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4 Reasons Why Porn Isn’t Harmless Personal Entertainment

By May 1, 2018 No Comments

By now, it’s common knowledge that smoking cigarettes is unhealthy for you. Most of us can list off the negative effects that smoking has on the human body: it can lead to cancer, damage your lungs, mess up your teeth and gums, just to name a few things. All of this is widely accepted as fact due to science and research showing these harmful results. However, it wasn’t always this way.

Let’s rewind the clock a few decades.

For years, society believed that tobacco was harmless, and even good for you. They claimed that it was good for stress, improved weight loss, and enhanced your sex appeal. This line of thinking lasted for a long time until scientific research started to provide hard evidence that tobacco use was harmful and addictive. The tobacco industry tried hard to fight against this changing tide through a series of advertisements and marketing campaigns, but to no avail.

Over time, the facts changed opinions, and people were able to make a healthy, educated decision as a result.

Fast-forward to today and we find ourselves in a similar situation. Many in our society believe that pornography provides a series of benefits such as a hotter sex life and improved sexual performance and knowledge. Often, you’ll hear things like “boys will be boys” or that “it’s totally normal and natural” for guys and girls to consume it. You’ll also hear that it’s a great tool for couples to “spice up the relationship.”

The porn industry works hard to keep up these beliefs and promote a glamorous and sexy image. Much like with tobacco back in the day, porn has become socially accepted and normalized in our society. But now science has caught up with the truth.

Related: Why Internet Porn Is The New Tobacco

So what is it about porn that causes millions of people to be negatively affected physically, mentally, and emotionally? After all, some people believe that consuming porn is a healthy sexual outlet and a harmless matter of personal choice. While we respect everyone’s right to choose for themselves, the research indicates that porn is not as harmless as the industry and society would have you think.

1. Porn And Sex

Porn has numerous harmful effects on the human body, including harming men’s ability to have sex with a real partner.

Thirty years ago, erectile dysfunction in men under the age of 35 was unheard of because it was generally caused by blocked blood vessels in a man’s aging body. [1] That’s no longer the case. Now, with the availability of porn, erectile dysfunction is a common problem for young men as young as 16 years old. [2] The problem is not in the body, but in the brain.

What often ends up happening is that the young consumer’s brain, wired to be turned on by porn, [3] can no longer achieve an erection with a real partner. [4] After some time, even being turned on by “regular” porn may become difficult as more porn and harder forms of porn are needed to get aroused. [5]

Basically, consuming virtual sex can eventually make having actual sex impossible. That’s not sexy…and it’s definitely not healthy.

Related: 21 Year Old – I Had Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction

2. Porn’s Mental Costs

Depression and anxiety are major problems in our world today, but did you know that developing a porn habit can be a major fuel of these issues? [6] Because of porn consumers’ desire to keep their habit a secret, their relationships ultimately suffer, leaving them lonely and vulnerable to having other emotional issues. [7]

Studies show that porn consumers also commonly develop body-image issues, low self-esteem, and insecurity. [8] Watching just isn’t worth it.

Related: Why Watching Porn Leaves You Feeling Lonelier Than Before

3. Porn Kills Love

Porn takes a heavy toll on relationships. Human beings are social beings and have a need for intimacy, but porn tries to fill that need for intimacy with something fake. Not only is porn not fulfilling, it can also ruin any real intimacy-providing relationships the consumer has. Studies have shown that after just one exposure to pornography, consumers can rate themselves as less in love with their partners and rate their partners as less attractive. [9] Furthermore, one study found that 56% of divorces involve at least one partner’s interest in porn. [10]

In other words, porn kills love. It’s obvious that porn is definitely not healthy given its ability to cause erectile dysfunction and a bunch of other mental and emotional problems.

Related: Research Says Married Couples Who Watch Porn Are Twice As Likely To Divorce

4. Porn’s Addictive Potential

Just like tobacco, porn has the potential to be habit-forming and even become addictive. You might be wondering, “How does watching videos or reading words become an addiction?”

When porn enters the brain, it triggers the reward center to start pumping out dopamine, which sets off a cascade of chemicals including a protein called DeltaFosB. [11] DeltaFosB’s regular job is to build new nerve pathways to mentally connect what someone is doing (i.e. consuming porn) to the pleasure he or she feels. [12] Those strong new memories outcompete other connections in the brain, making it easier and easier to return to porn. [13] (See How Porn Changes The Brain.)

