Many people contact Fight the New Drug to share their personal stories about how porn has affected their life or the life of a loved one. We consider these personal accounts very valuable because, while the science and research is powerful within its own right, personal accounts from real people seem to really hit home about the damage that pornography does to real lives.

We recently received this true story from a woman who experienced the immense pressure that porn can put on consumers to be unrealistically perfect and go beyond their personal comfort in their love life. Porn can pressure consumers to look and act like what they see on screen, which has unhealthy and damaging results. Some stories, like this one, show how porn can leave a lasting impression on a consumer’s psyche and twist their understanding of sex—even long after they’ve stopped watching.

Dear FTND,

I was messed up over believing pornography was sex. The things I had seen on screen were things I believed I should be excited and willing to do, sexually. When I thought a sex position or act wasn’t possible, my boyfriend would respond with, “It’s possible, I’ve seen it.”

I wanted to train myself to be so eager about sex, and so easily aroused that I would willingly do anything my boyfriend asked. I wished that I would be so daring in bed that he couldn’t keep up with me. When I wasn’t comfortable with doing something with him, he thought it would be a good idea to have me watch the act in porn to see what it’s “really like.” He told me, “See, that’s what it’s like, there are some girls out there who go even crazier.”

I was really determined to be able to do what that girl was doing. I was so determined to be even more adventurous than anything he’d seen so that I would have his undivided attention.

Related: Can Watching Porn Be Like Cheating When You’re In A Relationship?

Through all the confusion pornography caused, it was a huge struggle for me. I had only seen a countable number of porn videos, but even those have weighed heavily on my sex life, to this day. I never believed I was interested in females until I had seen lesbian porn. At that point, I felt aroused thinking about being together with a female. I don’t feel that in my personal life, but pornography makes whoever is watching believe those acts really are so wonderful in real life.

That’s when I found your organization. I couldn’t stop reading articles. I wanted to know the truth so badly because both my boyfriend and I had been messed up by believing those girls just loved their jobs and the incredibly brutal things they were forced to do. My boyfriend was never “addicted” to pornography, but I do believe for the first year, and even into the second year, his porn consumption affected our sex life and his sex drive.

Related: I Tried Being Like A Sex-Obsessed Porn Performer To Save My Relationship

I know every time I would cave and watch a video, it was one more barrier between me and true intimacy. I have felt the pull first-hand, and I’m thankful I was educated when I was because pornography would have easily ruined my ability for human interaction entirely.

I am still with him, and he is a loving, wonderful man, but total recovery takes a lot of work. I believe every couple where one or both has watched a lot of porn at some point in their life have been shaped by it in one way or another, and therefore will require some recovery.

Related: Asking My Partner To Watch Porn With Me Actually Ruined Our Relationship

I’ve developed a strong fight in me against pornography’s destruction. I want to really get involved. I’m sort of exploring my imagination on how I could get involved and how I could educate the public. There’s many in my community who need the truth about pornography! It’s such a tough discussion because generally, there’s a lot of hurt and shame behind pornography.

I don’t believe my boyfriend ever meant to hurt me in the ways I listed, but pornography truly mangles the mind into believing what you see on screen is the way it is, and it’s time something’s done about it.

Facts and the truth are brave and strong and have the ability to destroy lies. That’s what I want to see happen.

I love your organization, and I will keep sharing and educating everyone I can. Thanks so much for what you do.

T.

Normalizing the extreme

Her real story is a prime example of what research is already showing—porn warps a consumer’s natural sexual tastes by normalizing the extreme, and promoting acts that would otherwise be considered degrading, humiliating, or painful.

Studies show that people who consume porn are far more likely to believe that things like group sex or dangerous sex acts are more common than their non-porn-consuming peers. [1] Why? Because that’s what they’ve seen in porn. In one study of popular porn videos, the average number of sexual partners in a scene was three, although the number ranged as high as 19. Today’s mainstream porn sites include whole categories of unprotected sex with strangers, brutal gang rape, and other dangerous and violent sex acts.

And porn keeps getting worse.

Related: Regular Porn Habits Increase Likelihood Of Relationship Break-Ups, Study Finds

“A competitive market means that pornographers are trying to outdo each other to come up with the most extreme images,” explains Dr. John Wood, a therapist who works with youth addicted to pornography. “This contest to push the boundaries means that straight intercourse is considered too boring. Images of brutal anal sex and women being humiliated and degraded by two or more men at any one time are the new norms.” [2]

Researchers are finding that porn’s influence can and does find its way into teenager’s sexual behaviors. [3] For example, people who have consumed a significant amount of porn are more likely to start having sex sooner and with more partners, to engage in riskier kinds of sex that put them at greater risk of getting sexually transmitted infections, and to have actually contracted an STI. [4]

Porn is a roadblock

Not only does porn offer a warped version of sex education, it also delivers that education in a way perfectly tailored to how our brains learn. [5] (See How Porn Changes the Brain.) Images are especially powerful teachers since they can pack in a whole lot of information that the viewer can understand very quickly. And while words are often interpreted as mere opinions, our brains are more likely to accept images as facts. After all, it’s a lot more difficult to argue with something you’re seeing happen in front of you. [6]

Related: Can Watching Porn With Your Partner Hurt Your Relationship?

