The Price of Porn

A little over a week ago, someone attempted to blackmail me. On August 12, I received this message in an e-mail:

Hope you do not really mind my english language sentence structure, because i'm from Germany. I infected your system with a trojan and now have all of your private data out of your operating system.

It previously was set up on an adult page then you have selected the video and clicked on it, my program instantly got into your os.

And then, your cam documented you soloing, also i caught a footage that you've seen.

Just after a little while this also pulled out your device contacts. If you ever wish me to clear off your everything i have got -- transfer me 450 dollars in bitcoin it is a cryptocurrency. [An account address was given.]

At this moment you will have 24 hours. to make a decision The minute i will receive the deal i'll get rid of this footage and every little thing entirely. Otherwise, you should remember that your video is going to be submitted to all your contacts.

Though it wasn’t the case in my instance, to heighten the level of threat, sometimes these e-mail scams even contain passwords used by the recipient. This is a new type of scam dreamed up by criminals seeking to prey on those who, because of their immoral behavior, have made themselves vulnerable to such a scheme.

Having never before received such a message, I was taken aback. However, because I knew that I had not done what the accuser had claimed -- and because of the bad grammar and other clues -- I was never frightened that the threat was real. I suppose a clear conscience is worth at least $450.

Evidently, some have been frightened enough to fork over the money. Business Insider reports that according to analysis of bitcoin wallets, “Some scammers have even made over $50,000 from the blackmail scheme.” To paraphrase Proverbs (28:1), though the threat is empty, the guilty will pay.

The ability to hack into other digital lives, along with the rampant use of online pornography, have much such a scam possible and profitable. As I’ve noted recently (more than once), the plague of porn has resulted in obscene numbers for obscene behavior. Consider:

People watched 4,392,486,580 hours of porn on PornHub in 2015. Just to put that in perspective, that means that in one year, people around the world spent 501,425 years watching pornography—on one porn site.

On PornHub, people watched 87,849,731,608 porn videos. As the porn site hastened to point out, that’s 12 porn videos viewed for every single person on the planet.

With numbers such as those, it’s little wonder that savvy criminals thought they could dupe more than a few into literally paying for their sin. If one sends out 10,000 threatening emails, the odds are in one’s favor that a large portion of the recipients are indeed porn users. And among the users, there’s probably no small number trying to keep their lurid online life a secret. Almost certainly there are more than a few husbands, wives, politicians, teachers, and even ministers and pastors who would gladly pay $500 to $1,000 -- maybe more -- to keep their porn lives from becoming public knowledge.

At $500 per recipient, with 10,000 emails, the scammers have to have only a one percent “success” rate in order to net $50,000. What’s more, when our conscience is troubled, our thinking is not clear, and we become easy targets for criminals. If we’re sweating whether someone really does know our sin, we often miss clues such as bad grammar, the absence of our name in the email, and so on, that might reveal the scam.

As we’ve become a culture nearly bereft of shame, sadly, many Americans would probably not care if their porn use was publicized. As the previous link reveals, when you concoct a foolish song and dance that hails your “sex junk,” declares that “sexuality’s a spectrum,” and demands that “Sex how you want it; It’s your god*amn right!” are you really going to care if anyone knows of your porn habit?

A few have even become rich and famous because they turned their personal lives into a porno. How many so-called celebrities have become well-known millionaires because a sex tape was “leaked?” How many others will be lured into trying the same, hoping to get similar results? Either way -- whether or not earthly fame and fortune are achieved -- lives are ruined.

Miriam Weeks -- aka Belle Knox -- the infamous Duke freshman who decided to pay for college with a career in the porn industry, describes her first scene as a porn star:

“I remember getting naked, and the guy said, ‘You have cuts on your legs. You're a cutter.’ He could tell I had written the word ‘fat’ in my thigh, so he started calling me fat.” Once they called “action,” she was pushed to the ground and slapped. “And I said, ‘Stop, stop, stop. No, no.’ And then they stopped, and they were like, ‘We have to keep going.’”

“And I was like, ‘Just please don't hit me so hard.’ But it went on like that, me getting hit, pushed, spit on. I was being told I was fat, that I was a terrible feminist, was going to fail all my classes, was stupid, dumb, a slut. But I got through it. You know how you kind of zone out sometimes? I just disassociated.’

She just “disassociated.” Nevertheless, Miss Weeks went on to complete her brief porn “career” and graduate from Duke -- where she majored in, of course, “Women’s Studies” and “Sociology.” She is now -- of course -- in law school in New York. Is there any doubt she will soon be donning a vagina hat, joining in the #metoo chorus, lamenting the plight of women and telling us to vote for Democrats?

One of the great lies of the porn industry, whether for a participant or a consumer, is that one can simply “disassociate” such activity from the rest of one’s life and whenever you like, just leave it behind. It’s a terrible lie. Whether disease, death, or despair, for decades now, porn use has wrought havoc on an addicted American culture. Divorce, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual assault, child sexual abuse (even in the church!), and other wickedness has roots in, or ties to the use of pornography. Thus, whether or not you are duped into paying blackmail, you will pay for your porn use. There is a way out. Confess, repent, and get help from those who know well your plight.

Trevor Grant Thomas

At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.

Trevor is the author of The Miracle and Magnificence of America

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