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On this week's episode of the Health and Wellness Show we discussed the rise of pornography that has hijacked the sexuality of our entire culture. What are the psychological, physical and emotional effects of pornography on the personal and societal levels? How does it impact intimacy and relationships with others? How is porn tied to the objectification of women, pedophilia and sex trafficking? The porn problem is epidemic and often hides in plain sight. Our society is saturated in it through advertising, popular music, fashion and social media. Prior to the collapse of great civilizations there was a marked increase in hedonism and debauchery. If history repeats, does this mean our current civilization is on the road to ruin?

Whether you use pornography or not, it affects us all. Listen in for an in-depth discussion of this important topic. And to lighten the mood afterwards, stay tuned for Zoya's Pet Health Segment on proper nutrition for your cat or dog.

Running Time: 01:45:20

Download: OGG, MP3


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Here's the transcript of the show:

Jonathan: Hey everybody, today is May 13th, 2016. Welcome to the Health & Wellness Show. My name is Jonathan, I'll be your host for today. Joining us in our virtual studio from all over the world we have Doug, Erica, Tiffany, Gaby and Elliot. Hey guys.

All: Hellos.

Jonathan: So, today we have a pretty heavy topic. We're going to talk about the rise of pornography and how it has hijacked the sexuality of our culture. What are the psychological, physical and emotional effects of pornography on the personal and societal level. How does it impact intimacy and relationships with others. How does it tie into the objectification of women, pedophilia and sex trafficking. Basically it's a huge problem and since we deal with not only physical health and wellness but also mental health and psychological issues, that this will be a good topic to cover today. It is a very heavy topic, and we did want to say at the beginning of the show, if you have been a victim of abuse, or if you have issues with this kind of content, we just want to give you a heads up. Fair warning that this may be some very shocking material or it may affect you in a way that you may not expect. So it's your choice to continue listening or not but we did want to give you a heads up on this before we start the show.

Let's get started to talk about this article from Utah that is kind of interesting. Utah is a largely Mormon state, but I don't know if this largely be derided as a Mormon prudish thing, but I think it's kind of interesting that they've deemed pornography a health hazard. Utah governor Gary R. Herbert signed two pieces of legislation, one resolution and one bill this week in an attempt to combat what he has deemed as a sexually toxic environment caused by pornography. I don't know, what do you guys think about that, is it legislating morality or do you think it's a good idea?

Doug: Well, I think it's important to note that it hasn't actually been banned. There's no actual power behind the legislation to enforce anything. I think it's good because it's drawing attention to the fact that this is a problem. When you think about how porn is generally viewed by the public, it's gaining more and more acceptance all the time. People say that it's good and a healthy part of a person's sexuality, and to have this come out, it can be looked at as kind of prudish and overly Christian in its morality. But you know, there's plenty of non-religious individuals out there who are pointing to this as a problem and it draws attention to that.

Gaby: I found it interesting that some of the skeptics about this legislation, one is a professor of neuroscience at the University of Leuven in Belgium, he was saying that if porn was really that bad, if you looked at the number of people viewing it, there would be rapes at every street corner. That was a skeptic's approach, but after reviewing all the material for this show, maybe, that's the case, actually.

Tiffany: Yeah. Part of that was they said that pornography encourages viewers to view their sexual partners in a dehumanized way and it encourages the acceptance and enjoyment of sexual violence and harmful beliefs about women, sex and rape. I think a lot of people will dismiss it as a bunch of uptight Mormons with their magic underwear pooh-poohing sex, but I think they really do have a point. You can't throw out the baby with the bathwater. They are saying some very important things I think people should listen to. It's not going to stop anything and they're not trying to stop pornography but to raise awareness as you said Doug.

Doug: If you read some of the comments on the SOTT article, I'll give the actual title here. "Utah: Porn now deemed a health hazard," and if you look that up and take a look at the comments of the article, even they are expressing extreme skepticism and talking about how it's the nanny state and yet another thing that they're trying to control, and blah, blah, blah. So the public perception of it is surprising in many ways. I think it just goes to show if you're not looking into it and really seeing everything that goes into the issue, all the things surrounding the issue, you can kind of see this as a threat of self-expression. But it really goes well beyond that.

Erica: Yeah, I found it interesting that in those comments too Doug, it seems to be that if it's consenting adults it's not an issue. We carried an article on SOTT called "The Porn Debate: Why public health scholars should study pornography" by Emily Rothman, and she talks about studies that she's done on adolescents and it appears, at least from the article, that a lot of these young children are exposed to it. They're going to this source for what it is to have a healthy sex life, and that's really disturbing in a lot of ways because it's young boys and girls.

Doug: The adolescent brain is extremely plastic. It's just sucking up everything it can to learn. If this is the first and possibly only source of information about sex and sexuality, what kind of message is that imprinting on these young brains? What kind of effect does that actually have on an individual as they're growing up? When I was a kid, porn was basically finding my dad's stash of Playboys, which is basically nothing except images of naked women. You can argue that that is damaging in and of itself. But these days kids have access to high-speed internet and high quality video. There's a big difference there. Getting that imprinted at such a critical stage I think is incredibly damaging.

Tiffany: And in unlimited quantities 24 hours a day, and not just on your computer, because you can't always sneak and watch it on the family computer, but most people have smartphones so they can download and watch porn wherever they are.

Gaby: Actually social media is a big outlet where people are getting their porn. Facebook.

Doug: That actually surprised me when I read that. I don't have any porn popup in my Facebook but apparently these kids are.

Jonathan: It is available in some places on Facebook but, the free porn websites, these are hundreds of thousands of hours of content available for free. Like you said, high-speed, easily accessible. Back in the day - and I'm not romanticising this, don't get me wrong - you had to buy a magazine or you had to buy or rent a video, go to strip club, something like that. You had to interact with other people. Now anyone can do it completely in secret, completely unknown.

I don't want to do this too early but I think it will fit well right now if we played a clip from Ran Gavrieli. He did a TED talk on why he stopped watching porn. We have two clips from that talk and the first one would fit in pretty well right now, so lets go to that clip and we'll come back after and discuss.

Ran: I stopped watching porn for two reasons basically, the first one was that porn brought so much anger and violence into my private fantasies and these were anger and violence that were not there originally to begin with and I did not want it anymore. This was not me and I decided to just put an end to it. Easier said than done and I'll get back to it later.

The second reason was that I came to realise that only by watching porn, I take part in creating a demand for filmed prostitution because that's what porn really is, filmed prostitution. Porna- stands for prostitute and -graphia stands for documentation and prostitution was nobody's childhood dream. It's always a result of trouble and distress.

Now I became aware of that gradually when I was volunteering with men and women in prostitution, some of them victims of human trafficking, serving in brothels, under the bridge, in street corners. But, you don't really need to do all that to understand how this mechanism of porn and prostitution works. Porn is a genre, it's not about erotica or healthy communication, it's all about male domination of women, subordination of women, not only as a sexual practice but as a way of being, as a genderial hierarchy in this world.

If we were to ask porn, how does it define something as sexual? What qualifies What defines something as sexual? Porn would laugh in our face. "Whatever men find arousing." Men find it arousing to choke a woman, to have brutal sex without one touch, hug, kiss, tender caress, well then it is sexual. It arouses men to see a woman or a child cry. It is sexual. It arouses men to rape a women. Well then it is sexual. In every mainstream porn on the web, we can find the rape category, side-by-side with the humiliation category, the abuse category, the crying category, and so on. This is all as if regular porn is not already filled with these motives. Even in the mildest version of porn, what it is showing us maybe 80 or 90 percent of the time is sex with no hands involved. This is not how we authentically desires. Sorry, I'll repeat that, I see your look! {laughter} Sex with no hands involved, okay.

