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16 Need-To-Know Facts About How Porn Impacts Society

Because of reputable research, we can look past preconceived notions about if porn is “good” or “bad.” There are solid facts that can tell us a more clear answer, and as they stand, it isn’t good news for our porn-obsessed society.

By July 29, 2021September 9th, 2021No Comments
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There’s a lot of talk in our current culture about porn. Is it great? Is it the worst? Is it harmless entertainment, and people shouldn’t get upset over it? Or is it a public health issue that’s affecting our generation and generations to come?

Because of the growing field of research that exists, we can look past our preconceived notions about if porn is “good” or “bad.” We have solid facts that can tell us a more clear answer, and as they stand, it isn’t good news for our porn-obsessed society.

So let’s shed some more light on this issue, specifically the facts, shall we?

Related: Why Porn Can Be Difficult to Quit

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16 Need-To-Know Facts About Porn

1. Research consistently shows that porn consumers are 2X as likely to later report experiencing a divorce or breakup, even after controlling for marital happiness, sexual satisfaction, and other relevant factors.Perry, S. L. (2018). Pornography use and marital separation: Evidence from two-wave panel data. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 47(6), 1869-1880. doi:10.1007/s10508-017-1080-8COPY Perry, S. L., & Davis, J. T. (2017). Are pornography users more likely to experience a romantic breakup? Evidence from longitudinal data. Sexuality & Culture, 21(4), 1157-1176. doi:10.1007/s12119-017-9444-8COPY Perry, S. L., & Schleifer, C. (2018). Till porn do us part? A longitudinal examination of pornography use and divorce.55(3), 284-296. doi:10.1080/00224499.2017.1317709COPY 

2. Many people turn to porn to cope with negative emotions like loneliness or grief, but research actually shows that porn is associated with increased loneliness,Butler, M. H., Pereyra, S. A., Draper, T. W., Leonhardt, N. D., & Skinner, K. B. (2018). Pornography Use and Loneliness: A Bidirectional Recursive Model and Pilot Investigation. Journal of sex & marital therapy, 44(2), 127–137. https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2017.1321601COPY  lower self-esteem,Noor, S. W., Simon Rosser, B. R., & Erickson, D. J. (2014). A Brief Scale to Measure Problematic Sexually Explicit Media Consumption: Psychometric Properties of the Compulsive Pornography Consumption (CPC) Scale among Men who have Sex with Men. Sexual addiction & compulsivity, 21(3), 240–261. https://doi.org/10.1080/10720162.2014.938849COPY  poorer mental health,Koletić G. (2017). Longitudinal associations between the use of sexually explicit material and adolescents' attitudes and behaviors: A narrative review of studies. Journal of adolescence, 57, 119–133. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2017.04.006COPY  negative body image,Owens, E. W., Behun, R. J., Manning, J. C., & Reid, R. C. (2012). The impact of internet pornography on adolescents: A review of the research.19(1-2), 99-122. doi:10.1080/10720162.2012.660431COPY  and lower life satisfaction.Willoughby, B. J., Young-Petersen, B., & Leonhardt, N. D. (2018). Exploring trajectories of pornography use through adolescence and emerging adulthood.55(3), 297-309. doi:10.1080/00224499.2017.1368977COPY 

Related: Let’s Talk About Porn. Is It As Harmless As Society Says It Is?

3. Research indicates that porn is directly linked to sexual dysfunction in women, as well as erectile dysfunction in men.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 Park, B. Y., Wilson, G., Berger, J., Christman, M., Reina, B., Bishop, F., Klam, W. P., & Doan, A. P. (2016). Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review with Clinical Reports. Behavioral sciences (Basel, Switzerland), 6(3), 17. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs6030017COPY 

4. Research indicates that porn can be an escalating behavior.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  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.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 

5. According to a 2016 survey of children aged 11-16, over half of the boys (53%)  and over a third of the girls (39%) believed that porn was a realistic depiction of sex.Martellozzo, E., Monaghan, A., Adler, J. R., Davidson, J., Leyva, R., & Horvath, M. A. H. (2016). 'I wasn’t sure it was normal to watch it'. London: NSPCC. Retrieved from https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/research-resources/2016/i-wasn-t-sure-it-was-normal-to-watch-itCOPY 

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6. People who view porn regularly are less likely to get married than those who do not. Researchers suggest this may be because consumers see porn as a substitute for sexual gratification in a relationship, according to a 2016 study published in the Eastern Economic Journal.Malcolm, M., & Naufal, G. (2016). Are pornography and marriage substitutes for young men? Eastern Economic Journal, 42(3), 317-334. doi:10.1057/eej.2015.7COPY 

7. Of domestic minor trafficking victims who had been forced into porn, the average age they began being filmed was 12.8 years old, according to a report by Thorn.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 

8. 44% of boys aged 11–16 who consumed porn reported that it gave them ideas about the type of sex they wanted to try.Martellozzo, E., Monaghan, A., Adler, J. R., Davidson, J., Leyva, R., & Horvath, M. A. H. (2016). 'I wasn’t sure it was normal to watch it'. London: NSPCC. Retrieved from https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/research-resources/2016/i-wasn-t-sure-it-was-normal-to-watch-itCOPY 

9. Today, porn sites receive more website traffic in the U.S. than Twitter, Instagram, Netflix, Pinterest, and LinkedIn combined.Semrush Blog. (2021). Top 100: The Most Visited websites in the US—2021 Top websites edition. Accessed on 24 May, 2021. Retrieved from https://www.semrush.com/blog/most-visited-websites/COPY 

