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5 Products and Industries Porn has Overtaken in the Last 40 Years

The porn industry has been responsible for taking down big competitors within industry battles, especially in the tech world.

By October 8, 2018No Comments

We’ve all heard the news these days about how millennials are killing industries left and right: magazines, traditional shopping, cereal, bar soaps—the list goes on. But are these alleged “napkin killers” the only one toppling industries?

Short answer: no.

There may be a culprit killing industries who has stayed off the radar until now, but is present in most people’s everyday lives. Would you be surprised if we told you it’s the porn industry?

Related: From Fashion To Adult Coloring Books, Pornhub Is Trying To Become America’s Favorite Lifestyle Brand

It’s been responsible for taking down big competitors within industry battles, especially in the tech world. Adult content has even been called a “killer application” for its ability to crush opposition stay on top throughout time, taking out industries and marking new terrain.

So what industries, exactly, has the porn industry been guilty of annihilating? Here are the top five.

1. Betamax vs. VHS

Probably the best known, though contested, example of the porn industry’s takedown was Sony’s Betamax—analog-recording and cassette format of magnetic tape for video—versus the Video Home System (VHS) in the 70’s.

Despite Betamax’s better quality, the VHS was favored by the porn industry, largely because it could hold more content. Keep in mind half of the videos sold at the time in the U.S. were pornographic.

Sony also had a policy in place prohibiting porn on their Betamax tapes. It seemed like a no-brainer for the porn industry. More content, more porn, more consumption (even at an inferior quality). Result? Bye Betamax.

2. Blue-Ray vs. HD DVD

Round two: The competition between Blue-Ray and HD DVD seemed like an extension of the first battle, space versus quality. And as we see in the porn industry today with the growing amount of amateur porn, it seems quantity over quality is valued.

So, again, even though Blue-Ray has inferior quality, it could stock up to 9 hours of high-definition content making it the first choice for porn studios. Porn producer Digital Studio, for example, chose Blue-Ray because of its “greater capacity.”

3. Digital Cameras vs. film

In the “early days” of porn, access was slightly more tricky, or at least “risky.” People had to go to usually sketchy theaters that only exclusively showed porn to consume adult content, which changed drastically once the VCR was introduced.

The same applied to photos. Pornographic pictures were nothing new, but it could be a bit awkward to pick up your film from those developing it. With the introduction of digital cameras, where film was no longer needed, and one could simply get the pictures on their own, no middleman needed, no need to stop by Walgreens.

While it took time for the digital camera tech to gain traction in the market, by the first decade of the 2000’s it was pretty safe to say film was dead.

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4. Sex stores have struggled…but are now making a comeback?

As the internet has allowed for an explosion of primarily free, and seemingly endless supply of porn, traditional sex stores have seen a large drop in their sales, specifically selling porn. Online stores have not taken this same hit, and sex stores have found ways to hang on, especially through the normalization of sex paraphernalia in mainstream media and porn-inspired toys and outfits.

So while adult stores are now a growing business again, there is a graveyard of industry products porn is, ironically, responsible for burying.

5. Death to real relationships? Hopefully not

We’ve highlighted before how pornography can have negative, if not detrimental, effects on relationships. It causes and fuels existing isolation, loneliness, and reveals a relationship with less fidelity and intimacy.