If you're not going to give up watching porn, the next thing you do watch, just notice that the porn cameras have no interest in capturing any normal sensual activities such as petting, caressing, making out, touching, hugging, kissing. No! What porn cameras are into is the penetration. So, normally the composition would be a man and a woman -hopefully just one man and one woman. His penis is inside her. Don't get picky. It doesn't matter where inside. His penis is somewhere inside her, okay? And in order to not block the camera for doing these extreme close ups on the penetration, he's standing with his hands behind his back most of the time. The woman is in this uncomfortable position and she needs to handle the penis inside her without damaging the hair or makeup work done on her because that's time and money invested on her, without disturbing his aggressive movements, and mainly without blocking the camera.

The result is that we got two people having sex, different shapes and acrobatics or something. But they're having sex where the only body parts that actually touch each other are the penis and the part being penetrated. No hands involved.

Now I talk, 250, 300 times a year to soldiers, students, pupils. No one has ever come up to me and said, "Ran, you know, that sex with no hands thing, that was my authentic desire. When I was 11 or 12 I never wanted to kiss anybody or touch them, I wasn't curious about any of that. It was all penetration to begin with." No one has ever said that, before porn. After porn, in my private fantasies before watching porn, there was always a very strong narrative of sensuality and mutuality which means that I had always imagined what I would say to her. What would she possibly answer? What options do I have to respond?

In real life it never works like I planned but it was super important in my mind, in terms of arousal, the build up, the location, the setting. Where will it be? What are the circumstances of her and me being all alone all of a sudden? How will this bodily inflaming between us emerge step-by-step? It was super important before porn. After making a habit of porn, it conquers your mind, it invades your brain. I lost my ability to imagine which means I found myself - and I won't be too explicit - trying to masturbate, closing my eyes trying to fantasise desperately about something human and not making it because my head was bombarded with all those images of women being violated and subordinated and forced into pretending they enjoy diabolic sperm rituals. So, this is pretty much the result.

Jonathan: I think he makes a really good point there, that it's rewiring our authentic desires. Intimacy is a real thing, and it's necessary between couples, I think.. Maybe not a hundred percent of the time. There are certainly all flavours of people and their own desires, but by and large, intimacy is something that people want. The baseline of authentic desire, especially of children, in what they think as they grow and mature and learn about what they want, is being rewired. It's turning into this complete domination.

Tiffany: Yeah. That was very disturbing. I think that one of the main purposes of porn is to disrupt the healthy bonds between men and women, between children and their parents. It's basically a psychopathic representation of sex. It's what psychopaths like, and they can't help but spread their warped world view onto the entire population. This is just one of the ways that they are doing it.

Gaby: It should be pretty traumatizing to be exposed. I don't know what age Gavrieli was when he started watching porn, but what I'm getting from this research is that very young kids are getting exposed to it, and they don't know what to do with it, what to think about it. They are getting addicted, hooked on it, night after night watching it and their lives deteriorate completely. Parents are reacting to it saying "What is wrong with my kid?"

Tiffany: It's really sad because a lot of kids just stumble into it accidentally, or maybe some kid will send them a video link as a joke saying "Haha, isn't this disgusting," or maybe they're just curious about what sex is and pretty much get sucked into this perverted world, and they become addicted and they can't get out of it. They think they're going to learn about how sex really works, what to do and how to perform. But, the effects of porn makes it so that you can't perform with an actual person.

Erica: Most parents can't talk about it with their kids either. It's just one of those hard bridges to gap. That's why I think the Utah ruling is interesting because it brings that conversation into the forefront for people. Now parents have to address it. Sorry Elliot, I interrupted you.

Elliot: No, it's okay. I was just wanted to add that I think a lot of the time children are of such a young age that it's even spanning into the pre-pubescent stage. They're not necessarily sexually developed in any way, so when they come across this material, they really don't know what to do with it, or how to process it. It can cause really deep set issues in the way that they learn to perceive what intimacy truly is, and what eroticism is, and what essentially, as Tiffany said, the bond between a male and a female. We're starting to see this among a whole generation now.

Of course, it started with the Playboy era, but it's gradually gotten so bad now that you've got children under the age of 12 years old, and this is a very common thing. You go to school when you're a kid, and you're shown these videos. This is absolutely rife. I dread to think what may be the result of this in the next 10 or 20 years and how this will span out in terms of the mental health of both men and women, and the state of human interpersonal relationships.

Jonathan: I think we're seeing that right now. I appreciate what you're saying. I think it will be worse in 10 to 20 years, but I think we're seeing results of that even now. If you poll a lot of young people - and I'm not trying to paint everybody with the same brush, of course all people are different - but there is an epidemic of a lack of intimacy and a view towards intimacy or sexuality as a power play, as an image kind of thing. We were talking about before in the show about pop culture. Doug you had said how Russel Brand was talking about how we're basically surrounded by softcore porn, just in media and advertising. I'm not sure if it's that softcore. You can squabble over the definitions. The popularity of that song Blurred Lines, I forgot his name, if you can call him an artist.

Doug: Robin, Robin Thicke?

Jonathan: Robin Thicke, yeah. If you read the lyrics to that song, it is, pardon my French, it is awful. I was going to swear there but I won't. It's awful. It's a catchy tune, but that's part of the problem. You're like "Hey, I'm going to start dancing. This is great," and it just gets into you. Not just that, the video. I had the displeasure of watching the music video for that tune, and it's even worse. I'm not a prude, but I thought "God, this sucks!" There's no redeeming value there, and it's actually kind of poisonous.

The interesting thing to me is that there's two sides to this. With any addiction, let's say alcohol, you get your pleasure centers programmed to that hit, to that hit or buzz and you can't feel other things in your life without that buzz. Porn works in the same way, like we've been talking about, more especially when it started young, but even when it's started at a later age, it rewires your pleasure response. You get a hit of dopamine when you fulfill that desire. You run grooves into your brain that says "This is what I need to do to feel this way." You begin getting into that habit, and then that affects how you live the rest of your life and interact with other people. Just like alcoholism causes you to suppress your emotions, and when you're an alcoholic and you're dry, you can't emotionally process things. You cannot deal with other people in a normal way. Just like when you're watching porn, you cannot have normal intimacy with other people. I'm not saying it's not possible, but it's a detriment.

Gaby: Related to the research available, porn isn't like any other visual task or addiction. There is actually research which shows that most of the time watching movies or conducting any other visual task sends extra blood flow to the brain region that processes visual stimuli. But not with porn. Researchers have found that porn makes the brain shunt the blood elsewhere, perhaps to other regions of the brain responsible for sexual arousal. Basically, it has the effect of quieting the brain, at least your visual stimuli, even if you're watching something visual.

Tiffany: Maybe that's where that old saying that masturbating can make you go blind comes from! {laughter}

Gaby: That's a good point!

Jonathan: Metaphorical, yeah.

Doug: Ot's controversial to say that porn is addictive. Some psychologist say "Yes, absolutely, porn is addictive. It shows the signs similar to other addictions" and others have come out saying "No, it's not addictive, it's not the same thing. To have a porn habit is not the same thing as being addicted and that you can't actually be addicted to porn." One way that I was reading about, that porn is very different from other compulsive behaviors is that, you don't technically have to stop. There are limits. There's only so much you can drink. There's only so much bad food you can binge on. There's physical limitations to how what you can do. But a porn user can spend hours upon hours upon hours looking for that next clip, searching for that perfect porn clip, whatever that would be. It's interesting in that respect because it bypasses the physical limitations that would normally be there, which is why I think it can be so insidious in that way.

