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3 Reasons Why Choosing to Not Watch Porn is Sex-Positive

Porn is actually the definition of sex-negative. Here are three reasons that explain why not watching porn is a pretty sex-positive choice.

By January 11, 2022No Comments
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Disclaimer: Some of the organizations discussed in the following article are religiously-affiliated. Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and non-legislative awareness and education organization hoping to provide access to resources that are helpful to those who need support. Including links and discussions about these organizations does not constitute an endorsement by Fight the New Drug.

When the term anti­-porn is thrown around, people automatically assume that it is synonymous with anti-­sex, but we’re here to re-educate on why that isn’t true. Here at Fight the New Drug, we are just the opposite of anti-sex. Sex is awesome. And we want everyone to know why.

In fact, because we are all about infusing more sexiness into the world, we’re raising awareness on the harmful effects of porn.

Related: 50 Good Reasons To Stop Watching Porn Forever

Sex is natural and normal, something to be desired by everyone. Sex is an important part of committed, loving relationships. As humans, we are wired to need love, to feel loved, and we have the desire to be sexual with another person to express that intimacy.

And while that is all healthy, there is a twisted counterfeit that seeks to hijack this natural wiring: porn.

Pro-sex, anti-porn: what does it mean?

Let’s look at a breakdown of the issue in this simple list, created by Educate Empower Kids:

If being anti-porn does not equal being anti-sex, then what could it mean?
Anti-porn = anti-misogyny
Anti-porn = anti-sexism
Anti-porn = anti-violence against women
Anti-porn = anti-objectification and sexual exploitation
Anti-porn = anti-humann trafficking

And if being anti-porn does not equal being anti-sex, what could it mean?
Pro-sex = pro-healthy sexuality
Pro-sex = pro-intimacy
Pro-sex = pro-gender equality
Pro-sex = pro-respect
Pro-sex = pro-humanity

The fact is, pornography distorts people’s perceptions of sex, intimacy, body image, sexual performance, and much more. The research on how porn affects how you view yourself, your partner, and your relationships in general is pretty condemning to the idea that porn “helps” your sex life. It actually hurts it in a big way.

The bottom line is that porn is actually the definition of sex-negative. Here are three reasons (among many) that explain why not watching porn is one of the most sex-positive things you can do.

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1. Anti-porn does NOT Mean anti-sex

The argument that being anti-porn must mean that you’re a sexually awkward prude doesn’t add up.

When we think about the differences between sex in real life with a real partner and the sex facade that porn sells, it makes no sense to lump anti-porn and anti-sex together. Porn is not sex, and sex is not porn.

Related: Being Anti-Porn And Pro-Sex Is Not Only Possible, It’s Necessary

Dr. Gail Dines, a professor of sociology and women’s studies, has a great comeback for those who equate the anti-porn movement with being anti-sex:

To assume that if you are against pornography you’re against sex, is to assume that anyone who criticizes McDonald’s is anti-eating… Why can’t they see that it is the same thing when it comes to pornography and sex?

Her point: porn is the worst portrayed version of sex, just like junk food is the worst form of food. Porn is cheap, unhealthy, and destructive to our perception of what sex is. Porn is collectively harming our generation’s ideas about what healthy and safe sex look and feel like.

Dr. Dines also summed up our society’s concerning porn culture in her book, Pornland:

“In a world populated by women who are robotic ‘sluts’ and men who are robotic studs, the sex is going to be predictably devoid of any intimacy: Porn sex is not about making love, as the feelings and emotions we normally associate with such an act—connection, empathy, tenderness, caring, affection—are replaced by those more often connected with hate—fear, disgust, anger, loathing, and contempt. In porn, the man makes hate to the woman, as each sex act is designed to deliver the maximum amount of degradation.”

Related: 10 Differences Between Healthy Sex And The Sex Porn Portrays

When has human exploitation and degradation ever been a healthy, positive thing for our society?

Love and real relationships, however, are very positive things for our society. And recognizing the harms of porn is actually a very pro-sex stance because avoiding romanticized versions of abusive relationships can only benefit you sexually in the long run.

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2. Porn does the opposite of “spicing up” a relationship

Sex is an awesome part of a loving relationship. Having sex with someone you love can be one of the most freeing experiences, especially when there’s no self-consciousness and you can be together with your partner, exactly as you both are.

And while sex is natural and normal, porn is something entirely different. Make no mistake, porn is a product. Pornographers have a lot to gain by driving traffic to their sites, so they dress up their product to grab your attention. That “dressing up” is exactly what makes porn so unnatural.

