This global movement’s primary motivation is for real, unadulterated and passionate love. And it turns out, when you choose to fight wholeheartedly for love, it becomes clear how damaging porn is to healthy relationships and healthy perceptions of love.
When the science and research come into play, it can be easy to see why there are many reasons to be specifically anti-porn. Consider the industry’s direct fueling of sex trafficking around the world, for example. But the heart of the anti-porn movement is positive: a solid belief in healthy relationships and the power of real love as the best option people can experience compared to the hollow and toxic counterfeit of porn.
Here are a few reasons why this is first and foremost a pro-love movement.
1. A movement for self-love.
We fight against porn because its consumption is toxic to a healthy sense of self-worth and identity.
Porn is one of the loudest voices in mainstream media telling young girls and women that they aren’t good enough or “sexy” enough as they are. Studies and experience show that porn can quickly warp the way a girl sees her body, her personality, her role in a relationship, and her value as a partner.
Porn scripts constantly assert that you need to look like this, perform like this, and be like this in order to be sexy and attractive. Some people argue that porn can empower women to feel sexier, but the research simply does not support this argument as a holistic reality. And neither does the porn-inspired growing cultural trend of young girls seeking genital plastic surgery.
Men are no exception from porn’s harmful self-talk, either. Studies reveal porn’s negative impact on male self-esteem. The past decade has seen an influx in penis-enlargement surgeries. And while guys may joke about loving porn, there are often patterns of isolation and loneliness behind the scenes.
We believe in each person’s unique value and beauty. This is a movement for self-love without all the synthetic enhancements, and a cause against the industry that diminishes people to their parts and creates impossible and impractical beauty and sexual standards.
2. A movement for friendship.
We fight against porn because porn can harm platonic love by impeding consumers’ ability to fully connect to others without inhibition.
Love describes more than just a romantic partner—it includes relationships with friends, coworkers, family, and even strangers. There’s a deep connection between people because of our shared humanity, and this network of relationships is a huge part of what brings meaning to life.
Porn has been shown to harm this network through objectification. As an extreme example, under porn’s influence, an Uber ride could become about sex rather than an opportunity for genuine conversation and connection with a stranger.
Consider how a recent study evaluated the “taxi” porn genre where the scenario is often a woman hailing a taxi ride and eventually having rough, unprotected sex with the driver. Study participants viewed this content and were then asked to evaluate how likely a woman might be to willingly accept a sexual offer from a taxi driver in a hypothetical situation.
Researchers concluded that those with past porn exposure were more likely to think that the women in hypothetical scenarios would want “porn-like” sex with taxi drivers. The team wrote: “The study provides some evidence that pornography can influence consumers’ judgments of social reality by affecting consumers’ perceptions of the likelihood of women enthusiastically engaging in the kinds of sexual practices commonly depicted in pornography.”
On a different level, porn can cause consumers to experience significant isolation. One well-known psychologist talks about how porn contributes to a crisis among young men that leaves them uninterested in human interaction and seeking isolation from real relationships. Another expert unpacks how porn can grow depression in consumers, which causes them to withdraw and self-isolate.
Porn encourages consumers to pursue a quick thrill that masks the need for authentic friendship and connection. Because people need real relationships, we fight against porn.
3. A movement for romantic love.
We fight against porn because we know how important love is to experience a healthy life.
But here’s the problem with porn—it unhealthily amplifies the physical aspect of relationships between people and cuts out all other intimacy involved. When consumers click porn, they see sex alone—an exaggerated, objectifying version of it. This matters because human brains are constantly adapting to what they take in. Even occasional porn consumption can rewire a consumer’s brain so that this version of “love” (pleasure-based sex) becomes their new normal.
And what do these powerful brain-altering porn scripts leave out? Basically everything. They ignore the process of getting to know someone, going on dates, laughing and enjoying each other, discovering new things over time, struggling and overcoming differences and hardships.
Not only does porn teach consumers’ brains a warped, one-dimensional picture of love—it can actively harm real relationships. Men and women who discover their partners’ porn addictions reach out to us daily with their feelings of betrayal and hurt. And researchers have found again and again that porn habits introduce shame, betrayal, mistrust, isolation, anger, humiliation, and other painful emotions into relationships. These emotional wedges are difficult to overcome, and sometimes couples don’t recover. In fact, one study found that regular porn habits actually predict a higher likelihood of breakups.
We believe in the power of healthy, vibrant romantic relationships. They are worth protecting and nurturing. Porn tears down romantic love, and so we fight to shed light on the facts.
4. A movement for healthy sex.
We fight against porn because, simply put, we are pro-sex. That may seem ironic, but hear us out—despite porn being sex-on-screen, it has been proven to be destructive to healthy real-life sexual relationships.
Porn is the opposite of sex-positive. Healthy, positive sex includes physical intimacy and emotional and psychological intimacy. Porn puts sex into the box of transactional interaction, all for a moment of physical pleasure that ignores its 3-dimensional nature.
In a thriving, committed relationship when both partners consent, there is safety and room to explore sex and let it become part of the bigger picture of love. Porn is not a safe place to explore sex—porn ignores consent; promotes violence, abuse, and manipulation; and tells damaging lies about the nature of sex. Porn even normalizes racism and racist stereotypes.
And what’s more, research shows that instead of increasing sexual enjoyment, porn often leads to less satisfying sex, or even no sex at all. Rates of sexless adults are on the rise. Young, otherwise healthy men are experiencing erectile dysfunction more than ever, and experts partly attribute the shocking trend to porn.
Let’s face it—it’s just not true that watching porn helps your sex game. Whatever minimal education porn provides is not worth the possible negative effects. Because we’re pro-sex and we champion healthy and consensual sexual encounters, we’re anti-porn.
Pro-love in every sense
We fight because we are pro-love in every sense.
When you unpack the ways that porn impacts consumers’ minds, bodies, and hearts, you find that porn is toxic to real love in too many ways to count.
If you believe in the power of love, join with us in fighting porn. Share this article with others and encourage them to do the same.