People consume porn for any variety of reasons. A common one for teenagers is that they are curious about sex or the human body and want to know more about it, but that’s not the only explanation.

What’s often quoted in surveys is the idea that many believe porn to be a “safe outlet.” In other words, some people feel they can turn to porn for stress relief, distraction, and grappling with the experience of growing up and a changing body.

There’s a whole lot that makes a teenager’s life a real struggle, including the age-old pressures to fit in, desire to feel loved, yearning for independence, and need to find themselves. Not to mention that our generation today is unique, what with being the only ones who have grown up with the internet and all of its benefits and imperfections, an obvious example being readily accessible porn resulting in a pornified culture.

But given all of the challenges they face, turning to porn isn’t a healthy answer. Out of all the things that could help relieve the tension and manage daily life, according to research, porn is far from a “safe” outlet.

The myth of “harmless” porn

Firstly, porn is not safe. Many people would like to believe watching it does no harm, that it’s just a bit of private and harmless “fun” every now and again. The reality, based on the facts, is quite different.

The porn industry is infamous for poor working rights and conditions for performers. There are endless stories of performers being coerced, tricked, abused, and drugged into completing a scene—actions that often constitute as sex trafficking. Consent and contracts have been ignored. That’s the side the audience doesn’t see, the story behind the men and women performers often pretending to enjoy their work on set.

As for consumers, porn has a number of unnatural features, such as limitless novelty and easy accessibility, that can condition a person’s sexual arousal to what they see in porn. This does not readily transition to real-life partners, meaning real-life sex may not meet expectations. This is how porn can harm relationships. A recent study reiterated this idea by examining romantically involved people (most of whom were not married) and found that those who used porn frequently were more likely to have lower satisfaction and intimacy in their relationship.

Related: How Porn Evolves With Tech To Be More Accessible, Affordable, And Aggressive

Outside of relationships, consuming porn can fuel violence. Obviously, not every single consumer will suddenly become abusive, but research shows porn can influence actions just as it shapes attitudes. For example, in 2016 a team of researchers investigated this topic and concluded that the research left, “little doubt that, on average, individuals who consume pornography more frequently are more likely to hold attitudes conducive [favorable] to sexual aggression and engage in acts of sexaul aggression.” This is anything but an unclear conclusion.

It’s time to stop kidding ourselves. Porn is not a safe space.

A reinforcer, not a reliever

There are lots of ways to relieve stress or pass the time, but that doesn’t make every option a great idea. In the case of porn, it’s worse than just internet junk food. It acts similarly to an actual drug.

Like other addictive substances, porn triggers the reward center of the brain. While it is usually stimulated by doing something like exercising or eating tasty food, it can be tricked. Watching porn tells the rewards center to send off a cocktail of chemicals giving you a temporary buzz. It is a short high that admittedly feels great, keeping you glued to your screen longer.

So if you turn to porn because of stress or boredom, it may seem like a great distraction, but it won’t last.

Related: 5 Ways Porn Can Harm Your Brain, Body, And Quality Of Life

Due to the neurochemicals released while watching porn, the craving to consume more can linger for weeks or even months. Even more concerning is the fact that using porn to self-medicate those feelings can actually lead to and fuel depression.

The irony here is that as you turn to porn to deal with life, porn actually makes you feel worse. There’s a temporary high followed by dissatisfaction.

The alternative

Everybody has their own set of struggles through life—no human is exempt. But porn is not a cure or solution.

Look for other ways to channel energy that builds you up instead of tears you down. Teach yourself a new skill, go outside for a walk, read a book, or turn your attention away from yourself completely and help a friend in need. There are endless opportunities for you and your unique abilities to learn, grow, and learn to manage stress.

Related: The Problem With Saying “I Watch Porn Because I’m Not In/Can’t Get A Relationship”

Sometimes it’s tempting to turn to porn when you don’t feel happy. It’s easy. But as you numb yourself with graphic images and videos, you miss out on building relationships with friends, family, a partner, and your community. No amount of porn will take away those stressed or bored feelings.

Porn is not an outlet, it’s another layer to the problem.

Get Involved

Porn isn’t as harmless as society thinks it is. SHARE this post and spread the word that porn is never the best, healthiest choice of an outlet.

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