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3 Reasons Why Healthy Relationships and Porn Don’t Mix

By February 8, 2021No Comments

Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and non-legislative awareness and education organization that provides access to resources that are helpful to those who need support. Including links and discussions about legislative matters does not constitute an endorsement by Fight the New Drug.

Let’s talk about love for a minute.

Think about the people who have had the greatest impact on your life. Think of your parental figures, an awesome teacher, or your best friend. If you have a significant other, picture them and their happiness. Regardless of who that person is in your life, think of how much you cherish and love all that they are and what they bring to your life. Love is something that unifies us and gives us life.

Now, let’s compare that to porn.

Related: Do Women Who Watch Porn Enjoy Sex More? This New Study Shows They Don’t

Porn is graphic and explicit, and shows the human body as a sex object to be used, exploited, and discarded. It’s a twisted portrayal of real connections, a counterfeit, a lie to consumers. It shows transactional sex that’s empty of any true passion or love or intimacy, infused with aggression and performance exaggeration. In the end, the consumer is left as a spectator sport of scripted sex and fake orgasms.

Here at Fight the New Drug, we’re all about fighting for real love and fighting for true passions that make life even better. We want you to love, to be loved, and to love life. Here are three ways porn can harm real love, and infect healthy relationships.

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1. Porn harms consumers’ understanding of healthy sex

As humans, we are wired to sexually connect with another person and express deep feelings through physicality. We are a pro-sex and a sex-positive organization because we view sex as something that’s natural and normal, to be desired by everyone. We see sex as an extension of expression and love, and an awesome part of committed, loving relationships. We think it should be freely discussed without awkwardness or shame attached. We value consensual relationships, and consider sex as a healthy part of life that consenting partners should enjoy.

The sex portrayed in mainstream porn today is not healthy, plain and simple. If you don’t believe us, we compiled a list of ten of the main differences between healthy sex and the sex shown in porn.

Related: How Porn Is More Violently Dehumanizing And Sexually Objectifying To Women Than Ever

Healthy, positive sex involves loving and knowing all of each other and celebrating the fullness of intimacy—not just the physical part.

In contrast, porn does not promote sex as a multi-faceted act of love and closeness. It ignores the emotional and psychological parts of true sexual intimacy, instead of teaching consumers (often as kids’ earliest teacher on the topic of sex) that sex is mainly about performance.

But not only that—porn teaches consumers not to value consent in their relationships. Even if performers consent off-camera to performing violent and degrading acts, often, that consent does not play a part in the scene depicted. Consider how these scenarios sell the idea that it’s important to maximize your own pleasure over what’s happening to the other person. Not healthy, right? Being sex-positive means valuing consent and both parties’ experiences, simple as that.

Also, porn fetishizes the bodies and sexualities of those in the LGBTQ+ community, and that’s not okay. For an industry that often markets itself as being LGBTQ-friendly, the porn industry endlessly exploits and fetishizes LGBTQ+ relationships and sex.

Related: 6 Marginalized & Vulnerable Groups Of People Porn Has No Problem Fetishizing

2. Porn leaves consumers lonely

When people consume porn, it can have some serious mental costs.

From body-image issues to depression and anxiety, the list of porn’s side effects isn’t pretty. For many people, porn becomes an escape from having to deal with problems, but it only leaves them feeling hollow, empty, and without purpose afterward. Plus, the shame that invariably accompanies watching porn leads to an increased strain on relationships and self-esteem, resulting in loved ones and friends pushed to the side as porn takes center stage.

Related: Why Does The Porn Industry Get Away With Racist Portrayals Of Black People?

Research suggests that depression, anxiety, and loneliness are fueled by porn. Instead of escaping these real-life issues by watching porn, watching more of it can fuel more sadness, more emptiness, more darkness. Sometimes, this leads people back to porn, continuing a vicious cycle of relying on porn as an escape and it only makes the problem of loneliness worse. Choose love and investing in relationships over something that can make you lonelier.

