Analysis

10 Reasons You Should Quit Watching Porn For Good

DailyWire.com

Statistics prove what most Americans don’t want to admit: The vast majority of Americans watch porn on a regular basis. Pornography has become so synonymous with the internet that an estimated 30% of all online traffic is related to pornography. Although it is widely viewed as harmless fun, and not everyone will experience any one of these symptoms, watching pornography is associated with a range of mental, emotional, sexual, and physical harms, from lack of concentration to impotence.

Here are a few of the harms scientifically proven to be associated with porn use:

1. Loss of sexual pleasure: Multiple studies have shown that people began to lose sexual pleasure in their current relationship if they watched porn a few times a year, provided they were male, in a relationship, or religious. For everyone else, sexual enjoyment plunged after they began watching porn once a month, and “additional increases in the frequency of viewing lead to disproportionately larger decrements in satisfaction,” one study notes. “Notably, under no circumstances was pornography use associated with greater sexual satisfaction,” wrote Grant H. Brenner, summarizing its findings for Psychology Today.

2. Erectile dysfunction: Ironically, while people seek out pornography because they find it sexually arousing, studies have found that greater exposure to pornography can create psychogenic erectile dysfunction (ED). That is, watching too much porn can make it more difficult for a man to get an erection with a real human being. “Depending on the research, anywhere from 17% to 58% of men who self-identify as heavy/compulsive/addicted users of porn struggle with some form of sexual dysfunction. “Essentially, research tells us that the more porn one uses, the more likely sexual dysfunction is,” explained Robert Weiss.

3. Memory problems and inability to think:Watching pornography can make it difficult for people to concentrate, much less produce independent thinking. “Porn use has been correlated with erosion of the prefrontal cortex — the region of the brain that houses executive functions like morality, willpower and impulse control,” wrote Rachel Anne Barr, then a PhD student at Canada’s Université Laval.

Another study found that men gave the wrong answer to simple yes-or-no questions 72% of the time after seeing a pornographic image — but the lack of cognitive function goes beyond rudimentary tests. Porn viewers “report problems” that are “associated with negative life consequences,” so the researchers tested whether watching porn resulted “in a neglect of relevant environmental information and therefore disadvantageous decision making.” The 2013 study, which was published in the Journal of Sex Research, concluded that “sexual arousal due to pornographic picture processing interfere with [working memory] performance.”

“Sexual arousal interferes with working memory, an important facet of executive functioning,” said Christian Laier, who authored the study.

4. Increased divorce rates: Pornography has never helped anyone’s marriage, but statistical data now prove watching pornography increases the probability of divorce. Sociologists Samuel Norman and Cyrus Schliefer of the University of Oklahoma wrote:

We found that the probability of divorce roughly doubled for married Americans who began pornography use between survey waves … and that this relationship held for both women and men. Conversely, discontinuing pornography use between survey waves was associated with a lower probability of divorce, but only for women. Additional analyses also showed that the association between beginning pornography use and the probability of divorce was particularly strong among younger Americans, those who were less religious, and those who reported greater initial marital happiness. 

5. More depression and loneliness: Psychologists have found a strong correlation between depression and viewing pornography. One study found the more frequently people used porn, the more depressed they felt. “Individuals who view pornography daily scored in the severe depression range,” wrote therapist Kevin Skinner, who analyzed 450 people’s porn use and their levels of depression.

But another study seems to indicate that the influence goes in both directions. A 2017 study compared porn use with 1,247 participants’ scores on the University of California–Los Angeles Loneliness Scale (UCLALS) and found a two-way influence. “[F]or each ‘unit’ of porn use, loneliness increased significantly by a factor of 0.20. For each unit of loneliness, porn used increased by a factor of 0.16,” one person summarized. The study sees porn as a maladaptive response to feelings of isolation, which actually deepens the problem. “Pornography provides temporary relief, but ultimately induces greater feelings of loneliness and isolation, disrupting normal attachment behavior, leading to greater difficulty forming stable, satisfying relationships, and further increasing the likelihood of using pornography as a substitute for intimacy with close others.”

6. Porn use mimics drug addiction, especially in sex addicts: Although some doctors dispute this, many doctors say that porn functions in the brain the same way that drugs or alcohol do in the brains of addicts. Dr. Valerie Voon, a neuropsychiatrist at the University of Cambridge, found that sex addicts’ brains resembled those of alcohol or drug addicts, with a shriveled prefrontal cortex (which deals with moral and executive decision-making) and an enlarged ventral striatum, dorsal anterior cingulate, and amygdala.

Watching pornography floods the brain’s reward circuitry with dopamine, much like an addict taking another shot. This, in time, numbs the brain to normal pleasure and demands harder and harder pornography to achieve the same high. “Porn scenes, like addictive substances, are hyper-stimulating triggers that lead to unnaturally high levels of dopamine secretion. This can damage the dopamine reward system and leave it unresponsive to natural sources of pleasure,” wrote Barr. Like with other addictions, tolerance requires greater novelty to trigger pleasure. “Pornography satisfies every one of the prerequisites for neuroplastic change,” said psychiatrist Norman Doidge. “When pornographers boast that they are pushing the envelope by introducing new, harder themes, what they don’t say is that they must, because their customers are building up a tolerance to the content.”

7. Contribution to rape, sexual assault, and physical assault: Porn use normalized certain kinds of sexual behavior, and young people in Grade 10 (approximately 15-16 years of age) who watched violent pornography were more likely to inflict forms of teen dating violence (TDV). A study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior in 2019 found:

Violent pornography exposure was associated with all types of TDV, though patterns differed by gender. Boys exposed to violent pornography were 2–3 times more likely to report sexual TDV perpetration and victimization and physical TDV victimization, while girls exposed to violent pornography were over 1.5 times more likely to … perpetrate threatening TDV compared to their non-exposed counterparts.

8. Porn viewers are more likely to “coerce” unwilling girls into anal sex: Porn use also made young viewers, particularly young men, expect anal sex from their girlfriends, and they believed it was OK to “coerce” them into the act against their will. Boys aged 16-18 “frequently cited pornography as the ‘explanation’ for anal sex” and had internalized the belief that “men were expected to persuade or coerce reluctant partners” into giving them anal sex, according to one study. “Young people’s narratives normalised coercive, painful and unsafe anal heterosex,” wrote authors Cicely Alice Marston and Ruth Lewis.

9. Contribution to teenage sex, promiscuity, and other risky sexual behaviors:  A 2017 study from the University of Buckingham found that porn consumption increases people’s likelihood of engaging in risky sexual activities that threaten their health. “Our study examined how exposure to sexually explicit material, defined as any media depicting uncensored sexual behaviour, can influence the adoption of sexually risky behavior,” meaning anything that “puts people at high risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection.” The study concluded that the younger a person is exposed to pornography, and the longer girls are exposed to pornography, the larger number of sexual partners that person will have in life.

10. And even non-pornographic, sexually explicit material harms children: At the risk of muddying the waters, the impact of sexually explicit media on young people holds true even when the media is not fully pornographic, according to a 2012 study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. “Adolescents who are exposed to more sexual content in movies start having sex at younger ages, have more sexual partners, and are less likely to use condoms with casual sexual partners,” said Ross O’Hara, who was then a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Missouri. If softcore porn or mainstream movies with sexual content can provoke that reaction, imaging multiplying it by the power of hardcore pornography on a regular basis.

America would be better off without porn use; our minds, marriages, and workplaces certainly would, as well.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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