The “Bible Belt” is the Porn Belt: Surprised?

Smut in Jesusland: Why Red-State Conservatives Are the Biggest Porn Hounds

by Valerie Tarico

studies consistently demonstrate that people in [red-state] conservative religious [regions] search for adult materials online far more often than people in blue states.

Ever since Freud first started publishing his theories, psychologists have had a fascination with what he called “defense mechanisms“:

  • Denial means simply refusing to acknowledge that some event or pattern is real.
  • Repression involves pushing uncomfortable thoughts and feelings to the far recesses of the subconscious mind.
  • Reaction formation is saying or doing the opposite of what you really want but won’t allow yourself to express.
  • Projection means assuming that others share the impulses, feelings, and vices that you find unacceptable in yourself…

In October, two Toronto researchers, Cara MacInnis and Gordon Hodson, published a study in which they used Google Trends to analyze porn searches. Individual search records are protected by privacy laws, but it is possible to compare the popularity of search terms across various regions or states, which is what they did.

Specifically, MacInnis and Hodson linked state level information from Gallup polls asking about religious and political attitudes together with a variety of sex and porn-related search terms… their findings are in keeping with information from other sources: Business professor Benjamin Edelman at Harvard found that states with more traditional views of sex and gender have higher rates of paid porn subscriptions—meaning people who are willing to put porn on a credit card…

…One can almost picture a group of Values Voters at the convention after a night on the town:

Projection: Godless liberals are destroying this country—feminazi sluts demanding sex with no consequences and faggots pushing their gay agenda on our children.

Repression: What?

Reaction formation: This town is full of trashy dancers who wag their big tits and tight asses at honest businessmen. We should lock them up and throw away the key.

Repression: What?

Denial: Real Christians, through prayer, have the power to resist temptation. Only righteous men in public office can stop the moral decay of this sex-obsessed country.

Repression: Did you say something?

The honest truth is that we all have our failings, Christian or not, liberal or conservative. None of us live up to our best intentions or deepest values. What’s shameful is not the fact that people find sex arousing and seek it out, even when they feel compelled to do so on the sneak. The problem is hypocrisy and the way that it distorts public policies and parenting, causing real harm to real people. For over a decade, conservatives forced abstinence-only education on young people, insisting that hormone-ravaged teens could “just say no” when they themselves can’t.

This epic public health fail contributed to the United States having the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the developed world, with devastating economic consequences for young mothers and their offspring. Some thrive despite the odds; many do not. We can do better.

Denying young people information about their bodies doesn’t stop them from having sex. We know that. What it does is create a fog zone, a “haze of misperceptions, magical thinking and ambivalence” that puts teens at risk for sexually transmitted infections and surprise pregnancy. Teens are notorious risk takers. The army sends recruiters into high schools because at age 17 or 18 kids think bad things happen only to other people. Or they simply don’t think. Cognitive scientists tell us that the frontal lobe doesn’t develop fully until the early 20s.

Add to that a conservative, paternalistic “virginity code” that traces back to ancient times, layering shame, denial and secrecy around sexual exploration. Religious and cultural codes prizing virginity may once have helped to ensure that children were born only when parents could provide for them. But in today’s world, an antiquated purity myth can actually have the opposite effect

Frank Schaeffer is a writer. His latest book —WHY I AM AN ATHEIST WHO BELIEVES IN GOD: How to give love, create beauty and find peace

Available now on Amazon

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About Frank Schaeffer

Frank Schaeffer is an American author, film director, screenwriter and public speaker. He is the son of the late theologian and author Francis Schaeffer. He became a Hollywood film director and author, writing several internationally acclaimed novels including And God Said, "Billy!" as well as the Calvin Becker Trilogy depicting life in a fundamentalist mission home-- Portofino, Zermatt, and Saving Grandma.


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