Cover image credit to Jimmy Kimmel Live!, screenshot from the show. 6 minute read.

Kanye West, pop culture and music icon, is no stranger to saying things for the shock value. But he took it to the next level in an interview on Jimmy Kimmel’s show this week when he defended his porn habits when asked if having daughters has changed his attitude toward women.

All he had to say was a resounding, “Yeah, of course!” but instead…he went right to porn.

Check out this short clip from the overall awkward interview:

“Nah, I still look at Pornhub,” he said, casually brushing off anything implied by Jimmy’s question and making the audience laugh for a good moment before diving into a couple of his favorite genres. Yikes.

After the interview, Pornhub even capitalized on the opportunity and thanked Kanye for his loyalty, tweeting out an offer for him to have a free premium membership for life.

In this quick exchange, these two pop culture icons highlighted exactly what so much of the rest of our porn-obsessed society thinks all the time—what’s the big deal with porn? What’s not to love, what’s not to watch?

But that’s where we think they aren’t getting the full picture of what it means to have a porn habit, and why Pornhub is actually the worst.

It’s easy to be fooled

Right off the bat, we want to say something. As an anti-porn, pro-love, pro-healthy sex organization, we get it. The porn industry is a marketing machine, careful to package and sell their product as having no adverse side-effects or negative impacts whatsoever on their loyal consumers’ lives. So unless you’re already in the know, why would Kanye or anyone else have a reason to stop and think about the toxic stuff they’re watching when everyone and everything around them says it’s all part of being a sexual human and getting in touch with yourself?

But just like there’s never been more normalization around porn, there’s also never been more information available on why it’s one of the more toxic habits out there.

Not sure what we mean? Let’s dive in together and see just how unhealthy porn can be for a consumer. Here’s what Kanye West probably doesn’t know about porn.

1. Porn messes with your brain

This may surprise you, but porn affects the brain in ways very similar to harmful substances, like tobacco. Studies have shown that porn stimulates the same areas of the brain as addictive drugs, making the brain release the same chemicals. And just like drugs, porn triggers pathways in the brain that cause craving, leading users back for more and more extreme “hits” to get high.

Talk about something that you’ll never see on a porn site disclaimer.

Researchers have found that internet porn and addictive substances like tobacco have very similar effects on the brain, [1] and they are significantly different from how the brain reacts to healthy, natural pleasures like food or sex. [2] Think about it. When you’re munching a snack or enjoying a romantic encounter, eventually your cravings will drop and you’ll feel satisfied. Why? Because your brain has a built-in “off” switch for natural pleasures.

“Dopamine cells stop firing after repeated consumption of a ‘natural reward’ (e.g. food or sex),” explains Nora Volkow, Director of The National Institute of Drug Abuse. [3] But addictive drugs go right on increasing dopamine levels without giving the brain a break. [4] The more hits drug users take, the more dopamine floods their brain, and the stronger their urges are to keep using. That’s why drug addicts find it so hard to stop once they take the first hit. “[O]ne hit may turn into many hits, or even a lost weekend.” [5]

Click here to learn more about how porn can become an escalating habit, can be an addiction or compulsion, warp sexual tastes, and affect a consumer’s brain like a drug. 

2. Porn messes with your relationships

Two of the most respected pornography researchers, Jennings Bryant and Dolf Zillman at the University of Alabama, studied the effects of porn and media for more than 30 years. They found that consuming pornography makes many individuals less satisfied with their own partners’ physical appearance, sexual performance, sexual curiosity, and affection. [6] They also found that, over time, many porn users grow more callous toward females in general, less likely to value monogamy and marriage, and more likely to develop distorted perceptions of sexuality. [7] Other researchers have confirmed those results and added that porn consumers tend to be significantly less intimate with their partners, [8] less committed in their relationships, [9] less satisfied with their romantic and sex lives, [10] and more likely to cheat on their partners. [11] Not exactly a selling point for porn, right?