And what messages are young people learning so effectively from porn? A recent study of adolescent porn use concluded that the major messages presented by porn are male domination, hypermasculinity, and making male sexual pleasure the top priority. [7]

What kind of education is that?

Not only can porn drive a wedge between partners, but it can be a huge roadblock on the journey to having a healthy understanding of sex. In the end, watching isn’t worth it.

Get Involved

If you’re not cool with porn being viewed as simply normal and harmless, SHARE this article to help spread the scientific facts about the serious harmful effects of pornography.

Spark Conversations

This movement is all about changing the conversation about pornography and stopping the demand for sexual exploitation. 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:

Citations

[1] Weinberg, M. S., Williams, C. J., Kleiner, S., & Irizarry, Y. (2010). Pornography, Normalization And Empowerment. Archives Of Sexual Behavior, 39 (6) 1389-1401. Doi:10.1007/S10508-009-9592-5; Doring, N. M. (2009). The Internet’s Impact On Sexuality: A Critical Review Of 15 Years Of Research. Computers In Human Behavior, 25(5), 1089-1101. Doi:10.1016/J.Chb.2009.04.003; Layden, M. A. (2004). Committee On Commerce, Science, And Transportation, Subcommittee On Science And Space, U.S. Senate, Hearing On The Brain Science Behind Pornography Addiction, November 18; ; Zillmann, D. (2000). Influence Of Unrestrained Access To Erotica On Adolescents’ And Young Adults’ Dispositions Toward Sexuality. Journal Of Adolescent Health, 27(2), 41–44. Doi:10.1016/S1054-139X(00)00137-3
[2] Woods, J. (2012). Jamie Is 13 And Hasn’t Even Kissed A Girl. But He’s Now On The Sex Offender Register After Online Porn Warped His Mind. Daily Mail (U.K.), April 25.
[3] Peter, J. & Valkenburg, P. M., (2016) Adolescents And Pornography: A Review Of 20 Years Of Research. Journal Of Sex Research, 53(4-5), 509-531. Doi:10.1080/00224499.2016.1143441; Rothman, E. F., Kaczmarsky, C., Burke, N., Jansen, E., & Baughman, A. (2015). “Without Porn…I Wouldn’t Know Half The Things I Know Now”: A Qualitative Study Of Pornography Use Among A Sample Of Urban, Low-Income, Black And Hispanic Youth. Journal Of Sex Research, 52(7), 736-746. Doi:10.1080/00224499.2014.960908
[4] Morgan, E. M. (2011). Associations Between Young Adults’ Use Of Sexually Explicit Materials And Their Sexual Preferences, Behaviors, And Satisfaction. Journal Of Sex Research, 48(6), 520-530. Doi:10.1080/00224499.2010.543960; Layden, M. A. (2010). Pornography And Violence: A New Look At The Research. In J. Stoner & D. Hughes (Eds.) The Social Costs Of Pornography: A Collection Of Papers (Pp. 57–68). Princeton, NJ: Witherspoon Institute; Carroll, J. S., Padilla-Walker, L. M., & Nelson, L. J. (2008). Generation XXX: Pornography Acceptance And Use Among Emerging Adults. Journal Of Adolescent Research 23(1), 6–30. Doi:10.1177/0743558407306348; Haggstrom-Nordin, E., Tyden, T., & Hanson, U. (2005). Associations Between Pornography Consumption And Sexual Practices Among Adolescents In Sweden. International Journal Of STD & AIDS, 16(2), 102–7. Doi:10.1258/0956462053057512; Wingood, G. M., Et Al. (2001). Exposure To X-Rated Movies And Adolescents’ Sexual And Contraceptive-Related Attitudes And Behaviors. Pediatrics, 107(5), 1116–19. Retrieved From Https://Www.Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov/Pubmed/11331695
[5] Layden, M. A. (2010). Pornography And Violence: A New Look At The Research. In J. Stoner & D. Hughes (Eds.) The Social Costs Of Pornography: A Collection Of Papers (Pp. 57–68). Princeton, NJ: Witherspoon Institute; Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. (102) New York: Penguin Books.
[6] DeKeseredy, W. (2015). Critical Criminological Understandings Of Adult Pornography And Women Abuse: New Progressive Directions In Research And Theory. International Journal For Crime, Justice, And Social Democracy, 4(4) 4-21. Doi:10.5204/Ijcjsd.V4i4.184; Bridges, A. J. & Anton, C. (2013). Pornography And Violence Against Women. In J. A. Sigal & F. L. Denmark (Eds.). Violence Against Girls And Women: International Perspectives (Pp. 183-206). Santa Barbara, CA: Preager. (“[E]Xposure To Pornography Is Particularly Problematic For Youth Because They Often Lack Healthy Sexual Relationships That Counterbalance The Degrading And Depersonalizing Images Of Sex Often Depicted In Pornography.”)
[7] Rothman, E. F., Kaczmarsky, C., Burke, N., Jansen, E., & Baughman, A. (2015). “Without Porn…I Wouldn’t Know Half The Things I Know Now”: A Qualitative Study Of Pornography Use Among A Sample Of Urban, Low-Income, Black And Hispanic Youth. Journal Of Sex Research, 52(7), 736-746. Doi:10.1080/00224499.2014.960908

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