sexual arousal. The subjects were then exposed to adult pornography for 90 minutes a day for 15 days, whereas the controls viewed two non-pornographic movies over the same period. Twenty of the 23 subjects were then shown a third pornographic movie. Howard et al. (1991) found that “all subjects reported being initially stimulated” by the pornography, followed by “a marked decrease in interest in pornography as a result of the exposure” (p. 111).
It is important to note that the “subjects’ choice of pornography was severely limited” (Zillmann, 1989, p. 130). Hence, Howard et al.’s experiment only showed that a tiny sample of males became bored when exposed over time to a limited choice of material. Despite this, many pro-pornography advocates point to Howard et al.’s conclusion that all “legal restrictions to the availability of pornography” should be removed (p. 127). Indeed, this was one of the experiments on which the 1970 Commission on Obscenity and Pornography based its identical conclusion.
Zillmann and Bryant (1986) conducted an experiment based on 160 subjects that demonstrated the invalidity of Howard et al.’s conclusion. They recruited two samples: a student sample that included an equal number of males and females randomly drawn from undergraduate directories at two midwestern universities; and a nonstudent sample of males and females “drawn via random-digit dialing, with proportional sampling within all metropolitan exchanges” (p. 563). Zillmann and Bryant’s sample consisted of 20 subjects in each experimental condition.
Zillmann and Bryant gave both their male and female subjects a greater range of pornography to view than the limited materials available to the subjects in Howard et al.’s experiment. These researchers found that the subjects’ boredom after repeatedly viewing the same pornographic material motivated them to switch to viewing different and more extreme pornography, such as material involving the infliction of pain, violent pornography, and “uncommon or unusual sexual practices,” including bondage, sadomasochism and bestiality (Zillmann & Bryant, 1986, p. 577). Howard et al. had failed to consider this possibility, resulting in their invalid conclusion.
Although masturbation is not addressed in the experiments of Howard et al. and Zillmann and Bryant, this is a major goal of pornography. The ejaculatory pleasure obtained from masturbation intensifies the association between it and the pornography viewed, a theory confirmed by considerable experimental research (Cline, 1974; Osanka & Johann, 1989). Most males consider masturbation a very inferior alternative to sex with the type of individuals they desire. Thus, viewers may desire to act out the sexual acts depicted in pornography. For this reason and others, researchers have concluded that catharsis theory is clearly not substantiated (Sommers & Check, 1987).
Research aside, common sense and rationality unequivocally challenge the catharsis theory. Very few people would likely support a proposal to solve the problem of parents physically beating their children by having them watch movies that show parents battering and torturing their children. Why is it only in the case of misogynistic pornography that so many individuals—including a handful of researchers—believe that exposure dissipates the problem? The plain inconsistency and irrationality of the catharsis theory suffice to dismiss the notion that pornography serves as a “safety valve.”
~~ From the section, “Overview of Pornography and Child Sexual Abuse,” from the book “Exposure to Pornography as a Cause of Child Sexual Victimization” — Available online in full at the below link:
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