Tiffany: I think it fits other definitions of addiction too. There's one video where they're talking about the four C's of addiction, and I think it relates to pornography as well. The first one is continued use in spite of negative consequences. The second one is the compulsion to use. The third is your inability to control your use, and the fourth one is craving, either psychological or physical. I think that excessive porn watching has all of those qualities. So to say it is not an addiction I think is disingenuous.

Doug: There's also physical brain processes that happen when you're a chronic porn user. One of them is sensitization which makes you hyper-reactive to addiction cues. You figure an individual who's an alcoholic walking past a bar, smelling alcohol or something like that as a cue, and it makes him want to re-engage in the activity. With porn, people have those same kind of things, sometimes even just turning on a computer can be a cue. There's desensitization on the other end of things, which means that you need an increasing amount of the stimulus in order to get the same kind of effect. You see that with drug use. People start becoming habituated to that one things, and start needing more and more of the same substance to get high.

It's the same thing with porn except with porn people are looking for more and more extreme pornography to get to the same place, whereas before it may have been naked women, eventually they're at the place where they're having to watch rape porn, or something insane like that. There's something called hypofrontality, which is a weakened frontal lobe that happens with porn addiction. That weakens your impulse control. While originally you might have been able to say "You know what? Watching porn now might be a bad idea," eventually you get to the point where it's like, "Well, my wife's out of the house for 5 minutes, so I can watch some porn while she's gone." Even though, normally your frontal cortex would be like "This is a bad idea," you start to have less of that control there, less of that voice of reason. Another the final one was the altered stress response. That's basically just that addiction makes you much more sensitive to stress, and looking to mitigate that stress with the addictive substance. So that happens with porn as well. All four of those things are hit with porn addiction as well as substance addiction. So I think it's addictive.

Tiffany: And as your watching porn and you have all these tabs open, and you keep watching, trying to find the perfect video, and it's just like this endless stream, and in the meantime while your dopamine levels rise, and you can keep them at a very high state for hours and hours. Finally, you finish off and you get this gigantic opioid hit, and it's the biggest opioid hit that a person can get naturally. It can be very addictive on the brain level, so I don't understand how people can say that there's nothing wrong with it.

Gaby: It's what I was thinking as well. It literally rewires your brain so I'm actually shocked that a professor of neuroscience is against the bill.

Elliot: If we look at the target audience for the majority of porn, I'm sure I read a statistic that most of the porn consumed or watched by the majority of people are actually between the ages of between 14 and 19 years old. On the subject of the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that allows you to think and reflect on your behavior and decide on the best thing to do in a given situation, that's actually not developed till the mid-20s, until someone is 25 years old. When a teenager watches something like porn, they are especially susceptible to being highly addicted to it, simply because their brain is not wired yet to be able to deal with that stimulus and to process it in any way. I think this is now why we're seeing an epidemic in porn addiction among very young adolescents and teenagers.

Tiffany: When you're so young, and you keep raising your dopamine levels so high, every day, day after day, year after year, your brain becomes desensitized and starts making less dopamine receptors. So you have to keep upping the ante all of the time and keep watching things that are even more disgusting and getting that shock, which plays into it too and having that anxiety which plays into the addiction as well. It's just bad news all around, at such a young age. It's not permanent, but you're causing some serious damage to your brain.

Elliot: There's a really good book I read recently, I'd recommend it to anyone. It's called Pornland: How pornography has hijacked our sexuality, and it's by a sociology professor, I think her name was Gail Dines. She talks about how this increased stimulus, like what you were saying Tiffany, how what may arouse someone at the start of watching porn, over many months, it starts to get boring. What these people are forced to do is they need this dopamine hit, so they go for more dark, more abusive, more brutal porn to fulfill this urge that they have. Eventually they start watching outright rape. She links up a lot of the sexual assaults. She gives some good statistics about how sexual assault and sexual abuse has rapidly increased ever since the introduction of pornography, and how this increased need for dopamine, this desensitization, gradually leads to this more brutal form of sexuality, which then can actually manifest in someone going out and actually attacking someone. Because eventually, the porn doesn't satisfy the urge, and therefore they're driven to take it one step further.

Gaby: Yeah, I have some statistics to support that here at hand. From all market segments of porn, child pornography is one of the fastest growing with 60 percent of domains hosted in the United States. In 2008 alone, the Internet Watch Foundation found 1540 individual child pornography domains and incidentally child pornography amounted to 82 percent of the growth in the industry from 1994 to 2006.

Doug: Wow! 82 percent?! That is so disturbing!

Elliot: The crazy thing is that, on the subject of the pedophilia and child pornography, there were a few interviews that were transcripted in that book I was talking about. Basically Gail Dines had interviewed these convicted pedophiles, and she basically asked them whether this was something that had always been with them, this attraction to children. The majority of them said that no, they weren't originally attracted to children in any way. It was only after they started watching pornography they went into this downward spiral that they actually became attracted to children because it was almost like it was so different to what they'd ever been subject to.

Tiffany: It was so forbidden.

Elliot: Forbidden, yeah.

Doug: It's got the shock value and everything.

Gaby: Here's another interesting statistics. According to Michael Bourke, he's the chief psychologist for the US Federal Marshals, 85 percent of men arrested for possession of child pornography had sexually exploited a child. Eighty percent of purchasers were active abusers, and they were at the time of arrest actively abusing children. Reinforcing the neural pathways connected to abusing or watching the abuse of children increases the likelihood of doing it yourself by reinforcing the same neural pathways.

Doug: There's a lot of evidence too that it's actually the porn that is leading to these kind of perversions, for the lack of a better term. That it is that whole escalation process, of needing more and more extreme material to be able to become turned on, or whatever the ultimate goal is. I was reading somewhere, I can't remember the article it was it in, but what it said was that one of the signs you have a problem with pornography is that you have started to take on tastes in porn that never existed prior to viewing porn. So you start getting into a weird fetish of some kind that never existed prior to you actually watching porn. That means it is a result of the porn, that it isn't actually something that is innate in you. So it's pretty disturbing when you connect the dots here and see that porn could actually be turning people into pedophiles.

Tiffany: And that's really disturbing if you think about children watching porn, really young kids, eight or twelve years old, without any prior sexual history and this is what their brain is primed to. It's like a pervert factory is what these psychopaths are churning out, basically!

Doug: Basically, yeah. It's insane.

Gaby: When I was in med school in the late '90s, the psychiatric teacher used to tell us if you see young children making drawings of genitals, that is abnormal and you should think about sexual abuse. But now, it gets to the point that even children or young kids like twelve years old are getting exposed to all kinds of sceneries. It has an effect. You see the kids in school are complaining that their boyfriends are forcing them to act out scenes that they watch in porn.

Erica: That is exactly what Emily Rothman was talking about in her article, about why she decided to start researching it. In researching pornography in adolescent health, she had some unanticipated findings about dating violence. In 2001 she analysed data of more than 300 Boston area 14 to 21 year old girls and found that nearly half of them had experienced physical or sexual abuse by a dating partner. Although the study wasn't about pornography, 34 percent of the young people surveyed had seen pornography in the last month, and had been forced or coerced to participate in sexual behavior that the predator had seen in pornography. So this is leading to this theme of sexual violence in dating or date rape.

Gaby: It's pretty shocking. There's also some research that noted that men who viewed any amount of porn were more likely to report decreased empathy for any rape victim, believe that a woman who dresses provocatively deserves to be raped, report anger at women who flirt but refuse to have sex, experience substantially decreased interest in their partners and intimacy, and report increased interest in coercing partners into unwanted sex acts.

