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I have a surgery app on my phone, due to the fact that I would like to become a surgeon when I am older, but it has certain surgeries that contain a nude male or female. Such as catheterization of a male or female’s genitalia, but I do t know if this is considered pornography. I was told by a friend that it is only pornography if we like it, not to say that we can watch it if we don’t like it, but if it is in a “professional” way, such as surgery, is it pornography?




Dear Anonymous,

You are to be commended for caring about this issue so deeply. Few things are worse than the corruption of a young persons natural and biological desires, and looking at pornography is a sure fire way to do just that. Pornography is extremely destructive and the church rightfully and properly speaks out against it.

But we need to ask ourselves, what is pornography? Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart, in a landmark case on obscenity said about pornography,  “I know it when I see it.” (Jacobellis vs Ohio 1964). He was attempting to define what makes something “obscene” which is notoriously difficult.  His comment sounds vague and abstract, but there is some truth to it. Defining pornography largely depends on the context of what you are viewing, and your age. Under the age of 18, you are still subject to your parents’ rules and authority. If they don’t want you looking at something, you are required not to do so. It does not matter if what you are looking at is medical in nature-your parents’ still make choices for you. However, if you are older than 18 and beginning to decide on what you want to do for a career, that is very different.

There are many professions that have to have understanding of the human body. Morticians, EMTs, and doctors are the ones that come to mind but there are probably many more. In order to acquire the expertise needed to become proficient in their practice, I can guarantee you that the above listed professions have seen the human body in it’s natural form. No one would (or frankly, should) be taken seriously if they tried to argue that a doctor looking at a nude body for research was looking at “porn”.  So there are clearly some contexts when looking at a nude body is not only not immoral but absolutely necessary.

Your friend means well, but again “liking it” should be understood in it’s proper context. Does a doctor enjoy looking at a nude body? Perhaps they do, but not for sexual gratification. They enjoy learning about the human body and look forward to putting their skills into practice. Like many other things in life, context greatly matters in what we say and do.

As mentioned, depending on your age it might not be an appropriate app for you to be viewing without your parents’ approval. If you are under age 18, it is vital to seek their permission before using the app. Their rules can and do come first, and what they say to you trumps anything I might say. If you are of the appropriate age and using the app for research purposes and not for your own gratification, then there is no problem using the app and no, it is not considered pornographic.






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