In our culture pornography is becoming progressively more mainstream and as a result, becoming increasingly normalized as well. What I mean is that instead of seeing porn as some evil growth, we’re seeing it as proper next step in our sexual evolution.
Single men are almost expected to be viewing porn on a regular basis, married couples view porn together to try and spice up their love life, and children are growing up believing that viewing pornography, and the acts that accompany it, are all part of a normal, healthy lifestyle.
This latest generation of adults is really the first to have grown up with free and easily accessible pornography. Because of this, the science is still coming out on the true effects of pornography over a prolonged period of use. If the current trends hold true however, then the idea that porn is part of a healthy lifestyle is a myth. Here’s why:
Porn Damages Your Body
This particular point has less to do with viewing pornography and more to do with the actions that often accompany the watching of pornography (like masturbation for example). We dealt with the subject of masturbation in our last article, but I want to make an additional point about it here.
The prolonged practice of masturbation has been shown to result in things like fatigue, pelvic pain, vision changes, lower back pain, and testicular pain (taken from an article from AskMen.com. Link not provided due to inappropriate sidebar images). Chronic masturbation can also irritate the skin and also has the potential, when coupled with pornography, to make it significantly more difficult to have an erection. Ever wonder why there are so many Viagra commercials on TV? It’s because their demographic has expanded to include young men in college who have consumed so much porn that they are no longer naturally stimulated by a real person.
Though casual masturbation has not been proven to result in problems like these, it should still be noted that pornography, and the actions that accompany it, damage your body. But the damage does not end there.
Porn Damages Your Brain
In one of our podcasts we addressed the impact that pornography has on your brain over prolonged use. Below is a synopsis of what occurs in your brain when you watch porn.
First, pornography affects the dopamine levels of your brain. Dopamine is the chemical that controls reward-seeking part of your brain. Achieving difficult goals you’ve set for yourself cause dopamine levels to rise, and in turn make your body feel good. When you watch porn those dopamine levels rise, as they do during sex, and upon climaxing you feel good. Over time the video(s) that made you feel good the first time doesn’t do it for you anymore and so you watch more videos or even begin to watch things that you use to think were crossing the line, just so you can get that feel good sensation once more. This is where the damage begins.
Next, accompanying the rise of dopamine, your body experiences a rise in norepinephrine. This fancy sounding chemical is connected to your brain’s ability to retain memory. In short, the more porn you watch, the more easily you remember it after the computer screen is closed.
Finally, your body releases a chemical called oxytocin during the porn watching process. Oxytocin is released in your body when you spend time with others for prolonged periods of time. It is a chemical that causes a pregnant woman to have such a close bond to her child before he/she is even born. When you watch pornography, your body releases oxytocin essentially bonding you to the people you’re watching in the video. This creates a greater need to see the person you’re bonded to, causing you to go back for more porn, which continues to reinforce the bond in your brain and damage your body (and on and on and on).
In a sense, porn rewires your brain which makes stopping the practice of viewing pornography all the more difficult as time goes on. Up to this point the damage of porn has been personal. Now we turn our attention to the damage pornography can cause to your relationships with others.
Porn Damages Your Relationships
We’ve seen, briefly, how porn affects your body and your brain. As it turns out, pornography also has an impact on your attitude which in turn affects your relationships with others. One survey suggested that those that view porn on a regular basis “experience less overall happiness and life satisfaction” than those who do not.
The same survey also showed that women who discovered that their partner had a pornography addiction experienced very high amounts of worry and fear. Many of these women also became increasingly on edge emotionally, and avoided bonding with their mate.
Pornography is also known to make people angrier, grumpier, short-tempered, anxious, and depressed among other things. These attitudes in turn make it hard for anyone who regularly watches pornography to maintain relationships with people in the real world. This relationship building is further hindered by the fact that those who watch porn tend to see members of the opposite sex as objects to fulfill sexual desire and nothing more.
Porn is a healthy part of a normal lifestyle? Consider that myth busted. Porn damages not only the user, but those people who are in the user’s life. Don’t allow yourself to keep being damaged, break away from your porn addiction now.