10 Reasons Why Porn is Unhealthy for Consumers and Society

By KC

Lover And Fighter Crew

In our world today, we have seemed to assimilate a toxin into our understanding of a healthy life, and primarily, a healthy sex life. Can you guess what it is?

This toxin is none other than pornography. In recent years, pornography has been deemed a normal, healthy aspect to human sexuality, and that the taboo and shame around it should be obliterated.

Though we agree that shame has no place in a discussion on porn consumption, we (and a whole lot of scientific research) disagree that modern pornography promotes healthy sexuality. To be honest, we not only think that it doesn’t promote healthy sex lives—we think you simply can’t be pro-pornography and pro-sex. They are incompatible, at their cores.

If you don’t think so, check out our list of the top 10 reasons why porn is the worst for consumers and society:

1. Porn damages relationships.

Despite what the narrative around pornography says, consuming porn has been found to negatively impact relationships.

The act of consuming porn alone can hurt the consumer’s partner, [1] but on top of that, porn consumption can lead people to feel less satisfied with their partner’s physical appearance and sexual performance. [2] Similarly, other research has found that porn consumers are not as intimate or committed to their partners, [3] and are less satisfied with their romantic and sex lives. [4]

2. Porn objectifies people.

The entire premise of porn is based upon seeing people as objects or tools for the consumer’s sexual gratification. Men and women both are seen as merely parts, not as whole people; men’s faces are rarely seen and women are just a collection of body parts and orifices.

Something tells us that training ourselves to see anyone—even strangers on a screen—as mere objects isn’t the healthiest habit to get into. Research would agree.

3. Porn normalizes violence and abuse.

The “softcore” pornography of previous decades is gone, and the violent, abusive pornography of today is in full-force and completely mainstream.

In a 2010 study of the most popular porn videos, 9 out of 10 scenes contained physical and/or verbal aggression, and the victim in these scenes responded either with pleasure or indifference. [5] Some common, and popular, categories of porn include rape scenarios and incest.

Is “fantasy” really harmless when it involves fantasizing assault and other harms that would never be seen as acceptable in real life?

4. Porn promotes racism and sexism.

Porn thrives off of stereotypes: by displaying women as submissive objects willing and eager to do anything for men, and by displaying men as aggressive, power-hungry beings who long to take advantage of vulnerable people, the complexity of gender and individuality are already reduced to gross misrepresentations.

Likewise, stereotypes are used in content with non-white performers, and promotes the “taboo” of interracial relationships and leads to fetishizing certain ethnic groups.

5. Porn warps ideas about sex.

Porn changes a consumer’s expectations of sex, especially when these consumers’ are young, impressionable, and without firsthand experience in the realm of a sexual relationship. In porn, people look perfect, can (and will) have sex at any moment, and everything will be catered exactly to how the consumer wants it. In real life? Not so much.

Considering what we just mentioned about porn’s normalization of sexism, racism, and abuse, it seems like a good idea to not let porn inform our expectations or shape our sexual tastes.

6. Porn can literally change a consumer’s brain.

Our brains our able to change aspects of their structure throughout our lifetime, and some things are better at doing this than others. Unfortunately for us, pornography is one of those things. Because of how strongly porn triggers the reward center in our brain, neural pathways are built easily and get stronger, leading to the potential for the reward of pornography to be greater than sex with an actual partner. [6]

7. Porn can fuel extreme sexual tastes.

Because of how readily porn changes the consumer’s brain, porn consumption is an escalating and sometimes addictive behavior. As the consumer becomes desensitized to a certain type of porn, they will gradually turn to different, and oftentimes more extreme, types of pornography.

Chasing this intense high can lead a growing tolerance to it, creating a situation where they need pornography just to feel normal: a formula for an addiction. Click here to learn more about how porn can become addictive.