Related: How Watching Porn Changes Your Brain

As porn consumers become desensitized from repeated overloads of dopamine, they often find they can’t feel normal without a dopamine high. [14] Even other things that used to make them happy, like going out with friends or playing a favorite game, stop providing enjoyment because of the dulling effects of CREB. [15] They experience strong cravings and often find themselves giving more of their time and attention to porn, sometimes to the detriment of relationships, school, or work. [16] Some report feeling anxious or down until they can get back to their porn. [17] As they delve deeper into the habit, their porn of choice often turns increasingly hard-core. [18] And many who try to break their porn habits report finding it really difficult to stop. [19]

Time to Change the Conversation

Public opinion doesn’t change overnight; people didn’t instantly accept the dangers of smoking cigarettes. Similarly, it is taking time and effort to help society see the harmful effects of pornography. The conversation is changing, the facts are spreading, and people are taking notice. Small victories are visible: news outlets, corporations, celebrities, and even governments are speaking out.

Related: 8 Hollywood Stars Who Don’t Watch Porn

This is not an issue based on religious or political ideals. This is the spreading of facts and awareness on a legitimate health concern. The facts are clear: pornography is harmful to the brain, to relationships, and the world as a whole.

Society has accepted the fact that tobacco is harmful, now it’s time we spread these facts about porn.

Get Involved

Add your voice to this important conversation. Help change perceptions about pornography and its harms. SHARE this article to help spread the facts.