10. Research indicates that porn consumers are more likely to sexually objectify and dehumanize 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. doi:10.1037/men0000058COPY Skorska, M.N., Hodson, G., & Hoffarth, M.R. (2018). Experimental effects of degrading versus erotic pornography exposure in men on reactions toward women (objectification, sexism, discrimination). The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 27, 261 - 276.COPY Zhou, Y., Liu, T., Yan, Y., & Paul, B. (2021). Pornography use, two forms of dehumanization, and sexual aggression: Attitudes vs. behaviors. Null, 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2021.1923598COPY  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.18(4), 212-231. doi:10.1080/10720162.2011.625552COPY  less likely to intervene during a sexual assault,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. 18(4), 212-231. doi:10.1080/10720162.2011.625552COPY  Foubert, J. D., & Bridges, A. J. (2017). What Is the Attraction? Pornography Use Motives in Relation to Bystander Intervention. Journal of Adolescent Research, 32(20), 213–243. https://doi.org/10.1177/0743558414547097COPY  more likely to victim-blame survivors of sexual assault,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.18(4), 212-231. doi:10.1080/10720162.2011.625552COPY Foubert, J. D., & Bridges, A. J. (2017). What Is the Attraction? Pornography Use Motives in Relation to Bystander Intervention. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 32(20), 3071–3089. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260515596538COPY  more likely to support violence against women,Wright, P. J., & Tokunaga, R. S. (2016). Men's Objectifying Media Consumption, Objectification of Women, and Attitudes Supportive of Violence Against Women. Archives of sexual behavior, 45(4), 955–964. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-015-0644-8COPY Seabrook, R. C., Ward, L. M., & Giaccardi, S. (2019). Less than human? media use, objectification of women, and men’s acceptance of sexual aggression. Psychology of Violence, 9(5), 536-545. doi:10.1037/vio0000198COPY  more likely to forward sexts without consent,van Oosten, J., & Vandenbosch, L. (2020). Predicting the Willingness to Engage in Non-Consensual Forwarding of Sexts: The Role of Pornography and Instrumental Notions of Sex. Archives of sexual behavior, 49(4), 1121–1132. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-01580-2COPY  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:https://doi.org/10.1111/jcom.12201COPY Rostad, W. L., Gittins-Stone, D., Huntington, C., Rizzo, C. J., Pearlman, D., & Orchowski, L. (2019). The association between exposure to violent pornography and teen dating violence in grade 10 high school students. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 48(7), 2137-2147. doi:10.1007/s10508-019-1435-4COPY Goodson, A., Franklin, C. A., & Bouffard, L. A. (2021). Male peer support and sexual assault: The relation between high-profile, high school sports participation and sexually predatory behaviour. 27(1), 64-80. doi:10.1080/13552600.2020.1733111COPY 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. doi:10.1037/men0000058COPY 

Related: How Porn Can Normalize Sexual Objectification

11. According to a recent report by the BBFC, 75% of parents believed their child had never encountered porn. But in reality, 53% of those parents’ children reported that they had, in fact, seen porn.British Board of Film Classification. (2020). Young people, pornography & age-verification. BBFC. Retrieved from https://www.bbfc.co.uk/about-classification/researchCOPY 

12. Survey results also show one in four 18 to 24-year-olds (24.5%) listed pornography as the most helpful source to learn how to have sex.Rothman, E. F., Beckmeyer, J. J., Herbenick, D., Fu, T. C., Dodge, B., & Fortenberry, J. D. (2021). The Prevalence of Using Pornography for Information About How to Have Sex: Findings from a Nationally Representative Survey of U.S. Adolescents and Young Adults. Archives of sexual behavior, 50(2), 629–646. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-020-01877-7COPY 

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13. According to a nationally representative survey on porn consumption in the US, 84.4% of teenage boys and 57.1% of teenage girls reported that they had viewed pornography.Wright, P. J., Paul, B., & Herbenick, D. (2021). Preliminary insights from a U.S. probability sample on adolescents’ pornography exposure, media psychology, and sexual aggression. J.Health Commun., 26(1), 39-46. doi:10.1080/10810730.2021.1887980COPY 

14. Research consistently shows that frequent porn consumption is associated with sexual dissatisfaction.Wright, P. J., Miezan, E., & Sun, C. (2019). Pornography consumption and sexual satisfaction in a Korean sample. Journal of Media Psychology, 31(3), 164-169. doi:10.1027/1864-1105/a000246COPY Wright, P. J., Bridges, A. J., Sun, C., Ezzell, M. B., & Johnson, J. A. (2018). Personal Pornography Viewing and Sexual Satisfaction: A Quadratic Analysis. Journal of sex & marital therapy, 44(3), 308–315. https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2017.1377131COPY Brown, C. C., Carroll, J. S., Yorgason, J. B., Busby, D. M., Willoughby, B. J., & Larson, J. H. (2017). A Common-Fate Analysis of Pornography Acceptance, Use, and Sexual Satisfaction Among Heterosexual Married Couples. Archives of sexual behavior, 46(2), 575–584. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-016-0732-4COPY 

15. As few as 1 in 3 and as many as 9 in 10 porn videos show acts of physical violence or aggression.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 

Related: How the Porn Industry Profits From Nonconsensual Content and Abuse

16. When porn depicts violence or aggression, women are the targets about 97% of the time.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 

If only the world knew

If only people knew the facts behind the real harmful effects of porn, we think they’d likely have a different view.

The reality is that porn’s harmful effects are no longer unknown. The science and research has been out for years now and thousands of people, including porn performers themselves, have spoken out on how porn has seriously harmed their lives and relationships.

By stopping the demand for porn, we are putting an end to something that harms individuals, hurts relationships, and affects our society as a whole. It’s time to change the stats. Stopping the demand starts here, with us spreading the facts.

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