This is especially concerning, considering that porn can shape the way people think about sex. Despite how unrealistic pornography is, research indicates that many young people report trying to copy porn in their own sexual encounters, and that the pressure to imitate porn was often an aspect of unhealthy relationships.Rothman, E. F., Kaczmarsky, C., Burke, N., Jansen, E., & Baughman, A. (2015). 'Without Porn … I Wouldn't Know Half the Things I Know Now': A Qualitative Study of Pornography Use Among a Sample of Urban, Low-Income, Black and Hispanic Youth. Journal of sex research, 52(7), 736–746. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2014.960908COPY  Studies also show that increased pornography consumption is associated with the enjoyment of degrading, uncommon, or aggressive sexual behaviors.Ezzell, M. B., Johnson, J. A., Bridges, A. J., & Sun, C. F. (2020). I (dis)like it like that: Gender, pornography, and liking sex. J.Sex Marital Ther., 46(5), 460-473. doi:10.1080/0092623X.2020.1758860COPY  And a number of other studies also show that the sexual scripts in pornography can socialize consumers toward sexual aggression,Wright, P. J., Tokunaga, R. S., & Kraus, A. (2016). A meta-analysis of pornography consumption and actual acts of sexual aggression in general population studies. Journal of Communication, 66(1), 183-205. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/jcom.12201COPY  cheating,Rasmussen, K. (2016). A historical and empirical review of pornography and romantic relationships: Implications for family researchers. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 8(2), 173-191. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/jftr.12141COPY  and risky sexual behaviors.Koletić G. (2017). Longitudinal associations between the use of sexually explicit material and adolescents' attitudes and behaviors: A narrative review of studies. Journal of adolescence, 57, 119–133. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2017.04.006COPY Wright, P. J., & Bae, S. (2016). Pornography and male socialization. In Y. J. Wong & S. R. Wester (Eds.), APA handbooks in psychology®. APA handbook of men and masculinities (p. 551–568). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/14594-025COPY 

Related: What Porn Performers Are Really Thinking When They’re Having Sex On Camera

When someone regularly consumes porn, they can become accustomed to being aroused by the imagery and endless novelty found in porn.Bőthe, B., Tóth-Király, I., Griffiths, M. D., Potenza, M. N., Orosz, G., & Demetrovics, Z. (2021). Are sexual functioning problems associated with frequent pornography use and/or problematic pornography use? Results from a large community survey including males and females. Addictive Behaviors, 112, 106603. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2020.106603COPY Hilton D. L., Jr (2013). Pornography addiction - a supranormal stimulus considered in the context of neuroplasticity. Socioaffective neuroscience & psychology, 3, 20767. https://doi.org/10.3402/snp.v3i0.20767COPY  Pretty soon, natural turn-ons and real relationships aren’t enough, and many porn consumers find they can’t get aroused by anything but porn.Park, B. Y., Wilson, G., Berger, J., Christman, M., Reina, B., Bishop, F., Klam, W. P., & Doan, A. P. (2016). Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review with Clinical Reports. Behavioral sciences (Basel, Switzerland), 6(3), 17. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs6030017COPY 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.0102419COPY 

Ironically, despite porn’s promise of improving consumers’ sex lives, there is growing evidence that porn consumption is linked to sexual dysfunction. Research indicates that compulsive pornography consumption is directly related to erectile dysfunction,Park, B. Y., Wilson, G., Berger, J., Christman, M., Reina, B., Bishop, F., Klam, W. P., & Doan, A. P. (2016). Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review with Clinical Reports. Behavioral sciences (Basel, Switzerland), 6(3), 17. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs6030017COPY  sexual dysfunction for both men and women,Bőthe, B., Tóth-Király, I., Griffiths, M. D., Potenza, M. N., Orosz, G., & Demetrovics, Z. (2021). Are sexual functioning problems associated with frequent pornography use and/or problematic pornography use? Results from a large community survey including males and females. Addictive Behaviors, 112, 106603. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2020.106603COPY  problems with arousal and sexual performance,Sun, C., Bridges, A., Johnson, J. A., & Ezzell, M. B. (2016). Pornography and the Male Sexual Script: An Analysis of Consumption and Sexual Relations. Archives of sexual behavior, 45(4), 983–994. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-014-0391-2COPY  difficulty reaching orgasm,Bőthe, B., Tóth-Király, I., Griffiths, M. D., Potenza, M. N., Orosz, G., & Demetrovics, Z. (2021). Are sexual functioning problems associated with frequent pornography use and/or problematic pornography use? Results from a large community survey including males and females. Addictive Behaviors, 112, 106603. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2020.106603COPY  and decreased sexual satisfaction.Szymanski, D. M., & Stewart-Richardson, D. N. (2014). Psychological, Relational, and Sexual Correlates of Pornography Use on Young Adult Heterosexual Men in Romantic Relationships. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 22(1), 64–82. https://doi.org/10.3149/jms.2201.64COPY 

Watch our interview with Gabe Deem, founder of Reboot Nation, a site dedicated to helping men “reboot” their brains and overcome porn-induced erectile dysfunction.