Jonathan: Well that's huge. How many times have you heard the phrase "She was asking for it"? I think it's absolutely disgusting but I've heard the phrase a lot. It's so unfortunate. The culture has shifted in such a way. Again, I don't want to paint everybody with the same brush. I don't think respect has gone completely out the window but it is on it's way out the window.

Elliot: Definitely, certainly in the sense of respect for the female form in and of itself. In pornography, the stereotypical female usually has a very specific body type with a certain size of breasts, usually no pubic hair, funnily enough, which is markedly resemblant of children. You've got children now who've been asked, the idea of a women with pubic hair is revolting to these children. It's gotten to a point where a whole generation of children have been taught to hate the natural female form.

Tiffany: And unless you have that unnatural female form that's represented in pornography, as a woman you feel useless. Because no one is going to want to be intimate with you unless you look like some kind of porn star.

Gaby: That's why there's been an increase in plastic surgeries of labiaplasty among adolescents.

Erica: Basically the commodification of females. It's a commodity. It's a thing not a person.

Tiffany: That's your worth, it's just how you look and nothing else.

Jonathan: The beauty standard is just mind-blowing to me. I've had these conversations with people in the past. "She's hot." "She's a little bit fat," "No, she's not fat," you know? The way that men perceive women and the standards that they hold them to. Again, I hate to say this but I've heard the phrase "But the face." Everything is attractive but the face, and that's pervasive, it's everywhere. It's really, really completely distorted how we interact with women and how women interact with men. I'm not tapped into the homosexual world, but I imagine it has probably impacted that as well; how men interact with other men they might be attracted to and the same with lesbians. The intimacy in those relationships is damaged by these beauty standards.

Elliot: Yeah and you'll have certain people saying that this is an attack on women, or this is an attack on men. I think it's every human being who is subject to this filth. There's no other word for it. It's complete and utter filth because whichever way you want to look at it, the males who watch this, they're having their psychological makeup completely distorted, and that is in turn having a secondary effect on the way women are treated in society, and the way that everyone functions, basically. It's so pervasive that it filters through into almost every aspect of society. If you look at Hollywood, if you look at mainstream media, if you look at music, pornography is now being accepted somewhat, and is actually quite glorified. You have prominent people like Oprah who have porn stars on their show. That's watched by how many million Americans every day? So you have this really unnatural thing which is being made to be accepted and is apparently the norm.

Tiffany: So even of you don't watch pornography, you're still affected by it because it just saturates every aspect of our society. I don't know the exact rates but there is a study talking about Japan, how they polled this young men and asked them if they were interested in having intimate relationships with a woman. A large percentage of the men just weren't interested in having a relationship with a natural woman and they did it again a couple of years later, and it went up even higher. I don't want to point a finger at Japan. I'm sure it's the same all over the world. It just saps your natural drive to want to relate to real people.

Doug: Well, it's an actual documented phenomenon that people who are these chronic porn users have all kinds of sexual dysfunctions start to show up, one being erectile dysfunction. There's an actual thing called porn-related erectile dysfunction. What people start to find is that they are no longer able to be turned on or sexually function with an actual partner. The porn gives them such a dopamine hit that they've rewired that pathway to respond as a voyeur to these things rather than an actual participant. They no longer recognize the actual act itself. They only recognize watching somebody else do it.

Gaby: This is a psychopathic worldview imposed on the population. "With profits only in the United States of 13.3 billion dollars, it is estimated that around the world the global market power of the pornography industry is 97 billion dollars. This is based primarily on registered pornography operations and estimations which excludes the grey area of the online world." I was pretty shocked after I read that because it's like a country. The Dominican Republic has a total market power of 99 billion dollars. Pornography's right there.

Erica: From the article that you were quoting Gaby it's actually called "The Ponerization of Sexuality: Porn isn't harmless for either those watching or partaking," they talk about how fifty of the best selling adult videos, approximately 304 scenes, 90 percent included physical violence against women, so the vast majority of which are females. This means when people look without much effort for porn, it is extremely likely that they will be seeing physical violence against women, which undoubtedly increases the likelihood of themselves doing these things or finding them acceptable. Even increasing the likelihood of them accepting the rape myths. That was the stats that Gaby shared earlier about the desensitizing.

Tiffany: So even if you watch porn and don't go out and rape somebody, just the fact that you keep purchasing and clicking on certain links that show violent porn means that you're participating in the rape of the people who are participating in those movies. You're participating in sex trafficking. You're participating in pedophilia. If you create a demand for it, they're going to keep churning it out.

Jonathan: I even had a close brush with that in my early 20's. I'm a web developer, and I had gotten an offer to build porn websites from a business contact that I had. I could have made six figures a year doing that, and that was 15 years ago. It's crazy! But the people that I'm referring to, that offered me that job, were total assholes. They were wrong in pretty much every way, completely disrespectful, completely vapid, completely empty. That whole world, the very little bit that I saw was like the seventh level of hell. There was nothing redeeming about it.

Tiffany: How could you not be completely empty and completely vapid if this is your product, this is what you're putting out? You can't have a soul and do this kind of thing.

Gaby: That's right.

Jonathan: One of our chatters asks "I wonder how intertwined porn is with other addictive behavior? Does it lead to further abuse of other substances based on brainwashing, and with how much substance abuse goes on, does it not reinforce through a positive feedback loop, other addictive behaviors?" What do you guys think about that? I'm not personally familiar with any studies that link the two, say if you're addicted to porn you're going to drink or do addictive drugs or anything like that.

Tiffany: I don't know about that, but porn participants, like strippers, porn actors and actresses, substance abuse is rife within that community. You have to deaden yourself or numb yourself in order to actually participate in such things.

Jonathan: There's a documentary on Netflix called The Girl Next Door which talks about the rising modern porn industry and internet porn. It's sex, money and drugs. Just flowing, stacks of cash, stacks of coke, pills, uppers, downers, everything. Never mind alcohol. Alcohol is the baseline, that's not even the worst part of it.

Gaby: It reminds me not too long ago, these days actually, a porn filmmaker in Spain got arrested for child abuse. Apparently one of the girls was saying that she did not want to consent to participate in one of the movies but she did after she took some drugs. It goes hand-in-hand, even in the political area where you see a lot of the sex slaves in the Middle East and Syria. A lot of the abusers use a lot of drugs, hardcore drugs, it makes them very violent.

Tiffany: Yeah, how else can you lower somebody's defenses or normal reactions of disgust to what you're making them do, except to drug them?

Erica: You see it a lot in the date rape statistics with Rohypnol or "roofies" as they call them, the date rape drug. It's pretty common going out to a bar, somebody slips a drug into your drink and that's it. You black out, you have no idea what happened and it's "Oh, she was consenting," but she's not even in her mind, in her body.

Gaby: It's either drugs or death threats, literally. A famous porn star related her story in that same article, the Ponerization of Sexuality article, how she was threatened, so she consented just to protect her life.

Elliot: I was just going to say, there's a very good quote from an article by Chris Hedges. It was up on SOTT and it's called Fifty Shades of Filth: the glorification and acceptance of pornography reveals societies moral bankruptcy. The quote says:

"Pornography has socialised a generation of men into watching sexual torture. You are not born with that capacity. You have to be trained into it. Just like you train soldiers to kill. If you were going to carry out violence against a group of people you have to dehumanize them first. It is an old method."

Jonathan: Elliot you cut out for a second, can you repeat the last part of that quote?

