3 Reasons Why Watching Porn Is Harmful (And Research Is Proving It)

Fight the New Drug
Nov 2, 2015 · 6 min read

Just like it took decades for science to prove that smoking cigarettes was harmful, we are learning a similar lesson with porn in our society today. Science and research are proving that porn harms the brain, damages relationships, and is also linked to prostitution and sex trafficking. Porn is a fantasy that is proven to make it harder for users to have real loving relationships. In real life, real love requires a real person. Research has found that after being exposed to porn, people were more critical of their partner’s appearance and displays of affection. Research has also found that after individuals are exposed to pornography, they rate themselves as less in love with their partner than those who didn’t view porn. Frequent porn use is even associated with feeling cynical about love in general, having less trust in romantic partners, and feeling like relationships are confining.

Bottom line: a porn habit can take a serious toll on a person’s ability to offer real, unselfish, meaningful love. With all this new information, it is time for society to accept that pornography is harmful. Science and research are proving that porn harms the brain, damages relationships, and negatively affects society as a whole.


PORN CHANGES THE BRAIN

Just like drugs and other addictive substances, porn floods the brain with chemicals, like dopamine. Over time, the brain gets overwhelmed by the constant overload of chemicals and starts to build up a dependency to pornography. As a result, the porn they were looking at in the beginning doesn’t seem as exciting, and many porn users go hunting for more porn or more hardcore porn to get the same rush. Eventually, the chemical release from regular healthy activities aren’t strong enough to register. This leaves the user feeling down or uneasy whenever they go for a while without watching porn.

PORN ADDICTION GETS WORSE & WORSE

The brain releases chemicals when it sees something shocking or surprising. That’s why frequent porn users often find themselves looking for more hardcore material. Also, because they’ve built up such a high tolerance to the porn they’ve been watching, many have to combine sexual arousal with the feelings of aggression. That’s why so much of hardcore porn is full of violence against women. In a 2012 survey of 1,500 guys, 56% said their tastes in porn had become “increasingly extreme or deviant.” Frequent porn users’ brains quickly get used to the porn they’ve already seen, so they have to move on to more extreme forms of porn to get aroused.

PORN IS ADDICTIVE, LIKE A DRUG

Inside the human brain, there’s something called the “reward pathway.” Its job is to reward you when you do something that feels good by releasing pleasure chemicals. The problem is, the reward pathway can be hijacked. The way that substances like cocaine and meth make users feel high is by forcing the reward pathway to release high levels of chemicals, porn does the exact same thing. The surge of chemicals pulsing through the brain creates new brain pathways that will lead the porn user back to the behavior that triggers the chemical release. The more the user watches porn, the deeper those pathways are wired into the brain.

PORN KILLS LOVE

In real life, real love requires a real person. Research has found that after men are exposed to pornography, they rate themselves as less in love with their partner than men who didn’t see any porn. On top of that, another study found that after being exposed to pornographic images, people were more critical of their partner’s appearance, sexual curiosity, sexual performance, and displays of affection.

PORN RUINS YOUR SEX LIFE

Porn promises a virtual world filled with endless sex but what it doesn’t mention is that the further a user goes into that fantasy world, the more likely their reality is to become just the opposite. In one of the biggest studies on porn use ever conducted, researchers found that after being exposed to softcore porn, both men and women were significantly less happy with their partner’s looks, willingness to try new sex acts, and sexual performance. Porn users kill their ability to perform sexually in real life by conditioning their brain to get aroused by sitting alone in front of a computer rather than being with an actual person.

PORN IS JUST ONE BIG LIE

In porn, everything is fake. A typical 45-minute porn video takes three days of filming to produce, but leaves the viewer thinking that it all happened without a break. Porn also makes it look like no matter what a man does, the woman likes it even though the majority of sex acts are degrading or violent. Thanks to teams of plastic surgeons and help from Photoshop, the women in porn don’t offer anything close to a representation of being with a woman in real life. As a result, people that regularly watch porn are more likely than others to feel poorly about how they look and be more disappointed about how their partner looks. Studies have also shown that when both boys and girls see sexual media, they gain stronger perceptions of women being sex objects.

PORN WARPS & TWISTS VIEWS ABOUT SEX

Researchers have repeatedly found that people who have seen a significant amount of porn are more likely to start having sex sooner and with more partners, and to engage in riskier kinds of sex, putting them at greater risk of getting sexually transmitted infections. In a study of popular porn videos, the number of sexual partners in a scene ranged from one to 19, and averaged at three. And the kinds of sex acts in porn are often degrading or violent. In a study of popular porn videos, 9 out of 10 scenes showed a woman being hit, beaten, or otherwise harmed, and the result was almost always the same — they either seemed not to mind or looked happy about it.

PORN IS INSEPARABLY LINKED TO PROSTITUTION & SEX TRAFFICKING

Men who look at porn have been shown to be more likely to go to prostitutes, often looking for a chance to live out what they’ve seen in porn. In one survey of former prostitutes, 80% said that customers had shown them images of porn to illustrate what they wanted to do. Porn is also linked to the global issue of sex trafficking. Porn is commonly made of victims of sex trafficking and put online or sold to distributors. These sex slaves are drugged, beaten, and forced into doing porn. For porn users at home, there is no way to know the dark origins of the porn they’re watching. Clicking porn is directly supporting the demand for sex trafficking.

PORN SERIOUSLY AFFECTS YOUR PERSONAL LIFE

Research has found that marriages in which one person has a porn problem experience less intimacy and sensitivity, as well as more anxiety, secrecy, isolation, and dysfunction in the relationship. In one survey, 62% of divorce attorneys surveyed said that obsession with porn had been a significant factor in divorces cases they had handled. In another poll conducted by MSNBC, 1 out of every 5 males confessed that porn was taking away hours that used to be spent with their partner or kids.


To see more research and citations, visit www.fightthenewdrug.org

Fight the New Drug

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Fight the New Drug exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness on its harmful effects.

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