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Get the Facts || How Can Porn Harm Consumers, Relationships, and Society?

Decades of studies from academic institutions have demonstrated tangible impacts of porn consumption for individuals, relationships, and society. Let’s review the facts.

By October 13, 2021October 15th, 2021No Comments

Decades of studies from respected academic institutions have demonstrated significant impacts of porn consumption for individuals, relationships, and society.

Let’s talk about the facts.

Can consuming porn become an escalating behavior?

Because of desensitization, many porn consumers find that they have to consume more porn, consume more often, or consume more extreme forms of porn in order to get the same response they once did.

In fact, according to one 2016 study, 46.9% of respondents reported that, over time, they began watching pornography that had previously disinterested or even disgusted them.Banca, P., Morris, L. S., Mitchell, S., Harrison, N. A., Potenza, M. N., & Voon, V. (2016). Novelty, conditioning and attentional bias to sexual rewards. Journal of psychiatric research, 72, 91–101. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2015.10.017COPY Wéry, A., & Billieux, J. (2016). Online sexual activities: An exploratory study of problematic and non-problematic usage patterns in a sample of men. Computers in Human Behavior, 56, 257-266. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.11.046COPY 

Why is porn so difficult to quit?

While the brain’s reward center is largely responsible for “wanting” or “desire,” it’s our prefrontal cortex that is largely responsible for putting the brakes on those wants when needed.

But with compulsive behavior or addiction, the prefrontal cortex’s “braking system” starts to wear out, impairing healthy decision-making and self-control.

Research confirms that this can happen with porn consumption, too.Kühn, S., & Gallinat, J. (2014). Brain structure and functional connectivity associated with pornography consumption: the brain on porn. JAMA psychiatry, 71(7), 827–834. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.93COPY Negash, S., Sheppard, N. V., Lambert, N. M., & Fincham, F. D. (2016). Trading Later Rewards for Current Pleasure: Pornography Consumption and Delay Discounting. Journal of sex research, 53(6), 689–700. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2015.1025123COPY 

Get The Facts

How does porn affect your sex life?

While some people turn to porn to “spice up their sex life,” research indicates that compulsive pornography consumption is associated with sexual dysfunction for both men and women.

It’s also associated with difficulty reaching orgasm, problems with arousal and sexual performance, and decreased sexual satisfaction.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 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. doi:10.1007/s10508-014-0391-2COPY  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 

How does porn impact relationships?

According to a study that tracked couples over a six-year period, porn consumption was the second strongest indicator that a marriage would suffer.

In fact, the relationships that were harmed the most were those of individuals who viewed porn the most.Perry S. L. (2017). Does Viewing Pornography Reduce Marital Quality Over Time? Evidence from Longitudinal Data. Archives of sexual behavior, 46(2), 549–559. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-016-0770-yCOPY 

Does porn promote sexual violence?

It’s estimated that as few as 1 in 3 and as many as 9 in 10 porn videos show acts of physical aggression or violence.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 

In fact, research indicates that porn consumers are more likely to sexually objectify others,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. https://doi.org/10.1037/men0000058COPY  more likely to express an intent to rape,Foubert, J. D., Brosi, M. W., & Bannon, R. S. (2011). Pornography viewing among fraternity men: Effects on bystander intervention, rape myth acceptance and behavioral intent to commit sexual assault. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 18(4), 212–231. https://doi.org/10.1080/10720162.2011.625552COPY  and more likely to commit 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:10.1111/jcom.12201COPY 

BHW - General

How does porn fuel sex trafficking?

Sex trafficking shares a variety of symbiotic connections to pornography. Even in the production of mainstream porn, sex trafficking can still occur—and it happens more often than most people think.

Of the domestic minor trafficking victims who had been forced into porn production, the average age they began being filmed was 12.8 years old.Bouché, V. (2018). Survivor insights: The role of technology in domestic minor sex trafficking. Thorn. Retrieved from https://www.thorn.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Thorn_Survivor_Insights_090519.pdfCOPY 

Learn more in our Get the Facts articles

From relationship quality to sex trafficking, our Get the Facts articles cover a variety of topics related to how porn can affect individuals, relationships, and society—all according to the research.

Help build a healthier world by helping others make a more informed decision about porn!

Read and share our Get the Facts articles here.

 

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