Elliot: If you are going to carry out violence against a group of people you have to dehumanize them first. That's essentially what this is when we look at it face-to-face. Pornography is nothing but sexual torture. It's in no way respectful. It often features violence, hate. There's no love involves, there's no intimacy. It's merely reduced human beings as objects like the guy said on the video. Is it cutting out?

Jonathan: Yeah, you're cutting out here and there.

Elliot: Okay, sorry.

Erica: There was that quote in that article by Robert Jenson which basically sums up the discussion today, "Pornography is what the end of the world looks like."

Gaby: I thought that was very appropriate. There's also the relation with Rome, a fallen empire. He says that when it gets this bad as it is right now, you know that we're nearing the end.

Erica: Yeah, and how the porn industry has hijacked the sexuality of an entire culture and is laying to waste an whole generation of boys, and when you lay to waste a generation of boys, you lay to waste a generation of girls. Then, back to the explosion in sex-related violence including domestic abuse, rape and gang rape, he talks about how rape is reported every 6.2 minutes in the United States, but the estimate total, taking into account unreported assaults, is perhaps five times higher than that. That was actually a quote by Rebecca Solnit from a book entitled Men Explain Things to Me.

Jonathan: I tend to think that whatever the statistics are, it's usually higher. From personal experience, a good friend of mine started a group in downstate Michigan called the Manasseh Project which helps to raise awareness about sex trafficking and human trafficking, and does rescue work, counselling, shelter, therapy, all these kinds of things. Some of the statistics that they get, when you bear those out throughout the whole country, it's hard to think about. I tend to think that I have a strong constitution, but it's extremely hard to think about. One of those is in Grand Rapid, Michigan alone, which is not even that big of a the city, there are documented over 3,000 underage sex workers.

Erica: Yeah, there's some pretty disturbing statistics about human trafficking. We carried an article on SOTT, "Modern day slavery affecting 30 million women and children." This was back in 2012 when they were talking about recent estimates that there are currently around 200,000 children between the age of 12 to 15 who are sold to sex by pimps and traffickers every year in the United States, and that the problem is epidemic but often hides in plain sight. They tried to find bills, especially in the US, anybody trying to address this trafficking issue. In this article they had one, the Obama administration under the impulse of Secretary of State Killary Clinton. They had "Human Trafficking Prevention Month" and that was about it. Did anybody even hear about Human Trafficking Prevention Month? It just seems like "Oh, we'll just make this month, but we won't ever deal with the real issue of it."

Jonathan: No, I had never heard about that, honestly.

Gaby: I did, but I was looking for it, so I found it.

Jonathan: If you see the ability to delve into the topic, looking into the cases of actually documented and prosecuted human trafficking cases among politicians and people in power, I have some suspicion that that is part of the reason why it's not more widely known or prosecuted, is that it's a power game. Again, not painting everyone with the same brush, but there are quite a few people in high positions of government office who have been convicted, and have brought to life giant sex trafficking rings that are pervasive. They operate at a high level of efficiency, profitability and secrecy throughout the country. I don't know how many people are familiar with the guy who was a head of a credit union, somewhere in the Midwest.

Tiffany: Yeah, the Franklin Scandal with Larry King, not to be confused with the Larry King from CNN.

Jonathan: He had actually run a boys camp, and they were sold off to this ring.

Tiffany: And the Dutroux affair in Belgium ran much deeper than just this one guy.

Elliot: Didn't the Larry King scandal have very close ties to the US presidential body at that time? There were some things with high politics, I think it's similar. And then, go ahead and look at Jimmy Saville in the UK a few years ago. That whole campaign came out on Jimmy Saville, how he's meant to have abused thousands of children and he's extremely close with the British royal family, used to go out for dinner with Prince Charles and blah, blah, blah. It raises the question of "Do you think these guys really didn't know?" They didn't know what this guy was getting up to? Or was it that they were more turning a blind eye which says more about them? But it could also they're all involves in it as well. I don't know if we can ever grasp the sheer depth of how pervasive this really is.

Tiffany: Who's that friend of Bill Clinton who's in trouble now for forcing girls into sex slavery and making them have sex with his rich and powerful friends? I forget his name. It's just so pervasive through all higher levels of government and the Pentagon employees who are caught with child porn on their computers. It's just disgusting.

Gaby: It's so pervasive, that now the government is funding adolescent sex conferences, and sexual education which resembles more a manual on how to be a pedophile.

Tiffany: That was Jeffrey Epstein.

Jonathan: There's also the recent case with Dennis Hastert, speaker of the house. He had paid off his victim and is now being sentenced to fifteen months, which is essentially a slap on the wrist.

Erica: In some fancy private prison somewhere.

Jonathan: Right. It's a dog and pony show, to say 'we're punishing this guy'. Who believes that? I mean, even the judge doesn't believe that, I don't think. It says here on this article I'm looking at on CBS News: "Judge Thomas M. Durkin branded Hastert a serial child molester at his sentencing." This is some dark shit, and it's everywhere. We've talked in the past about the ability to look at everything in the world. It can be extremely difficult sometimes. You don't have to become obsessed with it, or necessarily become an expert or a researcher of human trafficking, but denying it's existence, I think is the wrong thing to do. You must at least say, "Yes, this does go on," and just sit for a moment, and contemplate the fact and the extent to which it occurs and what that means about our world, and allow that to give you some insight into the state of things.

Doug: Yeah, it's true. One of our chatters here was talking about how the widespread panic about sex trafficking has produced extremely flawed statistics. I didn't look at the link that he sent, but realistically statistics are beside the point. The fact of the matter is, if one person is being forced into some kind of sex trafficking or some kind of forced pornography, or some kind of situation, that's too much. That in itself is a terrible thing. Regardless of whether the statistics are inflated, or if there's a widespread moral panic, I think it doesn't matter. The fact that this is going on at all says a lot about our world.

Jonathan: This is not for anyone who might look at porn occasionally or even be addicted to it. This is not separate from that. It's not that you can pull up Pornhub.com and say, "Okay, I'm not involved in all of the crazy sex trafficking rings." They are intimately tied together, and it is creating the demand for that, and you become a part of that. It's important to allow that to soak into your conscience, if that makes sense. Give it a moment, and really think about it.

Tiffany: I think that people who regularly watch porn are maybe soothing themselves with the thought that the participants in those videos are doing it all of their own free will, and they're not a lot of the time. They're either drugged, coerced, threatened, beaten into doing this kind of thing. By watching porn, your supporting that.

Gaby: That's important to highlight, it's just like Gavrieli said, the video we quoted earlier in the show. This is nobody's childhood dream, if you think it is, you're ponerized, alright!

Jonathan: Speaking of Ran Gavrieli, we still have a clip that I think would still be good to play if you guys don't mind listening to that. He just talks about how invasive it can become and he makes some really good points. Let's go that and then we'll discuss afterward.

Porn is in our households whether we want it or not, and I believe it does not agree with our wellbeing, and because we have internet almost everywhere in the Western world, all over the place, in almost every cellular phone now, we've got 90 percent of twelve year-olds watching porn on a regular basis. It has both an addictive effect, and a paralyzing effect. It's addictive because you develop somewhat of a dependency for porn. The paralyzing effect is mainly for young boys and men, porn is teaching us that as a man you are solely valued in sex by having a large penis and an eternal erection.

According to porn, being a valuable sexual partner does not relate with being passionate, sensual, attentive, generous, well-coordinated. None of the above. It is all about large penis and eternal sunshine, which we don't possess. So, boys become paralyzed, and if they don't become paralyzed by watching porn, very often they turn into imitators of what they see, which means they become aggressors. Even when emotion is involved, there's so much sexual abuse going on nowadays within the confines of what we perceive from the outside as beautiful teenage love stories or healthy adult relationships, because we don't really talk about sex. We just see it all over the place. We don't really talk about it so what goes on in the confines of a certain room. These are all sexual mutations that happen.