Dozens of studies have repeatedly shown that porn consumers tend to have lower relationship satisfaction and lower relationship quality.Wright, P. J., Tokunaga, R. S., Kraus, A., & Klann, E. (2017). Pornography consumption and satisfaction: A meta-analysis. Human Communication Research, 43(3), 315-343. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/hcre.12108COPY Perry S. L. (2020). Pornography and Relationship Quality: Establishing the Dominant Pattern by Examining Pornography Use and 31 Measures of Relationship Quality in 30 National Surveys. Archives of sexual behavior, 49(4), 1199–1213. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-01616-7COPY Perry, S. (2017). Does Viewing Pornography Reduce Marital Quality Over Time? Evidence From Longitudinal Data. Archives Of Sexual Behavior, 46(2), 549-559. Doi: 10.1007/S10508-016-0770-YCOPY  Porn consumers tend to experience more negative communication with their partners, feel less dedicated to their relationships, have a more difficult  time making adjustments in their relationships, are less sexually satisfied, and commit more infidelity.Maddox, A. M., Rhoades, G. K., & Markman, H. J. (2011). Viewing sexually-explicit materials alone or together: associations with relationship quality. Archives of sexual behavior, 40(2), 441–448. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-009-9585-4COPY  Research also shows that porn consumers tend to become less committed to their partners,Minarcik, J., Wetterneck, C. T., & Short, M. B. (2016). The Effects Of Sexually Explicit Material Use On Romantic Relationship Dynamics. Journal Of Behavioral Addictions, 5(4) 700-707. Doi: 10.1556/2006.5.2016.078COPY Lambert, N. M., Negash, S., Stillman, T. F., Olmstead, S. B., & Fincham, F. D. (2012). A love that doesn't last: Pornography consumption and weakened commitment to one's romantic partner. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 31(4), 410-438. doi:10.1521/jscp.2012.31.4.410COPY  less satisfied in their relationships,Wright, P. J., Tokunaga, R. S., Kraus, A., & Klann, E. (2017). Pornography consumption and satisfaction: A meta-analysis. Human Communication Research, 43(3), 315-343. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/hcre.12108COPY  and more accepting of cheating.Rasmussen, K. (2016). A Historical and Empirical Review of Pornography and Romantic Relationships: Implications for Family Researchers. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 8(2), 173-191. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/jftr.12141COPY 

As the evidence of porn’s potential harms continues to pile up, many leading therapists and relationship experts have started to express concerns about the impacts of pornography on relationships.

In fact, world-renowned relationship experts, Doctors John and Julie Gottman wrote an open letter through the Gottman Institute to express their concerns. Here’s some of what they had to say:

“Research on the effects of pornography use, especially one person frequently viewing pornographic images online, shows that pornography can hurt a couple’s relationship…

… There are many other factors about porn use that can threaten a relationship’s intimacy. First, intimacy for couples is a source of connection and communication between two people. But when one person becomes accustomed to masturbating to porn, they are actually turning away from intimate interaction. Second, when watching pornography the user is in total control of the sexual experience, in contrast to normal sex in which people are sharing control with the partner…

… Worse still, many porn sites include violence toward women, the antithesis of intimate connection…. Pornography can also lead to a decrease in relationship trust and a higher likelihood of affairs outside the relationship. Many porn sites now offer an escalation of sexual activity beyond simply viewing porn that includes actually having sex with other individuals.

… In summary, we are led to unconditionally conclude that for many reasons, pornography poses a serious threat to couple intimacy and relationship harmony. This moment calls for public discussion, and we want our readers around the world to understand what is at stake.”

-Drs. John and Julie Gottman, The Gottman Institute, April 5, 2016Gottman, J., & Gottman, J. (April 5, 2016). An open letter on porn. Retrieved from https://www.gottman.com/blog/an-open-letter-on-porn/COPY 

The research is clear—porn is not a harmless pastime, especially when it’s hurting a romantic partner. But the research is also clear that shame is not an effective way to motivate someone to change.Brown, B. (2012). Understanding and combating shame. Daring greatly: How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead. Avery.COPY  According to one study of individuals trying to quit porn, researchers found that shame actually predicted increased pornography consumption while guilt predicted sustainable change.Gilliland, R., South, M., Carpenter, B. N., & Hardy, S. A. (2011). The roles of shame and guilt in hypersexual behavior. 18(1), 12-29. doi:10.1080/10720162.2011.551182COPY  So if you’re trying to give up porn, be kind to yourself and be patient with your progress. Like anything, it takes time for the brain to recover, but daily efforts make a big difference in the long run.

On the surface, porn may seem harmless, or may even seem like a good way to learn more about sex. Maybe a committed relationship seems far away in the future, or you feel confident that a little porn won’t harm your relationships. But the research is clear—porn can have devastating impacts on relationships, both sexually and emotionally. There is no substitute for real connection, and porn isn’t worth risking that.

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