Spark Conversations

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Citations

[1] Robinson, M. and Wilson, G. (2011). Porn-Induced Sexual Dysfunction: A Growing Problem. Psychology Today,
July 11; Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. New York: Penguin Books, 105.
[2] Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. New York: Penguin Books, 105. 
[3] Hilton, D. L. (2013). Pornography Addiction—A Supranormal Stimulus Considered in the Context of
Neuroplasticity. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology 3:20767; Angres, D. H. and Bettinardi-Angres, K.
(2008). The Disease of Addiction: Origins, Treatment, and Recovery. Disease-a-Month 54: 696–721.  Doidge, N.
(2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. New York: Penguin Books, 108.
[4] Cera, N., Delli Pizzi, S., Di Pierro, E. D., Gambi, F., Tartaro, A., et al. (2012). Macrostructural Alterations of
Subcortical Grey Matter in Psychogenic Erectile Dysfunction. PLoS ONE 7, 6: e39118.
[5] Angres, D. H. and Bettinardi-Angres, K. (2008). The Disease of Addiction: Origins, Treatment, and Recovery.
Disease-a-Month 54: 696–721; Zillmann, D. (2000). Influence of Unrestrained Access to Erotica on Adolescents’
and Young Adults’ Dispositions Toward Sexuality. Journal of Adolescent Health 27, 2: 41–44.
[6] Flisher, C. (2010). Getting Plugged In: An Overview of Internet Addiction. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health
46: 557–9; 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; Paul, P. (2007). Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our
Families. New York: Henry Hold and Co., 82; Kafka, M. P. (2000). The Paraphilia-Related Disorders:
Nonparaphilic Hypersexuality and Sexual Compulsivity/Addiction. In S. R. Leiblum and R. C. Rosen (Eds.)
Principles and Practice of Sex Therapy, 3rd Ed. (pp. 471–503). New York: Guilford Press.
[7]  Laird, R. D., Marrero, M. D., Melching, J. A., and Kuhn, E. S. (2013). Information Management Strategies in
Early Adolescence: Developmental Change in Use and Transactional Associations with Psychological Adjustment.
Developmental Psychology 49, 5: 928–937; Luoma, J. B., Nobles, R. H., Drake, C. E., Hayes, S. C., O’Hair, A.,
Fletcher, L., and Kohlenberg, B. S. (2013). Self-Stigma in Substance Abuse: Development of a New Measure.
Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 35: 223–234; Rotenberg, K. J., Bharathi, C., Davies, H.,
and Finch, T. (2013). Bulimic Symptoms and the Social Withdrawal Syndrome. Eating Behaviors 14: 281–284;
Frijns, T. and Finkenauer, C. (2009). Longitudinal Associations Between Keeping a Secret and Psychosocial
Adjustment in Adolescence. International Journal of Behavioral Development 33, 2: 145–154.
[8] Flisher, C. (2010). Getting Plugged In: An Overview of Internet Addiction. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health
46: 557–9; 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; Kafka, M. P. (2000). The Paraphilia-Related Disorders: Nonparaphilic Hypersexuality and Sexual
Compulsivity/Addiction. In S. R. Leiblum and R. C. Rosen (Eds.) Principles and Practice of Sex Therapy, 3rd Ed.
(pp. 471–503). New York: Guilford Press.
[9] Bridges, Ana J. “Pornography’s Effects on Interpersonal Relationships.” The Social Costs of Pornography: A
Collection of Papers. Ed. Donna M. Hughes and James Reist. Stoner. Princeton, NJ: Witherspoon Institute, 2010.
104-105.
[10] Manning J., Senate Testimony 2004, referencing: Dedmon, J., “Is the Internet bad for your marriage? Online
affairs, pornographic sites playing greater role in divorces,” 2002, press release from The Dilenschneider Group, Inc.
[11] Negash, S., Van Ness Sheppard, N., Lambert, N. M., & Fincham, F. D. (2016). Trading Later Rewards For Current Pleasure: Pornography Consumption And Delay Discounting. The Journal Of Sex Research, 53(6), 698-700. Doi:10.1080/00224499.2015.1025123; Nestler, E. J., (2008) Transcriptional Mechanisms Of Addiction: Role Of DeltaFosB, Philosophical Transactions Of The Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 363(1507) 3245-3255. Doi:10.1098/Rstb.2008.0067
[12] Park, B. Y., Et Al. (2016). Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review With Clinical Reports. Behavioral Sciences, 6, 17. Doi:10.3390/Bs6030017; Pitchers, K. K., Et Al. (2013). Natural And Drug Rewards Act On Common Neural Plasticity Mechanisms With DeltaFosB As A Key Mediator. Journal Of Neuroscience, 33(8), 3434-3442. Doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4881-12.2013; Hilton, D. L. (2013) Pornography Addiction—A Supranormal Stimulus Considered In The Context Of Neuroplasticity. Socioaffective Neuroscience And Technology 3. 20767. Doi:10.3402/Snp.V3i0.20767; Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. (208-209) New York: Penguin Books.
[13] Park, B. Y., Et Al. (2016). Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review With Clinical Reports. Behavioral Sciences, 6, 17. Doi:10.3390/Bs6030017; Nestler, E. J., (2015). Role Of The Brain’s Reward Circuitry In Depression: Transcriptional Mechanism. International Review Of Neurobiology, 124: 151-170. Doi:10.1016/Bs.Irn.2015.07.003; Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. New York: Penguin Books, 108.
[14] Volkow, N. D., Koob, G. F., & McLellan, A. T. (2016). Neurobiological Advances From The Brain Disease Model Of Addiction. New England Journal Of Medicine, 374, 363-371. Doi:10.1056/NEJMra1511480; Park, B. Y., Et Al. (2016). Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review With Clinical Reports. Behavioral Sciences, 6, 17. Doi:10.3390/Bs6030017; Kalman, T. P. (2008). Kalman, T.P. (2008). Clinical Encounters With Internet Pornography. Journal Of The American Academy Of Psychoanalysis And Dynamic Psychiatry, 36(4) 593-618. Doi:10.1521/Jaap.2008.36.4.593
[15] Volkow, N. D., Koob, G. F., & McLellan, A. T. (2016). Neurobiological Advances From The Brain Disease Model Of Addiction. New England Journal Of Medicine, 374, 363-371. Doi:10.1056/NEJMra1511480; Park, B. Y., Et Al. (2016). Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review With Clinical Reports. Behavioral Sciences, 6, 17. Doi:10.3390/Bs6030017
[16] Park, B. Y., Et Al. (2016). Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review With Clinical Reports. Behavioral Sciences, 6, 17. Doi:10.3390/Bs6030017; Bostwick, J. M., & Bucci, J. E. (2008). Internet Sex Addiction Treated With Naltrexone. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 83(2), 226–230. Doi:10.4065/83.2.226; Kalman, T. P. (2008). Kalman, T.P. (2008). Clinical Encounters With Internet Pornography. Journal Of The American Academy Of Psychoanalysis And Dynamic Psychiatry, 36(4) 593-618. Doi:10.1521/Jaap.2008.36.4.593; Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. New York: Penguin Books. (110).
[17] Park, B. Y., Et Al. (2016). Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review With Clinical Reports. Behavioral Sciences, 6, 17. Doi:10.3390/Bs6030017; Kalman, T. P. (2008). Kalman, T.P. (2008). Clinical Encounters With Internet Pornography. Journal Of The American Academy Of Psychoanalysis And Dynamic Psychiatry, 36(4) 593-618. Doi:10.1521/Jaap.2008.36.4.593; Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. New York: Penguin Books. (108).
[18] Park, B. Y., Et Al. (2016). Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review With Clinical Reports. Behavioral Sciences, 6, 17. Doi:10.3390/Bs6030017; Kalman, T. P. (2008). Kalman, T.P. (2008). Clinical Encounters With Internet Pornography. Journal Of The American Academy Of Psychoanalysis And Dynamic Psychiatry, 36(4) 593-618. Doi:10.1521/Jaap.2008.36.4.593; Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. New York: Penguin Books. (110).
[19] Park, B. Y., Et Al. (2016). Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review With Clinical Reports. Behavioral Sciences, 6, 17. Doi:10.3390/Bs6030017; Kalman, T. P. (2008). Kalman, T.P. (2008). Clinical Encounters With Internet Pornography. Journal Of The American Academy Of Psychoanalysis And Dynamic Psychiatry, 36(4) 593-618. Doi:10.1521/Jaap.2008.36.4.593; Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. New York: Penguin Books, (111).

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