If you talk about women, it's not only that, but young girls and women get the message not only from hard core porn, but from a porn-influenced mainstream culture. Have you seen any Miley Cyrus / Lady Gaga video clips, commercials? That's porn with clothes on. Girls get the notion that if you want to be worthy of love, first and foremost you have to be worthy of sexual desire. And now, the definition of sexual desire almost equals, be like a porn star.

I work in dozens and dozens of high schools and junior highs. In every single one of these schools I find girls who at a certain point, agreed to be documented in an intimate situation because they wanted to please some guy that she had feelings for. This guy misappropriated their trust, always the same story. So he sells it on whatever application or on the web, on the internet. Nobody even addresses him in terms of morals, but it's always girls that suffer from shaming and mortification. They change schools, or drop out, normally. They change schools, move to another city and still be haunted on social networks. They develop clinical depression, severe eating disorders, as if we don't have enough reasons in our culture to develop severe eating disorders. They become so isolated socially, so some of them like Amanda Todd, rest in peace, some of them actually commit suicide, because they find no more value in life or in themselves.

So porn is not only in our house, it is a capital case. It is not a minor phenomenon in our society. It is a question of life and death sometimes. It is mainly a question of life and death for people participating in porn because porn is not an embodiment of freedom of speech or freedom of occupation. It's an embodiment of sex exploitation, working side by side with human traffic, raping, pimping, solicitation.

For every one porn star with a book contract or a production company, we've got hundreds of thousands of women and girls who do not survive out there. Literally, they just don't make it. The sex industry just chews them up and spits them back into brothels, into the hooking industry, escorting, massage parlours with happy or unhappy ending depending on who you ask. I'm not joking. This is the whole spectrum of prostitution. So many of them don't even make it to the age of fifty. I'm talking about countries with life expectancies of seventy-five, seventy-six years now. They don't make it to the age of fifty. Four reasons mainly: Drugs, STDs (Sexually transmitted diseases), being murdered by a John, a pimp, a boyfriend, and the fourth reason is suicide, once again.

If you're a prostitute, on camera or off camera, you're in the situation that we can refer to as social death. We've all sat at the dinner table with people who probably consume prostitution, have been to a brothel once, twice, at least. We've never sat down to the table with a prostitute, not with a declared one. So that's social death. It is not glamorous, not at all. When I sit in the privacy of my room, and I watch porn, even without paying, no need to pay, I hope you know that, if you're still consuming. Whatever I'm watching is creating a demand and wherever there is a demand, there will be supply, there's a correlation. If I watch pornography of black older women, somebody's going to go out and pimp black older women. Asian minors, somebody's already trafficking Asian minors in order to film them. Israeli women, Palestinian women, WASP, All-American college girls. That's a very up and coming category.

The scum of the earth are already out there, trying to solicitate and prostitute these women on camera. So, I stopped watching porn for my personal well-being, my intimate communication, my private erotic life, reclaiming control and responsibility over my mind. By doing that I actually stopped contributing to this horrible sex industry, that's a good thing to do, I believe. And I would really like to propose the notion of physically and emotionally safe sex. Emotionally safe sex. It does not mean going back to be conservative or unliberated sexually. I'm all for sexual freedom. It just means that we need to put genderial hierarchy aside, subordinance aside and bring back in, let's just say, laughter as a critical method for intimacy.

Two souls, two humans, two souls alone in private, can they please have a laugh together? Whether I don't care if they've known each other for a decade or for an hour. If two souls alone in a room do not manage to have a laugh together, what good could possibly grow there? Sexual and non-sexual.

Jonathan: Gavrieli makes some really good points there; specifically that this is damaging intimacy, it's damaging our brains, it's damaging our culture.

Gaby: Demand is creating a supply, and I think that's very important to highlight.

Tiffany: So how can we reclaim our brains, and our culture and society from the scourge of pornography? I think the answer is by not participating.

Erica: And raising awareness. That's why I personally found this Utah resolution interesting. Again as I said on last week's show when we brought it up, not that I think it's going to solve anything, but the fact that there needs to be education, and I don't mean sex education like some of us that went to school in the 70's and 80's had, but like a real addressing of what children may be exposed to. I know that's super controversial, especially coming from an education background. "You can't teach kids about this. You might suggesting things that they were never interested in." But, from doing the study for this show, and reading the reams and reams of statistics, it's out there. To act like it's too taboo or it's too prude is completely unrealistic. It's a problem and it needs to be addressed. The fact that Gavrieli is going into high school and junior high school and giving these kinds of speeches is admirable, and I'm sure he's receiving parental backlash as a result, but it needs to be addressed. If we just bury our heads in the sand, it's just going to continue to get worse. It won't get better.

Tiffany: You have to know what it is that your fighting against. Not necessarily fighting but what you're objecting to. Because I don't think a lot of people realize how damaging pornography is, even if they don't watch it themselves. They don't realize the extent that it affects people's mental and emotional processing. I don't think they realize how deeply it goes.

Gaby: There's nothing worse than being a sex slave and not even knowing about it, you know.

Jonathan: I'm not a parent, so I say this with some reservations, because I know deeply that parents have an experience with their children that I do not have. I don't have an experience with that. However, from my perspective, I would think that, say hypothetically you catch your child watching porn, instead of saying, "You're bad, you're in trouble now, don't do that," the point is don't do that, but maybe you should engage in a discussion, and say, "What do you think that that makes you think about these woman or these man?" Have a discussion with them about the implications of it. That's one way that I think it can work, because as Gavrieli says, we don't talk about sex. There's this really strange dichotomy in culture where there's a large portion of it which is kind of prudish and don't want to talk about sex in an open way, and another part which is softcore or even hard core porn right in your face, and these two are competing for attention. Without an open discussion of what is sexuality, how does it affect you, how does it affect your partner, what does it make you think about other people, those kinds of discussion are a good first step in helping to combat against our children being influenced in this way.

Tiffany: It's important like you said to not punish people and make them think they're evil for having watched porn. We've all been duped at certain points in our lives, whether it's nutritional junk food, or mental or sexual junk food. Porn is junk and is not a real representation of sex. Things happen. You have to grow up at some point just like at some point you realise that diet is very important, what you put in your mouth is very important. What you put in your brain is very important as well. And you need to address it in the same way that you decided to, "Okay, I'm going to change my diet, I'm going to change my mental diet, as well."

Gaby: It's interesting that there is some research on Christian communities. There's an article we published on SOTT, "Why the high rates of porn addiction in the Christian community," and he talked about the shame-inducing environment among Christians in church, by priests. Regardless of that, they have these crippling porn rates, and it seems that the shame itself makes it worse. So it supports the idea of talking about it in the open.

Doug: I think it's important to realise if somebody is listening right now, or somebody you know or something like that does has some kind of issue with porn, that it can be corrected. There are steps that can be taken to get out of the habit and reset your brain. Amongst the porn recovery community out there they talk about rebooting, which is basically taking some time to avoid any kind of artificial sexual stimulation, avoiding porn, cruising Facebook looking for hot chicks, or looking at Instagram or anything that could trigger you in that way. You avoid that for a period of time and try to increase the social connection.

