Science and research have spoken: porn changes the brain and damages relationships. But as important as it is to raise awareness on the false, exploitive, and degrading nature of pornography, it is also important to recognize what porn doesn’t show or teach viewers about sex and relationships.

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Porn doesn’t show how much we need healthy relationships in order to be happy.

Relationships are really important for us human beings. As teens and adults, we need a variety of strong, healthy relationships in order to thrive. These includes relationships with friends, parents, siblings, teammates, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc. Healthy relationships build self-esteem, boost mental and emotional health, and help us to live overall healthier lives.[1] Studies have shown that people in committed relationships are generally happier.[2] Now, on the flip side of the coin, counterfeits like porn do the exact opposite. Porn is very damaging to relationships which decreases mental, physical, and emotional health, and is a legitimate cause of depression, anxiety, and loneliness.[3] Porn can’t even compare to the happiness and fulfillment that real love provides. In fact, it’s a straight up unhealthy “substitute.”

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Porn doesn’t show or require the sacrifice required to be with somebody.

If you’re watching porn thinking it will teach you something about sex, you’re training for the wrong game. Looking to porn for sex tips is like looking to action-packed car chase movie scenes for driver’s ed. Not only does it portray sex completely unrealistically, it also doesn’t promote healthy safer sex practices like using protection and getting tested for STIs.

And that’s not all. Porn doesn’t portray the realistic give-and-take nature of a partnership. News flash: relationships are hard. They take sacrifice. Just ask anybody in a long-term relationship; relationships require putting the needs of another before your own. John Gottman is a world renowned relationship therapist and in his research on what causes relationships to last, he found kindness and generosity to be the top two factors.[4] Couples who were kind and generous with one another were more likely to stay together and to be happy. Once again, porn is in complete contrast to that ideal. Porn is selfish and often frequently portrays selfish and even violent acts. In fact, when a team of researchers analyzed the most popular porn videos a few years ago, 88% showed physical violence and 49% contained verbal aggression.[5] Viewing physical and verbal aggression for sexual pleasure certainly doesn’t encourage kindness and generosity in a relationship.

While healthy relationships involve trust and communication, porn decreases trust and communication in a relationship and isolates the viewer.[6] It also sells the lie that being with another person does not require the effort of getting to know them, asking them out, devoting time to them, working through arguments, and getting through all of life’s messy moments together.

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Porn doesn’t show how incredibly amazing it is to truly love someone.

Yes, relationships are hard work, but porn also misses out on how awesome it is to love someone and be loved by them. Porn will never become anyone’s best friend; it can’t replace someone who loves you and fights for you. In real relationships, you can share your life with the other person. You can be with them and hear them laugh. You can fall in love with their smile, the way they talk, their sense of humor, and more importantly, their heart. Love is an adventure—a chance to take on life with all its challenges and joys with a partner by your side. All porn does is take the physical pleasure of sex and detach it from love. Instead of sex being an awesome and beautiful part of connecting a relationship and bringing two people closer together, it becomes a two-dimensional selfish, hollow act taken from a script.

Bottom line: porn misses out on the fact that while being with a real person is difficult at times, it’s always worth it. Don’t fall for the counterfeit. Porn kills love. And love is something always worth fighting for.

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What YOU Can Do

Spread the word on the harms of porn. SHARE this article and get the facts out about why it’s important to fight for real love.

Citations

[1] Johnson, Teddi Dineley. “Healthy Relationships Lead to Better Lives.” The Nation’s Health. Mar 2011. http://thenationshealth.aphapublications.org/content/41/2/20.full

[2] Chang, Louise. “People in Committed Relationships Are Happier Overall.” Web MD. 7 Dec 2005. http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/news/20051207/commitment-may-be-good-for-you

[3] Layden, M. A. (2010). Pornography and Violence: A New Look at the Research. In J. Stoner and D.Hughes (Eds.) The Social Costs of Pornography: A Collection of Papers (pp. 57–68). Princeton, NJ: Witherspoon Institute.

[4] Smith, Emily Esfahani. “Masters of Love.” The Atlantic. 12 Jun 2014. http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/06/happily-ever-after/372573/

[5] Bridges, A. J., Wosnitzer, R., Scharrer, E., Chyng, S., and Liberman, R. (2010). Aggression and Sexual Behavior in Best Selling Pornography Videos: A Content Analysis Update. Violence Against Women 16, 10: 1065–1085.

[6] Layden, M. A. (2010). Pornography and Violence: A New look at the Research. In J. Stoner and D. Hughes (Eds.) The Social Costs of Pornography: A Collection of Papers (pp. 57–68). Princeton, NJ: Witherspoon Institute.

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