Gary Wilson, author of Your Brain On Porn, said this in an interview:

“By the time they find real partners, perhaps as much as a decade later, some guys discover they have trained intensely… for the wrong sport. (These young men) had simply conditioned their sexual response to screens, isolation, constant novelty, shock/surprise, fetish porn and watching other people have sex. Their erection problems with real partners resolved only months after they quit porn.”

…Talk about taking the spice right out of the relationship.

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3. Real love is sexier than a digital or abusive counterfeit

Porn is not real. It’s literally pixels on a screen made up by the exaggeration of strangers having scripted, choreographed sex who have been edited, photoshopped, and surgically altered.

There is nothing real about it. The viewer doesn’t even know porn actors’ real names, who they are as people, or how they even got there. And the actors will never know or truly care for the viewers.

Learning about sex from porn also means absorbing a lot of dangerous ideas about sexuality and women.Mikorski, R., & Szymanski, D. M. (2017). Masculine norms, peer group, pornography, Facebook, and men’s sexual objectification of women. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 18(4), 257-267. doi:10.1037/men0000058COPY  Research estimates that as few as 1 in 3 porn videos (33.9%) and as many as 9 in 10 videos (88.2%) portrays violence or physical aggression, and that women are the targets of aggression 97% of the time.Fritz, N., Malic, V., Paul, B., & Zhou, Y. (2020). A Descriptive Analysis of the Types, Targets, and Relative Frequency of Aggression in Mainstream Pornography. Archives of sexual behavior, 49(8), 3041–3053. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-020-01773-0COPY 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. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801210382866COPY 

And while many people turn to amateur porn, which claims to be more natural and “ethical”, research suggests that amateur porn usually teaches the same toxic attitudes and reproduces the same false stereotypes as professionally produced porn—in fact, it’s often worse!Klaassen, M. J., & Peter, J. (2015). Gender (In)equality in Internet Pornography: A Content Analysis of Popular Pornographic Internet Videos. Journal of sex research, 52(7), 721–735. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2014.976781COPY 

Related: 5 Essential Sex-Positive Traits That Mainstream Porn Doesn’t Support

Another reason why some porn consumers struggle with their sexual health and understanding is because of the nature of porn itself. Porn portrays people as little more than bodies that exist for the viewer’s sexual pleasure.  Unfortunately, those unhealthy perceptions can start creeping into how consumers see themselves and other people in real life. For example, research has found that pornography consumption is associated with increased objectification,Mikorski, R., & Szymanski, D. M. (2017). Masculine norms, peer group, pornography, facebook, and men’s sexual objectification of women. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 18(4), 257-267. doi:10.1037/men0000058COPY  greater acceptance of violence against women,Wright, P. J., & Tokunaga, R. S. (2016). Men's Objectifying Media Consumption, Objectification of Women, and Attitudes Supportive of Violence Against Women. Archives of sexual behavior, 45(4), 955–964. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-015-0644-8COPY  and actual acts of sexual violence.Wright, P. J., Tokunaga, R. S., & Kraus, A. (2016). A meta-analysis of pornography consumption and actual acts of sexual aggression in general population studies. Journal of Communication, 66(1), 183-205. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/jcom.12201COPY 

With habitual porn consumption, it can become more difficult for consumers to see themselves and others as anything more than sexual objects, and as a result, it can be more challenging to develop and nurture real relationships.Tylka, T. L., & Kroon Van Diest, A. M. (2015). You Looking at Her “Hot” Body May Not be “Cool” for Me: Integrating Male Partners’ Pornography Use into Objectification Theory for Women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 39(1), 67–84. https://doi.org/10.1177/0361684314521784COPY 

“There’s a certain way of experiencing sexual arousal that is the opposite of closeness,” said Dr. Gary Brooks, a psychologist who has worked with porn addicts for the last 30 years. “At best, it can be managed somewhat by some people, but most of the time it creates a barrier that poisons relationships.”Interview with Dr. Gary Brooks, Oct. 23, 2013.COPY 

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Don’t buy the lies

Porn doesn’t care about its audience. Porn producers’ only goal is to keep consumers returning so they can continue making money. Porn couldn’t care less if consumers ruin their lives or relationships while they sit in front of a screen and continue to buy into their toxic lies.

Related: Why Quitting Porn Is Like Giving A Sex-Positive Gift To Your Relationship

Love is very much real and very much more satisfying than any synthetic version could be. Our brains are wired to connect with people, not with a device that cannot interact or relate back to us. Love is what makes us thrive as individuals and as a society, and love is the sexiest thing out there.

Also, it matters where you’re getting your sexual inspiration from—because you deserve better than taking from fake, abusive content.