Pornography shouldn’t be something that no one talks about. After all, thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever to find — by accident or on purpose. The average age at which someone first sees porn online is 11 years old¹, ​and it almost seems as if it’s become sex education in today’s modern world. Some would argue that it can be a healthy part of a relationship, and still others would warn that it destroys lives. So what’s the truth? Harmless pastime or big mistake? In order to answer those questions, let’s explore how porn affects individuals, relationships, and society.

Individuals:​ Scientific studies are finding that ​porn impacts individual wellbeing and functioning, and not in a positive way. The negative effects have been noted in body image concerns, sexual attitudes and behaviors, and struggles with mental health — particularly loneliness, depression, anxiety, and addiction. Just like your body gets addicted to the high of “shooting up,” your brain becomes addicted to the rush of hormones that it receives when you view porn. To feed this addiction is to undergo a literal rewiring of the brain. Little by little, porn replaces natural forms of sexual attraction and destroys triggers that our brains are created with. The body starts to respond only when porn is involved, and so begins the destruction of a person’s sexual health. No longer is the body capable of doing what it was created to do.

Relationships​: One of the biggest influences of porn on people’s lives is the effect it has on their expectations about sex and relationships. Porn is unnatural and deceptive, it reshapes expectations about sex and attraction by painting an unrealistic picture. Very rarely does real life resemble a scripted scene. Porn can also cause you to view other people as items to be had, instead of recognizing and appreciating them as unique individuals with personal desires and feelings. So it’s no surprise that many studies are finding that porn negatively affects relationship quality, satisfaction, and commitment, and it increases the chance of relationship conflict and breakup.

Society​: We’ve looked at how porn affects individuals and relationships, but how does it affect society? The reality is that research is finding that many people who view porn are becoming less humanly compassionate and that supply-and-demand to satisfy sexual fantasies is increasing. These two factors added to each other create a recipe for the devastation that is human sex trafficking. It’s reported that half of all sex trafficked victims have been forced to make porn and many researchers now suspect porn to be the leading cause of human trafficking in the United States.

Inside of a committed marriage relationship, sex is healthy and natural. Porn is something entirely different. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that porn is harmless entertainment and has no impact. As was said at the beginning of this article, porn shouldn’t be something no one talks about. Forty million Americans are regular visitors to porn sites.² ​If this is something that you’re struggling with, reach out for help — don’t feel embarrassed or alone, there are many people in your same situation. At Beginnings, we’re here to help. Call 402-336-4343 to talk to someone, or if you’re not comfortable talking about it, email us at beginningsprc@gmail.com​. There are many online resources we can share with you.

1,2 ​http://www.techaddiction.ca/files/porn-addiction-statistics.jpg