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Is Watching Porn Part of a Healthy Self-Care Routine?

By June 28, 2019 July 2nd, 2019 No Comments
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Ever feel like you work too much?

In a recent article for The Atlantic, the writer Derek Thompson coined the term “workism” to describe our society’s relatively new reverence for careers.

In the early 20th century, many people believed jobs would be easier in future generations, both with shorter working weeks and a sense of identity found in hobbies or family life. In reality, the opposite happened.

Instead, elite Americans are now the definition of workaholics, spending more time in the office than poorer men in the US and even rich men in other wealthy countries. Thompson wrote, “This shift defies economic logic. The rich have always worked less than the poor, because they could afford to.”

Related: How Much Porn Is Healthy To Watch On The Regular?

Ironically, as we increasingly spend more time working and worrying about not working enough, we’ve seen one of the biggest buzzwords out there emerge to try and counterbalance this lifestyle: “self-care.”

Self-care at its foundation—besides rationalizing nights of binge-watching TV and inspiring your favorite new smartphone apps—seeks to save us from our busy lives and help us find love and respect for ourselves.

But how does porn fit into the big self-care picture?

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The world of wellness

In a basic definition, self-care is any activity you do deliberately that benefits your mental, physical, or emotional health. Think of it as something that refuels you or recharges your batteries.

Such a broad definition has allowed for an entire wellness industry to explode with smoothie supplements, meditation apps, crystal-infused water bottles, and essential oils, but also the encouragement to stay active or try a yoga class.

Related3 Lies Most People Believe About Porn And The Brain

Whichever energy boosting practice you adopt, there’s one that definitely should not be on the self-care list: watching porn.

Porn is sometimes suggested as a positive way to relax after a long way, or improve your sex life, and what could seem more like self-care than that?

But here’s a reality check: porn does the opposite of a healthy recharge or teaching you to love your body and yourself as a person.

What makes porn so unhealthy?

In self-care, what works for one person may not for another. In the journey of finding a practice that suits you, there are proven things that are good or bad for every person. For example, a nutritious diet is always a good idea, just as tobacco will always be harmful. The truth is, porn fits into the second category—always harmful.

Porn may seem like a great distraction from daily to-do lists or the pressures at work or school, but this distraction won’t last. This is because our brains treat porn like an addictive drug.

Related: Not All Porn Is Consensual. Don’t Believe It? Just Ask These Performers.

Not sure what we’re talking about? Watching porn stimulates the reward center in the brain, which then releases feel-good chemicals giving you a temporary thrill. Usually, we seek this reward when doing some other self-care activity, like exercising. Basically, the brain responds to new stimuli, but it’s up to us to choose what to feed our mind and body.

Consider porn the mental version of junk food.

Harness

Think of it this way: what happens when you pop open a bag of potato chips? Do you just eat one handful? Maybe we all tell ourselves we will, and yet we find ourselves going back for more. Similarly, neurochemicals released while watching porn can make a person crave even more.

Think of how it feels to get to the bottom of the chip bag. The more a person turns to porn to deal with life, the more it can make them feel worse with a quick high followed by dissatisfaction or even depression. Besides feeling like you’re in an all-consuming slump, we’ve also heard countless stories of body dissatisfaction from both girls and guys after watching porn.

This is the opposite of what self-care is all about.

Finding authentic desires

Our culture increasingly encourages a shame-free view of sexual health. Self-love and self-respect in our daily lives and in sexual settings are applauded. To all of that, we’d just like to add one huge reminder that porn is not a safe or healthy out to encourage exploration—no matter how often the industry will try to convince you it has many benefits for intimacy.

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

According to one sex expert, a big way you can improve your sex life is by doing the first step in self-care: tuning in to your needs and desires, being true to what you like and don’t like, and then being honest. And in case you need some sex tips with your partner, click here for our take.

Brain Heart World

In an intimate setting, self-care is about letting go of what you think you should be doing. With 60% of students turning to porn for more information about sex, it’s important to realize that many of our conceptions of what sex is supposed to be comes from porn scenes. One example is the emphasis on male pleasure in porn, where the sex usually ends when the man is finished, whether or not the woman reached orgasm. Practicing self-care takes you back to what your authentic sexual template was before porn.

As long as our culture highlights the importance of hard work, self-care practices will stick around as a counter-balance. So go outside, take a few breaths, tell yourself you’re a good person who deserves real love, and scratch porn off that list of self-care activities where it doesn’t belong.

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