Let’s be honest, there are a lot of differing opinions when it comes to watching porn. While we respect everyone’s right to make their own decision when it comes to porn, research is shedding light on some important truths about it: porn is harmful to those who watch it,  their relationships, and the world around us. To get more specific, we came up with three statements our current culture believes about porn that need some serious reevaluation.

We are here to debunk the myths, and drop some knowledge about what research is actually telling us about porn.

1. Porn is harmless.

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Not true. There is legitimate scientific research and evidence coming out all the time that shows how pornography is harmful in so many ways. We’re seeing more evidence about porn’s capability to change the brain, and damage a viewer’s capacity for deep intimacy with another person.

Besides the fact that porn releases chemicals in the brain that change and rewire the way it functions, porn can also harm the user’s sex life and damage their meaningful relationships. Porn teaches that women are not human beings that are deserving of respect or real, affectionate love. It teaches that women are only worth the curves of their body and how well they can satisfy a man, and that men are all well-endowed or only interested in sex for themselves. And on top of all of that, we can’t ignore the fact that porn is also inseparably linked to prostitution and to sex trafficking.

Porn is harmless?

We’re learning otherwise.

2. Porn will “spice up” your sex life.

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What sounds like a fun idea on the surface can actually be a pretty unhealthy practice for couples.

It doesn’t take too much porn for things to start potentially heading downhill. In one of the most comprehensive studies on porn use ever conducted, researchers found that after being exposed to softcore sexual material, both men and women were significantly less happy with their partner’s looks, willingness to try new sex acts, and sexual performance. Even being exposed to porn just a few times can make people feel less in love with and less attracted to their significant other, and that’s not sexy.

Beliefs and feelings aren’t the only things that change, either. For a skyrocketing number of male porn users, it becomes blindingly clear that there’s a problem when they realize they can no longer have real sex at all.

Thirty years ago, when a man developed erectile dysfunction (ED), it was almost always because he was getting older, usually past 40. As his body aged, his blood vessels would get blocked, making it harder to maintain an erection. Chronic ED in anyone under 35 was nearly unheard of, because it’s often been associated with age.

But those were the days before Internet porn. These days, online message boards are flooded with complaints from porn users in their teens and 20s complaining that they can’t maintain an erection. But for this kind of ED, the problem isn’t in their sexual organs—it’s in their brain.

Talk about taking the spice right out of your relationship.

3. All guys watch porn.

With all the movies and TV shows comically showing guys watching porn, it is easy to see why society believes this one.

But just because every human is wired to desire sex at some point, that doesn’t mean every man looks at porn or that it’s okay for them to do so. In fact, quite the opposite. For guys who are smart enough to know that porn is addictive, can damage their sex life, and is inseparably connected to sex trafficking, they don’t want any part of it.

Men can and do control themselves when it comes to sex, despite what popular culture would have us believe. To believe otherwise is to believe that men are just mindless creatures that are allowed to assault, rape, degrade, and abuse women in the pursuit of sex. The all-too-common idea that “men just can’t help themselves” or “men are visual creatures” is just a cop out. Guys are normally functioning human beings, and they have every ability to think and act for themselves. They have the capability of choosing not to look at porn.

We know thousands of guys who have decided not to watch porn because they know its harmful effects, and they don’t want it messing with their relationships. Girls shouldn’t accept the unhealthy idea that it’s normal for guys to watch porn, and men shouldn’t believe that every other guy around them watches it. We need to give guys more credit, and hold them to a better standard than that.

What YOU Can Do

If you’re not cool with these lies being promoted in society, SHARE this article and take a stand. Speak out on the harmful effects of porn and spread the facts.