They talk about how it would be better to engage with a real partner. That's not always possible, especially if somebody has been locked in their bedroom for years looking at porn. They would probably not have the social skills that they would naturally have. Just engaging even in non-sexual, non-intimate scenarios. Get out there, connect. Those kinds of things are what can get rid of those ingrained pathways that have come to require this dosage of porn to subsist normally. It takes some time and it's painful, but going through that period can reset and can get you back on track.

Elliot: There's a really good resource online. If you just go into Google, and type in Your Brain on Porn, there's a massive website and there's so many resources on there. There's videos. They cite lots of scientific research, the effects it has on your brain, etc. I think there are also community forums as well. So anyone who's having trouble with that, there are places to go to, and there is information to access. I think the first step in all of this is just acknowledging that it is a problem. It's so normalized now that people just think it's normal, they accept it. When you acknowledge it for what it actually is, then you can begin to take steps towards healing.

Erica: I'd like to speak from the perspective of a parent, because I do have children and they're young women now. I can say from personal experience that speaking to your kids is the best thing you can do, but you need to be prepared for information that will shock you. I'm speaking of not only of my children but other children, because to say that this doesn't happen, or that the statistics are overrated, or it's not truthful, I can tell you, it's shocking. As hard as it is to address, I think having open, honest communication where it's not shunned - Gaby talks about the Christian statistics and whatnot - these ideas of "I'm just going to avoid it and hope for the best," is the worst approach.

To have honest dialogue, especially with your teenage boys, as a mother or as a father representing what a positive role model would be, and having that discussion. With peer influence, the statistics show it's going to cause so much more of an impact if there's no information at home. The same could be said about drugs and whatever else. From personal experience, it is frightening what these children are exposed to, and what becomes perceived as normal. All these articles that we read for this show confirm, in my own experience, what I had been thinking at the back of my mind. It's a very real problem. It is a public health issue, whether people want to address it as that or not.

Jonathan: That's a great point. Well I guess that this will be a good time to go to Zoya's Pet Health Segment for today and when we come back, we'll wrap up with some concluding comments.

Zoya: Hello, and welcome to the Pet Health Segment of the Health & Wellness Show. Today, I would like to talk to you about nutrition. Also, because I have stumbled upon an excellent article written by Dana Scott, editor-in-chief for Dog's Naturally magazine that explains the differences between cat and dog nutrition, particularly if the goal is to feed them a species-appropriate diet. As it happens, even those who would like to give their pets the best nutrition possible, still make mistakes based on various misconceptions. So hopefully, the following information will help to clarify them.

So, let's begin. There are many different types of raw feeders as there are there are breeds of dogs. You can feed your dog BARF, Prey Model, Species Appropriate or any other type of raw diet. There are a lot of ways to play. These different raw diets are similar but not quite the same. However, the goal of most of these diets is to feed our dog what mother nature intended your dog to eat. This is why we often model their diet after their closest wild relatives the wolves, who figure that this is the best glimpse into the ideal natural diet for our furry family members.

At first glance, that's a really good idea, but the problem is, most raw feeders aren't feeding their dogs like wolves at all. They're feeding them like cats. That's hardly species-appropriate. Let's take a close look at the difference between dogs and cats and how this dictates what they should be eating.

What the mouth can tell us about the diet. Search on the internet for pictures of dogs' and cats' teeth. Do you notice pointy teeth that both dogs and cats have? They are called canine teeth, and they are meant to tear and rip flesh. In fact, all of the teeth of the cat and dog are pointy, so that in addition to the pronounced canine teeth, gives us a good idea that they are both meant to eat meat. They are both carnivores. So let's compare that to our own omnivore's teeth.

We don't have those long sharp canine teeth, and if you look at the back of our mouth, you'll see the molars are flat. The job of the molars is to crush and grind plant matter. This is why we're classified as omnivores. Our teeth tell us that we have a dietary need for plant matter to a certain degree.

Now let's look again at the teeth of a dog. You can see that they have molars at the back of the mouth. They're pointier but they have them. They also have sharp inter-digitation but they are clearly there and they look capable of grinding. Compare that to the cat where the molars are very sharp and elongated and much, much less capable of grinding. So the dog's mouth is somewhere between the human mouth and the cat mouth. You might also have noticed that dogs and humans have a lot more teeth than cats, too.

Now, there is something we humans have in our mouth that neither dogs or cats have, something called salivary amylase. Amylase is an enzyme that breaks complex carbohydrates down into simple sugars. Neither cats or dogs have salivary amylase. That makes a lot of raw feeders think that dogs can digest plant matter. Apparently this imply isn't true, because amylase also lives in your dog's pancreas. Dogs have four times more pancreatic amylase than cats and the activity of the enzyme rises much more in dogs, with the amount of starch content in the diet. This means dogs can digest over 99 percent of processed starches and about 90 percent of many raw starches. The cat's ability to digest starch is more limited to none.

If we move down the digestive tract, you'll see more fundamental differences between the dog and cat. The human digestive tract averages 30 feet or 9 meters in length. Our appendix is actually the remnant of a fermentation system in the large intestine, from when we ate a more herbivorous diet. The average length of the dog's digestive tract is 2 feet or 60 centimeters. The average cat's digestive tract is 13 inches or 32 centimeters. There are more differences between the digestive system of dogs and cats. Humans as well as other omnivores and herbivores, can convert plant-based alpha linoleic acid which is a type of omega-3 fatty acid found in plants to it's useful constituents, EPA and DHA. Dogs can convert approximately 5 to 15 percent. Cats completely lack the enzymes necessary for this conversion. And finally, dogs can manufacture taurine, and amino acid from animal protein, whereas cats can't.

Clearly cats must eat a predominantly meat-based diet, but dogs are a little fuzzier in the definition. So let's take a look at what dogs eat in the wild to help us understand how the dog's physiology, or rather the wolves', dictates what he eats when he's in the wild and eating what's available to him.

So, what about wolves, what do they eat? Most scientists report very little plant matter in wolves scat, and many raw feeders will take that to mean that wolves don't eat plant matter. But the problem is, most wolves' scats are analyzed in the winter months, when it's easiest to track them. There isn't much in the way of berries and vegetation in the winter months. When wolves' scats are analyzed from the summer months, we see something different. What we see is a diet that contains eight percent grass and berries. Others also found that 74 percent of wolves' scats collected in the summer contained plant matter. American wolf expert David Mech, notes that wolves in Italy, where fruit is more available, have been shown to eat cherries, apples, plums, figs, pears, grapes and even melon. Wolves in all regions also consume grasses. Many believe this is to prevent parasites but Mech believes the reason may be for the vitamin content.

And what about wild cats? Most studies show that cats also eat plant matter but it's different to that of the wolf. In one study, 25 percent of wild cats had plant matter in their scats and another showed a higher percentage. But what's interesting is the vegetation isn't grass, fruit and berries, it's grasses and twigs. So we know that the dietary habits of wolves and wild cats also differ.

So what about taxonomy, how we group those animals? Animals and plants are grouped by scientists according to their description and identification. Dogs and cats evolved from the order Carnivora, meaning that they are carnivores. Carnivore means their diet is mainly made up of meat. But the order Carnivora splits into several groups, and you can see that dogs and cats don't share the same taxonomy. Cats and most wild cats share the same taxonomy felis. They also share the same traits, ancestry, and physiological makeup. All members of the felid family are obligate carnivores.

Obligate carnivores must have meat as the mainstay of their diet or they can't thrive. And this makes sense looking at the diet of cats which is a lot of meat and other grasses and sticks. Dogs and wolves share the Canis classification. Their needs are different than the cat and we can see from the differences in the ancestry, their anatomy and physiology. Members of the Canis family are facultative carnivores. This means they are carnivores with omnivorous tendencies. And this makes sense because dogs are much better scavengers than cats. They can thrive on a wider variety of food and the wild dog's diet shows a greater willingness to eat berries and fruits. But, don't start feeding your dogs carbs yet!