8. Porn leads people to disengage from their lives.

A porn habit or a porn addiction can pull people away from the things they love and care about most. Whether it’s their romantic relationships, their social lives, or their hobbies, porn can lead to a more isolated life for a multitude of reasons. Be it shame, depression, disinterest, addiction, etc., porn is not proven to be a tool for enhancing your quality of life—it’s shown to do the opposite.

9. Porn leads to worse sex lives.

If the previous eight facts didn’t make this point abundantly obvious, we’ll spell it out, just to be sure: porn has been shown to worsen consumers’ sex lives.

Porn warps a consumer’s expectations of sex, re-shapes their sexual tastes (usually for the worst), leaves them less satisfied with intimate sexual encounters and with their partner, and oftentimes leads to less sex overall. [7]

10. Porn facilitates sex trafficking.

The connections between pornography and sex trafficking are daunting. Consider the facts: pornography increases demand for trafficking by providing an outlet for people to imitate what they’ve fetishized in porn, porn consumption is linked to violence, victims of trafficking are often “groomed” and desensitized with pornography, [8] and people who grow up where porn is regularly consumed are more likely to be trafficked in their life. [9]

Most importantly than all that, though, porn and sex trafficking are often the same thing, and there’s no real way to tell if the porn you’re consuming is of an individual who has been a victim of human trafficking in some way or another.

Multiple research studies, similar conclusions

Ultimately, the research is clear: porn is harmful to consumers, relationships, and society at large. If you’re interested in living a healthy, full life, free from contributing to sexual exploitation or an industry that profits from sexualizing illicit and exploitative behavior, steer clear from porn.

