The majority of our society is filled with people who are in favor of using pornography, and they don’t know/don’t care about the research showing its harmful effects. These people can often say that porn is natural and that it’s a simple “free expression of sexuality.” Other pro-porn defenders can also say that porn can help “spice up a relationship” and that it’s a great thing for “couples to watch together.”

And then there’s the porn producers and companies, who will say just about anything to get you to watch their content. They’ll tell you that porn is awesome entertainment and that there’s no harm in it. They’ll even go so far as one major porn website did when it vowed to help save the whales by donating 1 cent for every 2,000 videos watched.

Or when they unveiled a billboard in New York City’s Times Square, twisting the iconic Beatles title “All You Need Is Love” by replacing the word “love” with “hand.”

The point is, these generally uninformed people and companies try to make it look like watching porn is healthy, and that porn and love are the same thing, or that porn and real love can comfortably coexist. Their reasoning is that since sex and love are natural human experiences, that must mean porn is healthy too, right?

Related: Debunking The Popular Myth That Porn Can Be Healthy

With all these differing opinions, it is easy to get mixed up and fall into the trap of believing that a porn habit won’t hurt anyone, or that watching only a certain type of porn is no big deal.

We’re here to bring up the research that shows how porn can really harm the the viewer, their relationships, and the world. Really, there is no such thing as a healthy “type” or dosage of pornography.

Science On Porn & The Brain

One of the main reasons that porn is unhealthy is because it changes and rewires the brain. Neuroscience has shown that when you watch porn, dopamine is released in your brain. Dopamine is a feel-good hormone that is released when we do things that trigger the brain’s reward response, like eating a delicious piece of cake or riding a roller coaster. Activities like these make you feel good, dopamine is released, and your brain reinforces the behavior so it can remind you to get that reward again. This process happens with healthy things like going to a concert or playing your favorite sport, but it also happens with not-so-cool things like using drugs or in this case, watching porn.

While watching porn, the brain’s dopamine levels can be unnaturally elevated for hours on end, given the massive amounts of pornography that are streamed online. When the brain is continually being overwhelmed with these pleasure chemicals, viewers get to the point where they have built up a dependency to the feeling. And when that happens, porn becomes as much a part of a viewer’s every day routine as brushing their teeth. To feel the same level of arousal as they did in the beginning, viewers start watching more porn, more often, and with more hardcore material. It’s important to know that the brain also releases dopamine when it sees something strange, new, or shocking. Many viewers find themselves looking for harder and harder images just to get that same pleasurable feeling they originally felt with softer porn.

Related: Pain Porn: Why Half Of Adults Think Violent Porn Is Okay

It’s not just dopamine that’s making your brain crave porn, either. Another hormone is released called “oxytocin.” Oxytocin is known to increase feelings of attachment, connection, and trust. Studies show that couples in a healthy and well-adjusted relationship exhibit much higher levels of oxytocin than those in a distressed relationship. Because the hormone is naturally released during sex, watching porn triggers the release of oxytocin as well, effectively bonding the person to that experience. Over time, the bond becomes stronger and stronger until it seems unbreakable. No wonder there are so many people out there who say they prefer porn over real sex. Some people even think of porn as a trusty, old friend. Now you see why.

Bottom line: no type or amount of porn is healthy porn. Porn viewers are being bonded with the images they see on the screen rather than a real life human being. They are creating unrealistic expectations and making it hard to bond in any real relationship they might have.

That’s not cool, and it’s not worth it.

How Porn Kills Love

Studies show that exposure to pornography can lead to a decreased interest in committed relationships and less satisfaction for those who are in one. This is because porn has shown how it strips away the deeply emotional and selfless connection that intimacy creates and replaces it with selfish desire. It creates the perception that love isn’t really love if you can’t satisfy your own sexual desires. There are forums all over the internet with people saying that they can’t be sexually satisfied without porn. We think these people are missing out on the joys of a real life connection with a real person.

What about those people who say it’s okay to view porn with a partner to “spice things up”? The truth is coming out in studies, which show that what really happens is that the viewer ends up trying to imitate what they’ve seen in porn and comparing their partner to it, creating dissatisfaction during sex.

Even worse, ever heard of porn-induced erectile dysfunction? It’s a real thing and it’s becoming more and more common amongst frequent porn viewers as young as twenty-one.

Related: My Husband Has Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction & Refuses To Have Sex With Me

Talk about taking the spice right out of your relationship.

None of this sounds healthy. Does only being able to be sexually aroused from what’s made up of pixels on a screen sound the least bit sexy?

Those who think porn is a harmless and natural expression of sexuality have a tendency to stereotype those that think differently as radical crazy people. We’re here to say the harmful effects of porn are not based on religion, or politics, or anything else.

This is about science and research.

The bottom line is, no matter what the porn peddlers try and tell society, the stuff isn’t natural, it isn’t healthy, and it most definitely is not love.

What You Can Do

Help spread the word about the harmful effects of pornography and raise awareness on the misinformation being sold to society. SHARE this article and be part of this movement to stop the demand for porn.