I just came across the issue that asks the question, "Is porn harming our kids?" ("Inside the Pornocopia," June 24). I'd like to answer this question as a psychotherapist in private practice for 20 years.
This is what my patients have taught me about pornography in their lives: That it rewires the brain and sets up a neuroanatomy network such that pornography is internalized, normalized and used for sexual arousal and for sexual release. That the pornographic sex object (PSO) becomes a special friend, like a drug or a cigarette, who is always available when one feels bad, horny, out of sorts and wants comfort or release from tension. That before actual sex with a love partner, a person who is into pornography privately goes to pornography on the computer for foreplay arousal, and then uses the image of the PSO while making love to the partner. Of course, the partner senses that his or her partner is not there and feels something is wrong and often thinks that there is something wrong with him or herself or that the partner is having an affair (which has truth to it). That the user of a PSO objectifies the partner in sex and often wants and sometimes demands an enactment with the partner of what PSOs do on the computer screen or uses the partner for this unasked.
PSO users are often unable to meet the needs of a real person in real life. As a quick-fix solution, couples may both look at pornography together before making love so that there is a semblance of a shared experience while making love. This is one of many quick fixes that result in a loss of trust that often ends in separation or divorce because there is ongoing deceit by the partner who promises to never watch pornography again and fails to do so.
A therapist hearing all or some of this from a patient may think that pornography is normal and not a big thing, and that the couple's problems are merely traditional couple's problems of broken trust, differing communication styles, etc. If this is the therapist's view, then the patient is neither being heard nor served. The person caught in the web of PSOs is an addict.
This journey can begin when, as a teen, he or she innocently and out of curiosity looked at pornography on a computer and got hooked for life.
Bravo to Peter Phillips and the Bohemian for this article ("Shock and Awe Accounting," Open Mic, July 8). It goes a long way in organizing awareness of the need to challenge the capital class and attack corruption in California and the United States. There are a lot more working-class citizens getting the shaft than corporate chiefs. Let the games begin.
As usual, Peter Phillips writes provocatively but without any facts. Here are a few: The richest 1 percent of tax filers in California pay nearly half of all taxes in the state, and the richest 15 percent pay over 80 percent. State tax revenues have grown faster than inflation plus population growth in California since 1990, but spending has grown even faster. The problem in California is spending, not taxes.
State employees are a big reason for this out-of-control spending. We have among the most expensive state government workers in the country. California accounts for 9 percent of all U.S. state employees, but 12 pecent of U.S. state government pay! What's more, California taxpayers fund 55 percent of the budget for the CSU system (where Phillips works), vs. an average funding level of 30 percent elsewhere in the nation. The heavily unionized state education system has one of the highest per-student spending rates in the country, and still gives us a quality of education for our children ranked 48th out of 50 states.
So now you know Phillips' agenda: he writes to keep state unions strong and salaries up not because he's interested in what's best for California, but what's best for himself. Phillips is part of the problem, not part of the solution.