Lecturer discusses impact of pornography
Colleen Zewe | Thursday, November 9, 2017
During Wednesday night’s installment of Saint Mary’s Theology on Fire lecture series, Katherine Elliot explored pornography’s impact on relationships.
Elliot, who holds a Ph.D. in theology from Notre Dame, said pornography separates us from God’s gift of genuine sexual relationships.
“Sex is a gift from God, but only when it happens in a context of mutual respect and understanding,” she said. “Pornography has taken that context away.”
Elliot said all humans are made in the image of God. Because God is a mystery, she said, humans also have a mysterious part of themselves, the creative core. She said when people are in touch with their creative core, all aspects of their lives, including intimacy, thrive.
“‘Erotic’ means so much more than sex,” she said. “It’s where our center is, and where our creativity is.”
Elliot said pornography teaches women to suppress their creative core. Instead, it gives women something much less interesting to judge themselves on.
“We’ve replaced creativity with porn,” Elliott said.
For Elliot, while the creative core features love, respect and wonder, pornographic images show a one dimensional, flat representation of what sex is. Elliot said women are bombarded by these flat images, and subsequently do not realize what it means to be creative sexual beings. Furthermore, Elliot said pornographic images shape the expectations we have in relationships.
Because humans are made in the likeness of God, the best human relationships reflect the intimacy we have with God. These relationships encourage creativity and intimacy on all levels, including intellectual and emotional, Elliot said. But pornography does not reflect the same type of intimacy we have with God, she said, and thus, it draws us farther from intimacy with God.
“Pornography is an escape from a genuine relationship,” Elliot said.
Pornography also encourages violence against women, Elliot said. Viewing women as objects dehumanizes them, she said, which can lead to violence and believing they can be treated however one wants.
Elliot said discussion and willingness to talk about difficult subjects such as pornography and explaining the Church’s opposition is the best way to create understanding and change on the subject.