Now, if you're looking to feed your dogs kibble, or a diet with lots of those carbohydrates, you know now he can digest, don't do it. Most kibbles and cooked diets are 30 to 60 percent starch or carbohydrate. While wolves are eating plant matter, it's not starch, it's not potatoes, it's not rice and it's not corn. So why are you feeding it to your dog? In nature, the wolf or wild dog would eat on average four to seven percent of starch. And we know that most of that would come from plants and fruits and not grains.

Dogs and people have eight hormones for raising blood sugar, and only one to lower insulin. They're made to live in a world with very little starch, and on a rare occasion they have eaten too much, that one hormone is there to lower it. Pay attention that it also applies to human diet. The other seven hormones are there to raise blood sugar because starch is not normally a large part of the diet. Animal nutrition researcher Richard Patton says this constitutes literal hormone abuse. So wild dogs clearly have the teeth, digestive tract and physiology to eat plant matter, You need to stick to what they eat in the wild if you really want to feed a species-appropriate diet, and that means four to seven percent plant matter, and this shouldn't include starches your dog wouldn't find in the wild, such as corn, sweet potatoes or rice.

Now, for your raw feeders who aren't feeding any plant matter at all, you aren't feeding a species-appropriate diet either. You are essentially feeding cat food to your dog. If you are going to feed your dog a species-appropriate diet then you need to look at the species. The dog is different from the obligate carnivore cat in many ways. So what are the differences? More teeth, flatter molars, more pancreatic amylase - four times as much as a cat - more amylase activity, longer digestive tract, nearly twice as long as that of a cat, and can manufacture taurine, and cats can't. So if you don't take this into consideration, and feed your dog a small amount of berries and plant matter, then you aren't feeding a species appropriate diet. Don't make the mistake of assuming the dog isn't an omnivore like us, so he must only eat meat. Your dog wasn't made to eat our diet, but he clearly wasn't made to eat the cat's diet either.

So what is the take away message? No one can tell you how to feed your dog. But apparently, if you're feeding a meat-only diet, it's not a species-appropriate diet either. In fact, if you're not feeding hair, feather, eyes, brains and other icky parts, you're not feeding a species-appropriate diet, and your dog will be lacking in many important vitamins and minerals. Your dog needs to eat skin or he will likely be vitamin B deficient. He needs to eat wool, hair or feathers or he will probably be manganese deficient, and so on. So, are you feeding all the animal parts to your dog? This means your dog's raw diet not including some, but not all commercial raw diets are deficient. Better to keep that in mind and work on making your dog's diet truly species-appropriate.

Well, this is it for today. Hopefully this information was useful, and have a great weekend!

Jonathan: Alright, thanks Zoya. Some good points there about a species-appropriate diet. I can say for one that it's been a huge benefit for my dog. She was diagnosed with arthritis a few years ago and we were feeding her with a raw meat and raw bone diet and she's improved greatly. She's twelve years old and runs around like a puppy. It really makes a difference.

Gaby: It sounds pretty good.

Jonathan: It's been very huge. She's getting older and I can't run her as hard as I used to, but she's fit and doing well. Back to the topic of our show, just to wrap up, Erica you made some really great points there at the end, and Doug as well. I think it's important for us to approach this with a stern but compassionate eye, to spread awareness about it, not to shy away from talking about it. Since I'd mentioned it, a good friend from my childhood has worked in the rescue recovery/abolitionist movement. We have had some discussion about this topic in our family and my family is pretty conservative and it's been hard to talk about. There's a lot of "I can't believe that's true." I think that that is one of the big problems, that people just can't believe this goes one, specifically in regards to trafficking, also talking about pornography and the pervasiveness of it. Let's talk about it. Everybody have the conversation because as long as it stays in the shadows and is not discussed openly, it will continue to gain power and influence especially our young people, continue to destroy intimacy. Even now or in a few years, what are we going to have? Five percent of our relationships are actually healthy? That's a frightening idea.

Tiffany: People who can only relate to robots.

Jonathan: Right. By all means, we always advocate doing your own research. Look up not just numbers and statistics but stories. Talk to people and if you are interested in getting involved in some way there are a number of organizations throughout the country where you can volunteer your time or even just donate to help with people who have been victims of trafficking, helping with homeless youth. That's a huge problem and is also intimately tied with this whole thing, especially LGBT kids who are kicked out of their homes and put out on the street, forced by means of necessity, not necessarily coercion but they have no other alternative than to get into this kind of work. That is also tied with pornography. So when you create the demand for porn, the supply will continue and it's just the way it's going to keep going unless people talk about it and work with people who are involved in that.

Erica: It's actually the homeless children, Jonathan, and also foster children are at epidemic risk of abuses as well, physical and sexual.

Doug: And just stop watching porn. That's one of the main things you could do to help in this kind of situation. Even if you're watching, a lot of people are like "I'm not watching THAT kind of stuff," but you're still supporting the overall industry and the demand. You're supporting the people who are offering those kinds of things and creating a demand. So don't kid yourself. You're taking part in an extremely dark part of our reality just by watching that any of that kind of stuff or visiting those sites.

Tiffany: Don't kid yourself because you watch free porn either. All of it leads to it. Just don't feed the beast.

Gaby: Yes. It's the psychopathic worldview, remember.

Doug: Exactly.

Tiffany: You're paying in energy directed towards it, even if you're not paying in cash.

Erica: For all those listeners who have children, have the conversation. Don't make it taboo. Encourage your children to open up to you, because the more they feel they can freely express themselves and their questions, then the more support their going to get. As I said earlier, it's the hardest thing to do, to talk to them about it, but get some feedback. That's how these kinds of things happen, because they shy away from wanting to share or ask questions.

Gaby: If it's in the open, they have a better chance of recovering and leading a normal life, having real intimate relationships. So, yes.

Erica: Gaby, didn't you have a bit of positive news to share at the end of the show? Was there one beneficial story out of all this information that we've gathered this week? {laughter}

Gaby: Yes, it was a very sweet boy who was very popular, doing sports, then the mother one day all of a sudden notices how he deteriorates. He behaves like he went through some severe trauma or something. He deteriorated, disintegrating very quickly. One day, the mother found out that it was because he got addicted to porn on the internet. Clever mother, she spoke to him openly, and they sought help from a psychologist. He was not judged. He was not shamed. He was accepted, this happened. It was discussed in the open, and after some therapy he did recover. He went back to be his normal self and he stopped watching porn. He understood.

Erica: How old was he?

Gaby: He was very young. He was twelve years old.

Doug: He was twelve. If anybody wants to read that article, it's called "How internet porn turned my beautiful boy into a hollow, self-hating shell," originally published on Mail-Online but we've got it on SOTT, and it was on April 19th of 2012.

Jonathan: And with that let's wrap up. We'd like to thank all our listeners today. We really appreciate you sticking with us, especially through this difficult topic. We hope you were able to take something away from it. Thanks to our chat participants for taking part in the chat. We had a fairly lively chat today. Be sure to tune into the SOTT Radio Show on Sunday at noon. Have we settled on a title for that? It's the Truth Perspective, on Sunday. It is the SOTT radio podcast for lack of a better title. So Sunday noon Eastern Time, depending on where you are in the world, if you go to radio.sott.net on Sunday you will be able to see the timing in your local time zone for that show and we will be back next Friday with another topic. Thanks again everybody, and have a great weekend.

All: Good-byes.