The Brunei Times interviewed seven young Muslims from various ages and backgrounds on how they dealt with cyberporn. Most admitted to have accessed porn sites secretly at home, none felt comfortable about disclosing their real identities. All names have been changed to protect confidentiality.
Amongst the questions raised to them included how frequent did they visit pornographic sites and when was the first time they did so.
Azwar, 19, a young man with tall and average build said that he visited the porn sites very infrequently, an hour per day, and not in a long time. The sites he mostly visited are YouTube and Askmen.
"I visited a porn site for the first time at age 13, out of curiosity," Azwar said. He added that he also accessed porn materials through CD and DVD secretly at home.
When asked about what he felt upon finishing the visit to porn site, he smiled and said, "Satisfied". But he refused to go beyond watching. "No, there are some lines that should not be crossed," he said firmly.
Randi is 27 years old. He spends eight hours every day surfing sites such as community blogs Multiply and Friendster, but thought that he was too old for cyberporn. His first encounter with porn was at age 14. He does it today, though rarely, through Internet and laser discs also secretly at home. The reason is, "(Just want to know) how pretty the girls are," he said, smiling.
"No," he said firmly when asked whether he ever contemplated going beyond the watching. He concluded, "an addiction to any Internet site would cause serious problems regardless of the sites being porn or not. But I agree that porn is bad".
Wati, 18, a slightly built girl, accessed Internet only twice a week, "Mainly for my UCAS application and education related websites." She visited porn sites once a month or so, or maybe less, since five years ago, and was now being updated with porn materials through hand phone from friends.
Wati said disgustedly that to do things she watched was "too freaky". Nevertheless, "I don't see any reason for (porn) to be banned unless it proves to be a more serious problem."
Rini, 23, said she visited porn site everyday since she was a Form 2 student. She did it for pleasure, and also accessed the porn from hand phone and CDs. She admitted to have thought about acting on it after watching porn, but she never did.
Suzanne, 20, a petite girl, was willing to answer but expressed disgust at the topic. She had never visited porn sites. "My friend once showed me one of those videos on her mobile phone. I was disgusted," she stated.
Fulan, 18, is an extrovert who said he spent more than five hours everyday surfing the Internet. He visited porn sites once everyday since he was still at form 3. He also admitted to accessing porn through VCD or DVD given by friends. "Sometimes (I have a thought to do what I watch), but I don't think I ever would", he said it slightly embarrassed.
He agreed that porn addiction is like a drug, "
it's a hard habit to break"."
Porn or cocaine?
Bruneian young Muslims might feel okey to talk about pornography addiction in a casual way, while the fact is actually more serious than what they think.
Mary Anne Layden, co-director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Programme at the University of Pennsylvania porn the "most concerning thing to psychological health that I know of existing today". Porn addicts have a more difficult time recovering from their addiction than cocaine addicts, since coke users can get the drug out of their system, but pornographic images stay in the brain forever, Layden said.
Jeffrey Satinover, a psychiatrist and advisor to the US National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, stated, "Upon viewing or reading the 'expression,' the pornography addict experiences an irresistible impulse to self-stimulation."
Satinover says pornography is addictive because it uses the same neurological pathways as drug dependence. Since the advent of the Internet, Satinover says, "The delivery system for this addictive stimulus has become nearly resistance-free. It is as though we have devised a form of heroin 100 times more powerful than before, usable in the privacy of one's own home and injected directly to the brain through the eyes."
The effect of cocaine can be terminated by detoxification therapy, while the porn materials once recorded in the brain is planted forever.
Dr Judith Reisman, a neuroscience expert in California, said:
" Thanks to the latest advances in neuroscience, we now know that pornographic visual images imprint and alter the brain, triggering an instant, involuntary, but lasting, biochemical memory trail, arguably, subverting (freedom of the speech) by overriding the cognitive speech process. And once new pathways are established they are difficult or impossible to delete."
The Brunei Times