Confessions prompt Church to study pornography addiction

Most men survey admitted to have watched porn when they were 9

Mumbai: Most school girls saw porn first in grade seven and most men were exposed to smut before they turned ten.

This was the finding of a study on people’s porn habits by Bombay archdiocese’s family counseling facility.

Snehalaya (abode of love) Family Service Centre conducted the study after the number of those seeking confession increased in recent times, says a Mumbai Mirror report posted in the center’s website.

The counseling center surveyed the porn viewing habits of two groups of people in 16 of Mumbai’s parishes and seven of the archdioceses colleges.

The study has revealed that 75 percent of unmarried men aged between 15 and 25 were first exposed to porn at age 9. The same percentage of women consumed pornography at age 12.

The four-month study results were released on March 22 at Sacred Heart Church in Santacruz to mark diocesan prolife day.

The groups belonged to two categories: 422 married men and women aged 21 and above, and 545 unmarried men and women between ages 15 and 25.

Some 65 percent of people in the first group were Christian and the rest were from various other denominations. The second group had only 41 percent Christians.

Most of the unmarried men who answered a questionnaire circulated by 100 volunteers of the family center said they first viewed porn when they were in fifth grade. The same percentage of girls in that category filled in that section as grade 8.

Of the married people polled, 60 percent of women stated they were exposed to porn after completing senior college. As many as 31 percent women said they first viewed pornographic material after they were married.

“In almost all cases, the exposure for women after marriage was through the spouse,“ said Nisha D’costa, one of the co-coordinators of the study.

According to her, the exercise was prompted by, among other reasons, increasing instances of the faithful seeking forgiveness in the confessional for having watched porn on mobile phones or computers.

According to the findings, both men and women admitted that pornography “fed fantasies and showed an unreal world.’

Nearly 28 percent women polled (in both groups) said they felt degraded by such material.

Director of the Family Service Centre, Father Cajetan Menezes, said the Church is of the opinion that people are yet to treat viewing of pornography as problematic. “For now, we are simply starting by telling them that pornography is a problem and it will affect them mental piece.”

Paromita Vohra of the Mumbai Mirror says the digital world has fore-grounded the real presence of porn in people’s lives and resulted in the usual anxieties around anything with widespread access. The majority opinion is that porn is a “bad thing” while the majority truth is that most people access it.

Some of the anxiety is also unease that results from acknowledging that women are watching a lot of porn too. This blurs the comfortable boundary of “women prefer text/erotica and men prefer visual/porn,” forcing people to deal with female sexuality.

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