All these issues don’t bode well for any relationship where one partner is consuming porn, especially since most of us want and expect our intimate relationships to be built on trust, respect, commitment, honesty, and love.

Click here to learn more about how porn can hurt a partner, fuel loneliness and depression, damage sexual health, and why it can kill love.

3. Porn is connected to sex trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Would you support a business if you knew that they abused some (but not all) of their female employees? Pornographers don’t want you to think about it, but even if some of the humiliation, degradation, and sexual violence you see in porn is consensual, some is not.

There is a tendency to believe that “human trafficking” refers to a Third World problem: forced prostitution or child pornography rings in some far-off, developing country. The truth is, sex trafficking is officially defined as a “modern-day form of slavery in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act is under the age of 18 years.” [12] That means any instance in which the individual on screen was forced, tricked, or pressured. By that definition, human trafficking is everywhere. [13] (See How Porn Fuels Sex Trafficking.)

We’re not claiming that all porn is non-consensual. We’re just pointing out that some of it is and some of it isn’t, and when you watch it there’s no way to know which is which.

Click here to learn more about porn’s connections to sex trafficking, coercion, violence, and warped ideas about sex.

Never been more normalization out there or research available

Whenever we see instances of porn being normalized in pop culture and what’s trending, we have to speak out.

Besides the fact that it’s pretty weird for Kanye to be such a huge fan of a site where his wife, Kim Kardashian, is literally one of most popular porn performers in a “leaked” celebrity sex tape with someone other than him, it’s crazy that he’d be so casual about something so harmful. That’s the world we live in, isn’t it? But not for long. As an organization, we have reached tens of millions of people across the world with the facts about how porn is so harmful to the consumer, their relationships, and our society in general.

At the rate this movement is going, it won’t be long before millions more know about the harmful effects of porn and have the opportunity to make an informed decision for themselves. We know it won’t be easy, but spreading the word and getting these facts and resources out there is our number one priority, and we’ve already seen a huge dent in the issue. What are you waiting for? Will you join the movement for real love?

Get Involved

Spread the word that porn is anything but harmless entertainment. SHARE this post and raise awareness about what Kanye probably doesn’t know.

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:

