Ariel Castro’s Porn Addiction

James D. Conley, STL
First Things
August 6, 2013

Ariel Castro

Few of us can imagine or understand the depravity of Ariel Castro’s heart. Castro is the Cleveland man who recently was arrested for kidnapping, raping, and imprisoning three women for over a decade. He impregnated the women he held captive and beat one of them until she miscarried. Ariel Castro is obviously sick, obviously broken, obviously enslaved by the forces of chaos and evil in a way that few of us have ever witnessed.

Ariel Castro belongs in prison. Last week, he was sentenced to serve more than one thousand years. But despite the depths of his depravity, when Castro stood shackled in a Cleveland courtroom, he confessed a common American problem. “I believe I am addicted to porn,” he said, “to the point where I am impulsive, and I just don’t realize that what I am doing is wrong.”

Pastors everywhere have heard those words before. Probably many times. Pornographic addiction is powerful, destructive, and all too typical. Ariel Castro’s addiction is no excuse for his actions, but it points to a deep and sobering reality: Free, anonymous, and ubiquitous access to pornography is quietly transforming American men and American culture.

The sociological data is difficult to dismiss. Pornography use is a factor in 56 percent of divorce cases and is correlated with sexual assault. Mary Ann Layden of the University of Pennsylvania School of Psychiatry wrote of one study that found that:

All types of pornography (soft core, hard core, violent, and rape) are correlated with using verbal coercion, drugs, and alcohol to sexually coerce women. The likelihood of forcing a woman sexually was correlated with the use of hard core, violent, and rape pornography. The likelihood of raping a woman was correlated with the use of all types of pornography, including soft-core pornography.

It is increasingly unreasonable to argue that pornography use is ever harmless or victimless.

Read More

Leave a Reply