Citations

[1] Kalman, T. P., (2008). Clinical Encounters with Internet Pornography, Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry, 36(4), 593-618. doi:10.1521/jaap.2008.36.4.593; Bergner, R.M., & Bridges, A. J. (2002). The significance of heavy pornography involvement for romantic partners: Research and clinical implications. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 28, 193-206. doi:10.1080/009262302760328235; ] Bridges, A. J., Bergner, R. M., & Hesson-McInnis, M. (2003). Romantic Partners’ Use of Pornography: Its Significance for Women. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 29(1), 1-14. doi:10.1080/713847097; Schneider, J. P. (2000). Effects of Cybersex Addiction on the Family: Results of a Survey. Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity, 7(1), 31-58. doi:10.1080/10720160008400206
[2] Zillman, D. & Bryant, J. (1988) Pornography’s impact on sexual satisfaction. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 18, 438-453. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1988.tb00027.x
[3] Park, B. Y., et al. (2016). Is internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunction? A Review with Clinical Reports, Behavioral Sciences, 6, 17. doi:10.3390/bs6030017; Minarcik, J., Wetterneck, C. T., & Short, M. B. (2016). The effects of sexually explicit material use on romantic relationship dynamics. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 5(4) 700-707. doi: 10.1556/2006.5.2016.078; Sun, C., Bridges, A., Johnason, J., Ezzell, M., (2014). Pornography and the Male Sexual Script: An Analysis of Consumption and Sexual Relations. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 45, 1-12. doi:10.1007/s10508-014-0391-2; Maddox, A. M., Rhoades, G. K., & Markman, H. J. (2011). Viewing Sexually-Explicit Materials Alone or Together: Associations with Relationship Quality. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40(2), 441-448. doi:10.1007/s10508-009-9585-4; Bergner, R. M., & Bridges, A. J. (2002). The significance of heavy pornography involvement for romantic partners: Research and clinical implications. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 28, 193-206. doi:10.1080/009262302760328235; Minarcik, J., Wetterneck, C. T., & Short, M. B. (2016). The effects of sexually explicit material use on romantic relationship dynamics. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 5(4) 700-707. doi: 10.1556/2006.5.2016.078; Maddox, A. M., Rhoades, G. K., & Markman, H. J. (2011). Viewing Sexually-Explicit Materials Alone or Together: Associations with Relationship Quality. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40(2), 441-448. doi:10.1007/s10508-009-9585-4
[4] Minarcik, J., Wetterneck, C. T., & Short, M. B. (2016). The effects of sexually explicit material use on romantic relationship dynamics. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 5(4) 700-707. doi: 10.1556/2006.5.2016.078; Morgan, E. M. (2011). Associations between Young Adults’ Use of Sexually Explicit Materials and Their Sexual Preferences, Behaviors, and Satisfaction. Journal of Sex Research, 48(6), 520-530. doi:10.1080/00224499.2010.543960; Maddox, A. M., Rhoades, G. K., & Markman, H. J. (2011). Viewing Sexually-Explicit Materials Alone or Together: Associations with Relationship Quality. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40(2), 441-448. doi:10.1007/s10508-009-9585-4; Yucel, D. & Gassanov, M. A. (2010). Exploring actor and partner correlates of sexual satisfaction among married couples. Social Science Research, 39(5), 725-738. doi:10.1016/j.ssresearch.2009.09.002
[5] Bridges, A. J., Wosnitzer, R., Scharrer, E., Sun, C. & Liberman, R. (2010). Aggression and Sexual Behavior in Best Selling Pornography Videos: A Content Analysis Update. Violence Against Women, 16(10), 1065–1085. doi:10.1177/1077801210382866
[6] Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. (104) New York: Penguin Books.; Park, B. Y., et al. (2016). Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review with Clinical Reports. Behavioral Sciences, 6, 17. doi:10.3390/bs6030017; Volkow, N. D., Koob, G. F., & McLellan, A. T. (2016). Neurobiological Advances from the Brain Disease Model of Addiction. New England Journal of Medicine, 374, 363-371. doi:10.1056/NEJMra1511480; Love, T., Laier, C., Brand, M., Hatch, L., & Hajela, R. (2015). Neuroscience of Internet Pornography Addiction: A Review and Update, Behavioral Sciences, 5(3), 388-433. doi: 10.3390/bs5030388; Voon, V., et al. (2014). Neural Correlates of Sexual Cue Reactivity in Individuals with and without Compulsive Sexual Behaviors, PLoS ONE, 9(7), e102419. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102419; Hilton, D. L. (2013) Pornography addiction—a supranormal stimulus considered in the context of neuroplasticity. Socioaffective Neuroscience and Technology 3. 20767. doi:10.3402/snp.v3i0.20767; Wang, Y., Ghezzi, A., Yin, J. C. P., & Atkinson, N. S. (2009). CREB regulation of BK channel gene expression underlies rapid drug tolerance. Gene Brains Behavior, 8(4) 369-376. doi:10.1111/j.1601-183X.2009.00479.x; Angres, D. H. & Bettinardi-Angres, K. (2008). The Disease of Addiction: Origins, Treatment, and Recovery. Disease-a-Month 54: 696–721.
[7] Park, B. Y., et al. (2016). Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review with Clinical Reports. Behavioral Sciences, 6, 17. doi:10.3390/bs6030017; Voon, V., et al. (2014). Neural Correlates of Sexual Cue Reactivity in Individuals with and without Compulsive Sexual Behaviors, PLoS ONE, 9(7), e102419. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102419; Kalman, T. P., (2008). Clinical Encounters with Internet Pornography, Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry, 36(4), 593-618. doi:10.1521/jaap.2008.36.4.593; Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. New York: Penguin Books; Paul, P. (2007). Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families. New York: Henry Hold and Co., 105..
[8] Dr. Karen Countryman-Roswurm, LMSW, Ph.D. Interview || Truth About Porn [Video file]. (2016, December 28). Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/190317258
[9] Countryman-Roswurm, Karen (2017). Primed for Perpetration: Porn And The Perpetuation Of Sex Trafficking. Guest blog for FTND, retrieved from https://fightthenewdrug.org/fighting-sex-trafficking-absolutely-includes-fighting-pornography/

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