Citations

[1] Voon, V., Et Al. (2014). Neural Correlates Of Sexual Cue Reactivity In Individuals With And Without Compulsive Sexual Behaviors, PLoS ONE, 9(7), E102419. Doi:10.1371/Journal.Pone.0102419; Pitchers, K. K., Et Al. (2013). Natural And Drug Rewards Act On Common Neural Plasticity Mechanisms With DeltaFosB As A Key Mediator. Journal Of Neuroscience, 33(8), 3434-3442. Doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4881-12.2013
[2] Park, B. Y., Et Al. (2016). Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review With Clinical Reports. Behavioral Sciences, 6, 17. Doi:10.3390/Bs6030017
[3] Volkow, N. D., Koob, G. F., & McLellan, A. T. (2016). Neurobiological Advances From The Brain Disease Model Of Addiction. New England Journal Of Medicine, 374: 363-371. Doi:10.1056/NEJMra1511480
[4] Volkow, N. D., Koob, G. F., & McLellan, A. T. (2016). Neurobiological Advances From The Brain Disease Model Of Addiction. New England Journal Of Medicine, 374: 363-371. Doi:10.1056/NEJMra1511480; Volkow, N. D., & Morales, M. (2015). The Brain On Drugs: From Reward To Addiction. Cell, 162 (8), 712-725. Doi:10.1016/J.Cell.2015.07.046; Yanofski, J. (2011). The Dopamine Dilemma—Part II. Innovations In Clinical Neuroscience, 8(1), 47-53. Retrieved From Https://Www.Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov/Pmc/Articles/PMC3036556/
[5] Berridge, K. C., & Robinson, T. E. (2016). Liking, Wanting, And The Incentive-Sensitization Theory Of Addiction. American Psychologist, 71(8), 670-679. Doi:10.1037/Amp0000059
[6] Zillman, D. & Bryant, J. (1988) Pornography’s Impact On Sexual Satisfaction. Journal Of Applied Social Psychology, 18, 438-453. Doi: 10.1111/J.1559-1816.1988.Tb00027.X
[7] Zillman, D., & Bryant, J. (2000). Influence Of Unrestrained Access To Erotica On Adolescents’ And Young Adults’ Disposition Toward Sexuality. Journal Of Adolescent Health, 27(2 Suppl), 41-44. Doi:10.1016/S1054-139X(00)00137-3; D. & Bryant, J. (1988) Pornography’s Impact On Sexual Satisfaction. Journal Of Applied Social Psychology, 18, 438-453. Doi: 10.1111/J.1559-1816.1988.Tb00027.X; Zillman, D. & Bryant, J. (1984). Effects Of Massive Exposure To Pornography. In Malamuth, N. M. & Donnerstein, E. (Eds.), Pornography And Sexual Aggression (Pp. 115-138). New York, NY: Academic Press.
[8] Park, B. Y., Et Al. (2016). Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunction? A Review With Clinical Reports, Behavioral Sciences, 6, 17. Doi:10.3390/Bs6030017; 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: 10.1556/2006.5.2016.078; Sun, C., Bridges, A., Johnason, J., Ezzell, M., (2014). Pornography And The Male Sexual Script: An Analysis Of Consumption And Sexual Relations. Archives Of Sexual Behavior, 45, 1-12. Doi:10.1007/S10508-014-0391-2; 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. Doi:10.1007/S10508-009-9585-4; Bergner, R. M., & Bridges, A. J. (2002). The Significance Of Heavy Pornography Involvement For Romantic Partners: Research And Clinical Implications. Journal Of Sex And Marital Therapy, 28, 193-206. Doi:10.1080/009262302760328235
[9] 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: 10.1556/2006.5.2016.078; 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. Doi:10.1007/S10508-009-9585-4
[10] 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: 10.1556/2006.5.2016.078; 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; 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. Doi:10.1007/S10508-009-9585-4; Yucel, D. & Gassanov, M. A. (2010). Exploring Actor And Partner Correlates Of Sexual Satisfaction Among Married Couples. Social Science Research, 39(5), 725-738. Doi:10.1016/J.Ssresearch.2009.09.002
[11] Braithwaite, S. R., Coulson, G., Keddington, K., & Fincham, F. D. (2015). The Influence Of Pornography On Sexual Scripts And Hooking Up Among Emerging Adults In College. Archives Of Sexual Behavior, 44(1), 111-123. Doi:10.1007/S10508-014-0351-X; 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. Doi:10.1007/S10508-009-9585-4
[12] Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) Of 2000. Pub. L. No. 106-386, Section 103 (8) (A).
[13] Peters, R. W., Lederer, L. J., And Kelly, S. (2012). The Slave And The Porn Star: Sexual Trafficking And Pornography. In M. Mattar & J. Braunmiller (Eds.) Journal Of Human Rights And Civil Society 5: 1-21. Retrieved From Http://Www.Protectionproject.Org/Wp-Content/Uploads/2012/11/TPP-J-HR-Civ-Socy_Vol-5_2012-W-Cover.Pdf; Malarek, V. (2009). The Johns: Sex For Sale And The Men Who Buy It. (Pp. 202-204) New York, NY: Arcade; Farley, M. (2007). Renting An Organ For Ten Minutes: What Tricks Tell Us About Prostitution, Pornography, And Trafficking. In D. E. Guinn & J. DiCaro (Eds.) Pornography: Driving The Demand In International Sex Trafficking, (P. 145). Bloomington, IN: Xlibris. D. M. Hughes. (2000). “Welcome To The Rape Camp”: Sexual Exploitation And The Internet In Cambodia. Journal Of Sexual Aggression, 6(1-2), 29-51. Doi:10.1080/13552600008413308

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