Life can be tough. And porn, so readily available, always stands as a mindless escape to delay facing challenges. That doesn’t mean it’s healthy for viewers to log on whenever they want to get distracted from or escape reality.

Life Isn’t Improved With Porn

One of the most attractive promises of porn is that there’s never rejection, and there’s always pleasure, and there’s always someone willing to say “yes” to acting out a fantastical sex act, no matter how impossible or humiliating. Porn never says no, porn is always accessible, and porn sells itself as always being sexier, kinkier, and better than any sexual experience with a real person could be. At the end of the day, it’s all a complete fantasy, and will often leave the viewer feeling emptier and lonelier than before.

Having an interest in porn is actually a pretty human response—it just means the viewer has a hardwired sex drive, or interest in sex. Often, a viewing habit can start from being exposed to a single image by accident. Then, looking for it can turn into a routine. Then, the viewer can become dependent on that routine for an escape from reality. And the cycle continues, until the viewer is watching videos that would have previously been disgusted or horrified by, but they can’t seem to stop.

Related: Why Watching Porn Is An Escalating Behavior

The fact is, pornography doesn’t just physically change and rewire the pathways in the brain, it can also become a mental crutch that keeps the viewer coming back for more by hooking them in and crippling their willpower to stay away from it.

Think of it this way: when humans experience negative emotions—feeling stressed, angry, hurt, or lonely—our brain doesn’t like it. Naturally, we are programmed to look for things that give us pleasure and make us feel happy, not instigate feelings of discomfort or pain. Porn, just like drugs or other harmful/addictive behaviors, offers a promise of pleasure and (temporary) relief. When watching porn, the brain is flooded with the pleasure chemicals like dopamine, which momentarily block out negative emotions. But not for long.

What Goes Up Must Come Down

After the mental high, the viewer’s dopamine levels return to normal. At that point, the viewer finds them self not being able to think about anything but getting back to that heightened feeling, the rush that feels awesome. The more the viewer is exposed to porn, the harsher the “come down” is and the more boring normal activities become. Just like any other unhealthy escape, watching porn often leads to wanting more, but wanting more doesn’t necessarily lead to liking it more.

Eventually, the viewer will need more porn, more often, and in harder versions to get the same thrill.

We don’t think there’s a better illustration of the power of addiction than a brilliant animated video titled, Nuggets. Watch the video below to see the nature of addiction and why consumers of addictive substances/behaviors find themselves chasing a feeling that will never ultimately satisfy.

Escape the Vicious Cycle

In a simplified way, this is how porn-induced compulsion looks and feels, except with bigger doses each time, causing bigger crashes.

Not only is this physical/chemical aspect involved in compulsive porn consumption, but viewers can actually become emotionally dependent upon pornography as well. The fantasy of porn is that it is all about control. It gives the viewer a false sense of power, endlessly clicking to find the “perfect clip” of their ideal body, situation, or sex act. The limitless fantasy world of internet porn masks the fact that it is nothing more than a hollow escape disguised as a quick release with no side effects.

Related: How Porn Can Become Addictive 

And just like any other drug or addictive behavior, people turn to porn when they experience negative emotions that they don’t want to cope with. Counselor Kurt Smith, in his article Why Men Watch Porn states it simply; “The real world has a lot of stress and uncertainty. The world of porn is predictable and controllable.” Porn offers the consumer, both men and women, complete control and reinforces every click of new shocking material with a rush of chemicals to the brain.

Boredom Is Porn’s Best Friend

However, it is not just negative emotions that make porn viewers turn to their fix. One blogger on a popular worldwide Reddit group, NoFap, dedicated to helping people overcome porn addiction, says that “boredom is often the surprising cause of watching porn. Why? Because boredom is uncomfortable. So we try to fix it with porn. The problem is, the boredom will keep coming back because porn is not a sustainable way to combat uncomfortable feelings.”

Related: How Porn Affects The Brain Like A Drug

See? Watching porn can create big physical, psychological and emotional problems. Just like any other compulsive behavior, those who watch porn frequently find that they can’t stop doing it and think that getting more of it will make it all better. However, research has shown that it will only leave viewers feeling depressed, anxious, and more out of control than ever.

Basically, porn is just a never-ending fountain of lies. Getting tangled up in pornography is the perfect recipe to destroy any healthy relationships, sense of reality, and self-worth. No matter the temporary feelings of escape, watching isn’t worth it.

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What YOU Can Do

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