A few years ago, the infamous quiz/pop culture site “Buzzfeed” posted this video. It quickly went viral, and among the many factual inaccuracies (which you can read about here in our response article), they claim that “porn is good for you,” and “it can improve attitudes toward sexuality.”

But unless sexist attitudes are what they mean by “good for you” and “improved attitudes,” the research tells a different story.

A recent study by researchers at the University of Nebraska has brought to light more harms of pornography, especially in young men exposed to it early in life.

The study interviewed 330 undergraduates, whose average age of when they first saw pornography was 13. They found that for those of the mostly straight men surveyed, those who didn’t see pornographic images until they were older had more of a “playboy lifestyle” association. That lifestyle included a more promiscuous and uncommitted sex life, leading to a lot of issues on its own.

But for those who were exposed at younger ages, whether accidentally or otherwise, they tended to agree more with statements regarding dominance and power over women in intimate relationships. And that’s not good for the consumer, their (potential) partner, or society in general.

Shaped By Exposure To Porn

It’s important to note that this is just one research study, but its findings are illuminating more issues with porn consumption.

Alyssa Bischmann is the doctoral student at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, who presented the research. Cited in a report by the American Psychological Association, Bishmann said, “We found that the younger a man was when he first viewed pornography, the more likely he was to want power over women,” adding that “the older a man was when he first viewed pornography, the more likely he would want to engage in playboy behavior.”

So either way, exposure to porn at a young or old age, the research heavily indicates that porn has a real negative impact on its consumers or fuels unhealthy attitudes that came from somewhere else.

RelatedWhat’s The Average Age Of Someone’s First Exposure To Porn?

The research was presented at the APA’s annual convention in Washington, D.C., and while some factors were not part of the study’s scope—like how much porn each participant typically watched, or demographic and personality traits—the results showed a consistency among the two reactions, and want to guess what it all had to do with? The age that they first saw porn.

Researcher Christina Richardson said this could be because “those who were exposed to porn early often did not enjoy sex in real life,” according to a BBC report about the Nebraska study. “These men often have a lot of performance anxiety with women in real life. Sexual experiences don’t go as planned or the way they do in pornography,” Richardson said.

In other words, it sounds like she’s saying the exaggerated fantasy of porn is negatively affecting the reality of real intimacy. That sounds familiar, like much of the other research we’ve cited.

Basically, the bottom line of what this recent study shows is this: the younger a boy is when he is exposed to porn, the more likely it is that he’ll see women as objects to control, rather than equals or potential partners to love. And that’s not healthy.

Toxic For Relationships

This just goes to show that porn really is toxic for relationships. More than that, when sex is associated with dominance or control, porn can then play a role in dangerous, violent and criminal acts of men asserting forceful power over women. And where does that behavior come from? Research says porn is a major influencer, here.

The BBC report also quoted Peter Saddington, a sex and relationship support therapist, who observed that “pornography can and does have an impact on many young men’s attitudes toward sex.” Adding, “the result can be that young men develop sexist attitudes and are essentially sexually deskilled.” Yikes.

Related6 Twisted Ideas About Sex That Porn Promotes

And is it any wonder that performance anxiety is linked to in part to seeing sex as primarily a dominance and power struggle, based on what a consumer sees in porn?

Type of Exposure Had No Impact

Interesting to note, the study also found that it also did not matter how the participants were exposed to porn in their early years, as the researchers found no significant association between the nature of the exposure and the resulting attitudes on sex in real life.

“We were surprised that the type of exposure did not affect whether someone wanted power over women or to engage in playboy behaviors,” said Bischmann. “We had expected that intentional, accidental, or forced experiences would have differing outcomes.”

Related: Study Finds Porn Viewers Have Diminished Quality Of Life

Whether it’s being perpetually in a state of mind where sex is casual and a means to an end rather than a relationship builder, or embodying sexist mentalities of male dominance over women, one thing is clear: these attitudes are not healthy for the long run. Not for life, for relationships, and certainly not for healthy and respectful sexuality.

Choosing Healthy Relationships Means Ditching Porn

The final paragraph in the APA’s report reads:

“The findings provide further evidence that pornography viewing has a real impact on heterosexual men, especially with regard to their views about sex roles, according to Richardson. Knowing more about the relationship between men’s pornography use and beliefs about women might assist sexual assault prevention efforts, especially among young boys who may have been exposed to pornography at an early age. This information could also inform the treatment of various emotional and social issues experienced by young heterosexual men who view pornography, she said.”

RelatedWhy No One Actually Needs Porn In Their Life

Porn is unhealthy, and research is constantly showing it. It gets in the way of helping healthy relationships grow, and can also stunt the intimacy in a relationship. Let’s fight for healthy sexuality and relationships, leaving dominance, isolation, fear of commitment, and porn out of the picture.

FTND_ProPorn_AntiSex_v2

Get Involved

Life is better without porn. SHARE this article to take a stand and add your voice to this important conversation.

Need help?

For those reading this who feel they are struggling with an obsession or addiction to pornography, you are not alone. Check out our friends at Fortify, a recovery-focused platform that will allow you take a step toward freedom. Anyone 17 years and younger can apply for a free scholarship to the site, and it's an inexpensive fee for anyone 18 and older. There is hope—sign up today to get the help you need and join with an encouraging community.

Spark Conversations

This movement is all about changing the conversation about pornography. When you rep a tee, you can spark meaningful conversation on porn’s harms and inspire lasting change in individuals’ lives, and our world. Are you in? Check out all our styles in our online store, or click below to shop:

Send this to a friend

Like all websites, we use cookies. By continuing on this site, you agree to our use of cookies. More

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close