Give One For Love

3. Porn hurts your partner

Long-term studies paint a very different picture than what you might be hearing from pro-porn advocates. The preponderance of evidence from a dozen or more in-depth, longer-term studies consistently show porn consumption lowering relationship satisfaction, emotional closeness, and sexual satisfaction. [1]

Let’s take a look at some more info.

• Two highly respected pornography researchers from the University of Alabama, Jennings Bryant and Dolf Zillmann, studied the effects of porn and media for more than 30 years. Their findings conclude that consuming pornography can make an individual less satisfied with their partner’s physical appearance, sexual performance, sexual curiosity, and affection. What’s more, some individuals felt not just dissatisfied, but critical, of these aspects of their partner.

• A 2012 study by Amanda Maddox and her team concluded that individuals who never viewed sexually-explicit material reported higher relationship quality (on every measure) compared with those who viewed the same explicit material on their own. [2]

Related: Can Porn Improve An Intimate Relationship?

• In one of the few studies to follow married couples and their pornography consumption for several years, researchers found that porn did, in fact, harm relationship quality and satisfaction. The researchers concluded:

“In general, married persons who more frequently viewed pornography in 2006 reported significantly lower levels of marital quality in 2012… Pornography’s effect was not simply a proxy for dissatisfaction with sex life or marital decision-making in 2006. In terms of substantive influence, the frequency of pornography use in 2006 was the second strongest predictor of marital quality in 2012.”

• A study published in 2017 examined the impact of couples where one partner consumes more porn than the other—which is a pretty common pattern. The researchers concluded that “greater discrepancies between partners in pornography use were related to less relationship satisfaction, less stability, less positive communication, and more relational aggression.” [3]

Related: How It Feels To Finally Be In A Relationship With Someone Who Doesn’t Watch Porn

Study after study has shown that contrary to popular belief, porn itself is bad news for long-term relationships. Not an unsupportive and porn-disapproving partner, but the porn itself. The majority of research reflects that porn negatively affects satisfaction within the relationship and ultimately can lead a person to withdraw from a loved one.

As porn becomes more normalized, we want to be a source of information pointing out that porn is not harmless. This isn’t a moral argument. This comes down to you and your personal relationships, and the opportunity to make an informed decision about what will make them indefinitely thrive.

Related: How Mainstream Porn Perpetuates Racist Stereotypes Of Black Men

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Why we fight

Real love is sexy, not fake pixels on a screen like porn.

Love is something that brings meaning and purpose to life, it’s something that we are all after. And if you value real love and healthy relationships, consider how porn doesn’t help either of those things thrive.

Porn is marketed as empowering, but it is really one of the most sex-negative things out there. Love is worth fighting for, and porn won’t contribute to that in the long-run.

Need help?

For those reading this who feel they are struggling with pornography, you are not alone. Check out our friends at Fortify, a science-based recovery platform dedicated to helping you find lasting freedom from pornography. Fortify now offers a free experience for both teens and adults. Connect with others, learn about your compulsive behavior, and track your recovery journey. There is hope—sign up today.

Citations

[1] Wilson, G. (2013). Studies Linking Porn Use Or Porn/Sex Addiction To Sexual Dysfunctions, Lower Arousal, And Lower Sexual & Relationship Satisfaction; Retrieved From https://www.yourbrainonporn.com/studies-reported-relationships-between-porn-use-or-porn-addictionsex-addiction-and-sexual
[2] Maddox, A. M., Rhoades, G. K., & Markman, H. J. (2011). Viewing Sexually-Explicit Materials Alone or Together: Associations with Relationship Quality. Archives of Sexual Behavior40(2), 441–448. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-009-9585-4
[3] Willoughby, B. J., Carroll, J. S., Busby, D. M., & Brown, C. (2016). Differences in pornography use among couples: Associations with satisfaction, stability, and relationship processes. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 45, 145-148, doi: 10.1007/s10508-015-0562-9
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